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Jesus The Gift Of Freedom

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
December 27, 2020 1:00 am

Jesus The Gift Of Freedom

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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December 27, 2020 1:00 am

In the afterglow of Christmas we can rejoice in all that God has provided in His Son. We find in Christ many gifts, including light, life, and love. In this message we consider a fourth gift Jesus brought to us when He appeared on earth so long ago.

 Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)

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In the afterglow of Christmas we can rejoice in all that God has provided in his son.

We find in Christ many gifts including light, life and love today will consider 1/4 gift Jesus brought with him when he appeared on earth so long ago from Chicago. We welcome you to The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes are on this program, we conclude a series on gifts Jesus brought to us after the music of Christmas. Stay with us for Dr. Luther's message on Jesus, the gift of liberty postulates or comes now to open our time of worship well in a moment were going to be singing together. Hark the Herald Angels Sing course during this very special Christmas season were reminded of God's goodness to us in the gift that God has given us to through Jesus Christ our Lord and were glad that you are here to participate with us, you're going to notice that the advent candle. We have been emphasizing various countries and continents during the Advent season we began. I think it was with India than it was the Philippines. Last week it was Romania. Today the continent of Africa because we delight in our diversity. Here is a church if you're visiting may I say once again that we have people from 72 different countries of origin worshiping with us all serving the same Lord. And heaven of course is going to be a very diverse place as the Bible indicates were glad that you are here in the midst of the busyness of the season.

Would you bow your head for just a moment of quietness as we give this service to the Lord. Father that the stories are so familiar create them within our hearts again renew them to be reminded of the fact that God loves the world and gave his son and Lord as we think about Jesus being born in Bethlehem a place of insignificance. We thank you that wherever Jesus is that there is significance that he was born in the little town. Thank you father for the shepherds for the wisemen for all who worship him and we take our place with them today.

In Jesus name, amen. We need only see his line CP way also was is something I can was an amazing ability. My 90th time. Some Obama English nine to select a sample set is descending so close that he is so like me, see John will finally nail new sky was it with a new knee. She said come close to Jehovah. Samantha was the face. I know for unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, the government shall be on his children and his name shall be called wonderful, constant, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of peace of the increase of his government and of peace will be no end on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold injustice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord will do this. Not all will Bethlehem affect why this say about practice writing pimping. If you know a busy opinion.

What Israel no please free to take a front amount, net of international now lying in New England who know what a ride to now more than what one needs into the elements and 1/2 was signed at a basic SCA KCS ICV maintain national energy but you will Bethlehem Africa who had so little to be among the clans of Judah from you shall come forth for me, one who is to be let in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days, and he shall stand and chef at his flock in the strength of the Lord in the majesty of the name of the Lord is good and they shall dwell secure for now, he shall be great to the ends of the and he shall be the and the angel said to them, fear not for behold I bring you good news of the great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the note and this will be a sign for you. You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he's pleased on this fourth Sunday in Advent. Relax the kind of peace. While all of us have birthdays and I'm sure we are glad when other people recognize that in they acknowledge our a some of us are to the point when our kids want to blow out the candles on the cake. They get pushed back because of the flame but nonetheless we all delight in the fact that people remember our birth days, but there is no birthday. That is ever been remembered with as much detail as the birthday of Jesus Christ and that only makes sense because he is a very unusual child. His birth was unusual. He was born of a virgin. You know sometimes it is said by those who are critical of Christianity that there are other miraculous birth stories in pagan literature that's true but they're very different. For example, it is said that Alexander the great had a miraculous birth well after a person becomes famous people look back and then they invent these methodologies, Jesus Christ. Miraculous birth was predicted and mentioned right at the beginning.

The other great difference is that these other stories are filled with degrading comments and degrading information about God being God's eye. Having a sexual relationship with women. Then suddenly you have a miraculous birth when you read the New Testament account. You discovered that it is they, in holiness, the Bible says that an angel came to a virgin and said that which is created within you is of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus had an unusual birth also had an unusual amount of criticism and hostility. Imagine what happened. We have course, think of the tremendous tragedy in Newtown, Newtown, Connecticut.

