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Share Your Faith

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller
The Truth Network Radio
January 21, 2024 1:00 am

Share Your Faith

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller

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January 21, 2024 1:00 am

Like ambassadors in another land, the Lord has commissioned Christians. We are to proclaim the good news of salvation throughout the earth, not just in words but in deeds. In this message from 2 Corinthians 5, Pastor Lutzer considers three characteristics of ambassadors to understand who we are and what our responsibilities are. We represent Christ.

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The Word of God is constant, even as generations of its preachers come and go. Today, on The Moody Church Hour, we continue the final series by its long-time pastor, Erwin Lutzer. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer.

Today, we bring you the third in a six-part series of messages on the topic, Leaving a Legacy. Stay with us as Pastor Lutzer tells us to share your faith. Pastor Lutzer, why is sharing your faith a crucial issue for the church today? Dave, sharing your faith is something that all of us should do.

We should do it gladly. Now, there was a survey taken as to why people don't share their faith, and the answer was not that they didn't know how or didn't have training, but rather because they had unconquered sin in their lives, and how could they recommend Jesus to others when he didn't seem to be working for them? But I believe very deeply that sharing the faith not only gives us the opportunity to spread the gospel, as Jesus commanded us to do, but also to enter into the joy of seeing people come to know Christ as Savior.

Now, I want to share a personal word. Back in 1980, I became the senior pastor of The Moody Church, and along with that, had the privilege of ministering these many years on The Moody Church Hour. But it's time for me to transfer that privilege to the new pastor, Pastor Philip Miller. You'll discover that he has a deep love of the gospel. He preaches with a sense of relevance and biblical integrity, and I believe that his ministry is going to be a tremendous blessing. But at the same time, I want to emphasize that I will still have the privilege of speaking on Running to Win, Monday through Friday, and of course, you can continue to listen on our website, on our app, by radio, and other platforms.

So continue to listen to Running to Win. That ministry will continue. But for now, it's my privilege to go to the pulpit of The Moody Church and share a message on sharing our faith. We welcome you to The Moody Church this morning. We're so glad that you are here.

Of all the places in Chicago where you could possibly be, you've chosen the right place to be. And not only you, but people all over the world who have tuned in, thanks to streaming, we welcome them as well. Now life can be very stressful. There are many different things that impinge upon our attention. But let these moments that lie ahead of us be dedicated wholly to God. Father, we ask in Jesus' name that as we think about loving our neighbor, as we think about the great needs of the world, help us to know what that looks like. And enable us to worship you acceptably today through Jesus Christ our Lord, we ask.

Amen. God is the Lord in great things he hath done, so loved in the world that he gave us his Son. For he gave his life and was home with more sin, and opened the life he had all paid for him. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear his voice. Let the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice. O come to the Father through Jesus our Son, and give him the glory in great things he hath done. The perfect redemption, the precious of God, to every believer in the Christ of God, the one and only Son and King who truly believe.

That moment from Jesus the Father receives. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear his voice. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice. O come to the Father through Jesus our Son, and give him the glory in great things he hath done. O let all who thirst, let them come to the water, and let all who thirst fear, let them come to the Lord, without money, without price. But should you pay the price, except for the Lord? And let all who seek, let them come to the water, and let all who have nothing, let them come to the Lord, without money, without strife. Why should you spend your life except for the Lord? And let all who soar, let them come to the water, and let all who are weary, let them come to the Lord, all who lay bare, without rest.

How can your soul find rest except for the Lord? And let all who thirst fear, let them come to the water, and let them come to the water, and let them come to the water, and let them come to the water, and let them come to the water, and let them come to the water, and let them come to the water, and let them come to the water, and let them come to the water. We ask in the name of Jesus that for those who have never come to the water, may they even now say, Jesus, I come, to take of the water of life freely. Thank you, Father, that you invite us to the water in a world where all the wells are dry.

Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen. Amen. We invite you to follow, as we read together, sections from 2 Corinthians chapter 5. Please read aloud on the bold print, This is God's Holy Word. For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again. So now we regard no one from a worldly point of view, though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come, the old has gone, the new is here. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them.

And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as through God making his appeal through us, we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. If I were to ask you this question, if you're a believer in Jesus Christ, you've come to know him as Savior, and here's the question I'd like to ask you. How did you come to saving faith in Christ?

