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The Icon Of Tolerance Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
April 30, 2021 1:00 am

The Icon Of Tolerance Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 30, 2021 1:00 am

You can’t get to heaven by picking out your own religion as you might shop for a new coat. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” To our modern ears this claim sounds intolerant, but the real question is this: Is it true? In the Gospel of John, Jesus was opposed for claiming to be the truth. What about us? How do we respond to Jesus?

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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. You can't get to heaven by picking out your own religion, as you might pick out a new coat. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me. If this sounds intolerant to you, please 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, it seems that those who preach tolerance are getting more intolerant all the time.

Well Dave, you're absolutely right. Sometimes tolerance is actually a word that is used to be intolerant. Tolerance to many people means that you agree with me regarding certain matters and I exclude you if you don't agree with me. Well, all of that can become very confusing but I need to tell you that I am deeply convinced that it is necessary for this generation to understand why Jesus is the only way to the Father.

Should I share my heart with you? I'm heartbroken over the fact that when I read statistics, even in supposed evangelical churches, there are those who believe that there are other ways to heaven. Well, there aren't and it's important for us to be able to defend Christ in this age of tolerance. I want to thank the many of you who support the ministry of Running to Win and if you are blessed as a result of this ministry, would you consider helping us?

Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. You say, well Pastor Lutzer, I need more info. Yes, here is what you do. Go to RTWOffer.com.

RTWOffer.com and then click on the endurance partner button or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337. Thanks in advance for standing with us and now we go to the pulpit of Moody Church to show why Jesus Christ has the credentials, the only credentials to actually be a Savior. Now what I'd like to do is to ask you to take your Bibles and to turn to them because Jesus had a different view of truth than we've been talking about and turn to the 8th chapter of the Gospel of John. John chapter 8 where Jesus makes some astounding statements regarding truth.

John chapter 8 and we pick it up at verse 31. Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed in him, if you abide in my word then you are truly my disciples and you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free. Four very explosive observations about truth. First of all, truth is universal.

It's universal. You see, Jesus not only spoke the truth but he said that he was the truth therefore it would have been absolutely absurd for him to say I'm the truth but I'm only the truth for the western part of the world. Like we were told at the parliament of world religions, Christianity is the western religion but pantheism is the religion of the east so Jesus you see is just good for half the world.

That's foolishness. He not only said that God loved the world i.e. the whole world but he says if I be lifted up I will draw all men to me. You know it's interesting when Pilate put that sign above Jesus in those days when you were crucified. The reason that you were crucified, your crime was written on top of the cross and it said the king of the Jews and the scripture says that Pilate put it in Hebrew, the religion, the language I should say of religion, in Hebrew he put it in Greek which is the language of culture and then he put it in Latin which is the language of government so that all the different people that were there at the city of Jerusalem could walk by and they could read this is the king of the Jews.

Now they wanted Pilate to change it and to say that he said he was king of the Jews but Pilate said what I have written I have written and he let that sign stay up at the top of the cross. But even here though Pilate didn't know it he was emphasizing the the universality of Jesus that if Jesus is the truth he is the truth for everybody and if he is not the truth for everybody then he's not the truth for me either. You say well Pastor Lutzer let's suppose I'm having a lunch with somebody and they say well you know you're into Jesus and I'm into Buddhism what do I say? What you do is you look at them very lovingly and you say you know you're entitled to your own opinion but I want you to know today that you are not entitled to your own truth.

You're not entitled to your own truth your own opinion yeah opinions are a dime a dozen but you're not entitled to your own truth because if you have found some truth that truth is universal and that truth applies to me and that truth applies to you in the realm of mathematics and science we understand that truth is transcultural and in the realm of religion Jesus came as a trans cultural savior for the world not just for a part of it. You say well what if he says I'm into transcendental meditation and it works. What you need to do is to say this that there's a distinction between the question of whether something is true and whether or not it works. Did you know that falsehoods sometimes work? Lies sometimes do work you know like the little schoolboy who said that a lie is an abomination unto the Lord but a very present help in time of trouble.

Lies sometimes work. So you see even though you have found something that works that does not mean that you have to give up the quest for truth you still have to ask it works but is it true? Truth is always universal. Secondly truth is always consistent. I get so weary of people who say well you know these western laws of logic they don't apply to the east.

I don't have time this morning to show you why statements like that are utterly nonsensical. Truth is consistent with itself. You can't believe a contradiction. I know that Alice in Wonderland believed as many as six before breakfast but that was in Wonderland.

You can't believe contradictions in the city of Chicago or anywhere else. In fact God is incapable of contradiction. Not even God can take two and two and make it equal to five. You see there are people even at the parliament who said well you know Christianity is true. There were those who wanted to say Christianity is true. Now Christianity says that there is one God and that God said thou shalt have no other gods before me. Over here you have Hinduism with its 300,000 gods. Do you mean to tell me that it's true too and all that we need to do is to shed the way in which we think and stop being logical and believe both of those?