And yet, we have to remember that Jesus Christ birth elicited so much hostility that Herod remember he killed all of the babies that were in Bethlehem. The baby boys two years age of and under hoping that he'd kill Jesus. Imagine a king being intimidated by the birth of the baby. He must've known that this was a very unusual baby to be sure Jesus had an unusual upbringing and then he has an unusual ministry in dies on the cross and then has an unusual resurrection well might we honor his birth, but you know when you stop to think a bit, you realize that when we's and with the birth story, we often miss the heart of the Christmas story. Now let's take for example Abraham Lincoln who was born I believe in 1809, February 12.

Let's suppose that his father's name was Thomas, his wife, excuse me, his mother's name was Nancy.

Let us suppose that all that we did in our history book is look at pictures of of where he was born in that one room log cabin income hockey and we stare at those and that's where Dan's.

The reason that we might be interested in the birth of Lincoln and the date in which he was born and where he was born is because of who he turned out to be and what he did and that is true also of the story of Jesus. It doesn't and in Bethlehem. And that's why today I want to move beyond the manger to the actual man and this is part of a series of messages.

Actually, the last in a four-part series on gifts that Jesus brought to us. We talked about the gift of life. 10 the gift of life and the gift of love. Today the gift of liberty or freedom.

That's what I'm going to be speaking about, and this really is an exposition of the words of the angel when the angel came to Mary and to Joseph and said he shall be great, and shall be called the son of the most high, and then the text says in Matthew chapter 1. He came to save his people from their sins, to bring freedom from sin and that's why we're moving beyond that the Bethlehem story today to an encounter that Jesus had with some Jews, some of those were the sons of Abraham in the eighth chapter in the eighth chapter of the book of John and this is a very testy encounter and were going to be digging into it and saying what this deliverance that the angel promised is really all about John chapter, a time picking it up at verse 31 so Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, and by the way its page 894.

If you have a Bible that is there in the seat ahead of you. Page 894 so Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him.

If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

They answered him where the offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone how is it that you say you will become free. Jesus answered, truly, truly, I say to you everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever. The sun remains forever. So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

I know that you are Abraham's offspring, yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I had seen with my father and you do what you have heard from your father, what an amazing statement as we shall see in a moment that Jesus made know what we like to do in the next few moments is to go on a fact-finding trip about truth that really sets people free. He shall save his people from their sins. First of all, let us notice the truth exists, truth exists, Jesus said you shall know the truth when I was going to school it was said that truth is really the consensus of a lot of people there sociological truth today of course in postmodernism. Everyone has his own truth, there is my truth. There is your truth and my thoughts are true simply because I think them all fraught with contradiction and impossibilities but people are willing to believe an awful lot of stuff to justify what they want to do something and that's where we are at, you know, many years ago, and that's many years ago. I'm estimating maybe 40 years ago I was talking to a parishioner in another church and she was sitting beside someone in University who wrote a paper of two pages on why there is no truth and she gave it to me to read. I answered in about two lines and said if there is no truth. I know in advance that the paper that you have written false.

As a matter of fact, if you are consistent. You'd never open your mouth because the moment you do we know you're saying something other than truth, so she gave it to him and she never heard about him. He never said a word to her the entire semester which was really consistent with his view of truth, I might say truth has universality 2+2 is equal to four. That's true in India.

It's true all over the world. Truth has consistency. There's no such thing as a logical contradiction contradiction is a Charlie horse between the ears. Nobody can believe a contradiction. Truth also has other elements such as objectivity, there could be stars in the sky that we've never seen, but they are up there anyway and if they are there. That is true whether we've discovered it or not. Parenthetically, not sure that I heard it this year but other years I heard that you could buy somebody*for Christmas that you know that's a great idea by somebody a star for Christmas and then invite them to go check on their property and that if they don't like it you could guarantee they get their money back somebody's making some money on this thing selling people stars but anyway the stars exist whether we acknowledge it or not, know the truth that Jesus is talking about the religious truth is first of all his words.

