Sermons

Summary: We can learn from the mistakes of Lot, Lot's wife, and a man who wanted to follow Jesus. May we all forsake the world and all its enticements that hinder our faith and our relationship with God.

LOOKING BACK OVER THE PREVIOUS YEAR CAN BE BENEFICIAL IN MANY HELPFUL WAYS. USUALLY, BUSINESSES, GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND CHURCH MINISTRIES WILL FILE A STATISTICAL REPORT ON ALL PROGRAMS, EXPENDITURES, AND RESOURCES.

GAINING SUCH USEFUL INFORMATION HELPS ACCOUNT FOR EXPENDITURES AND TO JUSTIFY PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY IT HELPS DETERMINE IF GOALS ARE BEING MET AND THAT OUR TIME AND RESOURCES ARE BEING USED WISELY.

HOWEVER, THERE IS A TIME THAT LOOKING BACK OVER OUR PAST OR RETURNING TO THE PAST IS NOT HELPFUL NOR IS IT ENCOURAGED. THE BIBLE HELPS US UNDERSTAND THAT ONCE WE GIVE OUR LIVES TO JESUS, WE DO NOT TURN BACK TO OUR FORMER LIFE NOR DO WE GO BACK TO THE WAYS OF THE WORLD.

2 PETER 2:20-22, “AND WHEN PEOPLE ESCAPE FROM THE WICKEDNESS OF THE WORLD BY KNOWING OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST AND THEN GET TANGLED UP AND ENSLAVED BY SIN AGAIN, THEY ARE WORSE OFF THAN BEFORE. IT WOULD BE BETTER IF THEY HAD NEVER KNOWN THE WAY TO RIGHTEOUSNESS THAN TO KNOW IT AND THEN REJECT THE COMMAND THEY WERE GIVEN TO LIVE A HOLY LIFE. THEY PROVE THE TRUTH OF THIS PROVERB: “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS VOMIT.”AND ANOTHER SAYS, “A WASHED PIG RETURNS TO THE MUD.”

THE BIBLE IS VERY CLEAR TO NOT ONLY ENCOURAGE US TO DEEPEN OUR FAITH AND TO MAKE OUR WALK WITH JESUS MORE INTIMATE, BUT TO WARN US CLEARLY THAT WE MUST NEVER TURN OUR BACK ON GOD ONCE WE HAVE SURRENDERED TO JESUS.

THE MESSAGE IS TO ALL CHURCHES AND ALL BORN-AGAIN FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST: RADICAL OBEDIENCE AND SERVICE IS REQUIRED OF ALL DISCIPLES. MINIMAL EFFORT AND HALF-HEARTED DEVOTION IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE TO GOD.

OUR MESSAGE TODAY IS ENTITLED, “LINGERING AND LOOKING BACK” AS WE WILL LOOK AT THE MISTAKES OF LOT, LOT’S WIFE AND A MAN WHO WANTED TO FOLLOW JESUS.

FIRST, LOT AND HIS WIFE: IT IS EASY TO FOCUS ON LOT’S WIFE TURNING TO A PILLAR OF SALT. BUT, THE PROBLEM DOESN’T START THERE. VERSE 16 SAYS THAT LOT “LINGERED.” THAT HEBREW WORD MEANS “TO BE RELUCTANT, DELAY, STAY, OR TO TURN BACK.”

LOT WAS STALLING AS HE REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE. HE LITERALLY HAD TO BE TAKEN BY THE HANDS AND DRAGGED OUT. HIS WIFE WASN’T MOTIVATED EITHER. VERSE 26, TELLS US THAT SHE DISOBEYED THE ANGEL’S WARNING NOT TO LOOK BACK. SHE LOOKED BACK AND BECAME A PILLAR OF SALT.

LINGERING AND LOOKING BACK! WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? WE, JUST AS LOT, HAVE BEEN WARNED AND WE KNOW WHAT TO DO. THE PROBLEM, LIKE LOT, IS THAT WE ARE RELUCTANT TO FLEE FROM THE WAYS OF THIS WORLD THAT IS DESTINED FOR DESTRUCTION.

LOT WAS LIVING A SATISFYING AND SUFFICIENT LIFESTYLE. THE COMFORT OF WHAT THE WORLD PROVIDED WAS A LUXURY WORTH PURSUING MORE PASSIONATELY THAN STRIVING TO LIVE HIS LIFE IN RADICAL, FAITHFUL DEPENDENCE UPON GOD.

1 JOHN 2:15-17, “DO NOT LOVE THIS WORLD NOR THE THINGS IT OFFERS YOU, FOR WHEN YOU LOVE THE WORLD, YOU DO NOT HAVE THE LOVE OF THE FATHER IN YOU. FOR THE WORLD OFFERS ONLY A CRAVING FOR PHYSICAL PLEASURE, A CRAVING FOR EVERYTHING WE SEE, AND PRIDE IN OUR ACHIEVEMENTS AND POSSESSIONS. THESE ARE NOT FROM THE FATHER, BUT ARE FROM THIS WORLD. AND THIS WORLD IS FADING AWAY, ALONG WITH EVERYTHING THAT PEOPLE CRAVE. BUT ANYONE WHO DOES WHAT PLEASES GOD WILL LIVE FOREVER.”

NOW…LOT’S WIFE! THE FOCUS IS NOT BECOMING A PILLAR OF SALT, BUT LEARNING THE REASON BEHIND THE TRANSFORMATION. SHE NOT ONLY TURNED BACK, BUT LAGGED BEHIND. SHE TURNED AND WATCHED THE FLAMING SULFUR FALL FROM THE SKY, CONSUMING EVERYTHING SHE VALUED. THEN IT CONSUMED HER. I BELIEVE SHE REGRETTED LEAVING SODOM AND RETURNED.

THE HEBREW FOR “LOOKED BACK” MEANS MORE THAN TO GLANCE OVER ONE’S SHOULDER. IT MEANS “TO REGARD, TO CONSIDER, TO PAY ATTENTION TO.” WHAT SHE CHOSE TO VALUE IN HER HEART LED HER TO SIN, WHICH LED TO HER DEATH.

HER DEATH IS ALSO A POIGNANT REMINDER TO US NOT TO LOOK BACK OR TURN BACK FROM THE PROFESSION OF FAITH WE HAVE MADE, BUT TO FOLLOW CHRIST WITHOUT HESITATION AND TO ABIDE IN HIS LOVE IN A DEEP, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP.

EPHESIANS 4:22-24, “THROW OFF YOUR OLD SINFUL NATURE AND YOUR FORMER WAY OF LIFE, WHICH IS CORRUPTED BY LUST AND DECEPTION. INSTEAD, LET THE SPIRIT RENEW YOUR THOUGHTS AND ATTITUDES. PUT ON YOUR NEW NATURE, CREATED TO BE LIKE GOD—TRULY RIGHTEOUS AND HOLY.”LIVE FOR JESUS AND NOT THE WORLD!

FINALLY, THE MAN DESIRING TO FOLLOW JESUS IN LUKE 9. HE WANTED TO FOLLOW, BUT FIRST WANTED TO SAY GOOD-BYE TO HIS FAMILY. WHAT IS “REALLY” GOING ON HERE IS TO SHOW US HOW OFTEN THE REQUIREMENTS OF GOD’S KINGDOM GET PUSHED BACK IN OUR AGENDAS AND HOW QUICKLY THEY LOSE PRIORITY.

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