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BBBI - 2018.02.28 - PM - Sodom: City of Exceeding Sinfulness (Gen. 18:16-33)

BBBI - OT101.2 - Genesis II  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:14:28
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Does the evil of the world around us drive us to intercede on behalf of those who dwell therein?

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Introduction

Sodom is mentioned six times in the Old Testament, four times in the New Testament. …When Sodom is mentioned, it is always mentioned with a sense of foreboding and fear, because it was an exceedingly wicked city, and God destroyed Sodom with fire and brimstone. ...Peter tells us, in 2 Peter chapter 2 and verse 6, that God “[turned] the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes [and] condemned them with an overthrow...[He left] them [for an example to all] that after should live ungodly.” (2 Peter 2:6) ...The smoking ruins of Sodom, ...is God’s classic example of how He feels about the sin of Sodom. ...what happened to Sodom should be an example to us. ...the Bible says, “As it was in the days of Lot, it’s going to be in the day of the coming of the Son of man.” (Luke 17:26–30) [Adrian Rogers, “The Sin of Sodom,” in Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust, 2017), Ge 18:16–23.]

I. Sodom’s Perversions (Gen. 18:16-22, esp. v. 20).

Genesis 18:20 KJV 1900
And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
Ezekiel 16:49–50 KJV 1900
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

A. The Iniquity of Self-Exalting Pride

Proverbs 6:16–19 KJV 1900
These six things doth the Lord hate: Yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, Feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, And he that soweth discord among brethren.
James 4:6 KJV 1900
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
1 Peter 5:5 KJV 1900
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

B. The Iniquity of Unbridled Gluttony

...”fulness of bread”
We see it all the time in this area, people who are so full of material possessions that they cannot see any need for Jesus in their lives. Their not hungry anymore; not searching for God; not hungering and thirsting after His righteousness; why? because their full already; no room left in their life for the things of God. A glutton whose had more than his share, and has become desensitized to the seriousness of sin.

C. The Iniquity of Abundant Idleness

“…abundance of idleness was in her and her daughters....”
Work and Play. From earliest times work and its complement, play, have been objects of human reflection. God had scarcely created the world before man got his first work assignment, to till and keep the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15). But the first account of work predates even this, for God himself worked at creation and then rested at its completion (Gen. 2:2). These first references to work are positive. God freely chose and heartily approved of his own work (Gen. 1:31), and Adam’s tasks were perfectly suited to the marvelous life of Eden.
It did not take long for this picture to change. The next chapter recounts the fall of humans and God’s ensuing judgment. The ground was cursed, and man faced “toil … thorns and thistles … sweat” (Gen. 3:17–19). This is the base for the tradition that work is a curse, a penalty for sin. This view has enjoyed strong and extensive support, yet the earlier images of work as a desirable thing will not go away.
For people who see work as a curse, play is delicious shirking or an attempt to recoup one’s powers for fresh work. The person who majors in play is a fool or a scoundrel. And he or she might be charged with impiety because he or she has so little regard for the force of the fall.
To say work is a curse is not to say that it serves no good purpose. If, as folk wisdom says, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, then people need someone to keep them busy at a worthwhile task such as survival. As they struggle to make ends meet, they come face to face with their own finitude, insecurity, and wretchedness. In this condition they are disposed to seek and depend on God. ...
The work-as-curse people stress the indignity rather than the dignity of work. Without awkward and back-breaking tasks people have room for vanity and indolence. The idle rich are too smooth and self-pleased. They need blisters and grime to acquaint or reacquaint them with their mortality and insufficiency.... [M. Coppenger, “Work and Play,” ed. David G. Benner and Peter C. Hill, Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology & Counseling, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 1265–1266.]
Exodus 23:12 KJV 1900
Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
Edith Hamilton said of the Athenians, when the Athenians wanted not to give to the state but for the state to give to them, when the freedom they wished most was the freedom from responsibility, the Athenians ceased to be free and would never be free again. America is filled with people who want to be free, but free from responsibility. And when we get that kind of freedom, we lose every other kind of freedom, and we will become enslaved and eventually condemned. [Rogers, Ge 18:16–23.]

D. The Iniquity of Gross Neglect

“…neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”
God has a special place in His heart for those who cannot help themselves; we ought to be like Him.
James 1:26–27 KJV 1900
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
James 2:14–19 KJV 1900
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Driving flashy cars, building fancy homes, vacationing in exotic locations, Sodom had no time or resources for the poor and needy. Notice Sodom was indicted not for failing to give a handout to the poor and needy but for failing to strengthen the hand of the poor and needy—for failing to come alongside and invest themselves in their plight. [Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: Volume Two: Psalms-Malachi (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006), 635.]