You'll notice what is word say if you abide in my word, you are my disciples and you will know the truth. Every word that proceeded out of the mouth of Jesus was a true word of thy word is truth.

You want to find some truth read the Gospels and find out what Jesus had to say. But more than that. He said I am the way the truth and the life he embodies truth in him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. That baby there in the manger in Bethlehem had all of the attributes of God. And when he was held in the arms of Joseph and Mary, and later on Simeon. There was a part of Jesus that was invisible to the human eye, but in their hands. They were holding in their arms. They were holding the son of God, whose nature was God of very God and man.

Both in one person you know I frequently refer to my daughter, her oldest daughter, you know the average kid asks. I think a half-million questions. By the age of about seven or eight I think our oldest daughter got to that quote. At about four years old but she said Jim who was taking care of the world when God was a baby very good question who was taking care of the world when God was a baby.

While that baby had the attributes of deity and God was still taking care of the world and Christ was still taking care of the world.

No wonder the Bible says great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifest in the while there is such a thing as truth, look at Jesus who is the truth embodied while second truth can be known.

You shall know the truth. Truth can be known. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. The knowledge of God. For example, is revealed most clearly through Jesus that we see the knowledge of God in the Old Testament.

It is in Jesus that we see the father full of grace and truth. And so Jesus comes to us and says you can know the truth now. You can't know anything exhaustively. In fact, we don't know everything about anything. Our knowledge is always limited and our knowledge of this infinite being called God our knowledge of God is always limited but it is meaningful. We can have a meaningful relationship with God. Though we don't understand all about him and so that's what Jesus offers.

You shall know the truth and it's possible to know now let's look back at the text here what's happening in the text is he's talking to people who believe in him and then in verse 33.

There are also some who don't.

Its mixed company. They answer him. We are the offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone how is it that you say you will become free. Then Jesus is everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin and then I'm skipping to verse 36 so if the sun set you free will be free indeed.

But notice this verse 37. I know that you are Abraham's offspring, yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my father and you do what you've seen of your father, and they say Abraham is our father. Now what's going on there in the text. Think of this. These people are using their religiosity, their pedigree that goes all the way to Abraham. They are using that pedigree and their religion to keep them from Jesus from the truth from the truth about themselves from the truth about God and they are choosing bondage rather than freedom in the name of religion on. To be candid here, religion can be one of the most deceptive shields that can become a mask that people wear so that they don't really have to deal with the truth about themselves and God and their need for redemption. So you people say well you know I'm okay.

I attend Moody Church or possibly I'm okay because I'm a Baptist or I'm okay because I'm a Catholic I attend the Catholic Church or I attend the Mormon church, whatever. And religion becomes a shield and even though that all may be true that they are committed to these various religions. The problem is that those become a shield to keep them from reality and acknowledging the truth about themselves and their need for every team see these people weren't able to see themselves and did Jesus said it's possible to know the truth. Some of you do know the truth. Others of you will not receive the truth annual news religion to shield yourself from the truth. That's what's happening here in the text, and it's something that all of us can fall into the hypoxic receipt of not dealing with who we are in God's presence. So Jesus said them. You can know the truth, and then he says, and the truth will set you free. If you accept the truth that will set you free.

Now let's look at this verse 32, an astounding statement you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

In other words, if the sun shall make you free. Jesus says now in verse 36 you're going to be free indeed. You're going to be fully free. Now your Bibles are open and I want you to see to contrast the Jesus now makes to contrast the first is between a slave and a son. Truly I say to you everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever. Why because he's not part of the family he may go to church but is not part of the family but the son he remains forever, because he is part of God's family.

So the first contrast is between the slavery and son ship now. Think of how amazingly accurate. The Bible is the Bible has the most interesting. The most true analysis of human nature available that there are people today who think they are free and they are slaves to sin.

