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When The Promises Don't Work

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
April 24, 2022 1:00 am

When The Promises Don't Work

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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April 24, 2022 1:00 am

It happens again and again. A child is at death’s door, and even after urgent prayer, the child dies anyway. Where was God? When prayer is not answered as we’d like, many simply stop praying or believe false teachers’ lies about peace and prosperity. In this message, we’ll investigate three false principles such teachers use about riches and healing as well as key observations about God’s will in suffering. What’s God doing through our unanswered prayers?

 Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)

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Your child is sick you pray for healing but healing never comes at your child's funeral your left asking why the mystery of prayer is our focus for the next six weeks as we try to understand the purposes of God.

When the answers we cry for never come from Chicago.

This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching with pastor Erwin Blitzer. Today we begin this series on the triumph of unanswered prayer and our first message will deal with how we should react when the premises don't work. Pastor Blitzer comes now to open today's service. Let me again highlight how delighted we are that you are here to worship with us. We do not take your presence for granted and nor do we take the presence of the Lord for granted.

We know that he is everywhere, but we invite his blessed presence to instruct the student guide is to lead us to can act as to enable us to worship him acceptably through Jesus Christ. Would you take your hymnals please. As we turn to 686, 686 all God, our help in ages past, will be singing that in a moment. Our Scripture reading today is by Fay Danielson Fay is a Deaconess here at The Moody Church and works part-time with our set free ministries set free ministry is a ministry and help to women who have experienced abuse and were so thankful for phase involvement she's going to be reading as indicated in the bulletin and then the chorus step by step and finally 139. Great is thy faithfulness. Isaac Watts is by all accounts. One of the greatest writers of hymnody.

We love to his songs.

They are songs that are timeless because of their commitment to the biblical text and the communication of Scripture. You take for example old God, our help in ages past that were going to sing in just a moment that is based really on Psalm 90 old Godbout has been our dwelling place from generation to generation, even though before the mountains were brought forth from everlasting to everlasting you are God, oh God, our help in ages past.

What connects the past with the present and the future is God one generation comes in another goes. But what connects it all together is God and his purposes. Would you join me please.

As we pray and invite the blessed Holy Spirit to lead us and then we shall stand to sing and continue to stand until we have sung great is thy faithfulness join me please. As we pray, and our father. We want to thank you for generations past, we thank you for those who preceded us, even here in ministry at The Moody Church and thank you for those who will succeed is some day because you are God, and beside you. There is none other and from everlasting to everlasting you remain as we sing about your greatness and your continuity. May we worship you acceptably and as we hear your word and as we have the privilege to give my all of this contribute to your glory and to your honor, we ask in Jesus name, amen. Join me as I read the book paints. Lord, you have been our dwelling place in generation before the Americans were brought forth our ever you had formed the earth and the world from ever seeing you are God turn me a child for years in your site are but as yesterday when it is past size of watch in the night for me. I brought in by your anger. I hear around me. I just need you have sent our iniquities before you are secret things in the light of your presence for all your days pass away under your wrath bring our years and like I years of my life are 70 are even by reason of strength 80 planning travel.

They are soon gone and we fly away and I that we may gain a heart by morning, that we may be chilly and be glad that your work is shown to your servant and your glorious power to their children.

Let that favor the Lord our God is an and in an let me begin today by reading a letter from Kevin who is a prisoner.

He says I am a prisoner trying to draw close to God using all the resources I can to help me in my relationship with God we have material from several preachers available to us here. A lot of the material is help me to grow in my walk with God but I am uneasy about some of what I read, particularly from those who teach about health and wealth. I received a monthly letter a few months ago said that there was power in my confession if I were to take authority over my situation and shout.

I am rich. These blessings would come to me. I did this for several months, but I've not received any extra money.

In fact, now the money from my commissary account doesn't make it on time.

More recently I began confessing that I walk in divine health, like their ministry instructs me to do, but I've discovered that my liver enzymes were often other lab results were not encouraging. Since then I changed my praying and confess that I'm only healed if God wants me to be. So I struggle with whether these ministries are of God, or whether they are demonic. Then I thought that if God were to strike that ministry in judgment that I would know it is wrong please give me your advice on this.

