Maintaining a Strong Witness
Abraham’s nephew, Lot, is a prime example of a person sliding toward compromise and losing their witness for Christ. Some commentators believe that Lot is a picture of the Christian in the end times before the Second Coming of Christ. He is called righteous in 2 Peter 2:7 and he is rescued by God before the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. As such, he could be a picture, or type, of the Christian in the last days before the rapture of the church. We would do well to study his downward spiral and examine ourselves to be sure we aren’t compromising and losing our witness for Christ. How did Lot get to the place in his life where those who were closest to him laughed at his attempts to warn them of God’s wrath and judgment? How can we avoid having this happen to us?
In Genesis 13 Abraham allowed Lot to choose where he would like to live when their flocks became too large to continue living together. Lot chose the well-watered plains the looked like Egypt. In Scripture, Egypt is used as a type of the world system that is opposed to God. Lot’s choice indicated that he was drawn by the things of the world. He was enticed by his eyes and chose to pitch his tent near Sodom even though the “men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD.” (Verse 13) By the time we get to chapter 14, he is taken captive when Sodom rebels against King Chedorlaomer, and there is a war. Abraham goes to rescue him and brings him back, just as we should rescue our loved ones who have been taken captive by the evil king of this world – Satan. However, Lot apparently doesn’t learn his lesson and once again moves into Sodom to live. By the time we get to chapter 19, some believe he is the mayor of the city because of the way he greets the angels at the gate and offers them hospitality at his house.
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” Genesis 19:1-2a
The hour of danger for us is when we first begin to choose. We often feel the pull to be like the world, wanting to be accepted and to have what everyone else has, and do what everyone else does. We desire fellowship with Christ, and a life of acceptance by the world. Thus, many try to do exactly what Lot tried to do - compromise, in order to have both. Jesus warned us that we could not serve both God and mammon (confidence, wealth, avarice). The way of God is narrow. If we are on the road with many people, acting like them, living like them, etc. we are not on a narrow road!
The second lesson from this is that when you attempt to gain the best of both worlds, you destroy others besides yourself. Because of his poor witness he lost not only his friends in the city, but his wife. He had such a poor witness with his daughters’ betrothed husbands that they thought he was joking. The men of the city, many of whom must have been his friends, threatened to do worse to him than they were planning to do to the angels. When we try to be accepted by the world and go along with their sin, we are failing them!
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17
Lot couldn’t have become the mayor of a city like Sodom if he had been speaking out against their evil. He had to have been looking the other way and keeping silent about the sin taking place all around him. He must not have told even his daughters’ betrothed husbands about the God of Abraham, judging by their reaction to his warning.
So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. (Genesis 19:14)
In today’s cultural climate, we have been conditioned to accept the sin of others and to be “tolerant” of alternate lifestyles. When we try to speak out against the evil in our world, oftentimes we are cancelled and forcibly censored. Sadly, some Christians today fit the model of Lot as a picture of Christians just before the rapture. They are too afraid to speak out and warn people about sin and the coming of Christ and the Tribulation. They may be afraid that people will laugh at them and think they’re crazy, as Lot’s daughters’ fiancés did when Lot finally tried to warn them. Don’t forget, however, that Lot’s failure to be a witness caused him to lose many friends and even his wife! He was well liked by the folks in Sodom, but in the end, he lost them all. How tragic to lose those we love for the sake of what the world calls “love.” It isn’t loving to allow people to destroy themselves and miss eternal life with God.
We can’t allow our compromise or our fear of the cancel culture to silence our witness. We need to speak out and try to win as many souls as we can before it’s too late. In the end, being laughed at or even cancelled is a small price to pay for even one soul who may listen to us and be saved as a result of our speaking out. God help us to be brave witnesses in these last days!