Now if you're a slave you don't get up in the morning and begin to tell the owner what to do your master. The master begins to bark out orders at you and you had better follow through with them. That's the way some people's lives are. They don't have any control over the sins that entangle them and they made the sins of the flesh that we frequently speak about most assuredly those sins bind.

Oh the depths of that binding you know Jesus is using an illustration here of someone who's imprisoned and you can imagine, you know during the Middle Ages there was a man who made chains and to put his insignia on every link and took pride in the fact that nobody could break one of his chains, and then he was imprisoned and noticed that he was actually bound by his own chain the Bible in the book of Proverbs talks about being bound by cords of sin. Imagine somebody the chain is coming out of a concrete wall and it's wrapped around his leg and there he is in Jesus said that if you are a sinner committed to sin and you are actually only a slave and not a son. You are a slave to sin and it may be the sins of the flesh, it may be the sins of the spirit, you know, when you look at the religious people of the day. I wouldn't say that they were necessarily bound to sensual sins, but they were bound to the sin of self-righteousness, the sin of anger that need to be appreciated, the pride of the human heart and all of those sins of the spirit and Jesus said that if you commit and walk in that path you're going to become a slave to sin and what terrible slavery. It really is.

But if you are a son let something different so because the sun is really truly free, Jesus the son of God is free, and he takes his sons and his daughters and he frees them if they are willing to accept the truth and this is the message of Christmas. It's the message of Bethlehem that Jesus came to set us free. Even as the angel prophesied. Now that's the first contrast between a son and a a slave there's a second contrast and that has to do with two different fathers two different fathers.

Jesus said verse 38 I speak of what I have seen with my father. That's the father in heaven and you do what you have heard from your father. They said Abraham is our father.

Jesus said if you were Abraham's children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, but I heard from God is not what Abraham did. You are doing what your father did and so they go back and forth with Jesus and they say well you know our fathers Abraham and you are born implied a fornication. They say to Jesus. Now you have to brace yourself for this. Okay. But Jesus didn't take that course how to win friends and influence people that came a little later as a little later than Jesus, and you may be offended by how plainly he speaks.

But that's exactly why we have to hear what he has to say he is speaking on behalf of the father had the words that he speaks or truths are you ready for them. You can brace yourself a little bit for this verse 44 you are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has nothing to do with the truth because there is no truth in him.

When he lies, he speaks out of his own character for he's a liar and the father of lies. Because I tell you the truth. Jesus said you don't believe me while Jesus is saying now what about this imagery of fathers what's going on there in the text that has to do with the nature you see in what sense was the devil. The father of these people. He was in this sense that they had his nature, which is the nature of deception and lies and these lies they told themselves so many times over and over, they began to believe lies about themselves that they were righteous in the sight of God because of their works. Unwilling to see their need of deep abiding redemption and that's of course where the lie really resides. And so Jesus said to the other two different fathers in the world there is the father. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That's one father the other father is the devil, and that the human race is kind of divided between the two. Isn't it young woman comes to me and says you know I'm in love with a man who's really a nice guy, but is not a Christian. Well, what does Pastor Lutzer do. He takes her to this text and says you know they're two different fathers in the world is this father and there's this father one in verse 44 you and he may get along for quite some time quite well but eventually you're going to have trouble with your father-in-law. I don't have to repeat that delay, Jesus is speaking to religious people and today in this church and across the world wherever we go and you know, we stream live all over the world and heard on the radio, etc. primarily religious people and Jesus is saying that there is a level of deception that you can enter into as a religious person and as a result of that you can miss the fact that you need the kind of redemption that Jesus Christ came to give two different two different experiences. Two different sons two different contrasts actually. And Jesus is saying that what we ought to do is to recognize that we need. God is our father and very clearly Jesus just puts it out there as you read the Gospel of John, and elsewhere. Jesus is constantly saying that if you don't receive me you don't receive my father you think of the outstanding the astounding claims that Jesus Christ made and yet you have people today who say well you know to me he's a good teacher. Well good teachers normally don't exalt themselves and tell people that there is eternal destiny is totally determined by what these people do with him no.

