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We Are Called To A Living Hope

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
March 5, 2023 1:00 am

We Are Called To A Living Hope

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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March 5, 2023 1:00 am

The trials we face are sometimes necessary. For the persecuted church in the first century, Peter’s letter anchored them with a lasting hope. In this message, we discover the blessings of being chosen by the Triune God, amid our trials and tests. Christians have an inheritance, reserved in heaven for us.

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JR Sport Brief
JR Sport Brief
Chosen Generation
Pastor Greg Young
Chosen Generation
Pastor Greg Young

When you read the headlines, the future looks pretty grim.

Financial upheaval, wars, terrorism, corruption, and natural disasters. But believers in the race of life know the goal line is not affected by this present darkness. Peter wrote that we're born again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer. Today we begin a four-part series on living as God's community.

Our music today comes to us from the Charles Butler family. Later, Dr. Lutzer's message will be on the first of four callings believers share as he speaks on We Are Called to a Living Hope. Pastor Lutzer comes now to open our service. The Bible teaches that, spiritually speaking, it is the Holy Spirit that helps us discern truth.

Left to ourselves, we are so prone to error. But even though we hear words, we have to ask that the heart be opened, the eyes of our heart, which is a biblical phrase. And that's why we are going to be singing in a moment. As we sing, open the eyes of my heart.

Sing it as a prayer. We're glad that you are here. We're going to pray together and then we shall stand to sing. We pray today, Father, that you will open the eyes of our heart to you. Help us to discern truth. May we rejoice in your word. Make this a transforming opportunity for all of us. And above all, bring glory to your name. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Would you stand? Open the eyes of my heart. Open the eyes of my heart. I want to see you.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart. I want to see you.

I want to see you. Make it your prayer. Open the eyes of my heart. Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart. I want to see you. I want to see you. Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart.

I want to see you. I want to see, to see you high, see you high and lift it up, shining in the light of your glory. Pour out your power and love as we sing holy, holy, holy. Lord open, open the eyes of my heart, Lord, open the eyes of my heart. I want to see you, I want to see you, Lord please open, open the eyes of my heart, Lord, open the eyes of my heart. I want to see you, I want to see you, to see you high and lift it up, shining in the light of your glory. Pour out your power and love as we sing holy, holy, holy.

You are high and lift it up, shining in the light of your glory. Lord please pour out your power and love as we sing holy, holy, holy. Holy, holy, holy, holy. Holy, holy, holy. Holy, holy, holy.

I want to see you. Singing holy. Holy, holy, holy. Holy, holy, holy.

Holy, holy, holy. I want to see you high, to see you high and lift it up, shining in the light of your glory. Pour out your power and love as we sing holy, holy, holy.

You are high and lift it up, shining in the light of your glory. Pour out your power and love as we sing holy, holy, holy. You are holy. Holy, holy, holy. Holy, holy, holy. Holy, holy, holy.

I want to see you. Holy, holy, holy. Holy, holy, holy. You are holy. Holy, holy, holy.

I want to see you. One more time, holy. Holy, holy, holy. Holy, holy, holy.

Holy, holy, holy. I want to see you. My Lord. I want to see you. Oh, my Lord.

I want to see you. Amen. John had a vision in Revelation of the Lamb seated on the throne. And all the saints sang. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. Holy, holy is He.

Sing a new song to Him who saves some. Heaven's mercy sing. Worthy is the Lamb. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. Holy, holy is He.

Sing a new song to Him who saves some. Heaven's mercy sing. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come. With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings. You are my everything and I will adore You. Clothed, clothed in rainbows of living color.

Flashes of lightning, rose of thunder. Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be to you the only wise King. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come. With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings. You are my everything and I will adore You. Filled with wonder, awe struck wonder at the mention of Your name.

Jesus Your name is power, breath and living water, such a heartless mystery. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come. With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings. You are my everything and I will adore You. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come. With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings.