What was the medium? We know what the message was, but how did that message get to you? I think most would answer probably, well, you were brought up in a Christian home, and even though being brought up in a Christian home is no guarantee at all that you're going to walk with God, the fact is that history proves that still it's the Christian home that brings about Christian young people and missionaries. A good number of you would say, well, I wasn't brought up in a Christian home or I rejected Christ, but a friend invited me to a Bible study, a friend gave me a Bible, a friend explained the gospel to me, and through that friendship, I came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Only a few of you would say, the reason that I came is because I happened to turn on a television program with the gospel or a radio program.

There are those who would say that, but they are few in number, almost always. The message of the gospel is in some way communicated through a person. Now, here's the problem that we face in America. As you know, everything seems to be unraveling, and yet despite that unraveling, what we have oftentimes in the church is people who do not witness to their faith. There have been instances I've heard about where two people have worked in cubicles almost next to each other for a year or two before they happen to discover that both of them are born-again Christians.

And I say, what's wrong with this picture? Now many, if you ask them, they'd say, well, the reason that I don't witness is because I don't know how. Others would say, well, I know how, but I feel awkward. I don't want to be known as one of those Bible-thumping, finger-wagging, fun-destroying Christians. And so I don't share my faith.

What an excuse. And of course, there are those who say, well, my own life is messed up, so how can I introduce others to Jesus, not knowing that actually their mess can become the basis of their message. And then there may be those who say, well, I don't witness at all, and I really don't have any burden for anybody. If you fit into that category, I have to say that I don't think you're a true believer in Jesus Christ.

I don't see how that is even possible. Let's suppose that you were in a community or a country where virtually everyone had Ebola, that virus that kills. And then you came across a doctor, a doctor came across you, and he was able to heal you and to set you on the right track, and he says, I'm available for others, and you don't tell anybody about it, and yet you say you love your neighbor.

What kind of love is that, may I ask? And I need to say this, that as America descends into secularism, as we have the rise of the nones, that has nothing to do with Catholicism, by the way, the rise of the nones, that is N-O-N-E-S, none of the above, those who have no religion at all. In order to share the Christian faith more and more, we're going to have to go back to the pattern of the New Testament, which was personal relationships, hospitality, Christians explaining to others why Jesus is so special to them, and other people wanting what they believe. Of course the challenge is great, Ravi Zacharias put it very clearly, he said, what do we do in a culture in which people think, he said, with their feelings and they hear with their eyes. But the good news is the human need is the same, and the great physician Jesus is still available.

Now here's what we're going to do. I want you as a believer right now to be thinking of someone who we are going to describe as pre-Christian. Pre-Christian simply means that they have not yet come to saving faith in Christ, but they may come to saving faith.

But they have not yet believed on Jesus, though they may know generally about him and have a general belief, but they have never really been saved. I want you to think of that person or persons right now while I'm speaking, because at the end of the message we're going to come back to them. And my desire is to paint such a vision today of our privilege, that all of us will be anxious to leave here and talk to someone about the Christ who saved us. The passage is 2 Corinthians 5, and it's necessary that you turn to it. 2 Corinthians 5. The Apostle Paul has been speaking, and I'm going to pick it up here in verse 16. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh, even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he's a new creation.

The old has passed away, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. And the scripture goes on to say here that the world, he reconciled the world to himself, there it is, not counting their trespasses against them. And notice should be underlined, entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.

We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. My predecessor, Dr. Warren Wiersbe, preached a message about ambassadors and it helped me to think about the whole concept of being an ambassador for Christ, which is right here in the text. The Apostle Paul says we are ambassadors, so let's think about what an ambassador is. Let's go on and give a couple of characteristics of ambassadors so that we understand, first of all, who we are. You'll notice that Paul indicates that we are sent by God. All ambassadors are sent. And notice how clear he makes it. He says God has entrusted to you the ministry of reconciliation and that we have this ministry, we are ambassadors.

Who is he talking about? The people at Corinth. They are all ambassadors. They were a very imperfect church, like all churches are, but still they were called to represent Christ.

Now here's our responsibility. Paul would say that we belong to a heavenly kingdom. This kingdom is above all. This kingdom is invisible, but it is very real and we represent this kingdom, the kingdom of God represented on earth. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians, he made the comment, he said, our citizenship is in heaven. By the way, the Greek word is polytuma, which means politics. Our politics is in heaven, he says.