But Jesus did that and that's what it comes down to is CS Lewis has shown that either Jesus Christ was a liar or a lunatic or he was Lord King of Kings and Lord of lords.

And that's really and that's really the message of Christmas was Seneca who cried all that I hand would come down from heaven and delivered me from my besetting sin. I'm speaking to you now heart-to-heart just want you to understand and listen very carefully when I tell you this, you and I don't need a whole lot more good teaching.

What we need is spiritual power to live differently as the angel said to deliver his people from their sins. And only Jesus is able to do that only Jesus is able to do that and that's why we exalt him and that's why we remember his birthday. It is because he is King of Kings, Lord of lords.

God of all God's the one deliver the one Savior, whom we proclaim to the world now have a couple of things to help us take the strands and bring them together already made the point, but I want to emphasize that the worst possible slavery is slavery to sin. Now these Jewish people. God bless them, they were not when they said that we'd never been slaves of anyone. They were not purring to a political slavery because they were under the yoke of the Roman Empire and of course the Jewish nation had been under the yoke of Egypt and other countries. All the way through and so they understood all that, but what they were saying is that religiously. We've never been slaves to anyone religiously. We had been free. What they didn't realize was because they failed to acknowledge the depth of their need. They were really slaves to their thought patterns that put them in much better light than they were something like a little boy who said to his mother.

I made feet tall and 8 feet tall really and he was according to the yardstick that he had made. The Bible says that when we judge ourselves by others. We sin and we are not wise. So first of all, the worst kind of slavery you can have is slavery to sin. It is a bad taskmaster and I'm speaking to people who think that they are free, they can do whatever they like, they can go wherever they want. They can indulge in whatever they want to indulge in and they say to themselves.

I am free and I say to you today you are bound, you're bound you wake up in the morning and it's sin that tells you what to do and no matter how much you rationalize it you do it.

It's a terrible kind of bondage and there's bondage to the conscience Sunday at Moody Church. I want to preach a series of messages on the conscience have been gathering material on that for a while and I think for example of a man true story who murdered someone when he was basically a teenager. Something like about the age of 18 and of the police questioned him and all but he was never charged. He grew up, married, had a family and became a Christian, and years later, I mean I'm talking about 25 years later he turned himself into the authorities because he said he couldn't live with his conscience and he said later, and in one of my books. I quote him when he said that I'm a freer man here behind bars than I was when I was on the outside. There is a freedom of the spirit that can only be given by truth which sets people free. The worst kind of bondage is bondage to self.

I'm told that Alexander the great. You member before he died he wept because there were no more worlds to conquer but someone suggested that there was another world that Alexander had not conquered and that is the world of the heart, and that by the way is one of the reasons I'm preaching this series of messages that I told you about going to preach in because it was Luther who said I fear my own heart more than I do. The Pope we need to do is to recognize that there is a slavery to the human heart. Secondly, the truth sets us free. The truth sets us free. Jesus was saying to these religious people. If you want to be free.

You have to take off the mask and deal with reality and see yourself and see God. You know it was Calvin, the great theologian who in the beginning of his institutes and by the way his institutes became the textbook for Protestant theology for about 200 years, but he begins by saying that there are two kinds of knowledge, there is knowledge of God and knowledge of self and sometimes it's hard to know which comes first. But one thing is sure, you can't have one without the other. You can't know who you are unless you're in God's presence and knowledge of self comes by the knowledge of God. You know what our big problem is in our society. Everything seems to be going haywire.

It's people who think they know who they are without any reference at all to God that they can just on their own. Find out who they are.

