One day I was talking to a man that builds houses. I told him I have seen houses in a certain area that were not all that old, but had problems with cracks in the brick walls, sagging roofs and other structural problems. I have also seen other houses in the same area that are much older but have no structural issues. He said the difference is the houses with problems probably have a bad foundation and the ones without problems have a good strong one. I found this same principle in the Bible. Luke 6:48-49 says, “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was build on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who builded a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
The Christian life is built on a foundation of faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourself; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8). What is faith? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We also read in Romans 8:24-25,“For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Faith then is believing in something you cannot see or touch. To illustrate this point, I have personally not seen the beautiful country of Scotland, but I believe it exists, or I have faith based on evidences that it exists. I believe or have faith that the Bible is the inspired word of God, based on evidences that we find in the Bible, as well as ancient manuscripts found and read by Bible scholars.
When we read the Bible we must have faith.From a human standpoint, we cannot explain how God spoke the world and all the universe, as well as all animals and mankind into existence. We cannot explain how Noah could build a craft as large as the ark where two or more of all kinds of animals on the earth as well as eight people lived for over a year. Without faith I cannot explain how a man could have been swallowed by a great fish, live inside it for three days and survive. Without faith I could not understand how a man who had been dead for several days was raised from the grave to live again.
The Christian life must be built on a strong foundation of faith, Paul summarizes the topic of faith in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” If you have a strong faith in God and his teaching you will be able to withstand the temptations placed on you by the devil, but if you have a weak faith or have doubt you will never be able to overcome the many temptations placed on you by the devil. Faith can grow and mature by a regular study of the Bible and applying the principles found therein to your life.
–by Don Adair
In this wonderful country of ours, that allows all Americans freedom of religion, some people believe the Bible was written by inspired men. They believe it describes a God who created man, the earth and the entire universe. They also believe it contains God’s plan of redemption, from the Old Testament through the New Testament culminating with Christ’s death on the cross. In God’s plan, Jesus lives a sinless life and was sacrificed so we can have forgiveness of sins. The New Testament also describes the establishment of the Lord’s church, and the spread of the gospel throughout the known world. We believe the New Testament reveals that men will be judged and will either go into heaven to be with the Lord or suffer in hell with the devil and his angels.
There are other people who choose not to believe in God. They refuse to believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and that when we die there is no life after death. There are still other people that believe in parts of the Bible. They believe there is a God and some of the Bible is inspired by Him, but some of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, was written by uninspired men and is mostly composed of myths and fables.
Now let’s consider the above scenarios. I believe with all my heart the Bible is from God and that we will be judged for the way we live. But for this discussion, let’s say there is no Heaven or Hell, when we die, all ends. Those individuals that followed the Bible lived a wonderful stress free life. They did not cheat on their spouses; therefore they were not eaten up with guilt, always afraid of being caught by their mate. They did not cheat on their income tax; therefore, they are not afraid of an IRS audit which would catch them. Because of their spiritual training before they married, they do not commit sexual sins that might lead to a pregnancy or contracted some type of sexually transmitted disease. If they get sick or become incapacitated in any way, their brothers and sisters in Christ will take care of them. When they lose a loved one, their brothers and sisters in Christ will be there to comfort them, prepare food for their family and many other acts of kindness. There are many more reasons I could give why being a faithful Christian results in a wonderful life on the earth.
Now for all those that reject God and his Bible nor accept God as our Creator but reject parts of his Holy Scriptures, would their life be as happy as the individuals described in the above paragraph? I have personally known some that I worked with that rejected God and his teaching. They decided to enjoy the worldly life style. They wanted to have a good old time doing what they wanted to do. Some were having affairs, always lying to there mate, always worrying about getting caught. I have known others addicted to drugs and alcohol that lost their family and jobs. They were mental wrecks. I have known others addicted to the internet and all the things it had to offer, i.e., pornography and other impure things. They would spend hours on the computer filling their mind with filth and garbage found there. How could anybody be happy with this life style?
Now let us fast forward to the end of time, and we find out there is a God, there is a judgment day when all people will be judged for the way they lived. We find out there is a Heaven and a Hell. What happens to those that loved the Lord and lived their lives as His children? We read in Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who do my commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and enter through the gate to the city.” Also in Revelation 21:4, “And God will wipe away every tear from your eyes there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
This is what happens to those individuals that reject all or part of God’s Holy Scriptures, and lived a life contrary to the scriptures. We read in Luke 13:27-28, “He will say I tell you, I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from me all you workers of iniquity. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the other prophets in the kingdom of God and yourself thrust out.”