I'm afraid of making false accusations about ministries that talk about Jesus and say they are anointed of God. I just know that their teaching doesn't work for me while Kevin doesn't work for you and it doesn't work for millions of others you're right. It just doesn't work. We live in a time when we find that some of the TV teachers those who are on television, particularly not all but some are teaching false doctrine ever since. A man by the name of William Kenyon, who was basically into Christian science the Christian science.

Faith ever since.

He tried to unite Christianity in Christian science you have today. What is known as the Word of Faith movement. This Word of Faith movement believes that we can simply speak ourselves rich. I was watching television less than two weeks ago and one of these preachers said what you need to do is to say I am a millionaire that he wasn't satisfied with that. He says you need to proclaim.

I am a billionaire and you can speak things into existence that are not yet into existence.

That is what is being taught throughout history, you find that the gods of always been manipulated by people in an attempt to get from them what you want and never before has the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ been so manipulated by people to make sure that he gives them what they want no matter what you feel guilty, you don't need to deal with your sin. What you need to do is to have a good feeling of self-fulfillment. So we have the self-fulfillment possible. If you need money. You don't have to budget carefully and work hard. What you need is a health and wealth gospel and certainly if you are sick, you can simply command that you be healed and according to one ministry. You can do that and you can do it successfully as often as you need to know need to deal with issues of sin and reconciliation and repentance.

God is there to meet all of your knee as they exist.

You can speak to your wallet and say the valve fill in the wallet is going to be filled and it is filled with air.

Why is it that these TV ministries. They Dragon Scripture of course. And were going to be dealing with that in successive messages, but let me give you three principles that they use their false. First of all, they make no distinction of significance between Old Testament promises the New Testament promises. This takes a longer time to discuss but in the Old Testament God dealt with Israel as a theocratic kingdom that is to say that it was a theocracy and God says I'm going to bless you or curse you based on the land if you follow me, I'm going to give you riches. I'm going to give you good crops if you don't follow me. I'm going to send you drought and grasshoppers find that throughout the book of Deuteronomy and elsewhere. Today, God doesn't deal with us. That way, that was Israel as a nation in the land. That's why you don't find promises like that in the New Testament, we must distinguish between the Old Testament and the new second. Many of these preachers fail to or they totally ignore some of the conditions that are necessary for answered prayer, and it does seem as if some of the statements that Jesus made were blank checks were we could simply fill in whatever we want, but a closer examination shows that actually, there are some conditions if you abide in me and my words abide in you, then you shall ask what you but all of this oftentimes is ignored their blessings available for everyone regardless of what they believe, regardless of who they are, they can speak things into existence. Finally, many of these ministries fail to understand that our authority as believers is a relative authority. It is a limited authority. We don't have the same authority as Jesus. We are in Jesus, but we are not Jesus.

We cannot speak to storms and error hurricanes.

We cannot speak to them like Jesus spoke to the raging sea on Galilee many years ago there were some of these folks who met in Washington DC and they met to ban the Satan from Washington DC to send him packing and to make sure that he would not enter the city of Washington DC again while isn't that interesting. What do you think do you think that God answered their prayer or isn't there some empirical evidence that may be there prayer hasn't been answered, my dear friend, if we could do that, we banish them from the whole planet. If you ask why God has Satan in Washington DC.

The answer is because the Lord hath need of him. The Lord hath need of him, God uses Satan for his own purposes, but we don't have that kind of authority we have authority over the devil, that's true. I believe even in casting out demons, but our authority is totally derived. It is not unlimited. We cannot speak things into existence was looking at a website yesterday where one of these men has written a book imitating God or we can speak things into existence and we can have unlimited authority.

No, we can't this series of messages is entitled the triumph of unanswered prayer.

The triumph of unanswered prayer.

Normally we say will there's no triumph in unanswered prayer.

