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January 13, 2022 1:00 am
Sincerity is great, but it’s not enough, especially when it comes to this all-important matter: the salvation of your soul. In this message, you’ll identify three false paths on the broad way that many people go: the paths of achieving good things, finding God mystically in yourself, or trusting sacramental rituals. But in Matthew 7, Jesus makes an astounding contrast between the false paths and the true path to God.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
Raised Jesus from the marathon runner, you'll never win the race. Sincerity is great but it's not enough, especially when it comes to this all-important matter the salvation of our souls. Please stay with us from the church in Chicago. This is wanting to win sir whose clear teaching sauce make across the finish line after Luther tells about the series begins today how you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God. You know Dave, I like to tell people that you can be wrong about politics. You can be wrong about Social Security. You can be wrong about medical issues. But one thing you should never be wrong about is the question of how to have the assurance that you will spend eternity with God. And I say to every listener. I hope that you get on the phone and call your friends tell them about this series of messages encourage them to listen because you will never hear messages that are more important than these.
How you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God, even as we begin now let's listen carefully. I recall correctly, there were seven people who bought some extra strength Tylenol and the minute they took those casuals they died. A few moments later because someone had bought those capsules and am then and put cyanide in them.
In fact, one of the women who died actually bought the Tylenol in a drugstore that is just very closer to Moody church. The one on North Avenue that is about a mile away and they have never found who it is that did that terrible deed, but there two powerful lessons that emerge from that experience.
Number one of faith in itself does not have the power to transform some thing that is hurtful into something that is helpful faith in itself does not have that power. The old idea that it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you are sincere is nonsense. The people who took those capsules were very sincere. They had implicit faith, but their sincerity did not save them.
It is much better to believe the truth with a trembling hand than it is to believe error with serenity and confidence faith in itself is no transforming power. There's a second lesson that comes to us and that is that that which is true and did good and that which is harmful may look very much alike. The cyanide and the Tylenol had many similarities. In fact, the cyanide was in.
Of course the Tylenol Jewel, and sometimes it is possible to distinguish truth and error readily and there are other times when it is very difficult to distinguish it because sometimes error looks like truth it has the feel of truth I want you to take your Bibles and turn to the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew Matthew chapter 7 where Jesus makes an astounding contrast between that which is false and that which is true.
Listen to what he has to say is talking about two roads to gay to destinations Matthew chapter 7 verse 13 enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and that many are those who enter by it for the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and you are those who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thornbushes nor figs from thistles, are they even so every good tree bears good fruit, but the rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear fruit. Good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Many shall say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles and I will declare to them, I never knew you.apart from me, you who practice this lawlessness.
What an amazing statement want you to understand that those who came to Christ and says, have we not prophesied in your name and in your name cast out demons and perform miracles. I want you to understand that these people were absolutely shocked when the door to heaven was closed in their faces.
These people were genuinely deceived. They didn't say to themselves what you know I always knew it might turn out this way.
No, they actually expected to enter into heaven. They never dreamed for a moment that Jesus would be their judge. They thought that Jesus was their Savior, they said, Lord, Lord, and look at what we've done and Jesus will say your works were lawlessness doesn't the King James translated iniquity.
Now what I'd like to do and a few moments of time is to give you some of the paths on the Broadway that appear to be the right way.
If you can imagine the Broadway which leads to destruction. It has many different lanes, just like the Kennedy Expressway is supposed to have in there are many options. The Broadway is very diverse.
The Broadway is very tolerant and very understanding. I choose these three not because they are the only wrong paths, but because they look like the right thing. I haven't even bothered with those theories of salvation that can be immediately discerned is wrong.
I'm talking about those that appear right those that really are cyanide under a Tylenol label. Let's mention some of them number one, we could call them the way of the achievers, not those folks who meet together to have a good time at Moody church may be called achievers from time to time were speaking about those who think to themselves that the way to heaven is really a tall ladder and God gives us grace he gives us abilities.
