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Sodom & Gomorrah: Where the Wild Things Are

June 3, 2012 Preacher: Jeff Medders Series: Gospel Witnesses: The Unfolding Glory of Jesus

Scripture: Genesis 18:22–19:29

In the Children's story, Where the Wild Things Are, Max is a disobedient boy who is sent to his room without dinner, and he is wild. He imagines in his room that he goes to a distant land where The Wild Things are. And he is in trouble, but He becomes the King of the wild things, he conquers them, he smells his dinner, realizes he doesn't belong with the wild things -- but at home. He goes back to his room, and his parents have left him dinner and he is restored.

Without question, Sodom is where the wild things are. Sodom is Sin City. And Lot, Abraham's nephew, doesn't fit in there, he doesn't belong. Lot has become a part of the culture, leadership in the City, but he still isn't like them.

19:1, says that Lot was sitting at the gate. This is a position of leadership -- and he is the only one there. But this can't be a long term solution for Lot.

Sodom's wickedness is amped up to 11.

Verse 4...every man in Sodom is wicked. They want to have their way with the Angels. And God is ready to crush the wicked. And He does. In a horrifying way. Get the picture in your head again. Whole cities ruined by God. Even the ground is ruined (19:15).

We are going to see two things about God and his gospel.

1) God Will Crush the Wicked

Genesis is showing us time after time, that God is the judge of the world and he will bring punishment upon sinners -- in epic ways. When you say Sodom and Gomorrah, you know what I'm talking about? There is no confusion. When I say, "The Flood." -- You know which flood I mean.

God's wrath is epic. The Flood, The Tower, Sodomm, & The Plagues on Egypt -- they are epic and spoken of often throughout the Bible. In the book of Joshua, Rahab, a gentile prostitute, heard about what God did to Egypt.

God does things in such a way so that there is no mistaking -- He is the Lord and there is no other.

Reminds me of Toy Story. Woody is the big dog in Andy's room but Buzz moves in, and he becomes the Lord of the Legos. And Woody doesn't like it and tries to establish his reign -- but fails miserably.

God isn't trying to establish his reign -- He is manifesting it when he crushes cities and countries.

Church, we must be a people that tell of the wrath of God. God is not embarrassed by it. God doesn't need new PR. He doesn't shy away from letting it known that He will crush all who oppose him.

If we do not speak clearly about the judgment to come, we have not communicated the Gospel. We avoid it because it is uncomfortable to say -- but say it -- because without the felt reality of God's wrath, there is not urgency to want God's salvation.

On the flip side, we have oddly become timid of speaking of hell because we don't want to coerce or sell people fire-insurance or a get-out-hell-free card. I understand that desire, so let's offer the whole deal -- forgiveness and life with God.

And isn't this the essence of John 3:16? God will crush you, eternal torment in hell, unless you believe? "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him will not PERISH but have eternal life."

You will perish without Jesus! How many of you were terrified of God's wrath and ran to Jesus? I was. It's part of the Gospel. We must declare that God will crush those who are opposed to him -- and that salvation is found by repentance and believing in the work of Jesus on the cross.

Jesus says in Luke, Just like when fire and sulfur rained of Sodom, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Sodom is a foretaste of the wrath of God to come.

Jude 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

2 Peter 2:6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly

When we think about Sodom, it involves more than homosexual sin. The wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men

Sodom is more than sodomy and homosexual exploits. Sodom is an example of arrogance, pride, public displays of sin and spiritual whoredom against God.

Isaiah 3:9 they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.

Jeremiah 23:14 But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.

Here is the truth, we too are like the citizens of Sodom. Get out from being above the story, and become a citizen in a city that needs salvation.

Outside of Jesus, we are desperately wicked. We're guilty. We have all dwelled in our own Sodom at sometime or another. Maybe you live there during the week and you come to God's holy hill on Sunday. We vacation time to time in Sodom.

Whether it's dabbling in homosexual perversion or heterosexual perversion -- it's all damnable in the sight of God. And hear this application please -- It is easy for us to be repulsed by a sin or temptation that is foreign to us, but we are much lighter on our pet sins.

We are engaging the homosexual discussion all wrong.

They don't need to hear, "That's sinful." Tell the whole truth. They need to hear, "Homosexual perversion is sinful. And so is heterosexual perversion -- I'm guilty of that -- and Jesus forgave me and has set me free."

Pornography, long gazes at who is not your spouse, rewinding commercials, and same sex lust -- are all temptations that the Satanic forces hurl out; the antitode from them all is the cross of Christ.

Sodom and Gomorrah is about more than God crushing a homosexual colony, it's about God judging all kinds of wickedness.

While God will punish the wicked...

2) God Pours Grace

God's wrath and grace fly in tandemn. They are never seperated in the Scriptures. When we read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, comb the verses with a Grace/Mercy detector. It's everywhere. And this is how we discover the glimmers of the gospel of grace.

God is gracious in telling Abraham what he is about to do, just like when he told Noah. God revealed his plans.

Abraham then asks God to not wipe out the city if at least 10 righteous, God fearing, people are in the city. God is patient.

Angels tell Lot to get out of the city, that they are going to destroy it. Lot lingers.

v.16 -- but the angels, The Lord being merciful, bring them out by the hand. Abundant mercy!

And Peter, calls Lot righteous, a God fearing, upstanding man. How is this? He lives in, probably the most sinful city in the Bible, is a leader in the city, offers up his daughters to the mob men. Reprehensible. Unbelievable actions!!

