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Rescued From Moral Self-Deception Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
March 29, 2021 1:00 am

Rescued From Moral Self-Deception Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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March 29, 2021 1:00 am

In Romans chapter one, Paul reveals that fallen mankind suppresses the truth, darkening their minds and committing moral perversion, all the while thinking that they’re more enlightened than those who came before them. You can be wrong about politics. You can be wrong about philosophy. But don’t be wrong about the message given in the book of Romans.

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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. In Romans chapter 1, Paul reveals that fallen mankind suppresses the truth, darkening their minds and committing moral perversion, all the while thinking that they're more enlightened than those who came before them.

Today, more on how badly humanity needs rescuing. 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, if people's minds are darkened, how can they ever understand the Gospel?

Well Dave, the answer to that is God must intervene. It is God who takes away the darkness, gives them light, and in my theology, which I think is consistent with the Apostle Paul, it is even God who grants them the ability to believe. This is what distinguishes Christianity from all other options out there. But there's a lot of darkness in the world, as Romans chapter 1 indicates.

Let me ask you a question. What about social justice? What's the difference between biblical justice and so-called social justice that is spoken about so much in our culture? Those are the kinds of questions that I answer in my book, We Will Not Be Silenced, Responding Courageously to Our Culture's Assault on Christianity. Perhaps you've heard me say that I want parents to be able to understand what is going on when they send their kids to college, they come back hating America, and how do we as Christians respond? For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Go to RTWOffer.com.

That's RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And now let us open our hearts and minds and go to the only book, namely the Bible and the special book of Romans and find out what God has to say as to where we are at as a culture and the good news of the gospel. And then, of course, without going into detail, and I discuss this more in detail in the little booklet I wrote entitled The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage, but one of the great mantras today is you're a hater. You don't agree with us? How can you be so filled with hate? So the alternative that we are given is you either buy into this or where is all this hate coming from?

One day I was giving a lecture at a university and I was setting things up before the lecture because I wanted to put my outline on a screen. And a college student comes up to me and says, do you believe that Christ is the only way to God? I said, yeah. I said, that's what I'm going to be speaking about here. He said, how can you be filled with so much hate? Why are you spreading so much hate? So folks, remember this, you oppose it.

You are a hater. If you ask the question as to why the same-sex marriage agenda has made so much progress in the United States, that's a longer issue also. It has to do with a concerted effort of propaganda. But one of the points is demonize anybody who disagrees with you and make them look so terrible that no one will be willing to be like them.

That's what's happening in society today. Paul is saying that the problem is this, that the truth is being suppressed because people want to be deceived so badly. And there are so many justifications out there for deception. Paul says, another deception is to take the natural and turn it into the natural and celebrate it. There's a third deception in the text and that is also, you'll notice that instead of rebuking sin, rebuking sin, it's the condoning of it. Now, if you think that I'm hard on sexual expression here today, you come back next time when I'm going to be speaking about self-deception in the religious realm. And you'll notice that the Apostle Paul, as he ends this chapter, doesn't end up at all talking about the sexual. He broadens it and includes all of us in one way or another.

We all long to be self-deceived and suppress the truth. You'll notice it says in verse 28, and since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. I think yesterday I counted 21 or 22 sins that are listed here, so let's give equal treatment to everybody and read them.

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossip, slanderers, hater of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, if they spent a half an hour in silence looking into their conscience, they would know that these things are wrong. They not only do them, but they approve those who practice them. And you have, for example, today whole industries based up on gossip columns and what have you about people who commit adultery and whose marriages break up and other people delight in it. And you have people today who delight in addictions. In fact, they hope for addictions. They probably pray that there will be many addicts to support their industries, whether it's pornography in any other industry, because they not only do evil, but they approve of others, and they encourage others who say, be like me.

I am the standard. Intuitively, they know that those who do such things are worthy of death and God's wrath, but they do them and they approve of those who do suppress the truth. You can't let it out. Woe be tied to somebody who has the nerve to let the genie out of the bottle, to let the truth be told. Let's look at this text now, and how do we get to the bottom line and to understand ourselves in relation to this?

A couple of things. First, do you notice that God abandons some people to their sins? God abandons some people to their sins. Three times, verse 24, verse 26, verse 28, God gave them up.

The Greek word is paradokan. God gave them over. You say, Pastor, are there people who live this way and are absolutely content with the way in which they live and are absolutely positively committed to the idea that they're doing it?

Yes. There comes a time when you fight the truth and you fight your conscience long enough that God says, hey, I'm out of here. You want to do what you want to do? You go your way and you're not going to get any resistance from me. You're committed to doing this?

