Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Unprincipled expansion, arrogance and violence are sins 1, 2 and 3 for why God judges nations. America's guilt may be better described by sins 4 and 5, indifference to God and the acceptance of witchcraft. Today, a hard look at the real prospect of God's judging hand in our day.
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, do you believe America is in line for the judgment of God? Dave, the answer is yes, because no nation has sinned against as much light as the United States. We have had a Judeo-Christian heritage. We know that we've had opportunities to share the gospel. Christianity has been widely disseminated. There are churches everywhere, and yet people live in rebellion, and it breaks our hearts. We have rebelled against God as a nation. As a matter of fact, I discuss these kinds of issues in a new book I've written entitled We Will Not Be Silenced, Responding Courageously to Our Culture's Assault on Christianity. I wrote the book not so much to reclaim the culture that might not be possible, but to reclaim the church and to answer the question, how do we live faithfully in a nation in which the person who shouts the loudest sometimes wins the argument? 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. And now let us open our Bibles and our hearts to listen to God's word as we continue our discussion of God and the nations. But now notice I'm throwing in another verse of scripture here. Jeremiah chapter 5 verse 30 to 31, a horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land. The prophets prophesy lies. The priests rule by their own authority and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end? People love to hear false prophets.
They love it. Indifference to God. We don't want to hear about repentance. We don't want to hear about holiness. What we want to hear is how we can use God to get rich. Number five, the acceptance of witchcraft. There are so many verses about this but I'm going to just begin reading here from Isaiah.
Both of these will overtake you in a moment on a single day. Loss of children and widowhood, they will come upon you in full measure in spite of your many sorceries and your potent spells. You think that your witchcraft is going to keep you. There's this theory going around that witchcraft has a good side and a bad side and what you need to do is to plug in to the good side and then it can be used. Just ask Harry Potter and he'll tell you how. You have trusted in your wickedness and you have said no one sees me.
Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself I am and there is none beside me. Disaster will come upon you that you will not know how to conjure. The Hebrew word is you won't know how to charm it away. Your charms are not going to help at this point. Keep on then with your magic spells and with your many sorceries which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed. Perhaps you will cause terror. All the counsel you have received and you think of all the people going to astrologers.
Only this counsel, he says, has worn you out. Let your astrologers come forward. Let those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. God says I challenge those of you who read horoscopes, horror scopes. I challenge you, you know, who you're going to live your life by the stars and you're going to avoid God and you're going to end up worshiping the creature rather than the creator.
I challenge you for what is coming. Wow. 15 years ago in this church, I'm just guessing about 15 years ago, I did a series of messages on the New Age movement. It was one of the early messages on that topic. Now New Age is just mainstream, you know, if you mention New Age. I mean, you go into a bookstore and you see rows and rows and rows of books on occultism and America is into that stuff. They're into spirituality, not organized religion, not doctrine, but spirituality.
Well, my dear friend, there are only two spirits in the universe. There's the spirit world of God and the good angels and then there's the demonic world and if you're in this spirit world without a map, just going on your own, you are going to bump into the wrong spirit world and get plugged into the wrong power that will come to you dressed in the light to deceive you. And our nation is drowning, drowning in occultism of various kinds. Deuteronomy also has a passage, but because of time we're going to have to avoid it. God just talks about those who practice divination, sorcery, omens, witchcraft, cast spells, spiritists, those who consult the dead. There are about 40 different kinds of occult practices that the Bible condemns.
Now prosperity, we're in number six now, prosperity without compassion. If I were to take a poll among Christians and say, now why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? You'd say, well, because of homosexuality. Yeah, the place was full of homosexuality.
There's no doubt about that. But the shocker is that Ezekiel gives a different reason for its destruction. Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom. She and her daughters were arrogant, overstuffed, unconcerned. They did not help the poor and the needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.
Therefore, I did away with them as you have seen. So the real cause were people who were overstuffed with food and wealth and prosperity and they did not care about the poor among them. You know that America has done a lot of things to try to help the poor.
Some things maybe work better than others. We can argue the benefit of welfare and so forth, but I want to tell you also that we could include in this racism of the past where the poor were used to certain ends to serve the wealthy. This could go in a number of different directions, but isn't it interesting that God in the Bible repeatedly talks about the need to take care of the poor among you. So we have to ask ourselves what are we doing here for the poor and are we overstuffed and saying, well, you know, we've got money.
It doesn't matter to us whether the stock market goes down or up, you know, because we're sitting in our place and we're secure. God says, oh yeah, it's for that that I'm judging you. An insensitive heart toward those in need and the poor. Let's go on to number seven, immorality. Here I turn to the New Testament. Now in the Old Testament there are many, many passages I could have used, but I chose Ephesians chapter five, verse five to seven. For this you can be sure, no immoral, impure or greedy person, such a man as an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words for because of such things, God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
Therefore do not be partakers with them. Over and over again in the scriptures, Old and New Testament, God identifies sexual sin as a sin that eventually brings national judgment, national judgment. Now you think of the United States of America with all of our blessings and I need to keep mentioning that. The simple fact is that we are exporters of pornography around the world.