Also, in Revelation 21:7-8, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But the cowardly, unbelievers, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstones, which is the second death.”
What if you make the wrong choice???
When I attended worship services in the fifties and sixties, 95% of sermons preached were negative. By that I mean that the preacher covered a myriad of things we could not do. To illustrate this point, they would say you can’t pitch a song with a pitch pipe, because that is a type of musical instrument, and we cannot use musical instruments in our worship services. You cannot attend movies, they are of the devil. (Note that movies in the fifties had no profane words, no sex or nudity, very little violence. There was not a system to rate movies, but if there had been one, 98% would be rated G.) Television was also condemned, even though we only had 3 black and white channels that were strictly censored. Preachers and teachers would not be allowed to use a slide projector as a teaching aid because it “was like showing a movie” during the worship service. This resulted in very few teaching aids being used to help illustrate the speaker’s points. The audience would have to sit and listen to preachers talk (many times for an hour or more). Young ladies’ dresses were immodest if they did not come well below their knees, and they could never wear slacks or pants (men’s clothing).Young men’s hair could not be long enough to touch the collar of their shirts. If their hair was “judged” too long they would not be asked to take a public part in the worship service.
I heard countless sermons on the subject of hell. The individual that preached for the congregation I attended would illustrate how long sinners would suffer in “burning fires of hell.” He would say if the earth was a solid piece of granite rock, and a bird would fly by and brush its wing against that rock once every hundred years, when the earth was reduced to a small stone because of the friction of the bird’s wing, eternity would just be beginning. Obviously, he would use this illustration to frighten everyone. I would wake up in the middle of the night worrying about being in hell, with no escape. When I was fifteen I decided to obey the gospel, not because I wanted to spend eternity with the Lord in Heaven, but because I wanted to escape eternal punishment in hell. I knew very little about heaven and God’s loving grace. I find it interesting that the preacher never mentioned eternity when describing how long we will be with the Lord and the beauties of heaven.
I now want to fast forward to present day. What are preachers now proclaiming from the pulpit? Many preachers today, in fact one that preached for our congregation, would never preach on negative subjects. Ninety five percent of many current preachers’ sermons now focus on God’s love and grace, the word “hell” is never mentioned, it is considered too negative. Very few, if any activities, are ever condemned. The beauty of heaven is often preached, which is not bad in itself. A concern with this preaching philosophy is that members, especially young people, never hear that they are going to be held accountable for their transgressions. Preachers defend their preaching style by saying negative preaching discourages and depresses people. They want them to be happy and upbeat no matter how they live.
Of the two preaching scenarios described above, which one is right and which one is wrong? Both are wrong. Let me explain. The answer lies in the scriptures. Luke wrote, in Acts 20:27, a statement Paul said: “ For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” This means preachers and teachers should balance their teaching. When parents successfully raise children sometimes they need to praise them (positive) when they do good things, and discipline them (negative) when they have misbehaved.
In the Bible there are over forty verses devoted to the topic of heaven, and over fifty dealing with the subject of hell, these subjects are balanced. It is quite apparent from this that God wants a balance between positive and negative topics (Heaven and Hell). The preachers and teachers in the fifties as well as the ones in the present day are not always balanced. It is easy to fail to do as Luke writes and declare the whole counsel of God. Today, preachers and teachers should follow the Apostle Paul’s example and not hesitate to proclaim the whole counsel of God.
I worked at Vanderbilt Medical Center for over forty years. The medical center had a number of specialty Clinics. One of the most popular centers was the Nutrition Clinic. At this clinic patients were taught how to manage their special diet. One day I was going past that clinic and saw a sign over the door that said “WHAT YOU EAT IS WHAT YOU ARE.” I got to thinking, what exactly does that mean? Then it came to me that the nutritionists were trying to get over the concept that if we eat unhealthy food that has high fat content, a lot of salt or sugar, and low fiber we will most likely be obese and very unhealthy. The nutritionists were trying to get their patients to eat healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Meats that we eat should be low in fats like fish and chicken etc. This diet will lead to a healthy body.