I'll take my hands off and say it's all up to you from here on. It's a judgment of God that he gives them up. It's not just simply those who are involved in sexual sins. It implies the whole list of sins, the whole catalog that I just read a moment ago. So there are those who are perfectly content with their lifestyle. There is such a thing as the judicial judgment of God when he gives them up.

Very sobering. So first of all, God abandons some people to their own sin. Says, you want this sin? Fine. I'll give you lots of it. You'll be an addict.

OK. I'll be an addict. Be content with your sin. Secondly, God delivers some people out of these lifestyles. God delivers these people, some people out of these lifestyles. This is what it says in the book of 1 Corinthians. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, or men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

It's quite a list. But such were some of you. But you were washed. Oh, isn't it beautiful to be washed clean? Anybody out there?

Am I alone up here? Don't you rejoice in the fact that we can be washed? You were sanctified. You were set apart for God.

You were justified. And that word is going to come up in the book of Romans, and we're going to explain it in the name of Jesus. And your lifestyle became different. Now you say, well, Pastor Lutzer, what about those, for example, since we're talking about same-sex attraction, what about those who are converted but their orientation isn't changed? It's interesting that a member of the pastoral staff this past week said that in other countries, such as in Africa, when a person gets saved, all of the addictions are gone, possibly because they understand spiritual warfare much better than we do. Don't know if that's true, but I also know that there are those who would say I'm a Christian, and I am also in a same-sex attraction relationship, and I really do think I'm right. I have in my files letters from people like that who affirm their Christianity and plead with me to see their case and to see their side of the argument. Here's the bottom line. If God does not deliver you from the orientation, he often does. It's possible that it's a struggle.

In fact, it will be. God's standard for you is very clear in the scripture, and that would be to live a life that is celibate. One day I was asked by a reporter whether or not we are prejudiced against homosexuals at Moody Church, and I said, you know, we have the same standard for everybody.

No matter what your orientation is, all relationships outside of a man, woman, married relationships are sinful, period. That's our view. And so what you need to do is to understand that, oh, you say, well, it isn't fair. Oh, you know, who in the world ever came up with the idea that life should be fair? Now, it is going to balance out because we're going to talk about Romans chapter 2, how the judgment of God is going to balance things, but of course life isn't fair. It isn't fair for a lot of different reasons, and what we need to do as believers is to realize that it is God's calling for all of us to live pure lives sexually as we struggle with our lustful desires to continue to struggle and to seek God's people and God for victory, and it is God's intention that we live pure lives. Now, also, it is God's intention that we all live with unfulfilled desires. There are some of you who perhaps have the desire to be a mother, but you're not married.

Possibly you'll never be married. It's an unfulfilled desire that you and I have to live with, and we all have that. So the Apostle Paul here is mapping out the fact that God is someone who delivers people, but even if your orientation isn't changed, the Word of God gives the standard. Finally, a third observation, life challenging, and a whole lot of good news. God sometimes abandons people to their own lusts and desires. God sometimes delivers people, or at least some people, I should say that better. God delivers some people from those who have these addictions, and certainly that's the case of the people in Corinth, and there are thousands of stories like those all throughout the United States of America. But God always, now this is point number three, God always extends grace to those who come to him with humility and faith, always extends grace.

That is the message of the Gospel. Many years ago, I met a young man whom I call Roger. Roger was in the homosexual lifestyle. Roger, if I might put it somewhat delicately, he serviced other men in that particular lifestyle. I asked him, how many partners have you had?

He said, I don't know, but he estimated 750. Now God saved him gloriously, and he talked about how God enabled him to get out of it, and the battle that it was, and how he quoted Scripture, and as he quoted these verses of Scripture, just awash with these tremendous desires, how they would dissipate, but they would come back, and he continued to quote Scripture, ended up actually being married and having a child, even though he himself later died of AIDS. As a miracle of God, his wife did not contract the disease. Now, as a Christian, he witnessed people in the hospital to the grace and the love of God before he died. What I want to do today is to illustrate the Gospel that Paul is going to explain in the book of Romans as we go through the text. I'm going to use these two books to illustrate God's amazing grace to those who come to him with humility and faith. I want you to visualize that this book that I have here says on it, The Life and Times of Jesus Christ.

Oh, my. So I open The Life and Times of Jesus Christ, and I read it, and I see nothing but beauty and obedience. In fact, I see a quote here.

The Father says, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Nothing but beauty page after page. Wow. Then over here, I have another book, and it is called The Life and Times of Roger. Life and Times of Roger. Let's see what's in this book. Well, we open it up and just filled with impurity. Well, all kinds of sin, betrayal, emptiness, lies.

