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When Loyalties Collide

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller
The Truth Network Radio
September 24, 2023 1:00 am

When Loyalties Collide

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller

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September 24, 2023 1:00 am

Christians are simultaneously citizens of heaven and residents of earth. This inevitably leads to conflict. In this message from Matthew 22, Pastor Lutzer provides three principles for our responsibility to the state and for our responsibility to God. God is owed our total allegiance, and this includes our engagement in society.

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Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston
Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

Sooner or later, the government will tell us to do something we cannot do as Christians. Or they'll prohibit us from doing things we must do as believers.

While we have a clear obligation to both church and state, how do we handle the conflicts that inevitably arise? Today, some light for the dark days that may be ahead. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer. Today, we'll hear the last of four messages on Christians in conflict. Our special musical guest is Steve Amerson.

Later in our broadcast, Erwin Lutzer will speak on what happens when loyalties collide. Our service today begins with singing. Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave Steve Amerson is a friend of Moody Church. He is known to many as America's tenor. He has sung in numerous movies and commercials. He's regarded as one of the most outstanding tenors in all of America. Best of all, he loves God and represents Jesus Christ to tens of thousands of people. His wife is with him and she's sitting right here. God bless both of you.

Steve, would you come please at this time? Souls on the street addicted to sin and selling themselves to survive Not understanding the hope they could find in a place where God's love is alive They doubt that they could meet the standards necessary And fear that they'd find judgment rather than a sanctuary This must be a place where a broken heart can mend This must be a place where the outcast finds a friend For we cannot live to the fallen if our hand still holds a stone And their sin that seems so great to us is no greater than our own There must be a point where shame meets grace And this must be the place And your neighbor next door keeps the house looking good But the hope is collapsing within Pressures of life pull a family apart and temptations, destruction begins They doubt the church could have the answers necessary And fear they'd find rejection rather than a sanctuary This must be a place where a broken heart can mend This must be a place where the outcast finds a friend For we cannot live to the fallen if our hand still holds a stone And their sin that seems so great to us is no greater than our own There must be a point where shame meets grace And the church must be the arms of God Reaching out to bring them into a place where they can find His love Regardless of their sin This must be a place where a broken heart can mend And this must be the place where the outcast finds a friend For we cannot live to the fallen if our hand still holds a stone And their sin that seems so great to us is no greater than our own There must be a point where shame meets grace And this must be the place And this must be the place It's a pleasure to be with you this morning. I was in town this weekend for several events, including an event last night with the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, where I sang for this event to support the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, made up of 110, actually 110, living Medal of Honor recipients.

In the history of the medal, there have been 3,444 recipients. 22 of those gentlemen were there at this dinner last evening, most from Vietnam, two from World War II, and one from the Korean conflict. And just as these men have shown such great loyalty to our country, we as believers also, as Pastor Lutzer will preach this morning, we are faced sometime with a conflict of loyalties. But these men have shown true loyalty to our country, and there's a song that I sang last night that I want to sing for you this morning. It's entitled Blades of Grass and Pure White Stones. Blades of grass and pure white stones Cover those who've come and gone To rest in fields here side by side Lest we forget their sacrifice Buried here with dignity Endless roles for all to see Freedoms, seeds, in sorrow sown Need blades of grass and pure white stones Blades of grass and pure white stones Shelter those who've left their homes To rest in fields here side by side Lest we forget their sacrifice Buried here with dignity Endless roles for all to see Freedoms, seeds, in sorrow sown Need blades of grass and pure white stones Just below the emerald sod Are boys who reached the arms of God Buried here with dignity Endless roles for all to see Freedoms, seeds, in sorrow sown Need blades of grass and pure white stones Need blades of grass and pure white stones That's a good place just to be still.

This next song is one that I wrote with a friend of mine. It's based on a phrase that many of you would think as Latin, Kyrie eleison. And when researching it, I found that it actually comes from the Greek, from the Septuagint. Kyrie eleison, meaning Lord have mercy. And the other phrase that goes with that, Christe eleison, Christ have mercy.

And I don't know about you, but I certainly need God's mercy today. As each of us can say, Lord have mercy, Kyrie eleison, Christ have mercy, Christe eleison. For unkind words so carelessly spoken For selfish choices we have made For sacred vows that end up broken Hear our cry, Kyrie, For seeing need yet standing still While starving souls are unfulfilled Our hands must be a healing touch For you have blessed us with so much Kyrie eleison, Kyrie, Christe eleison. We are pleading for your grace And seeking your embrace We forsake our will to follow in your way Lord on high, hear our cry, Kyrie. We worship God of our own creation While truth and virtue seem passé We seek your grace, but lack dedication Oh, hear our cry, Kyrie.

