Sunday, 19th July 10.30 am Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN O Church arise (Getty & Townend)

1 O Church arise, and put your armour on;

 hear the call of Christ our Captain.

 For now the weak can say that they are strong

 in the strength that God has given.

 With shield of faith and belt of truth,

 we’ll stand against the devil’s lies;

 an army bold, whose battle-cry is love,

 reaching out to those in darkness.

2 Our call to war, to love the captive soul

 but to rage against the captor;

 and with the sword that makes the wounded whole,

 we will fight with faith and valour.

 When faced with trials on every side

 we know the outcome is secure,

 and Christ will have the prize for which he died,

 an inheritance of nations.

3 Come see the cross, where love and mercy meet,

 as the Son of God is stricken;

 then see his foes lie crushed beneath his feet,

 for the Conqueror has risen!

 And as the stone is rolled away,

 and Christ emerges from the grave,

 this victory march continues till the day

 every eye and heart shall see him.

4 So Spirit, come, put strength in every stride,

 give grace for every hurdle,

 that we may run with faith to win the prize

 of a servant good and faithful.

 As saints of old still line the way,

 retelling triumphs of his grace,

 we hear their calls, and hunger for the day

 when with Christ we stand in glory.

PRAYER

READING GENESIS 19

19 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”

21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)

23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.

29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

Lot and His Daughters

30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”

33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites[i] of today.

SERMON Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah

Our big problem is that we do not see life from God’s perspective. We have become so accustomed to sin that we scarcely notice its impact either on us or on other people around us.

Abraham cannot believe that Sodom is as bad as the Lord has made it out to be.

Lot has lived within this sinful culture knowing that it is bad but not fully realizing how awful it is to God.

The people of Sodom have for generations been allowing their culture to fall into the extremities of sin and will not see it as particularly bad.

What about our own society?


Lot.
Lot was now realizing the folly of his choices but he is still in Sodom. Why has he not left? There is a pull that is keeping him there. This is always the case with sin. We do not act radically against it.

Why? Because we often want to keep its potential alive so that we can have access to it.

Look at Lot:

He immediately offers hospitality to these strangers – he still retains something of that godly hospitality learned while with his uncle Abraham.

He makes a terrible decision to subject his daughters to the crowd and allow them to be raped.


Sodom
The people of Sodom have become so accustomed to their sin that they can barely distinguish right from wrong.

Sodom is not alone. Our culture puts pressure on any group that now tries to describe certain forms of behaviour as wrong. We are told that it is not politically correct to pass any form of moral judgment on most forms of behaviour. The right to choose has become the moral call of our generation.

The sad fact of life in this story is how everyone failed to take the warnings of God seriously. So, we look at the responses of some of the characters in this story.

First of all the angels, who bring the Word of God as they warn Lot and his family of what is about to happen. The Bible is full of warnings of judgment.

The Lord warns his people that they cannot be complacent. We may claim to be Christians – but our lives must show the fruit of that in our daily lives.

Lot speaks to his daughter’s fiancés but they think he is only joking.

Lot is hesitant to leave. There can be complacency and down-right unbelief even in the people of God when it comes to God’s warnings.

The Lord warns us that we must come out of the world.

The truth of that passage still stands to show us that there must be the distinctiveness of repentant lives. There is a pull that stops us from completely clearing out of Sodom. We hate what it stands for, but we don’t hate it enough to let it go. The following two passages come from Ezekiel, as he speaks to the people of God:

“Again and again your guilt cries out against you, for you are not ashamed of your sin.” Ezekiel 21:24 and

“You will look back at all your sins and hate yourselves because of the evil you have done.” Ezekiel 20:43

Can we truly say with the hymn-writer, I hate the sin that made thee mourn and drove thee from my breast.” ?

Finally: see what happened to Lot’s wife – she looked back in longing for what she was leaving behind.

Are you being challenged by the Lord to step out and follow him but you are fearful? You are looking back to what people might say about you if you follow Christ. You are calculating the cost of what you will lose rather than the blessings that you will gain. Beware that in looking back you will fail to see what is coming and be too late to do anything about it.

PRAYER

HYMN Psalm 130 (Keith & Kristyn Getty)

INTRO

Lord, from the depths I call to You

Lord, hear me from on high

And give attention to my voice

When I for mercy cry

Out of the depths I cry to You

In darkest places I will call

Incline Your ear to me anew

And hear my cry for mercy, Lord

Were You to count my sinful ways

How could I come before Your throne

Yet full forgiveness meets my gaze

I stand redeemed by grace alone

CHORUS

I will wait for You

I will wait for You

On Your word, I will rely

I will wait for You

Surely wait for You

Till my soul is satisfied

So put your hope in God alone

Take courage in His power to save

Completely and forever won

By Christ emerging from the grave

CHORUS

Now He has come to make a way

And God Himself has paid the price

That all who trust in Him today

Find healing in His sacrifice

CHORUS

I will wait for You

I will wait for You

Through the storm and through the night

I will wait for You

Surely wait for You

For Your love is my delight

OUTRO

I pray my soul waits for the Lord

My hope is in His word

More than the watchman waits for dawn

My soul waits for the Lord

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