We had a really good church meeting this weekend at Little Union. Elder J. C. Stanland from the Church in Panama City was with us. On Friday, we had a fish fry (like usual) to start things off. Then we began Church about 7:00. Brother J.C. had a great sermon on our "Just and Righteous Souls." We all know that Christ is our righteousness and it is by him that we are made just and acceptible before God the Father; however, Bro. J.C. explained it in a way that I had never heard preached.
He started with a text from the New Testament, II Peter 2:7-8 which says how just Lot's righteous soul was vexed by the sin going on in Sodom and Gomorrha. He told us that we knew that Lot had no righteousness of his own, and proved it by going through the beginning of Genesis 13 and the entire chapter of Genesis 19. He showed some of Lot's many mistakes: 1) great wealthy created strife between Abraham and Lot, 2) Lot looked about with a carnal mind and regarding not his uncle took the best land, 3) Lot knowing the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah pitched his tent facing Sodom, 4) and when we see Lot again in ch. 19 things have only gotten worse he is now living in Sodom. However, we know that he is a child of God (not only because Peter tells us he has a righteous soul), but because when he sees the angels come in there is something in him that draws him toward them, just like those with the Spirit have something about them that draws them together. He insists that these men stay the night with him, but leave early, because he knows of the sin and evil in the city and is trying to spare them the worst of it. However, the men of the city, intending evil come for the two men. Lot offers his daughters to them, but instead the angels smite the men with blindness. In the morning, the angels tell him to get his stuff together and get out of Dodge, because they are going to destroy the city. From this point forward Lot's actions are astonishing. After seeing the mircle the night before and being told God is going to destroy this place, he lingers to the point that the angels have to take them by the hand and lead them out. Then they tell him to flee to the mountains and he then argues basically saying, "I just can't do that God, I might die in the mountains." So then he pleads to get to go to a "little" city nearby, he emphasises twice that it's just a little city, and by extention, that it must only have little sins. God says he will spare the city, but not because of the argument but for Lot's sake. Turns out not much time passes before he flees from the city to the mountains. There his two daughters say there are no more men left on the earth, they knew better, they knew Abraham and they had just come from a town that had to have men. So the last we hear of Lot he is drunk and commiting insest, not a good record for his own righteousness.
The next example he used was Solomon. This was the wisest man to ever walk the earth (aside from Jesus) and at the end of his life we don't see much wisdom or righteousness in I Kings 11. We are told that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines and that they were all strange. Bro. J.C. stopped to say that they didn't look fun, but that they had strange religions, and that Solomon built alters and temples and gave sacrifices to them all for his wives. This happened to the point that we are told that "Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord." So at the end of Solomon's life he is doing evil and worshipping every god except the one true and living God.
Finally he showed, how Isreal had no righteousness by going to Hosea 11. God is telling Hosea that he loved Isreal when they were a little child and took care of them, but as time passed they turned away, and that all this evil they are bringing on themselves, but he still loves them.
After that he wrapped up by showing how not a one of us is any good, and that Jesus is our righteousness and that he makes us just. It was an especially good reminder of our shortcomings and the goodness of Christ as we prepared to go into communion Saturday night.