All throughout the world there are people who are being addicted and those who produce pornography keep saying we want younger and younger and younger men and women to become addicted. And so they're thinking of all kinds of ways now to give us pornography, not just on television, not just on movies, not just on the internet, but in other ways as well so that we are being bombarded by it and God says because of these things the wrath of God falls on the ungodly. And isn't it providential that this morning I happen to turn on the news just to see if the world was standing. Every morning I turn on the news just to say is the world still standing?
I know I am, but I'm worried about the world. And there was a report on regarding sex slavery where people go to some of the countries of the world and bring young women even here to America and then you think of other countries that are even more gross than we are at this and young women sold into sexual slavery. My heart just fell within me and I said oh God, oh God, thank you for letting me hear about it. It is terrible, but thank you for this message, for this time that I should be reminded of the tremendously huge sins of people and nations that excel and allow without prosecution these terrible atrocities toward young men and young women and God.
Let me give you three very important conclusions. First of all, the sins of the world in our generation are also the sins of the church. Is there anything I listed here that you say well this is a sin of America but it's not a sin of us, not a sin of the church? I don't think so.
Name it and we've got it. Remember that Jesus said that the church is to be in the world like a ship is in the ocean but when the ocean gets into the ship, the ship is in trouble. And in America here, the evangelical ship is taking on water. Isn't it interesting that when Paul wrote the book of 1 Corinthians to a culture that was very immoral, you know, they prided themselves in having a thousand prostitutes up on a temple on a hill that you can still see in Corinth the ruins of the temple and both male and female prostitutes, I mean they were into immorality. Isn't it interesting that the apostle Paul didn't say too much about the sins of the culture? The whole book of 1 Corinthians is written about the sins of the church and what he's saying is that the sins of the culture have come into the sins of the church and if you want God to bless you, you had better take care of the sins of the culture that are within the church and then God is going to use you to transform the culture. I guess what I'm trying to say and I hope I'm clear in saying it is that really repentance, as the Bible says, must begin at the house of God.
It has to begin here. We don't want to point too many fingers outside of ourselves without recognizing that true repentance has to begin with the best people that God's got and that's us. I'm sorry. We may apologize to God and say, God, we're sorry that we're the best people that you have but, you know, it is true. Oh, I know there are some people who are more holy than we are. There are some people who pray more than we are. We do. I understand that but we are the redeemed ones.
We are the redeemed ones and we have the sins of the world in our churches and that we should purge out. Second, our battle clearly is not cultural, moral, or political. We can't just fight it on cultural grounds or rational grounds because we live in an irrational world. How are you going to use reason for people who are not given to reason?
The whole postmodern mindset is to not accept rationality so you can't argue with people who don't believe in reason. So it isn't just cultural, it isn't moral, it isn't political, all of that being important. It is important to fight cultural battles, moral battles. The political arena is incredibly important but we will never take America and make it Christian just because we have the right person in Washington. Our problems are far deeper than that.
It's a spiritual issue. Years ago I told you the story of Martin Luther who threw an inkwell at the devil at the Wartburg Castle and it used to be the tour guides would always rub a little bit of soot on the side of the wall because you know you pay your plane ticket and you stay in a hotel and you ride so far and then you get into the room and you don't see where the inkwell landed so they wanted to make sure that you got your money's worth. The inkwell landed here. Actually Luther might not have thrown an inkwell at the devil. What he said in his table talks was I fought the devil with ink.
In ten weeks in that room he translated the entire New Testament, not the old, that took years and years that he worked at later, but he translated the entire New Testament in ten weeks in that room. That's the way you fight the devil is to give the German people the Bible. That'll fight the devil. That's the right weapon for our enemy is the scriptures and the right weapon for us at the end of the day when everything is said and done and have you ever noticed that when everything is said and done more things are usually said than done?
Did you ever notice that? When everything is said and done our greatest weapon is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the cross of Christ. Years before Hitler a Jewish poet by the name of Heinrich Heines said only the cross of Christ is keeping Germany back from war. Now he he thought of the cross as a teller's man as a magic charm I guess but he so he didn't understand the cross totally but this is what he said. Only the cross of Christ is keeping Germany back from war and should that cross be broken from Germany a terror will be unleashed that will cause the whole world to wonder.
I'd like to paraphrase it. Only the cross of Jesus Christ is keeping America from total disintegration and should that cross be hidden? Should that cross be neglected? Should that cross not be proclaimed?
