The Christian Response To Sodom | World Challenge

The Christian Response To Sodom

 

Carter Conlon

Date Preached: 
August 18, 2013

The presence of God is a force to be reckoned with whether people are attracted to His light or resist it. Does your life manifest the love of God to those around you who are steeped in sin? Carter Conlon reminds us that God’s people are called to make a radical difference in this generation.

Carter Conlon: Hallelujah. How wonderful it is to come back to New York and to just be immersed in the presence of God. Last week, Teresa and I were away for a few weeks and we were resting. We practiced doing nothing with all of our might. You have to work at it. If you're used to being busy, you've got to actually work at doing nothing because the trend of thought when you get up in the morning is what are we going to do today? And you have to fight that thought. Praise God, but we were part of the online church and I streamed the services. What a blessing. Brother Vest, Pastor William, Brother Crandall, the word of God that was brought in this congregation. Oh, I thank the Lord. Makes me want to shout.

Carter Conlon: Drove back to Pennsylvania two days ago, and yesterday morning to see somewhere between 300 and 400 Christian people from the local community near Summit International School of Ministry coming in to play volleyball and to have a tournament of 11 churches. And just to see such life, such joy, such happiness, I thank God with all my heart. It would be very difficult to be separated as much as we are if we didn't see this kind of fruit being born for the kingdom of God. And I thank God for that with all my heart. Today, I'm going to be speaking from Genesis 19, and Lord willing, next week I want to speak to you about the greatest enemy you will ever face. The enemy that can take you down, took Satan down, took Adam down, took Eve, and many, many righteous and godly people through the ages. It's an enemy simply called boredom. I want to talk to you about it. I want to unlock it from the scriptures and pray together next Sunday that God forbid, that we should ever become bored with the battle or the blessing of God.

Carter Conlon: I want to speak this morning about the Christian response to Sodom. The Christian response to Sodom, the days are very dark that we're living in. There's an increasing darkness coming almost hourly now on our society, and I want to talk about how can we make a difference, you and I? And the Lord has given me something that is very attainable for every person here. It's not some kind of a pie in the sky. We're going to go out and preach to hundreds of thousands. No, it's something that will affect you, it affects me, each one of us. I believe that the Lord has given me something that's clearly attainable for every Christian believer.

Carter Conlon: Now, father, I thank you Lord with all my heart. God, you don't choose us because we're strong. We're all weak. And the greatest grace and blessing comes to those who have the sense to admit it. Without you Lord, we don't have the strength, we don't have vision. We have no heart. We have no mind to perceive the things of God. We have no authority to stand against darkness. It all comes from you. Thank you Lord for giftings and talents and such light that you give, but Lord, unless you are the power source of our lives, we stand as a deficient testimony in a darkened time. I ask you, God, to come upon me, give me ability far beyond anything that I would naturally have. Lord, let your word have weight today. Let it find a lodging place in each of our hearts. I pray that you'd help us to grow in grace. In grace, Lord. Let our hearts be warmed with faith. And I thank you for it. In Jesus's name.

Congregation: Amen.

Carter Conlon: Genesis 19, only one verse, verse one, the Christian response to Sodom. And there came two angels to Sodom at even, that means the evening time, and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. And Lot seeing them, rose up to meet them and he bowed himself with his face towards the ground. It was a dark, dark, dark time in history. Mankind in its own blind rebellion against a Holy God had allowed itself to come to a place where God looked down from heaven and said, "I can't let this go on anymore." There has to be a judgment. No doubt there were warnings throughout the years. Perhaps one of them was a time of increased prosperity. Another was a time of some form of calamity. I don't know what kind of warnings, but the Lord will never do what was about to be done to this society without giving sufficient warning. And now they've come to the end. The last of the last days. And there were two messengers came walking into a city that almost had no ears left to hear. And they came to get those who could still hear.