We honor choice, but not our life And argue different shades of grave While truth and righteousness are lost We seek great need and yet you walk away Kyrie eleison, Kyrie, Christe eleison. We are pleading for your grace And seeking your embrace We forsake our will to follow in your way Lord on high, hear our cry, Kyrie. For pride and selfishness, we seek your grace And we confess our every need To follow in your way And for your mercy now we pray Kyrie eleison, Kyrie, Christe eleison. We are pleading for your grace And seeking your embrace We forsake our will to follow in your way Lord on high, hear our cry, Kyrie. Let's pray together. Lord on high, hear our cry. We seek you for mercy, for grace, for wisdom, for everything.

Thank you for what we have heard. Thank you for what we have listened to. Thank you for the worship that you have birthed in our hearts. Now make this a transforming moment and we ask that you shall enable us to listen, to learn, and to be salt and light in a very, very hurting world. In Jesus' name, Amen. Amen.

Thank you so much, Steve. God bless you. This is the last in a series of four messages entitled Christians in Conflict. The first message was when religions collide. The second message was when beliefs collide.

And then when personalities collide. And today with our theme of patriotism, it is when loyalties collide. We're going to be speaking about church-state issues because the Bible says that we are citizens of heaven and citizens on earth. Paul says in Philippians chapter 3 verse 20, but our polytuma, that's the Greek word from which we get the word politics, our politics is in heaven.

From whence also we look for a savior. But meanwhile, we are commanded to live on earth and sometimes there are conflicts between our citizenship on earth and our citizenship in heaven. For example, we're living at a time when our own Congress is debating the issue of hate speech and hate laws, laws of hate crimes. The purpose of this is not only to give special recognition to those crimes that are committed against the homosexual community, but also to stifle free speech. And I know that because of what happened in Canada. They had hate crime laws and lo and behold, when a pastor would speak on the issue of homosexuality, he could be targeted because after all, that is hate speech. A few weeks ago, I spoke to a pastor in Canada and I said, can you still read Romans chapter 1 in Canada?

And he said, yes. As long as no one is there to report us, there should be no trouble. But we could get into trouble. It could be deemed hate speech. So what do we do in a culture that is committed to stifling what we think is our right, namely freedom of speech?

Let me give you another example. Some of you parents face this. What happens when the culture begins to clash with your values in school? When your children are forced to take classes on such things as sexuality? Do you remember the quote that I gave you a year or two ago that occurs in my book on same sex marriage by Tammy Bruce? Now she was the head of NOW, the National Organization for Women in California. So she writes not as an evangelical Christian, but exposing the agenda. And she says the reason for teaching children sexuality in the early grades is to sexualize them so that the pornography industry will have lots of addicts in years to come to buy their products. Now that comes from her, not from someone who is an evangelical. How do you handle that? And then let's take another instance. The name of Jesus is being marginalized. It's being outlawed today. People say it's fine to give a prayer that is very ecumenical, but don't use the name of Jesus.

This has been true for a long time. About 20 years ago, I was asked to pray in a political rally, and I prayed in the name of Jesus. And later on, there were some people who came and said, we expected an ecumenical prayer, but not a prayer that ended the way you ended yours. I smile when I have those kinds of situations. Always smile. And you say, you know, I don't know any other way to pray.

I'm sorry, but that's who I am. How do we handle it? Well, these are the issues that we're going to talk about together today.

And I hope I haven't scared up more rabbits than I'm able to shoot. But we're going to get into this whole topic by talking about taxes. Isn't that a good place to begin? That's one thing that is consistent with the Democrats and the Republicans. Both of them have our money. So now we can begin to talk taxes. The Bible passage for today is the 22nd chapter of the book of Matthew, Matthew chapter 22. And the issue is taxes just like it was in those days.

Benjamin Franklin said that there are two things that are absolutely certain, death and taxes. But don't we wish they would come to us in that order? Somewhere along the line, we got things confused, it seems to me. Now the Bible says in chapter 22 of Matthew, verse 15, then the Pharisees went out and plotted how to entangle him in his talk. They wanted some basis upon which to arrest Jesus, and they sent their disciples. The Pharisees didn't go alone, and they'd have been instantly recognized, and Jesus would have been suspicious of them.

