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A Witnessing Heart Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
April 27, 2022 1:00 am

A Witnessing Heart Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 27, 2022 1:00 am

Many people are not interested in Christianity at all. They are totally turned off by some Christians. In fact, it’s impossible for anyone to come to Christ apart from the Holy Spirit drawing them. In this message, we discuss our vital relationship with the Holy Spirit. Are you resisting or cooperating with the Spirit’s promptings? 

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

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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. When we speak a word of witness for Christ, we can know that some are ready to believe. That's because the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of those the Father is drawing to Himself.

Stay with us. 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, as things get worse and worse in our culture, is God still drawing people to Himself as He once did?

Dave, the answer to that question obviously is yes, and I'll tell you what your question brings to mind. When I was in Bible college, I went to a mission in the evening. We had a service for all those along the street, and as we were locking up, a man came down the aisle and said, I want to get saved.

I thought, really? He said, today I was hitchhiking, and he said a truck driver picked me up and told me about Jesus, and he said that if I were desperate, I should go to the ministry of the mission. How do I get saved?

Here's a lesson. God uses the word of one person to create thirst and hunger in his or her heart, and someone else oftentimes has the opportunity of leading them to faith in Christ. Never give up on your witness. Now, when you read the Upper Room Discourse, you'll notice that Jesus put the responsibility of convicting people of sin on the Holy Spirit. We are his vessels. That's why I think that you will greatly enjoy the book entitled Prepare Your Heart for an Uncertain Future. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours.

Go to RTWOffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let's hang on to every word that Jesus spoke. In the vast majority of instances, it's something like this. Well, you know, I was going along and thought my life was okay, and then I met this person at work who was so kind to me and took me to a moody business luncheon, and I began to be interested in these things and somewhat intrigued about Jesus, and then I began to think to myself, you know, there is something in my life that is missing, and I began to realize that I couldn't rectify it myself and that I needed God, and on and on it goes, and pretty soon through you and through me, the person comes to saving faith in Christ. This may now be the most important thing I'm going to tell you today. The Holy Spirit of God, Jesus says, that comes to live in us, works through us to convince the world of sin and righteousness and judgment, and just like Jesus, the second member of the Trinity, needed a body so that he could be incarnate to represent God here on earth, the Spirit of God needs bodies through whom that Spirit works so that the light of the Gospel goes to people and the Spirit is free to do his work. When the Spirit comes to you, he will convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

I'd like to make two very important lessons and conclusions here at this point. And this now comes just from your heart to mine, one sinner to another, but a saved sinner to other saved sinners. First of all, folks, we must cooperate with the work of the Spirit.

We must cooperate with the work of the Spirit. So often you find people who are not interested in Christianity at all. They are totally turned off by other Christians. And that happens for a number of different reasons.

First of all, because of inconsistency. On the one hand, yes, I go to Moody Church and would you like to believe on Jesus? On the other hand, there's somebody who doesn't pay his bills, is unfaithful, uses language that should not be used, and lives an inconsistent life. And people say, okay, so you're a believer, like a guy called me one time. He said, here's my wife who's a Christian, a born again Christian, and she acts this way. And he told me about how she acted. And then he says, she tells me to believe on Jesus. He said, why in the world should I believe on Jesus with a wife like this?

So that's part of it. I'll tell you what the other possibility is, that you have somebody who lives a rather consistent life, but is so vocal, is so taking the Word of God and cramming it down people's throats and telling them the truth. These are the truth, folks.

You are just getting the pure unvarnished truth from me. And what do the people say with whom he works? They look up and they roll their eyes and they say, spare me.

And they are turned off too. Folks, what we have to do is to cooperate with the Spirit. We witness absolutely, not just by life. Because you witness by life, people say, well, you know, you're a remarkable person, but they never understand why you're remarkable.

Life is important, but also with lip. And what happens is, your life representing Jesus by what you do and say becomes the means that releases the freedom of the Spirit to do his convicting work through you. A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I had an interesting experience. We were at a savings and loan and a young lady walked in who was helping us. She came into her office and I need to tell you that within 20 minutes, I was on my knees at her desk leading her to faith in Christ.

Now that often does not happen, and I mention only because it is rather exceptional. But you see, it's interesting to see all that had gone into her life till that moment. The problems of life made her realize that she needed God. She had a religious background that gave her enough information to know that she should keep seeking.

She has all this. And so what happens is, here you have the Spirit of God leading the people of God to meet someone who needs to know the message of God. And the Holy Spirit brings it all together. And you look back and you say, this is a God thing.

This is a God thing. One of the things that encourages me in witnessing is when I know what my part is and what the Spirit's part is. I don't try to do the Spirit's work for him.