This concept applies to our spiritual health (What You Think Is What You Are). Think about it, when we spend a great deal of time watching adult themed movies, read adult books, spend time on the internet watching adult websites, we are poisoning our spiritual lives. We will be sick and unhealthily spiritually. There is an old saying “Garbage in, Garbage Out.” In 1 John 2:15-17 we read, “Love not 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, 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 forever.” When we watch and read this filth, we develop a lustful attitude. We read in James 1:14-15, “but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
It is easy to see when we consume all this garbage, our mind as well as out spiritual life will be very unhealthy and sick. Paul tells us in Philippians 4: 8 what to meditate on: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things.”
In order to live the life God would have us to live, we must not simply refuse to eat whatever is found in a garbage bin, but actively seek to eat of the finest delicacies available. These finest (spiritual) delicacies can be found by spending time in God’s Word. When we do this we will develop a healthy spiritual life. 2 Peter 1:4-8 defines the growth of a healthy Christian. “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If we want healthy physical bodies, we will eat good healthy food, and if we want healthy spiritual lives, we will spend time in God’s word and think on principles found there.
We are human and tend to forget things. I will illustrate this by challenging you to tell me your great grandparents name, what they did for a living, and where all of them are buried. Perhaps some can, but most cannot, and they are our family. God in all of his wisdom knew men forget. When he sent his son to die the terrible death on the cross for us, he wanted to make sure we would never forget this great sacrifice. Christ shed his blood on the cross so we can have forgiveness of our sins. In 1 Peter 1:18-19 we read, “For as much as ye know that they were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, But with the precious blood of Christ as a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper
In Matthew 26: 26-29 Christ instituted the Lords supper while he was with his disciples. “And as they were eating Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them saying ‘take eat this is my body.’ Then he took the cup, and gave thanks and gave it to them saying, ‘Drink from it all of you. For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’”
Christ wanted us to remember his suffering
We know Christ desired to be remembered, for Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which he was betrayed took bread. And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘take eat; this is my body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me’ In the same manner he also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. This do, as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.’”
How often to partake of this Memorial Feast
We must be regular in our observance of his supper. There are religious groups that observe the Lord’s Supper once a year, and others quarterly. Some people say the Lord’s Supper becomes too common and means little to us if we observe it every Sunday. I completely disagree with them. I believe this memorial feast does not become tiresome or lose its importance if it means anything to us. Things that we treasure and love become more precious with us and more enduring with the passing of time. We find written in Acts 20:7 the early disciples came together on the first day of the week to break bread. It is very important to partake of this memorial on the first day of each and every week.
The Lords Supper must be observed Reverently
When we attend a memorial service of a family member or friend, we would never think about whispering, talking, and laughing with others. We should not dishonor our Savior by doing these things as we partake of the Lord’s Supper. We read in 1 Corinthians 11:28-29, “But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself not discerning the Lords body.”
We must focus on Redemption
What a joy and comfort to a sinner who is outside of the body of Christ to realize that it makes no difference how many sins they have committed, or how bad a life style they have lived, the blood of Christ can wash away their sins. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be crimson they shall be as wool.”
Observed with Gratitude to Christ
How do we thank someone who was scorned, beaten, humiliated, and nailed to a cross to die so we can have our sins forgiven? We can live our life in service to Christ; we should become a living sacrifice in our worship to him. Every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we remember all the suffering he did for us. Jesus said Do this in remembrance of Me.
My wife Linda and I were sitting by my ninety-five year old aunt’s bed. She had suffered a heart attack several days ago. Her condition had worsened over the past few hours; she was struggling to breathe as her lungs were slowly filling up with fluid because of her failing heart. I was thinking to myself how long she had lived. She was born in December 1913, and what amazing things she had witnessed in her life. Going from horse and buggy to regular space flights. Then I remember James 4:14 Which says “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even as a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanisheth away.” This verse made me realize that ninety five years is actually a very short time when compared to eternity. I thought about my aunt and uncle’s lives, and felt good. You may question how anybody could feel good when you are watching someone slowly die. The reason for my happy feeling was that I knew that my aunt had obeyed the gospel at a very young age, and served the Lord her entire life. A few days before her heart attack she told some one that she was ready to go home, I knew exactly what she meant. She was not talking about going back to the house that she and my uncle lived in; she was talking about going home to be with the Lord.
