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An Extraordinary Life Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 5, 2021 1:00 am

An Extraordinary Life Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 5, 2021 1:00 am

Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and died as a perfect sacrifice. Not even His enemies could point to a single flaw. He is worthy of our absolute obedience. And He is the only mediator between God and humanity.

 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. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and died as a perfect sacrifice. Not even His enemies could point to a single character flaw. He is worthy of our absolute obedience since He is the only mediator between God and humanity.

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, someone has said that no one has impacted the human race more than that one solitary life.

Well, Dave, you're absolutely right. No one has impacted the world like Jesus. As a matter of fact, He even splits history.

You have BC and you have AD. But more than that, He's the only one who has ever delivered people from their sins. And thankfully, Christianity has spread around the world. This series of messages is incredibly important because we live in a world that is very confused about Christ and we live at a time when there are even supposed evangelicals who are saying there's more than one way to God.

Well, there isn't. And we need to know how to defend Christ in an age of tolerance. You know, for a gift of any amount, these messages can be yours. Here's what you do.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the series of messages, Christ among other gods. And now let us open our Bibles and once again try to think clearly about who our Savior really is. If you had been living in Leipzig, Germany in 1779 and someone would have given you some theater tickets, maybe you could have seen the play entitled Nathan the Wise. It's a play written by Gotthold Lessing. And the reason that that play was somewhat unique is because during the Enlightenment, the idea arose that all the religions of the world can really be united. And the purpose of that play was to try to show that all religions produce morality and that's what is important and therefore their differences were negligible. Well, it's not only that Lessing believed that, but he also began what is known today as the quest for the historical Jesus. The idea was that we can't look at the New Testament and believe the miracles because miracles like that aren't happening today. And therefore in order for us to try to get behind the New Testament to find out what really happened, we have to strip it clean of the miracles and find out what the real Jesus was like. Mind you, the other presupposition which was clear in those days as it is today among the minds in the minds of many is that the real Jesus was only an ordinary man. And therefore we have to try to find out what the real Jesus was like. As a matter of fact, did you know that liberals who actually approach the New Testament that way tell us that they are doing us a favor?

This is the argument. They say, you know, there aren't very many people who believe Christianity anymore because nobody can accept the miracles if we strip the New Testament of miracles. If we reduce Jesus Christ down to our size, why then indeed Christianity will become popular and men and women will believe? The problem, of course, should be very clear to all that by the time you've done that, there is really nothing worth believing.

Did you know that these kinds of games are still played today? Right here in the great United States of America, 200 scholars have been meeting for six years to figure out what Jesus Christ really was like and what he really said. And you know how they have voted on their opinions? They all have various little balls, and when a certain saying of Jesus is red, those who think that he probably said it put a red ball into the jar. If they think that it's likely he didn't but possible that he did, then they put in a pink one. If they think that the disciples made it up, they use a gray one, and if they're absolutely sure that neither Jesus nor his disciples possibly said it, they put a black ball into the jar.

And so what they do is they sit there and they put these balls in jars to try to come to a consensus. You know what they're doing? They are really trying to take Christ and to censor him.

In fact, what they are trying to do is to make him politically correct. Guess which sayings of Christ receive all the red balls? Oh, all of the ones where he denounces the rich and where he talks about the good Samaritan. Oh yes, Jesus said that. But what about the statements regarding redemption or the new birth or salvation? All those statements speaking rather literally are blackballed. Obviously, Jesus didn't say that.

Now, do you realize how subjective this game has become? It is really up to each person to somehow to look at Christ and to come up with the Jesus that suits his fancy. No manuscript evidence for that kind of a Jesus, but nevertheless, that kind of revisionism is going on all the time. Problem is that no matter how far you get behind those manuscripts, no matter how much historical study you do, the problem is that there is always staring at you in the New Testament a very miraculous Christ.

And there's not too much that you can do about it except to collapse into subjectivism and make up your own version. Now, when you stop to think of it, when Christ was on earth, he was making some fantastic claims. The Jews always went into the temple. It is there that they met God. It is there where they had their sins forgiven. Now, suddenly this man appears on the scene and begins to offer all of those blessings out on the street. He says, if you believe in me, you have eternal life. I will forgive you.

I can speak you clean. So we might expect that in order to back up such awesome claims, he would do miracles. Well, many of you know this is the third in a series of messages entitled Christ Among Other Gods. And today we are looking at the life of Christ, specifically the miracles that he performed that back up his radical claims. Take your Bibles for just a moment and turn to the 12th chapter of the book of Matthew, because it is there where Jesus Christ's miracles finally so confronted his culture that they had to give a response.

And the response was not very pretty. Matthew chapter 12, verse 22. Then there was brought to him a demon-possessed man who was blind and dumb, and he healed him so that the dumb man spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and began to say this man cannot be the son of David, can he? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, this man casts out demons only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons. And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and any city or house divided itself against itself shall not stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then shall his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?