You are my everything and I will adore You. And actually we need to ask you all to stand as we sing together of our privilege of being called to be God's people. We are called to be God's people, showing by our lives His grace.

One in heart and one in spirit, sign of hope for all the ways. Let us show how He has changed us when He made us as His own. Let us share our lives together as we shall around His throne. We are called to be God's servants, working in His Word today, taking His own task upon us, all His sacred words obey. Let us rise then to His summits, dedicate to Him our all, that He made me faithful servants, made to answer now His calls. We are called to be God's prophets, singing for the truth and right, standing firm without injustice, bringing evil into life.

Let us see the courage we have my calling to fulfill, that we only know the blessing of the duty of God still. The problem was not Katrina. The problem was that the levees broke.

If the levees hadn't broken, Katrina would not have been the catastrophe that it turned out to be. We're living at a time in history when there is a great storm on the horizon here in the United States, and I'm sure around the world. We're living at a time when secularism is gobbling up all the public square that used to be occupied by at least some kind of a Christian consensus. We're living at a time when Islam is making tremendous gains in Europe and a lot more gains here in the United States than you and I are aware of. Morally and spiritually, we are a nation that is filled with rot.

The question is, will the levees hold? Just this morning, it so happens that I read in the scripture that if God does not take care of a city, those who oversee it and watch it labor in vain. I believe that the church is God's last big hope and our last big hope for this nation, for ourselves, and for the gospel. In this series of messages, we are going to be talking about the church. You know that years ago here at The Moody Church, we established a promise statement.

The promise statement was only 15 words. Moody Church is a trusted place where anyone can connect with God and others. And we continue to hold to that promise.

And isn't it wonderful to see the kind of diversity that God has brought to us? But today I'd like to also introduce you to a mission statement. The mission statement is that Moody Church is a community called by God to live passionately for Jesus Christ.

And in the next couple of messages, we're going to unpack that and find out what that means. What it means in terms of being a called community and what it means to live passionately for Jesus Christ. If you have your Bibles, and it is very important that you open them today, if you are perhaps one who just happened to forget yours, though you regularly bring it, but you just happen to have forgotten, and you want to use the Bible that is in front of you, it would be page 1014. 1014, it is the book of 1 Peter. There's a verse that I want you to memorize, which is kind of the anchor verse for this series, and that is 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 9. 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 9, put this on your refrigerator, because at some point I'm going to ask all those who know it by memory to stand.

Not today, but in the future. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. God says it all. The first two messages in the series are going to deal with what it means to be called. The other messages will deal with what it means to be a community, and I'll speak more specifically at that time, casting vision for Moody Church. Today I decided that since it says that we are a chosen race, that what we do is look at the first nine verses of 1 Peter to find out what that is all about. I also determined that today is a day in which I believe that the word of God is going to bless us so much that at some point you're going to say to me, Pastor Lutzer, stop, we can't take all this blessing anymore.

I hope that when it's time for me to stop, that's where you'll be at. You'll notice that it opens by saying that this is a letter to the elect exiles of the dispersion because of the persecutions, Jews and Gentiles went everywhere, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia means Asia Minor, and Bithynia. And this is basically the land of Turkey today.

Rebecca and I have actually been to Cappadocia, one of the most remarkable places in all the world. And so Peter is writing to people who are in the midst of persecution, they are going through hard times as people have always gone through hard times, and he's going to write to them. But first of all, I want you to see how Peter anchors his remarks in God, and that's what I want to do as well. If we can think of the church as being a tree, today we're going to talk about the roots going down deep. The first two messages in the series is how deep do the roots go, and then we'll talk about the fruit of it all, proclaiming the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. You'll notice that God determines the salvation of you and me.

Peter says that unashamedly and unapologetically. You'll notice he says that he's writing to those who are the elect exiles, and then in order to continue the sentence he gives us who those are, and then he says, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father in sanctification of the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood. I want you to see how the whole Trinity is involved in salvation. I've been mulling around the idea of sometimes preaching a series of messages just entitled what God had to do to save you.

