Scripture gives ample warnings and shocking examples of the effects of godly people who become contaminated by close friendships with the immoral world. The account of Lot’s behaviour on the night of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah provides a vivid example of the tragic consequences of such moral compromise.
Our world desperately needs models worth following. Authentic heroes. People of integrity whose lives inspire us to take God seriously, to follow His Word obediently, to pursue Christ passionately.
Thankfully, the Bible places before us a spiritual "hall of fame"—raw, uncensored, gritty stories of men and women sometimes soaring, often stumbling, through the incredible life of faith. They wrestled with sin, experienced God's grace, struggled with weakness, and overcame by faith. Their inspiring biographies have been memorialized in Scripture, not simply because of their faith in God but because of God's faithfulness to them.
These great lives from God's Word not only provide realistic portraits for appreciation but also relevant principles for application.
When we sentimentalize the Christmas story we trivialize it. Unquestionably, family and giving gifts are good things. But these are things we have imbued into the story. If we think that is what the Christmas story is about we have seriously missed and minimized the meaning of Jesus’ birth. It was an event of eternal, cosmic proportions, not something to be reduced to a sentimental excuse for all kinds of excess.
In this message, we analyze Abraham’s passionate intercession on behalf of Lot and his family in the face of the imminent destruction of Sodom. We can understand the struggle that occurs between petition (what we ask for) and desire (why we ask) and gain insight into the important role prayer plays in our lives.
“Upper” days lift our spirits and send them soaring. “Downer” days leave us sad and discouraged. As we face our own upper-downer days, we can learn from Abraham’s experience how to put things in proper perspective and find our balance.
After 13 years of silence, during which Abram had to learn to wait on God’s timing, the Lord finally appeared with changes and challenges. The Patriarch’s time in silence wasn’t wasted. Through his example, we can learn how to quiet ourselves, listen to God’s voice, overcome doubts, and step out in obedience.
Impatience allows the enthusiasm of the flesh to eclipse the work of the Spirit. God often says, “Wait,” but our flesh always says, “Now!” This tension creates the perfect condition for believers to run ahead of God. God has a plan, but we struggle with His timing. Instead of waiting on Him, we take matters into our own hands.
By listening in on this chat between God and Abram and examining the dynamics of the relationship between these two friends, we can discover important dimensions in our own intimate relationships with the Almighty.
Sadly, in our fallen world, small-hearted people are the norm, making the few genuinely great-hearted people stand out all the more. Among their thin ranks stands Abram, who not only gave his short-sighted nephew the choicest land but also rescued him when his choice got him into trouble! We can learn a lot from Abram, the great-hearted.
Throughout his life, Abram faced a variety of tests that stretched his faith and deepened his dependence on God. When faced with his next challenge, Abram followed the Spirit. This time, his nephew Lot, failing to learn from his uncle’s mistake, was the one who made a decision that led to disaster.
When we look more closely at Abram, we begin to see his imperfections. We realize this icon of faith had feet of clay. When a famine hit, rather than standing firm in faith and trusting his God to sustain him and his wife, he fled to Egypt. We can learn lessons from faithful Abram’s temporary and tragic slump into deceit and disobedience.