Carter Conlon: Now, there are certain things that God will not hide from those whose hearts and ways are right in his sight. In Genesis 18, for example, the Lord said, shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do. Seeing that Abraham will surely become a great and a 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 upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him. Now, God looked down and Abraham was not a perfect man. He was an ordinary man. He was very human. He made some very real mistakes in his journey, but he was honest in his relationship with God and that's all God has ever looked for.

Carter Conlon: God looked down at Abraham and he said, I'm not going to hide from him the things which are coming on the earth, which I'm about to do because there's an inherent source of life that is God given in this man, and in his own weakness, he's going to pursue and lay hold of the strength that only God can give. And he's going to increase in might and as he increases in the might that comes from God, there's going to be a blessing that flows through him to all people around him. The Lord said, I know him. He will command his children and his household after him to keep the ways of God. I know him, he's... Yes, he makes mistakes, but he's not a light man. He's not a treacherous man. He's not looking for ways around the things that God has spoken to his heart.

Carter Conlon: And even though he does fall, he'll get back up again. And he will increase in might and increase in strength. And of course, God was speaking through Abraham right down to you and I today. The church of Jesus Christ, for we are the fulfillment of the promise that God made to Abraham. Through Abraham came the lineage of Jesus Christ and through Christ, came to the church of which you and I are a part. And so we can draw the conclusion, if we're walking in right relationship with God, God says, "Should I hide from you the things that I'm about to do?"

Carter Conlon: 1 Thessalonians 5, the apostle Paul speaks of the a time coming on the earth when it seems that mankind has arrived at the place where people thought we would be living in peace. We have obtained our objectives. But he said, "It's a day when the Lord himself will come as a thief in the night." Then he goes on to say, "Brethren, don't live in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief." You don't live in such a manner. That tomorrow's headlines could be something that you and I have never anticipated in our lifetime, but yet somehow it takes us unaware. We're not living in that kind of a day. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3, the last days as we know them, will be characterized by an incredible personal, social and moral departure from truth. We're living in that day folks.

Carter Conlon: Really, if I ever doubted it, all I had to do is walk from the parking garage to the church last night and I began to realize, oh God, oh God, oh God, how long will you endure with this generation? Evil will become good and good will become evil. That which God declares to be good will now be narrow, bigoted, corrupt, and everything that the Bible declares to be evil will become good. Many people will claim association with God, but within themselves, will have no power to make any difference in their generation. Paul says they'll have a form of godliness but deny its power. A form... He actually says they'll be always learning, but never brought to the place where the learning should have brought them to. Form.

Carter Conlon: Exteriorly, they look to be Christian. They've cleaned up their clothing, their vocabulary, go to church on a regular basis, like Lot, they can recognize the messengers of God. Remember he was sitting in the gate of Sodom and when he saw the messengers coming, he got out of his seat and fell on his face and worshiped. Bowed before them because there's a recognition. Maybe even some here this morning, you say, "I know I'm hearing from God right now. I know this is true. I know this is not a light message and there's something in my heart that says, this is right." Having a form of godliness. Always learning.

Carter Conlon: Paul likens it to the two sorcerers who stood at the throne of Pharaoh to resist Moses. Now, when you look at it in its context, Moses was standing before the power of that day saying that God has a people who will be separated unto him to worship in the wilderness. In a place where there's... Really the comforts of Egyptian society are left behind them. They're not governed by them anymore. It doesn't mean that they don't have on their possession, some things to make the journey, it just means they're not governed by it anymore. The value system is not there. They were willing to make that separation from the value system of a fallen society around them, but there is a certain ministry that resists separation and tries to have God while at the same time intertwining the people into a fallen value system all around them, thus producing a form of godliness with no power.

Carter Conlon: You and I are not just to go to church on Sunday and try to hold the fort till Jesus comes. We are to make a radical difference in our generation you and I. We're to be light, we're to be salt in this generation. The presence of God within us needs to be reckoned with. Whether it's somebody bending the knee or throwing curse words at us, there has to be a reckoning if God is in us. If Christ has a hold of my life in my heart, there will be a reckoning. Genesis 19:1, there was this man, Lot, who could have claimed an association rightly with Abraham. I am the family of faith. I traveled with uncle Abraham from the original place we left. I'm related to him. The promise of God was given to him and through him, all the people in the earth, we're going to be blessed. We had conversations along the way and he rightly could claim that as many people sitting in churches this morning can claim an association with Christ.