That's the way they reasoned. So they sent their disciples, and they joined up with the Herodians. Who are the Herodians? They are the followers of Herod the king. Remember that during this period of time, the land was completely in occupation by Rome. Every place that the Jews went, they had to be with soldiers.

They had to give their identity, and the soldiers basically controlled and ruled the land. And the Herodians represented Rome, and they were greatly hated by the Pharisees. The Pharisees and the Herodians were natural enemies, but when it came to doing away with Jesus, their hatred for Jesus was greater than their hatred for one another. So they teamed up, and they tried to give Jesus a trick question. They sent this delegation to Jesus, and he's in the presence of the temple there.

It's still Wednesday of Passover week. And the question that they ask him is simply this. Tell us, what do you think?

Verse 17. By the way, they flatter him first. We know that you are true, and that you teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us then what you think.

Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? The greatest form of flattery is to ask someone's opinion. We know that you are wise. We know that you know a lot.

What do you think? And they think that by flattering Jesus, he is going to give them an answer that they want. But think of what they asked him. Is it lawful to give taxes to Caesar or not? Most of them would have said, most of the Jews would have said, absolutely not. As a matter of fact, the Jews hated the idea of giving taxes to Caesar. There were three different kinds of taxes. There were the taxes that were like an income tax, 10% on everything that you got from the land.

And then there was another form of tax that was 1%, and then there was the poll tax. It was simply a denarius that you had to give for every single member of your family. And Jesus and his mother, when Mary and Jesus and Joseph, Jesus, of course, was not yet born, made that trip from the northern part of the land in Nazareth to Bethlehem, they went to be enrolled because Rome was taking a census so that they could collect the toll or poll tax.

That was the purpose of the census. And the Jews hated this because in their mind, that meant that they acknowledged the government of Rome, they acknowledged the authority of Rome, and they were God's people and they hated paying this denarius for every member of their family. What about the Herodians? Well, certainly the followers of Herod, they were in agreement that the tax should be paid. After all, Rome was doing Palestine a favor in those days, and so the tax should be paid.

Now think about it. If Jesus said, yes, we should pay taxes onto Caesar, he would anger the Jews and they would have him arrested. If he were to say no, the Romans would be there to arrest him for treason and sedition.

How is he going to answer? Oh, the wisdom of Jesus is overwhelming. He says, give me a coin. And then he looks at the coin and says, whose picture is on the coin? Whose likeness and inscription is this? Verse 20, as if he didn't know.

They said, Caesar's. And then he gives one of the most explosive comments that has implications for church-state relationships that shows a difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament in terms of all of these political involvements in religion. And Jesus says, all right, you render onto Caesar what is Caesar's and onto God what is God's. Wow. No wonder, it says, at the end of the text they marveled at him and went away.

We didn't catch him. Now look at the text. Your finger in the text, please, in verse 21. When Jesus said, render to Caesar, he uses a different word than the Pharisees used when they came to him. When they came to him in verse 17, they said, tell us, is it lawful to pay taxes? They used the word pay taxes. Jesus used an entirely different word. He didn't say, therefore pay taxes to Caesar or pay to Caesar what is Caesar's.

He said, render. Apodidomi in Greek. It means to pay back. Jesus is saying, you owe a debt to Caesar. It is not only legal for you to pay taxes to Caesar, but it is also morally appropriate that you do.

You owe it to Caesar to pay this tax. You render unto him what is due, and then, of course, you render unto God what is due him. So what I'd like to do in the next few moments is to outline briefly what our responsibility is to the state, what our responsibility is to God, and then we're going to talk about principles that help us resolve these conflicts.

That's where we're going. You remember it's my responsibility to speak. It's your responsibility to listen, and I've been praying that we shall end at the same time.

All right? First of all, what do we owe to Caesar? Well, we owe taxes. Taxes. You know, in November, we have Thanksgiving, and in April, we have tax giving.

And in both, we serve God. There are things that the state does that we can't do alone. Protections of police, of firemen, the larger issues of federal tax and protection for the country. We can't do these things on our own, and we have an obligation to pay tax. Now, I know that there are some people who say, I'm not going to pay tax because I don't like the way in which the government is spending my money. If we all said that, the government would have no money at all.