Consequently, they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you, a very miraculous Christ. Now the Pharisees were right about one thing. They were right about the fact that Satan can perform miracles. They knew that. They were wrong in their estimation of Jesus. That should have been clear to them. It wasn't. But nevertheless, they did understand that Satan has power to do miraculous signs.

We need to give them credit for that. And my friend, I want you to know today that in our day and age, we can expect miraculous signs to increase. Because you see, when Satan comes to the Christian church, he does not come with some very blatant heretical doctrines.

The way in which he is going to capture the minds of men, and yes, even the minds of many Christians, is by coming in the guise of a superior form of spirituality. We can expect people to arise who are going to tell us that if you really knew God like I know God, why then indeed you'll understand that we can do miracles. When I was at the Parliament of World Religions walking through all those displays, as I've mentioned to you in previous messages, I was looking for miracles.

I found them everywhere. Courses on miracles. People I never brought with me here to the pulpit today, but Benjamin Krem of the New Age Movement saying that it has been revealed to him that Maetria, the true Messiah, is going to begin to illumine crosses all throughout Southern California, and they have now appeared in 12 different places.

Interest in angels is on the rise because you have all of these visions of angels and of Mary and of Jesus and people not understanding that Satan uses all of those guises to appear. There was a doctor from the Philippines who came to Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, with the intention of gaining some credibility among the medical establishment as to how he does miracles. So he showed movies of his surgery.

Fantastic movies. He was able to cut someone open, lift out all of the diseased organs, and after he had done that, he was able to sew this person back up, use a sponge, wipe off the blood, and there was no trace of the surgery. And the surgeons were asking questions about it. In that audience was a friend of mine whom some of you know because we've had him here at the Moody Church by the name of Bill McLeod. Bill McLeod, sitting in the audience, raised his hand and said, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, said, unless a man be born again, he shall not see the kingdom of God. What does that mean to you? And suddenly the man's voice changed, and a different voice speaking through his vocal cords said, this is the third time I have visited this planet, and I'm not going to answer your question.

End of meeting, end of questions, end of party. You say, well, you know, that's rather obvious. Obviously we know that demons can do that and that Satan is going to do these miraculous signs. We wouldn't be deceived by that. Oh, I wish that it was always so clear.

It's a little bit more subtle than that. There is a man who went to a meeting where their healings were taking place. He was slain in the Spirit. He had been deaf, needed a hearing aid to hear almost anything, and actually was beginning to learn how to read lips so that he could communicate. Came home, he was able to hear a whisper. His wife stood on the other side of the room. She stood to his back and spoke softly and he heard every single word.

They went to bed rejoicing. He woke up in the morning and all of his deafness had returned. It would seem to me that if the miracle was done by Christ, it would have at least lasted for 24 hours. Let me remind you again that when Satan comes, he comes under the guise of a super spirituality.

If you were really on the inside like we are, why then indeed you could do all these signs and you could do all these wonders. Now why should the Pharisees have known that Jesus Christ was not doing these miracles by the power of Beelzebub, the power of the devil? Well, first of all, they should have known it because Jesus Christ's miracles were greater in kind.

They were greater in kind. Certainly Satan can do many things, but one thing he will not do, Jesus said, and that is cast out Satan. So Jesus was delivering people. Jesus was taking people who had compulsive inner spirits and was speaking to those spirits and they left the people and lo and behold the people were clothed and in their right mind and clean within. Now there is something that Satan can't do.

I don't believe that it's possible for Satan to raise the dead, though during the time of Antichrist, he will do some tricks to give people that impression, but Jesus took Lazarus who had been dead for four days and he raised Lazarus from the dead. Christ's miracles were different in kind. They were different in their variety. There were healing miracles. There were helping miracles. They were different in their completeness. In not one single instance in the New Testament when Jesus healed a man who was born blind did the man end up seeing with only one eye.

The deaf, as far as we know, never ended up being able to hear with only one ear. When Jesus spoke, the miracle was immediate, it was complete, and it was predictable based on his words. When Satan does miracles, they are sometimes haphazard. These miracle workers, sometimes the miracle comes to pass, sometimes it doesn't come to pass.

There is a degree of unpredictability. But finally, and very importantly, they should have known that Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God because of his interpretation of the miracles. We don't have time today, though we will give an example or two of how Jesus, almost every time he did a miracle, interpreted it, and in those instances where he didn't, the message should have been obvious. So what I'd like to do now is to very quickly give you three different categories of miracles, or we might say three different ways in which miracles showed Christ's authority. First of all, there were miracles that showed his authority over the natural or the physical realm. One day Christ was at a wedding and they needed wine, and he said to those who were there, if you take the water that is in those pots that you have filled up and if you have faith to give that water to the governor of the feast, you'll find a miracle has taken place.

