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God's Judgment Of The Nations Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
March 12, 2021 1:00 am

God's Judgment Of The Nations Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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March 12, 2021 1:00 am

Sometimes it seems that the bad guys keep winning. Terrorism and mayhem are everywhere. Some ask: “Is God still in control?” But we must remember that justice delayed is not justice denied. There will be a day of reckoning for both men and nations. God doesn’t ignore national sins and will hold a country accountable for its actions and attitudes.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Sometimes it seems that the bad guys keep winning.

Terrorism and mayhem are everywhere. Some ask, is God still in control? Remember, justice delayed is not justice denied. There will be a day of reckoning for both men and nations. Today, a look at how God judges the nations that violate His commands.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win, with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, some do say justice delayed is justice denied. Is this true of God? Dave, I don't think that that is true of God at all, that justice delayed is justice denied. It's true of us as human beings, and the reason is because circumstances change. Of course, oftentimes witnesses change.

Evidence changes. But when it comes to God, He is going to raise every single human being, and they will all stand before Him, and their pasts will be made known, and justice will be applied. I think that we as believers throughout all of eternity are going to be singing, Just and True are Thy Ways, O King of Saints. And to those of you who are listening to this and you have been denied justice, take heart.

A day is coming when justice will indeed reign. I'm so thankful for the many of you who continue to support the ministry of Running to Win. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's somebody who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts, because together we are making a difference. Want more information?

Go to RTWOffer.com, click on the endurance partner button when you're there, RTWOffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let's go to the pulpit of Moody Church where we hear again about God and the nations and God's justice, God's judgment of the nations, which is really my topic today. How does God judge nations? At least we're going to cover the sins for which He judges nations.

As I began to study this, I realized that there's a lot more here than I can do in simply four messages. So next time, next week, I'll be speaking on the specifics of how God judges nations. Today we're going to speak about the sins for which God judges nations. And as we begin to think about this, I want to make some introductory comments. This is a series of messages entitled God and the Nations. We've spoken about the origin of the nations. We've talked about God's sovereignty in providence in the nations, how God rules over the nations of the earth. And now today, God's judgment of the nations.

A few words by way of introduction. First of all, when God judges a nation, the righteous suffer with the wicked. Jesus said regarding rain, He says He sends rain on the just and the unjust.

If you get a shower to water your garden or your crop, your neighbor does too, even if he's an atheist. In the very same way, if there's a national judgment, the righteous and the wicked are caught up in it together. And we'll see that more clearly next time. And the judgment might take many different forms. Again, I'm really speaking about the message that I hope to give next week. So many people think, well, God judges only in one way. Maybe he sends war or maybe he sends famine. Well, the answer is that God has many different kinds of judgments and we need to interpret them properly as we think about our nation.

And that is going to become clearer. There is such a thing as immediate judgment. Did you know that all sin has immediate judgment connected to it? We're talking about even individual sins, my sins, your sins. There's an immediate penalty connected with that sin.

Now, if it's a small sin, I put small in quotes and it's confessed and forgiven, the penalty or the judgment may scarcely be recognized. But it is there because God hates sin and he is continually judging sin, always judging sin. But then there's a future judgment, a future temporal judgment.

And then there's also such a thing as eternal judgment, which we're not going to get into in this series. Keep in mind that all of the sins that we're going to mention today are sins that are found in every single nation at every single era of history. But today we're going to speak about the preponderance of sins. And I want you to know that as I go into this, I hope that as we talk about the United States as we're going to be and evaluating our country as we go through this laundry list of sins, I want you to realize that I am a great optimist regarding the United States of America.

The fact that there are so many hundreds of thousands of people who would like to get through our borders is in itself proof that America is a tremendously great country. And there is no doubt that the blessing and benediction of God has been upon America. We need to affirm that as we begin today.

Furthermore, I'm optimistic. When I see promise keepers with nine, ten thousand men in eighteen different venues, eighteen different cities throughout this nation, that ought to birth hope and it ought to birth encouragement. And there are many other streams of blessing that God has in this country and what we need to do is to pray that they will become a mighty river.

I want to say something else. As I go through, I'm going to be commenting on the United States of America throughout these seven sins for which God judges a nation. And I want you to know that some of you may disagree with me at certain points and that's perfectly okay. I'm not claiming at this point infallibility, all right?

There are some who may claim infallibility, but I don't. And there may be some things you say, well, you know, pastor, you overlook this and I may have. Can you imagine even beginning to think about all of the sins listed in the Old Testament and then boiling them down to seven? And of course, we live in a unique time. For example, gambling was not a sin that was condemned in the Old Testament because they didn't gamble in those days.

