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When The Answer Is Disguised

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 8, 2022 1:00 am

When The Answer Is Disguised

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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May 8, 2022 1:00 am

Prayer is often mysterious. We are commanded to ask in faith, without doubting. But the answer sometimes seems unrelated to our specific request. In this message, we learn about answers in disguise. When God answers prayer in unexpected ways, let’s remember that we need Him more than an answer. 

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Ask and you shall receive your joy may be full. This promise of Jesus might lead us to believe that answers to our prayers ought to be.

The answers were asking for. But sometimes God sends answers that have less to do with what we ask and more to do with relationships with him that he wants us to have. Please stay with us from Chicago.

This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching with pastor Erwin Blitzer. Today we continue a series on the triumph of unanswered prayer and our focus on this broadcast will be on how to deal with those times when the answer is disguised. Pastor Blitzer comes now to open today's service now at this time. It is my privilege to introduce our service and that if you had your bulletins. You may take them and turn please because in a moment we are going to be singing him number 526. The solid rock and then 343. Amazing grace of our Scripture reading today is by Joseph Carraway.

Joseph and his wife had been at Moody Church for 14 years there involved in our ministry. Each of them. He and his wife teach our precept classes to precept classes and that Joseph is a deacon here at The Moody Church and also a medical doctor were glad for their ministry and the impact that they have had in a moment I'm going to invite you to stand as we will be for the reading of God's word and the singing of the hymns that we outlined. Would you join me as we pray together and then we shall stand for the reading of God's word, our father, we want to invite your blessed Holy Spirit to be here make this a transforming experience for us and they are worship the honoring and a blessing to you as we magnify your name as we think about your goodness in our relationship with you. We pray that no one who is here will leave the same may be all be transformed for eternity because we been in your presence together.

We pray in Jesus name Amen amen. Let's all stand now for the reading of God's word is the Lord of the road from Psalm 62. Please join me in reading the bullet point for God alone, my soul waits in silence from him comes my salvation.

He only is my lot in my salvation, my fortress, shall not be greatly shaken for God alone, whom I soon waited in silence for my hope is for him him he only is my heart and my salvation, my fortress, shall not be shaken on God is my salvation and my glory, my mind, you will my refuses God blessed in him at all times people will out before him, God's let's our heads in prayer one more time father you have been faithful and we ask that during these moments. Your faithfulness might again become very clear to us, Lord. It's not what I can do or what my words can do but it's what your spirit does do something permanent and lasting and transforming to all who listen, whether by radio or here in the sanctuary or by Internet. We asked today father that this message shall be transforming for all who listen because of the power of your spirit in your word in Jesus name, amen. I'm never going to bother God with another request again.

Why should I don't want to be hurt.

Those are the words of a woman who is angry with God because he refused to answer the prayer that she and hundreds of others had prayed for their pastor. He was a young man diagnosed with cancer with a young wife and small children and the church loved him. So they decided to sign up for all around. The night prayer meetings everybody taking 1/2 hour and so prayer was being offered to God on his behalf.

24 seven and then they prayed all night. I remember being at a conference with about a thousand people and all of us stop to pray the young man was there at the time in a wheelchair and we all prayed. Yet he died. Now she's better because God did not answer her request. How do we relate to unanswered prayer we been talking about the answers being delayed and sometimes the answer today will emphasize is disguised will also be talking about the answer when it is denied and will also be speaking about disappointment with God because, haven't we all been disappointed with God.

We can relate to this woman We we may be didn't say the words, but we've all felt it. Where was God when we offered a request in his name for his glory meeting. We think all of the conditions and it did not happen while that's what we've been discussing in this series of messages. The triumph of unanswered prayer. But today what were going to do is to shift focus and talk about a paradigm shift in our own minds regarding prayer and what were going to stress is that in our praying we have to move from adding we have to move from the mentality of getting to the mentality of relationship so that we understand that we have to know God before we ask of God, and we have to understand God's ways and another way to describe it is that the emphasis no longer is on my desires and what I think God, but on God's desires and what he wants to do. It is a paradigm shift that can transform your prayer life and make it into a time when you earnestly look forward to it and you can hardly help yourself when it's time to pray and prayer becomes entirely different than simply asking and maybe afterwards we can understand a little better. Some of those extravagant promises that we've all heard from the lips of Jesus. Another way to say this is can you imagine praying in such a way to quote the words of John Piper that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied with him spraying differently and may be in the process receiving the answer to our prayers. Well today's text is Hebrews chapter 11 Hebrews chapter 11. That's the section that we been camping on in the last couple of weeks. Hebrews chapter 11 and verse six. I think it's one of the most important and explosive verses in all the Bible all the Bible is inspired but there are some words that certainly ought to be transforming and this verse should leave us changed for ever.

Or without faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God, because he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he rewards those who seek him. If you check the Greek text, you'll know that the word that talks about diligently seeking him that that word actually is emphasized and I like the translation that says God rewards those who diligently seek him out today were going to learn how to seek God out.

And for many, the journey is going to begin today. Now, as we look at this text a couple of things that become very obvious.

First of all, it's clear that faith should have an object of our faith should have an object, namely God is able Pastor Lutzer I'm not a person of faith.

I don't like this idea of faith. I don't exercise faith.

Oh yeah you go to a doctor whose name you can't pronounce he gives you a prescription that you can't read, you take it to a pharmacist whom you've never met.

He gives you a substance that you haven't analyzed and yet you take it that is faith. All right everyone who's ever eaten in a restaurant has exercised faith sometimes more than other course we all live by faith.

But what is it that the text is telling us it is to come to God in faith. You must believe that he is and that he rewards those who seek him out what God are we talking about it is, God with a capital G it's the God who created, I marvel at how scientific the Bible is Genesis chapter 1 verse one in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. There you have all the elements of science in those 10 word in the beginning of the concept of time created the concept of energy. The concept of God in the beginning God, there you have personality created the heavens. There you have space and the earth. There you have matter, it's that God who created the stars and calls them all by name so that you and I might know who we are worshiping it is that God we worship at it is that God to whom we, he is a creating God.

Einstein was enamored with the universe.

In fact, someone who knew him said that they thought that Einstein was a fundamentally religious man but he had no time for organized religion because the preachers of his day were talking about a God that was a lot smaller than the one that he had encountered in nature while may never be said that at Moody Church.

We have a small God we have a great God God who creates it's the God whom he deems the God who redeems when people give a testimony, they often say what you know I came to know Christ, where I found Christ as my Savior. We understand what they mean. But, strictly speaking, my friends, you didn't find Christ. Christ found you, there isn't a sheep on planet Earth that goes looking for the shepherd. The shepherd came looking for you as the God who created but the God seeks and the God who finds and so you should really say when you give your testimony you know God found in the back in and then get the year and the date while he's always found you, but that's when he zeroed in on you and said I am working in your life to bring it to faith and it happened. It's also the God who speaks and what does this dog say from the book of James. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. This is the God who said when he was on earth, Jesus come onto me old. He who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I meek and lowly of heart and you shall find rest for your souls. This is the God who invite heel comes to God must believe that he is, and so we come we come because of the God of nature, but because of this word is a God who speaks in a God whom we can at least a little bit understand now notice what the text is saying also that faith is we come in faith.

It has a word to God rewards those who diligently seek him and reward. He rewards there is a form of Christianity that does not have a reward. There's a form of Christianity that says we need to obey God because that's what you'll do. Why should you go to church. That's what you ought to do. Why should you read the Bible.

That's what you ought to do. Why should you witness that's what you ought to do.

It's what you should do that kind of Christianity is a legalistic that it is dead and it's proven by the fact that young people, not our young people, but across the nation young people who leave high school.

Often times when they go into college never returned to church but go their own way because they've only been introduced to an often kind of Christianity you should do this. That's anti-biblical.

Yes, there may be times when you do something, even though you don't feel like it and when you do, I should say this. What should happen if you come to church and you don't feel like praising God. And yet you get to the church and there they are praising God as we did this morning. What you do you sing or don't shoot you want to be a hypocrite or not, here's the answer.