Carter Conlon: And it's not like it's complete falsehood. But he lacked the power to bring even his own family out of danger. In Genesis 19:14 it says, when he went out and spoke to his sons-in-law who married his daughters and he said, up, get out of this place for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed like a man who was jesting to his sons-in-law. I can see it in my mind's eye. He finally has caught the message. But listen to his sons-in-law when their father-in-law comes and he's trying to get his family out of this place and they said, "Lot, you're a good man. But if this place is about to be judged, why are you so tied to it? Why are you so enamored with it? Why are you sitting in the gate every day? Why is your whole sense of worth based on what you possess and what new deal you can swing in the gates of Sodom, because that's in place of commerce basically and culture? Why are you so tied... If you're so tied to it, oh, that's funny. That's funny Lot. I'll see you at the gate."

Carter Conlon: I can see Lot walking away so discouraged just as many people can become discouraged today and say, "Oh God, how can I make a difference?" Jesus in Matthew 24, tells us that empty religion and ungodliness will abound in the last days to the point where the iniquity abounding to the point where the love of many shall wax cold. And this is how I read this, ungodliness will increase to the point that many will lose their love for that which is the work of God. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. It's so easy just walking from a parking garage to a church apartment last night, I can't even describe to you what I walked by. And I won't even attempt to. I don't think it's appropriate.

Carter Conlon: It would be so easy in the human heart to say, "Let them all go to hell." Why should I be given for this? It's so easy because iniquity abounds to let the love of God that is still there for all people. No matter what their lifestyle or where they're living or what they're doing, there is a passion in the heart of God through his son, Jesus Christ, that they may be saved. And you look at the time in which we're living, it's difficult to trust anybody in public office anymore. You don't know if people are speaking the truth and honestly, it doesn't matter now anymore whether they are or aren't. People say what they need to say to get into positions of power. You look at it everywhere, iniquity abounding.

Carter Conlon: And I can only imagine what many of you have to go through in the work environment. The vile, disgusting conversation that you hear on the street now, the lewd jokes which people will go out of their way to get out of their mouth just because you walk into the room, the constant mockery of who you are and what you believe in, all designed to cause you and I to cower and to close our mouths and to be of no effect in our generation. But what should our response be to these times? How can we make a difference? Now, we see a type of it in the actions of the two messengers sent to Sodom. Now these are angels, but the word is also transposed and used commonly with the word messenger. In any event, they're messengers. They're sent to Sodom, they're sent, and that's decided to pull out those who can still hear. They can't hear very well, but they can still hear.

Carter Conlon: Firstl y, they didn't stay separated from those with whom they obviously couldn't agree, but as Christ would, they went to those who could still hear. They didn't stay... Yes, separate from their behavior, separate from their conversation, separate from their value system, but not separated from them. Intermingling among the people of the city as it is. As a matter of fact, their original plan was to stay in the street all night looking for those who could still hear, for those who still had a heart for truth.

Carter Conlon: Secondly, their lives were a demonstration of the fact that there's incredible power and spiritual authority given to those whose ways are right in the sight of God. Remember they went into Lot's house, and after they were in Lot's house, a group of central depraved, given to depravity, people gathered outside of the door of Lot's house wanting in to do things that were unspeakable to the visiting guests. In chapter 19 verse 10 and 11 it says, the men put forth their hand and pulled Lot into the house to them and shut the door. There is an authority given to the true believer in Christ, and folks, were going to have to lay hold of that authority in this generation. I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means, hurt you.

Carter Conlon: When you lead someone to Christ in this generation, all hell is going to come to the door to try to get them back, but God has given us authority and God has given us power in prayer. And if the one place it must not be vacated in this generation is that intimate secret place of prayer and that corporate meeting of prayer that you and I are called to. We're not just shouting into the wind. There's authority in prayer. God's given us power as the church of Jesus Christ. And he smote them, they were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great so that they wearied themselves to find the door. He's given us power to bring in that which can still hear and power to keep that out, which never will.

