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The Journal

A heart for the lost

Dear Friends,
Last week in the first half of chapter 18 we learnt about God’s friendship with Abraham and Abraham’s boldness through exercising faith to take hold of this opportunity. Now in Genesis 18:16-33 we see how the friendship between Abraham and God develops further. As the Lord leaves Abraham he says within his hearing that he should not hide from Abraham what he is about to do. God reminds Abraham of the call on his life to become a great nation and to direct his children and family in the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just 18:19. The Lord is inviting Abraham to express this willingness to do what is right and just by interceding for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham approaches the Lord 18:23 which is a word used for him bringing a legal case. Essentially he asks the Lord if he will destroy the city if there are 50 righteous people, then 45, then 40, then 30, then 20 and then even 10. What is amazing in this encounter is that Abraham is asking the Lord to preserve the city for the sake of righteous people. He doesn’t mention his nephew Lot. Abraham is engaging in theological exploration to discover the extent of God’s justice and mercy. When Abraham seeks the Lord’s mercy for 10 righteous people he stops. We know that in the NT that through Jesus God will preserve the unrighteous for just one righteous person and that one person is Jesus. The Gospel teaches us that Jesus died for the unrighteous - see 1 Peter 3:18. Is Abraham concerned for the righteous or is he also concerned for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah that a righteous person may intervene on their behalf so judgement doesn’t fall on them. . Abraham is God’s friend - James 2:23 and this involves growing in understanding what concerns the Lord. Christian maturity is more than following rules. Rather in our relationship with the Lord as we grow we learn what He is concerned about and this becomes our concern also. We should not be surprised at this because in Ezekiel 36:24-27 the Lord promises His people a new heart and this is a heart which is soft and compassionate and is concerned for the Lord and His priorities and concerns. Abraham is concerned for the people who live in Sodom and Gomorrah. Let us pray that the Lord will give us a heart for the people of the inner west that leads us to intercession. Tonight at 5pm we continue our series in 1 John 2:18-27 & 4:1-6. John is building confidence in the Christians that their knowledge based on the teaching of the apostles is the truth. In particular the key issue about knowing truth and being able to discern error is clarified by your view about Jesus and who you think he is. Biblical faith believes that Jesus is the Christ and has come in the flesh. To counter this view is to be liar and have the spirit of the anti-Christ. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara