Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. There's a drop of Satan's rebellion in every human heart.
His tempting aviv aroused pride, the same pride that caused him to fall eons earlier. Humanity joined Satan in rebellion against the Creator. The sad results? Death and separation from God.
Is there a solution? 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, Satan's rebellion left a lot of corollary damage in its wake. Tell us about today's message, Mankind the Casualty. Well, Dave, as you know that indeed mankind has been the casualty.
As you look at the news, as you see what is happening on television, you're reminded of the wickedness of the human heart. And you know, the Bible is so accurate when it comes to painting a picture of who we really are and our need. But thankfully, we have Jesus and he came to dwell among us. And in doing that, of course, he died on the cross so that we could be reconciled to God. We have a savior that is much greater and more wonderful than we have ever imagined. I'm holding in my hands a book entitled The Bible Code, Finding Jesus in Every Book of the Bible. What this book does in a very attractive way is to show that Jesus Christ is indeed the storyline of the Bible. For example, in Genesis, he's the ram that is found by Abraham at Abraham's altar, if you remember that story.
In Exodus, he is our beloved Passover. And it goes on to expound what that means. I think that this book will be a tremendous blessing to you. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do.
Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And now let us listen carefully to the message. Now as you know, my topic is, what is God up to? This is the third in a series of messages on that topic and I need to ask you, what is God up to? In the first message, we spoke about the immensity of God, when he was alone, all the greatness of the Almighty and his decision to create. Then in the second message, we spoke about Lucifer, the highest of God's creation falling into rebellion and setting up rivalry in the universe and God's moral superiority always showing with incredible clarity that no human being or divinely created being, an angel or a human being, can resist God and win.
But today's topic is man the casualty. How does he fit into all this? Now you must understand that God, as I mentioned last time, gave to Satan the ability to still rule the world. He said, Satan, you're going to have all your power.
That's why Christ called him the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in disobedience. But now God begins to take man and he plunks him down in the middle of Satan's territory and turn to Genesis chapter 1, if you would, and we're going to see exactly what God says after he created man. Can you imagine the conflict that is being set up with this arrangement that God has?
It says in verse 26, God said, let us make man in our image according to our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth and God created man in his own image in the image of God he created him male and female he created them. Can you imagine what Satan's thinking? Here he is responsible for the earth and right in the middle of the earth God puts man and says take charge. I'm sure that Satan was angry thinking to himself who is this puny man that he is going to be my rival that he is going to usurp dominion over the earth from me. You can see the hatred and the animosity on Satan's part.
Let me ask you this question. What was this man? Who was this man whom God created?
What can we say about him? First of all we know that he has a body. He has a body so that he relates to the animal world that is to say he needs food and drink and he needs air all of us do we have bodies that need to be taken care of but God also created mankind with a spirit that is to say that we as human beings can relate to God. God can have fellowship with us and we can have fellowship with God and that's why in the garden we read that the Lord God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. Furthermore we can say of man that he is for a brief time lower than the angels. It says in Hebrews chapter 2 that if you're going to rank the beings then man is for a little while lower than the angels. He doesn't have as much power.
He doesn't have as much authority. He's created in the image of God. He has mind, he has emotion, and he has will and because of his image of God within him he is constantly thinking of eternal things. At least they cross his mind and he is thinking about almighty God.
That's what we can say about man. But let's turn to Genesis chapter 3 and we're going to find out what happened now. Genesis chapter 3 where Satan enters into the picture. It says now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. We think to ourselves well surely Adam and Eve would have been afraid of the devil, afraid of the serpent. Remember that in those days before the fall the serpent was undoubtedly a very beautiful being. And I assume that there were all kinds of animals there in the garden because God had said to Adam and Eve take care of the garden and usurp authority over the animals the Lord said. So they were not afraid by the serpent speaking to them and the serpent said to the woman indeed has God said you shall not eat from any tree of the garden. And the woman said to the serpent from the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden God said you shall not eat from it nor touch it lest you die.
Now I want you to notice how Satan comes to her. First of all he comes as an animal and they were supposed to have authority over animals but they didn't. But nevertheless one of these lesser beings traps him up.
Traps them up I should say. But first of all he comes with doubt. He casts doubt upon the word of God. He says has God really said this? Have you heard him correctly? Has he said that you're not supposed to eat of every tree that there is in the garden?
And the woman said well we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden but there is one that we're not supposed to eat from. Notice that in his doubt what he does is he gets Adam and Eve to forget about all of the trees that they could eat from and he zeros in on one that they couldn't eat from and he magnifies the one negative in the face of hundreds of positives. So he comes with doubt and then he comes with a promise. And those of you who have read the book that I co-authored on the New Age movement know that he comes with four lies that are basically the basis of the New Age movement that we hear so much about today the Shirley MacLains and the others who are into all of the New Age techniques. Notice what the lies are.