Carter Conlon: I often pray that here. I don't want you to misunderstand, but I pray a prayer quite often, Lord God, those who will not hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and you know all hearts, those who only come to the church to cause trouble and division and difficulty, but will never be converted, have them take the wrong train on Sunday morning and not find this church. It's the power to keep out that which does not belong and to invite in and to hold those who are coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Yes, coming through confusion, coming through darkness, coming through compromise, but thank God they're coming into the house of God.

Carter Conlon: Thirdly, their words were clear and direct. In Genesis 19:12-13 it says, the men said to Lot, hast thou here any besides? Son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. 1 Corinthians 14:8, the scripture says that the trumpet gives an uncertain sound. Who shall prepare himself to the Bible? I believe in t he importance of saying things clearly, saying them profoundly and powerfully, this world is under judgment. Yes, it thinks in its arrogance it's going to go on forever, but it's not. In a day when they say peace and safety, sudden calamity is going to come upon them.

Carter Conlon: I often say this to some people, one nuclear bomb can change your whole day. Can change your whole theology as well, in a moment of time. We live on borrowed time, all of us. This world hangs in space under the hand of God and it's only God's mercy that keeps it now. It's only God's mercy until the last of the last of the last of the last, as in the day of Sodom, who can hear, will hear and come into the kingdom of God.

Carter Conlon: Fourthly, they were the embodiment of the mercy of God. And this is what I want to really speak to you about today. Genesis 19:16 it says, and while he lingered, this is Lot, he can't quite make up his mind. He knows he's hearing the truth. He knows he has to leave even family members behind. He knows how difficult and dark the days are going to be. And while he lingered, it says, the men laid hold upon his hand and the hand of his wife and the hand of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful unto him, and they brought him forth and set him outside or without the city. The Lord being merciful took him by the hand.

Carter Conlon: As a matter of fact, if you can see it in the scriptures, each of the angels had two people, one in each hand. They had two people with them. One on the left and one on the right as they walked out of that city. They had Lot, they had his wife and they had his two daughters. And they had them by the hand. And it says, the Lord being merciful. Mercy is the heart of everything that God is, it's the heart of everything that God does, it's the heart of who we are as the representatives of Christ in our generation. I'll never forget the Tuesday night here in this church from right here at the altar, there was a young man who responded, and he responded with tears. And he was about 25 years of age. Had only a leather vest on the top, and he was crying. He had his head down on the altar rail. He beckoned me with his hand to kneel down and he wanted to say something.

Carter Conlon: So I went over and I knelt beside him and he looked at me and he was crying. And he said, "I am..." And I see a young man raised... He's raised here in New York City, you have to understand. He's 25 years old. He's raised in this culture. He said, "I am an actor in the pornographic film industry. Is that sin?" Is that sin? Folks, we're living in a generation that has been completely robbed of gospel truth. He had no idea of what sin is. He had no idea what right is, what wrong is. Is that sin? Very sincere. And I looked at him and I said, "Yes, it is sin." He said, "If I leave this, I make a lot of money. I don't know how I'm going to pay the bills. I'll lose all of my income." And I said, "You will." He said to me, "Is that what Jesus wants me to do?" And I said, "It is." And he said, "Then that's what I will do." And he put his head down and kept on crying.

Carter Conlon: Now I want you to know I could have destroyed him there. I could have destroyed him while he lingered. I could have said some things to him. I could have unlocked some scriptures. I could have used the word of God and beat him to death right at the altar. But would that really represent the Christ who went to a cross for fallen humanity? No, it's better to take him by the hand as much as he wanted to follow and say, "Listen, you've got to get a new believers class now. You got to learn who you are in Christ. You got to let us help you. We'll take you by the hand. We'll walk with you. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be hard. The old things in your life have a real grip on you, but we'll walk with you and we'll help you get out of this place."

