Keeping Your Kids Out of Hell by Pastor Abidan Shah

KEEPING YOUR KIDS OUT OF HELL by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

Keeping Your Kids Out of HellIntroduction: Two years ago I preached a revival at Mt. Olivet UMC in Manteo, same church where Andy Griffith was a member. After the last night of revival, I decided to head back home. The pastor of the church tried to talk me out of leaving because there was snow in the forecast but I thought that I could beat it. I bought a large cup of coffee. The boys were with me and I set them up with their movies. It would be 12-1 at night when we got home, no big deal. Five minutes into the trip I realized – Big deal! Sleet, heavy snow, and my truck started skidding on that icy bridge. I couldn’t see past 5 feet in front of me. The bad part was that I was on a 3-mile long narrow bridge called the Alligator River Bridge! I’m sure there’s a reason why they call it that! I was so angry at my self – “What were you thinking?! Why didn’t you listen?!” I remember telling the boys, “I am so sorry” and I asked them to start praying. We finally made it off the bridge but it got worse. Now I was on the most desolate stretch of Highway 64 with swampland on either side and I couldn’t pull over. Also, I remember seeing a sign coming in like “Don’t disturb or feed the bears.” Some of you might say – “Oh bears are usually hibernating in the winter.” Not if you run into them with a truck! Have you seen “Open Season”?! By the way, isn’t it amazing that when you really need cellphone, there’s no service. Finally, I was able to call the pastor and he was able to get in touch with one of his pastor friends in Columbia or this could have gone really badly. The point is this – the fault was with me, not my boys. I led them into a situation that could have ended very badly. As bad as that was, it is much worse when parents lead their children towards hell. Today’s sermon on the family is titled – “KEEPING YOUR KIDS OUT OF HELL.”

Genesis 19   12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city—take them out of this place! 13 For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law…and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.

Few questions: If you are a parent or a grandparent, how are you leading your children? Or how have you led your children? Are you serious about their eternal future? Are you doing all you can lead them to Christ? Do you know Christ as Savior? Are you saved?

As you know, we’re studying the family of Abraham and Sarah from the Book of Genesis and in this message we’re going to learn how they kept their kids out of hell. In order to get the right perspective, we’ll have to begin with Genesis 12:4 “So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him.” Lot was Abraham’s nephew. As I mentioned in the previous messages, I believe that Lot attached himself to Abraham in Haran, maybe because his own father had died earlier. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, unlike Abraham who got a call from God, there’s no mention of such a call in Lot’s life. This does not mean that he wasn’t saved. It only means that he was not ready to go further with God. But when he saw his uncle breaking camp, he decided to join the caravan. Everywhere Abraham went, Lot went with him and, every time God blessed Abraham, Lot managed to get in on the blessing. Bottom line: Lot was a coattail hanger. Who is a coattail hanger? This is a person who comes into your life and attaches himself or herself to you. They go where you go but they’re not where you are. They talk like you talk but they’re only copying you. They may even show some external improvements but they don’t have the same internal values and convictions. They simply hang on to your proverbial coattails.

Principle: Beware of coattail hangers. They have the potential to get you off course. You won’t see their true colors until you face some crisis together.

Question: Do you have a coattail hanger in your life? Are you a coattail hanger?

Let’s return to our account: Both Abraham and Lot’s livestock kept growing and there was a conflict between their herdsmen. So Abraham approached Lot and reminded him that they were family and there was no need to fight. Instead, he told Lot to pick the land he wanted first. Why did Abraham do that? Was it because he was a humble, peace loving, or generous man? It was much more than that. Listen to Hebrews 11   9 “By faith he (Abraham) dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents…10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Don’t misunderstand this. It does not mean that Abraham was a nomad, a Bedouin, who was content with wandering from place to place. It does not mean that Abraham was an idealist, who was looking for some magical city in the sky. What it means is that he wanted to be the citizen of a city of which God was the Founder and the Mayor. It means that he wanted to build his home and raise his children in a city whose vision and values were directed by God. Until he found that city, he was willing to live in tents. Again, please don’t misunderstand this. This does not mean that Abraham had the bumper sticker “Tent Life” on the backside of all his camels. What it means is that Abraham refused to submit to the sinful culture in which he lived.

Let me clarify: In this life, you’ll have to live in a city and buy or build a home. You will have to be involved in the world around you. You may have to send your kids to schools and colleges where you live. Nothing is wrong with that. Sometime people think that to follow God you need to get into communes or get into some time warp from 200-300 years ago. Not only is that odd but it goes directly against Jesus’ command to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We’re not to isolate ourselves from the world but to influence the world with the gospel. But there is a third category of people – they are those who instead of influencing the world get assimilated into the world. They are sucked into the temptations and lures of the world.

Question: Which one are you? Are you isolated from the world? Are you influencing the world? Are you assimilating or assimilated into the world?

