1. THE TIMES IN WHICH WE LIVE
a. To what time in the history of the world did Jesus compare our days? Matthew 24:37–39; Genesis 6:5, 13.
“The same sins exist in our day which brought the wrath of God upon the world in the days of Noah. Men and women now carry their eating and drinking to gluttony and drunkenness. This prevailing sin, the indulgence of perverted appetite, inflamed the passions of men in the days of Noah and led to general corruption, until their violence and crimes reached to heaven, and God washed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 163.
b. What do believers have to face today? 2 Peter 3:3–6.
“The world, full of rioting, full of godless pleasure, is asleep, asleep in carnal security. Men are putting afar off the coming of the Lord. They laugh at warnings.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 635.
2. LEARNING FROM A STARTLING EVENT
a. Besides comparing these last days to Noah’s time, to what other historical scene did the Lord compare the hour of His return? Luke 17:28–30.
“The state of the world now is similar to that which existed in the days of Lot, when Sodom’s corruption called for the angel’s visit to that wicked city, to see whether the cries coming up before heaven were of such a character that the inhabitants of beautiful Sodom—a city that had been so highly favored of God—had so corrupted their ways before the Lord that there was no hope of their redemption. God’s wrath was revealed so signally because the corruption of the Sodomites was so deep.”—Southern Union Worker, October 16, 1913.
b. What sin was prominent in Lot’s day? Genesis 19:5–7; Romans 1:21, 26, 27.
“[The Sodomites] crowded about the house of Lot, and as the crowd increased, vile speeches were made which revealed the state of corruption that existed among the people, and the worst suggestions were received and acted upon. The crowd became more clamorous in their cries to have Lot bring forth the strangers to them; for they had become so base through the indulgence of evil passions, that every good thought had been uprooted, and reason was so clouded that they would even do violence to the angels of heaven.”—The Signs of the Times, October 9, 1893.
c. Why is Sodom’s fate a warning to all? Genesis 19:24–26; Luke 17:32, 33.
“The angels had come to see if there were any in the city who were not corrupted, and could be persuaded to flee from the impending doom that threatened Sodom. That night the evildoers added the last drop to their cup of iniquity, and the wrath of God could no longer be delayed.”—Ibid.
“The warning that was given to Lot comes down to us who live in this degenerate age—‘Escape for thy life.’ The voice of the tempter is crying peace and safety. The evil one would have you feel that you have nothing to fear and bids you eat, drink, and be merry. Which voice will you heed, the voice of heaven, or the voice that lures you to destruction?”—Ibid., October 16, 1893.
3. BECOMING BETTER STEWARDS OF OUR LIVES
a. What warnings are given about Sodom’s spiritual decline? Ezekiel 16:49.
“Many of those who have so long rejected divine guidance and guardianship are rushing on in the path of levity and selfish pleasure, yea, more, into baser acts and defilement of the body. As a consequence their minds are polluted, and religion is distasteful to them. Some have gone so far in this downward course, and followed so earnestly in the path of the Sodomites, that they are today nigh unto cursing, and the voice of reproof and warning is lost upon them.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 39.
b. How are we, who are entrusted with great light, warned of degradations more serious even than those of Sodom? Hosea 4:6; Proverbs 1:24–30, 33.
“The Redeemer of the world, the compassionate Friend of man, discloses to our eyes the fact that there is a sin greater than the sin of Sodom. It is that of sinning against greater light. To those who have heard and have not heeded the gospel invitation to repent and have faith in Christ, the sin is greater than was the sin of Sodom. To those who have professed the name of Jesus, who have professed to know God, and to keep His commandments, and yet who have misrepresented Christ in their daily life and character, who have been warned and entreated, and still dishonor their Redeemer by their unconsecrated lives, the sin is greater than that of Sodom.”—The Signs of the Times, October 16, 1893.
“Many who profess to believe the truth do not want God in their thoughts, any more than did the antediluvians or Sodomites. One sensible thought of God, awakened by the Holy Spirit, would spoil all their schemes. Self, self, self, has been their god, their alpha and their omega.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 141.
“The sins of Sodom are repeated in our day, and the earth is destroyed and corrupted under the inhabitants thereof; but the worst feature of the iniquity of this day is a form of godliness without the power thereof. Those who profess to have great light are found among the careless and indifferent, and the cause of Christ is wounded in the house of its professed friends.”—The Signs of the Times, October 16, 1893.
3. CHOOSING BETTER PRIORITIES
a. To avoid Lot’s mistake that had led his family in a downward path, what must we realize? Genesis 13:12, 13; 19:30–38; 1 Corinthians 15:33.
“The corruption of Sodom in breaking the law of God was especially manifested in licentiousness.”—The Great Controversy, p. 269.
“When Lot entered Sodom he fully intended to keep himself free from iniquity and to command his household after him. But he signally failed. The corrupting influences about him had an effect upon his own faith, and his children’s connection with the inhabitants of Sodom bound up his interest in a measure with theirs. The result is before us.
“Many are still making a similar mistake. In selecting a home they look more to the temporal advantages they may gain than to the moral and social influences that will surround themselves and their families. They choose a beautiful and fertile country, or remove to some flourishing city, in the hope of securing greater prosperity; but their children are surrounded by temptation, and too often they form associations that are unfavorable to the development of piety and the formation of a right character. The atmosphere of lax morality, of unbelief, of indifference to religious things, has a tendency to counteract the influence of the parents. Examples of rebellion against parental and divine authority are ever before the youth; many form attachments for infidels and unbelievers, and cast in their lot with the enemies of God.
“In choosing a home, God would have us consider, first of all, the moral and religious influences that will surround us and our families. We may be placed in trying positions, for many cannot have their surroundings what they would; and whenever duty calls us, God will enable us to stand uncorrupted, if we watch and pray, trusting in the grace of Christ. But we should not needlessly expose ourselves to influences that are unfavorable to the formation of Christian character. When we voluntarily place ourselves in an atmosphere of worldliness and unbelief, we displease God and drive holy angels from our homes.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 168, 169.
b. Give various reasons why we must avoid the typical attitudes characteristic of today’s culture. 2 Timothy 3:1–5; Isaiah 1:9.
5. CHOOSING A SAFER ENVIRONMENT
a. What does God say about where His people can prosper? Isaiah 32:18, 19.
“My warning is: Keep out of the cities. Build no sanitariums in the cities. Educate our people to get out of the cities into the country, where they can obtain a small piece of land, and make a home for themselves and their children. . . .
“Our restaurants must be in the cities; for otherwise the workers in these restaurants could not reach the people and teach them the principles of right living. And for the present we shall have to occupy meeting houses in the cities. But erelong there will be such strife and confusion in the cities that those who wish to leave them will not be able.”—The General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.
“Parents can secure small homes in the country, with land for cultivation, where they can have orchards and where they can raise vegetables and small fruits to take the place of flesh meat, which is so corrupting to the lifeblood coursing through the veins. On such places the children will not be surrounded with the corrupting influences of city life. God will help His people to find such homes outside of the cities.”—Medical Ministry, p. 310.
b. Why must we heed the appeals for country living? Proverbs 15:31, 32.
“There was a coming out, a decided separation from the wicked, an escape for life. So it was in the days of Noah; so with Lot; so with the disciples prior to the destruction of Jerusalem; and so it will be in the last days.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 166.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. In facing those who scoff at Christ’s return, what should we keep in mind?
2. Why do all need to be aware of the history of Sodom and Gomorrah?
3. What impact should the fate of these cities exert on the people of God?
4. Am I in danger of repeating the mistake of Lot—and if so, how?
5. What are the benefits of country living?