Five On Five is Not Good Enough
• I know we have some basketball fans here today. Some people are fanatics.
• Robert Russell tells this story:
• huge rivalry in college basketball … University of Louisville and University of Kentucky.
• one games, an elderly woman was sitting alone … an empty seat next to her.
• Someone approached her, "Ma’am, I have rarely seen an empty seat in Rupp Arena, let alone at a game between these two teams. Whose seat is this?"
• she and her late husband had been season-ticket holders for 28 years, belonged to him.
• "Well, couldn’t you find a friend or relative to come to the game with you?" t
• "Are you kidding?" she replied. "They’re all at my husband’s funeral."
• A man who claims to be #1 NBA fan, and makes pro basketball his top priority?
• he wrote in a national sports magazine recently.
• “April & May are not only my favorite months because of the NBA play-offs but they are my credit card company’s favorite months too. I’ll bet the credit card people think we celebrate Christmas in May instead of December at our house. Airline tickets, motel rooms, play-off tickets, meals.. All of it adds up in a hurry. But quite frankly Christmas for me can’t hold a candle to the NBA play-offs.”
• certainly nothing wrong with loving sports and using them as a diversion. (I hope.)
• But.. if the NBA play-offs or anything else provides us more excitement than the fact God’s Son came to earth to save us, then something is way out of whack with our priorities.
• Only Jesus Christ is worthy of our primary priority.
• Tonight look at a five on five situation that had to be resolved off the court.
Gen 14:1 In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, 2 these kings made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).
• OK, so we have Team Chedorlaomer against Team Bera.
• Lot, Abram’s nephew, was in Sodom, and probably was a friend of King Bera.
• not be preaching military strategy and the progress of the war… jump ahead verse 11.
Gen 14:11 So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. 12 They also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way.
• We have talked about how Lot made a bad choice and associated with bad company.
• consequences and trouble begins.
Gen 14:13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.
• 318 special forces trained by Abram went on Black Op mission to rescue Lot and family.
• 318 men were a small army compared to five kingdoms.
• Abram wasn’t an Army Ranger or Navy Seal trainer.
• wasn’t the size of his army or specialized training, what made Abram’s band effective?
Gen 14:15 And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.
• He split his guys up and defeated five nations.
• recovered all captives alive and all possessions.
• What Team Bera could not do, Abram and his 318 shepherds did with no losses.
I. Some troubles we bring on ourselves.
• Lot walked away from his mentor and his mentor’s God.
• Here comes trouble, round one.
• right in the path of trouble.
• if Lot was like a lot of Christians I counseled, He would have said,
• “Wow, I was suffering for Christ’s sake.”
• Or ask, “Why did God send this trouble to me? Why does God hate me?”
• Lot set up his camp on a railroad track, was surprised when the train came.
• many Christians respond to trouble this way … chosen unrighteousness for what it offers them.
• Why can’t they have their benefits of unrighteousness without trouble?
• Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
• You can’t pull a lion’s tail and get away without a scratch.
• You can’t dig out the cheese from a mouse trap without getting sore fingers.
• The Exxon Valdez is an oil tanker that was on its way to Long Beach, California. Instead, it crashed into a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The crash resulted in the second largest oil spill in US History. Between 25-32 million gallons of oil spilled into the Ocean. Over 250,000 members of God’s creation died as a result. Bird life and marine life died. The quality of human lives was compromised by the spill. The primary reason for the tragedy was the fatigue of the crew. In fact, the captain of the ship was asleep when the ship crashed. Because of crew fatigue, its cargo, meant to support life, ended up sabotaging life.
