Christine Caine - Don't Look Back, Part 1
There are so few words that we have, comparatively speaking, that Jesus Christ spoke on this earth in his lifetime, that we have record of. Recorded in the canon of scripture. I think it's important that we should just pause, and go, hang on a minute. I have lived my whole Christian life, and I haven't remembered Lot's wife. So you've tuned onto this program right now. And you are going to jump into this series, and you're about to remember Lot's wife, and we're going to discover together why Jesus said this, how crucial it is. How poignant it is for our time right now in 2020, to remember Lot's wife. To learn the lessons that we need to learn so that we can move into the future that God has for us.
Thanks for joining me today on Equip and Empower. There's always something relevant and powerful to discover in God's word. And I'm believing he has something special in store for us today. Prepare your heart, focus your mind, and let's dive into what he has to say about resisting distractions and embracing his plans and purpose for our lives.
Hey everyone, I am so grateful that you've joined me today. I so appreciate your time. And I believe that God has a word for you. It has been a year, hasn't it. And you know, as we're getting ready to launch into a brand new year in the next few weeks over here, there's a little phrase in scripture that I believe that the Lord wants every one of us to take to heart in this season. So we're going to turn to the book of Luke chapter 17, and we're going to go to verses 20 to 37. The Bible says, being asked by the pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, he answered them.
Now this is Jesus. The Kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, look, here it is, or there, for behold the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you. And he said to the disciples, the days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, look there or look here, do not go out or follow them for as the lightning flashes, and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of man. They were eating and drinking and marrying, and being given in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot, they were eating and drinking, buying, and selling, planting, and building. But on the day, when Lot went out from Sodom, and fire and sulfur rained from heaven, and destroyed them all, so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed. On that day let the one who is on the house top with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away. And likewise, let the one who is on the field, not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. I tell you in that night there will be two in one bed, one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left. And I said to him, where Lord, he said to them, where the corpse is, the vultures will gather. I mean, what a portion of scripture.
Now, of course, here we are talking about the end times. This is a text about the coming of age, the text deals with eschatology and the end times. And we're all like freaking out, because you're like Christine, seriously, this is 2020. We have had a pandemic. We have had locusts. We have had riots. We have had elections. I mean, really now you're going to pull out. We've been in the end times all year. Look, let me say this. I'm at Wheaton college doing a master's program in evangelism and leadership. I do not have a seminary degree, so I really do not know much about the end times. This is about my whole theology on it. Okay. You ready? Don't freak out. This is my theology. I know that Jesus is returning again. I believe that with all of my heart. I long for that day. I don't know when, but I'm in good company because the Lord said nobody knows the day or the hour. So I'm going to save you a lot of stress.
There's a lot of people out there, and they're putting up charts and they're picking days, and they're doing all of the science and the mapping. Here is what the scripture says, nobody knows. So that's going to set you free. You can just stop freaking out. We don't know when, we live as if it's going to happen today. And we also live like we're going to be here for the term of our natural life. So we do both. I live expected and I also live like I've got the here and now, and I've got responsibilities here and now. And I've got to live here and now. But in this text, this is a pretty intense text, we're going to go through it. Basically it says that God's kingdom is not going to be proceeded by signs that could be calculated and observed.
So the kingdom is already present in the coming of Jesus Christ. We see that in verses 20 and 21. The consummation of the kingdom, that's going to happen by the return of Jesus. It wasn't going to happen in the disciples lifetime, and it hasn't happened so far. It's been almost 2000 years, and it has not happened thus far. But it says when Jesus comes, it's not going to be in secret, in verse 23. His coming will be observed by all. It is going to light up the sky. You don't have to be wondering, will people know that Jesus has returned. It's going to light up the sky. And the fact is that before all of this, Jesus in his present ministry, he's saying to the disciples, he's going to face rejection. He's going to face death.
Now, the fact is when he comes back, it will be unexpected and people will be unprepared. It's going to compare it to the days of Noah and lot's. So flood and fire, we've been looking at so many fires that have been happening around the earth. We've been looking at so many floods. Like me, I would imagine many of you have been thinking about this long and hard going, okay, there is plagues. There are locusts. There is pandemics. There has been floods. There has been fires. There's been earthquakes. There is so much going on around the world. If you're a believer, it must lead us to passages of scripture like this, where we're wondering, Lord, what is going on?
And in this text, Jesus is saying, don't try to save your life, or you're going to lose it. In that day there's going to be a final separation. We're going to see it in families, in Luke 17, 31 right through to verse 35. But the return of Jesus is going to be clear to the whole world. I don't know when, but I do believe that sky is going to split, and I do believe Jesus Christ is coming back. I do believe that there is going to be a new heaven and a new earth. I know it's going to happen. That's our future hope, we speak about that. All of that by way of introduction, in the midst of this eschatological text, this text about the king Jesus, about king Jesus who has already come, so the kingdom has already come, but the kingdom is not yet.