Abraham was not an isolationist but an influencer but how about Lot? 10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan…” That statement reminds me of Genesis 3:6 “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” So also 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” What did Lot see? 10 (He) saw all the plain of Jordan that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.” Keep in mind that much more than the foliage and terrain is in view here. When Lot had followed Abraham into Egypt, he was so impressed and dazzled by the land and the culture that he never got over it. He longed to be in a place like Egypt! 11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. What Lot didn’t realize is that by journeying towards Jordan he was exing himself out of God’s promise.

Principle: As a pastor for about 18 years I have seen people choose the greener grass, thinking that it would make them happy. They think it would be so much better for their children and their future. What they don’t realize is in the process they ex themselves out of God’s promise of protection and direction.

But that’s not the worst. 12 “…and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. I think Lot saw in Sodom what he had seen in Egypt. It was a perfect place to be except for one problem – 13 “But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.” What was so bad about Sodom? Later you will see that this city became synonymous with homosexuality. Sometimes people say that homosexuality is a sin like any other sin. What’s the big deal? It’s a big deal to God. Romans 1 warns us that it is the last step on the way down. It’s the point at which God finally gives people over to their debased minds to destroy themselves completely. Why? We are made in the image of God. We are a copy of God. For a man to say he is a woman or for a woman to say she is a man is to say that the copy is faulty which implies that the original is faulty.

What’s the result? By the next chapter Genesis 14:12 Lot has become a citizen of Sodom. In Genesis 18 & 19 we hear that God himself came down (the pre-incarnate Christ) with two of his angels. It’s time for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. But because of Abraham’s pleading with God, He instructed his angels to go in and rescue Lot and his family from Sodom. It is so bad in Sodom that the men of the city even came to gang rape the angels. After striking those evil men with blindness, listen to what they told Lot in Genesis 19   12 “…Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city—take them out of this place! 13 For we will destroy this place…” What was the response? His son-in-laws laughed at him. They thought he was joking. Their wives (his daughters) probably laughed as well. As to sons, I believe that they were too far-gone. The only ones he could rescue were his wife and his two virgin (unmarried) daughters. Listen to verse 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. I wish I could say, “then they lived happily ever after.” Lot begged the angels not to make him escape into the mountains but to stay in a small city nearby. But because he didn’t go far enough, he even lost his wife because she looked behind him and turned into a pillar of salt. Then you know how his daughters got him drunk and slept with him, giving birth to the Moabites and the Ammonites who were a thorn in the side of the people of God.

Principle: Many times people make decisions based on their material eyesight. They see something alluring and exciting and they go for it without any regard to what this would mean for the future of their marriage and children.

You want to keep your kids out of hell?

  • Stop being a coattail hanger
  • Lead them to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God
  • Do whatever you can to keep them from Sodom
  • Be warned that there will be a fight
  • Stop lingering and negotiating with God

I knew of a family growing up who did the very same thing and lost it all.

Are you saved? Are you doing all you can to keep your kids out of hell

Keeping Intimacy in Marriage Part Six

KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE – 6 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

intimacy6

Today is our final message in this series called KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE. Again, I’m amazed at how much you loved these messages and passed it along to friends and family! It tells us that there is a great hunger for truth about marriage and family.

Matthew 5   27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Overall Background: The passage we just read troubled me a lot growing up. As a little boy, I remember my dad preaching on it several times and each time it left me more confused and worried and afraid. Why? Because I seriously thought that by the time I was 6 or 7, I’d be blind and by the time I was 10, I’d have both my hands chopped off. I would actually wonder – I know I can use my left hand to chop off my right hand but then how about my left hand? Maybe I can use my feet or maybe get a friend to do it. What in the world is Jesus talking about when he says – 29 “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you…”

If there’s one sin that God takes very seriously, probably more than others, it is sexual sins. If there’s one sin that human beings do not take very seriously, it is sexual sins. We blame everything and everyone, other than ourselves. Unfortunately, the consequences are devastating and the penalty is severe.

Question: How seriously do you take sexual sins? How seriously do you take the sins of the body? Do you understand the tremendous consequences that follow sexual sins? Do you understand God’s wrath against sexual sins? Are you saved?

3 questions we’re going to answer about marriage from this passage:

QUESTION #1 – SHOULD WE PRACTICE SELF-MORTIFICATION? NO.

People throughout the history of the church have misunderstood this passage. A great example was the church father by the name of Origen from Alexandria, Egypt. First he tried to roll naked over sharp briars but when that didn’t work, he actually had himself castrated. Later on he was sorry that he had made that decision. Some circles still practice flagellations and wear cilices. Is this what Jesus was saying in this passage? The first thing to keep in mind is that self-mutilation is forbidden in the Bible. Deuteronomy 14:1 “You are the children of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves…”

What exactly is Jesus saying in this passage? To answer this question, you have to understand the moral setting in the time of Jesus. Things weren’t much different than today. Most Greeks and Romans strongly condemned adultery. To say that someone was adulterous was considered a big insult. It was thought of as stealing. After all, a wife was considered to be a husband’s property. Looking at many of the ancient plays and dramas of the time, even the common public looked down upon adultery. Jewish people, especially, strongly condemned adultery. It was considered shameful.