He gives us the strength to be able to serve him to be able to do good and we begin to fall on this latter wrong by wrong and when God sees how sincere we are. He comes and his grace picks us up and takes us the rest of the way and that's how we are saved, but I want you to know that people who believe that around the Broadway that leads to destruction, about whom Jesus said many there be that go in there at for one thing, this view does not take into account the fact that the moral gap between us and God is infinite. This view overestimates the good of man, and it underestimates the awesome glory and the holiness on the one of God. This view assumes that somehow we can cooperate with God in the process of salvation. He does his part. We do ours and we meet somewhere in the middle that is wrong, and those who believe that are accepting cyanide even if it comes in a Tylenol label, there's another problem with that view. Not only does it forget about the holiness of God, and John Calvin. By the way in about the second page of his institutes makes a very telling observation about human nature.
He says that most of us find someone who is a lower on the wrong than we are. And because we are all filled with pollution. When we see some thing that even looks a little better than other things that are happening we call it righteousness. We don't understand how far short it is of the overwhelming glory of God. Something else about this view is that it does not change human nature, and Jesus did say that I am less a man was born again, he would not enter into the kingdom of heaven, trying to crawl that ladder only means that it is done with my power and my energy energy that may be given to me of God, but energy that is mine. Nonetheless, and of course those who hold this view will tell you that they have no assurance of salvation. They cannot because if the latter has to decline even if God calms and rescues me from 99 wrongs that I have inclined.
It's my responsibility to climb the first wrong and I'm not sure that I can even do that much if salvation even is partly my responsibility in the sense that it is part only my good deeds I might mess up so I can have no assurance, no those who believe that we get to heaven by our achievement climbing the ladder if they were honest, they know they don't have a chance. Well, let's go on now and let's talk about another view that is really characteristic of the Broadway. It is the way of the mystic the way of the mystic. Let's go back in a time machine and go back to the Middle Ages when people seem to have a whole lot more time than I have today and some of them says we have so much time did what we want to do is to get away and find God within the soul and were going to meditate and were going to contemplate and were going to pray until God meets us within. Now there was such a thing as true mysticism and a good form of mysticism, but I'm talking about a false kind of mysticism that really looks exactly like the genuine article. The mystics believe that since the Bible says thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all my heart, with all my soul and with all thy mind.
They took that seriously, and they said we want to love God with all that we are and there's only one way to do it and that is to purify the soul so that he can meet us deep within and so they went around hoping that the time would come when they would no longer love sin, but they wouldn't really love God, but the more honest, these mystics were the more doubts they began to have. They began to say to themselves you know we love God, but maybe our motives are just at it mixed maybe we love God because we fear. Hell, maybe we love God because we think that loving God will be beneficial to us. How can we be sure that we love him with absolute total purity without any taint of self and mixed motives in that live and that was the problem that they encountered another. There were those who said you know what we really need is one experience a perfect act of contrition, at least one perfect act and that one perfect act would mean that for a moment I love God with absolute purity diluted with human failure and so they sought a perfect act of contrition. Some people, perhaps even believed that they had attained to it, but it had some problems connected with number one, it did not last. It didn't last. Tomorrow was a new day and all of the lusts and the desires and the evil within the heart had to be coped with. One more time and therefore they were not sure whether one act of contrition would bring them to a holy sunless God. But there was something else wrong with that way of salvation, however well meant. It may have been, and that was the masses of people were excluded.
How many people had the time to leave their families to go to the monastery to contemplate, to meditate or pray to seek God and try to become holy enough that he might meet them in the depths of their soul. How many people at the time to do that. Not a whole lot. Salvation seemed to be for a few rather than accessible to the common man. Well, there's 1/3 path that some people have followed after the time of Constantine in the history of the church you have sacramental is and become very dominant throughout the whole Roman M. The Bible began with two sacraments, but the belief was that it actually there are seven there were five others that were added in the sacramental theory said this, that if you participate in the sacraments of the church which are means of grace that God has given to his people. You will receive grace and eventually in receiving the grace, you might end up with enough grace to enter into heaven. I just think with me for a moment as sacramental is and became popular. One of the questions that people had was what if the priest who administers the sacraments. What if he is an unholy man in his private life, and so Augustine who has to be admired for many things, though we disagree with him on many things said that they sacraments have intrinsic validity and they are valid for the people of God, even if the priest should be a thief or a robber. They had intrinsic validity because they are gifts of God to his people: the question arose. If the sacraments have intrinsic validity apart from the kind of life, a priest might live.
What about those who are the worshipers who come to receive the sacraments.
Do they also have intrinsic validity, no matter how the person has lived or no matter what kind of a disposition. He has in the church answered once again and they said yes it makes no difference is not necessary to even have a right disposition.
