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When God Was Alone Part 2

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

When God Was Alone Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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November 29, 2021 1:00 am

The greatest sin that you can commit is to ignore God. The heaven of the heavens cannot contain the Lord. He’s created the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the galaxies. He then created us on this little speck that we call Planet Earth all within His redemption plan. But the world’s way of life is pleasure, to get all that you can out of life before you go. In this message, you’ll discover how respect for the Living God will transform your purpose in this life and the next.  

 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. Do you ever stop long enough to ask, Why am I here? Where am I going? What's it all about anyway? For believers, there is a big picture view that puts everything in perspective and makes sense out of seeming chaos. Want to know more?

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, as you teach again on what is God up to, you're explaining how God can be both vast and yet personal.

Dave, you've made a remarkable statement. And you know, we read in Psalm 147 that God numbers the stars and calls them all by their names. And the previous verse in the Psalm says that he heals the broken hearted. You're absolutely right that God is distant and vast, but also personal and direct and works in our lives. What a God we serve. And of course, during this Christmas season, we are especially grateful that God was in Christ reconciling the world onto himself.

Now I have to ask you folks a question, all who are listening. When does Christmas begin in your home? Well, in the Lutzer home, it begins the first week of December. We begin playing Christmas carols, and we begin thinking about the Christmas season and the coming of Christ. And we have prepared a special CD entitled Songs for a Holy Night. You know, no matter how often we hear those carols, we are so deeply grateful that they warm our hearts and remind us of that which is most important. Songs like, O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, O Holy Night, Old Little Town of Bethlehem. This is a CD that has been especially prepared from the music of Songs in the Night, Glenn Jorian, the King's Carolers.

For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. And by the way, thanks in advance for helping us because together we are making a difference.

You go to rtwoffer.com, or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for Songs for a Holy Night. And now let us listen as we continue to contemplate God. The fact that the Lord is with us, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.

And that isn't a computer that's talking. That's the omnipotent, omniscient, great, mighty, personal God who is speaking. And to a woman who had had a series of bad marriages, five to be exact and now living with a sixth man without the benefit of marriage, Jesus could say to her, those that worship the Father worship in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeks such to worship him. A personal God. Number five, we have the consistency of God.

What do I mean by consistency? His unchangeableness. Malachi 3.6, I am the Lord, I do not change. It says in Hebrews 1 that the Lord created the earth and the sun and the stars and someday they will all be folded up like a garment and they will be tucked away, but God remains the same and is unchanged. Do you realize that there is no attribute that God has that needs development? There's nothing that God is working on to improve himself.

You realize, of course, that there is no attribute that God has that he never always had. God has not changed his mind about a single thing. I know you read the Bible in some places it says and the Lord changed his mind regarding what he was going to do to somebody. That is a human way of saying that somebody prayed and repented and God acted differently than he would have acted otherwise. But that doesn't mean that God didn't know that that person was going to change his mind or that God was caught off guard and had to rethink a decision. God's never had to do that, not even once. Do you realize he has not changed his mind regarding homosexuality and adultery and all the other sins listed in the Old Testament? Sometimes we read the Old Testament and scholars tell us, you know, the God of the Old Testament is so angry against sin. He's killing 3,000 people and he's sending judgment and there are plagues that kill 25,000 at a time. But, oh, the God of the New Testament is so loving and so kind and so gracious he wouldn't hurt a flea.

Oh, wow, you have missed it by a mile, maybe by a couple of light years. I want you to know that God doesn't change. He has not changed his opinion. He is not more lenient.

He has not grown mellow with age. Of course God has changed only in the sense that during this era of grace he is deferring judgment for a little time. But in the end, God will judge with horrifying accuracy and clarity because every thought that you have ever had is known to God and there is nothing that is hid from him. One of the most sobering thoughts I think that has ever crossed my mind is this, the reminder that God did not choose the attributes that he has. He didn't choose them. He always had them.

Do you realize how sobering that is? If God had been a being who was a saddest, who like nothing but creating people and watching them suffer, there's nothing that we could have done about it. We couldn't have said, now, we don't like that kind of a God.

Let's get us a new one that is more compatible with the way in which we feel and the way in which we think God should be. Because the attributes that God had from the beginning are the attributes that he had, period. He never chose them. He didn't decide to be loving. He just is loving, thankfully. He didn't choose to be compassionate. He is compassionate.

And all of those attributes were a part of him from the beginning of time and they consistently are with him today. I'm glad that in addition to justice, God is also compassionate and loving and kind and thoughtful. And I just read in my devotions today that throughout all of eternity, he wants to display his loving kindness and grace to his people. Boy, am I thankful for that.