And so that is the dilemma of the already, but not yet. Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth. The kingdom has come, Jesus brought the kingdom here on earth. But the fact is that's already manifest in Jesus, but the fullness of the kingdom is not here yet. That's going to happen in the second coming. In between this huge discourse, but if we're all honest, most of us are kind of like, you know, I really don't understand all the detail, and we just don't. In the midst of that there's three little words. This whole series is actually not going to be about all of the stuff, it's going to be about these three little words in Luke chapter 17, verse 32. It's the second shortest verse in the Bible. Of course the shortest verse of the Bible is John 11, 35. And you would all know that in the Bible Quiz, it says that, Jesus wept. Second shortest verse in the Bible right here in the book of Luke chapter 17 verse 32 is, remember Lot's wife.
You ever thought, why is that there in the middle of this huge passage about the second coming, about the Kingdom of God, there's these remember Lot's wife. Why did Jesus just drop them into this discourse? Why did Jesus tell us to remember Lot's wife? Most of you are thinking like, who is Lot's wife? Who was lot? Why should we even remember Lot's wife? Tell me, have you ever heard a sermon on this passage? Remember Lot's wife.
This is the only woman in all of scripture that Jesus tells us to remember. I mean, that in itself is very important. Over 170 women are mentioned in the Bible, and yet Jesus only ever tells us to remember one of them. He doesn't say, remember, Eve, the first woman. He doesn't say, remember Sarah, the mother of a Jewish nation. He doesn't say, remember Miriam, the sister of Moses. He doesn't say, remember Rahab, she saved 10 spies. It doesn't say, remember Deborah who arose and was a great female judge. He doesn't say, remember Ruth, who was married to Boaz and in the lineage of Jesus. He doesn't say, remember Hannah who prayed and was the mother of Samuel. He doesn't say, remember Ester, she stopped a Jewish genocide. He doesn't say, remember Elizabeth, who birthed John the Baptist. He doesn't say, remember Mary, his own mother.
Listen, if I was his mother, I would feel a little bit rejected right now. He doesn't say, remember, Joanna, the wife of Chuza that helped to fund his ministry out of her own means. No, he doesn't say to remember any of those women that are listed in scripture, or any of the other 160 or so women. He said, remember Lot's wife.
Now whenever in scripture we see the words of Jesus, and of course, mostly that we've read, then we know that they're very important words. And there must be something very, very important about this text if Jesus is saying, I want you to remember Lot's wife. This nameless woman who appears on the pages of scripture, just quick enough to disappear. Remember Lot's wife just before I've read that I'm like, that just went, that just happened. That's just gone. She has the shortest biography in history. All we know about her is that she looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah, and she turned into a pillar of salt. That's all we know. We don't know if Lot married her when he went to Sodom and Gomorrah. Did he do it beforehand? We know nothing about her, except that this chick looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. But let me just say that Jesus said, remember Lot's wife.
So as I was reading this, I'm thinking, well if I'm supposed to remember her, I better find out who she is. And I better find out what I'm supposed to remember about her, because it was important enough that she made it into the passages of the New Testament. It's important enough that she made it into the words that were spoken by Jesus. There are so few words that we have, comparatively speaking, that Jesus Christ spoke on this earth in his lifetime, that we have record of, recorded in the canon of scripture. I think it's important that we should just pause, and go hang on a minute. I have lived my whole Christian life and I haven't remembered Lot's wife.
So you've tuned onto this program right now, and you are going to jump into this series, and you're about to remember Lot's wife and we're going to discover together why Jesus said this. How crucial it is. How poignant it is for our time right now in 2020 to remember Lot's wife. To learn the lessons that we need to learn so that we can move into the future that God has for us. So many of us in this moment feel stuck. It's been a really difficult year. It's been a really challenging year. We feel stuck. We feel stuck emotionally. We feel stuck spiritually. We feel stuck financially. We feel stuck relationally. We feel stuck.
Some of us are stuck in our fear. Some of us are stuck in our anxiety. Some of us are stuck in our offenses. Some of us are stuck in our unforgiveness. Some of us are stuck in our disappointment. Some of us are stuck in our disillusionment. Some of us are stuck in our pain. Some of us have been stuck in our suffering. Some of us have been stuck in our loss. Some of us have been stuck in our grief. We have been stuck and we have spent the entire year looking back, looking back, looking back. Rehearsing, going over it, going back, where could I changed it? What could I have done? We're stuck in our failure. We're stuck in our loss. We're stuck in our mistakes. We're stuck in our past successes. And God's saying, remember Lot's wife.
I need you to not be stuck. I need you to not look back. I need you to start looking forward. I need you to fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith. I need you to start looking forward to the future. Looking forward to the promise, looking forward to your purpose. Looking forward to all that God has for you. It's time to stop looking back, it's time to start looking forward. It's time to get unstuck from being stuck and step into the presence and the purpose of God for your life. 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ said, remember Lot's wife.
Let's go to Genesis 19, and have a look at what Lot's wife was doing. And so we go back to Genesis 19. And this story is so distressing on so many levels. And Genesis 19 is so distressing. And as we go into it, we see that in Genesis 13, initially in Genesis 13, Abraham and Lot separated because they're herds were so huge. And so the Bible tells us in Genesis 13 versus 12, it says, Abraham settled in the land of Canaan while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord. I mean, that is very sobering. So in Genesis 13, they separated. And then in Genesis 18, God decides to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, because of their great sin.