There's only triumph when God answers. Oh yes, you're wrong, you're wrong. We will show that God through unanswered prayer has an agenda that might ultimately even be greater than his agenda through answered another way that we could describe this series is to say that we must live with unfulfilled promise nothing wrong with the promises, but we need to know whether those promises are for today we see parts of them for today but the fulfillment of them lies in the future. Who is this series of messages for this series of messages is for anyone who asked and didn't receive. It's for anyone who has anger toward God anger toward God because you know that God could interview and you know that God could heal that person and he didn't and in your soul you have anger toward the Almighty this message. This series of messages is for you.

It's for those of you who found prayer to be boring and irrelevant those who would never attend a permitting under almost any condition because they believe essentially that prayer changes nothing. It's for those who want to get closer to God. But it seems so impossible. And you're so discouraged that you don't know how to do it before this series is over I'm going to give you a whole new paradigm as to how to pray a paradigm that will lead to fulfillment in your own individual prayer life. Whether you get the specific answers that you seek or not working to find that God has an agenda that transcends many of the things that we often ask him for Hebrews chapter 10 is the text for today.

I hope you brought your Bibles. If not, you can use the Bible there that is in your seats Hebrews chapter 10 Hebrews 10 were talking about people who believed on Jesus and they are going through a time of great testing and there is no doubt that they are praying that they be delivered from the test but there is no deliverance, were going to look at this passage of Scripture.

Very simply, were going to see the challenge that they face the suffering that they face then what were going to do is to see their attitude in the midst of it and the reward and then were going applied to our lives were going to be changed because we've heard God's word.

Notice it says I'm in verse 32 of Hebrews chapter 10, but recall the former days when after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with suffering. Sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction sometimes being partners with those so treated for you had compassion on those in prison and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property since you knew that you yourselves have a better possession and an abiding one therefore do not throw away your confidence, which is a great reward for you have need of endurance, so that when you've done the will of God. You may receive what is prom. First of all, what is it that they were in during what was their challenge. Well, it was severe suffering because of Jesus. They were not only being marginalized. You'll notice it says it was sometimes public. Verse 33 being publicly exposed to reproach. Reminds me of when the Communists took over China help pastors actually were paraded down the street with all kinds of things strewn across their bodies including Bibles that had been torn in two.

They were humiliated and they were publicly exposed and publicly shown to be people who were to be reproached that that something like we have going on.

The text and this was happening. Not only was it severe and public. Also, it was voluntary. I find this very interesting because even those who didn't have to suffer chose to suffer by their identification with those who did.

You'll notice that the text says for you had compassion on those in prison you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property.

You had compassion on those who were in prison. Verse 34 says that verse 33 says you became partners with those who were treated this way and you visited them in prison. Someone suggested that when the Holocaust Was Taking Pl. in Germany. Wouldn't it have been wonderful if every one of those freight cars filled Jews, wouldn't it have been wonderful if in each of them. There were two or three Christians who voluntarily joined them and went to their death showing their identification with those who are being so severely mistreated.

These people wouldn't have had to have as much suffering as they did, but they were willing to take up the cause of those who were targeted for persecution and by the way that's the way in which most of the church exist today not always like it is here in America. Kenya just recently heard about it. 6080 people run into this church during what apparently became like a Civil War. The church is burned down. The church is bomb the people are running from the church to save their lives and people are waiting for them to gun them down to look at what is happening in Muslim countries today and you find that that is a continual experience. I saw pictures of bombed out churches in bombed out vehicles and dead bodies strewn along the streets in Nigeria and so that's what the church of Jesus Christ has always endured here in America we sometimes are scorned were sometimes misrepresented by the media and that bothers me when you hear people say all you know these Christians. They want a theocracy and suffer no if if somebody wants a theocracy. We are as opposed to that, as they are, but nonetheless we put up with a lot of misrepresentation and then we think we have it bad. These folks had their property plundered, plundered what it means in the original text. The idea is suggested that mom's came and plundered their property were talking about huge devastation to families and to homes.

That's what they endured.