He really had to have a very far reach. And God was involved, and the entire Trinity is involved, and we can see it here. First of all, we are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. It is the Father who elects us, a word that is used 22 times in the New Testament, the elect.

It means that God chose you. You say, well, did he choose in relationship to foreknowledge? In other words, he foreknew those who would believe and then chose them. If this were a classroom and I had 15 minutes, I'd show you that the word foreknowledge really means to foreordain. In fact, in verse 20 of this chapter, it talks about Jesus Christ who was foreknown. It doesn't simply mean that God had knowledge.

It means foreloved. And God chose you. And when did he do it? Before the foundation of the world. Did you know of your name right now, who you are, where you grew up, who your parents are? Did you know that God, if you're a believer today, already back then, before you appeared, chose you? I'm glad that he chose me before the foundation of the world, because if he had waited until I showed up, he might have changed his mind. But he chose me before the foundation of the world.

Just accept that. You say, well, what about those who aren't chosen? Listen to those of you who aren't believers today. At the end of the message, I'll tell you how you can find out whether or not you are chosen.

So that's the deal. So the Father chose you. Notice that the Spirit sanctifies you. The Holy Spirit of God works in our hearts to give us a love of holiness, keeps teaching us that sin is a bad idea, because the Holy Spirit wants Christlikeness in us, and he invites us to follow him and to be dependent upon him.

The filling of the Holy Spirit, another topic that I'd like to deal with sometime, is the fact that the Holy Spirit already is resident within us, but he wants to also be president within us. And so the sanctification of the Spirit, and Jesus is involved, the sprinkling of his blood, it says. Because, you see, the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, not only forgives our sins, but the blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin. I can imagine there are some of you here today who are forgiven, but you're not cleansed. I remember a woman speaking to me who had had an abortion.

And whenever she saw a child in a shopping center that would be approximately the age of hers, she was overwhelmed with grief and had to run somewhere just to weep. She'd been forgiven because she had received God's forgiveness, but her conscience wasn't cleansed, constantly condemning her. Listen, 1 John 1 says, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us, and the cleansing of the conscience is something that the blood of Jesus Christ always does. A woman said to me one time over the telephone, I cannot take steel wool to my heart and scrub it.

And that's right, you can't. You need a detergent that goes down so deep into the crevices of your heart where no person has ever gone except you. You need cleansing in those closets within you that you have tried to hide from God and to hide from others. You need the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. The Father chooses us, the Spirit sanctifies us, and the Son cleanses us.

The whole Trinity has to be involved to save you. This was a major project, God's greatest project. So Peter is saying, remember that your salvation is rooted in eternity in God. So God does this. Now, what else does God do? Well, God has an inheritance for us, and he secured that inheritance. He prepared it, and now on our journey all the way to heaven, what has God got waiting for us?

You'll notice that the text now says, verse 3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again. By the way, did you make the decision as to whether or not you would be born? Did your parents ask you and say, well, you know, it's not really right to bring somebody into the world unless we ask them whether they want to be here first. Now, that decision was not made by you, and you know that decision that you made to receive Christ and become a member of his family?

That was made by your Father in heaven, and you were just responding to what your Father already decided to do. Now, you'll notice, blessed be the God and Father, he caused us to be born again to a living hope. This is a living hope, to be distinguished from a dead hope. A dead hope is wishful thinking.

A dead hope would be, you know, we hope that when we elect new leaders here in Illinois that they will lower our taxes. That's a good definition of a dead hope. That's a dead hope.

That's wishful thinking. This is a living hope. It's a growing hope. It is hoping in that of which we are already assured. It is the hope that is secure. It is the hope and the sure knowledge that we belong to God, and this is a living hope, and you'll notice that it comes as a result of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and now we get to what's going to be waiting for us when we die. This is going to be so exciting that when the end comes, and I ask those of you who'd like to go to your inheritance today, I might actually find a huge response.