Aren't you glad for that? And one day the disciples came to Jesus and they said, you know, even the demons are subject to us in your name. And Jesus said, that's fine, but don't rejoice in the fact that demons are subject to you. He said, rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Paul says, we've been raised up with Christ and we are seated with him in heavenly places.

Now here's the thing. We have the responsibility of being ambassadors from that kingdom to this world. We have a message that says, heaven is interested in you and heaven is available to you and grace can be extended to you. And Jesus said, as the father has sent me, even so, send I you. First characteristic of an ambassador, they are commissioned, they are sent. Pastor Wiersbe told the story of a man who sat on the Capitol steps in Washington with his own chair that he carried around and his own crown and he crowned himself King of the United States.

Nobody paid too much attention. You can't be an ambassador. You can't be commissioned on your own. You have to be commissioned.

Rebecca and I have a wonderful son-in-law who was commissioned in the army. Jesus says to you today, believer, you are commissioned, you are sent. A second characteristic of the ambassadors is that they represent their kingdom and not themselves.

In fact, Paul even said it here in this passage that we should not live for ourselves, but for him who died for us and rose again. It's not about us. It's about the person whom we represent.

And we do this by our conduct because people are going to judge our king by how his children conduct themselves. When Rebecca and I have been in Europe various times, we recognized Americans. Now I say that as an American, but sometimes Americans don't give a very good impression of America in Europe and other places.

They can be loud and boisterous and people say, well, yeah, you know, they're Americans. Just like there is some people who don't give a very good impression of Jesus and the people who know them say, yeah, yeah, they are Christians. You remember when David committed his twin sins of murder and adultery, God said this. He says, you have caused the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. God was saying, David, because of your sin, there are people who are mocking me because they are judging me by your lifestyle and by what you did. And the world judges us today by our conduct.

You know that. And when Christians act unChristianly, they make Jesus and the gospel look bad. So first of all, it's not about us.

It's all about him. And we display that through our conduct. But we also display that through the message that we preach. Your Bibles are open. You'll notice in verse 16, he says, from now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.

What Paul is saying is this. We don't look at people just superficially like we used to. We don't just see bodies. We don't just see even human needs. We look beyond that and we're reminded of the fact that people have eternal souls.

We're dealing here with people whose need is much greater than they even realize. So we don't look according to the flesh at them, even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, which is really true of millions of people, certainly in America. Yeah, he's a nice person. He's a prophet. We can learn from him.

He taught us how to love. That's regarding him according to the flesh, missing the very point for which he came. And then the Apostle Paul says that we go on and we preach Christ.

Actually, he says that in chapter four. He says we do not preach ourselves. We preach Christ. Here he says God has committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us this message. So what is our message? According to this passage, it's a message of peace. See, the average person thinks that God is mad at them. God has his back turned toward them.

God is awful because he could do a lot of good things that he doesn't do. Our message is one of reconciliation, that when Jesus Christ died, God took away all the barriers that may exist so that we can be reconciled to him, call him our Father, and belong to him forever. That's the message. And people don't understand that about God. And so Paul says that God has committed to us this ministry of explaining to people who God is, the coming of Jesus. And then there's that wonderful verse in verse 21. For our sake he, that is God, made him, Christ, to be sin, he's the one who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

You've heard me say this many times, but on that basis of this verse, Jesus got what he didn't deserve, namely our sin, and we get what we don't deserve, namely his righteousness. And that's the message that we proclaim. It's a message of hope. It's a message that says there's another world out there.

There's more to life than the emptiness that makes our generation obsessed with drugs and alcoholism and sexuality. God is in Christ. And through him, we proclaim the message of reconciliation. So that's the second characteristic.

It's not about you. It's all about Jesus. And it is him that we proclaim and him whom we love and live for. There's a third characteristic, and that is ambassadors look to the king for resources. They look to the king or their country, if we can put it that way, for resources.

If you and I were to go to Berlin today and go to the American embassy and step inside the compound of the embassy, we would discover that we are actually on American soil. And it's really the responsibility of this country, of America, to provide for our ambassador and his entourage what he needs in order to be an ambassador. He needs resources. He needs money. He needs direction. All that is supplied, I assume, by the United States of America, and protection should also be supplied.

That sometimes happens without consistency. But the point is that you look to the home country for your resources. You see, God didn't say, No, I'm making you ambassadors. I am calling you and entrusting you this ministry.