Aunt Claire and her husband, Uncle Ed, who passed away 5 years ago, had been married 63 years. They both had made a decision to serve the Lord all the days of their life. They kept this vow. Although she never said how much she missed my uncle, because of her failing mind, I know she missed him very much. They never were blessed with children; they only had each other and their Christian family.
Linda and I decided it was getting late. We would go home and return to her bedside tomorrow. We left our loved one with the very caring Hospice nurse. Early the next morning I receive a phone call from the facility that my Aunt had passed away. Linda and I did not shed many tears because we knew that she had departed from her old worn out 95 year old body. She was now living peaceful in Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22).
I would like to think of another scenario. Suppose my aunt decided at a very young age to do what many other young people do, she would reject Jesus and enjoy the things the world had to offer. Suppose she spent her entire life searching for the pleasures the world had to offer her. She let the devil control and direct her life. She never wasted her valuable Sundays worshiping the Lord God. She enjoyed sleeping in, and having a late breakfast, and going to do the fun things the world had to offer. How would one feel sitting by the death bed of that aunt. You would have to remember what is said in Matthew 25:41, “Then shall he say unto them on the left depart from me, ye cursed unto everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” When one puts the pleasures of the world ahead of our service to the Lord, we will receive this judgment. On the other hand if we, like my aunt, serve the Lord as he would have us, Matthew 25:34 would apply: “Then shall the King say unto them on the right hand; Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the earth.”
I urge every one to think very seriously about what path you have chosen in your life. Have you chosen to serve the Lord or have you chosen to enjoy the pleasures of this earth for a season. When you stand before the Lord on the judgment day, and you will because we see in Romans 14:10-11, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, as I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
Where will you spend eternity??
The union of a man and a woman as husband and wife is the foundation for the home and family. Marriage was instituted by God when he declared in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to himself.” In Genesis 2:24 God said, “A man shall leave his father and mother and they shall become one flesh.” This suggests that God’s plan is for man to be the husband of one wife, and for the marriage to be permanent.
To further illustrate this point, in the New Testament, Jesus was asked about marriage and divorce, He quoted two passages from Genesis. “Have you not read that he who made them in the beginning made them male and female and said for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together let man not separate” (Genesis 1:27; 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6).
In the United States today 1 in 3 marriages results in a divorce. This was not God’s plan, and those couples that get a divorce can suffer the rest of their physical and spiritual lives. The unfortunate thing is if the marriage produces children, they suffer the most.
Marriage is a holy union founded by God and is not to be dissolved at the will of man. The gospels record four statements by Jesus concerning divorce. In Matthew 5:32, we read, “Whosoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery” also we read in Matthew 19:9, “Whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her commits adultery.” It is extremely clear from these two verses that the only way a divorced person can remarry is if their mate committed adultery. The sad thing in our country is that our divorce laws grant divorces for almost any reason.
I implore our young people contemplating marriage to realize it is for life. Next to obeying the Gospel, it is the most important decision you will make in your life. What is the recipe for a successful marriage? There are many components to this very complex question. When a man and a woman marry, each has to give up a fair amount of freedom and independence. This process necessarily requires a great deal of self-emptying and compromise. They need to realize compromise is a very important component of marriage.
I believe a successful marriage requires that the husband and the wife be Christians. I realize that on occasion a Christian can marry a non-Christian and have a happy marriage, but this situation is very difficult on the Christian as well as their children. This concept is well illustrated in the Old Testament where God’s children married outside their faith and in a short time turned to idol worship.
I suggest that all married couples, young and old, read and meditate on the following: “…and if one prevails against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The married couple should realize the “third cord” needs to be God. Where else could they go to find comfort when they are being overpowered by debilitating illness, financial difficulties, family problems, or the weight of the world on them? With God intertwined in their life as the “third cord” they can overcome all difficulties and have a successful marriage.
In closing, all married couples need to ask themselves this very important question, Can my marriage possibly find true fulfillment without the extra binding of God as our third cord?
-by Don Adair
The book of Ecclesiastes is believed to have been written by King Solomon, who was given exceptional wisdom by the Lord God. Because Solomon asked for wisdom and not great wealth, God allowed him to prosper and became one of the richest kings ever. The book of Ecclesiastes was written very late in his life. In this book he gives advice to the reader about many different aspects of life. He was uniquely qualified to do this because he had the money to buy any thing his heart desired, which he did. This book tells us what is important and what is not important in our travel through life.
In Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12, we read the following:
“Two are better than one, because they have good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion, but woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
There are many lessons that can be derived from these four verses. From a physical stand point, we can see the value of this advice. One of the greatest fears older people have is that they will fall and hurt themselves with no one to get help. I have known some to fall and lay in the floor for hours until someone comes to help them. I have been at hotels in large cities that have signs in the room that warns you not to go out at night alone, which indicates there is safety in numbers. I have also heard of people that got lost in the winter and survived because they used their companion’s body heat to survive.
More important than the physical things, is to apply this same advice to our spiritual lives. God in his infinite wisdom knew Christians need other Christians to support them as they go through trials and tribulations of trying to serve Him and live a good Christian life.
This reminds me of a story. There was an old elder, who on a cold winter day, went to visit a member of the congregation he shepherded. This member had not been in attendance for several weeks. During the visit the member said he could get more out of the Bible by studying it at home by himself. The old elder tried to explain to him by coming together we encourage and exhort one another. The member said he did not need that. The old elder thought for a minute, he took a poker and raked away a hot glowing coal from the fireplace. In a short time, the cherry red coal became cold and gray. As long as this coal was with the other coals it stayed cherry red and hot, but when it was removed from the other coals it quickly became cold. When Christians remove themselves from their brothers and sisters in Christ they become cold spiritually. The importance of this concept is found in Hebrews 10: 24-25. “And let us consider one another in order to stir love and good works not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
God knew that trying to live the Christian life would not be easy. He knew if we are to succeed, we will have to have the support and encouragement of our brothers and sisters.
The book of Ecclesiastes is full of wonderful advice as to what is important in our life, and what is worthless. I encourage everyone to spend some time studying this wonderful book that God has given us.
I have heard many people say, “I could never make heaven my home because of the terrible life I have lived. I have done so many bad and sinful things in my life, God would never forgive me of my sins.” The individuals that make this claim have not studied God’s word enough. Some of the leading characters in the Bible engaged in some very sinful activites.
Abraham was chosen by God to be the father of a great nation and bless all the families of the earth in him. In Genesis 12:12-13 Abraham went down into Egypt. He was afraid Pharaoh would kill him to get his beautiful wife Sarah, so he said Sarah was his sister. He lied. We also see in Genesis 20:1-2 that Abraham went to Gerar where there was a king named Abimelech. Abraham again feared for his life and told King Abimelech that Sarah was his sister. He had a habit of not telling the truth.
Abraham and Sarah had a child in their old age, the child was named Isaac. Isaac also married a beautiful woman named Rebekah. In Genesis 26:6-7, Isaac, like his father, told the men in Gerar that Rebekah was his sister. He also was a liar.
Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons named Esau and Jacob. Esau was the oldest twin and therefore was supposed to receive the birthright and his father’s blessing. Jacob took advantage of Esau and was able to get Esau’s birthright for a bowl of pottage. Rebekah loved Jacob more that Esau. She overheard Isaac, her husband, telling Esau to go into the field and get some venison to make him a savory meat dish, and he would give him his blessing before he died. Rebekah devised a plan to deceive her aged husband who had lost most of his eye sight. She had Jacob get a kid from the flock and kill it so she could make a savory meat dish. Because Esau was a hairy man, she took the animal’s skin and put it on Jacob’s arms so Isaac would think Jacob was Esau. When Jacob took the meat to Isaac, he asked are you Esau, and Jacob said yes he was and received his father blessing. This family continues to lie and deceive.
Another great Bible character was King David. In II Samuel 11 there is an account of David walking on the roof and saw a beautiful woman, Bathsheba, taking a bath. He lusted after her and sent one of his messengers to bring her to him. The Bible said he “lay with her” and the woman conceived and was with child. David tried to hide his sin by bringing her husband Uriah home from fighting the King’s battles. Uriah was a very loyal soldier and would not sleep with his wife because his fellow soldiers were sleeping in the fields. David then tried to get Uriah intoxicated thinking he would then go into his wife, this also failed. He sent Uriah back to the battle. David then sent word to Joab, his commander, to put Uriah on the front line and withdraw the troops. Joab followed David’s command resulting in Uriah’s death. David committed adultery and had a brave and loyal soldier murdered. God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David about his sin. Nathan did that and David, deeply grieved because of his sin, repented. In Psalm 32:5, David said, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity, I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sins. In Acts 13:22, Stephen quoted the Lord saying “I have found David the son of Jesse a man after my own heart.”
