Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The psalmist extolled the Word of God in the 19th Psalm, listing its many attributes.
These are days that sap our joy. Only by focusing on the Word of God can we have joy the world cannot take away. 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, are there lessons we can learn every day from the Word, or can we ever say we've arrived at full knowledge? Oh, Dave, am I the only one who has to confess that I have to constantly relearn lessons that I once knew?
That's why we never arrive at full knowledge. You know, just the other day I was reading the book of 2 Peter, and three times Peter says, I want you to remember, I don't want you to forget. And so it is that we must be renewed by the Word constantly, and we never arrive.
But it's so important that we get the Word of God on our level. I'm holding in my hands a book entitled Awesome Bible Verses Every Kid Should Know. This is a delightful book for children ages perhaps 6 to 12. It's actually written by my wife. And at the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be telling you about a picture that especially blessed my soul. But this book can be yours for a gift of any amount. Go to rtwoffer.com.
That's rtwoffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And because we never arrive, let's listen carefully. To come to God, to be forgiven and to be received, the precepts of the Lord remind us that there can be joy given by God even in the midst of failure. Jesus said, these words I have spoken unto you that ye may rejoice. The Bible teaches about a kind of rejoicing that is really not even related to circumstances. Only the precepts of the Lord can do that because where are you going to go to find hope?
Well, we have to continue. You'll notice that the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. Today, people think to themselves they are enlightened because they are free. Someone said, and I don't know who it is, but it's a wonderful quote. He said, the real object of human beings is not freedom, but rather to find out who your master really is because nobody is exactly free. You don't accept God as your master.
The freedom that you will have is the freedom to live according to your selfish desires, and eventually you will be overtaken by sin. And so what David said is the commandment of the Lord is pure. That is to say, it is clear. It is not contaminated, and it enlightens you.
It gives you perspective. A moment ago, I told you about simpletons who allow everything in, and they don't know where the beauty is. They don't know where to put it unless they are made wise by the word. Another way to look at it is a friend of mine said that he lived in France, close to Mount Blanc, which is really connected between Switzerland and France. And he said that there was this house that really faced the beautiful mountain of Mount Blanc. And he said the shutters were always closed.
He could never understand that. But there are times when we forget that when we come to the word of God and we are open to its message, it will keep us from being the simpleton we spoke about a moment ago, and it will give us enlightenment and will say to ourselves, where have I been all these years, stumbling around, trying to make the best of life, not understanding reality, not understanding what things are about. Well, the word of God, the commandment is pure. It will enlighten your eyes. You'll notice it says it is clean. Now we're in verse 9, and it says the fear of the Lord.
Remember this. In context, the word fear is a synonym for the Bible. It's a synonym for the law of God, the fear of God. Calvin, the great theologian, said we should give the word of God the same reverence that we give God, the fear of the Lord. Of course, when I say that, I don't mean that we worship this book, that is to say with its pages and mine happens to have a leather cover.
That would be a terrible form of idolatry. But when we come to the word of God, we come to it with the same kind of reverence with which we come to God because we know that this is his breath. This is his message to us. And so the fear of the Lord is clean, uncontaminated.
And what does it say about the fear of the Lord is clean? It endures forever. Do you see, my friend, you finally found something on which you can build your life. It endures forever. My word shall not pass away. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God shall stand forever.
Wow. Then you have also, as we continue on, you'll notice it says the rules of the Lord are true. The rules of the Lord are true. This is the last part of verse 9, and are righteous all together. What does the word of God do for us? Well, you'll notice that at the end of the psalm, David is now recognizing that there are some things he has to deal with.
It can't get close to God without realizing that you're in need as a sinner. I think it was Calvin and his institutes who actually began the institutes of saying that the knowledge of man and the knowledge of God happens simultaneously. If you don't know God, you don't know who you are. Like the German enlightenment scholar Goethe, and it's not Goethe, okay? He said, I don't know who I am, and I hope nobody ever finds out.
Goethe. If God used that word to get you into heaven, some of you wouldn't make it, would you? And thank God that's not the way to heaven. But the point is, it is only in God's presence. Who you are in God's presence is who you are, period.
Nothing more, nothing less. And what David is saying is now he begins to realize that this word is so penetrating. He says, who can discern his errors? Can you discern all your errors? Do I know all the sins I've ever committed?
Thank God I don't have to count them. But the point is, there are some sins that we commit that we are unaware of committing. And that's why he says, declare me innocent from hidden faults. You know, the kinds of things you do, that you and I do, that we're not even aware of, but God calls them sin.