I don't try to get, you know, the chicken out of the egg. Yes, you urgently share the Gospel. But at the end of the day, you know that the Holy Spirit is the only one that can make it real and show them their need and grant them the ability to believe. And so you do what is possible and you trust the Spirit to do the impossible. This morning, I'm doing what is possible. I'm preaching a message.

I can do that. And all that I can do, sitting on the platform as we were singing together and as we were listening to the song that was being sung before I stood up to preach is, I kept saying in my mind, I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in the Holy Spirit.

Why? Because I can do what is possible, but only the Spirit can do the impossible. And I'm willing to trust the Spirit to do the impossible.

How does the Spirit do his work? We love evangelistic campaigns and we say, bring in Billy Graham, and then he can convert all of Chicago and we can sit back and cheer him on, preach Billy. We say, you know what we need? We need a good book on the Gospel. And we do.

In fact, I know at least one that has been written. So we say to ourselves, that's what we need is books. That's what we need is radio programs. That's what we need is television programs.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. They all are used by God. But there is no possible substitute for a Christian that has the Spirit of God being used by the Spirit of God to minister to people who are never going to be participating in these other kinds of high visible actions. The Spirit of God using that person to bring about conviction that results in saving faith.

There is no substitute. You say, well, can't we do it by computers? Can't we do it by cell phones?

Can't we just get a universal cell phone number where everybody can call and hear the Gospel? 1984, long, long time ago, some of you weren't born in 1984. I think everybody here on the platform was well on their way by that year, but some of you out there may not be. My wife and I and children went to the People's Republic of China. Now I want you to visualize that when China closed in 1949, all mission agencies agree that there were about one half million believers in China. Then communism came. The communists said, we're going to take Christians and we're going to just destroy them because there's power in numbers. We're going to split them up and we're going to send some Christians up there and some there and we're going to just divide the church and just destroy it through division. Now missionary experts tell us that there are 25 million, some say 50 million believers in China today. How did they do it?

No books allowed, no television programs allowed, no radio stations allowed, no witnessing overtly allowed, can't preach on street corners. How did these people do it? First of all, when the communists took the Christians and split them up, that meant now that there were representatives of Christ throughout all of China. Just like the early church, as Satan tries to blow out the flame, it actually blows it all over the countryside.

That's what happened. But number two, the Christians just lovingly witnessed to Christ within their factories, within their farms, wherever God planted them. As people would say, now why is it that you're able to handle the problems of life so much better than I am and what do I see in your life that is missing and relationships have been built and integrity was established among the believers. And so you have this underground church where multitudes are believing through the witness of individual Christians because they knew they had to do it. They could not depend upon a Billy Graham or some evangelistic campaign or some book or some radio program.

They had to do it. They were the only representatives that Jesus had scattered throughout that great country. Jesus said, when the Spirit comes to you and indwells you through you, he will convince the world of what they need to know. But all of us representing Jesus and the blessed ministry of the Spirit. So first of all, the Spirit is faithful to his work and we must cooperate with the Spirit. Finally, the Spirit can be resisted. The Spirit can be resisted. Now, of course, theologians also believe that there are a category of people who cannot indefinitely resist the Spirit because God is going to bring them.

Jesus talks about those whom the Father will draw. But I'm just talking now for a moment to those of you who have been sitting here at the Moody Church, perhaps week after week, month after month, maybe year after year. Sometimes we get reports of people who say that they've been coming to the Moody Church for the last 10 years and they still aren't Christians. Listen, I want you to forget for a moment that you're in a large crowd.

I want you to look at me now because my dear friend, if you resist the ministry of the Spirit in your life, you cannot be saved. And the more often you hear the gospel and turn away from it, the more indifferent you become to its message. Sometimes you've had the experience of having to live near train tracks. First time you move into the house, you say, why did we buy this place? I mean, the whole place rattles as the train goes by.

But you live there a couple of weeks in a month. Visitors say, oh my goodness, that train. Train? Can't hear the train? No. You've built up resistance to it. It doesn't even register. Could I be speaking to someone today who has built up so much resistance that even now you're not hearing what I say and you're turning away from it?

Because the voice has been squelched so often. There is a story about a miser who had some gold coins and some other money that he would hide in the bottom of his little hut. And he'd tear up the floor. He had his little place there where it was and he took it out occasionally and counted it. He liked the feel of it. And some people looked through the window, some thieves, and they saw him and they knew where the money was.

And they even knew how to get into his hut without making a whole lot of noise. But the problem was the man had a dog. And that dog barked from time to time. One night, the man decided to have a good shot of whiskey and took his drink and lay down for a good long nap. He was sleeping soundly and the dog begins to bark. And the man gets up in his stupor and looks around.

Nobody's there. Goes back to sleep. The dog begins to bark. He goes back to sleep.

Finally, in anger so that he could get some sleep, he took his gun and just shot the dog. You don't shut up. You're out of here.

