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LOT’S WIFE

(SERMON #87 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, January 31, 2016

“Remember Lot's wife” (Luke 17:32).


We do not know this woman’s name. Nearly all we know about her is given to us in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis – and in few verses of Luke 17. We know she was the wife of Lot – Lot, who was the nephew of Abraham. Lot followed Abraham when he left Haran. God called Abraham to leave that city, which was full of idolatry and sin. The Bible says,

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out...” (Hebrews 11:8).

Lot followed Abraham. Lot was a man of faith but he was not a leader like his uncle Abraham. He led the life of a separated believer until the time came when he could no longer stay with Abraham. The flocks and herds of the two families multiplied, and they could not be well kept together. Lot was given a choice of where to go. He chose to go near the city of Sodom. The Bible says,

“Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly” (Genesis 13:12, 13).

And so Lot and his family went to live near the cities of the plain, where sin and degradation were so great. The Bible says, “He pitched his tent toward Sodom.” That is, he put up his tent near that wicked city. But Abraham moved his tent to the plain of Mamre “and built there an altar unto the Lord” (Genesis 13:18). Thus, Abraham and his family grew closer to God. But Lot and his family grew more and more worldly.

At last Lot moved his family into the city of Sodom. In the midst of that sinful place Lot and his family lived on. They became more and more like those in the city until four pagan kings came and carried Lot and his family away as captives. Abraham and his men went to rescue Lot and brought him back again. You would think he would say, “I’ll go back to Abraham’s way of life, and become a follower of God.” But instead, he again settled down in Sodom. It was a huge mistake. For by living in Sodom, and being closely associated with unbelievers, he was “vexed” and distressed by “the filthy conversation” and wicked lives of his neighbors in that city (II Peter 2:7). Yet he lingered there among them. He refused to come out from them, as God requires. The Bible says,

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Corinthians 6:14).

Yet that was not true of Lot. But our text is not about him. It is about his wife! It is of her that Christ spoke, when He said,

“Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).

Therefore I must leave Lot, and speak to you about her. “Remember Lot’s wife.”

I. First, remember that she was Lot’s wife.

She was the wife of Lot who, with all his faults, was a righteous man. The Apostle Peter told us plainly that Lot was a “righteous man” with a “righteous soul” (II Peter 2:8). She was united to him in marriage, and yet she perished! She had lived in tents with holy Abraham, and seemed to share his faith. And yet she perished. She had been with the holiest and best believers in the world, in Abraham’s house. And yet she perished.

No earthly relationship can help you if you reject Jesus Christ, and die in your sins! “Remember Lot’s wife!” “Remember Lot’s wife!”

I know the son of a godly pastor, one of the godliest men I have known. But his son is a lost man. I know him well. That son of a godly pastor is lost! lost! lost! Oh, “Remember Lot’s wife.” You may be in the church here every Sunday. You may come here week after week – Sunday after Sunday – but you only come for the party! You only come for the friendliness of our people. Oh, “Remember Lot’s wife!” “Remember Lot’s wife!”

Her name is never mentioned! She was probably a heathen woman. And so her name is left out. She heard Abraham pray. She joined in with them singing holy songs. She heard her husband and his uncle Abraham talk much about the Lord. Yet she herself never trusted the Lord. She only pretended to agree with them when they prayed. Is there someone here this morning like that? Do you only come to church for the fellowship – for the friendships – for the fun we have? Is that the only reason why you come? If you cling to the world and look at it longingly, you must die in your sin – even though you ate and drank with the people of God! Your own parents may be saved, while you yourself are thinking how much freedom and enjoyment you are missing by not leaving this church to enjoy the pleasures of this world with the people of Sodom! Oh, “Remember Lot’s wife!” “Remember Lot’s wife!” Jesus said,

“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:28, 29).

Have you counted the cost If your soul should be lost,
   Though you gain the whole world for your own?
Even now it may be that the line you have crossed,
   Have you counted, have you counted the cost?
(“Have You Counted the Cost?” by A. J. Hodge, 1923).

“Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).

II. Second, remember that she loved the world.

I have been preaching now for 58 years. I have seen so many young people come and say, “I want to be saved.” I always look very carefully at them when they say that – because I know that nine times out of ten they really don’t want to be saved from sin. Nine out of ten times they say they want to be saved and then go right on – living in sin and rebellion against God.

