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Return to God: Part Two (Genesis 13:5-18)

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Introduction

Development

In continuation from last week’s message on Marriage God’s Way: Recovering from Failure we are going to focus on Principle #3 – Learn from your sins.

Illustration

Transition

In that moment that individual learned the principle we are about to learn today.

Principle #3

On your way back from sin to God you must learn three R’s. There are three words beginning with R that describe our pilgrimage back from sin to God.

REVIEW PRINCIPLES #1 and #2

There is a core principle which is principle #3 in our study of MARRIAGE GOD’S WAY.

PRINCIPLE #3: Learn from Your Sins.

Transition

Within principle #3 we said there are three R’s, and we are looking at one a week, last week, this week, and next week.

Review

Last week we saw a very simple reality that when we sin we must

Return to God.

Point

We must go back to where we last left God and return to Him by confessing our sin and committing to turn from sin.

Transition

The problem, however, is that such a return doesn’t take care of the results of sin.

Point

James describes temptation and sin as the conception of a child, and the reality of the matter is that children don’t go away. They stay and grow and act and impact our lives.

So it is with sin.

Sin doesn’t go away.

Once it is conceived it stays and grows and acts and impacts our lives.

Transition

This is what my friend learned when he learned the second R in the pilgrimage from sin to God.

Realize Your Past Sin Will Impact Your Present Life.

Point

All too often what you’ve done in the past will impact you in the present.

Transition

There’s a commercial running right now that makes this very point.

ILLUSTRATION

It’s a semi-dark scene set in a kitchen. A woman, obviously a wife, is seated there with a sad and troubled look on her face. Her husband walks in, sees her look, and asks, “What?” He then goes on to ask some questions.

“Is it about the diamond I gave you? A zirconium looks just like a real diamond.”

She looks at her ring finger.

“Is it about my time in prison?”

She looks at him with a deep, sad look.

“You drank all the milk,” she says.

Realize Your Past Sin Will Impact Your Present Life.

Transition

We see this reality in Genesis 13:5-18 where Abraham continues his pilgrimage from Egypt to the altar of worship and now on into life.

At this point in time,

A. Abraham Reaps the Fruit of Two Disobedient Acts. (Genesis 13:5-12)

1. He brought Lot with him against God’s will – (Genesis 13:5), cp. 12:2.

a. Lot traveled up from Egypt with him.

b. Lot had also become wealthy because he was Abraham’s kinsman, and Pharaoh was paying both of them off for Sarah’s beauty.

c. But God had told him to leave his father’s house.

d. There was provision for Lot.

e. Although it would have been painful, Abraham had another brother who could have cared for his nephew, Lot.

f. This disobedience was destructive both to Abraham and Lot.

2. Now a further disobedience made the first one even worse. (Genesis 13:5-12)

a. His disobedience in Egypt created division between him and Lot.

b. They had obtained wealth apart from trusting God.

c. Wealth gained apart from God’s purposes divides families.

d. Lot did not work for this wealth.

e. Lot got this wealth because Abraham deceived Pharaoh.

f. This was easy money for Lot.

g. Easy money makes for hard feelings.

h. One of the worse things you can do in your life is get money apart from obedience to God’s ethical standards and trust in God’s faithful provisions.

i. Another of the worse things you can do in your life is give your children easy money.

Point

Sometimes I wonder what parents are doing with their children when it comes to money. They’ll take teen-agers and give them things that took them ten, twenty, maybe even thirty years to get for themselves. They’ll take twenty- somethings and give them things that took them twenty or thirty years to build for themselves. They’ll take thirty-somethings and set them up so they don’t ever have to work again.This is a tragic mistake.

Question

If someone ever came to me and asked me what should I do with my wealth, here’s what I would say.

Answer

First I would say, “Don’t make your children rich before they have had to learn what riches mean.” You may not agree with my timing. Much of my thinking is based on what I experienced. I would raise them with an understanding that money is hard to come by and is a great stewardship from God which can bring utter destruction in their lives if they don’t handle it properly. I’d help them get their first new car once they finished college, but they would have to put some of their own money into it, either by having it on hand or by making some kind of payments with interest to me along the way.

I would help out with a good used car before that. I’d help them get into their first house with a generous down payment so their monthly costs wouldn’t overwhelm them. If they needed more, I would make a favorable loan to them, but I would expect them to pay that loan back, at least for an appreciable period of time. I would provide for their children’s education, so that wouldn’t be such an overwhelming burden in a difficult period of life. I would establish some kind of a trust fund for massive medical emergencies that insurance would not cover completely. I would help them get their own investment program started by giving them some seed money and also by contributing to it in some strategic ways annually according to their desires.

If I were going to leave them significant money, I would set it up in a trust fund that wouldn’t kick until at least age forty. There may be some variation with this depending on the quality of the child, but fairness might very well demand that I treat everyone the same way.

Point

Whatever you do, watch out for the danger of easy money.

Transition

Now we see our core principle,

Learn from Your Sins

A. Abraham Has Learned from His Sins – (Genesis 13:6-13).

Restatement

He may have to live with their results, but he has learned from them nonetheless.

