When Righteous Men are Few - Part 2
Date: 9 October, 2016
Text: Genesis 18:16-33
Title: When Righteous Men are Few - Part 2
def. Intercessor: One who intervenes, especially between God and His people.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones book, REVIVAL. He said almost 60 years ago, "Surely no one should need to be convinced, today, that nothing short of a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God is adequate to deal with our situation in this mid-twentieth century? ...here is the vital question. Have you seen the desperate need of prayer, the prayer of the whole Church? I shall see no hope until individual members of the Church are praying for revival, perhaps meeting in one another's homes, meeting anywhere you like, and praying with urgency and concentration for a shedding forth of the power of God, such as he shed forth one hundred and two hundred years ago, and in every other period of revival, and of reawakening. There is no hope until we do."
exp. Have we any reason today to hope for an outpouring of God's Spirt or a special mercy of God because of the effectual prayers of God's people?
We need people today who care enough about the needs of those around them that they are willing to stand in the gap and pray for God's mercy for our land. Do you care enough to pray?
Our text this morning is of one of God's special friends - Abraham. (Genesis 18)
I. An intercessor walks with God.
16 ¶ And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
II. An intercessor waits on God.
20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
exp. Abraham wasn't going to leave and let life just happen. There was a need for him to stand His ground before the Lord - AND STAND IN THE GAP FOR A WICKED CITY AND A WICKED PEOPLE AND A WAYWARD RELATIVE.
question: Have you ever prayed like this? Feeling that you must stay before the Lord because it was a matter of such importance?
ill. Jacob wrestling with God - Genesis 32
24 ¶ And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
note: God does not rebuke Jacob for wrestling with him - HE REWARDS HIM.
exp. Isaiah lamented that those who would grab hold of God - were absent. Isa 64:7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
app. Our generation (if they knew it) ought to weep because men aren't stirring up themselves to take hold of God. ABRAHAM STOOD HIS GROUND BEFORE THE LORD WHEN JUDGMENT WAS IMMINENT.
III. An intercessor works with God.
exp. God doesn't need us to work in an advisory capacity - he knows what He will do. But, he does allow us to work with him in an intercessory capacity.
ill. A bank may have a grant that they are happy to give to a worthy cause based on their bylaws.
· You can't go to the bank and demand they change their bylaws or demand them to give their money.
· But, if you can prove a worthy cause that meets their requirements - they must extend mercy to you.
question: Does God have rules of intercession whereby He is bound to grant mercy?
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Isaiah 1: 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
ill. The Babylonian captivity - would end in 70 years BUT THERE WERE RULES OF INTERCESSION ATTACHED TO THE PROMISED DELIVERANCE.
10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
exp. When Daniel understood this from the WORD OF GOD - he prayed because OF THE LAWS OF PRAYER. Daniel 9: 2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
4 ¶ And I prayed unto the LORD my God,
ill. Jonah - knew God's rules and wanted to avoid going to Ninevah because he didn't not want THEM to meet the conditions for God's mercy.
app. Are you working with God through prayer? God gave us the rules of intercession. God doesn't need our advice. HIS COUNCIL OPENED THE DOOR FOR OUR INTERCESSION.
A. Abraham knew the heart of God.
23 ¶ And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
exp. God, you are just.
NOTE: Abraham knew that God would never do something unjust. JUDGING THE RIGHTEOUS WITH THE WICKED WOULD VIOLATE GOD'S JUSTICE.
exp. Abraham knew that when God brought the flood, the Noah's family was spared.
Ge 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
ill. Abraham's children would be spared his wrath against Egypt when He sent the plagues.
Exodus 9:6 And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
ill. When Abraham's children disobeyed God and didn't go into the promised land - only those of fighting age were judged.
Nu 1:45 So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel;
Nu 14:29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
ill. I had a person in Walmart in the US ask me, "If there is a God, why did he let my baby die." I told them the words of King David - 2Sa 12:23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, ....
app. Friend - do you know today that God is just? He isn't unfair. He hasn't wronged you. He will never violate His justice. Abraham let the character of God mold His prayer.
