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The Healing Power Of The Light Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
January 28, 2021 1:00 am

The Healing Power Of The Light Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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January 28, 2021 1:00 am

Coming clean before God has infinite rewards, including being able to run life’s race without the weight of accumulated sin. In this message, we turn to the book of First John and learn what is involved in coming to the light.

 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. Coming clean before God has infinite rewards, including being able to run life's race without the weight of accumulated sin. Today, we'll turn to the book of 1st John and learn what's involved in coming to the light.

Stay with us. 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, can anyone who has done bad things find what you're calling the healing power of the light?

Dave, the answer to your question is yes, but it cannot come without some pain. You know, being exposed to the light is very difficult because there's a lot of darkness within our souls, but it is always worth it. And to everyone who is listening, I would say this, carefully come to God and lay everything before him.

Now let me ask all those who are listening, I have a question for you. How are you feeling today? Anxious? Depressed? Happy? Joyful? What's going on within your soul?

Let me ask you another question. Do you always have to feel good in order to be spiritual? Well, these are the kinds of questions I answer in the book Managing Your Emotions, God's Good Gifts Gone Wrong. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours, and I think it will help you to achieve some kind of balance and understanding of the role of emotions in the Christian life. And by the way, this is one of the last times that this resource is going to be offered. Here is what you do for a gift of any amount. Go to RTWOffer.com.

RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let's open our hearts and minds and be exposed to God's light. We have fellowship one with another. That can mean that we have fellowship with God, which is most assuredly true, but we have fellowship with fellow travelers. I have fellowship with you.

You have fellowship with me. It's that common bond because we know what the light is, and we know where we are going, and sometimes we blow it to be sure, but we at least know where the light is. It's in God's word, and so it tells us where we are going, and we end up having fellowship with one another. Light also reveals our destination.

It reveals our destination. You know, it's interesting that the Bible talks about those who do not know Christ as Savior, who are trying to save themselves as walking in darkness, okay? Because they don't have a Savior, they don't see their sins clearly, and they keep stumbling and not knowing why they're tripping over themselves. But it's interesting that when they die, what happens? The scripture says they are in outer darkness. I'm reminded of the man who was dying, the miser, who would not respond to the gospel, and he said to his daughter, blow out the candle.

They were in a little room, and a candle was burning. He said, I can die in the dark. So here's a man who lives in the dark. He dies in the dark, and he ends up in the dark.

You live in the dark here, you'll live in the dark there. But what about believers who love the light? Why, indeed, we walk in the light, God is in the light, and what does it say in the book of Revelation? There is no need of the light, neither of the sun nor of the moon to shine upon it, for God himself is the light thereof, and they shall walk with him in light. The Bible speaks about God as dwelling in unapproachable light, but we will approach him through Jesus Christ our Lord. Light, reality, truth, what an experience. Now what I'd like to do is to go to a third observation or a third point as we move through this. We've talked about characteristics of walking in darkness, characteristics of walking in light. The question is, what is the cost of coming to the light?

How much is it going to charge you? In verse nine, we have a very important verse. It says, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to purify us from all unrighteousness. Now the cost of walking in light is to confess, and the Greek word confess means to say the same thing.

It means disagreement. So if we're going to walk in the light, and this is for believers now, if we're going to walk in the light, we have to just agree with God. There can be no point at which we have a disagreement with God. If God says that something is sin, we call it sin. If God says that this part of our life has to be yielded to him, this part of our life we yield.

In other words, we are so open to God that we agree with him regarding everything, and then we're walking in honesty, and we're walking in the light. Now, sometimes it says that truth hurts, and that's true, but I want you to know that lies hurt even more. Truth hurts, and from now on in this message, for the next few moments, just before we close, it is going to be a painful time as I'm going to explain to you the cost that some of you might have to pay to actually walk in the light and to agree with God.

It can be very, very costly. By the way, when you confess your sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us. He pays the debt. To cleanse us is to take away the stain, and he does both. What a wonderful Savior we have.

But how much does it cost? You remember David committed adultery and wanted to get by with it so desperately that he killed a man in order to cover up his sin, and eventually, you know, the story came unraveled and so forth and word got out, and he couldn't deny it anymore. How much was he paying before those days when he came clean with God?

Well, he knew what he had done. In Psalm 32, he details how difficult it was. He says, Day and night thy hand was heavy upon me. My moisture is turned to the fever of summer. He says, Oh God, you just wouldn't let me.

We could put it in contemporary terms. Every time the telephone rang, I wondered, does somebody know? Every time a visitor comes to the door, I say, does he know? Every time I meet somebody in church, I say to myself, does he know?

Your hand was heavy upon me. He knew, Bathsheba knew, and that was all manageable. What made it so difficult was that God knew, and that's the sticky point. God knows. God knows. God knows.

God knows. How much will it cost you to come to the light? For some of you, it is true. It may cost some shame, and well, I'll comment on that in just a moment as to how much it really costs. For some of you, it may cost thousands and thousands of dollars.

I remember when the Holy Spirit was working mightily up north in the border in the early 70s, and I was doing some interviews. I met a man who said that being fully right with God cost me thousands of dollars. I forget how much. He had to go to the bank and go into debt. Why did it cost him so much? He was a builder.

He was a contractor, and what he had done is he had cheated people by telling them that they were going to have one kind of material in their houses and then actually putting in an inferior and cheaper quality of material. Now, suddenly, he wants to be right with God. He wants to be able to say, Lord, I want to walk in the light no matter what it costs me. I want your full blessing, and the Holy Spirit is saying, wait a moment.

You've got sin in your life that you need to take care of. You have chiseled other people out of their money, and you had better pay back what you owe if you want to totally agree with me, because you do want God's blessing, don't you? So he went to the bank, took out thousands of dollars.

It cost him a lot. Listen, there's some of you here who are getting money dishonestly, and if you really walked in the light, I mean really walked in the light, God is going to put his finger on that and say, wait a moment. You can't walk in the light and be doing that, because you know that that's dishonest.

There are some of you who perhaps are going to have to break up relationships, because you're in sinful relationships. You know it. Your partner knows it. Maybe nobody else knows it, though you suspect everybody around you does, and there's that sticky point again, the one you can't rationalize away.

God knows it. So it's going to cost you some heartbreak to be fully in the light. There are some of you who are going to be in the light, and you're going to have to pay the price of vulnerability. You're going to have to go to somebody and say, I was wrong. You're going to have to get rid of that anger and that hostility, because you have built up anger towards other Christians, and maybe they know about it. Maybe they don't know about it.

Who knows what it is? But you want to come to the light, and you want to say, God, I want your full blessing. And God says, wait a moment.

Wait a moment. What is this that's back here that you keep nursing that anger? You'd better forgive, and you'd better lay it down. You say, Lord, it costs too much. And God says, well, how badly do you want to walk in the light? How badly do you want the light? Or do you want to just kind of walk in the light?

Yeah, on Sunday, and then slip back to darkness, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and kind of manage the situation. Oh, I could go on as to what the cost is, but the best example I have, and I don't think there's anyone listening to me, probably, who has to pay as much as one person did. His name is John Claypool. Back in the early 70s, 1975, a 14-year-old boy by the name of John Claypool murdered some people, his neighbors, the husband and wife, just to see what it was like to see people die. The boy was drunk, and he did it. The police questioned him, and they didn't have hard evidence, and he got by. He married.

He fathered two daughters. And yet this sin, he could not get away from it. And now he met some Christians whom he always disliked because he thought that they were a bunch of self-righteous, judgmental people. But he said, I always considered Christians to be hypocrites, but these people were genuine in living what they professed. Their witness to the love of Christ created a glowing spiritual hunger within me. Well, he bought a Bible. He read it, and he accepted Christ as Savior, as I urge all of you who are listening to do if you have not done that. But now the Holy Spirit of God is within him, see, because now he's a believer, and he has to walk in the light. The Holy Spirit persistently said in effect, my child, you must obey me by confessing your crime, or you will never know my full blessing in your life. See, that's the thing. You can live with a conscience, even with murder, on your conscience, and you can manage.

Just take enough various things that will calm you down, that will enable you to sleep, and you can get by. That's all rationalization, and it may be worth it to stay out of jail. But the one thing, though, that you can't rationalize, that just stands there, is this business of God. Are you going to receive his full blessing, or are you not?

That's the $64 question. Does he mean that much to you? Well, you can imagine how John goes on to say that his heart absolutely pounded with fear. But 20 years later, November 27, 1995, he went with his pastor and an attorney and turned himself in to the authorities, with the video cameras, the movie cameras on him, because it was national news. At the moment of truth, though I was now a prisoner of the law, I was set free before God for the first time in my life. I cannot describe the feeling of that burden being completely lifted. The Lord now held his once disobedient child in his loving arms, and true to his promise, he did not let me fall.

A wonderful peace came over my soul, such as I have never known. He says, is it worth it to go to prison? He's now in a maximum security prison. In fact, I continue to read, I am now confined in a maximum security prison, serving time for second-degree murder.

But notice, I am more free and more at peace than at any other time in my life. He talks about the fact that what he did to that family still bothers him, because the consequences continue. He wonders what kind of a testimony he's going to be to his children now that he's in jail. But he ends by saying, if God can redeem the soul of one who had murdered his innocent neighbors, then God can redeem anyone.

And he can. And he can redeem you, because if the truth were known, there are some of you here who have done some very terrible things. Maybe it isn't murder, but maybe it is. And you're saying to yourself, can God even redeem somebody like me? Will I ever be able to say like David did in Psalm 51, restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. Lord, here I am, I've committed adultery, I've murdered a man, but give me your joy back. And you remember what else it says in that Psalm, thou desirous truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to wisdom. That's why you can take all your rationalizations, all your reasons. For some of you, and I even hate to say this and wasn't sure whether or not I should, but for some of you, total honesty before God may mean that you have to go back to your country of origin, because perhaps you lied, perhaps you falsified things. And you say, well, it's not worth it, I'm going to stick it out.

Well, notice what John Claypool said. He said, the Holy Spirit was ministering to him and saying, if you really want the full blessing of God in your life, the full blessing of God, we have to walk in the light. And walking in the light can be tremendously costly, tremendously. Some of you have addictions. And the reason that you have those addictions is because there's a part of you that just kept walking in darkness and in that hiding, hiding darkness.

And God wants to come and just shine a light on everything. And it's painful. I'm not saying that it doesn't hurt.

I'm not saying it won't cost. I'm saying, do you or do you not want God's blessing upon your life completely and totally? Well, I conclude with a few observations. First of all, what you hide hurts. What you hide hurts. Someone has said that you are only as sick as your darkest secrets.

That may be an exaggeration, but I think it certainly is close to the truth. You say, well, how many people do I have to confess to? Well, you have to confess to those whom you have wronged. If it's one person, then it's one person. If it's 10 people, then it's 10 people. The confession and the restoration has to be as broad as the offense.

That's the answer. God's sin does not have to be paraded in front of other people, though sometimes we like to hear testimonies about how God worked in people's lives. But it has to be obedience to the amount of offense. Secondly, what you hide grieves God. What you hide grieves God.

I've emphasized that, but that's the one non-negotiable. They're in the presence of the almighty years of rationalizations, ruts of behavior that have been so carefully dug and hidden and covered, suddenly all are blasted away because we have God to deal with. And finally, light and darkness really can't coexist. Light and darkness can't coexist. In other words, as a result of this message, all of us, including myself, we are either going to walk more in the light and ask God even for more light, or else some are going to retreat into a deeper darkness with further hardness of heart and further rationalizations. Somehow it's difficult to find that median where you say, well, I want part of my life in the light, part of it in darkness.

John Claypool had that experience for a time. Part of it was in the light. He accepted Christ. Part of it in darkness.

But what an unhappy combination. Until finally he said, Lord, I give it all to you. David said in Psalm 139 verse 1, search me, O God. He gets to the end of the chapter and he says, O God, search me and know my heart. Verse 1, O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me.

It's a done deal. You know all about me and it's the one thing I can't rationalize away. He goes to the end of the chapter and he says, now search me, O God. Is it contradictory? Verse 1, you have searched me. Verse 23, search me.