II. God often gives us “nother” chances.
o not a real word
o For a while, I was saying that our God was a God of second chances.
o it accured to me that I already blew through my second chance. third, forth, fifth…
o For Lot, first major warning that first, he needed to accept the God of Abram.
o Second, he needed to do the right thing & get away from wrong people.
o These five armies came and took Lot, his family, his servants possessions captive.
o They captured the King of Sodom, all the army of Sodom, and headed back to safety.
o One escaped and made it to Abram.
o The scripture doesn’t say what shape he was in.
o in a western after an Indian raid, this servant would have come in barely alive.
o ILL, Two JV boys.
o Back to our story. This one escaped and came in to Abram.
o “Lot, his family and everything was capture by the five armies.”
o So Abram gets his guys, 318 of them, and he gave them instructions.
o divided them up and went after Lot and the family.
o Just because God sent a rescue team to you doesn’t mean He is approving your life.
o He just allowed a shot across your bow as a warning. Take it that way and repent.
o Rom 2:4 - Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
o Don’t mistake God’s patience as acceptance of bad decisions.
o God is patient and delays to give us an opportunity to repent, to turn from our bad decisions and turn back to Him.
o He saved Lot from disaster so Lot could … opportunity to turn … and obey.
o We need see what is important, God has us here for a purpose, we have an enemy.
o 1Pe 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
o Wake up, watch for danger, stick to God. It’s dangerous out there.
o Some warnings will be clear, or should be clear, like this one Lot ignored.
o Some warnings will be subtle, barely noticeable to those who are living on cruise control.
o Argentinean race driver Juan Manuel Fangio discovered this after the opening lap of the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix.
o As he approached a blind, dangerous curve, he expected the people’s faces to be a blur, but looking and cheering at him.
o However, they were all looking away, around the curve, where he could not see.
o It occurred to him in that brief moment that if they were not looking his way, there must be something much more interesting around the curve.
o He began to brake hard to avoid whatever was around the curve he could not see.
o The simple fact that the fans were looking away may have saved his life.
o Listen, and may I get personal now.
o Many Christian girls scared when they are late for their time of the month
o horrified that their weakness with their boyfriend is going to cost them dearly.
o Then they find out it was a false alarm.
o That is not God’s approval for premarital sex.
o It is not God’s call for you to be more cautious with birth control methods.
o It’s His warning that your path away from Him is costly and will catch up with you.
o It is His mercy calling you back to the paths of righteousness.
o Some of you have friends who gone through this type of warning and got y attention.
o That could be God’s call to your life to live right before His eyes.
o Guys, this goes for you too.
o Listen, it appears girls have highest risk in premarital sex, you skip to the next girl.
o No, it doesn’t work that way. It only appears that way.
o listen, as God is in heaven, God’s children will reap what they sow.
o But it comes in different ways, just as costly. Listen to God’s warnings.
o adults who say, “Well, the kids are going to do that anyway. Let’s just make sure they are protected.”
o You need to hear God’s warning too. Keep that up and I am going to punch you.
o Not really, you might hit back. But you will wish that you got off that easy.
o Mar 9:42 "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
o “Oh, Bro. Tim, that is talking about little children.”
o OK, theologue. When does God stop loving someone like He did as a little child?
o Seek first God’s Kingdom, His righteous, not liberal babble, trust God to make it work.
III. God can do more with a pure heart than with men can fill five armies.
• Abram trusted God.
• He used his resources the best he knew how, but he trusted in God.
• That gave him heroic looking courage.
• He moved towards God, God gave him a promise, and he lived as though nothing, not even five armies, could mess up God’s plans.
• So fearlessly, he heads across the country to track down these bad guys.
• Now don’t understand, these were bad guys.
• They were the gangs of the day, the mafia, the Talliban.
• They had no regard for life. No regard for property, no respect for fellow man.
• no righteousness in their hearts, no limit to the evil they would do.
• No problem. Abram had God. Or should I say, God had Abram.
• Abram had God’s Promise and that was enough.
• I record all the cowboy football games. But I don’t watch them all.
• Look at the score and see if I want to see how they won.
• See, it doesn’t kill me to see a Romo interception in the second quarter in a win.
• Jones fumble, 8 missed tackles that lead to a touch down.
• State game against Tenaha. Nervous. “Why can’t we just cancel and call co-champions?
• I enjoy the replay much better.
• I read the last book of the Bible. Guess what. We win. Courage, confidence.