But how did they take it what you saw there in the text. The Bible is open and you have your finger on the text don't you it says you accepted joyfully, joyfully, the plundering of your property.

I don't know of any American including myself would accept joyfully the plundering of my house or my property. I don't know of anyone who would they did it. Why, because to them. You see, the presence of the world to come was so real they said it doesn't matter what we endure for Jesus here in eternity is coming. Eternity is, and all the things of the earth were weighed in relationship to the coming of eternity.

Reminds me of another story. True story.

World War II prisoners in a Barrick starve to death or renders conditions. We can scarcely describe and suddenly Joy breaks out and they begin to sing and they began to laugh. Why because word had been leaked into the barracks that World War II was over and deliverance was on the way you can put up with anything, anything, as long as you know that it's going to be over and deliverance is on the way and these Christians said we've heard from another world news has been leaked to us that Jesus is Lord. He's king is God, and someday he's going to come and we can accept joyfully the plundering of all that we have because notice that the text says it says knowing that you had a better better possession, they suffered joyfully. They suffered confident lay there was something better that God had in mind. And so they endured. Not only that, however. However, there is, however, here you'll notice they were becoming discouraged and they were about to give up. I'm now in verse 35 therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward for you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God. You may receive what is promised.

You have need of endurance you're running well you accepted it well, but as it goes on, year after year after year and no doubt they cried to God and said God deliver us, bring us some justice. The justice was not coming and they became weary and they were about to take their confidence in God and thrown overboard and say were finished. That's where they were at. I've met Christians like that Christians who threw away their confidence because they live with injustice and on answered prayer for so long. They said if there's a God in heaven. If there's a God in heaven clearly doesn't care. I'm finished and they thrown away their confidence in the writer is saying don't you dare do that because if you throw your confidence away also with dad goes your great is a don't throw away your confidence, which has great reward. I've known Christians who have thrown away their confidence because of other Christian they had dealings with some Christian they say I did some work for him. He never really paid me.

I'm out here I'm forgetting the Christian faith.

I'm leaving if that's catch you here it heard it a dozen times. If that's the way Christians really are. If that's the way they are. I want nothing to do with them and I want nothing to do with their I remember a man in Bible school very sincere fellow. He believed that there should be no joking that there should be no jesting and some of us didn't adhere to that all the time and so when he saw us laugh or when he saw us put on a skit was funny. He just thought it was such desecration year and 1/2 after being in Bible school. He just left the Christian faith so far as I know he's never returned to the Christian faith just thrown it all overboard and said if that's the way Christians are. I want have anything to do with them now. Maybe we did fail him. Maybe we did what was wrong, but you know his excuse is not awash in the presence of Jesus when he stands in the presence of Jesus. He's going to say we know the reason I threw away all my confidence in you is because of the way in which those students acted in Bible school better when Luzerne remember what he used to do. It's his fault. God is not gonna buy that. And God won't buy your excuse for casting away your confidence.

It often happens because of unanswered prayer. Maybe in another message will tell you about a woman who said in light of the fact that God didn't heal this man for whom we pray this so long and so hard I'm never going to bother God with another request again. Why should I she said it in anger not going to pray again. Why should I pray to owe now are getting serious. Don't you dare throw away your confidence because it brings great reward. You throw away the confidence that you have in God, you throw away your great reward. So you'll notice that they had this attitude well, what's the reward that they were to receive and would receive if they were faithful there several ways to describe that your Bible is open in verse 34 it says that that you knew that you had a better possession in verse 35 it says you knew that you have a great reward in verse 36. Notice it says you need in Lawrence that when you have done the will of God. You may receive what is promised. There it is called what is promised and then you'll notice in context, it says for yet a little while and the coming one will come and will not delay this is a reference to the return of Jesus in verse 38, God is speaking, but my righteous one, but as you and me if we know Jesus shall live by faith. And if he or she shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. Well talk about people tempted to shrink back because God isn't intervening and changing their situation, but we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed about. Of those who have faith and preserve it, their souls, what a solemn warning. So what is this great reward that they should have remembered it is going to take place at the return of Jesus Christ. You see folks there are many promises that are health and wealth. Preachers want us to believe in those promises are valid and good, but their delayed promises. You see, we don't have it all. Right now, and their folks were telling you things, they are overpromising.

