1. SODOM AND GOMORRAH
a. What punishment did the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah suffer? Genesis 19:24, 25; Luke 17:29.
“The Lord rained brimstone and fire out of heaven upon the cities and the fruitful plain; its palaces and temples, costly dwellings, gardens and vineyards, and the gay, pleasure-seeking throngs that only the night before had insulted the messengers of heaven––all were consumed.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 162.
b. To whom is Sodom and Gomorrah an example? 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 7.
“The flames that consumed the cities of the plain shed their warning light down even to our time. We are taught the fearful and solemn lesson that while God’s mercy bears long with the transgressor, there is a limit beyond which men may not go on in sin. When that limit is reached, then the offers of mercy are withdrawn, and the ministration of judgment begins. . . .
“The fate of Sodom is a solemn admonition, not merely to those who are guilty of outbreaking sin, but to all who are trifling with heaven-sent light and privileges.”—Ibid., pp.162, 165.
2. ABRAHAM’S PLEA
a. Where was Abraham’s nephew Lot abiding? Genesis 13:10–13; 19:1.
“Fairest among the cities of the Jordan Valley was Sodom, set in a plain which was ‘as the garden of the Lord’ in its fertility and beauty. Here the luxuriant vegetation of the tropics flourished.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 156.
b. As the Lord revealed to Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, how did Abraham indirectly plead for Lot’s family? Genesis 18:22–32.
“And the man of faith pleaded for the inhabitants of Sodom. Once [Abraham] had saved them by his sword, now he endeavored to save them by prayer. . . .
“With deep reverence and humility he urged his plea . . . . There was no self-confidence, no boasting of his own righteousness. He did not claim favor on the ground of his obedience, or of the sacrifices he had made in doing God’s will. Himself a sinner, he pleaded in the sinner’s behalf. Such a spirit all who approach God should possess. Yet Abraham manifested the confidence of a child pleading with a loved father. He came close to the heavenly Messenger and fervently urged his petition. . . . Abraham thought that in that populous city there must be other worshipers of the true God. . . . Abraham asked not once merely, but many times. Waxing bolder as his requests were granted, he continued until he gained the assurance that if even ten righteous persons could be found in it, the city would be spared.
“Love for perishing souls inspired Abraham’s prayer. While he loathed the sins of that corrupt city, he desired that the sinners might be saved. His deep interest for Sodom shows the anxiety that we should feel for the impenitent. We should cherish hatred of sin, but pity and love for the sinner. All around us are souls going down to ruin as hopeless, as terrible, as that which befell Sodom. Every day the probation of some is closing. Every hour some are passing beyond the reach of mercy. And where are the voices of warning and entreaty to bid the sinner flee from this fearful doom? Where are the hands stretched out to draw him back from death? Where are those who with humility and persevering faith are pleading with God for him?”—Ibid., pp.139, 140.
3. ANSWERED PRAYER
a. Explain how God answered Abraham’s prayer to spare Lot. Genesis 19:1–3, 12–16, 27–29.
“Stupefied with sorrow, [Lot] lingered, loath to depart. But for the angels of God, they would all have perished in the ruin of Sodom. The heavenly messengers took him and his wife and daughters by the hand and led them out of the city.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 160.
b. What ingredient do we always need to mix with our prayers to give them power? Hebrews 11:6; Matthew 17:14–20; Matthew 9:29.
“Pray in faith. And be sure to bring your lives into harmony with your petitions, that you may receive the blessings for which you pray. Let not your faith weaken, for the blessings received are proportionate to the faith exercised. ‘According to your faith be it unto you.’ ‘All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive’ (Matthew 9:29; 21:22). Pray, believe, rejoice. Sing praises to God because He has answered your prayers. Take Him at His word. ‘He is faithful that promised’ (Hebrews 10:23). Not one sincere supplication is lost.”—Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 274.
“We must lay hold with firmer grasp on the unfailing promises of God. We must have faith that will not be denied, faith that will take hold of the unseen, faith that is steadfast, immovable. Such faith will bring the blessing of heaven to our souls.”—My Life Today, p. 8.
c. How can we have confidence that God will always deliver the righteous? 1 Peter 3:12; Psalm 145:18, 19; 55:22.
“In the darkest hours, under circumstances the most forbidding, the Christian believer may keep his soul stayed upon the source of all light and power. Day by day, through faith in God, his hope and courage may be renewed. . . . The Lord will more than fulfill the highest expectations of those who put their trust in Him. He will give them the wisdom their varied necessities demand.”—Ibid., p.55.
4. PLEADING FOR SOULS
a. What condition will the world be in just prior to the return of Jesus? Luke 17:28–30; 2 Timothy 3:1–6.
“I was shown the state of the world, that it is fast filling up its cup of iniquity. Violence and crime of every description are filling our world, and Satan is using every means to make crime and debasing vice popular. The youth who walk the streets are surrounded with handbills and notices of crime and sin, presented in some novel or to be acted at some theater. Their minds are educated into familiarity with sin. The course pursued by the base and vile is kept before them in the periodicals of the day, and everything which can excite curiosity and arouse the animal passions is brought before them in thrilling and exciting stories.
“The literature that proceeds from corrupted intellects poisons the minds of thousands in our world. Sin does not appear exceeding sinful. They hear and read so much of debasing crime and vileness that the once tender conscience which would have recoiled with horror becomes so blunted that it can dwell upon the low and vile sayings and actions of men with greedy interest.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 471, 472.
“The multitudes are striving to forget God, and they eagerly accept fables, that they may pursue the path of self-indulgence undisturbed.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1122.
b. Explain how we should have the same attitude of prayer as Abraham had. Ezekiel 9:4; James 5:16–20.
“We are not to condemn others; this is not our work; but we should love one another and pray for one another. When we see one err from the truth, then we may weep over him as Christ wept over Jerusalem.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 345, 346.
“Should a brother go astray, then is the time to show your real interest in him. Go to him kindly, pray with and for him, remembering the infinite price which Christ has paid for his redemption. In this way you may save a soul from death and hide a multitude of sins.”—Ibid., pp.58, 59.
“The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God.”—Ibid., p.211.
5. THE PENDING JUDGMENT
a. From what should we be trying to help souls escape? Revelation 14:7, 10, 11; 15:1.
“Wicked men will not oppose a form of godliness, nor reject a popular ministry which presents no cross for them to bear. The natural heart will raise no serious objection to a religion in which there is nothing to make the transgressor of the law tremble, or bring to bear upon the heart and conscience the terrible realities of a judgment to come. It is the demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God which raises opposition, and leads the natural heart to rebel. The truth that saves the soul must not only come from God, but His Spirit must attend its communication to others, else it falls powerless before opposing influences.”—Gospel Workers (1892), p. 66.
b. Like Lot’s experience, how do we know that many will just barely escape the judgments to come? Genesis 19:17; Luke 17:28–32; 1 Peter 4:17, 18.
“The judgments of God are soon to be poured out upon the earth. ‘Escape for thy life’ is the warning from the angels of God (Genesis 19:17). Other voices are heard saying: ‘Do not become excited; there is no cause for special alarm.’ Those who are at ease in Zion cry ‘Peace and safety,’ while heaven declares that swift destruction is about to come upon the transgressor. . . . Thus it was at the destruction of the old world and when Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed by fire.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 233.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What warning are we given from Sodom’s experience?
2. What should be the burden of every Christian?
3. Explain how a prayer of faith can save a soul.
4. What attitude do we need now more than ever?
5. Explain why the last warning needs to be given with urgency.