Carter Conlon: We're not just going to point the way to the gate and say, "Now go. Godspeed. I hope... wish you a great journey." No, as the church of Jesus Christ, we've got to take people by the hand now. That's why mentoring on Wednesday night is so important. Please be here. We must learn to mentor others. And to disciple others is more than just Bible knowledge, is more than pointing the way to room 302 or 203, whatever it is, where new believers is. It's more than a sign on the wall. It's you and me getting ahold of the hands of those who are not sure whether they want in or want out and walking with them and say, "I'll come with you Friday night. I'll sit in new believers class with you on Friday night. Call me when you get confused. If you need prayer, I'll pray for you. I'm not going to leave you to walk this on your own."

Carter Conlon: There are so many people today that are so confused. One of the key questions that some of the youth may answer in this generation or ask rather is why does there need to be a God? And who is that? That's why we speak so plainly now on Sunday night for people don't know. They don't understand the language. They've been raised in a culture that tells them there is no God. They don't go to church, like many of us who are older once did in our youth. They don't have a frame of reference anymore. When you say to young people, you've sinned against God, they have no idea what you're talking about. But when they hear the truth, they melt.

Carter Conlon: We've seen that in The Cross and the Switchblade drama on Friday nights, as I'm told by Pastor Patrick. There's been over 500 young people have given their lives to Jesus Christ and gotten up and come forward when they finally realized there's a right and there's a wrong. There's a way to live and a way not to live. There's a place of safety, but it requires more than just preaching. Requires you and I to take people by the hand. Now, here's where it applies to us. Everybody in this church can do this. You can make it through this journey in New York City or wherever else you might happen to be from, and you could have, when you get to the throne of God, it is possible to have one person in your left hand and one person in your right.

Carter Conlon: Somebody that you brought to church, somebody that you walk with, somebody, somebody you just said, "You walk with me, I'll show you the way. I'll help you. I'll give you clear instruc... I'll tell you what God says. Somebody that was able to reach out in the tenderness of Christ and take somebody by the hand. If in the years to come, each of us did this in this church, that means there'd be at least 24,000 people at the throne of God from New York City. It's not something that is out of reach. I feel the Lord speaking to my heart this morning not to set the bar so high and quite often we do that as preachers. We talk about going out win your neighborhood, win your apartment building, win your office to Christ. Well, it's great, but it's not going to work in many cases, but in your neighborhood, in your office, in the places you and I travel, there have to be two people there.

Carter Conlon: Some who are still able to hear the word of God, and in spite of their confusion, we can take them. One in our left hand and one in our right and say, "Come with me to the house of God." And more than that, "Open the Bible with me. Let's put our hands together and begin to pray. I'm not going to let you go." I have a couple of friends in this church and I tell them, if I have to drag you by the feet, I'm going to get you over the finish line into the kingdom of God. I'm not leaving you behind. I refuse to leave you behind. And lastly, they pointed the way to safety. Genesis 19:17 it says, it came to pass when they had brought them forth abroad that he said, escape for your life. Don't look behind you. Neither stay in the plain. In other words, don't stay in a place where your enemies can get ahold of you again.

Carter Conlon: Don't stay in that place of indecision. Make a decision to go with God. And walk away from what you need to walk away from that once captivated, you once took away your strength, once made you blind, walk away. You know what that is that you need to leave. And they said, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed. In other words, lest the judgment that's coming on this society become yours as well. Escape to the mountain. There is only one mountain in the Christian Church and that's the place called Calvary. And our message must be clear. It is at the cross that the power and the penalty of sin were destroyed. It was at the cross that everything the devil had against us was blotted out by the blood of Jesus Christ. It was at the cross that we were given by God the right to be born again as if we had never sinned. It was at the cross that God accepted the sacrifice of his son, and no matter what we've done, he declared us as righteous as God in Jesus Christ.

