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We Have No Map For This Territory Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
June 15, 2021 1:00 am

We Have No Map For This Territory Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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June 15, 2021 1:00 am

When God chooses to judge a nation, He has several methods at His disposal. One of them is economic collapse. When the house of cards called “Debt” comes crashing down, everybody loses. Society may well break down if hyperinflation ruins our currencies. God can allow human greed to cause massive suffering. In this message we learn how God can exact judgment on nations.

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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. When the house of cards called debt comes crashing down, everybody loses.

Society may well break down if hyperinflation ruins our currencies. God can allow human greed to cause massive suffering. Today, more on how God can exact judgment on nations. 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, is it fair to say that all times of deprivation mean that God is judging us?

Dave, I have to say that answering that question is more difficult than it appears. On the one hand, all sin has immediate judgments. We certainly see this in families. We see this in the lives of individuals. Now, collectively, as we look at nations, we know that God oftentimes brings those nations into judgment. And sometimes that judgment is just the consequences of their bad choices, the consequences of going in the wrong direction. But we have to be very careful so that we don't end up trying to read the fine print of God's eternal purposes.

What we need to do as a church is to ask ourselves a simple question, how do we live in the midst of a nation that has lost its way? And you know, I've written a book entitled How to Break a Stubborn Habit. And by the way, today is the last day we are making this resource available to you. It's entitled How to Break a Stubborn Habit.

And I need to emphasize it is not just about stubborn habits. It has a wider ministry on how to navigate toward holiness when all the culture and all that is happening is pushing against us. I think it'll be a tremendous help to you. It'll even help us as we navigate the issues that this sermon series is talking about.

For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Go to That's or call us at 1-888-218-9337. I want you to know that to all of our listeners, we don't take you for granted. We exist to help you, to warn you, yes, but to also show you the path forward. So you listen carefully. And it says in the book of Deuteronomy, God said to the people, if you follow me, you will lend to many nations and you will not borrow.

Now, what do I need to say about the United States of America? As we begin to spend our way into oblivion and we realize, by the way, that it is the children who are going to suffer. That's exactly what Jeremiah says. He says it is the children. He says the Babylonians are going to come and they are going to destroy your children. I can't see it in the text right now.

It's written here in my notes somewhere. But that's what God says. And children are going to suffer more arguments, more arguments about money, more divorces. And that's what pains me the most about the future is the kind of debt and devastation we are leaving for our children and our grandchildren.

But it's easy to point our fingers at the federal government. What about us? What about our consumerism?

How did we as families get into such deep debt? I'll speak about that possibly in another message, except to say that it may well be that God says enough is enough. So we are being judged economically. Let me say also that we are being judged religiously. How does God really judge a nation?

Here's what he does. He takes people's ears and he makes them deaf to the truth so that they will only accept what they want to hear. He says in the book of Amos, he said, I'm going to send a famine to you, but it's not going to be a famine of bread and water. He said it's going to be a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. In other words, you aren't going to hear God's word. And if you don't hear God's word, you're going to be deluded by someone who pretends to preach it. And that's why Jeremiah spends so much time on false prophets.

Your Bibles are open, for example, in chapter 5, verse 12. It says, verse 12, they have spoken falsely of the Lord and have said he will do nothing. False prophets are speaking. There will be no sword or disaster that will come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine. And then they're speaking about the true prophets and they say, you know prophets like Jeremiah, prophets like Ezekiel, they are like wind.

The word is not in them. Now your Bibles are still open to chapter 5. Look at what it says in verse 30. An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests rule at their direction.

My people love to have it so. But what will you do when the end comes? Now before I read the next verse about false prophets, I have to tell you I'm sometimes amazed at God's leading in my life. Yesterday morning, I was watching the news very early when I got out of bed and I decided to turn to a channel I sometimes turn to when I want to hear a false prophet.

Yeah, you can do that. You know you can find them everywhere. Now I don't have to tell you, do I, that not everybody on television is a false prophet. I'll give you one clue in just a moment as to how to tell the difference.

Not the only clue, but it's an important clue. And so this false prophet was saying, I was there, he said and I had this vision of Jesus. And Jesus came to me with a tray of cookies from one end to the other and he said about with this tone of voice, take a cookie. I'm telling you the truth.

Maybe some of you watch that channel too. And then he went on to say about all of the blessings that should come into our life. I couldn't take any more of it. And then I'm sure it ended by saying send me some money that'll be seed money and God will bless you from now throughout all eternity if you just give me money. I was sitting there thinking, how does this relate to the pastor who is in Iraq sitting in jail waiting to be executed?

How does it relate? In fact, one of the messages I'm going to preach in this series is entitled faith at the breaking point. It's going to have to deal with martyrdom and whether or not our faith is strong enough to endure it. But how does that pastor relate to that?