He says, deliver me from those. But more seriously, he says, keep back your servant from presumptuous sins. Those are sins that we commit, and we know exactly what we are doing.
We know we're grieving God. We know that we are sinning, but we go ahead and we presumptuously sin. In the Old Testament, there was no sacrifice for that, but thank God that through God's forgiveness, of course, of course there is forgiveness for presumptuous sins. Who of us could stand up today and say, I have never willfully, knowingly sinned? All of us stand condemned. And what David said is, he said, deliver me from these kinds of sins, that I might be innocent from great transgression, because the more we tolerate presumptuous sins, the more we end up committing great transgression.
That's what the text is saying here. And David is saying, oh, that I might be delivered from presumptuous sin, that they might not have dominion over me, whoever you submit yourself as dominion, and I'll be innocent from great transgression, because sin always takes us farther than we intended to go and keeps us longer than we intended to stay. So David says, deliver me from those kinds of transgressions. And then he even becomes more personal and says, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable.
Where is that coming from? It's coming from the recognition that if God is who he is and his word is what he says it is, that means that God knows all about me. In fact, I think I might preach on this next time, not sure. That God knows all about me. All things are open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Oh, God, may the words of my tongue and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, God, because I've been found out, and you've been found out, and I've been found out.
The jig is over. God knows all about you, as indicated in the word. How do we bring this down to some transforming lessons that should change us as we get immersed in the word in our 40-day commitment to be changed by the word? First of all, the value of the word, the value.
A moment ago, I skipped verse 10. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold. You read that and you say, you've got to be kidding. One time, I think it was on the Discovery Channel, I saw a special on the gold rush. It was unbelievable. Men and women were willing to risk their lives. They were willing to cheat, to steal. They were willing to kill to get gold. As a matter of fact, when you stop to think of it, you wave big money in somebody's face, and unless they are deeply rooted in the word, they'll just simply throw all their principles out the window.
The power of gold, fine gold that will survive our next depression. More to be desired, you say, that can't be. Try to go down to Wall Street and tell them this. Preach this message there and see what you get.
Not a whole lot of open hearts to that. Get it if you can get it honestly. If you have to get it deceitfully, get it deceitfully.
But above all, get it. But David says, these precepts are more precious than gold because you know what? When it comes time for you to die and to give an account for God, you can die surrounded by all of your cougarands, all of your pieces of gold, and they will not help you. David said ultimately it's more important than what I eat. More precious, he says, than honey or the honeycomb. And you know that the honeycomb tastes very good, almost as good as chocolate. So the point is that, he says, more precious to be desired.
You know what Job said? Chapter 23, I think it's verse 10. He said, I have esteemed the words of thy mouth more than my necessary food. Listen, there are times when God's word is much more important than whether or not we eat. Because God's word is dealing with the eternal, it is dealing with your soul. The value of God's word is beyond comprehension. It's dealing with eternal issues, not just where do I get the next meal or what do I eat. We're talking now, eternity.
So it's more value than gold, fine gold. Third, excuse me, second, I want to say something about the power of the word of God, the power of the word of God. You'll notice that the Bible says, by the way, is not my word like as a hammer, like a rock, like a hammer that can break the rock in pieces. You expose yourself long enough to the word of God and you'll experience its power. So why the best thing you can do with an atheist is don't argue with him about the technicalities of atheism. Because he's probably angry at God and God didn't answer his prayers and he's got all these arguments that he's done. Get him into the word. Give him what I call the 21-day challenge. Challenge him to read a chapter of the book of John every day, even if he doesn't believe it, but simply ask him the question, who does the Gospel of John present Jesus as being?
The best way, you'll have to get them next to the word. Because the word will open their minds, they'll read about Jesus and they'll say, verily, he was the son of God. Nobody could have made up the story of Jesus in the New Testament. It has to be true. So that's what you do. It's the power of the word of God. Somebody sent us a plant a couple of months ago and it is finally growing and growing so quickly that I can sit in my study and just watch it grow. Really, seriously. That's how fast the thing is going.
I don't know when it's going to stop. But one of the things we have to do is it has to be in the sun so we put it right next to the window. Without the sun, you know, the thing would be dead probably in a couple of days. What the sun is to physical life, the word of God is to spiritual life of your soul.
How do you expect to grow unless you're in the light? And being in the light and being enlightened by the light, you receive the energy to go on. And as your appetite for the word increases and you say, well, you know, I'm listening to the Bible and I'm reading it and I don't remember what I read.
