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Sermon 9/9/07 –
Power – Genesis 19:14

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Power

Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, ‘Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!’ But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking” (Genesis 19:14)

The power of God is immense, beyond our ability to comprehend it, and that is our problem. We don’t see it and so we tend to not believe. What we CAN see is that we utilize God’s power every minute of every day without recognizing it for what it is. My wife and I live in a place where we have had electrical power for most of our lives. A wall switch is flipped and the room is filled with LIGHT! A button is pushed and we can heat our coffee or tea to the desired temperature. In one half of our refrigerator, the process of decay is delayed just enough so that our fresh food does not spoil. In the other half, a glacial temperature is maintained that freezes certain foods for extended periods of time. God created the energy we call “electricity” and our benefit from it is His miracle, but we do not even notice because we are used to it and don’t see His hand, His gift, in all that happens.

A few days ago, in the heat of a Sunday afternoon, the power suddenly went out. On Tuesday afternoon the power was returned to half of our house, but the other half, including the part that contains our computers and microwaves, was still out. I used a portable lap top borrowed from my wife to prepare this sermon because in addition to the loss of electricity, our phones don’t work either and we can’t access the internet. At least it’s typed! During the time the entire house was completely off, we periodically flipped a light switch, but nothing happened. When the sun went down, our day was essentially over because we could not see to do much of anything. We have fans to cool the house, but there was no power and nothing worked. It was nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the house, but we couldn’t get any relief. We were powerless.

We bought ice from the store, including a piece of dry ice suggested by the sales clerk and managed to save some of our food. We don’t know if it actually is still good or not.

But then, a miracle of God’s power! A Christian neighbor, Richard, was concerned about our mutual neighbor, Armie, who is in her 80’s. He set up a portable generator and suddenly she had power to her refrigerator, some of her lights and a TV set. The generator was between her house and ours – Richard came over and asked, “Would you like to share Armie’s power?” There were enough electrical cords and there were sockets on the generator, so we enthusiastically responded, “Yes!” Suddenly our refrigerator worked and we were able to use an electrical fan to cool us through the second night.

We take a lot for granted in our lives. God gives us the ability to move, to laugh, to breathe, to communicate, to love, and we are all enabled, like Richard, and through Richard, Armie, to help others. And note that we often are not impressed with the gifts we have, until they are lost, and then suddenly, we see our need. Most in the world have not known power such as is common in today's world. Historically, as a people, most have simply gone to sleep because it is dark and awaken because it is day once more. Humanity has had little defense against heat and cold, but with the advent of electrical power, all that has changed.

There is another power that humans everywhere know little about. It is the power of God, which IS expressed in outward manifestations like electricity, but it can also be expressed through the wonder of His Holy Spirit, in ways beyond the ability of the natural man to understand. People briefly pray when things go wrong and they wonder (or scoff) when the answers do not seem to come. The human body is viewed by individuals in this way: It’s Mine! And with that attitude, we typically are distressed when the power is cut off through paralysis, cancer or the aging process. We also tend to view money as power and you might become frightened when your accountant says, “You’ve been operating at a loss for far too long and must close your doors!” Or the boss says, “You’re fired!

Human society teaches us to ignore the things of God. We are taught, “Believe in YOURSELF!” which is just not enough. A godless “humanism” is presented as the solution to mankind’s problems, and if you say to someone, “I’ll pray for you,” it’s possible they will respond with an embarrassed silence and not associate with you anymore. But we need and everybody else needs - the power of God.

Lot, the nephew of Abraham, was told by two angelic beings sent by God to him, that his city and a neighboring community had displeased God to the extent that both places were to be destroyed. They would be annihilated by the power of God and it was also through the same power that these “angels” accurately predicted the future to Lot. And when you think about it, the fact that Lot could see the angels was also a miracle. God is near to us at all times and we are surrounded by angelic beings according to many accounts in Scripture, but we don’t recognize them unless God turns on the power and lets us “see.”

Lot knew what was going to happen through the power and love of God, and so he did what our neighbors Richard and Armie did – he extended that love to others. Lot told his sons-in-law that they were in great danger. “Get up,” he said, “Get out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city!” (Genesis 19:14). Lot lived in Sodom and Gomorrah, a place of great sinfulness, and many today live in places of terrible sin. But he had faith in the Lord, and though his faith may have been small, in the sight of God it was enough, just as your faith may be little, but it is enough in the sight of God.

Lot believed because the Holy Spirit enabled him to understand. But Scripture records the response he received when he tried to help others: “To his sons-in-law, he appeared to be joking” (Genesis 19:14). They were not interested in the power of God as expressed through Lot and God’s holy angels, and therefore they did not believe.

Many in the church, but not all, have a gift of “evangelism,” given through the Holy Spirit of God, which is expressed in two ways: First, the one who knows the Lord and has that gift, tells others about the Lord, with the intention that they will trust in Jesus Christ. The second part is that the one who hears the words about the Lord is touched by God’s Holy Spirit and is encouraged to believe. Many, like Lot’s sons-in-law, have rejected the Lord to the extent that they can no longer “hear.” It's like the recent power failure in our home and neighborhood. Our radio was OK, messages were still being sent by the radio station, but the power was out and nothing could be heard. It is our job to NOT be like Lot’s sons-in-law. When someone says, “Jesus is returning soon; give your heart to Him before it is too late.” It’s not a joke. The time to trust in the Lord is now, while the Holy Spirit can still be “heard” in your “heart.”

Lord, forgive us our sins. We trust in You now. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

www.FirstChurchOnTheNet.org
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Write to:
Ron@FridayStudy.org
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
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