Saturday, June 25, 2016

Prisoners by Choice


One of the worse traps in life is deception. Deception is what occurs when a person believes a lie. Deception is the devil’s greatest tool against mankind. If the devil can get someone to accept his lies as truth, he can control them and everyone they influence. We have no defense against our own faith. Deception makes us Prisoners by Choice.

In light of what is going on around the world these days we are going to take this morning and focus our attention on:

3 Eternal Truths
1.   We need God and God needs us.
2.   God is listening and taking account on planet earth.
3.   God rewards righteousness and punishes evil.

The Bible account we will use this morning comes from the Book of Genesis and beings in chapter 18. (Genesis 18) While we review this account let’s all consider the condition of our nation and the world today in hopes that God will continue to have mercy upon us and hear our prayers.

Genesis 18
1 ¶  Then the LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day.
2  So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground,
3  and said, "My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.

9 ¶  Then they said to Abraham, "Where is Sarah your wife?" So he said, "Here, in the tent."
10  And He said, "I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son." (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.)
11  Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.

14  "Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son."

16 ¶  Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way.
17  And the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing,
18  "since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
19  "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him."
20  And the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave,
21  "I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know."
22  Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD.

For 50 Righteous?

23 ¶  And Abraham came near to the LORD and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
24  "Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it?
25  "Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
26  So the LORD said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes."

For 45 …?

27  Then Abraham answered and said, "Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord:
28  "Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?" So He said, "If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it."

For 40?

29  And he spoke to Him yet again and said, "Suppose there should be forty found there?" So He said, "I will not do it for the sake of forty."

For 30?

30  Then he said, "Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?" So He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."

For 20?

31  And he said, "Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?" So He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty."

For 10 …?

32  Then he said, "Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of ten."
33  So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

Genesis 19
¶  Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.
2  And he said, "Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way." And they said, "No, but we will spend the night in the open square."
3  But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

The Lord is merciful to the righteous …

15 ¶  When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city."
16  And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
17  So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed."

2 Peter 2
7 ¶  And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
8  (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
9  The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

3 Eternal Truths
1.   We need God and God needs us.
2.   God is listening and taking account.
3.   God rewards righteousness and punishes evil.
(God loves everyone but He rewards the righteous …)
May I be so bold and pastoral as to caution you today to:
1.   Get your heart right with God.
2.   Measure your beliefs, convictions, and feelings against God’s Word.
3.   Allow God to use you to influence others to get right with God.

A person is not right just because they are right. We can be right about one thing and still be wrong. (From Eve to Agabus – Acts 21:11-12)

God is still impressed with righteousness - Don’t be a Prisoner by Choice!