The great apostle Paul said in I Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthily of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” In Romans 7:7-25, Paul was very frustrated and says over and over when he tried to do right he kept sinning and doing carnal things.
From these examples, it is quite apparent that many of the outstanding Bible characters did many sinful things, including lying, deceitful acts, adultery, and murder. When they repented God forgave and forgot their sins. If you think you have lived too sinful of a life for God to forgive you, realize you cannot limit the power of God to forgive. If God’s forgiveness was powerful enough to forgive these folks, it is powerful enough to forgive even you.
In Genesis 18-19, we have the account of a very sad situation. To better understand what was going on, we need to go back to Genesis 14, which describes a problem between Abram’s and Lot’s herdsmen. Their herds had grown so large there was not enough grass and water for them. Abram met with Lot and said, “Choose where you want to live with your family and herds. I will go in the opposite direction from you.” Lot looked at the Plain of Jordan that had plenty of grass and was well watered. Lot chose that direction and pitched his tent toward Sodom and Gomorrah.
Sodom and Gomorrah were cities founded and developed by the wicked Canaan and his descendants. The Canaanites were known for their sexual debauchery, their vile sex gods, and their licentious worship services. If you recall, Noah placed a curse on Canaan for his despicable sin against him. Jude 7 says, “Even Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner; giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh. Are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” There were other sins in addition to sexual ones. Ezekiel 16:49-50 says, “They were prideful, abundance of idleness; they were selfish and did not help those that were poor and needy. They were haughty, and committed abomination before me.”
The Lord sent two angels down to Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 18, we have an account of the angels visiting Abraham on their way. The Lord also appeared to Abraham and tells him of the mission of the two angels. Genesis 18:20-21 says, “And the Lord said, because of the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great; and because their sin is very grievous I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it, that has come to me; if not I will know it.” Abraham asked the Lord, “Will thou destroy the righteous with the wicked.” It is quite possible Abraham was thinking about his kinsman, Lot and his family. Abraham started negotiating with the Lord. He said, “If you can find fifty righteous people will you spare the city.” “The Lord said if I find fifty righteous people in the city I WILL SPARE ALL THE PEOPLE FOR THEIR SAKE” (Genesis 18: 26). Abraham continued to negotiate with God. He dropped the number of righteous people to forty, then to thirty, then to twenty. In Genesis 18:32, Abraham said to the Lord, “If I can find Ten righteous people In Sodom and Gomorrah will you spare the cities?” The Lord said He would not destroy it for the ten’s sake. Just think, ten righteous people could have saved the lives of thousands of people, not to mention all the buildings with the city. The very sad part of this story is not even the tiny number of ten righteous people could be found in these cities. The only righteous people to be found were Lot and his small family. The angels told Lot and his family to get out of Sodom as quick as they could. Unfortunately, as they were leaving, Lot’s wife disobeyed the Lord by looking back at the city as it was being destroyed by fire and brimstone. As punishment she was turned into a pillar of Salt. Only Lot and his two daughters escaped the destruction of the city.
The remainder of my article is going to be hypothetical. Suppose the Lord sent two angels to the United States to determine how wicked and corrupt this country has become. The purpose of the visit is to determine if he is going to have to destroy the United States because of their unrighteousness. The angels discover that the citizens of the country have become sexually immoral people. They love pornography in their movies, books, and television shows. They live together without being married; young people frequently participate in premarital sex. They find that some states recognize same sex marriage. The Lord’s name is consistently being taken in vain. Many people in leadership positions are corrupt, and work to take Bible principles out of the government. Prayer has been removed from the schools. People have become extremely materialistic. Many of them are more interested in the pursuit of pleasure over service to the Lord.
The Lord decides that the United States is so corrupt he is going to have to destroy it. Jesus comes to the country’s aid, he says, “Father if I can find ten righteous people will you save the country for their sake.” The Father agrees to this request. Jesus finds nine righteous people, now he comes to you. The question is ARE YOU RIGHTEOUS ENOUGH TO BE THAT TENTH PERSON THAT CAN SAVE THIS GREAT COUNTRY???