Well, the story is that when the dog was dead, the thieves came and took his money. My dear friend, if you resist the prompting of the Holy Spirit, you resist the only voice and the only message that can ever possibly save you because apart from the work of the Spirit, you cannot be saved. You will never believe you'll appreciate messages. You will learn from them. You'll sing hymns with us, but you will never become a born-again believer apart from the Spirit.

Do not stifle the only voice that can possibly save you. When the Spirit is come, they'll make you aware of your need because you're an unbeliever. They'll make you aware of the fact that you lack the righteousness that you need. They'll make you aware of the fact that there's a coming judgment you need to meet God. And I urge you today to listen.

Listen to the voice of the counselor. Let's bow together in prayer. Father, I have done what is possible.

The impossible is your job. Would you take people, Lord, who perhaps have heard your word many, many times and one more time, grant them that opportunity to hear the tug of the Spirit, the conviction of the Spirit, and we pray that they might follow that. Grant that, O Lord God, we pray. Who can overcome the resistance of the human heart? Who can take away the blindness?

Who can cause life to come out of darkness? We cannot, Father. We cannot. We're dependent upon you humbly. We plead. We beg.

Do your work. And now before I close this prayer, what about you, my friend, wherever you are, whoever you are, wherever you are listening to this message, whether in here or in another venue, would you take out time right now and say, Father, I sense the prompting of the Spirit and I choose by your grace to trust Christ, to give up my stubborn heart and believe on him. Would you talk to him if he's talked to you? Father, for those who have not yet been silent enough to hear your voice, bring them to total silence. Whether today or tomorrow, bring them, O God, to the point where they can hear you say, I'm a sinner and I must believe.

Because apart from that, Lord, we know there is no hope, no hope. Have mercy upon us, Lord. Have mercy upon us who are believers and who perhaps do not use the opportunities that you give to witness to your saving grace. May there be in offices and hospitals and factories in Chicago this week ministry going on and witnessing going on because we do love you and we've received your Spirit. In Jesus' name we pray.

Amen. My friend, listen to that voice. I can't help but think that there are many of you who are listening today. The Holy Spirit is speaking to you. You know that you need to be born again. You've heard his voice through his word.

Would you right now savingly believe? Now these messages that you are listening to come from the Upper Room Discourse as Jesus Christ was preparing his disciples for the fact that he would be leaving them, but he was assuring them that he would still be with them by the Spirit. In an uncertain world, we need to hear the words of Jesus. That's why I've written a book entitled Prepare Your Heart for an Uncertain Future. It'll calm your heart. It'll give you hope. It'll tell you about heaven. It will tell you about the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. And I need to say that this is the last week that we are making it available. Here is what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com.

Or pick up your phone and call right now 1-888-218-9337. It's time once again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. What exactly is the gospel? That's the core of a question by Chris, one of our Running to Win listeners. He asks, yesterday I heard Dr. Lutzer say that some Christian denominations are quote, not preaching the gospel. Exactly what does he mean by that statement?

Dr. Lutzer? Well, Chris, a couple of things. First of all, indeed, many pastors do not preach the gospel. They may be converted, they may even believe the gospel, but they're not preaching it. I don't have time to go into all the different ways that the gospel is being subverted, but it is. For example, some people confuse the message of the gospel with its implications. You have those today who are preaching quote, the gospel of the kingdom.

They're talking about social changes. Social changes should be brought about by the gospel, but they are not the gospel. The gospel in 1 Corinthians 15 is clearly defined that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and was raised again. And this gospel means that we need to humble ourselves and receive the gift of eternal life.

We need to preach how God redeems man, the rescue program that God has for us in Jesus Christ our Lord. That's the gospel. Furthermore, what you find is there are those who preach only the positive aspects of the Bible and its teachings.

You know, how to be healthy, how to be wealthy. That's not the gospel. In Texas, there was a Muslim family that came to saving faith in Jesus Christ at great personal cost, and they went into a church on Sunday hoping to be blessed and encouraged and strengthened in their faith, and their pastor preached on the value of good nutrition.

Now nutrition is important, but nutrition is not the gospel. Oh, Chris, there's so many other ways that I could mention that the gospel no longer is being proclaimed and because of that, the church is weak. What you find is those coming to Christ, coming to God, hoping to reap benefits without knowing that they need to receive Christ in humility and brokenness because of their sins. So, let's pray and let's ask God that He still might raise up many pastors and many churches that preach the gospel.

It's the good news for sinners, and because we're all sinners, we all need it. Thank you, Chris, for your question. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer, especially for your personal commitment to the gospel. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click there 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 N. LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. When circumstances change in ways we can't control, we often feel helpless, not knowing where to turn. The disciples felt that way when Jesus said He was going to the cross. How He encouraged them is how He will encourage us. As we'll learn next time, it all has to do with finding out what's on the last page. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-26 12:48:11 / 2023-04-26 12:56:43 / 9

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