It's absurdity. Somebody as well said that if all the religions of the world are true the universe would be a cosmic madhouse, a cosmic madhouse. As a matter of fact I was thinking about this the other day and it dawned on me that if all the religions of the world are true they are all false because they all contradict one another.

Truth is always consistent. You say well you know but pastor what if I'm sitting across the table from this person and he says you know I look at the different religions of the world like spokes in a wheel. You can have as many spokes as you want and you know the outer rim that's the doctrinal part and what you need to do is you need to leave that because at the level of the rim when you look across at somebody else's rim you say how could anybody possibly believe that and what you need to do is to move toward the center and as you move toward the center you discover why indeed you all end at the same place. Then what you say to them with a great deal of love and compassion in your heart is to say you know that's an interesting illustration but it is profoundly profoundly misleading for two reasons. First you're assuming the truth and error can do what the spokes of a wheel can do. Yeah of course the spokes of a wheel can be laid in such a way that they converge at the center but truth and error never converge. If you were going to illustrate truth and error with the spokes of a wheel you'd have to put the spokes parallel they would be like train tracks throughout all of eternity because truth never becomes error and error never becomes truth from the beginning of time to the end of time. So just because spokes can be laid in that way it doesn't mean the truth and error can be. You can't make two and two five simply because you've decided to lay truth out like the spokes of a wheel. But there's a second reason and that is that you were assuming that the rim the doctrine is unimportant and somehow you have to leave that behind and you have to get to the center the deep blue sky. Well I want you to know today that what you experience at that center is determined what you believe at the rim.

Incredibly important. You know what one of the surprises was as we engaged people in discussion and unfortunately there were not a lot of Christians there I knew of perhaps only five or six but I was with one with whom we had some good times together interacting. As we talked to people who were into transcendental meditation into the new age I would say to them you know I'm going to say something to you that is going to make you think that I should be dusted off and put into a museum but I'm going to say it anyway. Did you know that through those experiences at the center you actually encounter evil spirits? You encounter Satan? You know what I thought they were going to say?

I thought they were going to say kick this guy out he's medieval. Who in the world believes in the devil today? The surprise was the half dozen or so people to whom I said that all agreed with me.

That was the surprise. But they said you know we've learned to distinguish Satan from evil spirits. We accept only those spirits that come to us that are dressed in light some people said which of course the Apostle Paul anticipated when he said that Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Others of them said well that's the whole point that's why when you get into this you need a guru you need someone to guide you to develop your sensitivity so that you can distinguish the evil from the good. Well it's not all sweetness and light there at the center of the hub evidently. My dear friend let us never forget that what we experience at the center is determined what we believe at the rim because there's so much deception in the world today. Truth is universal. Truth is consistent. Truth can be known. Did you notice the text Jesus said you shall know the truth? Elsewhere in the Gospel of John Christ said if you want to know the will of God and are willing to do it you will know of the doctrine whether I'm speaking of myself or whether I'm speaking also for my father. Jesus said you'll know that. You see there's a great willingness on our part outwardly to say that we want to know the truth but when we begin to think of what the demands of that truth might involve suddenly we are not so sure anymore whether or not we want to know the truth.

But there are some of you listening to this message on a cassette tape some of you by radio some of you by videotape and I want to say to you very candidly today if you don't know Christ as your savior would you please seek for truth as you read the New Testament because he says truth can be known. And finally and most importantly truth sets us free. You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free verse 36 if therefore the son shall make you free you shall be free indeed. Now you say well what kind of freedom is Jesus talking about? There is such a thing as political bondage that people need freedom from. There is such a thing as marital bondage at times that people would like to have freedom from. There's different kinds of bondage that we'd like to all be free of possibly but Jesus is talking about a particular kind of bondage namely sin.

It is the worst kind of bondage. We get letters from people who are in prison who are freer in prison because they've accepted Christ as savior than those who are out of prison but do not know Jesus. And here's what Christ said. He says everyone who commits sin this is verse 34 is the slave of sin. Now slaves don't wake up in the morning and tell the master what to do do they? Slaves get their orders and there are even now some of you listening to me who are getting your orders every single day from this terrible taskmaster called sin. There is within you that ravenous wolf that seeks to sin and no matter how much you feed it it only becomes stronger until you are overwhelmed by it and Jesus said that you're a slave and the master is stronger than you are.

And that's why he says that you need divine help. You need the son to set you free. And then he says not only will the son set you free but he says there's a kind of freedom that is the indeed kind of freedom.

You will be free indeed. There's a young man whose story illustrates the search for truth. His name is James Stevens who was with us here at the congregation a couple of weeks ago. Brought up in Montana, attended Sunday school, got turned off and I found out at the parliament by the way many people got turned off somewhere along the line in Sunday school.