When we think of Sodom we immediately think of sexual perversion. That was indeed true of many in Sodom – but not all. There is no mention of Lot’s wife engaging in sexual sin. There is no mention of his sons-in-law engaging in sexual sin. But the Bible lists many other sins in Sodom. God compared ancient Jerusalem to Sodom when He said,

“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good” (Ezekiel 16:49, 50).

They were arrogant. They were gluttonous. They were unconcerned. They were selfish. They were haughty. They committed abominations. Dr. W. A. Criswell said, “Sodom’s sin does not end with its sensuality and unnatural acts but reaches to the ‘pride’ which comes from material prosperity. This ‘pride’ had lifted them above moral law in their own eyes” (Criswell Study Bible, note on Ezekiel 16:49).

Oh, it makes me sad when I see young people filled with pride. I see them begin to think they are intellectual and very smart – smarter than the Bible, smarter than God! Oh, how it begins to show in their faces, in the way they talk, even in their clothes. When they were small children, their hearts were with us. But then they get away from the church. They begin to make a new set of friends, worldly friends, friends who are not Christians. They begin to distrust their Christian parents and other Christians. They begin to look at the pastor as their enemy. They close their ears to everything he says. He used to be their friend – but now he seems to be their enemy.

See how they are similar to Lot’s wife. At first she listened to father Abraham. But then she saw the bright lights of the city. Then she spoke softly to her husband. She was tired of the life they were leading out in the wilderness. She told her husband they needed to be near the town. Her daughters needed to have more fun. They needed to meet young men in the city who were “getting ahead.” She didn’t want them to marry one of the boys that herded Abraham’s sheep. She wanted them to be more up-to-date. And so she led her weak-willed husband into the very heart of the city. And there she lost her life. And there she lost her soul. And there she lost everything, even God Himself! Oh, “Remember Lot’s wife!” “Remember Lot’s wife!”

Some of you tell me you want to be saved. Others trust Jesus and are converted. Most of them are newer young people. But somehow you can’t “get it” – as they say. Why can’t you? It isn’t all that complicated, is it? You want to be saved – but you also want to go on with the world. You want to go to church and be accepted as a Christian. But you also want to go with your lost friends and be accepted by them too. You want to have Christian friends in the church – and still have lost friends in the world. Isn’t that exactly what keeps you from Jesus? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Sure it is! You want to go to Heaven with one foot in Hell! Remember Lot’s wife!

Have you counted the cost If your soul should be lost,
   Though you gain the whole world for your own?
Even now it may be that the line you have crossed,
   Have you counted, have you counted the cost?

Remember Lot’s wife!

Dr. Thomas Hale said, “Let us not fool ourselves: We cannot seek after Christ and worldly blessings at the same time; we must choose” (The Applied New Testament Commentary; note on Mark 8:35). The Bible says,

“Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

Dr. Hale said, “It is not possible to love God and the world at the same time” (ibid.; note on James 4:4).

Some of you are struggling with this right now. You want to be a Christian. But you are like Lot’s wife. You want to also be with your lost friends in Sodom. Your struggle is really demonic. You hear me preach salvation through Christ. But you also hear the voice of the Devil in your mind. Jesus says, “Come to me.” But the Devil says, “Don’t be fooled. Look at the fun you will miss if you become a Christian.” Who will you listen to? Will you listen to Christ? Or will you listen to the Devil? The Bible says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). You must make a choice. You must either trust Christ or follow the Devil. Why do you resist the call of Christ? Why do you refuse to trust Him? Again, Dr. Hale said, “It is always because of some sin in our lives which we are not willing to give up” (ibid.; note on James 4:5). You must say in your heart,

I have decided to follow Jesus,
   I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus,
   No turning back, no turning back.

That is exactly what Lot’s wife refused to do. The Bible says, “His wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26). Dr. Henry M. Morris said, “She was buried in a shower of volcanic ash, with the body gradually being converted to ‘salt’...in a manner similar to that experienced by the inhabitants of Pompeii ...in the famous eruption of Mount Vesuvius” (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The New Defender’s Study Bible; note on Genesis 19:26).