That's wonderful. Now, this brief description of God, which is altogether too unworthy of him, this brief description of this God reminds us that he made many decisions. But so far as we know, the most important decision that God made was the decision to create heaven and earth and beings who also would have personality. Once the Bible says in the beginning God created, that signals something brand new.

Can you imagine this? That God decided to create even though everything that has happened in his universe was perfectly and accurately foreknown by him. And he chose to create anyway. He chose to create knowing that he was setting in motion a series of events that would cause children to be abused. He would set in motion a series of events that would eventually lead to wars and famines with 50,000 people dying sometimes in a single day because of starvation. There would be a whole chain of events that would take place and yet evidently God thought all that human suffering worth it for some ends that he wanted to accomplish, some of the ends that we hope to discuss in this special series of messages.

What an awesome thought. Do you realize that of all of the galaxies that we've talked about, hundreds of millions of galaxies and tens of trillions of stars, God decided to take a speck in his universe, namely the earth, and to use it as a stage. And on this earth would be played out justice and mercy and evil and good and morality and immorality and obedience and disobedience. And on this particular planet earth, which is one of the smallest of the planets and actually almost undefinably small so far as the universe is concerned, God says this is the place where it's all going to happen. And so he created Lucifer who fell. He created man who eventually chose in favor of Lucifer. And you have the whole history of the human race.

And guess what? You and I are playing a part in that drama. And we weren't asked whether we wanted to participate.

This was not a thing where God says, you know, I'm enacting something on earth to display certain truths and what I'm wondering is I'm looking for some volunteers, anybody who's willing to participate. Nobody asked me whether or not I wanted to be born. Nobody asked you whether you wanted to be born. That was not a choice that was made by you.

There were prior choices made by your parents and your grandparents that eventually determined the fact that you would show up on planet earth. But here we are and we participate in the drama. You say, well, wait a minute now, I'm an atheist and I don't believe in Jesus and I don't even believe in God. Well, that's an interesting fact about you that has some rather eternal consequences but I must also very quickly tell you that you also are a part of God's drama and the drama that God wanted to enact because it is not simply a matter of being a believer to participate in one way or another in a destructive way, you will also participate in God's eternal plan. My friend today, God is so immense, he is so wise, he is so unknowing that there is not the slightest detail in your life and mine or in the universe at large that somehow is not contributing to his ultimate purposes. It's awesome.

It's true. How quickly I run out of time, but I must ask you something. Do you now understand why it is that the greatest sin that you and I can commit is to ignore God?

Do you understand that? I mean, here he is, the heaven of heavens cannot contain him. He's created the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the galaxies, and then he has put us on this little speck that we call planet earth and he has a plan for the whole shebang as well as for you and me and we go our separate ways thinking that the end of man is to have a little bit of pleasure and to get all that you can out of life before you go to wherever.

What an awful thought. How disrespectful of the living and the true God. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is that thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. There is no other purpose to live period. How dare we settle for earning a living, even a good living, even a wealthy living. How dare we have that as a goal when there's a God who created us, who's immense, who's great, who's personal, who became a man of all things to redeem us and we're wondering about how we're going to earn a living as if to say that is the predominant reason why we showed up on planet earth.

God went through all this expense to create a canopy, to create a great big theater on which this little stage has been put and we think that the purpose of life is to see how much pleasure we can get out of it before we die. My friend today, do you also see something that is very absurd? Have you ever thought of how absurd it is that you and I close God out of part of our life and say God, I'm not going to submit to you in this area. I'll submit here and I'll submit this and I'll submit that but this area of disobedience that I know is sinful, I am going to keep to myself because I enjoy it and I think ultimately I know better than you as to what is best for me because I'm only going around life once and what I need to do is to do what really pleases me and so whether this is right or wrong, I'm going to do it anyway. Can you imagine the ultimate supreme law giver in the universe, the creator of the sun, the moon, the stars, your creator and mine knowing less about what is best for you than you and I do. So we say God, I'm closing you out of this area of my life because if I surrender it to you, you're going to make this demand and it's more than I'm able to commit to and so I'm just going to do my own thing. My dear friend today, I want you to know that that is an insult to the living and the true God and God incidentally feels the hurt of our insults.

I mean, he could wipe us off the map just like that, but he doesn't. He puts up with rebellion. He allows evil to triumph temporarily. He is willing to endure the affliction of the people of God. The Holy Spirit is grieved because of sin and he continues to be grieved and minister to us and all the while we're saying, I know what's best for me and I'm going to do my own thing.