Thankfully, they were smart enough not to do that, I guess, in those days. So there's some that I may have overlooked, but I'm going to give you here the way in which I perceive it. And now with that introduction, we're going to begin. And if you're visiting here, you need to know that this message is going to be different from some in the past because most of the time we're looking at one passage or two passages and we're trying to understand those passages. Today, the message is completely topical. And so I'm going to be reading verses and you'll notice that the verses are going to be evident also and readable for you. So I want you to pay attention and we're going to begin. And let's start with sins for which God judges a nation.

Number one, the sin of unprincipled expansion, means of expansion. God says this in Isaiah 1 verse 13, this is what the Lord says, for three sins of Ammon, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to extend his borders. What an awful thing to read, I suppose, even publicly. But I read it because I want you to understand here that what we have is a nation that is willing to be ruthless and cruel simply to extend its borders.

And God says you're not going to get by with this. Now as we think about the nations of the world, there are many nations that still do this and the whole intention is to intimidate. It's intended to demoralize the victims so that the nation can run roughshod over other nations. America has many sins, but I do not believe that this sin is high on the list. Thanks to our Constitution, America has experienced tremendous power. America today could conquer the world if it wanted to, but America does not conquer the world because we have limitations in our government. We have a Judeo-Christian ethic that helps us to be compassionate to other nations. And you may agree or disagree with the war in Iraq, but the simple fact is that that war was not fought in order to extend our borders.

Not one square mile of the United States is going to be increased because of that war. And if you're still critical of the United States at this point, compare it with nations such as Germany under Hitler, the Russian czars. By the way, the History Channel, an awesome series on Russia and the czars.

Fascinating. Napoleon, men who thirsted for power and who were ruthless and God says, for that ruthlessness of the expansion of your borders, I will judge you. Ammon, about whom we read, was judged by God. The city was burned and the king was captured just as God predicted.

Let's go on to a second and we must hurry here and I hope that in our hurry we won't miss anything significant. Secondly, arrogance. Arrogance. Listen to what God says about Edom in the book of Obadiah.

The pride of your heart has deceived you. You who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, who can bring me down to the ground? Some of us have been to Petra. That's where Edom was. You can't get to Petra except through a narrow passageway and huge cliffs that go hundreds of feet into the air.

All that they needed to do is to control that passageway and they basically controlled their city high in the cliffs. God says, I'm going to bring you down and God did bring them down because of their arrogance. Listen to the words of Ezekiel. Therefore, this is what the sovereign Lord says. I will bring a sword against you and kill your men and animals. Egypt will become a desolate wasteland. Then they will know that I am the Lord because you said, the Nile is mine. I made it.

Oh really? So you made the Nile. You see what Egypt was saying was even if it doesn't rain, it doesn't matter because the Nile is this huge river that we can depend upon and it will always be there and because of the Nile, we're going to have food and we're going to have water and it is an inexhaustible supply and we've made it. God says, oh, therefore I am against you, against your streams and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdal to Aswan as far as the border of Cush and God did it.

For 40 years, Egypt was decimated and desolate because it was overrun by another tribe because God says, I am sick of your arrogance. Well now, do you think that America is an arrogant country? We won't vote on it but I think so. So I think so.

And you know what I think? I think that America was probably more arrogant right after 9-11 with all of those stickers that said God bless America. Obviously God should bless America.

We are the citadel of capitalism, of democracy, of freedom, of all of these values and we're sure a lot better than those other folks. Obviously God should bless us. Well, God has blessed America but what I found after 9-11 were two things. First of all, God was back but Jesus wasn't.

He was excluded. And God says, if you don't honor my son, you don't honor me. The second thing I noticed was a tremendous amount of prayer but very little repentance. Somehow we saw the other people's sins much more clearly and they were huge and evil sins. But somehow we saw them and their sins much more clearly than we saw our own. There is this sense of arrogance that Americans know how to do it right and they do know how to do it right.

Americans are envied all over the world because of their pragmatism, because of their business, because of their inventions. But wait a moment, could we be saying in our hearts, it is because we have done thus and so? God owes us a blessing?

That's arrogant. God does not owe us a blessing. God owes us judgment.

Blessing comes because of his mercy. You still with me here? Still love me after all this? You know? All right.

Just going through a little bit of self-doubt up here, you know. Thirdly, deceitful practices. You know, I should have actually called this violence, I think. I should have called it violence. Listen, charging cavalry, flashing swords, glittering spears, many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over corpses all because of the wanton lust of a harlot, alluring the mistress of sorceries who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft.

Probably a reference to Ishtar, the goddess of sex and war. And God is saying to the people of Nineveh, because of what you've done, you see, if we read all these passages in context, we'd know that every one of these sins has a judgment connected with it. God says because of that, because of your ruthless violence, you will be judged.

And they were. Listen to what God says about Egypt. Egypt will be desolate, eat in the desert waste because they have shed innocent blood. Has America shed innocent blood?