Find out their own morality and find out their own direction without knowing God, but God sees behind the mask. You know during the days many years ago. The O.J. Simpson trial over the prosecution began one of its defenses, or one of its assaults I guess would be more accurate. Saying this wealth and fame can to change this simple truth. O.J. Simpson is a person. People have a good side and a bad side we will show you the other side of the smiling face now. No matter where you come down on on the verdict that was eventually given that's irrelevant to the point that I'm making people have a good side and a bad side, and we have to God sees what is on the other side of the :-) he sees the anger, the and the.

The secret addictions. The. The other part of our life in Jesus said that when you come to me. You can be truthful in my presence and when you know the truth about yourself and you know the truth about Jesus and who I am. You can be free of course we continue to struggle with sin, but sin no longer is our task master.

We keep looking to Jesus for the deliverance that was promised by the angel to Joseph and Mary that he will save his people from his sins.

And then of course the bottom line is that truth has to be received. It doesn't it has to be received as you go through the rest of this text, you'll discover that there are those who have rejected Jesus, and they want to stone him, and they want to kill him, all in the name of religion.

By the way, and so there were those who went their way in.

Then the disciples of Jesus went another way, and so it is that Jesus is constantly dividing people dividing people and that's what he does today to. You must confront this Christ question is are you going to receive what he has to say. You'll notice that Jesus said that truth has to be received. If you abide in my word, I'm back in verse 31 if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth.

It isn't just simply making a decision for Jesus important though that is because there is a time when you cross that threshold, but that you abide in the truth. The truth becomes a part of you that you are reading the truth that you are allowing the word of God to impact your life.

And then the truth begins to grow in your heart and it overcomes the ever Jesus came to die. We emphasize Bethlehem. Of course, during the Christmas season, but remember that Jesus was really born crucified and when Simeon held the little baby in his arms. Remember, he said that this baby came that the hearts of many would be revealed, and God sees who we are today.

Behind the mask and he says if you know the truth and you receive the truth. You will be fully free, free indeed. Seneca, as I mentioned O that I hand would come down from heaven and deliver me from my besetting sin Seneca, your wish has been granted. Jesus has come to save us from our sin and may we rejoice in that at this Christmas season want to conclude with Phillips Brooks who wrote that lovely song O Little town of Bethlehem, he was there during the winter. Was I think back in the 1800s saw the beautiful town in. Wrote that him that all of us love, but I choose it because of the last stanza.

I looked at it this morning and I'll see if I can remember it all holy Child of Bethlehem descended to us. We pray cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.

If you've never received Christ as Savior. If you've never responded to the truth.

Give up the mask come as you are, but come to Christ because remember the words of the angel.

He shall save his people from their sins.

Let us rejoice in the real message of the manger. Let's pray together. Our father, we ask that even as your word is going out today that you might buy your spirit. Help us to see that Jesus is the deliverer that he is not only here to give us orders to tell us how to live, but actually to reach down from heaven and say this, we ask that those who are bound today as slaves might be freed that those those bonds might be broken and we ask Lord that tab there shall be a freedom in Jesus even as they face the truth of who they are and who he is.

Help us father cast out our sin and enter in the born in us today. Now before I close this prayer of God is talk to you. You talk to God no matter by which means you may be listening. You can bow your head right where you are and say Jesus I'm a sinner. Today I received the truth today. Having heard your word. I give up my defenses and the mask of my hypotheses and I receive Jesus is mine. Father, help us to do that with all that we are with no reservations. We pray that we might see your glory in your victory in Jesus name. Please stand with me as we sing a little town of Bethlehem versus one, three and 40 on today's Moody Church. Our Dr. Erwin gets her spoke on Jesus, the gift of liberty. The last of four messages on gifts Jesus brought to us this month we have a special gift for all who share their gifts with The Moody Church. Our Richard and Tina Clois have written a daily devotional book called a closer look at the evidence perspectives on creation and why the Bible and science are in harmony. This book will be sent when you call 1-800-215-5001 with your gift. Call us at 1-800-215-5001 or write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 mentioned a closer look at the evidence.

When you write or call online go to that's join us next week. At the same time for another Moody Church over with Dr. Erwin Luzerne and the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago

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