In my short life, I have never met anybody who has closed God out of a part of his life or her life who is contented and satisfied as a person. There's always that mixture of delight and disdain, always that mixture of pleasure and pain, always that unsettled feeling because in those areas where you and I defy the almighty, the almighty is obligated to make sure that we cannot be ultimately fulfilled. You say, well, where do I begin to honor God, which is the purpose for which we were created? The creed has it correct. The chief end of man is to know God and to enjoy him forever. What is the purpose of man?

Yes. Jesus said in John 17, verse three, and this is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent. You know what it says in Daniel 11, 32, the people that know their God, the people that know their God will be strong and do exploits, the people who know God, people who've got their priorities straightened out. You say, well, where do I begin in this business of honoring God? I want to ask you to turn to just one verse of scripture, John 5, 23.

It's a good place to begin. Some of you need to begin at an early stage of honoring the almighty and listen to the words of Jesus in John 5, 23. I'll begin with verse 22, for not even the father judges anyone, but he has given all judgment to the son in order that all may honor the son, even as they honor the father. Now get this, he who does not honor the son does not honor the father who sent him. Let that sink into your mind. You say, well, all those people who are lining up in Japan to honor all of these eight million gods, are you telling me that they are not honoring the true and the living God?

My friend, it's not me who's telling you that. It's Jesus who knows a whole lot more than I do. He says that those who do not honor the son do not honor the father. And if you want to begin by honoring the father, you honor the son. You begin to fall in love with Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and you become a worshiper of Christ, and you say with the apostle Paul for me to live as Christ and to die as gain, all that I desire is knowledge of Christ. And you begin to honor the father, because Jesus said you honor me, you honor him, you dishonor me, you dishonor him, because Christ is God.

Christ is God. One day a man was going to church and a skeptic friend of his said, well, where are you going? He said, to church. He said, what are you going to do in church? The man said, I'm going to worship God. And the skeptic says, well, a big God or a small God. The Christian said both. A God that is so big that the heavens of heavens cannot contain him, and yet a God that is so small that he can live within my heart. It says in 2 Corinthians, God has said I will dwell in them and I will walk in them and I shall be their God and they shall be my people.

Awesome. The heaven of heavens cannot contain thee, and yet you dwell in a human heart. Let me ask you something today. Is there a part of your life that you're unwilling to yield to the almighty? What part is it that is so precious to you that you think it means more to you than God should?

What part is it? Don't you think it's time to give up your petty desires, your wrong priorities, and to say, God, today, by your grace, you have all of me without a single hesitation, with nothing held back, no closet door of my heart closed, but I open them all, I fling them open to you, and I say, God, take everything. You're worthy of all the honor, all the worship that I could possibly give you.

Are you willing to say that today? If it's true of you, join me in prayer. Father, we've spoken so inadequately. We have not done justice to you, but I have done the best that I could do. Father, do something special at Moody Church this morning, we pray. May the hearts of many people be broken, seeing perhaps for the first time the utter foolishness of holding something from God, who is almighty and worthy of every single bit of us. We pray, Father, that you might pry open those parts of our lives that we are unwilling to give to you, and we ask that we will rush to you, seeking you wholeheartedly, asking for your blessing and desiring the fullness of God. Father, meet us today, we pray, at the point of our deepest need. In Jesus' name, amen. Well my dear friend, this is Pastor Luther, and indeed, when we think of the sovereignty of God and we think of the grace of God, there should be no part of our lives that we are withholding from him.

And one of the reasons we should be so motivated to give ourselves to God is because in Christ, he has given to us his unspeakable gift. How thankful we are for the Christmas season that reminds us that indeed God does love the world, and Jesus came to redeem us. Now in order for us to be able to celebrate Christmas, we always think, of course, of the Christmas carols.

And I need to say that this is one of the last times we are making available to you a very special gift. It's a CD entitled Songs for a Holy Night. Many of you will remember the continuing ministry of Songs in the Night.

You remember Glenn Jorian. You remember the King's carolers. Well, these songs are derived from those programs. And of course, these carols remind us of the coming of Jesus Christ. I think that this would be a great addition to your Christmas collection. Ask for Songs for a Holy Night. Here's what you do.

Go to RTWOffer.com, or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Why would God's number one angel turn traitor, knowing he could never defeat his Creator? Next time, don't miss Lucifer's Greatest Blunder. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-16 13:09:52 / 2023-07-16 13:18:01 / 8

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