If all that you do is saying then you could be a hypocrite, but the way in which you do. It is this you saying yes. And while you're singing your repenting and saying, Lord, my heart is called Lord I'm distracted because of a B and C, and therefore father bring me into the joy and the glad then you can sing and the gladness of heart begin. The Bible says God warns those who diligently seek him. You know why is it that people were willing to give up their homes and that their property was plundered back in chapter 10 it says in verse 34. Because they knew they had a better possession and an abiding one therefore do not throw away your confidence, which is a great reward here. It talks about a reward, why did Moses leave the treasures of Egypt. Verse 36 actually verse 26, it's because he was looking forward to the reward reward reward reward. God rewards those who seek amount and what is the reward. Well, let's begin with joy.

Let's begin with joy when I write as to autograph something. Maybe a book or a Bible usually is. And people say will give me your favorite verse. I usually use Psalm 1611, where it says in thy presence there is fullness of joy at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. Imagine joy in the presence of God. In fact, the Bible commands us in Psalm 37 to delight ourselves in God and imagine the light now just think about this. Imagine our relationship with God where the darkness has been pushed out by light and the emptiness is been filled with his own glory and grace. Imagine a Christian life in which there is that sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Not because of what you do, but because of the relationship that you've established with God, and you walk with him and love him, and with in that there is a sense of can and rest imagine it this past week Rebecca and I flew somewhere on the plane. Actually it was Florida and we had to come back. We had to come back on a Saturday when windchill index was 21 below zero but on the way I read something by David Reynard.

Now you may not know he was but he was a missionary among the Indians that who had lived in a different timeframe many years ago and that this was sort of a compilation of some of the things that he had written in his diary. I just give you a few lines. I enjoyed the light of God's countenance, and my soul rested in God and he said one hour with God infinitely exceeds all the pleasures and delights of this lower world that may give you another I desired nothing but God nothing but his holiness he had given me these desires and I love this. He has given me these desires and he alone can fill them. God gives us a desire for himself and then God is the only one who can fulfill the desires that he himself give and it's very clear in Scripture that salvation when you are born again goes down to the level of desire. Imagine loving somebody whom you have never seen passionately.

Loving someone whom you have never seen, and yet it says in the book of first Peter, whom having not seen speaking of Christ whom having not seen the law of that's birthed in our hearts by God, and you see people will never give up their sin. Can you imagine trying to convince a man to give up his pornography. Why would he ever do that. It is like trying to convince a lion to give up meat and begin to eat strong the desires. The appetites are there. How can he give it up. I'll tell you how we can give it up. When he begins to realize that God is more satisfying than his lusts.

That's the bottom line. In fact, there's a man who wrote a long article about his struggle in that regard, and the verse of Scripture that brought deliverance to him is taken from the sermon on the Mount where it says blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

He said the thing about my sin was. It is, it was cutting me off from God. The sense of guilt and shame was blotting the face of the heavenly father. My love is the passion for God that is greater than our passion to sin see sin tells lies.

Sin always lies noises come my direction. You'll be better off more pleasure or satisfaction. Notice what the text says regarding Moses.

I rented a moment ago but look at it very very quickly you'll notice it says in verse 24 of Hebrews 11 by faith Moses when he was growing up refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God catch it now than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin, Moses says, of course, there is pleasure in sin, but for a season and these are fleeting pleasures.

These pleasures always have a bad aftertaste, and so the way in which we do it is. We discovered that in seeking God and seeking God. There is great reward. God said to Abraham, Abraham, you don't have to fear because I love this.

I am your exceeding great reward.

I'm here and when I'm here.

There is a sense of rest and satisfaction and gladness. That's why the Psalms are so filled, so filled with exhortations to rejoice in God is because God himself rewards those who seek him.

Well of course the $64 question is very very now that is how do we seek God a generation that is not sought God was looked at. God is kind of a slot machine. In other words, Lord, I want this. And this is what I want you to do for me and keep me from harm. Keep me healthy. Help me no longer to have the problems that I do prevent me from accidents. All those may have their place, but to a generation where prayer is primarily that how do we stop in our tracks and say to ourselves.

I want to see God. I mean if it is true that he generously rewards those who seek him.