E. The Iniquity of Haughty Immorality

Leviticus 20:13 KJV 1900
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Not only did they commit abomination; they came out of their closets to do it. They were proud of it, and they were haughty. They could not blush, and God says here in Leviticus chapter 20, verse 13, “They shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13) Now I remind you this was in the Old Testament, under a theocracy. We do not go by that law today, because the death penalty is not commanded today for that sin. But I want to tell you, it brings spiritual death. [Rogers, Ge 18:16–23.]
Romans 1:18–32 KJV 1900
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
...some people have the idea that, if we don’t get right with God, then He’s going to judge us. Friend, I want to tell you that sexual perversion itself is the judgment of God already. When God gives a nation up, God takes His hands off of a people, then these things are a part of the judgment of God...We actually now today have entertained ourselves by watching sexual perversion in movies and films and so forth. And God have mercy upon our nation! This was the sin of ancient Sodom, and it is the sin of America [and also of many of the nations of the world through her perverse influence]...Sin that used to slink down the back alleys now struts down the main street. [Rogers, Ge 18:16–23.]
Isaiah 3:8–9 KJV 1900
For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: Because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, To provoke the eyes of his glory. The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; And they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

II. A Saint’s Intercessions (Gen. 18:23-33).

Genesis 18:16–17 KJV 1900
And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
Amos 3:7 KJV 1900
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, But he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
Note the rhetorical questions of this section: “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?… Shall I [the LORD] hide from Abraham that thing which I do…Shall not the Judge of the earth do right?...” along with the comedy of Sarah, the compassion of Abraham and the cries of Sodom that each came before the LORD.
After God reviewed the reasons for sharing His plans for the destruction of Sodom with Abraham, He told the patriarch that He was about to investigate the wicked condition of that city. This news moved Abraham to ask God to be just in His dealings with the righteous there.
“A rhetorical question in each section—’Is anything too demanding for Yahweh?’ [v. 14]; ‘Shall not he who judges all the earth give right judgment?” [v. 25]—sounds the major motif of each unit [vv. 1–15 and vv. 16–33]. . . . In both units it is some kind of noise that provokes Yahweh—Sarah’s laugh and Sodom’s groans.”531
18:16–21 God chose to reveal His intention to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah to Abraham. He did so because of His plans for Abraham.
“In this section [vv. 1–21] we have an illustration of fellowship with God and some of its essential features. Fellowship is the crowning purpose of God’s revelation (1 John 1:3). There is nothing higher than this, for man’s life finds its complete fulfillment in union and communion with God. Notice the following elements:
“1. Sacred Intimacy. . . .
“2. Genuine Humility. . . .
“3. Special Revelation. — Fellowship with God is always associated with the knowledge of His will. Servants do not know their master’s purposes, but friends and intimates do. . . .
“4. Unique Association. — The man who is in fellowship with God does not merely know the Divine will, but becomes associated with God in the carrying out of that will. . . .”532
18:22–33 This is the first time in Scripture that a man initiated a conversation with God. He prayed for the people of Sodom, not just Lot. [Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 18:15–22.]
Abraham did what the councils of Sodom could not do, what the diplomats could not do, what the philosophers of Sodom could not do, what the mayor of Sodom could not do, what the armies of Sodom could not do, what the wealth of Sodom could not do, because that one man knew how to pray; that one man knew how to get hold of God, and he prayed. Lot wasn’t praying. Lot was carnal. ...living on the borderline of sin as a carnal Christian, he could not see the hand of God raised in judgment. He could not tell what time it was. And there are many ...today living in a fool’s paradise—carnal Christians, [Who] never pray [and] intercede. But Abraham, the friend of God, ...prayed. And because he prayed God moved and answered his intercessory prayer. [Rogers, Ge 18:16–23.]

A. Prayer in Communion (Gen. 18:22-23).

Genesis 18:22–23 KJV 1900
And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
One of the greatest men of faith who ever lived was George Müller of Bristol, England. Müller ...was a man who had great orphanages. Literally millions of dollars were given to the work of Christ and the care for these orphanages, and Müller did it all by faith. ...Müller said that it was studying this passage ...that increased his prayer power more than anything else, because it taught him to argue with God....a sanctified argument. You see, God wants us to bring His Word into this situation. And here’s what Müller would do. Müller would say, “Now, God, You promised to take care of the fatherless. I’m holding You to that. Father, this is Your work. And You’ve said that the righteous are not going to be forsaken and His seed begging bread. Lord, I’m holding You to that. And, Lord, who’s going to feed these children? Lord, if You don’t feed these children, Your name is going to be ruined around here, because I’ve told everybody You’re going to do it.” [Rogers, Ge 18:16–23.]

B. Prayer in Contrition (Gen. 18:27).

Genesis 18:27 KJV 1900
And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

C. Prayer Out of Compassion (Gen. 18:23b-26).

Genesis 18:23–26 KJV 1900
And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
Abraham is concerned for others more than himself. In this we see compassion, like Christ who instructed us as His followers to “pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He may send forth laborers into the harvest…” because “the harvest is plenteous but the laborers are few...” May the Lord give us eyes to see the lost like Abraham, like Christ, like Paul, like Peter, like John, and so many others who gave their lives to turn the world upside down for the Gospel.