What the Bible promises in this life and their leading others to disillusionment in God. Why is it that I can't speak things into existence.

They think to themselves, and they are disillusioned because they don't see the total teaching of Scripture on these point. Oh my dear friend today. What is it that you are going through what tears at your soul today. Could I remind you that that the coming of Jesus Christ. We shall receive our new bodies at the coming of Jesus Christ.

We shall receive justice at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We shall receive all God ever promised in glory.

And then there's something more important than justice. And there's something more important than divine healing in the new bodies that were going to have. There's something more important and that is the possibility of receiving the very pleasure of God. Notice it says if he turned back. The Bible says my soul, God is speaking, shall have no pleasure. God is no pleasure in those who toss away their confidence because they lack endurance and to hear Jesus say well done, thou good and faithful servant. I mean if you were to say that not sure that anyone of us could expect that at all.

But if he were to say that that would be, well, you know, we used to sing the old song. It will be worth it all. When we see Jesus, don't throw your confidence away. It has great reward couple of observations. First of all, sometimes people who suffer often when they suffer they are in the will of God is your finger in the text today.

Notice what it says you have need of endurance. I love that word. Some translated patients, but the idea is in two RNC had just go on believing no matter what you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God will inherit the promise God is saying this idea of your homes being plundered and your property being stolen is for you.

The will of God. Don't ever let a preacher tell you that if you're suffering you're out of God's will, because all that you need to do is to exercise your authority and to get out of that suffering because sometimes it is God's will for you to suffer Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. There was no escape hatch father if it be thy will let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will but as thou wilt. People were suffering in other countries today, believers were sitting in jail. Believers who are being wracked and tortured and I know this is tough to say that I'm going to say it, they are suffering. Then will of God, and I would like to just be an observer regarding their reward that they shall someday receive some of us are gonna be so far back when the rewards are handed out all that will be able to do is to see others, but that in itself would be a great blessing as we see them reward because they know they know that they have a more enduring possession. The text says, and they endure it for the cause of Jesus. Another lesson to be learned is that suffering doesn't last forever. But God does.

God does or let me say it this way. Suffering doesn't last forever, but eternity does. Eternity is a long time. Paul says that the suffering of this present world cannot be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. He calls it the light affliction, which is but for a moment you say will Pastor Lutzer, I have lived with injustice. 410 20 years, there are scores that have not yet been settled. Let me quote the Scripture again your light affliction, light affliction, not heavy, but light is but for a moment. In comparison to the eternal weight of glory.

Paul is saying what you need to do is to take a scale on one side of the scale you put all of your affliction. All the things that God hasn't done for you, and you put it on this side and it would be like a feather and on the other side, the eternal weight of glory would be like an elephant stepping on the scale.

There you see the difference. The eternal weight of glory, and so we come to the bottom line here. The bottom line folks is that there's nothing wrong with the promises every promise of God is he a and on. Then in Jesus Christ. But but we need to realize that until we see Jesus face to face. We live with unfulfilled promise. We live for. With unfulfilled promises in this series of messages on the go through the 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews and I'm going to show you that Abraham dies without seeing the promise and will look at all of the promises that God gave them, but he dies any will he see them.

Yeah, you'll see them.

He will still see them, but he died without them.

Could I put it to you this way my friend today. Today we have the drop but the Bible says that the day is coming when were gonna have the whole ocean. Today we have the flower but the day is coming when were going to have the guard today. We get the hors d'oeuvres. But the Bible says that the marriage supper of the Lamb awaits us. It is worth it.

It is worth it to follow and keep on believing whether God answers your prayers or not it is worth it.

You say will.

