Christians are supposed to be an example to a lost world. We are to be a peculiar people. This means we are to stand out as different. Our lives are supposed to be lived so that, when God deals with a lost person’s heart, God will have an example He can show that lost person (I Peter 2:12).
Sir Frances Bacon got it right when he said “The more a man drinketh of the world, the more it intoxicateth.” The more one allows the world to influence him, the more the world takes a hold of him. Most Christians in America are so intoxicated by the world that they cannot see the damage they are doing to themselves, their families, their churches, and the nation.
Lot is a perfect example of what happens when the things of this world become more important than the things of God.
“Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” (Genesis 13:9-13)
When Lot was given a choice he chose material wealth (the well watered plains). He did not consider the effect that it would have on him or on his family. He desired the best pastures even though they put him and his family in constant contact with the wickedness of Sodom. Not only did he choose the plains near these wicked cities, he chose to live near, and eventually in, Sodom, the most wicked of these cities.
Lot did not go into this situation alone. He drew others after him. His wife, his children, and all of his servants went with him. Although the Bible tells us that the sin of Sodom vexed his righteous heart (II Peter 2:6-8), his family followed his example and not his inner feelings. He trusted in what he could see and not it God’s provision. He lived by sight and not by faith.
When he tried to warn his sons-in-law they mocked him and chose to stay in the wicked city. Lot had not taught his children to separate themselves from sin. His indifference to the sin around him cost him his married daughters, his sons-in-law, and any grandchildren he may have had.
Two of his daughters learned from their father’s example and indifference. When they could not see how they would have children, they committed incest with their father. The result of this was the birth of Moab and Benammi, the fathers of the Moabites and the Ammonites. These two nations were, and still are, a thorn in the side of Israel.
Because Lot did not trust God enough to follow godly (biblical) principles he lost everything. He lost all of his wealth, his home, and his family. In addition to this, his sin caused much difficulty for Israel through Moab and Benammi.
It was a gradual process like a “frog in a pot”. He first made a wrong choice (riches and ease) then another (the lack of separation from worldliness) and finally he lost all he had. He didn’t take the time to check the water temperature.
We cannot expect to disregard the principles of God without paying the price. Many parents today are asking why God has allowed their children to turn from the faith. The answer is usually, but not always, very simple. They have set the example in their lack of faithfulness to the precepts of God. When we make the things of this world, money, cars, boats, position, praise of men, etc., more important than the things of God, how can we expect our children to follow godly principles?
The apostle John tells us the things of this world are only temporary.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (I John 2:15-17)
Those things that satisfy the flesh soon leave us wanting. When we get that which we see and desire we are never satisfied. The praise and glory of this world can only give emptiness of spirit. The only thing that endures is a life lived for God.
The lives of God’s people should revolve around their churches, and not around their jobs, clubs, school athletic programs, or other worldly interests. The writer of Hebrews put it this way:
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:22-25)
Holding fast the profession of our faith means being faithful to the principles of our biblical faith. God’s blessing comes, not from hearing the Word of God, but from putting it into practice.
We are to consider one another and to provoke one another to good works. When we ignore the precepts of God in our lives we are neither considering the good of our fellow Christians nor the good of the lost world. We are provoking them to unfruitful works rather than to good works. When we give more importance to the things of the world than to the things of God we are telling others that the things of God are not important.
When our lives revolve around our churches and the principles of God’s Word, we teach those around us that we really believe God’s Word. Our lives will be an example to the world and will point the way to Christ.
The secret to victorious living is separation from the world and separation unto God. We need to remember the injunction of Christ in Matthew 6:33:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
When we read this verse in its context we find that “these things” include all of our daily needs. It even speaks of having them in abundance. If we put God’s kingdom and His righteousness first He promises to take care of all of our needs.
What more could we ask? What could be greater than having the God of the universe, the One who spoke and the world came into existence, care for our needs? His mighty power is surely greater than ours. His ability far surpasses anything we are capable of doing. It is foolish to think that we can take better care of ourselves than He can. It is insane to think that our wisdom is greater than His.
The problem today is that we think that we are smarter than God. We think that we must use the world’s methods to reach the world. An old Chinese proverb says:
Water floats a ship
Water sinks a ship
A church in the world will rise up just like a boat when it is placed in the water if it is faithful to God’s precepts. The world in a church will sink it. When a church remains faithful to God’s precepts and uses His methods it can expect the blessings of God. When it uses the world’s methods it can expect the world’s blessings.
Even Augustine, one of the forerunners of the Catholic Church, had the sense to know that you cannot trust the world. He said: “Trust not the world, for it never payeth that it promiseth.”
You can be sure that seeking the things of this world will not bring happiness. You may receive a temporary exhilaration and even some satisfaction but they will soon fade and leave you with an empty feeling. This is why those who live in sin continue to go farther into its dark depths.
“The world, in its best state, is nothing more than a larger assembly of beings, combining to counterfeit happiness which they do not feel.” Johnson (1709-1784)
The world never has given the happiness that it promises. It never will because it cannot. Satan is using the “frog in the pot” principle to put the world in our churches. The result is that our churches no longer have the influence they should have on society. The only solution is that our churches return to the precepts of the Word of God and to reject worldly methods and worldliness.
Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved