Sermons by Marlin Harless



“God Made Me Like This,”
Is A Flagrant, Obvious, Misnomer!

(Text: Genesis 18:23-32; 19:1-29; Luke 17:29; Romans 1:18-32).

By Marlin L. Harless

INTRODUCTION: The texts in the header presents a very sadistic and vulgar backdrop in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah! It truly illustrates that some people are their own worst enemies. Accordingly, please note the following: “And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground."

{Please note, that Lot was receiving angels as his guests, not ordinary men; and, after much persuasion, the angels entered Lot's house, emphasis, mine, (MLH)}. "But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, and said, I pray you brethren, do not do so wickedly!

Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore they came under the shadow of my roof. And they said, stand beck. And they said again, this one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, and with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door" (Genesis 19:1, 4-11).

I. WARNING LIGHTS IN SODOM: THE FLICKERING LIGHT OF LOT'S PIETY. 1. The light of Lot's piety was still burning, though he had long been subjected to the moral contamination of the licentious Pentapolis, is apparent from--(1) The practice of hospitality which he appears to have maintained, having probably learnt it while in his uncle's tent. So men often cling to the outward forms of religion when its living power is ceasing to exert an influence upon the heart; and though adheres to the former is not to be taken for the latter, yet it renders the decline of the latter less rapid and disastrous than it otherwise would be.

(2) The kindly reception which he extended to his celestial visitors. If scarcely so elaborate as the sumptuous entertainment of Abraham at Mamre, the banquet of Lot was at least as outwardly reverential and as unaffectedly sincere and earnest. It clearly testified that Lot had not yet become insensible to the practical duties of religion, as at that time understood. Early religious training is exceedingly difficult to eradicate.

(3) The courageous defence which he made of his threatened guests. At the risk of his personal safety he endeavored to repel the violence which the citizens assailed them; and by the proffer a sacrifice, the greatest surely that a parent could make, he sought to beguile the infamous designs which the townsmen cherished. Whatever may be said of Lot's conduct in this latter action, his behavior throughout towards the angels proved that the life of grace within his soul was not quite extinct. {Consider, that Lot made a very unsavory choice, and, accordingly paid a very high price! (Cf. Genesis 13:8-17), emphasis, mine, MLH.} 2. That the light of Lot's piety, though still burning, was fast fading, may be gathered from the circumstances.

II. (1) THAT HE HAD REMAINED SO LONG AMONG THE SODOMITES. Unless a process of moral deterioration had been going on within the soul of Lot, residence among a people so depraved would eventually have become impossible. Instead of being merely vexed in his righteous soul while in Sodom, he would have taken the earliest opportunity to escape from Sodom. (2) That he had betrothed his daughters to two of Sodom's citizens. That his prospective sons-in-law were infected by the bad taint of the city may be inferred from their subsequent behavior, as well as from the preceding judgment of God on the universal corruption of the city's inhabitants. Hence Lot should have kept his daughters virgins than have suffered them to enter into matrimonial engagements with ungodly suitors. (3) That he actually offered to sacrifice his daughters' purity to the lust of the Sodomites. Whatever apology may be offered for so extraordinary a proposal on the part of Lot, nothing can be plainer than that it implied a strange obliquity of moral vision, and a serious deadening of fine moral feeling. It was a clear proof that the immoral contagion had begun to affect Lot, and that it was high time for him to leave Sodom!

II. THE LURID LIGHT OF SODOM'S IMPIETY. Already well enough known as to its character, the wickedness of Sodom is at length unveiled in all its revolting features and frightful dimensions. The history of the last night in the doomed city proclaimed the sin of Sodom to be---1. Unnatural. In the unbridled license of their appetites they had far outstripped common sinners; even the natural brute beasts they had left behind, they had sunk to a monstrosity of wickedness of which shame forbids to speak. Paul enumerates their sin among the forms of impurity by which the heathen world at times defiled itself (Romans 1:26, 27) "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."

2. Shameless. Disgusting and repulsive as their wickedness was, instead of shrinking into darkness and doing it in secret, they openly proclaimed their filthiness, and would have gratified their lusts in public! It is a lower deep in moral degradation when one not only does "those things which are not convenient," but glories in his shame, "Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things" (Philippians 3:19). 3. Violent. This marked a third degree in the wickedness, that, rather than be baulked of their lewd design, the citizens were prepared to set at naught the laws of hospitality, which insured the safety of strangers within the city, and, if need were, the rights of property, by breaking into Lot's house, and, still further, the liberties of the person, by laying hands on the objects of their unhallowed lusts! Ordinary sinners are satisfied if they can gratify an unholy impulse without an undue expenditure of crime; these were ready to trample on all laws of God and man to accomplish their desire, "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin" (Isaiah 30:1).

4. Obdurate. Even when struck with blindness they did not discontinue their impious attempt. They wearied themselves groping about in the darkness, but it was still in an endeavor "to find the door." >Common sinners pause when confronted with the just judgments of Heaven; these were only maddened into greater fury "Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than they could wish" (Psalm 73:7). And to complete the picture, this appalling wickedness was ---5. Universal. From all quarters and all ages they clustered and clamored round the door of Lot's house. There does not seem to have been any dissension in the multitude. They were all of one mind. Could anything more signally attest Sodom's ripeness for destruction?

Learn---1. How rapidly a good man can deteriorate in evil company! 2. How completely a nation can resist the ameliorating influences of its good men! 3. How disgustingly repulsive sin is when fully developed!1

IV. THE STATE OF MORALS IS DEGRADED IN PROPORTION TO THE DEGRADITION OF RELIGION. (Romans 1:24-31). It is a natural transition from the deification of human or animal passions to the practice of the most frightful immoralities. Hence in connection with these degraded religions we find: 1. Licentiousness made religious. Courtesans thronged the temples of Venus as her priestesses, just as the "nautch-girls" in India have their recognized connection with the Hindoo temples. The moment man begins to worship the man of genius and of passion, or begins to worship the lower creation, as if endowed with independent attributes, by a natural law he becomes lowered in the scale of being. "They that make them [i.e., 'idols' emphasts, mine (MLH)], are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them" (Psalm 115:8).

They dishonor themselves through licentiousness after having dishonored God by their ideas about divinities. 2. Sin tends still further to become unnatural. (Romans 1:26, 27). In one respect, indeed, all sin is unnatural; 1 its ultimate issue is against nature. It becomes a mystery how minds get infatuated with it "Be astonished O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate saith the Lord. "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:12, 13). But what Paul brings out here is the outrageous lengths to which unrestrained licentiousness will go. When the sinner takes rope enough, he goes, as the apostle here shows, to the most debasing and disgusting lengths, being worse in this matter of lust than the beasts which perish!

3. Sinners tend still further to be reprobate and reckless. (Romans 1:28-31). The point of the Greek is very beautiful in verse 28. It might be rendered thus: "And even as they reprobated the idea of having God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind," etc. {Beloved, a "reprobate" is one who is rejected by God or beyond hope of salvation! Emphasis, mine, (MLH)}. The judicial element in the reprobate condition is strictly retributive. Since they will have nothing to do with God even in idea, He must return their indignity and permit them to pass into the reprobate condition, i.e. the condition which He cannot approve of, but loathes with His whole soul! The terrible catalogue need not be taken up in detail. It is headed by the generic term "unrighteousness" indicating that the spirit of injustice pervades the whole! Society is going morally to pieces. And there can be no doubt the truth about the dark picture of Greece, in Rome, and in other heathen lands. But then the sinners become reckless as well as reprobate! Even with the fate of others staring them in the face, they continue their desperate game, and despise the consequences. 2

V. IN THIS DEGRADATION WE MAY RECOGBIZE A REVELATION OF DIVINE WRATH. This is the point of the passage. God is angry with the heathen who so degrade Him in their thoughts, and all their inconvenient sin is His judgment against them. Paul does not assert the sufficiency or finality of present judgment, but simply asks us to recognize it as clearly from God. It comes about according to natural law, but it is not on that account any the less the sentence of the Lord Who ordereth all. Sinners go from bad to worse. They are punished through their sins. These sins are not self-reformatory, 3 but manifestly judicial. It is a vast subject, that of the Divine wrath; we do not understand it in its vast proportions doubtless; we may well exclaim with Moses, "Who knoweth the power of thine anger?…" {(Psalm 90:11a), emphasis, mine (MLH)}, yet of its reality no impartial observer of man's sins and their consequences can be in doubt! 4

VI. THE HEATHEN DESERVE TO SUFFER THROUGH THEIR SINS BECAUSE OF THEIR MISUSE OF THE LIGHT OF NATURE. (Romans 1:18-20). Now, what does Paul mean by saying they are inexcusable? Not certainly that "the light of nature" is sufficient for salvation, if properly used. But simply that with "the light of nature" they have no excuse for such a degradation of God, and deserve to suffer for it. What, then, does nature teach us regarding God? Now, if you observe the accuracy of the apostle's position, you will find him dividing this revelation about God into two parts---the revelation in our own human nature (verse 19), and the revelation in the natural world without (verse 20). And he maintains that God has been speaking to us by both. Now, when I look within and analyze myself, I am conscious of the light of intelligence and of conscience. Human nature is certain of possessing these, if there is such a thing as certainty at all!

When, then, human nature begins the study of nature, it expects to find in nature the expression of thoughts like its own. As it has been very accurately said, "God utters His mind in His works, and that mind is like our own." In fact, science would be impossible if it were not so. Science is the observation and interpretation of nature by man. Clearly the world's Maker and the world's observer must have something in common, if the observer is to understand the Maker's meaning! A world put together by a Being utterly unlike me, whose notions of truth, of utility, of purpose, of beauty bore no manner of relation to mine at all, it would be a world I could never understand, and could take no pleasure whatever in examining. It would be a chaos where I would fail to trace either method or meaning. But the real world we know, search it at what point you please, answer its intellectual demands of its human student; it satisfies the reason and it gratifies the taste of its human observer! In it a man detects with joy another mind at work similar in its great features to his own; and this is at bottom, I expect, the secret of its fascination." 1 Let us, then, take up nature in this way, and we shall find it conveying to us clear evidence of God's "eternal power and Divinity." The world without and within witnesses to His power; it is an effect, and He is the first and Eternal Cause! We also attribute to Him those qualities by virtue of which He has become Creator of such a world; we grasp the idea of His Divinity. In degenerating into their polytheisms, therefore the heathen were misusing "the light of nature." Their degradation was quite inexcusable. They deserved the wrath to which God subjected them!

VII. WE OUGHT TO CONSIDER OUR GREATER RESPONSIBILITY UNDER THE LIGHT OF OUR GREATER REVELATION. God has added to the light of nature. He has given us the Bible! Our conceptions of God should be correspondingly elevated! But oh, if, notwithstanding all this light, we degrade God in our thoughts and descend to real idolatry, the idolatry of money, of ambition, of success, our judgment must be intensified in comparison with that of the pagans. In particular, let us consider how God has assumed human form in the person of Jesus Christ, and so enabled us to know Him through the mild radiance of a perfect life! Let such a revelation have its full effect upon us, leading us to love God and {worship Him in Spirit and in truth with our whole hearts!! Emphasis, mine, (MLH)}. Jesus becomes the great Iconoclast, and before Him every Dagon falls!! 2

VIII. WHAT IS THE SPIRITUAL SOLUTION TO HOMOSEXUALITY, AND WHAT CAN HOMOSEXUALS DO TO COME INTO A SAVED RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD? My friends, hear me, are you listening? Please consider the following text: "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, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 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" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NKJV).

Over the years I have read several statements from homosexuals who defended their behavior by saying, "God made me this way!" That is a serious charge to make against God!! A habitual "smoker," or "drunkard," or "sex maniac" could say the same thing, "God made me thus!" Beloved, if this statement is true, then, it follows, that man shouldn't be held accountable by God for any sin that he commits, when the habit, cause, or condition, exists because God intended it!! That is contrary to all nature and reason, common sense, and horse sense! That impeaches the integrity of God! Man must resist the temptation, and a void it!! Compare (1 Corinthians 13:10), "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

CONCLUSION: All responsible humankind on this planet, are amenable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! There is absolutely no exceptions! God loves all humankind, and He wants all to be saved, however, if we are to be saved, we must be saved on His terms, and, certainly, not ours! Beloved, if you intend to be saved there are certain things you must do: 1. You must hear the unadulterated gospel of Christ, (Romans 10:14); 2. You must believe the unadulterated gospel of Christ, (Romans 10:14); 3. You must repent of past sins, (Luke 13:3, 5); 4. You must be immersed or baptized into Christ, (Romans 6:1-5); 6. You must live faithful until death, (Revelation 2:10). Please, do it, Today! Today! Today!


1 The Pulpit Commentary, Volume # 1, (Genesis 19:1.4-11, Homiletics, by Thomas Whitelaw, pages 253 & 254

2 The Pulpit Commentary, Volume # 18, (Romans 1:18-32), pages 48 - 50, Homilies by Various Authors, by R. M. Edgar


1. The King James Version of The Bible, The Thompson Chain -Reference Bible, The Fifth Improved Edition

2. The American College Dictionary

3. The American Heritage Dictionary

4. The Expanded Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W. E. Vine

5. The Theological Dictionary of The New Testament

6. The New Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, With Lexicon & Synonyms, by Berry

7. Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of The New Testament

8. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology

(E-Mail Address: ) Telephone number: (304) 247-6895. Dear reader, In the event you find errors in this sermon, spelling, scripture misquotes, etc., please feel free to inform me of same at your earliest convenience, as I intend to be as accurate as possible!! Thank you! (MLH).

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