Having said that, adultery was quite common back then. The Roman philosopher Seneca says that those who do not practice adultery stand out. Even the Jewish people had become more and more like their neighbors. They knew that the punishment for adultery was death by stoning but hardly anyone practiced it. That’s why when Joseph found out that Mary was with child, he decided to put her away quietly.

When Jesus was preaching against adultery, He knew what they were thinking. “Yeah, it’s wrong but that’s just the fact of life. Sometimes you just can’t help it. (Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge) It’s not really me but my flesh.” It’s like the little girl who got caught with cookie crumbs all over her face. Her mom said, “Did you get in the cookie jar?” To which she replied, “I was just walking by and my teeth got caught in the cookie jar.” What Jesus was saying was, “Oh so it’s not you but your eye and your hand that made you sin? Then why don’t you just pluck out your eye and chop off your hand.”

Question: Whom do you blame for your sin life? Do you blame your flesh or the world? Did the Devil make you do it? Do you take responsibility for your sin life?

QUESTION #2 – CAN SEXUAL SINS SEND US TO HELL? NO.

Twice Jesus says, “for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” Even though we know that Jesus is being sarcastic, it still sounds like he’s saying, “If you don’t deal with sexual sins, you’ll go to hell.” Some people have used this passage to claim that – You can lose your salvation and go to hell if you fail to repent from adultery. Not true.

Background: God’s people throughout the ages have been distinct when it comes to how they view marriage. They looked upon it as a sacred institution given by God and should be lived and enjoyed with holiness and fear. Adultery was a mark of unbelievers. Not only did God institute strict penalty against it but also repeatedly he chastised His people to stay away from it.

Jeremiah 7   9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, 10 and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, “We are delivered to do all these abominations’? 11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the LORD.

Malachi 2 13 And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, With weeping and crying; So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. 14 Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant.

Proverbs 6 32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul. 33 Wounds and dishonor he will get, And his reproach will not be wiped away.

What Jesus was saying is “When will you realize that God hates adultery? How long are you going to keep making excuses for your sin? Don’t you know that people going to Hell act this way? When will you start taking sin seriously and repent before God?”

Listen to Paul in I Corinthians 6   9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. But just when you think you cannot be saved, listen to the next verse – 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Application: God is asking the same questions to each of us today – “When will we realize how terrible adultery is?” “Don’t you know that people going to Hell act this way?” Do you feel good about your behavior?

QUESTION #3 – ARE SEXUAL SINS WORSE THAN OTHER SINS? YES.

Background: Why are sexual sins so bad in the sight of God? God places a very high value on our bodies. Remember – Unlike the rest of the creation that God simply said, “let there be” and there it was; He actually made us in His image. Man and woman was the crown of God’s creation. Keep in mind that God is spirit who sees, hears, touches, and speaks. He made us to be just like him, to see, hear, touch, and speak, but with a bodily form. Somehow, God transferred His spiritual, eternal characteristics into a physical, tangible form. It’s mind blowing! Why? Because God wanted us to enjoy life! God could have made us just spirit but He wanted us to see and feel and touch and speak and connect in marriage. The human body is an amazing gift of God! It is God’s masterpiece and why not! After all, one day He would have to design one for His own Son!

Listen carefully – God holds the copyright and the title to every single human body. It belongs to Him. For us to misuse it is to misuse someone else’s property. Imagine if you loaned me a very expensive torque wrench and I decided to misuse and abuse it to drive a nail. What would you do? Hand it over. That’s why murder is punishable by death. Who gave you the right to end that body? That’s why abortion and euthanasia is wrong. That’s why adultery is so wrong because it defiles the body that is not yours to defile. Hence in the Old Testament it was punishable by death.

Listen to Paul in 1 Corinthians 6   18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Then to the Christian – 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Application: What do you think about your body? Do you know that it is someone else’s property? What do you think about the body of another person, man or woman? Do you know that it too belongs to God?

The bigger question is – What do you do? Some Christians say – Didn’t Paul say in I Corinthians 9:27 I “beat my body into submission” and in Colossians 3:5 “put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire…” I remind them to read a few verses earlier in Colossians 2   20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. It’s not about gouging out your eye and chopping off your hand, it is about your eye and your hand and all of you belonging to Christ.

Application: Does your body belong to Christ? If you are saved, then you have been bought with a price. Is the Holy Spirit in control of your body? Are you saved?

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