Look at what it says. It says that we are saved, verse 4, to an inheritance, and now he defines that inheritance. We are waiting for something, and that inheritance is imperishable. It is eternal. It can't be affected by the stock market. It can't be affected by who is in power. It can't be affected by your friends who dislike you. It can't be affected by employers who are chiseling you.

No, no, no. It is imperishable. It will be there no matter how long you live because it is unaffected by time. It is an eternal inheritance. Notice it is not only imperishable. All this is in verse 4, but it is undefiled. It is very holy. Imagine when we are holy. You see, and we have to be holy to live in a place that is that holy. Imagine being so holy that you don't mind if anyone knows your thoughts, that any thought that you have would be a thought that you'd be glad to have if your mother were to know it or your wife or your daughter or anyone else because we are in a place that is holy, undefiled, and God makes us undefiled so that we can live there.

If we went there the way we are right now, we'd spoil that place so soon that it gets so dirty the moment that we arrived. So it is a place that is being prepared for us that is undefiled, that is unfading, never gets depleted, not like, you know, honors and flowers and everything else, however beautiful they may be, they fade away, but this is unfading, and, my friend, it is eternally unfading. And then you'll notice it is kept. We could translate it reserved.

I like that word better. You know what it's like to arrive at a place and all these people are pushing and shoving and hoping they can get in, and you've got tickets and it is reserved, and so you walk past everybody else because you have a place that is reserved for you. My believer friend, today let me tell you that in heaven there is a room that only you can enter. There is a crown that only you can wear.

There are clothes tailor-made just for you. It's waiting there reserved in heaven for you. Now notice the text goes on to say that in the process we are being guarded. Well, you know, you have a treasure like this, you'd expect to be guarded, wouldn't you? I mean, you're glad that you are being guarded so that you get there. Verse 5, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time.

The word guarded is a military term. Because on the way to our inheritance, the devil tempts us. He wants to destroy us. He is sometimes given awesome power to discipline us. That's why we go through his hassles. He's disciplining us.

God is using him ultimately for our good. And en route, there are people who would rather that we not inherit anything. We have human relationships that are so difficult to untangle. And we have economic issues.

We've got all kinds of problems. And so God says, I'm going to guard you all the way to the time of redemption. God is going to do the guarding. And no army on earth is going to affect you. And no army on earth is going to affect your inheritance that is waiting there for you. That is secure. And the fact that you will arrive is guaranteed by God.

Satan can destroy, but he ultimately can afford God's purpose. It is guarded there by God waiting for you. I'll tell you, things are going to get very, very good someday. Now, what do we do in the meantime while we're waiting? You know, waiting becomes, what shall we say, a little, we lose patience in the midst of waiting. So what are we supposed to be do while we wait? Here we live on earth with all of our problems, all of our issues. And we're supposed to be waiting for the inheritance.

What's happening between now and then? Well, the truth is that not only does God determine our salvation, and he determines and preserves our inheritance, but we honor him. We honor him by faith. And here, what we're going to do is to see four purposes, or four things, I should say, about trials. Now, how many of you say, Pastor Lutzer, I have never had a single trial? Could I see your hands, please?

I'm looking in the balcony, particularly for those of you who perhaps came late and you didn't have an opportunity to know all the good things that are going on here. And the answer to that question is that all of us have had trials. And if you're not having a trial now, you're going to write this down because it's common.

It's coming. You'll notice that it says that while we are waiting, it tells us what we should do. But first of all, four things about trials. Though now I'm in the middle of verse 5, excuse me, verse 6, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials. First of all, they are temporal.