Carter Conlon: Amazing, amazing. It would seem blast for me if it wasn't written in the scripture. Amazing when you look at it. It was at the cross that we were given the promise of power to stand and be witnesses for Christ to all the place where we live and everywhere that God would send us in the world. It was because of the cross that God's Holy spirit came down on the day of Pentecost and took 120 fearful, afraid, ordinary people like you and I and empowered them with the Holy Spirit of God. It was because of the cross they walked out of that upper room quickened by the Holy Spirit given giftings that natural men don't have. Natural women don't have these giftings.

Carter Conlon: It was because of the cross that those who could still hear heard that day. They heard. They'd heard a lot of religion, they'd heard a lot of quoting of scripture, they'd heard a lot of singing, but they'd never see nor heard anything like this. They were looking at 120 people who are literally empowered by the passion of God and the power of God. And they knew that these people were risking their reputation, they're risking their life, they're risking their all to stand in that marketplace on that day, because their master had just been crucified. And they knew it. And they said, if these people are willing to step out, if they're willing to give their all for me, if they're able to communicate with me in the language that I'm used to speaking, then whatever they've got, I want that. And that day, 3,000 that could still hear entered into the kingdom of God and became part of the church of Jesus Christ.

Carter Conlon: We have to point the way to safety. Your life and mine are to be signposts in this generation. We're not called as Lot to be sitting in the gate of commerce bowing every Sunday to the message, but being of no effect in their generation. I thank God for the past. I've had a lot of privilege over the years. I have traveled in many places, I've preached, I've seen the miraculous. It's been awesome, but it's past. From this day forward, personally, I want to make a difference in my generation. And I'm not talking about just from the pulpit. I'm not talking about the fact that these messages might be downloaded around a good part of the world. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about me as a man walking the streets in New York City and seeing somebody crying on a park bench. That's what I'm talking about.

Carter Conlon: I want to make a difference. I want somebody in my left hand and somebody in my right hand when I come to the throne of God, just like everybody else. Not laying burdens upon people and finding myself unwilling to lift them with even one of my fingers. It's a reasonable goal. One in my left hand, one in my right hand. Two people that may not have been able to hear had I not come to them. Two people standing, walking, sitting somewhere with a deep question in their heart. Years ago, it was a Tuesday night, I finished a service here, pastor Claude Houde had been speaking, went to a local restaurant not far from here, and when we got into the restaurant, there was a table and there was three or four men there and a girl. I don't know what she was, I don't want to speculate, but their conversation was inappropriate in places where inappropriate conversations are allowed. It was just disgusting. But they were speaking, talking, the cursing, the sexual talk.

Carter Conlon: It was absolutely disgusting to the point where the owner of the restaurant came to my table and said, "Pastor, I'm so sorry that you have to hear this." And other people were embarrassed by it. He said, "I prepared a table for you in the back of the restaurant if you'd like to go and sit there so you don't have to listen to this so closely." And I said, "Just a minute. Just one minute. I felt something stirring." It's so important to follow that stirring of the Holy Ghost and not be led by your natural mind. I get out of my seat. Pastor Claude tells the story to his church frequently and he told me one time. He said, "If I hadn't had been there, I wouldn't believe it, but I was there. I saw it."

Carter Conlon: So I got up and I stood by the table. And there was four men and a woman, and I said, "I am pastor Carter Conlon from Time Square Church, just not far from here, and we have a service coming up and I'd like to invite you to attend." And I said, "You look like the types who might like to go to church." And so the biggest mouth of all of them, he said, "Oh, the guy sitting in front of you, he's a real big sinner, man. He really needs prayer." I said, "Okay, let's pray." I put my hands on his shoulders and I began to pray, "Oh, Jesus, Show him your love. Show him the cross. Help him to understand you died for his sin. Turn him God, from what's going to destroy his soul and turn him to life in Christ. Change him. Help him God." And I truly interceded for him.