But you're on your own. No, God gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit. And he says, It is the Spirit who, through you, will convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, and he will do it through you. The Spirit doesn't just work sovereignly in a vacuum. Very seldom does he just convict somebody going down a street and suddenly the person says, Well, I'm a sinner who needs a Savior. Jesus said, When the Spirit comes to you through you, he will convince the world of sin and righteousness and judgment. And that's why we can witness with hope and optimism. We don't know whether or not this person will believe, but this much we do know they could believe if God grants them that eternal life and he might through our message.

And so we share the gospel in faith believing that God's will is being done. Now, if we were on our own, if God just said to us, You witness and the Holy Spirit isn't going to be there to convict of sin and righteousness and judgment, see if you can convince somebody to believe on Jesus. We couldn't. Be like trying to convince a tiger that it's time for him to live on a diet of straw.

He simply would not buy what we were trying to sell because there are so many issues. People don't see their need. They don't think they need a Savior or they think they have a Savior and all those things.

Who can cut through all that? It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. And then as ambassadors begin to learn what their country expects, they wear the emblem of their country with honor. Of course, in the case of Christianity, that's really a cross. I don't mean that we necessarily wear physical crosses, though that is perfectly fine. But we gladly associate with the cross. We know that the emblem of Christianity is the cross and we say, God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world. And we wear gladly the badge of Jesus.

If the emblem of Christianity is the cross, we could say that the badge also is love. Look at what Paul says. He says, for the love of Christ, I'm in verse 14 now, hope you are too, for the love of Christ controls us. Other translations may use a different word, but that's the idea. The love of Christ compels us. Let me speak to you candidly. If you have no concern for your neighbor, you say you love your neighbor, but you don't care about whether or not he ever comes to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

If that's you, your love has grown very cold. Paul says it's the love of Christ that compels us to witness and to represent him in a fallen, confused world. And so we actually need to be able to prove to people our love for Christ through the way in which we act through our commitment to them and to their needs.

Also, an ambassador really gets to know the citizens. He gets to know the citizens of the country where he goes because what he wants the citizens to understand is who he is, who Jesus is, how the gospel relates to their situation, their language, and their culture. Because, you see, they may be tempted to think, well, the gospel doesn't relate to us. We have our own religion. The interesting fact is this, that because of the need of the human heart and because of guilt, what we need to do is to realize that the gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people worldwide and that Jesus isn't just the savior of the West, and then you have a different savior in the East.

No, he is the savior of the world because he is the only savior. So we get to know the people in the host country. We fellowship with them. We learn to listen to their needs, which are so great, and then we have the privilege of knowing that we represent that God, the invisible kingdom of God, making the invisible God visible to the people in this world that they might know that there is a God who loves them and a God to whom they can relate and be reconciled. What a message of reconciliation. And then, of course, also they defend the king. They defend the king. You know, the Bible says in 1 Peter chapter 3, I think it's in verse 15, it says, be ready always to answer to any man, to answer the question that they might have and do so with meekness and fear.

Be ready to do that. So you take a course in apologetics so that you can answer some of the basic objections to the Christian faith. But you do not wait until you have all that nailed before you witness because it is the gospel itself that is the power of God unto salvation. During the time of the Reformation, the Reformers were sometimes criticized because official Christendom said, we have the miracles.

Where are your miracles? You know, we have crosses that multiply themselves. We have holy water that came to us from Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. We have the skulls of the saints and we find out that they are miracles that are connected with these. If you touch a relic, you're going to experience healing and on and on. You know what the Reformers said? Questionable miracles to be sure on that category.

But we don't need even those miracles because the gospel itself is the power of God unto salvation. And as a result of that confidence, Europe was changed because it's the message of redemption that God uses to connect in the lives of people as they begin to realize their need and come to saving faith in Jesus Christ as all of us desire the world to do. Something else about an ambassador before we talk about the application of this message directly and that is the ambassadors know that they have to give an account. You know, sometimes an ambassador is recalled and certainly at the end of his tenure he's going to give an account. How well did you represent the United States in Germany or some other country? And were you loyal to the United States?

Did you understand the message of the United States and the message that the president was trying to use you to communicate? All that becomes important. Your Bibles are open. Chapter 5, we're still in chapter 5. You'll notice what it says in verse 9. So whether we are at home or away, whether we live or die, we make it our aim to please Christ.

Now listen. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. It's talking about you as a Christian. This is the judgment seat of Christ, not the great white throne judgment where unbelievers will be present. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each one individually may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Do you notice how thorough that judgment is? Verse 11. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men.

