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Knowing For Sure Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
January 28, 2022 1:00 am

Knowing For Sure Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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January 28, 2022 1:00 am

Have you ever wondered if you possess saving faith? Faith in Christ is the non-negotiable factor that transfers people from darkness to light and changes their destiny from hell to heaven. In the conclusion to this series of messages, Pastor Lutzer makes it personal from his parent’s journey as well as his own story of lacking assurance of salvation. Are the results of saving faith at work in your own life?  

 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. Faith in Christ is the non-negotiable factor that transforms people from darkness to light and changes their destinies from hell to heaven.

Nothing is more important to understand, and today you'll hear a crystal clear explanation. 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. Erwin Lutzer is concluding a series on how you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God. Pastor Lutzer, is it true that through the ages people have feared for their destiny? Dave, that is true, and it's not only true among atheists, many of whom in their final moments are fearful. It's also true about religious people. I could tell the story of someone who is very well known, very religious, but he believed that salvation was a mixture of faith and works, and he died without assurance of salvation.

He died in fear, because if you believe that, you will not have assurance. That's why I believe so deeply in the book I've written entitled How You Can Be Sure That You Will Spend Eternity With God. As I have frequently said, this issue of your eternal destiny should be a priority. How you can be sure that you will spend eternity with God, and by the way, today is the last day that we are making that resource available. Here's what you can do. Go to RTWOffer.com.

RTWOffer.com or call us right now at 1-888-218-9337. Knowing for sure is indeed our highest priority. Not only must you be persuaded that Jesus is all that you need to stand in the presence of a holy God because of what he has done, but Jesus is all that you will ever need to stand in the presence of a holy God. How do you understand why Michelangelo painted those faces with so much fear? Because medieval theology taught that salvation was a cooperative effort between man and God, where you do your part and God does his, and the both of you work it out. He gives us his mercy and we give him our works and our obedience. If that were the gospel, Michelangelo should have painted those faces with even more terror because who can know that he has done enough to merit the righteousness of God?

No one. Not even the Virgin Mary. My dear friend, do you now understand why people who pray prayers sometimes are not saved? You know, we say to people, you know, you need God, and they say, yes, I know I need God. You should accept Jesus as your savior.

I've had people say, sure, it can't hurt. Oh, wow. Or they think to themselves, you know, I need God's help, and if accepting Jesus as my savior gives me God's help, I'll try it. My dear friend, if you are here today and you do not know Christ as your savior, you need something more radical than just God's help. You need God's forgiveness.

That's what you need. And you need your self-confidence shattered so that you come to God with nothing in your hand but become persuaded that Jesus Christ and his death on the cross is all that you will ever need to stand in the presence of a holy God. No wonder all these decisions end up without roots and the leaves wither and we say, where are the people who believe and where are the children who accept Christ in Christian homes and then we can't find them anywhere serving God. I was brought up in a Christian home. My parents, who are still living, by the way, talked to them on the phone the other day, mind just as clear as I was going to say as clear as mine, and then I backed off because that might not be a compliment. I was brought up as a little child that we had to accept Jesus as our savior and in those days the terminology was you ask Jesus into your heart. It isn't exactly scriptural but it works. I mean, people have asked Jesus into their hearts and been converted. I remember age maybe, what am I doing?

I'm guessing, 8, 9, 10. I used to pray every night Jesus come into my heart, please come into my heart and I had no sense of God's presence. I had no sense of assurance. Let me just be a little personal for a moment and tell you, you know that kids do think of crazy things.

Did you know that? Maybe you didn't. Maybe I shouldn't pass my own experience off onto you but I actually began to read the book of Revelation thinking that maybe I could never possibly be saved and maybe I was going to play some part in antichrist great scheme on the earth.

You know, here's a kid 10 years old out in the middle of Canada where it's so flat that you can stand on a can of shoe polish and look halfway into next week and here this kid is beginning to think things like this. One day my parents knowing the agony of my heart said, you know, you need to accept Christ as savior and you need to do it by faith. I said, I have tried. And then they explained the gospel again and they said, you have to understand that Jesus did it all and you have to receive him in faith. And so I got down on my knees and I received him really in faith. I said, this time I'm going to receive him in faith and I did that at home in the farm 10 miles or 6 miles from a little town of 50 people. You know, I want to say that I'm so glad that you don't have to go forward in a meeting to be saved because I was so shy. People today sometimes say, you know, Pastor Luther is sometimes somewhat unfriendly. You know, it is shyness.

I used to be so shy that when we had company my sisters would would grab me and have to drag me out from under the bed where I was hiding. I'm so glad that God saves people everywhere. But you know, after that time, after that time when I said I finally will receive it in faith knowing no matter who I am, I'm going to believe it in faith. Suddenly the doubts vanished and I knew and I was persuaded that Jesus Christ was all that I would need to stand before a holy God.

And the issue was settled. You say, well, Pastor Luther, don't you think that you were saved during those days when you used to pray that Jesus would come into your heart? I've thought about that a lot and I have to tell you in all honesty, I really don't know. There's a part of me that says, well, yes, of course Christ would have received me as a child. And maybe that's true. I just lacked assurance.

But that's the point I want to underline today. Whether I was saved earlier or not, I do not know. But one thing is sure, I had no assurance. Assurance came when I said I believe that Christ is all that I need, period. What is saving faith? Saving faith, number one, is the persuasion of the heart. God has convinced you by his Spirit. You are persuaded, Paul says, I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. That is the root of assurance.

Now let's talk about the fruit of assurance. Secondly, it is the persuasion of the heart. Secondly, it is also confirmed, confirmed by the Holy Spirit. Look at what the Bible says in Romans chapter 8. Romans chapter 8.

If you're familiar with the text, you may just listen. It says in verse 14, for all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, Abba, Father. It means daddy. We can call God daddy. Many of you never had a daddy that you could call daddy.

God can be your daddy. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. There is now the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We belong to God's family and soon we have that sense of belongingness. I remember the day after I accepted Christ in faith, walking into the garage of the old farm home there and saying to myself, you know, I know God.

I know God. The Bible says the Spirit of God gives us that sense of belongingness. The Spirit of God begins to lead us. We are led by the Spirit and we desire fellowship with God.

Our affections are changed. I've known people who have sinned grievously after they were Christians. I've known those who have backslid and they have fallen into the depths of sin. But it's interesting that in counseling them what I always hear is, I'm just so sorry that I did this because I really do love God. I really do love God. And when I hear that, that is music to my ears because despite their sin the fact that they love God shows that the work of God within their hearts may indeed be genuine because the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we belong to God.

Mind you, we don't understand him any better than we perhaps understood him before. He is just as great a mystery, but suddenly the God who is so mysterious and far away becomes present through his Spirit. And we say to ourselves, I know God and love him.

Here's what happens. The Word of God produces within us the persuasion of the heart. The Bible says that if we confess Christ as Lord and believe in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead, we shall be saved for with a heart, with a heart man believeth unto righteousness because he's persuaded. But the Word of God takes the Spirit of God and creates within us the life of God and that is the third aspect of assurance because the text that we read in 1 John says there is life in his son and suddenly we discover within us, growing within us is the life of God and then we begin a life of serving God. And that results in being able to love people whom we weren't able to love before, being able to forgive people and there's a whole life of growth now and we explained this actually in a previous message. The root is faith that has been persuaded that Christ is sufficient. The fruit is the ministry of the Holy Spirit of God who connects with me that I belong to God and the second aspect of the fruit is now the life of God begins to work itself out.

The leaves begin to turn green, though they may be brown often as well. Let me say a couple of words about assurance and then a few words about doubt. First of all, about assurance.

Assurance is a process of growth. There's some people who come to know Christ as Savior and they may waffle on the issue of assurance and they are genuinely saved but as time goes by, as they begin to read the word and as they begin to commune with God, their assurance grows. That's why it says in the book of Hebrews that we should come before God, get this now, with full assurance of faith. That implies that there are times when we come to God without full assurance.

We come but we come without full assurance. There is a story in Canada that in one of those lakes that freeze over in the winter, there was a man who wanted to walk across the lake. It was an emergency and he needed to get some help but he was so fearful. He began to walk across the lake trembling. There were times when he wanted to get down on all fours so that he would spread his weight thinking that perhaps the ice was too thin and while he was filled with terror and fear, suddenly he noticed that coming toward him in a distance was a team of horses running along and when he saw the team of horses, he knew that he could walk across the lake with confidence. He had misjudged the thickness of the ice.

Everything was okay. There are times when we come to Jesus Christ to believe on him and as the words of the hymn say, just as I am though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings within and fears without. Oh Lamb of God I come and we walk on the ice and we're not sure whether or not it is able to hold us and then once we begin to walk, we develop the confidence and we see what Christ can do and we get up and we walk with more assurance. I'm more confident of my salvation today than I was when I accepted Christ at the age of 14.

There is growth in assurance. Well let me say a word now about doubt. How do you handle your doubts? Remember a few messages ago I talked about the children of Israel who had to put blood on their door so that the angel of death would bypass them and God says when I see the blood I will pass over you and I mentioned at that time how important it was that when we face the issue of doubt that we not look at the leavened bread and we look at the bitter herbs but that we look at the blood on our door. Let me tell you a story today but in order to tell you the story I need to set the context. There is a pastor who is widely respected and a very fine man and what I have to say about him is not to be construed as a criticism but in recent years he has been convinced that one of the things we have to combat in the church is easy believism and so the way in which he thinks that we should do it is by stressing that unless a person's life is radically changed by God that they should therefore recognize that they are not Christians unless you are pursuing holiness, unless you're walking in faith, etc.

etc. If you backslide too long it shows that you were never saved, etc. Now all that is very well and good because there is the emphasis on the life as I've already mentioned. The problem is that people who listen to him think and I don't know whether he's saying this but it appears as if what he's saying is when you doubt your salvation look at works and don't look to Christ.

That's what people think at least he's saying. Alright that's the context and now the story. A few years ago I was sitting in my study here at the church in a morning and my secretary called me on the intercom and said, pastor there's a woman who wants to talk with you and she is crying. Will you talk with her?

I said sure. So I picked up the telephone and here's what I heard. Here's this woman sobbing. Between the sob she said, oh pastor Luthjes, she said I'm 71 years old and I live in a senior citizen's home here in the city of Chicago and she said every morning she said some of us get together and we listen to the radio and she said I've been listening to the radio and a message by and then she gave the name of the pastor and she said I've walked with God for about 40 years and she said now he tells me that I'm not saved and she just began to cry. I said to her well what is he saying that makes you think that you're not saved? She says well he seems to say that if unless you're almost perfect it shows you were never saved and she said oh God knows how often I have failed my Lord.

She said I led my daughter to saving faith in Christ when she was 19 but oh there have been so so many times of backsliding and coldness. She said I guess I'm just not saved. So I said to her I said let me ask you something if you were to die today and God were to say to you why should I let you into heaven? I said what would you say?

What are you trusting for your salvation? She said oh pastor she said I'm trusting the blood of Christ. She said is there anything else and then this was so cute I actually wrote it down. She said I cannot take steel wool to my heart and scrub it. She said I trust the blood of Christ.

I said to her lady I want you to understand something. If you are trusting the blood of Christ that is enough. That is enough. She said can you assure me of that and I said yes that is enough. By now she had stopped crying and we talked a while and then I prayed with her on the telephone and before she hung up she said you know what I'm going to do? She said when I hung up she said I'm going to tell all the others that are here in the room with me that trusting the blood of Christ is enough.

Enough. Tomorrow God willing I fly to Europe, fly to Berlin, Swissair flight 125 Chicago to Zurich to Berlin. If it should go into the ocean and this is the last message that I will ever preach from this pulpit and by the way I have no premonition that that's going to happen.

I like Swissair there. Will you always remember that Pastor Lutzer's last words were that the blood of Christ is enough. I have no other argument.

I have no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died and that he died for me. And if I should see God before you do and he should say why should I let you into heaven?

I will not say Lord, Lord I preached, I counseled, I prayed. No no I stand when I say Father I believe your word and I believe that the blood of Christ is enough. Are you persuaded today that the blood of Christ is all that you will ever need to stand in the presence of a holy God?

Are you persuaded that the blood of Christ is enough? You say Pastor Lutzer I believe, believe where you are seated and say yes I believe I accept him because I believe that what he did is enough. And if you will let us pray. Oh Father we think of those who are saying just as I am though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt.

Fightings within and fears without. Oh Lamb of God I come, I come. May your blessed Holy Spirit speak to many people who are here today who do not know where in the world they stand in their relationship with you. We pray that they may savingly believe even at this moment. May they say I believe it.

I believe it for me. Grant them that gift we pray and if you need to talk to God now would you talk to him right where you're seated because he sees your heart. Just simply say Lord Jesus I believe that you are enough and I believe you.

Tell him that. Lord do the work that only you can do. Plant the tree deeply.

Sink the roots into deep soil that we might not be uprooted. We pray in Jesus name. Amen. My friend this is Pastor Lutzer.

I don't know what else to say. I hope that you have been listening very carefully and for those of you who have doubts as I like to emphasize again and again come with your doubts but come and recognize that indeed the blood of Jesus Christ is enough. Oh I hope and pray that you will come to full assurance of faith that you might live in the victory of that assurance and discover that God is as good as his promises.

Today is the last day that we are making a very special resource available to you. It's my book entitled How You Can Be Sure That You Will Spend Eternity with God. I want you to have this book. I want you to read it again and again.

Share it with your friends. Underline it. Think about it. The aim of the book is to bring you into full assurance of faith. It's for doubters. It's for those who have walked with God for many years. Now for a gift of any amount it can be yours and thanks in advance for helping us as we get the gospel of Jesus Christ to thousands upon thousands of people.

I hope that you have a pencil so that you can write this down. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com or call us right now at 1-888-218-9337. Remember this is the last day we are making this resource available. How You Can Be Sure That You Will Spend Eternity with God. Let me give you that contact info again, rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

You can actually call right now. Ask for the book How You Can Be Sure That You Will Spend Eternity with God. And thanks in advance for helping us as we continue to share the gospel around the world. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60614. We who run life's race face an adversary. He's called the Prince of Darkness and the Serpent, but we don't have to let him block the track. His weapons, lying and deceit. What's our defense? Next time on Running to Win, we begin a probing look at Satan, God's devil.

Don't miss this series. Thanks for listening. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-16 19:32:39 / 2023-06-16 19:41:20 / 9

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