No. What David is saying is, I know you know all about me. All that I'm asking you for now is that you might show me what you see. Show me what you see. And I have to tell you that unless the Holy Spirit shows you what's there, I can't. I can't.

I feel very helpless preaching this message because there are some things I can do which are very limited, but then there's something that only the Spirit can do and that's his business that I can't even begin to encroach upon. Do you remember Robert Fulghum who wrote that book, All That I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? He talks about the fact that in October the kids would gather together and play hide and seek and some kids hid so well that nobody could find them. He says, as I write the neighborhood game goes on and there's a kid under the pile of leaves in the yard just under my window. He's been there a long time and everybody else is found and they're about to give up on him over at the base. I considered going out to the base and telling them where he was hiding and then I thought about setting the leaves on fire to drive them out. Finally, I just yelled, get found, kid, through the window and it scared him so bad he probably started crying and ran home to tell his mother.

It's hard to know how to be helpful sometimes. Some of you are playing adult hide and seek and you're under a pile of leaves. You've got things which have never been exposed to the light in God's presence and you think that you can walk in both darkness and light, but God sees to it that our cubbyhole, that little cubbyhole, turns into a very private hell until we're willing to say, Lord, whatever it is, I want to walk in the light. This comes from me as a pastor, your pastor, to you today, to those of you in the balcony, to those of you downstairs, to those listening by whatever means. Get found. Get found because there's healing when you come to the light. There is cleansing. There is forgiveness.

There is a sense of freedom. There is wholeness that is brought about to our conflicting struggles when we come to the light. For if we walk in the light as God is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and all of those animosities are broken down, and the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all the stains.

Get found. Let's pray. Oh, blessed Holy Spirit, who can do thy work?

We cannot. We cry to thee and ask that in this moment of revelation you shall give to your people the grace to get found. Give them, O God, the ability to say, yes, yes, I want to walk in the light to have God's full blessing no matter the cost. Oh, Father, why don't you talk to God now?

Talk to him about whatever he has talked to you about. How many of you today say, Pastor Lutzer, at all costs I want to get found? Would you raise your hands, please?

All throughout the auditorium, all throughout the balcony. Those of you in the balcony, you want to get found today no matter the cost. Father, I ask today that you might grant grace to those who have raised their hands and to those who should have. We pray that the teeter-totter might go to the side of the light, even as you pursue us and you say to us lovingly, because you want to heal us and cleanse us and forgive us, you say lovingly, get found. Oh, Father, we all know what darkness is, we all know what light is, and we ask today that your spirit will do a work that only you can do. In Jesus' name, amen, amen.

Well my friend, this is Pastor Lutzer and I want to extend that invitation to you. Get found. Some of you need to take some time and get alone with God and deal with issues that he is revealing to you.

Very painful, but always worth it. And if you need help, I trust that you will have a counselor who is able to guide you or a pastor, because God wants you to have emotional wholeness. You know, I've written a book entitled Managing Your Emotions, God's Good Gifts Gone Wrong, and this is one of the last times we're going to be making this resource available. Now, it deals with all kinds of emotions, depression, love, rejection, fear, loneliness, anger, disappointment, regret, bitterness, and sorrow. I realize that whole books have been written on each of these topics, but what I try to do, to the best of my ability, is to take these emotions and then go to the Scriptures to find out what the Bible has to say about them, so that we might not be controlled by our emotions, but at the same time that we might not deny them.

Managing Your Emotions, God's Good Gifts Gone Wrong. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to RTWOffer.com. RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. As I mentioned, this is one of the last times we are making this resource available. We're doing it to help you run the race of life.

Go to RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for Managing Your Emotions, God's Good Gifts Gone Wrong, and thanks in advance for helping us to make a difference in the lives of thousands upon thousands of people. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. So is there a way to overcome our basic natures and our tendencies to do evil? On our next broadcast, don't miss Pastor Lutzer's final message in this series, A Bad Man Made Good, a real-life story of dramatic transformation. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-30 15:03:08 / 2023-12-30 15:12:43 / 10

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