It's just a little while. Somewhere I remember reading a story, and I wasn't able to track it down, but it was of what would it be like if you were going to a mansion, let's say the Biltmore mansion, which is out in the Carolinas, which Rebecca and I have driven past many times, but we've never gone in. But let us suppose that you knew that you inherited it. You had the papers, but you had to get there by horse and buggy. And it's cold, and it's rainy, and in the mud there's a wheel that comes off of the buggy, and the horse gets sick. And you're 10 miles from the place, and you're weary, and you're tired.

Wouldn't you be inspired, though, knowing that you can endure that? Because not too far down the road, there is this mansion that's prepared. There is this inheritance.

Listen, that's the way life is. It is short. Think of how long eternity is. Think of all of the flakes of snow that have fallen in Chicago and in New York, and all of the United States of America, or the world, for that matter, all of the flakes of snow that have fallen during a winter, billions upon billions upon billions.

And let's suppose that every flake were a year. That's a long time. Eternity will scarcely have begun when we've lived that long in heaven.

And now we're spending our lives complaining. And some of you I know are going through terrible trials, and I'll talk about that in a moment. But we just think that life is tough.

Yes, life is tough, but think of what is coming. There is a place that is reserved in heaven for us, kept by the power of God. And we're guarded from point A to point B by God's power. Now, what about trials? First of all, they are temporary.

Secondly, they are necessary if needful. Listen, how would God solicit faith from you if he didn't bring trials your way? They are needful because God's got a different agenda than we have. Our happiness is not nearly as important to God.

Have you ever noticed this? Our happiness is not nearly as important to God as it is to us. Because there are times when he doesn't seem to be making us very happy at all, when with a little bit of help from heaven, things could go much better.

God has a different agenda. So they're necessary. And you'll notice it says also they are varied. There's a variety of them. They are multicolored. They come in different sizes, different shapes.

They last longer. Health issues, economic issues, relational issues, all kinds of issues. Pain, fear, suffering, comes in many, many different ways. And for a little while now, you are, if necessary, and it is, involved in these trials.

And you'll notice that they are painful. It says that you are grieved by various trials. Well, might you be grieved? I got an email the other day from a relative.

I mean, I can't believe this. His wife is so sick that she she screams because painkillers won't help her. She needs surgery, but he's postponing it so that he can take care of her. And they don't have any money.

They don't know where the rent is coming from. So Rebecca and I try to help them. But the point is this.

I mean, I read that and I thought, where does it stop for some people? You're grieved by various trials. They are painful, these trials are. And so what he says is that they are short. They are needful. They are painful. They are varied.

But they're very revealing. Oh, I'll tell you what trials won't do for you. Notice what the text says. It says, this you rejoice though now for a little while if necessary you've been grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of your faith more precious than gold that perishes. What do you mean gold that perishes? Gold's been the standard that people have used throughout the centuries. I mean, the minute there's some economic twitters people are going to gold and the price shoots up.

I don't quite understand this. I realize that investing in gold might be a good idea but have you ever thought of the absurdity of it? I mean, you buy this little ounce for God knows how much. And it can't help you, can't feed you, can't do anything but gold is the standard and it is known to be imperishable. He says gold perishes though it be tried with fire. He wants to make a point here that this is pure gold. You know 0.99999% gold? And the way they used to do it is to take gold ore and throw it into a bucket into a furnace that was of course the pot. They put it in a pot and then they heated it very very hot and the gold began to basically boil and all the impurities came to the surface and they would siphon it off and they knew that they had pure gold when they could see their face in it when it was like a mirror. By the way, did you know that that's what God is doing in you?

Why these trials? He's siphoning off the soot because he wants something that is more precious than gold that perishes and someday it will all perish. And that is your faith which is going to outlast gold. And then the phrase that he uses here that it might be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ can be interpreted both two ways and I'm going to interpret it both ways today. You get all that and heaven thrown in. It could be that our faith and I think that this is probably the primary meaning is that our faith is found to bring praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. What happens is this, Jesus returns to earth and the question is what do we have to give him and the answer is our faith and through that he receives glory and honor because of our faith.

