Turn in your Bible to Genesis 19:1-29. In our study of Genesis 18, the Lord revealed to Abraham his plan to judge Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham was moved to intercede on behalf of the loss in those cities. This week we came to the graphic sequel. Let me suggest a three-part outline for this passage. First of all, in verses 1-14 we see the case for God's judgment set forth as God simply lays out the facts of this outcry. Then the second section of this passage you’ll see in verses 15-22. There we see God's rescue of Lot and his family. Finally, in verses 23-29 we see the actual visitation of God's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. So these are the three parts of the passage. Let's look at it together.

I. God's kindness and severity.

First, in verses 1-14 the kindness and the severity of God are displayed in the way He deals with Sodom. In this passage we basically have the divine prosecutor making his case for the prosecution. What is told to us justifies the ferocity of God's judgment against the totality of these cities. In verses 1-3 those two angels who had been visiting with Abraham earlier in the afternoon come to Sodom, and Lot extends hospitality to them. The Lord has sent these angels to investigate the sin of Sodom, and this is done to highlight the fact that God is totally aware of what the people of Sodom are doing. God’s judgment is not arbitrary.

As the visitors are preparing to lie down, all the men of the city gather around the door and demand to have relations with these visitors. This is a clear reference to homosexual activities. It goes without saying that that practice is explicitly condemned here. You can find similar condemnation in both the Old and New Testaments in places like Leviticus 18:22-24, 29; Romans 1:26-27 and I Corinthians 6:9. We will see, if we study the text of the Scriptures, a uniform condemnation of the practice of homosexuality.

This matters for several reasons. First of all, this is what your children and grandchildren are going to be taught in the educational process, that you are intolerant because you do not approve homosexuality. Further, this is no doubt one of the major cultural struggles in our land today. This practice has been incorporated into the fabric of our nation. There will come a day when it will be unsafe to stand even in a pulpit and raise even a question about it because it will be seen as a manifestation of hate speech. So it matters greatly that we understand the issues involved and are ready, lovingly but firmly, to set forth the truth of God's Word. It also matters, because I want you to note how many of the men of Sodom were practicing this. The totality of this population had capitulated to this behavior. The behavior can be learned, and you can recruit for it. That means we need to be aware as believers what is involved.

Having said that, I want to go to verses 6-14. Lot follows the law of hospitality to its maximum extent and does everything he can to protect his visitors, but he makes an awful suggestion to the crowd. He offers his own daughters, showing us the warped moral thinking which has crept into his mind. At this point the angels reach out, jerk him back into the house and dazzle the men of the city, bewildering them and frustrating their wicked designs. Then they immediately say to Lot, “Do you have other relations in this city? If so, you go find them and tell them they must leave with you because we're bringing judgment against this city.” But, in the face of this mercy of God, when Lot goes to his prospective sons-in-law, they mock him.

Lot has slipped into a moral slumber, and he has been corrupted by his surroundings. But the rest of Sodom seems to be bereft even of common grace. The unnatural practice of the city has so seared their consciences. The kindness of God in his mercy to Lot, the severity of God in his judgment against Sodom, we see it here in verses 1-14.

II. God’s initiative in Lot's redemption.

In verses 15-22 we see God taking the initiative in Lot's redemption. Lot's exodus begins in verse 15 with the angels’ saying, “Take your wife and your two daughters who are here or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” Twice more in verse 17 and verses 21-22 the angels exhort Lot. God takes the initiative in bringing Lot out, and we learn why in verse 16. Even after the warning of verse 15 Lot hesitated, not because he didn't believe the judgment that was coming, but because his heart was so wrapped up in the lights of Sodom. So the angels literally have to grab him by the arms and drag him to safety.

I see here in the picture of Lot a warning to us. This a warning and admonition against our own hearts becoming so wrapped up with the world that we are double-minded, unsure exactly where we want to stand. Do we want to stand with God, or do we want to keep one of our feet in the world?

III. The judgment of God against sin.

Finally, in verses 23-29 we see the judgment of God against sin and learn both that God is just and that he hears people's prayers. This destruction of Sodom is a picture of the final judgment, and we need to remember that in a day when people are cynical about the judgment of God. The day before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah a cynic could have said to Abraham, “Where is your God?” We must never underestimate the judgment of God. He is not slow to judge. And so God brings judgment against Sodom.

In verse 26 we also have the picture of the death of Lot's wife. She hesitates behind the caravan and turns back. She does not flee all the way to Zoar, and she is incinerated in the judgment which God brings. In the New Testament she is a standing warning against worldliness. Jesus will say, “Remember Lot's wife. She was caught between two desires and met only judgment with the mercy of God within her sight.”

Then we see in verses 27-29 Abraham, the intercessor, climb up from his vantage point and look down upon the city that has been judged. It's one of the most solemn scenes in the whole of Genesis. We're told explicitly in verse 29 that God spared Lot because of Abraham's intercession. Abraham's prayers had become the effectual means of God's gracious operation to save Lot from destruction.

But there is a warning in this passage for us as well. Jesus says to His disciples in Matthew 10:14-15 that those who reject the gospel message are liable to a more intense judgment than Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of destruction. If that is true, do we pray for those who are liable to that judgment with the same kind of earnestness that Abraham prayed? On that day of judgment, will we look across the lake of fire and with a clean conscience be able to say, “I have interceded for those who are liable to the judgment of God, and now I stand silent as that justice is visited upon them”? May God make it so.