How does somebody who's dying of cancer whose kids are all sick, exactly how does that relate that you're all supposed to be happy, happy, happy? So I'll tell you right out. If you want to find a false prophet, it's quite easy to do, but they prophesy in God's name. All throughout here God says they prophesy in my name, but I've not sent them. I'll read the verse and then I'll give you the clue.

This is in chapter 14 verse 13. Then I said, oh Lord, behold, the prophets say to them, you shall not see the sword nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place. And the Lord said to me, the prophets are prophesying lies in my name.

I did not send them nor did I command them to speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name, although I did not send them and who say, oh, sword and famine shall not come upon this land? Uh-uh, especially if you send me money. By sword and famine, those prophets shall be consumed and the people to whom they prophesy will be out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword with none to bury them, their wives, their sons, their daughters, for I will pour out their evil upon them.

Wow. How do you know a false prophet? One clue, not the only clue. Sometime in the future in a different series of messages, I'd like to speak about false prophets in more detail, but I'll simply throw this out to you. Don't ever follow a preacher who does not have a good theology of suffering. That's one of the ways to find a false prophet. When the Apostle Paul was distinguishing between the true and the false prophets, you remember what he said.

He said, if you want to know that I'm legit, watch how I suffer. And of all that you get is this business of being blessed and that everybody's to be healed because Jesus took care of the curse. Of course Jesus took care of the curse, but we don't inherit all of it now. That's why even false prophets eventually die.

Death is the curse too, never known of one that has lived forever or even beyond the age of 100. So the point is this, that God says, I'm going to judge these false prophets. And I can imagine that when the devastation comes, if the day of calamity should come upon us, all of these false prophets would suddenly vanish like a tsunami taking care of a sandcastle. And God would say, all of your visions and all of your dreams and all of the prophecies that there will be no judgment and no suffering are all wrong.

How do we wrap this up so that you and I know where we're going in this series of messages? I've entitled this particular message, We Have No Map for This Territory. And it's because I'm talking about places where you and I have never been.

At least I haven't. But it's not as if there is no territory that others have not experienced. And as I mentioned in the book of Jeremiah, we already see it.

Now here's the way in which we need to nail a few things down. First of all, let me say that calamities and judgments from God may be unavoidable. I'll talk about this when I speak about God's eventual judgment. But in the book of Revelation, there's a phrase I never saw before. Have you ever had that experience?

You just say, I never saw that before. It says that when Babylon is destroyed, all the cities of the world will collapse. That's what's going to happen to Chicago. We cannot stop the eventual demise of America. America isn't even mentioned in prophecy.

We can maybe slow it down, and we should do all that we possibly can. But in Ezekiel 14, a very interesting passage, God says, I'm bringing judgment. And even though Noah and Job are praying, and Daniel, he said, I won't stop my hand. There is such a thing as a tipping point, where God says, I have had enough.

And sometimes it's inevitable. I think that God has brought many remedial judgments to America. But we're not listening. I read to you a moment ago, I guess I didn't.

I have more material here today than I can cover. But I've read a moment ago where God says, I'm going to stop up their ears, and they're not going to hear. People don't want to hear about God and judgment.

They just don't want to hear. You know what they did with Jeremiah? They threw him in a pit. Jeremiah ended in a prison. I mean, it was not a fairy tale story of how this prophet, you know, began to drive a new chariot.

There was nothing along that line. It was tough sledding. But God says, I'm going to defend you, and I'm going to be with you, and you're my servant. And God says that to you today. You are God's servant for this moment, even though people don't want to hear. Second, in a time of judgment, judgment is always collective. When the Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem, Jeremiah suffered along with them, and the remnant of believers also suffered, just like us. After all, we are on the same ship.

We are going to the same destination as a country we are. I love the words of Chesterton. He said, we are on a life raft together in a fearful storm.

We owe one another a terrible allegiance. And I would say that as Moody Church, one of the things I want to have happen in this series is that we think through better ways how we can help one another through fearful storms. And could I say as a parenthesis that there is much more going on in this congregation than you know about, even that I know about, and I know more than most of you. We are helping people who are going through their own day of calamity. We are sometimes paying their bills. We are involved whether the calamity is personal, whether it is economic, whether or not it is other areas of counseling. We are doing what we can. But you who are sitting here today listening to this, you also owe to us a frightful, terrible kind of loyalty. We have to go through the future together. And I'm burdened for the many of you who believe that Christianity is a matter of convenience.

You may come to a service. You never give anything. You never volunteer for anything. You never commit to anything. You're never part of a small group because you simply think you can coast.