Carter Conlon: Pastor Claude told me, he said, "When you began to pray, everybody in the restaurant put their knives and forks down and bowed their heads." So now the biggest mouth at the table really loses it and starts to curse me out. And I'm not going to obviously say the words he said, so you have to fill in the blanks as I tell you exactly what he said, "Who do you think you are? What right do you think... What right do you have to get up and come to our table and do this? We don't want you, we don't want your religion, we don't want all the stuff that you represent," and numerous other things he had to say. "What gives you the right to do this?" Was his last question. I said, "I am a believer in Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that God indwells those who believe in him, who turn to him. And not only does he indwell us, but he speaks to us. And I feel God's Holy Spirit telling me there's somebody at this table that is desperate to know who God is."

Carter Conlon: At that point, the man with the big mouth started to cry. He said, "It's me. It's me. I got to know. I got to know who God is. I've had this question inside for years. My mother died..." And he started telling me about his family, he says, "I got to know." And he started crying so hard. He took the dinner napkin and he starts wiping his face. And at that point, the fellow I prayed for says, "I'm going back to my hotel room." The girl got up and left. Another guy says, "I can't handle this. I'm out of here." And I ended up sitting at the table and explaining the way of salvation so clearly, and he promised me he would go back to his hotel room. He said, "I have to call my wife first." He's from out of the country, he said, "I need to call my wife, but I am going to give my life to Jesus Christ." So I have to trust that he would have done that that night.

Carter Conlon: They pointed the way to safety. They didn't separate themselves from those who could still hear, although they couldn't agree with their conversation and the way they were living. Their lives were a demonstration of the fact that there's incredible power and spiritual authority given to those whose ways are right in the sight of God. Their words were clear and direct. They were themselves and embodiment of the mercy of God and never said a word about their conversation. Never said a word about, only talked about Christ in the cross and the mercy of God and invited them to church and they pointed the way to safety.

Carter Conlon: They said, "Don't stay in a place where you can be overtaken again or you could... You're not far enough away that you can't be enticed to turn around and go back. Escape to the mountain." There's only one place to safety, and that place of safety is in Jesus Christ. I want to encourage you live in the supernatural. Don't sit at the gate powerless and blind. Walk with God. It means stepping out, it means... It's not a program. It's the passion of Christ inside, it means doing things that other people would think are odd. It means taking a step of faith when everything in the natural eye looks like, whoa, this is not going to work. Pastor Claude said to me, "What was your plan B?" I said, "Well, the only thing I thought of is he used to be a street fighter, so I thought we had a chance." If everything went wrong. That was the only plan B I had at the moment.

Carter Conlon: Hallelujah. The willingness to step out, the willingness to walk up to somebody. I'm seeing so many people in the last several months crying on the street. The willingness to walk up and just start talking about the love of God. The willingness. And the cry of my heart today for you is that Lord, in this church, give us one person in our right hand and one in our left. Then when we get to the throne of God say, "Lord, I heard. I heard your word. I heard, and I wanted my life to make a difference." And that's really the point, that's the cry, that's what was in my heart when I was a young Christian it's Jesus, I want to make a difference. I don't want to just go through the motions and go to church and sing the songs and then be embarrassed to speak your name outside of your house. I want to make a difference.

Carter Conlon: I never could have dreamt where God would take me, and that he would actually answer that prayer because I didn't think I had the skill set to make a difference. And as a matter of fact, I didn't, but he did. You'd be amazed what God will do with the boldness, the words he will put in your mouth, the love he will place in your heart if, in your heart, you just say, I don't want to be like Lot. I don't want to be blind in the day of judgment. I want to make a difference. And I thank God for that with all my heart.

Carter Conlon: Now Father, I thank you for enabling me to share this word today. I thank you Lord God almighty with everything in my heart, that this will be a church that does make a difference in New York City. I thank you Lord for our brother and sister churches all through the city. Oh God, send an awakening to New York City in this last moment of time that we're living in and let it begin with us. Each of us, Lord that are here, nobody left behind. I thank you for it, in Jesus' name.