Should these people have been praying yeah that they were living by promises not promises of deliverance promises that God would give them endurance. Knowing that many of their promises were still future that God would give them endurance, so that when they had done the will of God, they would receive what was promised at the return of Jesus. God says we have to wait we don't get it all. Now I don't agree with the book that says heaven now know, not even in Chicago. Is this heaven now all right but there is something in the text that I want you to see it says that the righteous one, my righteous one I love that God is saying my righteous one shall live by faith. You belong to God you live by faith and the way in which you belong to God, is also by faith. Remember, this was the text, Habakkuk, and then later on, also, as it's reiterated in the book of Romans that sparked what was known as the great Protestant Reformation has people wondered how they could get God's approval. They wondered how in the world they could meet God's high standard. Nobody was meeting God's high standard. They never even pretended they could because it was July and no matter how often they confess their sin tomorrow was another day like trying to mop up the floor with the faucet running and so they knew not where to turn.

And suddenly, as the pages of Scripture were unfolded. It was discovered that wonderful ancient doctrine embedded everywhere on the pages of the New Testament that it is through faith that we come to God, faith in what Jesus accomplished for us. That's why say to you today. If you're not one of God's if you're not his righteous one noticed there my righteous one, if you're not one of his righteous one, the way you become righteous is not trying to clean up your life.

However valuable that may be the way you do it is you accept the righteousness that Jesus provided for those who believe and that's the way in which you can be saved and once you are, then the life of endurance begins and the life of believing were saved by faith and we live by faith, and we live by all the promises. Just knowing that many of them will not be fulfilled. Even in our lifetime and in the end that'll prove out to be true noticed that the text says this. The author is optimistic.

Verse 39 but we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed.

What he's doing is talking to Christians who could shrink back and you met them and I to and they will be destroyed and their souls will not be preserved. I don't think this is a reference to hell what it is. It is a reference to the ruling of those who believe in Jesus, but for some reason throw away their confidence and they give up and they stop believing in sin begins to take over and corrodes their souls and in that sense, they are destroyed. My question to you is this, do you endure the first move that you and I need to make is to receive Christ as Savior is a free gift.

Now that's a promise you can depend upon. That's a promise for the here and now, whoever hears my word and believes on him that sent me is everlasting life. Jesus so that's that's where it begins after you received them. It's a life of faith, day by day and you keep on believing no matter what result great possession better promise great report. Would you join me as we pray our father, we want to thank you today that you do answer prayer. We thank you father, that is, these people cried up to you and they were not delivered that you didn't give them endurance, which was a great answer to prayer, so that they honored you through their lives, and we believe entered into partly at least their great possession to be fully realized at the return of Jesus. Now, father give us endurance for the person who's here today willing to give up on you, hasn't prayed in months maybe seriously prayed because they don't think you answer anyway help them to confess that sin and to say we will continue to believe and to trust and to relate. No matter what. For those who may be here who never trusted Christ as Savior. They can't look at this text and say why belong to the category there that says my righteous one because they never received the righteousness of Jesus, would you cause them to believe. Grant them the ability to do that. And now, before I close you talk to God.

If God is talk to you father hear our prayer and encourage us. We pray, amen. Were going to sing at three stanzas of 390 390 spirit of God to send upon my heart were actually going to sing stanzas one and three and four.

I wanted to include stands at three because you'll notice what it says teach me to feel that thou art always and I teach me the struggles of the soul to bear to check the rising doubt the rebels sign teach me the patient's of on answered prayer. We are speaking about this morning.

Let's all stand to sing 13 and four on today's Moody Church. Our pastor looks or talked about when the promises don't work the first of six messages on the triumph of unanswered prayer.

Next week Dr. lutes returns to Hebrews chapter 11 probe what happens when the answer is delay.

Don't miss our next broadcast our six part series on the triumph of unanswered prayer can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount Moody Church. Our call 1-800-215-5001. Let us know you'd like to support Moody Church's ministry are. Thank you to you will be a set of messages you can hear and then pass on to others.

Call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at Moody Church media 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to Moody that's Moody

Join us next time for another Moody Church. Our with pastor Erwin lutes are in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry Moody Church

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