Because without faith it is impossible to please God. And so we give Jesus something when he returns. Say, Jesus, I don't have anything to give you but you know you did take me through all those trials and I sometimes doubted you, sometimes I was angry with you, sometimes I didn't even go to church because I didn't like your people but I hung in and Jesus will say through that you give me praise and honor and glory.

But there's another way to interpret it. It could be that it's a reference to what Jesus will give to us because of our faith. He gives us back praise and honor and glory. Because remember when we have our inheritance God makes no distinction between how much Jesus inherits and how much we inherit because we are found in him and we are his brothers and sisters. He wrote us right into the will heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. We participate in the new covenant and because of that God says your place in heaven is assured and the fact that we kept on believing him he says thank you Peter and Joe Frank and Mary and Ruth because I put you through the pressure cooker and even amid many doubts you kept believing that I was good when you looked around and there was really no reason to believe it except my bare word and you honored me and I want to honor you give you praise and glory and honor.

Now follow this carefully. Where does our faith come from anyway? It's really a gift of God. You know the ability to believe on Jesus is a divine gift. As we grow in the word and we continue to believe him he keeps giving us grace and he keeps giving us faith.

Think of it. The faith that honors him is actually the faith that he gave us. And here he's going to honor us as if our faith were our own when in point of fact he gave it to us in the first place. We're astounded at his generosity.

We can't take it in. He gives me the faith to believe. He saves me.

He chooses me. He washes me with his blood. He gives me the faith to hang in when times are tough and then he says thank you very much.

You gave me praise and honor and glory because you wouldn't abandon your faith no matter what I put you through. And so he honors us and we can't believe it. No wonder the Bible says, you know, though you have not seen him in verse 8, you love him. If you've been to prayer meeting at Moody Church you know that often, not always, but often I tell people in the prayer meeting to speak out loud to Jesus simultaneously because I have this view that God is able to hear us all simultaneously no matter how many prayers are being offered to him at the same time.

He doesn't have the same problem as AT&T where the lines get jammed after a certain number. And so what happens is people talk out loud to Jesus and tell him why they love him. I've not seen him.

I heard Charles Swindoll say that it's like a mother who's blind. Does she love that child? Yeah, she loves that child. Has she ever seen him?

No, she's not seen him, but she loves him. One of the greatest proofs that you belong to God, if you're wondering, you know, am I saved, am I not? The question is, do you love Jesus? Because the moment you are saved and you begin to understand the gospel, God implants within you a love of God and a love of Jesus whom having not seen you love. So I'm going to ask you today, do you love him?

Yeah. Do you love him? If I were to go by the clapping, I'd say 25% of you are saved and the rest of you aren't. Whom having not seen you love.

I hope that you go on record saying I love him. Whom having not seen you love and though you believe on him and you rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, you say, oh, that's not true of my life. I can tell you why it's not true of your life.

It's one of two reasons. One is that you have succumbed to cynicism and unbelief. That'll do it for you. The other thing that'll do it for you is sin. Depending on where you were last night, what you did last night, what you saw last night, that'll affect whether or not you can worship God here today with joy inexpressible and full of glory. Because if we can think of a cup of joy or a pail of joy, sin is like taking a nail and pounding it into the bottom of the pail and the joy just runs out. And then you say, where's the joy?

Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But for those who are obedient and when we are cleansed, even in the midst of trials, we can rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory because we know where we are headed. A couple of transforming thoughts as we conclude. First of all, did you know that when you were born again unto the living hope that we talked about in verse 3, are you aware of the fact that you were actually born into a family?

I mean, you know, we all have the same father if we're born again. And that it was God's intention that this family exist in community. We'll be talking more about that in the future, but you know what? We have to offer you here at Moody Church in addition to some good music and the ministry, the word, we have something to offer you that you can't get at home listening to a computer, though we are glad for all those who are listening today.