In fact I think in verse 4 maybe he wasn't speaking to Eve he was speaking directly already to Shirley MacLain because my translation says you Shirley shall not die. You'll notice that that's reincarnation. Shirley MacLain says you just keep going around in life. Nobody really dies. You keep getting recycled.
You go around as many times as you need to to get it right. That's the first lie, reincarnation. Second he says for God knows that in the day that you eat from it your eyes will be opened. That's esotericism. You can have a transformation of consciousness. You can have a vision of light. Your eyes will be opened and that's what the New Age movement teaches.
You can perceive reality in a new way especially if you have a drug experience or if you learn how to meditate. And you will be like God. There's pantheism. God is all and all is God and that's why Shirley MacLain can run on to Malibu Beach shouting I'm God, I'm God, I'm God, I'm God. Charles Coulson says aren't you glad she's wrong? And then notice it says you will know good from evil. That's relativism. Without any consulting of God you're going to be able to distinguish good from evil.
He uses lies. First of all then you have doubt and then you have all these promises. You won't die. This will happen to you. This will happen to you.
You're going to come out on the good end of the stick. Now you know the rest of the story when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes and a tree that was desirable to make one wise she took from its fruit and ate and she gave it also to her husband with her and he also ate. It was very important that the woman sinned first. And the reason is because if Adam had sinned first and then the woman participate she'd say well I'm just obeying my husband.
I'm just trying to be a good wife. So what the serpent did was he went to her first if he could convince her and then her husband was in agreement and the Bible says that he participated knowing full well that he was eating in rebellion. She perhaps was deceived but he wasn't. But they ate together and sin entered into the human race. And no matter what Adam and Eve would do from now on, no matter how they would regret what had happened, the fact was that certain consequences were set in motion that were absolutely inevitable and there was nothing that they could do to reverse those consequences.
They could weep, they could pray, they could wish that they could relive their situation in life but they would not be given that opportunity to do so. Sin had entered and it was there in the human race to stay. Now always remember that God knew exactly what would happen when they would disobey but of course they didn't.
That's the nature of humanity. We don't see the future, do we? All that Eve could see was the tree that was good for food and she thought that it would make her wise. She didn't realize the awful consequences nor did Adam. They did not know that someday there would be a war in the world where 50 million people would be brutally killed. They didn't know that. They didn't know that sin was going to produce that. They didn't know that there would be a country called the United States in which 33,000 people every single day contract some form of venereal disease. They didn't know that. They didn't know that the time would come when children would be rejected by their parents, that some of them would be beaten and thrown out and abused and they didn't know that people would not be able to get along together because of sin so that you'd have a high divorce rate and the tearing of children's emotions. They didn't foresee all that, did they? God did but they didn't.
They thought that for one brief moment they knew better than he because after all Satan says that if you eat your eyes will be opened and you will be like God. You are going to profit from rebellion. Let me tell you that one of the things that God is up to proving is that nobody whether it be an angel or a human being can ever profit from rebellion against God. It is always counterproductive and God always wins. There is no such thing as sin ever being profitable or helpful to somebody.
There of necessity needs to be negative consequences but they couldn't foresee that. I heard a story about a company that was responsible for building and you know that when you're in the building trade one of the things you do is always get bids. So you ask somebody to bid on a particular project and if their bid comes in lower than the other person's and these bids have to be secret you generally choose the one who is lower, all other things being equal. Well there was this huge company and there was a contractor who was making bids and he walked into the office of the boss and nobody was around. He looked on the desk and he noticed that the bid of his competitor was lying open on the boss's desk.
All that he would need to do is to see what his competitor bid then change his bid to come in a little lower and he'd have this fantastic opportunity for work which involved a lot of money. But there was only one little problem and that is that right on the figure on the application there was a can of pop right there. The man didn't know what he should do.
He paced the floor nobody seemed to be around. He thought to himself you know what I'm going to do I'm going to just look very quickly under that can of pop and then put it down and I'll see what my competitor bid. So what he did was he took the can of pop lifted it like this with the intention of putting it down and hundreds of BB's spilled out onto the desk and rolled onto the floor.
I wonder how he explained that. But you see it is in the very same way that Satan has set up a trap. He has set up traps and people do not understand the consequences. Adam and Eve had a whole series of dominoes. They didn't know that those dominoes were set up. It was like dominoes in the night and they sinned. Now what were the consequences of the fall? First of all man became independent.
He became independent. It is not that he became attached to Satan in such a way that Satan always controlled him though Satan desired that. But in taking his stand against God and joining the devil in rebellion man could now do his own thing. Says in Isaiah 53 all we like sheep have gone astray we've turned everyone to his own way and the Lord has laid on him on Christ the iniquity of us all. But notice this we have turned everyone to his own way. Everybody's doing his own thing. And just like sheep are sometimes deceived because they take false paths in the very same way human beings take false paths they think that this is going to bring happiness.