B. Abraham knew the mercy of God.
24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
exp. God, you are merciful.
note: God wasn't coming to Sodom because he wanted to see men consumed with fire from Heaven. HE WOULD RATHER THEY REPENT.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
saying: "I would give my right arm for that." Nobody has ever had to do that to get what they want.
Note: But - God did something even greater - BECAUSE THERE WAS SOMETHING WHICH HE CARED TOO MUCH TO LOSE.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
ill. Speaking with a Robbie - Jesus died for us - even ___________________________.
ill. Getting two bad responses in Biggar this past week - but Jesus died for them. God in His mercy still wants to save them - though they curse and despise Him.
ill. When Jesus was on earth - he faced rejection with mercy.
Luke 9: 52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
app. Do you want the judgment of God to fall - LIKE THE DISCIPLES - or do you plead God's mercy like Jesus? You aren't going to pray very hard if you want the world to be damned for their disobedience. THE MERCY OF GOD WANTS THEM TO REPENT.
C. Abraham knew the character of God.
25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
exp. God, you are holy.
note: Abraham twice says, "That be far from thee." Why? Because it would violate God's holiness to judge the righteous (innocent.) SHALL NOT THE JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH DO RIGHT.
BY THE WAY: He is the judge of all the earth - walking back to the woman who cursed Jesus - I said, "And some day you'll stand before Him as your judge."
Joh 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
Question: What will it be like to stand BEFORE THE HOLY JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH?
ill. Isaiah gives us a good idea. Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
exp. But, did you ALSO know that the holiness of God is what holds everything together?
· Because he is Holy - we have an infallible Book.
· Because he is Holy - we have an infallible creator/ sustainer.
· Becaue he is Holy - we have an unchanging eternity.
· Because He is holy - we have a perfect Saviour.
app. Abraham knew that if judgment came - IT WOULD BE RIGHT. He was pleading the holiness of God in prayer to deliver a wicked city that deserved God's judgment.
note: I'm not a great theologian but this is one reason I believe that the rapture of the church will take place before the tribulation.
D. Abraham knew the reasonableness of God.
26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
exp. God, you are reasonable. (He's not unapproachable, illogical, or disinterested.)
note: He does not make unreasonable dealings with mankind. He promised not to destroy that wicked city if 50 righteous were there - that number would go clear down to ten.
app. I'm tired of man saying, "God is the problem. He is unreasonable. How could a loving God send people to hell?"
The problem with Sodom was not the unreasonableness of God - it was the complete lack of righteous men. The CITY, NOT JUST LOT'S FAMILY, would have been spared if there were just 10 righteous.
app. We are living in a day when righteous men are few! God is not unreasonable. THERE IS NO REASON WHY THE JUDGMENT OF GOD SHOULD NOT FALL!
E. Abraham knew the exhalted position of God.
27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
exp. God, you are almighty. This wasn't false piety but true humility. Abraham was a GREAT MAN - HE WAS THE FATHER OF A GREAT NATION - but he was nothing to God.
ill. King David, 2nd king, man after God's own heart, great intercessor
- Ps 144:3 LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
app. Believer - CHRIST ALONE - makes us worthy to go before God the Father. Do you understand with whom you are praying? SODOM SHOULD HAVE FEARED GOD AS WELL. Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
IV. An intercessor has words with God.
exp. God spoke, then Abraham, then God, then Abraham - THEY COMMUNED. v.33
28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.
30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.
31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.
32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.
33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
ill. Andrew Murray - We have more than once seen that God’s listening to our voice depends upon our listening to His voice. We must not only have a special promise to plead, when we make a special request, but our whole life must be under the supremacy of the word: the word must be dwelling in us.
to the unsaved God says - Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
· unbeliever - He has spoken this to you - have you spoken this promise back to Him?
to the believer God says.... Jer 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
app. Are you letting the conversation die or are you going to cummune with God?
If intercession is the need of our day - is there any hope? Are there any stirring up themselves to take hold of God?