Ugh. What Jesus in effect says to Roger is, Roger, are you willing to give me the contents of your book? Roger says, oh, Jesus, only too gladly. And Jesus says, if you give me your book, I will rip the contents of your book out. So Jesus comes to Roger. Roger believes in Jesus Christ by faith and is saved. So Jesus, according to our illustration, rips out the pages of Roger's book. And then Jesus takes and rips out the pages of his own book. And he's saying, in effect, Roger, just all that I need now at this point is the covers of your book. So Jesus takes the covers of Roger's book and inserts in it his own contents. It still says The Life and Times of Roger.

You say, huh, I wonder what kind of a life he lived. We are astounded. Beauty, holiness, a sacrifice which Jesus Christ accepts. God is just as pleased with Roger as he is with his own son. You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.

It is a book of such beauty that God himself adores it. That is the gospel. Are you willing today to give God the contents of your book? Are you willing to say today I receive Christ as Savior?

Because remember this, God always extends grace to those who desire it. What we need to do is to let go of all of our self-deceptions, all of our desire of you, all of the suppression of truth, and admit who we are. God says, you admit who you are in my presence. I'll make you who my son was legally by giving him his righteousness. And then we belong to him forever.

The firefighters on 9-11, they were saving people from the burning inferno of the Twin Towers. Jesus comes to deliver us from the wrath of God, revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, against all unrighteousness, and those who suppress the truth. You come to Christ today. We're going to have prayer partners up here, as we often do, as we almost always do. Why don't you come and shake my hand that you've received Christ as Savior?

You can even do it today in the balcony or wherever you may be or listening by way of radio or the internet. You can receive Christ right now. If God has talked to you and this is your moment, you know who you are to respond to the good news of the gospel, Jesus Christ's awesome rescue mission. Let's pray. Father, as we've taken a look into our own hearts, we realize that we're all filled with self-deception.

We spend so much of our time figuring out how to look better than we are. But we thank you that if we admit to our ugliness and our sin and then receive Jesus as Savior, we thank you today that the ugly contents of our book are taken away. I'm going to ask now that there be silence. Why don't you pray to God wherever you may be listening? And if you receive Christ as Savior, the Bible says as many as received him.

To them, he'll give the authority to become God's children. You believe on him right now. Father, for those who are struggling with the truth, help them to overcome their reticence to admit who they are and to receive your grace poured out in Jesus. We thank you that he came to get us because we were on our way to a terrible fire.

We love him. In Jesus' name, amen. My friend today, I trust that your heart has been touched as a result of this message.

I never get over the wonder of being able to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to a hurting, deceived, darkened world. And if you've never received Jesus Christ as your Savior, this is the moment to do so. Admit your sinfulness. Admit your need. Admit that you need to be rescued.

And then trust Jesus Christ who sent that hand from heaven, so to speak, to rescue us from ourselves and our deceptions. Let me ask you a question today. How should the Church respond to what is happening in our culture?

I've written a new book entitled We Will Not Be Silenced, responding courageously to our culture's assault on Christianity. Let me ask you a question. What about global warming?

What is with that? And even if it is true that the earth is warming and even if the scientists are correct, at least some of them, the question is, can we really do something about it? These are the kinds of questions I answer in the book, along with issues of social justice and the like. Now I need to say that this is one of the last times we are going to be making this resource available. Here at Running to Win, we do all that we can to leave resources in your hands that will be a blessing and help you make it all the way to the finish line.

I hope you have a pencil in your hand because for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here is what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com, R-T-W, of course, all one word, rtwoffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book We Will Not Be Silenced.

Call us 1-888-218-9337. It's time once again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Christian students face an uphill battle in today's secular universities. Connie has written asking this, I have a professor who told us that the Bible was not written for today. I know he's wrong, but I don't know how to talk with him about this.

What do I do? Well, Connie, I want to thank you so much for the question because I'm glad that God has put the desire in your heart to speak with your professor about this. But for him to say that the Bible was not written for today is very confusing to me, because after all, the Bible reveals God. It reveals salvation. It has a universal message. It is not just a message for the Westerners and the Easterners have a different message. No, the gospel of grace and salvation is for the whole world. So obviously, because Jesus speaks about heaven, hell, how we can prepare for eternity, obviously the Bible is very relevant for today.

And what we must understand is it was written, of course, in ancient times, but its relevance is up to date. So Connie, I hope that God gives you the courage to speak with your professor and to simply go through the gospel of John and point out that the things that Jesus said are relevant to us, no matter where we may be, no matter what timeframe we have. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. And thank you, Connie, for your question. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635, North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Religion can breed the pride that says I'm okay.

Self-deception, it's especially deep when expressed in religious terms. Next time, a further probing of why we need rescuing so badly. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-10 09:29:41 / 2023-12-10 09:38:28 / 9

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