You Sunday school teachers you have a tremendous responsibility because many children get their interest in Christ or their disinterest in Christ based on their Sunday school experience. When he came to college he knew that there was something that was missing inside and he attended a Buddhist meeting and a man there befriended him and so James Stevens became a committed Buddhist for 14 years, zealously committed, won 54 American college students into Buddhism, converted them to that religion. But you know he discovered that even though it seemed so good he said when he first went into those Buddhist meetings it seemed as if the chanting was the angels in heaven singing sweetly he said. But as time began to wear on he discovered that the promises that were made weren't working.

You see they said that you could actually transform your consciousness through meditation and through praying to certain gods and he said he looked into his heart and there was not only emptiness but there was all this sin. And it wasn't going anywhere, it wasn't getting any better and whenever he asked for help and said what do I do now they kept saying do more, do more. He was already following the eightfold path as best he could and they said go on a pilgrimage. He was tired.

What do you do? That was step number one. Step number two was when he met a Christian friend who said you know what you ought to do you ought to read the New Testament. He thought well you know that's the thing I let go of way back in Montana in that Sunday school classroom.

You know it is amazing of those who have been turned off by Christianity in their youth who have never given any reconsideration of the Bible as an adult. But he began to read the New Testament and he read things he had never read before. He had been told that Jesus Christ was simply a reincarnation but he read the Bible and discovered that Christ was not a reincarnation, Christ had been raised from the dead. And then he said he read verses like this, he that comes to me shall never hunger, he that believes on me shall never thirst. And he began to read all these wonderful promises and then best of all he came across some promises that he could be forgiven. That is not what he discovered in the religion that he had bought into. And now I'm quoting his own words. Convicted of my sin against a holy God I laid my burden at the Savior's feet and gave him my life.

That night my wife who had been a Buddhist for 16 years also believed. What grace, what grace. He said the thing that struck him about Jesus was that he was a personal God. He was a God who could speak. He was not just a force.

He was a God who made promises and then he had all those credentials with which he could back up those promises. What a difference. No longer trying to change your own heart through all of these transformation experiences which work at various levels of utility.

No longer that. But suddenly God breaking into his soul from outside. Remember Seneca's words he said, oh that a hand might come down from heaven and deliver me from my oppressing sins. I can't do it.

They tell me to meditate but the thoughts are still with me. I'm torn by lust and by greed and by anger and the lack of peace. I had all these promises.

I need help from somewhere else. The New Testament says that a hand has come down from heaven to deliver us. Come on to me all ye that are weary and heavy laden said Jesus and I will give you rest. Why is it that I'm preaching this series of eight messages of which this is the first? It is to impress upon your mind and mine that Napoleon was right when he said the difference between Jesus Christ and all the other men in the world is the difference of eternity. Who else can speak words of eternal life and then back them up with a performance. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

In the presence of the risen exalted Christ all other gods fade into oblivion. Let us pray. Our Father we want to thank you today that you've not left us alone, that you have been here. We think of the many who may be with us who have been searching for truth wandering from church to church, from religion to religion, from group to group thinking that there is more somewhere but not knowing where to stop. We pray today that they may see that Jesus Christ's view of truth is so different from that of the world that he's the savior for everybody and that he could speak truth because he is truth and then said, look at me, test me, prove me. We pray that in this very confused age that you might make us great and powerful witnesses of his truth. And now before I close this prayer I want you to pray. Some of you have never received Christ as savior.

You are religious but there is within your heart all the emptiness that one could imagine. God put it there so that you might seek him through Christ. Why don't you tell Jesus even where you are Lord Jesus I believe on you at this very moment I receive you as mine.

Tell him that. And then let us all receive from his hand the freedom, the forgiveness, and the help that he came to give. Thank you Lord Jesus. We worship you today in your wonderful name.

Amen. Well my friend this is Pastor Luther and of course quoting Napoleon I didn't mean to imply that he was a believer necessarily. It's just that as he understood Jesus Christ he knew that Christ was different from all the others that are out there.

And our generation needs to hear that. I've written a book entitled Christ among other gods a defense of Christ in an age of tolerance. This book defends Christ against other religions shows why it is that Jesus is the only way to the father. Now we make these resources available to you to help you make it all the way to the finish line to defend the faith to be able to share it with others with a better understanding of who Jesus Christ is.

And I believe very deeply that is needed in today's world. These kinds of resources are intended to help all of us as we journey through life. For a gift of any amount this book can be yours it's entitled Christ among other gods a defense of Christ in an age of tolerance. Let me tell you about a college student who sat down one afternoon and read this book from the beginning to the end.

And when she was finished she said now I accept Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord. That's why we make these resources available. 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 you can call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Thanks in advance for helping us. We have a desire to preach Christ to exalt him and to show why he alone has the place of honor. Because as we progress in this series we'll better understand that he alone has the credentials to actually be a savior. Call us at 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614. The son of God's arrival in Bethlehem fulfilled countless prophecies and drew the attention of legions of angels. There's a good reason why our calendars pivot from BC to AD at the time of his birth. Next time on Running to Win join us for a look at the extraordinary virgin birth of Jesus and why that birth makes him unique. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-23 23:02:31 / 2023-11-23 23:11:12 / 9

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