Thank you for listening. Fact is, community, commitment to one another, commitment to our TMC communities, commitment to each other, it isn't simply enough to come Sunday morning. You are a part of something that is much greater and we are born again and the fact is we're going to share all of eternity together in our inheritance. I'm going to live next door to Rebecca and then our kids are going to be up there, but you know, across the hallway there's all the deacons and the elders and maybe the pastoral staff. Maybe the pastoral staff. I'll tell you, we're going to live there all eternity.

Let's get used to it now. Secondly, a faith that cannot be tested, cannot really be trusted. That's why faith is so important to God. We don't know all the reasons why faith is important to God.

Notice what the text says. It talks about testing the genuineness of our faith. Are you a true believer?

Well, one of the ways to test that is can you go on believing when times are hard or is it just a religion of convenience? You accept Jesus and then we don't see you again. You accept Jesus and then we don't see you again. My friend today, if I may speak metaphorically for a moment, will you remember that over there your wounds will become crowns? Will you remember that your tears will become jewels on that crown? And will you remember that your sorrows and your pain will be turned into joy? When Paul says elsewhere, the trial of our faith is precious and he says that the suffering of this present age is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.

What he really was saying is, of course, not just that throughout all of eternity God will be able to make up to us what we experience, but he hints at something else. The more trials here, the more glory there. Do I have an amen or am I all alone up here today?

The more trials here, the more glory there. Don't become cynical and angry at God. He is there for you even when the rug is pulled out from under you.

God is there. Finally, faith is not only the way in which we live the Christian life, but most importantly, faith is the way you begin the Christian life. You remember I began this message by saying that God chooses those who would be saved and some of you winced a little bit at that? And now I'm talking to those of you who, A, have never received Christ as Savior and know it, and B, those of you who think you have but haven't because there's really no love in your heart for Jesus no matter how much you admire him. You don't understand the gospel. So let me speak to you now very specifically.

Here's the way you find out whether or not you're chosen. Would you come to Christ today? Would you say, Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner and I long for your salvation. I want your blood to cleanse me. I want to belong to God. I know that I have kidded myself and I fooled myself into thinking that I'm a believer.

I've talked myself into it, but there's been no heart transformation. I want Christ as my Savior today. Now if you come to him, the assurance is he'll never cast you out and that's the only way you can know whether or not you're really chosen. And by the way, if you don't come to Christ, do you have a right to complain about the fact that maybe you aren't chosen?

Apparently you don't want to be chosen. So I urge you today, trust Christ as your Savior. And when you do, for you, there'll be an inheritance, undefiled, unfading, fades not away, reserved for you with your name on it.

Reserved throughout all of eternity. Meanwhile, from point A to point B, while we wait for our inheritance, we can trust God for tomorrow. Yep, let's pray. Father, we ask in Jesus' name that you might invigorate us with the great joy of knowing that we are saved to something more than attending church. We are saved to something in all of eternity that is great and wonderful.

And meanwhile, there's a job to do and there are promises to believe. And we ask in the name of Jesus that you might give us great faith. For those who are going through trials, we ask that they shall be cleansed. We confess unbelief as sin and we ask today that you'll help us to believe and to prove the genuineness of our faith. And for those, Father, who've never trusted Christ as Savior, would you create within them a sense of conviction, a sense of need, that they might come to Christ at this moment, even where they are, that they might pray and say, Jesus, today I receive you as mine. Now let's take a moment just to pray. And you pray to God.

Amen. Father Lutzer has written a compelling book on Cries from the Cross, A Journey into the Heart of Jesus. This book will be sent as our gift to you as our way of saying thanks for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church Hour. Just call us at 1-800-215-5001.

Ask about Cries from the Cross or call 1-800-215-5001. Or you can write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Also, you can go online at That's Join us next week for another Moody Church Hour with Pastor Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-05 02:34:55 / 2023-03-05 02:53:13 / 18

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