Elsewhere, the Apostle Paul says the very same thing. We implore you. I'm in verse 20 now. We implore you on behalf of Christ. My Christian friend, you represent Christ. And you and I have the responsibility of doing the best we can of imploring people to trust Christ, knowing the fear and the terror of the Lord.

We're talking about serious things. Now you say, well, I just feel so inadequate and so ashamed and so awkward. Did I hear you say that you felt ashamed? You know what Jesus said? He who is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in glory.

You're not willing to take a little bit of shame and misunderstanding, which you can probably correct, because you don't want to be identified with Jesus and maybe be falsely accused of being the kind of Christian that you really aren't. Paul said you have been entrusted with a ministry of reconciliation. God says, and I'm speaking on human terms here, I'm dependent on you to share your faith. And it is through that sharing that I will do my work and the responsibility of the response of the people then becomes mine. But you and I are to embody the message in our conduct and in what we have to say. Thank you for that. Amen. I was wondering if anybody was out there, actually.

Now I'm going to nail this down for you. I began this message by asking you to think of one person or persons who is, we call them, pre-Christian. That is, they have not yet believed the gospel. Do you have that person firmly in mind?

I'm going to give you an ABC, not because it's as easy as ABC, but I want you to remember this. The A stands for ask. Ask God for the wisdom, for the timing, and for the way in which you should witness to this person. Ask. Ask God for a burden and you might be concerned about people who don't know the warmth of the Father's home nor the concern and the love of the Father's heart. Do you realize how empty it is out there?

So you ask. The B stands for believe. Believe that God can overcome the darkness of the human heart. Don't ever say to yourself, now this is a person I know who's disinterested and God could never save him.

Don't say that. You don't know what God has in mind. We don't know what God has in mind, but we do know this. He has saved some pretty bad sinners. After all, he did save you, didn't he? So you believe that your witness is going to have an effect. Now it may be used by God in different ways to soften the heart.

It could even be used to harden the heart, but you believe that the gospel itself is the power of God unto salvation. So I want you to believe. And then third, I want you to connect that C. Ask, believe, connect. Think of ways to take this person out for lunch. Think of ways to ask them the question that I have shared with you so many times that I have shared with people. You know, where are you on your spiritual journey? Or you tell them I'm on a spiritual journey and I'm not doing very well. I'm struggling.

I'm a struggling Christian, but I want you to know that Jesus has done a lot for me despite the fact that I'm not what I should be. Talk. Listen. Hear their story. Enter into their world. Connect with them. And don't be disappointed if you don't have an opportunity to lead them to the Lord right away.

There may be a whole process here. I've witnessed to, I suppose, over the years, hundreds of people whom I've met in airplanes and restaurants and elsewhere, and I have not led that many to saving faith in Christ. But I want to tell you a story.

When I was in Bible College in Winnipeg, some of us students worked in a mission, you know, and there'd be people struggling with alcoholism and what have you coming off the street and we'd have a service for them. It was probably a Friday evening and the service was over and some food had been given out and we were just doing the last things before the man who was in charge was going to lock up. That was the last thing.

So it was empty. And a guy comes down the aisle, really in a hurry, and he says to me, he said, lead me to faith in Jesus Christ. I thought, what?

Where is this coming from? How many times have you had somebody come to you and say, please lead me to faith in Jesus Christ? So I said, tell me your story. He said, I was hitchhiking. I don't know exactly which city he was hitchhiking from, but he ended up in Winnipeg and he said, the truck driver that I was with witnessed to me the whole time about my need to accept Christ. And he said, I'm so convicted of my sin. Lead me to Christ. So I led him to faith in Christ. I often thought of that truck driver. He probably thought, oh, another guy I witnessed to and all that is lost.

Nothing is lost when Jesus is exalted. Okay? I want you to wake up tomorrow morning and say, I have been entrusted with being an ambassador. I want to tell you a story about a man by the name of George Mueller. And now many of us have read the biography of George Mueller.

He actually was born in Germany, but he spent his time in England. He lived in the eighteen hundreds. And the reason he is so significant is because we have been so encouraged by his faith. I think he ended up with about twenty-one orphanages that he was responsible for. I read on the internet ten thousand orphans.

Wow, that sounds like a lot. Of course, he had lots of help. But he never even asked for money. That doesn't mean that it's wrong to ask for money. Even the Apostle Paul asked for money, but he wanted to prove that God could be trusted. So his biography is one story after another about how they were out of food.