I want you to know today that when I selected these passages, I selected one or two out of dozens in the Old Testament that speak of these same sins. Yes, we are a violent nation. Isn't this interesting that there are more people who go to church in America by far than go to church in Europe, and yet in most of the cities of Europe, the large cities where I have been, we've been told, you can go out at night and you can walk anywhere.

During the day, there may be pickpockets, but nobody's going to knife you or kill you. And then, dare I mention it, the violence against the innocent in our abortion clinics, where we have said to little ones, you have no right to live. And I know that there are many women who are listening to this who have had an abortion.

I understand that. And as I always say, we offer to you the cleansing and the forgiveness and the complete restoration of God. But how are we going to answer to God for shedding innocent blood?

Let's go on to number four, indifference to God. Zechariah says this about Israel, but they refused to pay attention stubbornly. They turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord God Almighty sent by his spirit through the earlier prophets.

So the Lord was very angry. And the passage goes on to say, for that, you're going to be judged. They stopped up their ears. They said, we don't want to hear it. Isn't it interesting that here in America, the very groups that we would think would be the great protectors of our liberties, some of the liberal groups that are supposed to make sure that America remains free. They are the very ones who are the new thought police putting a muzzle on Christians who, if they are Christians, are supposed to keep their faith to themselves because they cannot compete in the marketplace of ideas. Because if you are a Christian that is offensive to other people, and therefore keep your mouth shut. And our liberties are being eroded by the very people who used to pride themselves in freedom. They're saying, we do not want to hear it.

Our ears are shut. Keep your Jesus and your Christianity to yourself. And now notice, I'm throwing in another verse of scripture here. Jeremiah chapter 5 verse 30 to 31. A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land. The prophets prophesy lies. The priests rule by their own authority. And my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end? People love to hear false prophets.

They love it. But a month ago I was in a major American city. The man who picked me up from the airport, I was talking to him about a certain televangelist who has his headquarters there and he said that this man said that if you send me your credit cards and we'll have a bonfire and we'll burn all of your bills, I should say, and your mortgage will be miraculously paid. And then this man, I'm just going by what he told me, all right. He said that in order to have your bills burned you had to give the man $2,000. Now the simple fact is this man is on television and has preached to more people than probably I've ever seen.

And the people love it this way. Because he says what everyone wants to hear and it's a false gospel and the crowds flock to it. Indifference to God. We don't want to hear about repentance. We don't want to hear about holiness. What we want to hear is how we can use God to get rich.

By the way, for the sake of the record, I might say that people sent him the money and they had to pay their bills and mortgages anyway. You know, the ministry of running to win is a blessing to so many people. If you have been blessed because of it, it's because other people have invested in this ministry.

And one of the thrilling things that we think about is the fact that it is now in the Middle East. And I'm holding in my hands a letter from someone there who says that I have come to know Christ. He says no one knows about my faith in my country because if they knew about it, I would be put to death.

But then he goes on to say I want you to stay close to me. Now if you invest in the ministry of running to win, this is your story. Because running to win is not the ministry of one man or an organization or a church. It is really the ministry of our partners scattered throughout the country. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? An endurance partner is somebody who gives regularly and supports this ministry with prayer. You want more information, here is what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. Click on the endurance partner button when you're there, rtwoffer.com. Or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now because this is so critical, I want to give you that contact information once again. Go to rtwoffer.com, click on the endurance partner button, or write this down.

Call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life. Robert listens to our program in the Birmingham area, and he's very concerned about false teaching on Christian TV.

Here's his story. It seems that one hears an abundance of prosperity teaching on Christian television networks these days. My question is this, why do well-known mainstream pastors tend to lend credibility to these networks by appearing on them or by allowing their programming to be aired on them? What are your thoughts on this?

First of all, Robert, let me say that this is not an easy question to answer, and it might not have a yes or no kind of response. On the one hand, I see your point that when legitimate ministries go on these networks that preach a false gospel, it seems as if they are legitimatizing that false gospel. On the other hand, an argument can be made in this regard, that when you have a network that is teaching falsehood, it's wonderful to have on it programs that are teaching the truth. You know, during the days of the Da Vinci Code, because I wrote a book on the topic, I was invited to various networks in order to defend the Bible against this heretical novel. And I accepted some of those invitations because even though I didn't agree with what the networks taught, I believed that getting the truth out there was so important that I was willing to go wherever I could to tell people about the real Jesus. And so what we need to do is to realize that we cannot judge those who go on networks to preach the truth, even though they may be surrounded by those who have a different or even heretical point of view.

Meanwhile, let's pray for both groups that the true gospel will go to millions through the various means of technology. Thank you, Robert, for your concern about this matter. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer, for your perspective. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614.

Unprincipled expansion, arrogance, and deceitful practices, the first three of the sins Erwin Lutzer says are why God judges the nations. Next time on Running to Win, we'll learn more about the rest. Plan to join us. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-16 17:14:10 / 2023-12-16 17:22:57 / 9

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