D. Prayer of Cognizance (Gen. 18:25).

Genesis 18:25 KJV 1900
That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
His prayer was based on what he (Abraham) knew theologically to be true about the God of the Bible. You ought to have some theology in your prayers. The way to learn that is by spending time on a regular basis getting to the God of the Bible through the means by which He has revealed Himself to us, like Abraham got to know Him, through communion with the pre-incarnate Word of God, we get to know Him through the word of God, the Bible.

E. Prayer in Confidence (Gen. 19:29).

Genesis 19:29 KJV 1900
And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.
1 John 5:14 KJV 1900
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
Isaiah 59:16 KJV 1900
And he saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor: Therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; And his righteousness, it sustained him.
1 Timothy 2:1–4 KJV 1900
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
...we can see that a godly minority does play a role in influencing God’s judgment. It can delay judgment by promoting godliness. However a godly minority may not prevent God’s judgment if “sin is exceedingly grave” (v. 20). God does not always choose to remove the righteous from the wicked before He judges the wicked as He did in Lot’s case. Nevertheless the Judge of all the earth does deal justly. We can see this when we take the long view. People alive now have yet to receive their final judgment from the divine Judge. [Constable, Ge 18:22.]

III. Our Scriptural Expectations (Luke 17:26-30).

Luke 17:26–30 KJV 1900
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Genesis 19:22 KJV 1900
Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
The LORD made sure Noah was safe in the Ark before He judged the antediluvians. The LORD made certain that Lot was out before He sent fire down on Sodom. So too, our Lord will make sure His children are out (raptured) before He opens those seven seals which bring those seven angels to sound their trumpets of woe, and pour out their seven vials full of the wrath of God on this unbelieving world of sin. Just like it was in Lot’s day, just like it was in Noah’s day, so shall it be in the day when the Son of Man cometh; when every eye shall see Him, and they that pierced Him shall wail because of His coming in all brightness, majesty and glory.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 KJV 1900
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9–10 KJV 1900
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
There were three types of people in the days of Noah; three types of people in the days of Lot; and there are three types of people seen when the Lord Jesus comes again. We can Scripturally Expect every single person who is of age on the face of the earth to fit in one of these three pictures, based on what they do with the truth of God as He reveals Himself to His Creation, generally and specifically through Jesus Christ His Only Begotten Son:

A. Un-believers

These are the scoffers, who say “where is the sign of His coming? This Christianity, Bible, God thing is all just a big hoax. Snopes.com has all this figured out. Alexa from Amazon and a post-modern Google search can help us figure out that Jesus is just really a fictional character.” But friend, if they don’t hear our passionate pleading, and cannot get past the Devil’s blinders to realize that the foolishness of the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but to us who are saved it is the power of God unto salvation, then one day, they like that self-sufficient rich man of Luke 16 will “lift up their eyes, being torments,” and by then, it will be too late, for the day of grace will have expired. The Door will be shut to them. They will wind up a memorial of eternal judgment, like Lot’s wife and all the rest of Sodom, because they despised the Word of God.

B. Carnal Believers

These are the “Lot’s” of our day. They have fire insurance from hell if they have truly called upon the name of the Lord, but they have yet to place Him on the throne of their heart and life. They may profess Him as Savior, but it leaves many around them just as concerned for them as Abraham was for Lot, have they truly made Him Lord of their life? When their works pass through the Bema, will there be any eternal substance remaining? or will they be left weeping to enter into heaven with nothing but a handful of worthless ashes to offer Him who held nothing back for them on the Cross?
1 John 2:28 KJV 1900
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

C. Spirit-Filled Believers

These are the “Noah’s” of our day. They walk faithfully and humbly with their God, like Abraham, working, praying and preaching for those that don’t believe God’s judgment to come to a saving knowledge of the truth by faith through grace.
Genesis 7:1 KJV 1900
And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

Conclusion

As one preacher so eloquently summarized these thoughts:
Abraham’s prayer shows: (1) the confidence that existed between himself and God; (2) it shows God’s personal knowledge of evil; (3) it shows God’s great reluctance to punish; (4) it gives proof of the tremendous guilt of Sodom. [W. Robertson Nicoll, ed., The Sermon Outline Bible: Genesis–2 Samuel, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1958), 98–99.]
May God deliver us from the evil that surrounds us in a world that has fallen in the sinful slime-pits of Sodom - Sodom’s Perversions; May God’s people here tonight be moved afresh to their knees to follow the example of a humble saint’s intercessions; and may we live each day in the reality of the Bible’s scriptural expectations, doing all we can to reach out to both the unbelieving and carnal believers of our generation, and find repentance unto deliverance!
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