Congregation: Amen

Carter Conlon: I want to give an altar call this morning, and it's two fold. In one case, it's for people who just say, I really need to get out of something to get into what God has for me, and you know what that is. I don't have to explain it to you, but you'll just know you got to get out before you can get in. And secondly, it's for those who just say, pastor, I want my life to make a difference. I'm tired of being afraid and ashamed and quiet and selfish. I want to make a difference. And I believe the Lord has laid a goal before us today, one person in each hand. One person in each hand. And I believe that if you'll embrace that today, it'll be an exciting year for you. Let's stand together. If that's your heart, please just join me at the front of this church and you can stand between the screens and the annex and at Roxbury as well.

Carter Conlon: And those that are watching at home, maybe you can just go to your knees around your coffee table. Moms and dads and children. God bless you Emily this morning. Emily Skelding is a little girl battling leukemia that wrote the book Picnic Pals and she streams with her mum and dad on Sunday morning. We love you Emily. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Make a difference oh God. Make a difference.

Carter Conlon: One of the ways that we can begin to do this, if you find it hard to speak, for example, you can take somebody by the hand and bring them here Sunday night to hear testimonies, to hear a clear presentation of the cross and Christ and just with a promise that I'll walk this with you. If you want to walk with God, if you want to go down to the altar, I'll go with you. If you want to walk with God, I'll walk with you. I won't leave you behind. I know it's going to be hard to make the break, but I'll be there with you and I'll be there for you. And for those that are streaming this morning very shortly, we're going to live stream Sunday night.

Carter Conlon: And I want to encourage people that are... Maybe you can't make it to church, but you can bring people to your home. Your neighbors and friends, your family, and say, "Look, it's only an hour and a half, 6:00 to 7:30. There are testimonies, some singing and a message that you really want to hear." And you can bring them in. Kids in your neighborhood that you never believed would ever walk with God, you can invite them to come. We must. We must reach out. We must. Father, I thank you with all my heart, Lord, for clear vision, for this church. Thank you Lord that you give us your word and you say this is the way, walk in it. And as we choose to obey you, you bless. And I thank you Lord, that when we get to your throne one day, that when we raise our hands, there'd be another hand inside of ours. Our hands won't be empty.

Carter Conlon: There'll be a hand holding us and we holding them. And God, I thank you for it. Lord, bring in those who can still hear. You know the cry of every heart Jesus. You know in spite of their conversation and defiant lifestyles, there's still that inner cry. God almighty, send us. Send us as you sent the angels into Sodom. Send us, oh God, and give us the ears to hear when you speak, but the tenderness of Jesus be in our hearts that our message be clear. Father, I thank you. By faith, would you lift your hands and just say these words with me. Lord Jesus Christ.

Congregation: Lord Jesus Christ.

Carter Conlon: One day.

Congregation: One day.

Carter Conlon: I will stand before your throne.

Congregation: I will stand before your throne.

Carter Conlon: And by grace.

Congregation: And by grace.

Carter Conlon: My hands will not be empty.

Congregation: My hands will not be empty.

Carter Conlon: My left hand.

Congregation: My left hand.

Carter Conlon: And my right hand.

Congregation: And my right hand.

Carter Conlon: Will be holding the hands.

Congregation: Will be holding the hands.

Carter Conlon: Of somebody.

Congregation: Of somebody.

Carter Conlon: Who could still hear.

Congregation: Who could still hear.

Carter Conlon: And you used my life.

Congregation: And you used my life.

Carter Conlon: To bring them into your kingdom.

Congregation: To bring them into your kingdom.

Carter Conlon: I am forever grateful.

Congregation: I am forever grateful.

Carter Conlon: I embrace this by faith.

Congregation: I embrace this by faith.

Carter Conlon: And I thank you for it.

Congregation: And I thank you for it.

Carter Conlon: In Jesus name.

Congregation: In Jesus name.

Carter Conlon: Amen. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Can we sing a song, I love you Jesus? You know that one? Okay, hallelujah. Let's just go... Let's sing this song before we go. God bless you. Father, I thank you for this church. I thank you for these men and women of God. I thank you for the bond of love and unity that's here and the sense of vision and mission that you've given to us as your people. Help us not to be about ourselves, but to be about others. And Father, I thank you for it. Bless this church, oh God. Bless this church with your presence, in Jesus' name. Amen.

 

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