So Abraham intercedes, and he says, Lord, if this 10 righteous, would you save the city? Would you not destroy it for 10? So two angels come to Lot, in Genesis chapter 19. They stay at his house. Then of course we see in verses four to six, very disturbing passages of scripture, where the men of Sodom came, wanting to assault the guests and Lot offered his daughters instead. I mean, this is just tragic. The angels rescue Lot in verses 10 and 11, and then the angel say verses 12 to 14, that they're about to destroy the city.
So then we pick it up at Genesis chapter 19 verse 15. As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot saying, up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city. But he lingered, but he lingered. But he lingered, but he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out, one said, escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley, escape to the hills. I want you to catch that. Escape for your life, do not look back. Do not look back. And Lot said to them, oh no, my lords. Behold your servant has found favor in your sight and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life, but I can not escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. Behold, the city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there. It is not a little one, is it not a little one. Behold I grant you this favor also, and I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken, escaped there quickly for I can do nothing till you arrive there. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah, sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities and all the valley and all the inhabitants of the city, and what grew on the ground. But Lot's wife behind him, looked back and she became a pillar of salt. But Lot's wife behind him looked back and she became a pillar of salt. This is all we know about this woman. She did the one thing that she was told not to do, after such a spectacular escape. The angel of the Lord comes, takes her by the hand, brings her out, there's only one thing that the angel of the Lord says, don't look back. Don't look back. But she was behind and she was lingering.
I don't know was she longing for her home. Was she longing for her friendships. Was she longing for relationships. Was she longing for her possessions. Was she longing for the feelings that were associated with that place. She was not saved because she was torn between what she was leaving and where she was going. Looking back, got her stuck. And you know what, that's where she still is, it is highly likely today. I mean, I've been to Israel and I don't know if that's the exact spot, but there is a pillar that they say, this is Lot's wife right here. And the fact of the matter is, she got stuck between the place she was leaving and the place she was going to.
One of the greatest challenges coming out of 2020 is that we don't get stuck out of where we're coming out of and what we're going in to. That this could be a season that could be used by God to catapult us into our God-given purpose, and our God-given destiny. But for many others of us if we do not make a decision with intentionality to not look back, we're going to get stuck. We're going to get stuck back in this season. When God is getting ready to take you forward, don't lose your opportunity. I want to speak to you today on the other side of the screen, God's getting ready to take you forward. This is not a time to lose your opportunity. You've got to have the courage to go where you've never gone. Have the courage to do what you have never done. Have the courage to leave the unfamiliar, for the familiar. Have the courage to take the hand of God that is taking you into your future. And have the courage to let go of the things that are holding you to your past.
I wonder this year, are you willing to let go of certain things, and are you willing to lay hold of what God has for you in the future? See, we have to remember Lot's wife. Lot's wife looked back, she looked back with longing. She looked back with a lingering. She wanted to stay. She didn't know whether she wanted to go. God had supernaturally turned up, and told her to move on, and yet she still lingered. She still hovered in that place of indecision. She still couldn't decide whether she and it cost her everything. And I believe in this season that God has allowed the events of this year to bring us to a place to make a decision that there are certain things we've got to let go of.
If we're going to lay hold of all of that for which Christ Jesus laid hold of us, there are some things in this seasons we need to let go of. There are some relationships, there are some friendships. There are some attractions, there are some addictions. There are some distractions, there are some habits that we need to let go of so that we can lay hold of things that God for us in the future. Remember Lot's wife. Lot's wife looked back. I wonder whether you're going to have the courage to keep looking forward this year. I wonder if you're going to have the courage to keep pressing on into a new year, into a new purpose, into a new vision, or are you going to keep looking back?
Some of you, you keep looking back at those high school trophies that you've got. You haven't been in high school for 35 years. You actually haven't even run around the block in the last 20 years, but you're still saying that you were the best track runner in your high school. You haven't done anything new for the last couple of decades. It's time to stop looking back. Stop looking back at past successes. Stop looking back at past failures. Stop looking back at past mistakes. Stop looking back at past offenses. Stop looking back at past disappointments. Stop looking back at past hurts. Stop looking back at those things that keep you stuck, it's time to get unstuck. It's time to step up and into the purpose and the plan of God for your life.
The angel of the Lord comes, takes you by the hand and says, look, I'm only saying one thing. If you want to make it, if you want to go into your spiritual Promised Land, if you want to lay hold of all of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of you, don't look back. Stop rehearsing, stop going over it. Stop obsessively ruminating about it. Stop looking at pictures of it. Some of you have got to shut down some of those Facebook accounts. Some of you have got to stop stalking ex-spouses, ex-lovers on your Facebook accounts, on your Instagram accounts. You got to stop looking at the things that held you back, and it's time to let go, grab hold of God and step into the fullness of your God-given destiny and purpose.