This is going to bring fulfillment. This will produce what I'm really after and they take all of these paths and they do their own things and eventually they discover that all of these paths end up in destruction and ruin. They're lost.
Human beings without God are lost. They are not only lost they're confused because they think that they might be on the right path. Because for some people there is some happiness in the world. There is some satisfaction in getting ahead.
There is some satisfaction in pleasure and they think to themselves surely I'm doing my own thing and it is profitable. And so they're deceived. That's one of the consequences of the fall. Man becomes independent but he pays dearly for that independence which of necessity must end eventually in ruin. Not only is man independent but he is isolated.
He's isolated. He's isolated from God. The scripture says in the day that you eat the robe you shall surely die. Was God's word true or was it not? Well Adam woke up the next morning and he could see the sunrise. He said he died. He didn't die physically though the process began at that time but he died spiritually. He was cut off from God.
It was like taking a light bulb and pulling the switch. Suddenly the light in man had gone out. No longer was the Lord walking with them in the cool of the day. No longer was their fellowship with God. Now man was on his own in moral and spiritual darkness and he had to do the very best that he could. So he was isolated from God.
He was isolated from others. Immediately you have shame and guilt and greed and anger and all of these things that the human heart is so full of. All of them began to take place at this moment. You know of course that Adam and Eve had a number of children. The two most famous that we know about are Cain and Abel. And if you were to read the fourth chapter of Genesis you know that Abel was a righteous man and Cain was envious of the fact that God loved Abel and Cain killed Abel.
And so ever since that time other families as well have been raising Cain. And what you find is this kind of hatred and animosity within family structures and within the world. So that people in business are cut off from one another. Some of you are in businesses where you cannot trust competitors. You cannot trust those with whom you work because you know that in their moments they will be undercutting you. All of the iniquity of the human heart. Satan always destroys. Sin can never unify. It can only break apart.
It can only build walls. And then man is even separated from himself. That's why you have 25,000 people a year committing suicide in the United States.
It's because you have all these people who cannot even stand to live with themselves. They cannot stand to live with a sense of guilt, the failure, the sense of frustration, the hurt of rejection. It becomes too much for them. And so they take their lives.
All that because of sin. So you have such things as man becoming independent with serious consequences. He becomes isolated and he becomes very, very insecure. Very insecure.
And I'll tell you why. You see, because we're created in the image of God, every single one of us needs to have a good sense of self-worth. We really do. We need a sense of dignity, a feeling that we have value in the universe. That is built into us because God put eternity in our hearts. He gave us a sense of value because we are created in his image. And we desperately need that in order to function. But you see, without God, without God, where can man get this sense of value and self-worth?
Where can it come from? My friend, isn't it wonderful to know that in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have forgiveness of sins. We also have the restoration of our dignity as human beings created in the image of God. And when you hold the Bible in your hands, you are holding a book that we believe very deeply is God's word to us. Sometimes we forget that all of the books of the Bible are actually holding together because they have a common message. And that is the message about Jesus. I'm holding in my hands a book entitled The Bible Code. The subtitle is Finding Jesus in Every Book of the Bible.
Each of these sections is two or three pages long. It reminds you that Jesus can be found everywhere in the pages of scripture. I believe that it'll be a great encouragement to you.
For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book The Bible Code.
That's rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And thanks in advance for your gifts, for your prayers, because together we're making a difference. It's time once again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Efforts to encourage church growth take many twists and turns.
An anonymous listener has this question. In an effort to win disillusioned Christians back into the church, many congregations are introducing contemplative spirituality—that is, chanting, candles, meditation, and so on—into their practices. Is this good or bad?
I would say right off the cuff here, so to speak, it's bad. I think that these practices oftentimes are based on New Age ideas and not the New Testament. When you look at the New Testament, what you discover is that people were not—what shall we say—the leaders of the church were not bending over backwards to try to get people into their churches. As a matter of fact, the Bible says in the book of Acts that many people feared to join themselves to the church, and the reason that they feared it is because of the holiness of the congregation. What I find interesting is that in Acts, love attracted people to the church. Oftentimes the holiness of the church repelled other people. I think the great attraction of a church should be the lives that are lived and the gospel that is preached. Contemplative spirituality—I realize that that's a huge umbrella and encompasses many things, some of which may have some value. But for the most part, what we're talking about here is New Age ideas, or ideas that go back in the centuries of the church that ignore the basics of what the New Testament teaches.
So I would say, don't go in that direction. Rather, let the church call on God, seeking him with their whole heart, and ask themselves, why is it that our church isn't growing? Is it because of the lives of the people and the way in which they are living? And the real reason is oftentimes people have no conviction of sin, no particular need of salvation. It's the responsibility of the church to help them to understand how desperate their need is and take them by the hand and lead them to the cross. Some wise counsel, as always, from Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Luring Eve with a bite of fruit led to horrific results throughout history. Next time, what happened after the fall of man? This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-15 12:04:55 / 2023-07-15 12:13:55 / 9