THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH WINNING ALL (ECWA)
5007 SOUTHSIDE DRIVE
LOUISVILLE, KY 40214
THEME: Abraham, the Friend of God
TOPIC: How Prayer Works
TEXT: Genesis 18: 23 – 33
Rev. (Dr.) Stephen K. Awoniyi
In our previous sermon we focused on the Man Melchizedek, been interpreted as “King of Righteousness.” It was mentioned that there is no reference or indication of his father’s name, mother’s name, any of his ancestors’ name, neither the time of his birth, nor his death. Nevertheless, he reigned has a priest perpetually. Also, it was emphasized that his identical characteristics of our Savior Jesus Christ could be narrated as: The High Priests of God, Kings of Righteousness, Appointed by God, and The Kings of Peace etc.
What is prayer?
Prayer could be explained in many ways, for instance, it could be viewed as:
1. A solemn request for help or expression of thanksgiving addressed to God.
2. A religious service at which Christians gather together in order to pray faithfully and honestly to the Almighty Father etc.
In reference to the man Matt Slick, prayer could also be explained in this way:
“Prayer is the practice of the presence of God. It is the place where pride is abandoned, hope is lifted, and supplication is made. Prayer is the place of admitting our need, of adopting humility, and claiming dependence upon God. Prayer is the needful practice of every Christian. Prayer is the exercise of faith and hope. Prayer is the privilege of touching the heart of the Father through the Son of God, Jesus our Lord.”
Matt Slick continues saying,
“The Bible speaks much of prayer. But, sometimes, too often, we ignore prayer and seek to accomplish in the strength of our own wills those things that we desire to have or happen. For those of us who are too often guilty of this, we need to bow our knees, confess our sins, receive God's forgiveness, and beg that the will of the Lord be done above our own. God is sovereign and loving and He knows what is best for us and others, even if it doesn't always seem to make the most sense.”
- The Sins of Sodom
In today’s sermon we will view Abraham’s intercession for the sins of Sodom. The Scripture says,
And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26 So the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”27 Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: 28 Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?”
So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.” 29 And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?” So He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.” 30 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?”
So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.” 32 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” 33 So the Lord went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place (Genesis 18: 23-33).
What does sin really mean and how does the Bible define it? The Scripture says;
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed (Rom. 3: 23-25 (NKJV).
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6: 23 (NKJV)
Some people think of sin as what they want to do but aren't allowed to do it. And that is true because that is what our Almighty Father says we shouldn't do. The reason is, if we do it, it will hurt us and others. The Lord hates sin because sin is like an evil disease that will ultimately make His children to suffer and to die. Be assured that God is our Creator, and He knows what is good for us and what will bring harm to us as well. The Scripture again says;
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous (1 John 3: 4-7).
- Abraham’s Great Concern for the Lost
The above phrase narrates how Abraham intercedes on behalf of the lost. That is, Abraham was deeply, faithfully, and honestly concerned for the lives of the righteous people in Sodom. He continued his dialogue with the Lord by gradually reducing the number of the righteous people in Sodom. He started thus:
(1). Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it?
(2). The Lord answered him thus; “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the entire place for their sakes.”
(3). Then Abraham said again, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?”
(4). The Lord again continued and said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.”
(5). Abraham spoke again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?”
(6). The Lord said again, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.”
(7). Abraham again replied, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty should be found there?”
(8). The Lord then said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
(9). Abraham said again, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?”
(10). The Lord responded again and said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.”
(11). Abraham responded by saying, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more. Suppose ten should be found there?”
(12). In response to that question Abraham said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.”
(13). The Scripture says, “So the Lord went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.”
Brethren, do you truly agree that your prayers can open your spirit to the Spirit of the Lord? Do you also know that your devotion to prayer can take on the character of God for your success no-matter your difficulties or problems? Be assured that Abraham was never like God when he devoted himself praying for the city of Sodom. But, his fervent prayer enabled him to reflect the mercy and compassion of God. The Apostle Paul says,
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Meditate on These Things
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you (Phil. 4: 6-9).
How would you truly walk in obedience in view of what you learn today? Would you faithfully and honestly be obedient to God’s command by seeking for the lost and bringing them to faith in Christ Jesus, or would you still say that is not your duty? Be assured there is a Hymnal that says:
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to thee;
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of thy love
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for thy;
Take my voice and let me sing
Always, only, for my King.
Take my silver and gold,
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in cease-less praise.