Intercession Back to all sermons

Genesis

Date: October 14, 2018

Speaker: Ed Heyler

Series: Genesis

Scripture: Genesis 18:16–18:33

  • Genesis 18:16-33
  • Intercession
  • Genesis 18:16-21

16 Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 17 The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18 seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” 20 Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

  • Genesis 18:22-26

22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26 And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

  • Genesis 18:27-28

27 Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

  • Genesis 18:29

29 Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.”

  • Genesis 18:30

30 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”

  • Genesis 18:31

31 He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.”

  • Genesis 18:32-33

32 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33 And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

  • Main Point
  • These verses provide a prelude to what is about to happen in Sodom and Gomorrah
  • In learning God’s will, Abraham seeks to intercede on behalf of the righteous
  • God accepts Abraham’s pleas up until 10 righteous remain
  • If there are 10, no judgment will come to the city
  • Application Points
  • Gods Intercedes (Election)
  • One of the more controversial moments in this chapter deals with election
  • Election…God elects certain individuals when it comes to salvation
  • He predestines some, and not others
  • How could a loving God elect one rather than others?
  • Doesn’t choice matter? Aren’t we free individuals?
  • The first thing to dispel is that we would choose God apart from Him coming into our lives to begin with
  • When we consider Abraham, we do not see a man seeking God a tall
  • Yet God, in His mercy and grace, chose Abraham
  • Application Points
  • Gods Intercedes [Election] (2)
  • Does this mean Abraham has no choice?
  • Abraham chooses what is right, but also what is wrong, before and after the covenant is ratified
  • It is not Abraham who chose God
  • Instead, the text says, “I chose Abraham.”
  • God has purposefully chosen Abraham with all of his good and bad in order to bring glory to Himself
  • This does not begin nor end with Abraham
  • The chosen line of Seth, Noah, Moses, David, the Prophets, the apostles, all Christians
  • It is God’s choice…consider what we read in Romans 3

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for fall have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

  • Application Points
  • Gods Intercedes [Election] (3)
  • Paul is essentially arguing that because we have all sinned we all deserve judgment
  • God has made a way through faith, but that faith is a gift by His grace
  • Salvation does not depend on you, but fully on God
  • We are weak, our God is so strong
  • If God is the one who elects, why some and not others?
  • Does this mean that God is unjust? Paul answers these questions later on in Romans 9…

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

  

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump done vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

  

  • Application Points
  • Gods Intercedes [Election] (4)
  • Paul discuses the problem with election, concluding that God is sovereign over all humanity
  • He allows humanity its freedom, but uses His own freedom in order to bring about His glory
  • He chooses certain individuals out, because in the end* that individual will give Him the most glory
  • We must not make a mistake
  • his does not mean that you and I are of such a spiritual degree as to personally give the most glory to God
  • There are individuals smarter, stronger, and would be better suited in following God by not messing up as much as I have
  • But it isn’t merely individual choices, how much as individuals we give glory to God
  • Application Points
  • Gods Intercedes [Election] (5)
  • Instead, it is a reflection that the end goal, the purpose of all existence, is to glorify God
  • Somehow, God is most glorified through you in the end
  • That through the choices you will make, God will become most glorified when all is said in done
  • He doesn’t choose us because we so happen to be the “best” at being Christians
  • He chooses us because in our personhood we will make choices and He will use those choices to further His kingdom and His glory
  • He chooses for His glory
  • Application Points
  • Gods Intercedes [Election] (6)
  • This should cause you to take a deep breath and say, “Thank you God”
  • Apart from Him we would be vessels of destruction
  • Apart from His intercession, we would be facing the judgment we deserve
  • It should also cause you peace knowing it is not all in your hands
  • All too often people think, “If I was smart/strong/not mess up, better at persuading…surely I could bring more people to Christ!”
  • This isn’t your responsibility!
  • Your responsibility is to be faithful to God, and to trust Him to change people’s hearts for His glory. He does the work
  • Application Points
  • Gods Intercedes [Election] (7)
  • This does not mean that we have no choice
  • Abraham was chosen, but he also made choices
  • We are the same
  • To be spiritually disciplined, to continue to love the Lord
  • We are blessed to partake in the glory of God, as He redeems our wills for Himself, and in this we will find incredible joy
  • This is something wonderful we find about Abraham
  • He was just like us, a broken sinner
  • Yet God chose him, and He chooses us
  • Praise God for His knowledge, and His wisdom, that He would create humanity with freedom, and that His redemption would redeem even our free will
  • Application Points
  • Abraham’s Intercession
  • A good example of what we saw previously, that is God’s election and our free will, is found in Abraham’s intercession
  • Abraham intercedes on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah
  • One of the great philosophical dilemmas deals with intercession
  • Let’s say, that God decides to cast judgment on a city through a plague
  • The priest who is there is then caught in a dilemma…
  • If he helps, then he is going against God who brought the judgment, if he doesn’t help, then he is being callous and unloving
  • Application Points
  • Abraham’s Intercession (2)
  • What is the response? The response is found in two places
  • The first is here with Abraham
  • He intercedes on behalf of these cities
  • God paved the way for such intercession by saying, “I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”
  • The last remark gives precedence for Abraham to step forward, and God is not angry that Abraham does so
  • Another place we find it is in Jesus’ response to the death of Lazarus
  • The anger Christ experiences isn’t toward Lazarus, or God, but against that which brings death, that is sin
  • Consider what Jesus says…
  • “38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this ion account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” - John 11:38-44
  • Application Points
  • Abraham’s Intercession (3)
  • We see in this Christ goes in step with the Father
  • He requested of the Father, and the Father heard His Son
  • Christ, the Intercessor, interceded on behalf of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus
  • The goal for it was God would be glorified
  • Abraham isn’t just interceding on behalf of the people, Abraham is also concerned about God being known rightly, in particular concerning His righteousness
  • This leads to us, in that intercession is something we’re called to do
  • When we pray for each other, we are interceding on their behalf
  • Application Points
  • Abraham’s Intercession (4)
  • At the same time we are to pray for those outside of the Church, for unbelievers
  • When we pray for preachers to preach the Gospel
  • For prophets to proclaim the truth
  • We are interceding by asking God not to judge our towns, but redeem them
  • We are the priest, and this world is the city, and the people in the world have the plague
  • Our response is to be angry over the wages of sin, while at the same time showing God’s grace, His righteousness, and His justice in the world
  • We heal, we help, we act as moving parts in the redemption plan of God Almighty
  • Application Points
  • Abraham’s Intercession (5)
  • We do this by our own free will, yet we would not if we were not redeemed
  • Thus, it is only because God first interceded on our behalf that we intercede on behalf of others
  • He deserves the glory, then, for our actions
  • So be like Abraham in this world, be one who intercedes
  • Be encouraged to not sit idly by while the world burns
  • Seek righteousness, seek justice, be who you are called to be in the faith trusting in the strength of Christ to overcome darkness, with His Spirit in us to guide our steps
  • He is with us, and because He is, we can, and we shall, prevail
  • Application Points
  • The Gospel of Christ
  • Origins
  • Fall
  • Redemption
  • Glorification