How is he righteous? Because he believed God. Righteousness comes by faith, not by works. Past or Future sins, do not change our standing before God, if we are in Christ.

People are faith are not perfect, but we are saved by a perfect Savior.Noah gets drunk, Abraham lies multiple times about Sarah, Moses murders a man, David commits adultery, murders her husband -- and is a man after God's own heart...What do we say to these things? "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Forgiven. Loved by God. In Jesus, there is hope for every kind of sinner and every sin that we commit.

Have you considered how many crimes you have committed against God? It's staggering. But what's even more staggering, is that in Christ, we are forgiven of them all!

How does this story of God leveling cities witness to Jesus of Nazareth?

Any whiff of the grace of God is a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Look at Genesis 18 and the conversation between Abraham and God. Verse 26 - God says, "If I find fifty righteous, I will spare the whole place for their sake."

Abraham asks God if there are 10, will he spare the whole place. God agrees.What is happening here? What truth is blooming?

This encounter between Abraham and God is showing us that God is willing to let the righteousness of another cover the unrighteousness of the many. 

Church, here we find the glory of the gospel. Sinners can be covered and protected by the righteousness of another. But sadly, the righteous requirement wasn't meant in Sodom -- but it has been meant in Jesus Christ -- the righteous, holy, Son of God.

God was willing to let the Righteous cover the Unrighteous, to be counted in their place for their sake.

And at the cross, a man from Galilee, who knew no sin, stood in our place. The righteous for the unrighteous.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God

At Sodom and Gomorrah, God was willing to look upon the righteous for the unrighteous, but no one met God's standard. But at Golgotha, the Righteous One, paid for the crimes of the many unrighteous.

Look at 18:26 "I will spare the whole place for their sake."

2 Cor. 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

For your sake, Christian, He became your sin, my sin, that we could become the righteousness of God. That's gospelicious. That's glorious. It doesn't get any better.

That's are song. We are people of news --- good news. Not just good advice. We have news to tell! Jesus died and rose again and you can be forgiven!

The Bible-belt will experience a fresh revival of God's grace when we focus more on being heralds of the gospel of grace and less on dispensers of moralistic do-goodness. The world doesn't need another Dr. Oz, the world needs Jesus.

Let's consider two quick points of application..

1) God Sends You As A Messenger of Wrath & Grace

God sent the Angels to tell Lot. And Lot then began to tell his family.

God then sent His Son. And now the son has sent us, Jesus said in John 20:21, "As the father has sent me, so I am sending you."

Imagine that God told you he was going to wipeout Houston in two days. What would you do? Christian, he has already told you -- Judgement Day is coming -- how are we responding?

The angels told lot in 19:12-13, Who in your family is still unconverted? Have you spoken with them? Do they know that God is going to wipe them out? Have they heard?

Lot told his son-in-laws, but they thought he was joking. That's going to happen, people will think you a fool, but eternity is at stake.

I'll never forget the YouTube video of Penn from Penn and Teller. He is an atheist, and had an encounter with a Christian and he said, "Now, I don't believe him, but he believes it -- and how much do you have to hate someone to not tell them they are going to hell?"

We forget about hell. We look at it with closed eyes, or quick glances.

Spurgeon, commenting on this passage, and how Abraham went and looked at the destruction, said:

It might do some men great good if they would not persistently shut their eyes to the doom of the wicked. Look, look, I pray you, upon that place of darkness and woe where every impenitent and unbelieving spirit must be banished forever from the presence of the Lord! Look till the tears are in your eyes as you thank God that you are rescued from so terrible a doom! Look till your heart melts with pity for the many who are going the downward road, and who will eternally ruin themselves unless almighty grace prevent!

Who will we go to this week? Who are you praying for? Abraham interceded for great sinners, who will go before the Lord for?

Lastly,

2) Leave the Wild Things Behind

If you are not born again, repent of your sins, leave the wild things and run to Jesus's cross and empty tomb -- you'll be welcomed.

Christian, what wild things are you drawn to? Leave them where they are -- in the world -- not in you.

Jesus has set you free, The Bible says it is for freedom that Christ died to set you free. We think we are stuck in sin, but we are not. The power that rose Jesus from the dead now resides in us, we need renewed minds.

God removed Lot and his wife from where the wild things were.

Look at 19:17 -- Do not look back -- as in long to be there again, miss the the old way of life. Run. Leave it behind. Drop it.

Jesus says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

But what does Lot's wife do? 19:26 - She dies.

And Jesus uses Lot's wife as metaphor for following Him.

Luke 17:32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.

Christian, remember Lot's wife. Remember. Lot's. Wife. 

Leave your life behind and follow Jesus. If you are not open to Jesus changing things about your life, you are not following Jesus.

If you want insulate your life from Jesus, you've lost your life. But if you surrender your life to Jesus, money, sex, food, dreams, visions, family -- everything under his reign -- You will have life indeed. Jesus wants it all, and he demands it all -- and he is patient with us.

What wild things are you still clinging to? What sins so easily entangle you? Where do the dark spirits tempt you?

Fight.

The Bible says, toss aside those sins and weights, that entangle us, look back to Sodom AND rather -- Look to Jesus. Fixation on Jesus loosens our death-clutch on sin.

The more we are taken-a-back by Jesus, we will turn our back on sin. See God's love, you'll hate sin the way God does.

In the children's book, Where the Wild Things Are, Max conquers the wild things by staring them down and showing no fear. Christian, show the demonic powers that you have no fear, by staring at your savior. Resist the Devil and he will flee.

Leave the wild things, He's promised to be with you. He has delivered from the wrath to come AND will we tell the world?