Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Sin of Sodom

Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, John Martin, 1852

Do you know what the sin of Sodom was? There was more to it than what you think. I'm going to show you from Scripture what the Lord said their sin was. The context of this was the Lord's words through the prophet Ezekiel to unfaithful Jerusalem in Ezekiel 16. He said:

"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it." (Eze 16:49-50)

Based on this passage of Scripture, here are the sins of Sodom:

Pride and Arrogance 
The first sin that the Lord mentioned was arrogance, which is also translated as "pride" in the King James Version (KJV). It means "making or having the disposition to make exorbitant claims of rank or estimation; giving one's self an undue degree of importance; haughty; conceited." Not only was Sodom guilty of this sin, but also Jerusalem at the time of her exile in the days of Ezekiel. Later on, even the Church of Laodicea was guilty of this sin. The Lord told them: "You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.'" (Rev 3:17, NIV). I believe as many others do that we live in the Laodicean age of the Church, when the Church is lukewarm like that first-century church in Asia was. The Lord's message is still the same.

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Rev 3:15-22, NIV)

The key words are "be earnest and repent."

The second sin of Sodom, according to the Lord was abundant food ("fullness of bread", KJV). This word means "gluttony, which is excess in eating; extravagant indulgence of the appetite for food." Jesus warned us sternly about this sin, when He said, "Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry." (Lk 6:25a, NIV).

The key words are "woe to you." The majority of Americans and other people living in the West are well fed, so let's take heed to the Lord's words.

The third sin of Sodom, according to the Lord was careless ease ("idleness", KJV). The English expression "careless ease" comes from two Hebrew words, shâqaṭ and shalvâh. Here are the Strong's definitions of these words:

shâqaṭ - shaw-kat' - to repose (usually figuratively): - appease, idleness, (at, be at, be in, give) quiet (-ness), (be at, be in, give, have, take) rest, settle, be still.

shalvâh - shal-vaw' - security (genuine or false): - abundance, peace (-ably), prosperity, quietness.

When these two words are used together, they refer to idleness, in other words they mean taking it easy in a place of plenty. It refers to relaxing and reposing, because of the sense of peace we feel, whether genuine or false, on account of our prosperity. The test of poverty is difficult, but the test of prosperity is much worse, because we can be lulled into a false sense of security. We can become complacent and feel we have no need of God. We can also become ensnared by the material things of this world, too. The proverb says:

"...give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." (Pr 30:9, NIV).

Let's beware of careless ease, because idleness is the devil's workshop. Also see House of Idleness.

Ignoring the Poor and Needy
The fourth sin of Sodom, according to the Lord was that she did not help the poor and needy. Jesus warned about this sin, too, when He spoke about how He will judge the goats when He sits on His glorious throne:

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' "He will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Mat 25:41-46).

Jesus will tell these people to depart from him into eternal fire. He said they are cursed and will go away to eternal punishment, because of what they didn't do for the least of these. Among the things they didn't do for Him was their failure to satisfy His hunger and thirst, their failure to clothe His nakedness, and their failure to help Him when He was sick or in prison. The key words are whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Jesus.

As the proverb says, "Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered." (Pr 21:13, NIV). Ignoring those in need is essentially a lack of love for one's neighbor, just as the priest and Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37), who passed by the wounded man on the street and did not help him. They did not love their neighbor as themselves, but the Samaritan who stopped and helped the hurt man did have mercy on his neighbor, and that is what pleases the Lord.

The fifth sin of Sodom, according to the Lord was that they were haughty. That word comes from the Hebrew word gâbahh (gaw-bah').  It means to soar, that is, be lofty; figuratively to be haughty: exalt, be haughty, be high or higher, lift up, mount up, be proud, raise up great height. Haughty means proud and disdainful; having a high opinion of one's self, with some contempt for others; lofty and arrogant. Haughty comes from haught (Fr., haut), which means high, elevated. As the proverb says, "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." (Pr 16:18, NIV). Beware of a proud and haughty spirit. God opposes or resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).

Detestable things
The sixth sin of Sodom, according to the Lord was that they did detestable or abominable things before Him. Most of us are aware of the story of how the Lord sent two angels to see if what they had done was as bad as the outcry against them. We know how the two angels stayed at Lot's house, and what the wicked men of Sodom said to Lot when they came looking for the angels. 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." (Gen 19:5). The Lord calls this an abomination or a detestable thing.

"'Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable." (Lev 18:22)

"'Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants." (Lev 18:24-25)

"And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you. 'Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people." (Lev 18:28-29)

"'If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable..." (Lev 20:13a)

The apostle Paul wrote about these things in his epistle to the Romans:

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them...Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another...God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done....Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them." (Rom 1:18-19, 24, 26b-28, 32, NIV).

This is not a phobia toward any one particular type of person, nor is it a bias against any one group of people. The apostle said the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness. That applies to any and all people who do so, not just certain people.

Consequences of Suppressing the Truth
I want to warn you that there are many serious and unpleasant consequences for those who suppress the truth (Rom 1:18) and do not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God (Rom 1:28), especially the fact that God gives them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. Paul wrote:

"Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy." (Rom 1:28-31)

It affects every area of their lives, just as the Lord said through the prophet Ezekiel about Sodom and Jerusalem. Paul said that they have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. The list Paul gave here is very similar to the one Ezekiel gave as outlined in this post. There is the same arrogance and boasting, the same absence of love and mercy, and the same detestable things. There is also the same greed, which is an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.

A Rich Man in Hell
The Lord told us about a certain rich man who lived in luxury every day. He was dressed in purple and fine linen. At his gate a beggar named Lazarus was laid to beg. But the rich man ignored the beggar and when he died, he ended up in hell, but the beggar was at peace and rest. Here is the true story that Jesus told:

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' "'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'" (Luk 16:19-31).

Hell is real, people! Don't go to that place. Repent now while there is still a chance. Take heed to the warnings in the Scriptures. The rich man was in agony in that place of torment. There is no way out of hell. That rich man is still there in torment to this day and has never had a single drop of water since then. His wish was that someone like Lazarus would be sent from the dead to warn his brothers, who were still alive on earth. However, Abraham refused that request, saying that if his brothers would not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they would not listen even if someone rises from the dead.

In fact, a man named Lazarus was raised from the dead, although not the same Lazarus. This man was the brother of Mary and Martha, and Jesus raised him from the dead after he was in the grave for four days. But the enemies of Christ wanted to kill Lazarus after that, so it obviously didn't make any difference to them, since they would not listen to the Scriptures. Likewise, when Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day, after they crucified Him on the cross, that didn't get them to repent either. Instead they paid the Roman soldiers that guarded His tomb to lie and say that Jesus' disciples came during the night and stole His body from the tomb.

There are in fact many people who have died and experienced hell. I have written about many of them on my Eternal Destinations blog. One of those people I wrote about, who died and went to hell, is Michael Sambo. He has been to my home and eaten a Thanksgiving meal with me and my family. So a man who rose from the dead has in fact come to my home, which is an honor and a privilege. But if I don't listen to the Word of God and take heed to its warnings, then even if a man like that visits my home and warns me about what he saw in hell, it will make no difference.

God's Love for the Sinner
Dear friend, no matter what sins you have committed, I want you to know that Jesus Christ loves you and is seeking you. He came to seek and save the lost (Lk 19:10). God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). That goes for all of us, no matter who we are or what we've done. A moment ago in this post, I quoted the passage about the rich man in hell from Luke 16, but you have to read the full context of that passage, which is immediately preceded by Luke 15, where the Lord spoke about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. In each case, there was an intense searching or longing to find that which was lost and bring it home. That's the heart of God for the lost sinner. He hates your sin, but He loves you and wants you to come back to Him. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9).

Putting it All Together
The Lord warned Jerusalem through the prophet Ezekiel that they had become worse than their sister Sodom. If that is possible for Jerusalem, it is certainly possible today for anyone -- even a church --  to become like this. And we know that even this has already happened, so let this be a wake up call to all of us. Let's take heed to this warning and repent of these sins of Sodom, if we have participated in them: pride and arrogance, a haughty spirit, idleness, gluttony, ignoring the poor and needy, and doing detestable things before the Lord.

Attribution notice: Most Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, used by permission. Scripture quotations taken from the NASB copyright Lockman Foundation, used by permission. The Destruction of Sodom painting is oil on canvas by John Martin 1852, and it is in the public domain.

Author's note: I recommend my article called The Law of Christ, which explains why the teachings of Jesus Christ must be our foundation, and that the teachings of the apostles and prophets must be understood on that basis alone. I also recommend the Sins That Will Keep You from HeavenThe Top Ten Things Jesus Taught, Abominations in the Sight of God, Pope Frances Supports Homosexuality, The Peace and Love I've Come to Know, What's Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel?, and Sin and Consequence.You may find the Main Directory for the Seeking the Lord blog here.  You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell Revelation of Hell to Seven Colombian Youths Angelica Zambrano Hell and Heaven
Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations Only the Holy -- Three Shocking Testimonies Angelica Zambrano Second Visit to Hell
Walking in the Perfect Will of God Ibrahim's Experience in Hell Holy Living in a Perverted World

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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