Just keep doing it. You will discover that the word of God will give you what you need, the power of the word of God. It is the word of God that cuts us open.
And then after we've been cut open, it sews us up back together. Let me say something also about the hope or the comfort of the word of God. By the way, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a great famous English preacher of the 19th century, said this regarding the scripture, why the book has wrestled with me, the book has smitten me, the book has comforted me, the book has smiled on me, the book has frowned on me, the book has clasped my hand, the book has warmed my heart, the book weeps with me, it sings with me, it whispers to me, it preaches to me, it maps my way and holds up my goings. It is the young man's best companion and is still my morning and evening chaplain, the power of the word of God. Let me say also a word about the comfort of the word of God. Comfort of the word of God. If you want to know, for example, can God really forgive my sin because I'm such a great sinner, you want to have an answer to that question.
How are you going to find that out? Well, you read the word of God and you discover that he is able to save to the uttermost all those who come unto God by him. And you're encouraged and you're comforted and you've said to yourself, I'm the vilest of sinners, but the vilest of sinners who truly believes that moment from Jesus, a pardon receives. You say I'm going through such difficulties, such sorrow within my family, such physical issues, everything seems to be breaking in on me.
When will this come to an end? Well, the word of God gives you comfort. The word of God says that the suffering of this present age is not worthy to be compared with a glory that shall be revealed in us. And it is through the power of the word that you're encouraged to carry on and be faithful to the very end. And when it comes time to die and you need to find some hope, where do you find it?
Where do you go? Well, you need a word and you need a word of encouragement from Jesus who there on the cross while he was dying, not looking like a savior or a king, he was as bad off physically as the other guys that were crucified on either side of them, those bad to the bone thieves. He was just as in the same predicament physically as they were. And yet a thief looked to him with a look of faith and said, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And now suddenly comes a word of authority, a word from outside the universe, a word from the God who created the stars, the sun, the moon. Today you'll be with me in paradise. What a word to hear just before you die, wouldn't you say?
Where do you go for a word like that? You find it in no other book. You find it on the lips of no other religious teacher. No other religious guru could ever possibly say something like this and to have credibility. Are you allowing the word to change your life?
Listen, you are living a life facing Mount Blanc. Are you going to open the shutters and say, Lord, I'm going to allow your word in. It's difficult in an entertainment culture to focus, but I'm going to learn how to do it. And I'm going to keep doing it, doing it, doing, doing, doing it. And I'll be transformed, changed by the word of God that lives and abides forever.
Wow. Isn't God ever given us a precious gift in giving us this book? Let's thank him for it. Father, we want to thank you today that we have at our disposal in a language that we can understand actually in multiple translations, the very words of God. Now, father, help us to be done with being spiritual cripples. Help us to be done with a lack of discipline.
Help us to be done with excuses. We pray father that you might make us diligent in reading and reading and pondering your holy word. We pray Lord that those changes will come because you've promised, but help us to be open to it. And now before I close this prayer, what has God said to you that you need to tell him about? Because according to his word, he knows the meditation of your heart. You tell him, you talk to him. If you need to receive Christ as savior, you receive him. If you need to make a promise or make something right to somebody else, tell him you're going to do it.
Whatsoever he says to you, do it. Lord, help us for we are weak, but we do love you and believe that your word will enable to love you more. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. My friend, this is Pastor Lutzer. Let me speak to your heart for just a moment. The word of God is powerful, but how do we get it into the lives of children?
For years, my lovely wife Rebecca would say this to me. She'd say that the children who attend Sunday school, they know all the stories about David and Daniel, but they don't know doctrine. Well, she's written a book entitled Awesome Bible Verses Every Kid Should Know and What They Mean. This book has 20 to 30 different topics written at a level the children are able to understand, a great book for your children and for your grandchildren. Awesome Bible Verses Every Kid Should Know. Just yesterday, I was sent a picture that really touched my heart. It's a picture of a nine-year-old Iranian girl reading this book. She's reading it up in Canada. And by the way, I was told that this family, because of the witness of a friend of mine, wants to receive Christ as Savior and they've been prayed with. What a way to get the word of God into the lives of children, understanding doctrine such as the devil, creation, God, the Bible, forgiveness, conscience, justification, all at their level.
For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com or write this down. Call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Next time on Running to Win, we look to the book of James for an inspiring lesson and outline on how the word of God blesses us. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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