“Remember Lot’s wife!”

III. Third, remember that she was almost saved.

Bishop J. C. Ryle said, “Lot’s wife went far in religious profession. She was the wife of a ‘righteous man.’ She was connected through him to Abraham, the father of the faithful. She fled with her husband from Sodom when he escaped for his life by God’s command. But Lot’s wife was not really like her husband. Though she fled with him, she had left her heart behind her [in the sinful city].” The angels told Lot, “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee...lest thou be consumed” (Genesis 19:17). But Bishop Ryle said, “She wilfully disobeyed the [command]. She looked back toward Sodom, and was at once struck dead. She was turned into a pillar of salt, and perished in her sins. Remember Lot’s wife!” (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke, volume 2, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015 reprint, clothbound, p. 183; note on Luke 17:32).

This should be a warning to all of you this morning. Why are you here in church? It is not because you are a Christian! No, no! You are far from being a Christian. You are here because someone brought you here. You have no thoughts about God! You live as if there is no God at all. You are a godless sinner. Someone brought you here. It was someone like Lot who brought you here. But you think the person who brought you is a little bit weird. That’s what Lot’s wife thought about him. Like her sons in law, Lot “seemed as one that mocked” (Genesis 19:14). It’s a big joke to you. I say that judgment is coming. I tell you this city will fall in a massive end-time earthquake (cf. Revelation 16:18). I tell you that your soul will sink down into Hell – that you will be tormented for ever, and ever, and ever! But I seem “as one who mocks” to you.

“Remember Lot’s wife!”

She was almost saved! She was already outside of Sodom. She was almost at the place of safety. And yet she perished. She was almost saved – but not quite! Let me repeat those words to you – “ALMOST Saved – But NOT Quite!” Escaped from the worst forms of sin – but not in Christ! Your mind not weaned from its idols! Wickedness not given up in your soul! Stopped short before trusting Jesus! As Felix said to Paul,

“Go thy way for this time; when I find it convenient, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25, KJV, NIV).

But no convenient time ever came. Felix thought you could be saved any time – nothing to it! He grieved away the Spirit of God – and he was as good as damned to Hell, even though he was still alive.

“Remember Lot’s wife!”

“Almost persuaded” now to believe;
   “Almost persuaded” Christ to receive;
Seems now some soul to say, “Go, Spirit, go Thy way,
   Some more convenient day On Thee I’ll call.”

“Almost persuaded,” harvest is past!
   “Almost persuaded,” doom comes at last!
“Almost” cannot avail; “Almost” is but to fail!
   Sad, sad, that bitter wail, “Almost” – but lost.
(“Almost Persuaded” by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

The young man who wrote that hymn trusted Christ when he was twelve years old. That was good – because he was dead only a few years later, in his thirties.

Have you been to Jesus? Have you trusted Him? Have you turned away from this sinful city to join the people of God? You don’t live on a farm out in the country, you know! You live in Los Angeles – the Sodom of the Western world. Will you leave the citizens of Los Angeles behind and come to Jesus? He died on the Cross for you. His Blood can cleanse you from all sin. You can have an eternal home in glory when you die. But you must leave the people of Los Angeles behind you – the girls at your school in tight pants and painted faces – the young men smoking and looking at pornography – Look at them! They are the God-forsaken citizens of Sodom! Don’t go to Hell with them!

Come out of Sodom! Come out from them! Come out from the city of darkness. Come into the light of Christ!

“Remember Lot’s wife!”

Amen.

If this sermon blessed you Dr. Hymers would like to hear from you. WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Luke 17:24-33.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Have You Counted the Cost?” (by A. J. Hodge, 1923).


THE OUTLINE OF

LOT’S WIFE

(SERMON #87 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Remember Lot's wife” (Luke 17:32).

(Hebrews 11:8; Genesis 13:12, 13, 18;
II Peter 2:7; II Corinthians 6:14)

I.   First, remember that she was Lot’s wife,
II Peter 2:8; Luke 17:28, 29.

II.  Second, remember that she loved the world,
Ezekiel 16:49, 50; James 4:4, 7; Genesis 19:26.

III. Third, remember that she was almost saved,
Genesis 19:17, 14; Acts 24:25.