2400. “Escape For Your Life!”

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No. 2400-41:73. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, February 27, 1887, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, February 17, 1895.

Escape for your life. {Ge 19:17}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 550, “Ship on Fire — A Voice of Warning, The” 541}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2400, “Escape for Your Life!” 2401}
   Exposition on Ge 18:17-33 19:12-28 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2400, “Escape for Your Life!” 2401 @@ "Exposition"}

1. The Lord himself said to Lot, “Escape for your life,” although the command was sent by one of his chosen messengers. God has messengers nowadays; and he still sends by them short, sharp, urgent, stimulating messages like this, “Escape for your life.” This message was sent in love. God loved Lot, and therefore he would save him from the impending doom of Sodom. I do not doubt that this message of love was spoken by the messenger in very solemn tones. I do not know how angels speak, but I am certain that the very heart of the messenger was apparent in the message when he said to Lot, “Escape for your life.” Whether he whispered it in his ears, or uttered it in louder accents, I cannot tell; anyway, I am sure that it was delivered as it ought to be delivered, and it had an immediate effect on the man who heard it, for he was obedient to it.

2. Now, it may be, that God has loving intentions towards you who are here, who as yet have never fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before you. Remember that the gospel admonition comes to you straight from God; it has been in this blessed Book for ages, but it has not grown stale. It still leaps from the mouth of God, filled with all its native energy; and though I who have to deliver it to you may not be able to speak it as I could desire, for I am very feeble, I will at least speak it from the very depths of my soul, while I try to plead with every unconverted man or woman whom my message may reach; and this shall be the one burden of my pleading, “Escape for your life.”

3. I. Notice, first, that THERE WAS NO SAFETY FOR LOT WHERE HE WAS.

4. He must escape from the doomed city; the angel did not propose to him that he should stay in Sodom, and beneath some sheltering arch hide himself from the fire-shower; no, the message was, “Escape; flee from Sodom; ‘escape for your life.’ ” So, to you who are unconverted, we can bring no proposals of hope if you stay where you are; we can hold out no hope for you either in this world or in what is to come. Neither a lesser nor a “larger hope” do we believe in, apart from your laying hold on eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ. Stay where you are, and you are doomed. Remain what you are, and you must perish in the overthrow of that City of Destruction which God will certainly burn up before long.

5. There was no safety for Lot where he was; so, let me say to you who are unbelieving and unconverted, there is no safety for you in unforgiven sin. It does not matter what form your sin has taken, — whether you have been a profligate or a moralist, — as long as the sin you have committed is unforgiven, there is no safety for you. Whether your sins are as scarlet, or, in your judgment, of a milder hue, does not affect the truth of what I say; you must be washed in the precious blood of Christ, and pardoned through his great atoning sacrifice received by faith, or else you will die in your sins, and you will be driven to the place where hope can never enter. If you die with your sins on you, — where death leaves you, eternity will find you; once lost, you will be lost for ever. So, there is no safety in unforgiven sin.

6. And, further, there is no safety in unforsaken sin. No, you must escape for your life from every sin. The drunkard cannot be saved and keep to his cups. The adulterer cannot be saved and indulge his evil passions. The thief cannot be saved and remain dishonest. The only salvation for you is salvation from your sins; and that is the salvation that we preach. How many would like to be saved from the punishment due to sin, and yet to be allowed to go on in the sin; but there is nothing of that kind of teaching in the Scripture. God did not send his Son to be the excuser or the minister of sin; but to be the Saviour from sin. There is no hope for you if you stay in this Sodom; you must get out of it, you must get entirely away from it. Perhaps you say, “I will change my place of residence; I will go from the slums of the evil city into the cleaner and more respectable part of it.” I tell you that you have to come right out of it; you must altogether leave the region of sin, you must flee from the realms of iniquity, or else you shall be consumed in the destruction of the city. Up and away from all sin! Up and away! Our cry is not, “Hide in a corner,” or, “Move into a better place”; but, “Escape for your life.”

7. Again, there is no safety in unbelief. You may say, “I do not believe this”; but, as the Lord lives, before whom I stand, it is true. In my own heart, and soul, and conscience, I know that there is a Judge of all the earth, and that he must do right, and that the day shall come when he will execute vengeance on those who live and die in sin, for he cannot wink at iniquity. It is not in the nature of a holy God to permit sin to go unpunished. You may shut your eyes to the truth; but it is there. You may reject it; but it is there. You may ridicule it; but it is there, and you shall before long know it to be so. You must come out of this state of unbelief if you are to be saved. There is no salvation in unbelief. “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; he who does not believe shall be damned.” There is to be no flinching in this matter; I am not sent here to please you who do not believe, or to talk with bated breath, as though I sympathized with your unbelief. I denounce it as high treason against the majesty of God; and therefore I cry to you, “Repent, and believe the gospel,” for if you will not, you must perish in your unbelief. “If you do not believe,” says Christ, “that I am he, you shall die in your sins.” {Joh 8:24} There is no safety in unbelief, and therefore we say, as the angel said to Lot, “Escape for your life.”

8. And once more, let me remind you that there is no safety in self-righteousness. If anyone here says, “Thank God, I am no doubter, I am no profligate, I am no public sinner,” I am glad if you can truthfully say that; but still remember, if you trust in your own righteousness, you cannot be saved. You must come out of that condemned city, or else you are a lost man. I spoke with one, this morning, who is, I believe, earnestly seeking salvation, and he said to me, “I have denied myself this, and I have cast away that”; and I was pleased to hear it. But I said to him, “You have denied these things to yourself, but have you denied yourself? That is to say, have you stopped trusting in yourself?” The hardest self-denial is to deny yourself, and get completely away from all confidence in your own doings, and feelings, and everything that comes from yourself; for you might as well hope to be saved by your sins as by your good works. The road to hell by human merit is as certain as the road there by human sin. If you seek, in any way, to insult the atonement of Christ by setting up your merit as though it were as good as that atonement, or by trying to prove that you do not need that atonement, you are just barring heaven’s gate against yourself. You must come out of that self-righteousness if you would be saved. My only cry to you is, “Escape, escape, escape for your life, for there is no safety for you where you are!”

9. II. But now, in the next place, according to this message of the angel, IF LOT IS TO BE SAVED, HE MUST RUN FOR IT AT ALL COSTS: “Escape for your life.”

10. First, he must leave his former comrades. Have you any jolly companions, who are not Christians? “They are bright, lively fellows,” you say; but they are doing you infinite mischief, they are leading you away from God and his Christ. Break loose from them: “Escape for your life.” Though they seek to hold you back, tear yourself away from them, and even leave your garment in their hands, as Joseph left his in the hands of Potiphar’s wife. “Escape for your life.” Leave all bad company.

11. Next, Lot had to leave his former comforts. For the sake of comfort, he had gone to Sodom; and, doubtless, he had his house well furnished there; but he must leave it all. Probably it was that excellent house that made Lot’s wife look back; she could hardly relinquish all those nice things of theirs even for life itself. Beware, when you are seeking Christ, that you do not let your money or your business stand in your way! It will be better for you to enter heaven a beggar than being a rich man, to be cast into hell. It would be better for you to be as homeless as the most unpitied waif around whom the wintry winds are howling, it would be better for you to die in a ditch, and to be saved, than that you should live in a palace, and yet after all be cast into hell-fire. I charge you, be ready to give up all things, if need be, sooner than lose your soul. “Escape, escape, escape for your life!”

12. Yet again, Lot must not stop to argue; nor must you. You do not see the danger, you want more evidence, you have objections; — to all of which my one solitary answer is, “Escape, escape, escape for your life!” You do not have time for me to discuss your difficulties now; when you are saved, it will be soon enough for us to argue out the moot points; but now, while the fire-cloud hovers above your head, escape for your life! That drowning man will not clutch the rope until I have explained to him the doctrine of specific gravity. Oh fool, what have you to do with specific gravity when you are drowning? Lay hold of the rope, and live! So, there are some who must have election or predestination explained to them, or the doctrine of the human will; they must have this, that, and the other explained to them, and made clear as daylight. I beseech you, do not be such madmen; do not trifle with your souls, but escape for your life. That is the one business of the present hour, see to that first, and let other matters wait for a while until you are in a fit condition to consider them.

13. If Lot is to be rescued, he must, as men say, put his best foot forward. It is quite early in the morning; but before the sun has risen much higher, all Sodom and Gomorrah must be destroyed. You have already waited far too long, my unsaved friend, grey hairs are on your head here and there, why will you delay any longer? Did you not catch the solemn tones of our hymn, —

    Hasten, sinner, to be wise,
    Stay not for the morrow’s sun?

We sang that line over and over again in the different verses, —

    “Stay not for the morrow’s sun.”

Oh, that God would, in great mercy, press that appeal home on you! “Escape for your life.” Lot must not sit down, and take things easy; nor must you. Lot must not begin to crawl at a snail’s pace, and amuse himself by looking down every side street of Sodom, as he leaves it; but he must run from the doomed city, and you also, by God’s grace, must bestir yourself. You must forsake your sin by repentance, and lay hold of Christ by faith. May God help you to do so! Oh, that my lips could speak the longing language of my heart, and cease to utter the feeble syllables that do not express half what I feel! How can words fully express the burning desires of a soul yearning over sinners? But be willing to be led, even by my feeble speech, to listen to God’s almighty voice as he says to you, through me his messenger, “Escape for your life.”

14. I cannot help, just by way of parenthesis, pointing out to you the contrast between the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the repentance of the Ninevites. At the command of God, Jonah went though Nineveh, and this was all he had to say, “Yet in forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Again, and again, and again, in bitter tones, the prophet cried, “Yet in forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown”; and the whole body of the Ninevites sought for mercy, and found it, with nothing to help them to pray but this, “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we do not perish?” Now, if you have nothing better to comfort you than this, “Who can tell?”

    Perhaps he will admit my plea,
    Perhaps will hear my prayer,

why, you have good ground to go on in approaching your God. But, friends, you are not under such a time as the Ninevites were in; I do not have to cry to you, “Yet in forty days, and you shall be destroyed.” I have to tell you that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and that whoever believes in him has everlasting life. I have to entreat and beseech you to lay hold on eternal life by believing in the Lord Jesus. Oh, how you ought to welcome such a message as that!

15. If there is anyone whom I am addressing who is actually marked for death, and who knows that he has a disease in his body what must in a very short time bring him to the grave, one who is well aware that he cannot recover from the incurable disease that has seized him, yet that should not hinder him from seeking God’s face, rather it should move him at once to turn to Jesus. I can see a man before me now, — my mind’s eye can see him, and I know that he must die; I am sure of it. Poor wretch, he has been a thief! His hands and both his feet are nailed up, they are bleeding from the cruel nails, and within a short time he must die in agony. Yet I hear him cry out, as he turns his eyes on Jesus Christ crucified, “Lord, remember me.” He is nearly dead, and almost in hell, but he cries, “Lord, remember me,” and he is saved, and today is with Christ in Paradise. Now, you who have a cancer, you who are sick and not well, you who are poor and broken down, and feel as if you must soon die, you who are as great a sinner as the dying thief was, say to Jesus, “Lord, remember me,” and he will remember you. There is no reason under the earth, nor on the earth, nor in heaven itself, there is no supposable reason why you should not pray, and if you pray, and seek the Lord’s face, you shall not come to him in vain, for he has said, “Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” May God help you to come now, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake!

16. III. Now, to conclude, let me remind you that LOT HAD EVERYTHING AT STAKE, and therefore the angel said to him, “Escape for your life.”

17. Suppose he had stayed in Sodom; then he would have lost everything. He would not have saved his furniture, or his gold, or his silver; he would have lost all that he had. Suppose you stay in your sin; will you really save anything by it? “I shall save myself from thought,” one says. Oh, but do you think yourself to be an ox, or a donkey, that thought should be a trouble to you? Why, it surely will be your wisdom to devote yourself to the most sedulous care about your eternal interests! Suppose there should be a cry of “Fire!” raised in this house tonight, as there was only a little while ago in Spitalfields, how many there are who would rush to the doors in a mad panic to escape for their lives! Yet, surely, the soul’s life, the eternal life, is more precious than the life of the body. Will you not make that the first point to be considered and settled; for, if you could by sin gain the whole world, yet what would it profit you when you would lose your own soul?

18. Again, if Lot had not fled out of Sodom, he would himself have perished. Not merely would his garments have been burned, but he must have perished; not only would his gold and his silver have melted in the fire, but he himself would have perished. That was a true saying, though Satan uttered it, “Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has he will give for his life”; and all that a man has he ought to give for his soul, for the immortal part of his being, for his higher and better nature. Why, if your soul is cast into hell, it would have been better for you that you had never been born! If you do neglect the great salvation, and you do die and perish in your iniquity, man, you have lost everything! You are not merely like a bankrupt who has lost his gold, but you have lost yourself. I beseech you, therefore, listen to me as I cry to you, in my Master’s name, “ ‘Escape for your life,’ your immortal life, which is now in imminent danger.” Your existence will continue whether you are lost or saved; but your life! — have you received eternal life at the hands of God yet? Your life! — will you be content to lose it, and to perish in your sin?

19. The worst point about this story is that, if Lot had not escaped, he would have perished with the men of Sodom. He could not endure them, he was vexed by their filthy conduct; how horrible, then, would it have been for him to perish with them! I cannot bear to think that some of you upright, moral people, may yet be lost. You were never drunkards; and yet you will perish with the drunkards, unless you repent, and trust in Jesus. You were never swearers; but you will be as surely damned as the blasphemers will be, unless you come to Christ. You cannot bear unchastity or filthiness of language, there is much about you that is most amiable and excellent; but the Saviour says even to you, “You must be born again”; and if you are not born again, if you have no faith in Christ, if you are not converted so as to become as little children, you will as surely perish as will the worst of men. You sometimes read in the newspaper a horrible story of vice and crime, and you wish that it had never been printed, and I wish the same; but what must it be for you to be confined for ever with such as those who commit these unmentionable abominations? Yet there are only two places for man’s eternal abode, heaven and hell; and if you are not saved so as to go to heaven, where can you go but into the same pit with all the multitude of transgressors who shall perish in their sins? I wish that you who are outwardly moral and upright would think of this truth. It does seem to me as if I ought not to press it further on you, for you are reasonable beings, you are not committed to Bedlam Asylum. Please, therefore, no longer run such fearful risks as you have run so far; but escape for your lives.

20. If Lot had been destroyed in the overthrow of Sodom, there would have been one thing about him, which there would not have been about the Sodomites, he would have perished after having been warned. When the fire-flakes began to fall, and Lot felt the terrible burnings, he would have had this barbed dart driven into his heart, — “I was told to escape. I was taken outside the city gate; I was led to a vantage point, and ordered to escape for my life. No one else had that opportunity, no one else in these cities was called to escape like this; but I had a special appeal made to me by the messenger of God, and I refused it; and therefore I shall die a suicide, having chosen my own delusions.” Oh sirs, oh sirs, if you go from this Tabernacle to hell, it shall be hard work for you! If you will perish, I will be clear of your blood. As long as this voice can speak, I will plead with you that you do not destroy yourselves. Look at the myriads of Africa, and the millions in China and India, who have never heard the gospel. I leave their future in the hands of the all-merciful God; but they cannot enter heaven. Neither can you; but there will be this about your doom, that you had the means of grace, you had the invitations of mercy, you had the expostulations of God’s Word; and you chose — you resolutely chose — to put far from you eternal life. Oh God, you who have made these men and women, if they have lost their reason, give it back to them, and may your sweet Spirit teach them now to judge righteously, and may they at once consider it to be inevitable that every wise man should escape for his life, and flee from the wrath to come!

21. I shall not detain you much longer, for surely I have said sufficient; only this much must be added before I close. There was a special favour in the case of Lot, for Abraham had prayed for him. I should not wonder if some here present are receiving a warning from me just now because someone else has been praying for them. Abraham had prayed for Sodom, and, of course, especially for Lot; and therefore God’s messenger must go to bring Lot out of the doomed city. At this moment, while I am speaking, your mother is praying for you. While I am preaching, your wife is praying for you. Some of you have been made the subjects of special and particular prayer; you know that it is so. She who is now in heaven never ceased to pray for you as long as she was here; and her many prayers — shall they not be answered now? They are undying prayers, though she who breathed them has long been dead; and they still live in the presence of God. Has he not sent his messenger on that account to bring you out of the City of Destruction? Here! Here! Let me grasp your hand, and let us together flee from the wrath to come, and run to that cross, where there is safety, for no one ever looked to the Christ who bled on it, and looked in vain. I feel impressed that there are some people to whom this message is a particular answer to very special prayers that have gone up to God on their behalf.

22. This message will, I trust, come to them as a special warning, as the Lord’s messengers reached Lot in a mysterious way. Why did those angels come to Sodom to tell Lot to escape for his life? How very oddly people are brought where the message of salvation is proclaimed! You did not intend to be in the Tabernacle tonight, did you? You had an engagement to be somewhere else; but here you are, and you have never been here before. Yesterday, you would not even have dreamed of being here tonight; but here you are. Why are you here? God has in a mysterious way brought you here to look in the face of this man who cares for your soul, and who says to you in the name of God, “I beseech you, escape for your life!”

23. Then, again, this message came to Lot at a special time, on the morning in which the city was to be destroyed. An hour later, it would have been too late. I sometimes feel an awful solemnity creeping over me as I stand in this place, because I know many things, which I cannot tell you about the strange way in which God speaks here. You remember that, just before I went away for my rest, I told you the story of the godless young man, who left his father’s house, and was going to Australia, followed by his parents’ prayers. It was Sunday night, he was about to sail on Wednesday, and he thought that he would spend the Sunday evening here in this house, since he knew that it would please his mother. Better still, it pleased God that night to touch his heart, and we trust to save his soul. I put into the “Personal Notes” in The Sword and the Trowel for December the letter that he wrote home to his parents telling them how God had met their prodigal boy. That letter reached them only a few hours before a telegram arrived, saying that the vessel had been run into at Gravesend, and the young man and five others had been drowned! Oh, what a mercy that, just a few hours before he had to meet his God, his God met him! I may be speaking to some others who are in just the same position, just on the borders of eternity; I cannot tell. You know that it is only two or three Sunday nights ago since one of our brethren sat over there, in the last pew in the middle; he came into the Tabernacle, covered his face for prayer, and died immediately. We had to delay the service, you remember, while he was quietly carried away. He was a child of God; but suppose it had been some of you, suppose it were some of you tonight; what would become of you? May God save you even now! Do not run any more risks. There is only a step between you and death, a step between you and hell, if you are unbelievers. Therefore, escape for your lives, and escape tonight.

    “Stay not for the morrow’s sun.”

May God help you to stop delaying, and to feel that you must and will run away to the Lord Jesus Christ at once! Put your soul into his hands; and if you do so, he gives you this warrant, “No one shall pluck you from my hands.” Your soul will be safe enough in his keeping. If I take my money to the bank, it is credited to my account. What do I do then? Do I loaf around, and at last say to the clerk, “Is that money safe?” He would think that my mind was a little touched. Some time ago, there was a bank in France to which there came a man who had put in some thousand francs or so, and he said to the banker, “Do you have my thousand francs?” “Yes, certainly; do you want the money out?” “I should like to see it,” he said. “Well, there is a thousand francs,” and he laid them down before him on the counter. “Thank you,” he said, “I do not know that I want to take the cash away now; it is there all right, so I am satisfied.” The next morning, he came in again, and he wanted once more to see his money; I believe that the banker cut the connection, and told him that he did not want such a customer as that to bank with him. If he could not trust the banker with his money, he had better take it home with him. Now, if you cannot trust Christ with your souls, why, go and save yourselves; but if you can trust Christ, put away all those foolish doubts, and fears, and anxieties, and say, —

    Firm as his throne his promise stands,
       And he can well secure
    What I’ve committed to his hands
       Till the decisive hour.
    Then will he own my worthless name
       Before his Father’s face;
    And in the New Jerusalem
       Appoint my soul a place.

24. Finally, the reason why the angel’s message had such power with Lot was that God himself was in it. That gave it a special pressure; and I have been praying that God himself may be in my message now, that he may speak, gently speak, and powerfully speak, to many of you. You will scarcely know why it is, but you will say, “I never felt like this before. I will arise, and go to my Father. I will repent of my sin. I will look to Jesus, the crucified Saviour, God helping me! But why am I saying this? Why do I feel so softened, I who used to be as hard as steel? Why am I moved to this surrender of myself to my Saviour?” It will be the sweet Spirit of the blessed God gently working on your heart, and graciously inclining you to yield yourself to the Lord. I pray that it may be so, even now, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ge 18:17-33 19:12-28}

17-19. And the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham what he has spoken of him.”

Abraham is called “the friend of God.” It was not merely that God was his Friend; that was blessedly true, and it was a great wonder of grace; but he was honoured to be called “the friend of God” — one with whom God could hold sweet communion, a man after his own heart, in whom he trusted, to whom he revealed his secrets. I am afraid there are not many men of Abraham’s kind in the world even now; but, wherever there is such a man, with whom God is familiar, he will be sure to be one who orders his household properly. If the Lord is my Friend, and if I am indeed his friend, I shall wish him to be respected by my children, and I shall endeavour to dedicate my children to his service. I fear that the decline of family godliness, which is so sadly remarkable in these days, is the source of a great many of the crying sins of the age; the Church of God at large would have been more separate from the world if the little church in each man’s house had been more carefully trained for God. If you want the Lord to confide in you, and to trust you with his secrets, you must see that he is able to say of you what he said of Abraham, “he will command his children and his household after him.”

20-22. And the LORD said, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to its cry, which is come to me; and if not, I will know.” And the men turned their faces from there, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham still stood before the LORD.

He was in no hurry to conclude that blessed interview; when he had once come into the Lord’s immediate presence, he lingered there. Those who are friends of God like to be much in their Lord’s company.

23. And Abraham drew near,

There is nothing like coming very close to God in prayer: “Abraham drew near.” He was about to use his influence with his great Friend; not for himself, but for these men of Sodom, who were going to be destroyed. Happy are those who, when they are near to God, use the opportunity in pleading for others, indeed, even for the most wicked and abandoned of men.

23-25. And said, “Will you also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Perhaps there are fifty righteous within the city: will you also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it? May that be far from you to do such a thing as this, to kill the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be like the wicked, may that be far from you: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

Abraham bases his argument on the justice of God; and when a man dares to do that, it is mighty pleading, for, depend on it, God will never do an unjust thing. If you dare to plead his righteousness, his infallible justice, you plead most powerfully.

26-30. And the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” And Abraham answered and said, “Behold now, I have presumed to speak to the Lord, who am only dust and ashes: perhaps there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: will you destroy all the city for the lack of five?” And he said, “If I find forty-five there, I will not destroy it.” And he spoke to him yet again, and said, “Perhaps there shall be forty found there.” And he said, “I will not do it for forty’s sake.” And he said to him, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Perhaps thirty shall be found there.” And he said, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”

This time the patriarch has advanced by ten; before, it was by fives. Pleading men grow bolder and braver in their requests. A man who is very familiar with God will, eventually, dare to say what, at the first, he would not have dared to utter.

31, 32. And he said, “Behold now, I have presumed to speak to the Lord: Perhaps there shall be twenty found there,” And he said, “I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.” And he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet only this once: Perhaps ten shall be found there.” And he said, “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.”

He went no further than to plead that Sodom might be spared if ten righteous people could be found in it. I have heard some say that it was a pity Abraham did not go on pleading with God; but I would not dare to say so. He knew better when to begin and when to stop than you and I do; there are certain restraints in prayer which a man of God cannot explain to others, but which he, nevertheless, himself feels. God moves his servants to pray in a certain case, and they do pray with great liberty and obvious power. Another case may seem to be precisely like it: yet the mouth of the former supplicant is shut, and in his heart he does not feel that he can pray as he did before. Do I blame the men of God? Assuredly not; the Lord deals wisely with his servants, and he tells them, by gentle hints, which they quickly understand, when and where to stop in their supplications.

33. And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had stopped communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned to his place.

We know that the angels went down to Sodom, where they were received by Lot, and despitefully used by the Sodomites. We will continue our reading at the twelfth verse of the next chapter.

12. And the men said to Lot, “Have you here any besides? son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of this place:

Let me ask every Christian man to look around him, among all his kith and kin, to see which of them still remain unconverted. Let your prayers go up for them all: “Son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters.”

13, 14. For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is become great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD has sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spoke to his sons-in-law, who married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city.” But he seemed as one who mocked to his sons-in-law.

“The old man is in his dotage,” they said; “he always was odd, he never acted like the rest of the citizens; he came in here as a stranger, and he has always been strange in his behaviour.”

15, 16. And when the morning arose, then the angels hurried Lot, saying, “Arise, take your wife, and your two daughters, who are here; lest you are consumed in the iniquity of the city.” And while he lingered, the men laid hold on his hand, and on the hand of his wife, and on the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful to him; and they brought him out, and set him outside the city.

I have always felt pleased to think that there were just hands enough to lead out these four people, Lot, and his wife, and their two daughters. Had there been one more, there would have been no hand to lay hold on the fifth person; but these two angels, with their four hands, could just lead these four people outside the doomed city. God will always have enough agents to save his elect; there shall be sufficient gospel preaching, even in the darkest and deadest times, to bring his redeemed out of the City of Destruction. God will not miss one of his own.

17. And it came to pass, when they had brought them out, that he said, “Escape for your life; do not look behind you, neither stay in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest you are consumed.”

Perhaps the old man’s legs trembled under him; he felt that he could not run so far; and, besides, the mountain seemed so bleak and dreary, he could not quite leave the abodes of men.

18-21. And Lot said to them, “Oh, not so, my lord: Behold now, your servant has found grace in your sight, and you have magnified your mercy, which you have shown to me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil happens to me, and I die: behold now, this city is near to flee to, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape there, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.” And he said to him, “See, I have accepted you concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for which you have spoken.

I think that I have said to you before that this sparing of Zoar is an example of the cumulative power of prayer. I may compare Abraham’s mighty pleading to a ton weight of prayer, supplication that had an amazing force and power. Lot’s petition is only like an ounce of prayer. Poor little Lot, what a poor little prayer his was! Yet that ounce turned the scale. So, it may be that there is some mighty man of God who is near to prevailing with God, but he cannot quite obtain his request; but you, poor feeble pleader that you are, shall add your feather’s weight to his great intercession, and then the scale will turn. This narrative always comforts me; I think that Zoar was preserved, not so much by the prayer of Lot, as by the greater prayer of Abraham which had gone before; yet the mighty intercession of the friend of God did not prevail until it was supported by the feeble petition of poor Lot.

22. Hurry, escape there;

The hand of justice was held back until God’s servant was safe. There can be no destruction of the world, there can be no pouring out of the last plagues, there can be no total sweeping away of the ungodly until, first of all, the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads, and taken to a place of safety. The Lord will preserve his own. He lets the scaffold stand until the building is finished; then, it will come down fast enough.

22-28. For I cannot do anything until you go there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen on the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the LORD rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham rose up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: and he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and towards all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

What must Abraham’s meditations have been! What should be the meditations of every godly man as he looks towards Sodom, and sees the smoke of its destruction? It might do some men great good if they would not persistently shut their eyes to the doom of the wicked. Please look on that place of darkness and woe where every impenitent and unbelieving spirit must be banished for ever from the presence of the Lord! Look until the tears are in your eyes as you thank God that you are rescued from so terrible a doom! Look until your heart melts with pity for the many who are going the downward road, and who will eternally ruin themselves unless almighty grace prevents it!

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Supplicating” 587}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Expostulations — Hasten, Sinner” 520}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Depth Of Mercy” 568}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Evening — ‘Abide With Us’ ” 1028}

Mr. Spurgeon used occasionally to append a note to such of his sermons as he judged to be especially suitable for widespread distribution among the unsaved. Had he been spared to revise the discourse published here, he would certainly have urged all who read it to pass it onto their unconverted friends, with earnest prayer to the Lord to make it the means of leading them to escape for their life. The title of the sermon —

    Number 2,400; or, “Escape for your Life!”

has been chosen to show that it is of a similar character to —

    Number 1,000; or, “Bread Enough and to Spare.”
    Number 1,500; or, Lifting up the Brazen Serpent.
    Number 2,000; or, Healing by the Stripes of Jesus.

All these are admirably adapted for circulation at or before evangelistic services, and also for personal presentation to the anxious or the careless.

Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster will be pleased to supply quantities at reduced prices, or they can be obtained through all booksellers.



The Christian, Contrite Cries
587 — Supplicating <8.7.>
1 Jesus, full of all compassion,
      Hear thy humble suppliant’s cry:
   Let me know thy great salvation:
      See! I languish, faint, and die.
2 Guilty, but with heart relenting,
      Overwhelm’d with helpless grief,
   Prostrate at thy feet repenting,
      Send, oh send me quick relief!
3 Whither should a wretch be flying,
      But to him who comfort gives? —
   Whither, from the dread of dying,
      But to him who ever lives?
4 While I view thee, wounded, grieving,
      Breathless on the cursed tree,
   Fain I’d feel my heart believing
      That thou suffer’dst thus for me.
5 Hear, then blessed Saviour, hear me;
      My soul cleaveth to the dust;
   Send the Comforter to cheer me;
      Lo! in thee I put my trust.
6 On the word thy blood hath sealed
      Hangs my everlasting all:
   Let thy arm be now revealed;
      Stay, oh stay me, lest I fall!
7 In the world of endless ruin,
      Let it never, Lord, be said,
   “Here’s a soul that perish’d suing
      For the boasted Saviour’s aid!”
8 Saved — the deed shall spread new glory
      Through the shining realms above!
   Angels sing the pleasing story,
      All enraptured with thy love!
                     Daniel Turner, 1787.


Gospel, Expostulations
520 — Hasten, Sinner <7s.>
1 Hasten, sinner, to be wise,
   Stay not for the morrow’s sun;
   Longer wisdom you despise,
   Harder is she to be won.
2 Hasten mercy to implore,
   Stay not for the morrow’s sun,
   Lest thy season should be o’er
   Ere this evening’s stage be run.
3 Hasten, sinner, to return,
   Stay not for the morrow’s sun,
   Lest thy lamp should fall to burn
   Ere salvation’s work is done.
4 Hasten, sinner, to be blest,
   Stay not for the morrow’s sun,
   Lest perdition thee arrest
   Ere the morrow is begun.
5 Lord, do thou the sinner turn!
   Rouse him from his senseless state;
   Let him not thy counsel spurn,
   Rue his fatal choice too late!
                        Thomas Scott, 1773.


The Christian, Contrite Cries
568 — Depth Of Mercy <7s., Double.>
1 Depth of mercy, can there be
   Mercy still reserved for me?
   Can my God his wrath forbear?
   Me, the chief of sinners, spare?
   I have long withstood his grace,
   Long provoked him to his face;
   Would not hearken to his calls:
   Grieved him by a thousand falls.
2 Kindled his relentings are;
   Me he still delights to spare;
   Cries, “How shall I give thee up?”
   Lets the lifted thunder drop.
   There for me the Saviour stands;
   Shows his wounds and spreads his hands,
   God is love, I know, I feel
   Jesus pleads, and loves me still.
3 Jesus, answer from above:
   Is not all thy nature love?
   Wilt thou not the wrong forget?
   Suffer me to kiss thy feet?
   If thou all compassion art,
   Bow thine ear, in mercy bow;
   Pardon and accept me now.
4 Pity from thine eye let fall;
   By a look my soul recall;
   Now the stone to flesh convert,
   Cast a look, and break my heart.
   Now incline me to repent;
   Let me now my fall lament:
   Now my foul revolt deplore;
   Weep, believe, and sin no more.
                     Charles Wesley, 1740.


Evening
1028 — “Abide With Us”
1 Sun of my soul, thou Saviour dear,
   It is not night if thou be near:
   Oh! may no earth-born cloud arise
   To hide thee from thy servant’s eyes.
2 When the soft dews of kindly sleep
   My wearied eyelids gently steep,
   By my last thought, how sweet to rest
   For ever on my Saviour’s breast!
3 Abide with me from morn till eve,
   For without thee I cannot live;
   Abide with me when night is nigh,
   For without thee I dare not die.
4 If some poor wandering child of thine
   Have spurn’d to-day the voice divine,
   Now, Lord, the gracious work begin;
   Let him no more lie down in sin.
5 Watch by the sick; enrich the poor
   With blessings from thy boundless store;
   Be every mourner’s sleep tonight,
   Like infant’s slumbers, pure and light.
6 Come near and bless us when we wake,
   Ere through the world our way we take;
   Till in the ocean of thy love
   We lose ourselves in heaven above.
                           John Keble, 1827.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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