I am not a prophet like Jeremiah, but I believe the day is coming, and it could even happen in my lifetime, when the day of casual Christianity will finally be over. And there will be a distinction between the committed and the uncommitted, and coasting will no longer be an option. But we're in it together. Same boats, you'll say, well, you know, those who are in favor of same-sex marriage are saying, in effect, you know, I can drill a hole on my side of the boat, and I have a constitutional right to do that. Well, yeah, but the problem is we're on the same boat. That's the problem. We cannot separate that, and that's not the only issue.

It's the only one that came to mind right now. But we are in this together. And I say as a congregation, are we going to hang together? I hope so.

We're very quiet out there. Finally, I see this as nothing but a great time of opportunity. What an opportunity.

What a time to be alive. On Friday on the plane coming from Canada, Rebecca gave me a newspaper, or I should say a magazine. She wanted me to read an article.

Not an article. Here's a young mother dying of cancer. And before she died, she said this, and she has young children. At least they talked about a son who was still young and having some disabilities. Can you imagine? Can cancer be any worse than that to take a young mother?

I can't think of anything worse right off the top of my head. But she said, to me, the big C in my life is not cancer. The big C in my life is Christ. That's what it's all about. The goal of life is not to have a long life. God may give it to you as he did my parents, but that's not the goal of life is to try to figure out how do we live an extra day. The goal of life is not to have a long life. The goal of life is to glorify Jesus no matter what situation we are in or what is happening around us.

That's the goal of life. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. And so the big C in our lives is not calamity. The big C in our lives is Christ.

And some of you who are listening don't even know him personally. You must acknowledge your own need of him and realize that he died to be our savior. And when he is our savior, he will be our protector, even as Jeremiah was protected. Not protected from evil and not protected from suffering, but protected from the wrath of God and protected and God says, no matter where you go, no matter what situation you're in, no matter what pressure you have on you, I'm going to be there with you.

I'm not going to abandon you. Even in Jeremiah, God talks about a remnant that he is going to be with no matter what. And that's why this series of messages is being preached. It is to help us clarify our values to get rid of the fog and to see what is eternal and what is important. And then to know whether it is a famine, whether it is a desert, or some other hard place, we can make it safely to our eternal home. And we're created for this moment, this hour, right now, at this moment, to be God's representative in a world that clearly has lost its way. Let us pray together.

Father, we feel like Jeremiah. You know, we're scared. We're saying, well, we don't know what to say. We don't know what to do.

We're totally paralyzed. We've been told our faith is supposed to be private. We've kept it very, very private. We've done very well. We've not lived it out.

We've not shared it. We've held it to ourselves. And here we are, with everything running over us, weak, eager to compromise. Oh, Father, we may not be able to do too much about the world, too much about politics, perhaps a little bit that we should do, but at the end of the day, help us to be changed by whom we trust, and give us the courage and give us the hope that we need to make it successfully to the other side. Help us to be gripped by the fact that you've called us to this moment of history, to be your representative in this world. And for those who have never trusted Christ as Savior, help them to see that if they come under the shadow of his protection through faith, receiving his gift of salvation and his forgiveness, they can be also on the path with us to something far better than Earth has to offer. We ask in Jesus' name.

Amen. Well, my dear friend, this is Pastor Lutzer. Could I have a personal word with you?

Let me ask you a question. How are you doing in your walk with God? Are you consistent? Are you constantly failing? As you look around and see the news that is so discouraging and oftentimes so divisive, what is your response to all that is taking place?

Are you able to have a center within your heart that is stabilized when everything around you is shifting? I've written a book entitled How to Break a Stubborn Habit. This book is not just about stubborn habits but actually helps us on the way to holiness. It points the direction that all of us must go. It helps us to understand what God wants to do in our lives even in a time of personal failure and a time of personal discouragement. By the way, did you know that God can actually redeem our failures if we respond to them correctly?

Never before have we needed that certainty and that assurance from God that he is with us in the midst of our situation. Today is the last day we are making this book available to you. It's entitled How to Break a Stubborn Habit, and it will be sent to you for a gift of any amount.

Now, here's what you do. Go to That's, or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

You say, Pastor Lutzer, I didn't have an opportunity to write that down. Well, I'm going to be giving you that contact info again. Remember, it's the last day that we are making this resource available, How to Break a Stubborn Habit. Here's what you do.

Go to, and as you might guess, rtwoffer is all one word,, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Thanks for standing with us as we run to win. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. When God wants to deepen our spiritual maturity, he sometimes takes away all the comforts we've been used to and then leads us into the wilderness for our greater good and his greater glory. Next time, we meet a man named Abraham. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-04 09:12:24 / 2023-11-04 09:20:51 / 8

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