The kids sat down and somebody knocked on the door and brought groceries and so forth. It's an incredible biography. But we don't understand how he got converted.

I mean, at least usually we don't talk about that. So let me tell you his story in his own words, and I'll simply paraphrase it. He said that at the age of fourteen, he had committed many gross sins, including immorality, visiting taverns, theft, and lots of lying. On the day when he was to be confirmed, and he was to confess his sins to, I guess, the pastor or the priest, he actually defrauded that pastor. He had been given some money, a considerable amount of money, by his father to give to the pastor, and he gave only one twelfth of it and kept the rest for himself. The day before his first communion, he committed immorality. Of course, you know, his parents were saying, you shouldn't live this way and all that. I mean, we're talking the 1800s. He was a pretty bad boy.

Didn't do any good. Kid wants what he wants. Then there was a friend of his by the name of Beta. I don't know anything about Beta, except what Mueller writes about. He said that this friend, who had committed some of the same sins as he had, now was a changed person and invited him to a Bible study where there was really no Bible study, but two things happened at that meeting that so impressed Mueller. The first is the joy that was on the faces of these Christians. He didn't know. He thought that the world had joy and all that it had was guilt and all of this bad taste in his life.

And so he was so impressed with the joy. And the second thing is there was a man there who knelt in prayer and prayed. You see, George Mueller was brought up in a day and if you went to church, all that you basically heard was the prayers that were read. You know, people would read prayers and you knew right well it was coming from their head and not their heart. And Mueller had never seen anyone kneel in prayer and actually pray from his heart to Almighty God. And then there was a sermon that was read. That's all that was allowed was to read somebody's sermon. But he went home that night and lying on his bed, he recognized that he was missing something, that there was a Savior there who could save him and give him the same kind of joy that he saw the other people have and he could believe on him. And he'd also deliver him from his sins. He said he continued to do some lying after he received Christ, but soon that fell away and all of the other sins he stopped doing. What confirmation could not do, what his baptism could not do, the gospel did.

Why? Well, it's here in verse 17, we're back in this passage, where it says, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away.

Behold, the new is come. Paul says that conversion is actually a miracle done in the heart. When you receive Christ as Savior, there's something within you that wasn't there before because God did something within your heart.

That's what it is. Baptism doesn't bring it about. Communion doesn't. Confirmation, being good, resolutions, oh, God knows.

George Mueller said he made many resolutions, which he kept breaking. It's the gospel that saves. And God says, I've committed to you as believers the message of reconciliation. I implore you, I'm quoting scripture now, whoever you are listening on the internet or on the radio, I implore you in Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. That's the message.

It's available. God says, I've done it all. My arms are open.

My back is not turned. Father, we ask in Jesus' name that even now, as people listening to this message, those who have never trusted Christ, they've gone through the formalities, Lord, they don't know anything about the miracle of transformation. May they believe on Jesus right now and be saved. May they know that it is through personal faith in a Savior who died for us that we come into your blessed presence.

And today, Father, may hundreds and hundreds of people at Moody Church and other people who are listening around the country, may we wake up tomorrow and say today, I am an ambassador for reconciliation. In Jesus' name, amen. Amen.

Amen. God forgave my sin. In Jesus' name, I've been born. On today's Moody Church Hour, Pastor Erwin Lutzer brought the third of six messages on Leaving a Legacy. Each of us was encouraged to share your faith. On these special broadcasts, we're hearing Pastor Lutzer's final series as the senior pastor of The Moody Church.

He's covering the crucial issues that represent his ministry and the challenges that lie ahead. Next week, join us as Pastor Lutzer tells us to engage the culture. This 2016 Capstone series can be yours as a book, which includes the sermon transcripts and study guide or as a six-part CD series. Either is Waiting for You is our way of saying thanks for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church Hour. Just call us at 1-800-215-5001.

Ask about Leaving a Legacy when you call 1-800-215-5001. Or you can write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Online, go to moodyoffer.com.

That's moodyoffer.com. For many decades, The Moody Church Hour has aired each week with messages from the senior pastor of The Moody Church. Since becoming Pastor Emeritus in 2016, Pastor Lutzer continues to write and speak, as well as broadcast on the daily program, Running to Win. Plan to be listening February 18 when Pastor Lutzer introduces the new senior pastor of Moody Church as the next teacher on this weekly program. Join us next week for another Moody Church Hour with the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church. ... ...
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