None of us is completely happy with the way in which the government spends money. But notice that it was not up to the Pharisees to decide whether or not Rome was using this money wisely. They owed the taxes. Jesus said, pay Caesar what Caesar has coming to him.

So first of all, taxes. Secondly, submission to laws. It says in Romans chapter 13 that the powers that be are ordained of God. And let every soul be subject unto kings and to those who are in authority because God has ordained them. We oftentimes think that when a Christian leader has been elected or installed that that is God's will. But if an evil leader has been installed, that can't be God's will.

Oh, yes. Doesn't mean that God does it, but God is the one who controls history and through secondary causes. The Bible says promotion cometh neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south, but God is judge and he sets up one and he pulls down another. At the end of the day, you read the book of Daniel and you discover that God is in charge of the kingdoms of this world.

He is God. And it says be subject. You say, well, are there no exceptions? When Paul wrote Romans, Nero was in power. And if you know anything about history, Nero was not a friend to Christians.

Yes, there are exceptions. We'll get to them. But I want you to first of all see how strongly the scriptures exhort us to be obedient. And then third, prayer. The Apostle Paul says, I urge that entreaties and prayers be made for all those who are in authority for kings, that we may live a tranquil life. Most Christians think, well, I will pray if a Christian is in power, but I will not pray for a person who is not a Christian. The scripture would say again, in the midst of pagan Rome, you pray for your leader.

You pray that God will bless him, that God will give him wisdom, that God will give him enlightenment, that God will enable him to come to know the living God, but you pray for them. Perhaps today I'm being more candid than I should be. I usually find that out later. But I know that we're in the midst of a presidential election. Not quite, but you have a lot of candidates. I don't know how many, and others may join the race at this point.

But I have to speak candidly. So far, I've not found anyone in either party that really rings my bell. That's the way I feel about the contemporary situation.

And a few of you who are tempted to clap apparently agree with me. But, well, who are we going to get for a president? We don't know. But this much should be our conviction. No matter who it is, we will pray for that person.

We will agonize for that person. And when we do, we fulfill the biblical injunction. That's what we owe to Caesar.

And it should be a privilege to give it to him. All right, then, what do we owe for God? Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar, and unto God that which is God's. What do we owe to God? Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, and with all thy soul and thy neighbor as thyself. We owe God total, complete allegiance. There's not a single square inch of our territory that should belong to anyone other than Almighty God and His blessed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We owe it all to God.

Now let's be clear on this point. I don't think that Jesus meant that there are two compartments. On the one hand, we owe the state this, and when we're owing the state this, we have no allegiance to God. But over here in spiritual matters, now we have an allegiance to God in these matters of spirit. Martin Luther, you remember, spoke about the two spheres, and it was misinterpreted during the days of Nazi Germany. The idea was this, that when you're in the realm of the state, you can do whatever you like, whatever the state tells you to do.

You can torture people in a concentration camp over here because the state compels you to do that, but you go home for Christmas, and you go to church, and you sing Christmas carols, and you read the Christmas story, and you're a good Christian when you are in church. Perhaps Luther did not intend that, but that's the way in which it was interpreted. What I believe Jesus would agree with because of other passages of Scripture is this, that God is over all things, we owe Him our allegiance, and in the process of obeying God, we render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and we fulfill our duties to the state under the guidance and the leadership of God Almighty. Did you know that God desires your heart and your allegiance?

The Bible says that a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways, and God does not want that kind of instability. If there's a part of your heart today that is shut out, like someone says, there is a closet in my life where I do not allow God to enter, today I ask you in the name of Jesus, open it and let God in. God deserves our total, complete allegiance. Secondly, it says in the book of Malachi, what does the Lord your God require but to seek justice and mercy? You see, not only should we have a right relationship with Him, but we should be making a difference in society by the mercy and the grace and the love that we show to those around us, and do what we can to bring about just laws like Wilberforce did in England, and to change the nature of the culture by our lives and what we do. It is indeed tragic that the evangelical church sometimes has been AWOL in very important events, such as the civil rights movement of the 60s and the 70s.

It is we who should be seeking justice and mercy and be on the forefront of transforming society by our lives and by our attitudes. Many years ago I read the book A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vonikin, and he talks about his first encounter with Christians, and that night he wrote these words in his diary. The best argument for Christianity is Christians, their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians. When they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug and complacent, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths. Indeed, there are impressive indications that the positive quality of joy is in Christianity and possibly nowhere else.