A stench will arise from America that will cause the whole world to wonder. The message of the cross reconciles us to God and some of you listening have never been reconciled to God by the cross and I appeal to you. The message of the cross reconciles us to God. It forgives our sin and then it does something else. It changes our desires so that we no longer love sin. We may still sin but when we sin our misery index goes off the charts because there's something within us that says that's not me. I have the blessed Holy Spirit of God within me and as a result of the transformation of those desires you have the transformation of individuals and through those individuals you have the transformation of a country and so third I appeal to you as I appeal to myself. Third we must be willing to pay the price to pay the price of reversal beginning with repentance in our own lives beginning in our commitment to God and to the church and to his people and our desire to speak of Christ wherever he has planted us even at great personal cost whether you are an engineer or a plumber or a banker whatever it is that your vocation is wherever God has planted you you say I'm going to represent Jesus Christ no matter how much it costs me no matter how many people tell me I have no right to talk of Jesus I will talk of him lovingly but I will talk of him. Folks, we've got the message that the people of the world are looking for and don't know it they have no clue what they're looking for the Bible says in the book of Proverbs that the wicked stumble and they have no idea what it is that they're stumbling over all that they know is it's dark out there and it's empty out there and they don't know that they're looking for Jesus and God has appointed you to lovingly share that just go to them and say what is it that you really want out of life begin a conversation like that and say what is it that you really want out of life and let them talk for a while then say you know what something happened to me that I discovered that there's something else in life that's really important and that fulfills me and then go into your testimony in the gospel.
Do you remember in about 650 something like that Ferris the horseman there's a legend that he had 26 horses and he was going through the desert and as he was going through the desert off in the distance his very thirsty horses saw a mirage which they evidently interpreted as water all of the horses galloped off toward the mirage and he blew his trumpet and six mares only six turned in their tracks and stood and obeyed his trumpet and it is said that it is out of those six that the famous Arabian horses have been bred. This nation and God knows I love it as you love it this nation is headed for a mirage. It looks like water out there but nobody knows really where it is what they're going for. Mirages of various kinds and God today in heaven is blowing his trumpet and saying how many are there who are willing to stand against the tide and to listen to my trumpet from heaven and say don't go there because it is only a shimmering mirage and what I want you to do is to dedicate yourself to me for whatever it takes to be the person that you should be in an age with so many opportunities and yet an age also with so many many challenges. Are you willing to be that person? Willing to say God that is me whatever the cost whatever the commitment whatever it is I stand against the sins of this culture and dedicate myself today to Jesus to make a difference. If you feel that way would you just stand where you are? Would you just say that you know you're willing to make a difference in this culture? To say by God's grace we will not participate in the sins that we've outlined we'll repent of them we'll get rid of them and we will by God's grace represent Jesus even at great personal cost and someday we'll hear him hear from heaven and send at the breath of his spirit that this nation so desperately needs but he's not going to do it apart from us as if to say you know he's out there doing it and we're doing our thing no he's going to do it through us it's the way God always works he begins with his people and leads them to repentance and says now that you've done that now we go the next step. Would you join me as we pray? Father blessed Holy Spirit given to your people to point out our need and our sin we ask today in Jesus name that you'll help us to make a difference in this wonderful country. We pray father that as the temptations are so strong to be caught up in our culture we pray today father that you will enable us to stand against that culture through repentance and faith and discipline and and church attendance and the ministry of the saints one to another and then to represent you wherever you've planted us to let people know that we belong to Jesus and lovingly share a word whether it's received or unreceived to not be ashamed of the one who redeemed us and the one who is not ashamed of us and is willing to call us his brothers. Now father you've raised up this church and this congregation in this great city help us oh God in our great need to make a powerful difference for your kingdom do it in us oh God we ask for Jesus sake amen amen. You know my friend this is Pastor Lutzer I believe that in our day we underestimate the power of the church and the role of the church. The fact is that God has called us to this hour and I know that there are so many forces against us but we need to be willing to stand even at great personal cost as I mentioned in the message. I've written a new book entitled we will not be silenced responding courageously to our culture's assault on Christianity. I wrote the book because I think we as Christians are being shamed into silence. We might not be being talked out of our faith but we are being mocked out of our faith and we need to know how to respond and how to stand. For a gift of any amount this book can be yours here's what you do you go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book entitled we will not be silenced standing courageously against our culture's assault on Christianity. This is not a time for us to run and hide as a matter of fact we can't run and hide.
Culture is being pushed upon us. Remember go to rtwoffer.com or if you prefer call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at running to win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614. Erwin Lutzer has concluded God's judgment of the nations another in a six part series on God and the nations. Now that we've learned about the sins for which God judges nations it's time to focus on the forms that judgment takes. Join us next time for understanding the wrath of God. Running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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