And they did it, and there was an automatic change in the water to wine. Jesus was out in the middle of a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and he had told his disciples go to the other side. And after they went to the other side, you'll recall that a big storm came up and Jesus walked on the water to go to the disciples. And after he entered into the boat, what does the text say? Jesus spoke and said, peace be still.

And immediately there was a great calm. In fact, one day Jesus said to Peter, Peter, take your net and get some fish. And Peter said, we've been fishing all night. And Jesus said, go out into the deep, which is the place where the fish were not expected to be at that hour of the morning. And they caught a huge draught of fish. Jesus spoke, he commanded, and the fish came. Why those miracles? Well, back in the Old Testament, God said to Adam, I am giving you dominion over the earth.

I'm giving you dominion over the animals. And because of sin, man forfeited it. He does not control nature. And that's why you have earthquakes, and that's why you have tornadoes, and that's why you have disruption.

And there's nothing that we can do about it. Jesus was illustrating to the disciples that he is not controlled by nature, but that he is the controller. The thing that's so impressive is that Christ never misused his power.

He can feed 5,000 with five loaves and two fish, and when it is over, he says to the disciples, gather up the fragments that remain, and when they are hungry and he is sitting on the well, he sends his disciples to Sychar to buy some food. He doesn't create it, though he could, because he does not do miracles frivolously. So first of all, he showed his authority, his great authority over the natural physical realm.

Secondly, authority over the moral realm. His miracles showed that he had that kind of authority too. Take your Bibles now and turn to the book of Mark chapter 2. Mark chapter 2, what a beautiful example of how Jesus Christ used his miracles to confirm spiritual truth.

We won't read the whole passage, but you will remember it. Jesus is at Capernaum, and there is a sick man, and he can't get into the house, so some men who were very creative, they decided to take off the roof of the house. They took the man to the top and they let him right down beside Jesus, so there was no way that Christ could possibly ignore him. Verse 5, Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, my son, your sins are forgiven.

But there were some of the scribes sitting there in reasoning in their hearts. Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God?

That was good reasoning. I can forgive a sin that you do against me, but let's suppose you commit a sin against somebody else. Can I say, well, you know, you're forgiven.

Of course I can't. Only God can say that because he is the one against whom all sin is committed. So they said this must be God's blasphemy. And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is it easier to say to the paralytic, your sins are forgiven, or to say, arise, take up your pallet, and walk?

I need to stop there. And if this were a classroom, I would take time to ask you what is it easier to say? And the answer is, of course, it is easier to say your sins are forgiven. Anybody can say that.

Talk is cheap. You can come to me and I can say your sins are forgiven. You can look into the eyes of someone else and say your sins are forgiven.

And so it's easy to say. And then Jesus says, verse 10, but in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, he said to the paralytic, I say, rise, take up your pallet, and go home. What Christ is saying is, when I forgive sins, that is invisible.

No one sees his or her sins leave when you're forgiven. And therefore what I am doing is miracles in the visible realm to prove that I have a right to do miracles in the invisible moral and spiritual realm. It is difficult to tell a paralytic, rise up and walk, but I will do that, and he will rise up and walk, and that will substantiate my claim.

But I have a right to also say thy sins be forgiven thee. So you see, Jesus used his miracles to show that he had authority beyond the physical realm, but authority also in the spiritual realm. If we had the time and we don't, we'd also turn to the ninth chapter of John, a remarkable story of a man who was born blind whom Christ healed, and we discover at the end of the chapter that the reason that Jesus did it is to illustrate spiritual blindness. He said to the Pharisees, what you don't realize is that you are blind. Bottom line, Christ said, because I have power to physically open eyes, I want you to know that that shows that I also have power spiritually to open people's eyes, because when you do not know Christ as Savior, you are walking in spiritual darkness, and you need me to speak so that your eyes are open. Well, this is Pastor Lutzer. I think that sometimes we become so familiar with the words of Jesus that we forget how breathtaking they really are, to think that he alone has the ability to open people's eyes physically, but also spiritually so that they might see the truth.

We indeed do worship and serve a wonderful Savior. These messages are intended to help us to understand Jesus Christ better, to defend him against other religious options, and to help us know for sure that the one in whom we believe can be trusted. For a gift of any amount, these messages can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com. Ask for the sermon series, Christ Among Other Gods. Or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. In an age of confusion, in an age when children grow up not knowing exactly what to believe and why, this series of messages will be a special blessing, not only a blessing, but it will be a series of instruction. Here's what you can do.

Go to rtwoffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Thanks in advance for standing with us. Together, we're making a difference. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Real miracles include raising the dead and feeding the 5,000, the kind of miracles Jesus did to prove He came from God. Next time on Running to Win, more about the amazing life of Christ, a man whose claims were validated by His miracles. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-22 07:12:59 / 2023-11-22 07:21:34 / 9

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