If that were certain, it would be proof of a very high order. I can't say it strongly enough that we have the responsibility of representing Jesus Christ to a broken, hurting, confused, and lost world. What does the Lord your God require of you but to do justice and to seek mercy? And we should be agents of Jesus in our culture. Also, we have the responsibility to spread the knowledge of God. Jesus said, go ye into all the world and preach the gospel. Israel was to be a light to the nations in the Old Testament era. We are to be a light to the nations today, and therefore we desire that God would use us.

And that's why we built the Christian Life Center, is so that hundreds of Christians would be trained, both in relationships and in knowledge and in practice, to be able to impact this community, this city, and ultimately touch the world. It's the lives of people that should concern us, and all of us represent Jesus wherever he plants us. So that's our responsibility to God.

Now, how do we resolve some of the conflicts? In the Bible, it is very clear that the law of a nation is not necessarily the law of God. That's why you have the example of the midwives in the Old Testament. You remember they were supposed to kill the male babies of the Israelites, and they refused to do it.

And the Bible says that God honored them because they feared God. They said, we're breaking the law of the land, but this is a matter of conscience. The higher law of God interferes, and therefore we go with the higher law and we break the law. We are law breakers.

You have the apostles in the New Testament who were taken and thrown into prison for preaching the gospel. And they said that it is better to obey God than to obey man, and so they made a distinction. And they understood that there are times when our loyalty to God supersedes our loyalty to the state.

It is not right to say, my country, right or wrong. There are times when we say, this is right and this is wrong, and we stand on the right. And we say, here we stand. We can do no other, so help us God. You see, when you think about laws, realize that every law comes from some God, so to speak. If you're a law unto yourself, then you're your own God. If the Supreme Court of the United States, if you think that there is no law above the Supreme Court of the United States, you're regarding the Supreme Court as being God. Show me your laws, and I will show you your God.

Now, with that being said, what about the conflicts? What I'd like to do is to give you three principles, and I'm going to give you time to write these down. And then the application of them can be given as you think and pray about what God is saying to you as a result of these three principles. Are you ready? Thank you for affirming that you are.

I'll go with as many of you as are ready. Number one, what is moral supersedes what is legal. What is moral supersedes what is legal. The state can make abortion legal. It cannot make abortion moral. I say that with the full understanding that there are many women, I'm sure, who are listening to me today who've had abortions. And today we offer you the forgiveness and the cleansing of Jesus.

Remember, Jesus died so that we would have a second chance and a third chance. But at the same time, this is a huge issue in America. It's a huge issue in Europe. And we need to affirm again that a preborn infant is an infant. And no matter what the Supreme Court of the United States says, there are times when we must say that something may be legal, but that does not make it moral. And we need to make a distinction between those two. I could give you examples from history. Did you know that during Hitler's time, Hitler made the killing of Jews legal by redefining their personhood? They were untermenschen in German, subhuman.

Therefore, killing them was totally legal. Second, the rights of parents. The rights of parents have supremacy over the rights of the school system or the school board.

My heart breaks for you parents. Many of you have children in the public school system, and maybe your public school may be very, very good. I do not want to make any generalizations here today because there are differences. But I do know this, that teachers have your children to mold them, to teach them, to convey values to them or lack of values to them. And I do not know how we in America are going to be able to overcome the impact, now I'm speaking about the negative impact of the public school system. I remember a speech given in Denver many, many years ago to 2,000 teachers, and I was going to quote it to you and then I decided not to because it would be too depressing, where the person said that all the children who come to us in our school system come to us sick.

They come with reverence to their parents, to their elected leaders, and to God, and it's our responsibility to make them well. I believe that what you should do is to pray and to seek God if your child is going to the public school system. And as one man here at the church talked to me about his six-year-old daughter, they took her out of school because she was supposed to have a sex education course at the age of six, remember the reason for that is not a positive reason as I gave at the beginning of this message. And what you need to do is to form coalitions, not belligerently, not in anger, but get other people who agree with you, maybe they aren't even Christians, but because of common grace, they have the same values as you, they have said this is wrong, you should not be stepping over this line, but make no mistake about it, there are some schools in this nation and some school systems that intend to take public schools and turn them into government schools where there is indoctrination right from the very, very beginning about the issues that are so important to what we usually call the left, the political left. You as a parent must know that your responsibility to your child supersedes whatever teacher, whatever school system your child may be in.

