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Finding Where You Fit Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
October 5, 2020 1:00 am

Finding Where You Fit Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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October 5, 2020 1:00 am

The local church you attend is but one small part of an enormous worldwide assembly that will be fully gathered in eternity. Until then, we live and serve others where we are, knowing that our life now only foreshadows what lies ahead. 

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The local church you attend is but one small part of an enormous worldwide assembly that will never meet until eternity.

Until then, we serve others where we are, knowing that our present experience only foreshadows what lies ahead. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, the body of Christ is both a spiritual reality and a practical necessity if the work of the church is to get done.

Well Dave, I actually like the way in which you put that. The church is indeed a spiritual reality but also a very practical necessity. And as we think of that necessity, we think of the local church. Listening to Running to Win today are tens of thousands of people and they attend different kinds of churches, but if they are born again, that is to say if the people are, we are indeed all part of a body and we should be making a difference in this world.

Let me ask you a question. What is God's relationship to pandemics, plagues, and natural disasters? We think, for example, of COVID. Should we interpret this as coming from God's hand or is he a bystander? He's with us to help us but he had nothing to do with it. What is God's relationship to earthquakes and indeed the locust plague that has been in Africa for the last several months?

These are the kinds of questions I answer in the book Pandemics, Plagues, and Natural Disasters. The subtitle is What is God Saying to Us? Need to tell you I feel very deeply about this book because I think it will enhance people's faith and at the end, even though we don't have all the explanations, I want us to be better worshippers of the Almighty. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

1-888-218-9337. And now we open our Bibles once again as we discuss the church and our role and our gifting within the body of Jesus Christ. The Bible is very clear that in Jesus we have a bond that is stronger than race. In Jesus we have a bond that is stronger than economic opportunity. It is stronger than education. It is stronger than geography because it is as strong as the body of Jesus Christ, God himself is. That's how strong we are united in Christ. There's no room for a lack of acceptance. When we came up with that 14 word statement which we call the promise statement here at the Moody Church, Moody Church is a trusted place where anyone can connect with God and others. By the way, we worked on that for a while.

Every single word of that is important, but that word anyone. We did a survey a number of years ago. I may have told you this recently in which we discovered 60 different nationalities. A nationality being people with a common origin, tradition and language. 60 different nationalities here at the Moody Church. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it were 100 nationalities here?

That would be great. Some people are going to have to have diversity training when they get to heaven. Heaven is going to be so diverse, so diverse.

People from every tongue and language and kindred. All united because of Jesus, all coming together because we belong to the same body, a bond that is stronger than color and all the other differences. So first of all, we have the unity of the body. Secondly, we have the diversity of the body, the diversity. And thirdly, the body is interdependent.

Notice it says in verse 21, the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you, nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. And on those parts of the body that we think less honorable, we bestow the greater honor and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty. Which our more presentable parts do not require.

We don't come to church covering our faces, but we do cover a part of our body which nobody sees. But to God, those parts are indispensable. You have parts of your body that no one will see, they're absolutely indispensable. If I did not have a big toe, I'd have to sit down to teach you today. I couldn't stand up.

That's what the experts tell us in terms of our balance system, how intricately it is made. And so I speak to those of you today who are parking cars, those of you who are ushers, those of you who work at the information desk and all of the different opportunities that Moody Church affords you. I speak to you today and say that your part is absolutely essential. Where would we be without the maintenance crew taking care of this place?

We couldn't function. And Paul is saying that every single part contributes to the whole. And why is interdependence so important? That we might have the same care, I'm in verse 25 now, that there may be no division within the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the others suffer. And if one is honored, everybody rejoices together.

Your body is one and the local church and the greater body of Christ is one as well. And when one part hurts, the others hurt with it. When I was growing up on the farm, I was helping my father build a building and we were nailing huge spikes. And I remember I was kind of having a contest with myself to see how many hammer blows it took to get those spikes in and I hit my finger.

I know exactly which one it is. It's this one here because the fingernail is a larger one than the others. I got a brand new fingernail out of this whole thing. And I didn't go to the doctor until the next day. One of the things I noticed that evening was that all the other members of my body stayed awake to give my finger company.

I'll tell you, they were all there. Well, you know, the finger is a small part of the body. But it's not possible for you to be weak. And it's not possible for you to be disconnected without affecting us, without making the entire church weaker. And that's why we're here to help you.

We are here to give you what we can do as a congregation to build those relationships and to build that community so that we may be strong. Maybe this is a habit from my days in Canada growing up, but even to this day, I still have jumper cables in the trunk of my car. Don't need them very often. But I remember the days when the cars didn't work and it was so cold that everybody had jumper cables. But I still keep them there. I've just never had the nerve to throw them away.

Four or five years ago, in the parking lot that was next to the church, somebody had left lights on. And I thought, well, this is why I've been having these things in the trunk for the last 10, 15 years. So I had jumper cables and somebody else knew how to hook them up. I mean, that wouldn't be my area of expertise.

Blow the whole place apart. You know, we as Christians ought to always carry some jumper cables. You go along in life and you'll see people in the ditch, believers, hurt, discouraged, disenfranchised for whatever reason. And it doesn't need the leadership of the church to give them a boost if you have your own jumper cables.

Every member of Moody Church out there looking out for others, ministering to them, encouraging them, helping them out of the ditch and to get back onto the road. That's what it means to be a member of the body. You know that we have white cells in the bloodstream that float along absolutely aimlessly. They meander.

There's something like a college student who hasn't made up his mind what his major is going to be. They float along aimlessly, millions of them. But the minute you get a pinprick, they come from all over the body. Nobody knows how they even know.

That's a mystery known to God. But they come with the same tenacity as a beagle on his way to get a rabbit. And they all come and what they do is they gather at the point of the injury and immediately some of those white cells encase the bacteria and cover the bacteria with themselves. Then they detonate and they destroy themselves. And the white cells die to make sure that no bacteria comes into the body.

Imagine that. And then the body is able to function. And if you get enough of these cells, we actually call it pus. Because it's white cells dying for the rest of the body.

Could you imagine how strong the Church of Jesus Christ would be today if we functioned as a body as well as my body and your body functions? For example, the minute I trip, my hands take the blow. You know, the hands don't say, hey, we don't want to get all busted up. You know, we don't want to break a wrist or get some fingers. Let him fall.

Let him hit his head and his chest. My hands don't say that. In fact, when I begin to fall, they don't even pray about it. Imagine a church in which we were as quick to protect and to guide and to help one another as the members of our body are. Just imagine a church like that.

What are some of the transforming lessons we learned from this passage? First of all, when you belong to the body, you don't belong to a club. You don't belong to a club. You know, a club is developed on the basis of a common interest. For example, there are clubs for fly fishing.

And that really stimulates some of us, I'm sure. There are clubs for cars. There are clubs for this.

There are clubs for painters, et cetera, et cetera. And what binds a club together is a common interest. Whereas when it comes to the church, that is entirely different.

Entirely different. Because you see, if you belong to a club, it doesn't affect the way you run the rest of your life. But the minute you're a member of the body of Jesus Christ, it affects your marriage. It affects the way in which you use your money. It affects the way in which your leisure time is used. It affects the way in which you conduct your business.

It immediately affects the relationship that you have with your neighbors. Everything is affected by being a member of the body of Jesus Christ. Let me put it this way to you very clearly. If you belong to a club, it'll cost you dues. You belong to the body of Jesus Christ, and it costs your life. It costs your life.

That's what Jesus is after, is your life. And that can only happen when we are a part of a community. It cannot happen in isolation. It cannot happen without a lack of commitment.

To be a contributing member, you need loyalty and commitment and the willingness to sacrifice. You see, everybody is baptized with the spirit if you're a member of the body of Jesus Christ. People say to me, well, you know, where's church membership in the New Testament? It is everywhere in the New Testament. Everywhere in the New Testament. You cannot show me any Christians that did not belong to a local assembly. And later on, the Apostle Paul in Timothy even talks about people being on the list. And when one member went to a different fellowship, he received a letter so that he might be welcomed in good standing. Because there was no such thing as an individual Christian doing his thing at the ancient Starbucks and saying, well, I'm part of a different fellowship. It's called the fellowship of the coffee drinkers.

That's an American notion. And that has greatly weakened the church. You see, the church oftentimes, because it was under persecution, could not afford the individualism that we have today. Dr. Dobson of Grand Rapids, a wonderful pastor who resigned some time ago because of Lou Gehrig's disease.

Marvelous man, just breaks your heart. But I remember him telling us how he knew that the disease was beginning. And he said that the thing that he noticed is he was at his computer and he was doing some typing and he gave his fingers some directions.

And it took them a real long time to get around to following. You know, normally you just say finger, press this key, and it's right there. But, you know, he'd say, in effect, press this key and the finger would just sit there for a moment and then think, oh, okay, I guess I should do it. And so it would do it.

See, the problem with that disease, as I understand it, is that the head keeps giving messages and the rest of the body says, hey, we're not going to do it. Imagine there being people today here at the Moody Church. You know that God is leading you here or to some other congregation.

I understand that. There are many places that have the marks of a New Testament church and someday I may preach on what those marks are. But the point is there are other congregations.

But imagine wandering through life and not being a part of any community. You hurt yourself, you hurt others, and you really grieve Jesus. In your bulletin today, you have a list of things. You don't need to look at it now, but it's an insert entitled Your Call to Serve.

I counted this morning, I think there is something like 60 different opportunities to get involved in Moody Church. But let me explain something. Please don't think that the reason for this insert is just that we have certain jobs that need to be done.

You can do certain jobs at your local club. That's not the reason it's there. The reason is that in committing yourself, you then commit to a group of people and new friendships and new relationships in which there is a sense of accountability and friendship and strength that is developed through community. It is that that makes us encourage you to become a part of what God has called us to do here.

It's becoming a part of the body and functioning within that body. I'm reminded of a story I once heard of a little boy who was lost in the woods. He wandered out on his own and they couldn't find him and they waited that whole night. In the night, of course, they couldn't search. And then the next day and then toward evening of the second day, they said, let's join hands as a community and let's just walk through the tall grass joining hands.

And he was found, but he was found dead. And the father said, if only we had joined hands sooner. We can touch this entire city for Jesus Christ, but we have to join hands to do it. We have to join hands to do it. God has called us to community. He's called us to loyalty, to the willingness to sacrifice. Sometimes here at the Moody Church, people say, well, you know, we have parking difficulties. Hey, you know, we're working on that, by the way, or we have this challenge or that challenge.

I know. But sometimes there's a cause that is even greater than our inconveniences and becoming a part of what God is doing here is one of those causes. Now for those of you who have been listening and you've never trusted Christ as Savior, I need to explain something that when you see your need and you believe in Jesus, all the things that I've talked about here become true of you. You become a member of Christ's body. So you become a part of Christ and Christ comes to live within you. You're connected to us and the whole believing community throughout the world because there is such a thing as the church, capital C, that belongs to Christ. And you become now a part of a community that has been called of God to transform its environment. And that's what God has brought us to.

So if you feel today that you've been an outsider, I encourage you to become an insider. Trust Christ alone with your sin and your need, and you'll become a part of something that is much greater than you ever imagined. Let us pray. Now, Father, we ask in Jesus' name that you might make this body, this body healthy. We pray that you may give us a sense of community here.

Yes, we have our challenges because of geography, but I pray that everyone may be a part of something here where they become acquainted with and involved in the life and the functioning of your temple, of your body, of your special nation, as we are called. Do that, Lord, we pray. We can't. We can't.

We've not changed a single human mind yet. That's your work in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. Well, this is Pastor Lutzer, and isn't it great to know that even though we cannot change people's minds, God is able to do that. Let me ask you a question. Have you been blessed as a result of this series titled A Passion for the Church?

Maybe it has put some things in perspective that have been very helpful, and you might want this sermon series. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours so that you can listen to it again and again. Here's what you do. You go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com, or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the sermon series, A Passion for the Church. It'll help you to understand your spiritual gifts and what the Church of Jesus Christ should look like if we want to impact the world.

rtwoffer.com, or 1-888-218-9337. Time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Some teachings in the Christian faith are not easy to grasp.

Taiwan listens to Running to Win and has this question. I've heard it preached that the Holy Trinity, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is what we worship as Christians. I'm still confused. Could you offer a little clarity? Well, Taiwan, it is going to be a little clarity, because the doctrine of the Trinity is not easy to grasp.

But here's what happened. The early church began to read their Bibles, especially the New Testament, and they discovered that obviously God the Father is God, clearly Christ is also God, and the Holy Spirit is God. And Jesus himself said that the disciples should baptize in the name, singular, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And as they looked at this, they said there can't be three gods, so God must be three in one. And indeed he is, and that is the doctrine of the Trinity. Now, what makes Christianity so unique is this, that because of the Trinity, God can be a redeeming God. It is Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, who came to earth to die for us, and in effect paid a ransom to God the Father.

And in this way, you and I are redeemed. But Taiwan, it's not easy to grasp, but just remember that the best minds have grappled with this, and we do have examples, of course. In Washington, we have three different branches of government, and yet only one government.

Whatever illustration you use, it will have its limitations. But it is true that we worship God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Taiwan, for your question. Thank you, Pastor Lutzer, for your answer. If you'd like to have your question answered, you can by going to our website at rtwoffer.com and clicking on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or you can call us with your question. Just call 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. Love is the glue that binds the body of Christ together and makes it a place of mutual service. Without love, our best efforts are without true purpose. Next time on Running to Win, we look to 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and learn why love is the highest motivator of all. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-24 00:07:05 / 2024-02-24 00:15:40 / 9

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