I want to be among those who take him up on it to you to want to take him up on it. How do we do it well. Aren't you glad you asked me that such a good question. I need to commend you for asking. Would you notice in your bulletin this morning. There is a card that I prepared and this card and you can reach for it right now. This card is entitled the rewards of faith. Larry Crabb wrote a book entitled the pop-up prayer and this pop-up prayer really is a discussion of this mega shift that I'm talking about where prayer goes from asking to relationship, and that he in the book has a system outlined mine is different from his, but nonetheless I do commend to you what Larry Crabb has to say and actually have some quotes from his book, which I might give you if we had enough time so this is what I have prepared because this reflex actually where I am at in the journey of seeking God. You'll notice send them now with your card in front of you notice first of all, how do you do it you choose to agree with God you choose to agree with God that this has to begin with silence. I wait silently before the Lord.

The song says, because what you are doing now is exposing your life and all of the intents of the heart to a God who already sees you and what you're saying is God not only do you see me but show me what you see, so that I can deal with it. The stone that have to be moved in my life in order to have a clear relationship with you.

What is standing in the way this is known as confession. You heard many times that the word confess means to agree with God. It says God whatever you show me. I agree that bitterness is sin. I agree that this relationship I'm in is sinful.

I agree that the anxieties that I am bearing are sinful because I have things on my shoulders that you are supposed to carry and I'm carrying them and that is the time when we come re-with God. I usually do this in silence when I pray this way as I try to do if not every day. That's the way I want to pray. So it begins with silence. By the way I do pray every day but possibly not exactly in this order and I might say sometimes I don't follow the this is not some kind of a new formula arrive were talking relationship here you choose to agree with God in honesty confession and surrender you choose to adore God, you begin to read the Psalms. Possibly you read about the blessings of God use a hymn or a chorus. Those of you who belong to the choir. You have certainly a jump on us here because you know you're constantly singing those songs of glory. I notice that the songs that we sing on this Sunday. Often times are in my mind during the week and so what you do is you use the Bible you use a hymnal. I love to be able to just look into the face of God and say Jesus the very thought of the with sweet spills my breast but sweeter fire thy face to see, and in thy presence, rest, what you are doing is reminding yourself of God you're reminding him yes on yourself actually of his attributes, but you're also reminding of his relationship with you in your building that relationship. This is a relationship that is going to be built in confidence and so you come into God's presence and you do that. Third, choose to assure yourself choose to assure yourself. By that I mean there are some of you who really aren't willing to let God love you because you know right well that you are so unlovable that he really should his metropolitans there anyone here not shaking his head affirmatively and I'm all alone up here but the better we know ourselves the more likely we are to say God you really shouldn't love me and we all agree that NaturallySpeaking he shouldn't good news is he does, he does love you and you are the object of his affection and your number one on his list of things to take care of in this befuddled universe. Indeed, the very hair of your head is number and as I look over the congregation today.

I can see that for some of you that might not be a big deal.

You might have your own hair number and some of us are getting that way. Imagine the particular interest that God takes that not even a sparrow falls to the ground but that the heavenly father notices it and sees that spiral ball to the ground so there is a time in this praying when you assure yourself. This is a time when you worship God, and you give him glory, because of the fact that he exalts over you with praise that says in the Old Testament, and so you're spending time thinking about what God has said, and his promises in relationship to you that you actually are valuable to God deed that Jesus made the statement. He said that if your heavenly father takes care of the birds of the air there here today in the grasses here today and it's gone tomorrow, will he not much more do so to you. Oh ye of little faith, for you are of more value than sparrow. God cares, he cares about whom you should marry and he also cares about whom you should not marry and he cares equally. Isn't it better to seek him out.

I think so now we hurry on you choose to assure yourself you choose to ask of God.

Now this is where the requests come in. The Bible says this very clearly. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Now notice Paul does not give the same promise is Jesus the promises of Jesus have certain conditions certainly and Paul has certain conditions but listen to this again. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving very important because you don't have faith unless you offer thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God and the peace of God which passes all understanding, will keep your heart and mind through Jesus Christ. This has to do with commitment. This has to do with so surrendering our concerns. In fact I'm toying with the idea of breaching an entire message on.

This means that we so give ourselves and our situation to God that we no longer fret about it because we see it as completely in God's hand so we do make our requests but we bring those requests and we leave them submitted to the will and the plan of God.