I have a friend who is an advocate for homeschooling and I understand that there are many benefits, but I also want to caution and say that there are some schools where you may not have the problems that we're talking about this morning, but you as a parent need to know what is going on. My heart was broken when I heard a woman on the James Dobson program say that in a high school of about 2,000 students, they were going to give sex education and they sent a notice home to parents saying, we want to discuss this with you so that you know what we are doing in school, we're going to have a meeting at a certain time and location and a mother went there and said that there were seven parents there. Why?

Maybe too busy? More seriously, probably they don't care. This is our future generation. More than that, these are little children whom Jesus loves, tender plants, and we have a responsibility to them. So secondly, the rights of parents have supremacy over the rights of the school board. Third, Jesus has supremacy over politically correct policies. Jesus has supremacy over politically correct policies. I have a book that I read entitled The Criminalization of Christianity showing that all public expressions of Christianity in what is called the public square, there are those who want to criminalize it, you can't speak about Jesus.

Well, some of us are going to go on speaking about Jesus anyway. When I was on vacation, I was interviewed by a man who owns a radio network and he told me something that I already had learned through a different source, but there are a number of churches who when they have discussions with Muslims and Buddhists and others, they take down the cross so as not to offend others who come and have this discussion. Now we here at Moody Church don't have a cross.

We could have a cross, we don't have one. But I think that that's a travesty. It's the same kind of mentality when our auditorium is used for other purposes where we've been asked to take the sign that is behind me, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever, and to cover it. And we've said, no, this is who we are. This is who we are.

If you don't want to look at that sign, you may have to go elsewhere. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Can I just be blunt here today? Are you guys still with me?

Everybody on the page here? I am sick and tired of people saying they're offended by this. They're offended by that. Listen, our Christian kids in universities are offended every single day because of what is taught in those universities.

So what we need to do, if we believe in diversity, let's celebrate diversity and accept one another. If I go into a temple of another religion, I wouldn't expect them to take something down just for me. Now, why is the cross so central, and why is it a future battle? And I could go into this in more detail some other time, but I shan't right now.

Why? It is because the cross is the heart of Christianity. The cross is Jesus Christ's invitation to the world. It is Jesus with his arms outstretched to a dying world saying, you can come to me and of life and forgiveness and pardon. And as Steve sang, it is the place where sin and grace meet. Let us never diminish the message of the cross no matter where we find ourselves.

As a matter of fact, it is not possible to preach the gospel really and to live the gospel without offending somebody. That's why the Bible talks about the offense of the cross. And even today in this wonderful congregation and listening over the internet, all those of you who are tuned in all over the world, I need to tell you that if you're looking for God, if you find that because of guilt or because of unworthiness you feel that you can't come to God, the reason that Jesus died is for sinners like you and me.

And that's the message of Christianity, is that Jesus died so that we will not have to permanently die, but have everlasting life. We invite you to him who is the savior of the world. Jesus has the right to rule. King of kings, Lord of lords, he has the power to rule. All power, all authority is given unto me in heaven and on earth. Jesus will rule.

He will return to rule as king of kings and Lord of lords. And that is why we honor him and we say to a broken society, there are some things that we can compromise, but when it comes to Jesus, there can be no compromise. Jesus, Lord God, savior forever. Would you join me as we pray? Our Father, we ask today that you shall grant us the grace and the strength to live authentically, lovingly, in a world that has lost its way, in a world that does not know where to turn with its guilt, in a world that does not know where to turn with its problems. Help us, Father, to point others to Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, knowing that no man can come to the Father except by him. And we pray for those who are here today or who are listening who've never trusted Christ as savior. We ask that their guilt will not keep them away, but that they might realize that that is God trying to put his arms around them and to bring them to Jesus. And to bring them to Jesus and make us powerful witnesses to that worthy name, we pray in his name. Amen. On today's Moody Church Hour, Pastor Lutzer spoke on When Loyalties Collide, the last message in his four-part series on Christians in Conflict.

We hope this series has given you insights into the struggles we face as believers living in a fallen world. It's because of the investment of many people that The Moody Church Hour is heard around the country. We'd like to ask you to consider becoming an endurance partner, someone who stands with us on a regular basis with your prayers and gifts. For full information, go to our website at and click on the endurance partner button. That's Or call us at 1-800-215-5001.

That's 1-800-215-5001. Or you can write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Join us next time 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.
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