1. Strife develops between Abraham’s men and Lot’s men (Genesis 13:6-7).

a. The land could not support their livestock (Genesis 13:6-7).

b. The Canaanite and the Perizzite had the best land (Genesis 13:7).

2. Abraham acts to avoid the strife (Genesis 13:8-10).

3. Lot hasn’t learned the same lessons Abraham has (Genesis 13:10-13).

a. Abraham knows that money isn’t everything, that possessions aren’t all that life is about.

b. Abraham could have claimed everything for himself and told Lot where he could live.

c. Instead, he chooses not to do this and gives Lot the first option.

4. Lot has greedy eyes.

a. Lot lifts up his eyes (Genesis 13:10).

b. Lot sees (Genesis 13:10).

c. Lot chooses for himself (Genesis 13:11).

d. It looked so good, but it was so bad!

5. Lot’s future was seen in his greedy eyes (Genesis 13:12-13).

a. Abraham settled in the land of Canaan (Genesis 13:12).

b. Lot settled in the cities (Genesis 13:12).

c. Lot moved his tent as far as Sodom, but not yet in it (Genesis 13:12).

d. Abraham stayed in the place of God’s provision while Lot moved to a place of exceedingly wicked sinners (Genesis 13:13).

Transition

Here we see the reality that

Abraham’s Past Sin Will Haunt Him
and Haunt Him and Haunt Him.

Realize Your Past Sin Will Impact Your Present Life.

Development

Realize also that God will stand with you in faithfulness.

C. God Is Faithful Despite Our Past Sins (Genesis 13:14-18).

Transition

But this raises another question.

Question

If sin is so destructive, if it is an illegitimate child that will haunt us, in some cases for the rest of our lives, isn’t there something we can do about preventing sin?

Answer

Exactly, and his is where I want to spend our last few minutes together.

Act to Prevent Sin From Controlling Your Life.

Preview

I want to give you some insights into how to prevent sin from gaining mastery over you.

INSIGHT #1: Sin Is No Longer Your King And Master.

By God’s grace, you have been identified with Christ on His cross and delivered from the reign of sin as you king and master. Now you have a choice, although it seems so overwhelming because you seem so powerless. Think according to this reality.

INSIGHT #2: Sin Begins as a Thought in The Head.

Sin never comes forth as a fully developed baby. There is a gestation period for sin, even as there is for a baby. If the thought is never entertained, the baby will never be conceived. Therefore, pay attention to the way you think. All of us think in ways that give sin mastery over us and don’t even know it. We think anger thoughts or pride thoughts or fear thoughts or any of a number of other kinds of thoughts without even knowing it.

Pay attention to the thoughts you think.

INSIGHT #3: Sin Moves to the Heart as a Desire.

Once sin settles in the mind, it moves as rapidly as it can to the heart as a desire. It moves from dream to desire, to longing, to something I must do or I must have. All of my values are being pushed aside in such a situation, and I am being hurried along by a current of lust. Thus, if sin breaks loose from my mind, I must pay attention to my feelings.

When sin breaks loose from my mind it is like a blood clot breaking loose from my leg and moving to my heart. I am headed for a heart attack unless I do something about it.

INSIGHT #4: Sin Expresses Itself Through My Hands as an Act.

If I do not stop it, once sin moves to my heart it is only a matter of time before it acts through my hands.

Question

How do we prevent this?

Answer

Here are some decisions I have made. There are many better approaches, I’m sure, but this has helped me.

Transition

I present them to you in a series of decisions we need to make.

DECISION #1: Realize I Can Sin.

I can sin and I can sin in some very serious ways.

DECISION #2: Note the Sins You Are Most Prone to Commit.

What are you most likely to do? What are your strongest driving desires?

  • Lust?
  • Security?
  • Fear?
  • Anger?
  • Competition?
  • All of the above?

Each of these drives takes on a particular sin form, and you must note what form such desires take when you act on them in your life.

DECISION #3: Determine that You Will Not Commit These Sins.

Erect an altar and proclaim the name of the Lord. Make a private commitment to God and some kind of an accountable commitment to your mate or some other trusted friends who share the same values you have.

DECISION #4: Develop Disciplines to Resist Sin.

The vital disciplines are prayer and the Word + accountability with others who know and love you.

DECISION #5: Remember Sin Is More Than Skin Deep.

Too often we think of sin as behavior. Behavior is surface.

Sin is soul.

It is not enough to deal only with behavior. We must recognize the root of sin. Behavior is fruit: sins.

Sin is root: energy, force, power. We sin because something is more important to us than God. We sin because something is more satisfying for us than God. We sin because something is more powerful in us than God.

DECISION #6: I Will Not Fight the Sin Battle Alone.

I will rely on the Holy Spirit. I will involve others with me in the battle with sin.

Conclusion

On your pilgrimage from sin to God,

Realize Your Past Sin Will Impact Your Present Life.

Therefore, prepare yourself to prevent sin, whether it be patterns from the past or temptations in the future. Act by God’s grace to be as sin-free as He enables you as you learn to know yourself better and better.

Related Topics: Prayer, Christian Home, Faith, Forgiveness