In the book of Genesis, we see Abraham, our model of faith, grow, flourish and increase in his fulfillment of what God had prepared for him. Through his life and example, the Bible proposes a life of growth and progress to every believer where he or she who wants to can walk “from faith to faith and strength to strength.” In the 14th chapter of Genesis, Abraham reveals to us one of the most important and yet widely unrecognized secrets of the walk of faith. It will take “increase our faith” deep into our everyday lives and will be of eternal consequence (see Genesis 14:17-24).
This passage shows Abraham returning from the battlefields with a
victory. As he came back, Abraham met two kings: the king of Sodom and
the king of Salem. The king of Sodom came from the place of fire, of
flames. The name “Sodom” means “a scorched place.” Please read his words
carefully, for the enemy of our souls still speaks the very same today,
in your life and mine. “The king of the place of fire, the scorched place, says, ‘Take the goods, I want the souls.’”
Did you get it? Do you hear these words? They make me shudder. There is
a modern-day, selfish and egotistical church, ravenously materialistic
and hideously self-centered. Her only goal and preoccupation is her
wealth and the only message she tolerates is one of blessing, prosperity
and material fulfillment. She has been blinded by the eternal nature of
this diabolical temptation inspired by hell itself.
Dear reader, have we been influenced by this gospel, obsessed with
its own blessing? Have we surrendered the “souls” to our eternal enemy?
Jesus teaches that there is a thief that comes to steal, to kill and to destroy.
Faith that will refuse and resist in the secret place says “no” to the
damning offer from the king of Sodom to live for the “goods,” for this
faith is passionate about what is eternal. This faith lives for “the
souls.” Faith that resists in the secret place is made possible by the
daily renewing of His Spirit burning His divine character in us—pressing
us, mobilizing us, renewing in us a passion to serve, to pray, to love,
to give, and to simply and daily do whatever is in our power to fulfill
that which is our eternal call: to win souls. We resist and refuse to
“keep the goods” and lose the souls.
Claude Houde, lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie
(New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada, is a frequent speaker at the
Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge
throughout the world. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown
from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few
successful Protestant churches.