These sacraments have intrinsic validity as long as there is no obstacle that has been imposed such as a mortal sin. There is value in the sacraments regardless of how you live and regardless of whether you experienced the new birth in your heart or not. And so people participate. But the problem was very evident to those who were thinking here was the difficulty even if you participated in the sacraments, even if you avail yourself of all the means of grace that were available in those days, you still could not be absolutely sure that you had enough grace for God to accept. There was always that sense of uncertainty. In fact, that sense of uncertainty was so strong that it became canonized. It became part of church doctrine and that's why in 1546, the Council of Trent said explicitly.
He who believes he has assurance of salvation, let him be anathema, let him be accursed.
Those who believe that they have assurance of salvation are only adding to their sins because now they are also committing the sin of resumption who can be sure that he has enough grace for a holy God.
If we know exactly how high God's standards were, then we could measure the amount of grace, that we have received but how do we know how much God expects not only did this view lead to uncertainty and it allowed people to be worshipers without a changed heart, but it really transferred the work of God from within the human heart to those who claim to represent God. Human nature being what it is. People no longer cared whether or not they had a personal relationship with God. In fact, many of them didn't even know that that was possible, but they can were concerned about is their relationship to the church and they said if I'm rightly related to the church. The church will take care of my relationship with God.
For me, and so they sought the requirements of the church rather than a personal relationship with God, and you can understand that I have very quickly delineated three false paths on that Broadway that leads to destruction, and I have by no means listed them all. I've talked about the achievers who believe that it is through good works. I talked about those mystics who believe that it was through their efforts to purify their souls and I've spoken about those who believe the grace comes from the sacraments, but there are so many other foals, ways of salvation that appeared to be right. What about all those who go forward in evangelistic services will my friends, this is Pastor Luther. You certainly are going to have to listen to running to win next time to find out what happens to all those who go forward in evangelistic services I'm holding in my hands a book entitled, when a good man falls, most of these chapters have to do with godly men man who knew God, they failed. They fell into sin, and of course it's a book of hope, but let me read the title of one chapter that gives me chills. It's entitled finding the gate to hell next to the door of heaven was you might guess it's actually the story of Judas. These stories in the New Testament.
Of course, and the Old Testament. They are true stories I've written this book. When a good man falls to give people hope to help them to understand the seriousness of sin, but at the same time, the wonder of God's grace and this is the second to last day that we are making this resource available when a good man falls for a gift of any amount. This book can be yours. Go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 ask for the book when a good man falls as I've mentioned, this is the second to the last day that we are making this resource available discusses people within the Old Testament and the new who fell and God still gave them hope.
Go to RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 is time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Luther a question about the Bible or the Christian life. We've all heard the expression, he's too smart for his own good while Derek wonders how our minds come into play in relating to God.
He has this question.
What role does intelligence play in knowing God, and what scriptural basis do you have for your answer Derek. I'm a little bit confused by your question because you ask what role does intelligence play will obviously we need some intelligence in order to know God.
Jesus said this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent and in order to know God. We need to know certain things as the Bible reveals them. We need to be able to have certain experiences certain understanding. So yes, intelligence does of course play a role. Maybe. However, what you really mean is, what about someone with a mental disability can they know God, I can't really answer that, except to say yes in their own way.
I'm sure they can because we are created in the image of God.
Therefore everyone is reaching out to God, whether they realize it or not, and possibly someone who, though they may not be highly intelligent, but in their own way there groping after God and the more they know about him and the more they know about Christ the more satisfying. That experience will become so please keep in mind that it is important for us to realize that we cannot judge those who are of inferior intelligence because surely God has a place for them as well and that we just need to thank God that we have the opportunity of using the minds that we have such as they are in order to know him some wise counsel from the mind of Dr. Erwin Blitzer. Thank you Pastor Luther if you'd like to hear your question answered. You can just go to our firstname.lastname@example.org and click on ask Pastor meets her or call us with the question at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us have run into when 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614. Many try to gain heaven through their own efforts. They think that if their good deeds outweigh their bad omega others hope to bring the sentiments will ensure their eternal future. So what's the truth. Next time I'm running to win. Erwin Blitzer dispels many false hopes. People hold onto regaining heaven will conclude the tragedy of misplaced. As he explains the role of sacraments running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. This is Dave Callister running to win is sponsored by the Moody church