We think of Jesus in Gethsemane. Father, if it be that I will let this cup pass from me, but not as I will but itself. Make the request and you submitted to God.

Finally choose to affirm your relationship, you affirm your relationship through taking a verse of Scripture with you throughout the day. You see when you read I know it is often said, you know that a chapter a day keeps the devil.

Well, not really. Not if you Remember what you read.

The moment you finish reading what you do is you read it to look for a promise to look for an affirmation and so that actually is put into your mind for the rest of the day and you savor it for the rest of the day. That's the verse that's the promise that you camp on and when this time is over. You leave I say on good terms with God.

By that I mean you leave in such a way that you say father you know I have to go to work. I have to catch the L you know I have to go to the bank or the office or the hospital or whatever and so just know though that I'm not breaking fellowship with you were going to keep in touch all day. That's the way you begin to seek God for sale how much time does it take what I'm not going to tell you how much time it's going to take because if I gave you a time. It would be one more legalistic thing to do to fill your half-hour or your 20 minutes or whatever let you and God to figure that out.

You ask God how much time should this take. It is amazing how a heavenly father can sometimes convey his will to a child who is willing to listen and to respond. Now here's what you do you take this quite separate from the bulletin don't put it on your refrigerator unless you pray an awful lot before he opened the door and that might not be entirely bad. This is for your reading room. This is for the wall where you pray this might go into your Bible. If this is what you need. Each time as you begin, that might be a good place for it.

But one thing is sure this is considered very important as a guy and it is only a guide. Sometimes these steps might be interspersed. They might be different but here is your guy and it'll introduce you to seeking God because remember what the Bible says he rewards those who really do seek him out takes time, take surrender can be painful, but there's no way to compare the reward. Bottom line, no incomes before asking no incomes before asking this is life eternal, that they might know they the only true God, then Jesus Christ, thou has sent no incomes before asking, and God's will, comes before our will.

That is essential God's will, comes before hours whole shift in the purpose of prayer you say will Pastor Lutzer you know this message has just blown right past me because I don't think I even know God well enough you know to suddenly show up in here. I am and now I'm supposed to submit an and at you know how you even connect with a God like that. I mean, what's the first step how to get injured well. So glad you asked. Once again you're really thinking. Thank you, thank you so much for your thoughts. Here's a verse says in the book of Hebrews that we have boldness to enter into the most holy place that was known in the Old Testament is the holy of holies we have boldness to enter into the most holy Place by the blood of Jesus. That's the way you get to God. You acknowledge your sinfulness, you realize that you need redemption and forgiveness and Jesus Christ. Blood was shed specifically for the purpose to take away the sin of sinners and I know that on that point. You are eminently qualified.

Whoever you are, because were all in the same boat when it comes to sin. Born with it, but that's the way you come you, I say I come through the blood of Christ, I come to be forgiven. I come to be cleansed. I come to agree with God and then you begin your journey of knowing him and you look back in a year's time and I think I can say this is true of me.

This is the little dangerous to say but I really do believe that I know God better this year than I did last. I certainly want to know God better in a years time that I do now. Think of this, not the wise man boast in his wisdom, but not the mighty man boast of his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches but he who boasts, let him boast in this study know if me and understand if me for I execute lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness on the earth. For in these things I delight, says the Lord. Jeremiah chapter 9. Let us be people whose joy is God, and let us pray father. This congregation of Moody Church with all of its abilities and gifts and diversity. May we move together as one person coming to know you better.

We ask all Lord God, that you might use this message as a beginning point for us to to be taught how to CQ your word assures us that if we seek we find in your word. Also, Lord gives us the assurance that you reward those who seek you out.

Make it our passion and may we be able to say with sincerity, knowing you, Jesus knowing you.

There is no greater thing you're my all. You're the best you're my joy, my righteousness and I love you Lord pray in Jesus name, all the and on today's Moody Church over Pastor Lutzer opened the bargaining to give us insight on how to handle those times in our prayer lives.

When the answer is disguised. This has been the third of six messages on the triumph of unanswered prayer. Next week Dr. lutes returns to the book of Habakkuk to tell us what happens when the answer is disaster. Don't miss our next Moody Church.

Our 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 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 of The Moody Church

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