Summary: Rules for retarding you spiritual progress.
1. A classic work many of us have read is called "Pilgrims Progress," but if truth be know, it could have a companion work rightly entitled, "Pilgrims Regress!"
2. Abraham was a great man of faith, who at times makes great progress; but there is also the flip side of the story, he also makes great regress.
3. Rules of spiritual Regress that we do well not to follow.
Trans: Gen. 20
I. RULE ONE, REINFORCE THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH.
20:1 Make an acceptable enviornment for the flesh...
And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar - Ge-rar was a major city of the Philistines. The Move was unwise:
A. First, he knew that the city was Sinful.
"And Abraham said, "Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife." Genesis 20:11
Who in their right mind is going to move to a place where they have no fear of God and will take your life?
B. Furthermore, there is no indication that God Showed Abraham that he was suppose to live there. There is no prayer offered on Abraham's part.
C. Finally, it made him Susceptible to temptaton - Abraham's chronic temptation is - fear. Moving to Ge-rar was placing himself in a situation similar to that of Egypt, where he lied about Sarah, due to his fear for his safety.
Trans:We are foolish to place ourselves in places that we know are going to tempt us to sin!
Certain places and people and circumstances we cannot handle. Certain TV shows, music, books, feed out sin nature - and thus should be avoided.
"11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." Romans 13:11-14
Years ago, there was a movie called The Blob. This cosmic Jell-O had come down from space, fell into a little crater, and cracked open. An old man came and had a little stick in his hand and was playing with it, and it ran up on his arm and began to consume him. Some folk found him and rushed him into a hospital room. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong, when the doctor touched it, the Blob consumed the doctor too.The Blob then rolled outside of the hospital and consumed everything and everybody in its path. By the time the movie comes to an end, the Blob is the size of a mountain. Throughout the movie, people had tried everything they could to get rid of the Blob. They'd shot at it. They'd tried to cut it. Nothing seemed to work. But at the end of the movie, they discovered one little thing. The Blob could not handle cold. It could deal with anything else, but it couldn't handle cold. Someone noticed that when they sprayed something cold on it, the Blob would back up. They figured they couldn't get rid of it completely, but they could protected themselves by staying in a cold enviornment. All that had to do was make no provisions for the blob! If they ventured forth where the blob was on a hot day - they would be consummed by the blob. Eventually they froze the thing, put it in a crate, tied it to an an airplane and dropped it over Alaska!
We can avoid the reigning power of the nature as surely as they could avoid the blob...don't give it a thriving enviornement!
II. RULE TWO, KEEP REPEATING THE SAME SIN. 2-7
2 Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, "Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife." 4 But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, "Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? 5 Did he not say to me, 'She is my sister'? And she, even she herself said, 'He is my brother.' In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this." 6 And God said to him in a dream, "Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now therefore, restore the man's wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours." - he has been burned by this sin before! Yes, God protected Sarah again, but Abraham comes out looking like a fool again...