Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Do You Remember Lot's Wife?

Some think that sinners have all the fun.  We see people drinking and getting drunk and having a grand old time.  We watch shows like Jersey Shore and a life of sloth, revelry, and fornication is portrayed as a really fun way to live.  We want to stay children forever and live that carefree, consequence-free life that so many seem to live.  Some like to portray the church as a fun-sucking institution looking to suck the fun out of people's lives.  Some in the church feel the same way.  Some still have one foot in the world, longing for the life they could have, if only they were not Christian.  If that is your position, I have some words for you.
Remember Lot's wife. Luke 17:32 NKJV
Just in case you forgot, here is the account of Lot's wife.
The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.  But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.  Genesis 19:23-26 NKJV
We are all familiar with Sodom and Gomorrah.  God judged those cities for their sin by raining fire and brimstone on them.  Only Lot and his family were spared.  They were saved from judgement.  Jesus, when He made that statement in Luke, was also talking about a time of judgement.  He was not merely talking about the judgement of a city, though, but of the world.  Jesus was reminding us to remember Lot's wife as a stern warning to us.  In fact, Jesus makes a similar point at another time.
But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."  Luke 9:62 NKJV
The point the Bible is making is that we should not be looking back to our own life in the world.  Those things we used to do should not longer have the same appeal they once had.  It is not that we need to change our desires in order to come to Jesus, but coming to Jesus should change our desires.  Lot's wife was not looking back just to see what was happening, but was longing for the life she just left.  Jesus was not telling someone that looking back on your old life is wrong, but regretting your decision to come to Jesus is.  There should be no more longing for the things of the world.  I am not saying we will not be tempted in the same sins that we have always been tempted in and I am not saying that we may not have times of failure, but our desire should always be to press forward.  What I am saying is that our desire should be to continue grow out of what we once were without regretting our decision to leave our lives of sin. 

Getting back to Lot's wife, I think it is important to really understand why she was turned into a pillar of salt.  As I said previously, when she looked back, it was with a longing for the life she left.  She felt at home in Sodom and Gomorrah, which were reprehensible sinful cities.  They were beyond redemption and it was their time of judgement.  That is the world she loved.  Is that the world you love?  Do you love this present world and all of the sin it provides or do you long for the kingdom to come?  Would you rather sit with the saints in Heaven or "party" with the sinners in Hell?  (Note: this idea is absolutely false, there is no party in Hell)  I ask because even though we say certain things, our actions say something completely different.  Lot's wife did leave the city.  She did stay with her husband, but her heart was in the past.  Her heart was in the world that was being judged.  We must make sure our heart is in heaven and not in this world heading for judgement. 

In keeping her heart in the world, she never gave her heart to God.  That was her most tragic mistake.  She knew judgement was coming.  She knew the way to escape judgement.  She even went through the motions of escaping judgement.  She thought that just going through the motions was enough.  She thought she could just fake her way through it even though her heart was never in it.  God, however, was not fooled. God saw her heart and saw that her heart was evil just like the place she left.  She was judged because she deserved it.  She was judged because she was never saved. 

Do not miss that message.  We are saved by faith through grace and we are not saved by works.  That is a two-edged sword with one edge we almost always ignore.  Just as we can not be saved by doing good works, we also can not be saved by just going through the motions of giving our lives to Jesus.  It is not the work of being a Christian that saves us, but the faith in our hearts that Jesus is Lord.  We can not go to church and just think that is going to save us.  We can not answer an alter call and think that is going to save us.  We can not say a prayer and think that is going to save us.  We can not be baptized and think that is going to saves us.  We can not call ourselves a Christian and think that is going to save us.  We are not saved by any of these works.  Only faith in your heart will save you, even if you do none of those things.  Again, only true faith in Jesus will save you.  Do not make the tragic mistake of Lot's wife.  If you are reading this, you know judgement is coming.  You know how to escape that judgement.  You know the way of salvation, and if you have not given your heart to Jesus, you are incredibly foolish. 

Remember Lot's wife.  Remember her tragedy as a warning to not make the same mistake.  Take both feet out of the world and move forward in your walk with Jesus Christ.  Longing for the world you left will only give you more of a chance of returning to it.  Remember Demas, as that is what happened to him.  Look forward to the kingdom to come and put all your faith in Jesus Christ.  The more you grow, the less appealing those old things in your old life will become.  When you experienced the true joy of walking with the Lord, nothing you have ever done could ever compare and nothing you can do will be worth jeopardizing that relationship. 
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.  But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."   2 Peter 2:20-22 NKJV

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