Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. When Jeremiah proclaimed the coming judgment of God, his fellow Israelites paid him no heed.
Life went on with no thought of a day of accounting. We in America must learn what they learned, because where Israel went, so will we. 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. Today we continue a series on the church in Babylon, unleashing the power of a Spirit-filled witness. Pastor Lutzer, are we as slow now to listen to prophetic warnings as Israel was in the days of Jeremiah?
You know, Dave, I've been studying communication, and I'm absolutely convinced that people hear what they want to hear. And if our hearts are closed, absolutely, we are no better than the Israelites. Their hearts were closed because they were into pleasure, they were into idolatry, and the very same thing is happening to us today. But the good news is that there are many people who are open to God. Those who are listening to this program, of course, are anxious, I'm sure, to hear what God has to say through his word. I've written a book entitled The Church in Babylon because I want us to understand what Israel was going through, the parallels to today, and the church. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here is what you can do.
Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And now let us contemplate the church in Babylon. Rebecca and I are in touch with a woman and her husband who have an organization proclaiming justice. And she was telling me the other day when I was talking to her on the phone that there's a state in these United States, southern state, where she is involved in a textbook controversy. And this publishing house, and she gave me the name of the textbook in the publishing house and the whole bit, published a textbook that gives 35 pages to Islam. Islam gave us liberty, Islam helped the dignity of women, Islam gave us culture. Thirteen pages devoted to Christianity and the chapter is entitled The Crusaders. Now, she has been objecting to this and even some changes have been made.
But this is what I found interesting. The pastors in her community said, oh yeah, we have to do something. We have to be involved. We want you to lead this crusade, so to speak, lead this charge. And she did, bravely. No pastor showed up to support her, but there she was. And then a Muslim on the committee said, I'm going to make sure that all of these textbooks are pro-Islamic and if anyone opposes me, I'm going to call them three things, racist, homophobic, and intolerant.
Is there anything in America that is worse than being called racist, homophobic, and intolerant? I simply tell you today that we are paralyzed as a nation because of political correctness and standing for truth is going to become more difficult as the days go on. But blessed are those who like Jeremiah. God says, Jeremiah, I've made you a bronze wall. I have made you a strong pillar and I'm going to be with you.
And even if everyone is against you, you speak my word. May God grant us many, many Jeremiah's. Lesson number three, the faithfulness of a few is no guarantee that a nation is going to turn to God. Under Jeremiah, previously under Josiah, a few generations back, there were reforms. They found the book of the law. They began to read the book of the law and people began to go to church, so to speak. They began to go to temple and they repented of their sins and all, but the reforms were too late, too little.
By the next generation, everybody had forgotten them and everybody was into their idolatry, into their immorality and into their own way of life. So there is no guarantee. The reason I mentioned that is I was speaking at a conference this summer of home schoolers, several thousand home schoolers in Denver, and they assigned me the topic of how can we turn this country around?
My opening line was, I have no guarantee that we can. When it comes to the culture wars, clearly we seem to be losing those one at a time. There are dominoes coming all the way from the White House across the nation regarding certain things, and therefore we have no guarantee.
What we have to do is to ask a different question. What does faithfulness look like in a nation that is under judgment? That's the question that I wrestle with all the time, and how can I prepare myself, my family, my grandchildren, and the wider Christian community here at the Moody Church? How can we be strong and courageous at a time when even our freedoms are being closed in upon?
So I hate to be the bearer of such bad news. I wish I could say that I see revival breaking out everywhere. We're praying for that.
I pray for that. I was on my face before God this week praying for this nation because I love it and I'm grieved at the direction that we are going, but we have no guarantees. Number four, a nation can reach a point of no return. A nation can reach a point of no return. That's what God said about Judah. He said even though Moses and Samuel pray, don't bother, he said Jeremiah, don't bother praying because I'm going to judge this nation. It's gone too far.
There's no way now that your prayers are going to hold back the reigns of judgment. Wow. When Rebecca and I were in Niagara Falls about 40 years ago, my word, I don't even feel 40. How could I say that we were in Niagara Falls 40 years ago? I remember we were standing there with a guide and he said, do you see those rocks over there? He pointed something out on the other side of the falls. He said that's known as the point of no return. He said if you ever get this far, the speed of the water, the power of the water will take you over the falls.
So boats should never get close to the point of no return. Are we there as a nation? I hope not. I'm not a prophet. It would take a prophet for us to understand exactly how and when God is going to judge America in the future, but it does not take a prophet to know that judgment not only is coming, but judgment has arrived. Judgment has arrived. And you know the way in which we must understand this, sometimes people say, Pastor Lutzer, do you think that God will ever judge America? I usually try to smile.
You always want to try to smile when you give an answer like this. You say, my dear friend, God is judging America. You see, every sin has some immediate judgment, and then in the future, as God wills, there is accumulated judgment for a whole nation. But we're already reaping the seeds through the destruction of the family.
God says in Deuteronomy 28, if you don't follow me, I'm going to destroy you. And then he goes on to say that the families will be destroyed. And 20 million children going to bed tonight with only a single parent in the home, that's part of the destruction. And then the increase in the breakup of the family where the governor of Colorado can sign a document now that children can have more than two parents.
Of course, why not? I mean, and all that because the family's been destroyed now. It's just a collection of individuals that come together for sexual reasons and other reasons. And so it's all gone. The point is this, that is part of God's judgment, but only a part. There may be a time when there's even future judgments more severe that are national in their scope, but I don't know that. And I don't know whether we've reached the point of no return. Many of my friends think we haven't. They believe that there is a great mass of revival.
Now, I have to tell you very honestly, I cannot foresee a day when the same-sex marriage as it sweeps this country would be reversed unless there would be a massive, great revival in the United States of America, for which I pray, but I don't believe we have guarantees. So a nation can reach the point of no return. I trust that that's not true of the nation.
I love so much the great United States of America. Number five, and this blows me away. Number five, God values the human heart, not buildings and institutions. You know, when I was thinking about this, I realized, wouldn't it have been great if Solomon's temple had not been verified? Wouldn't that be wonderful? I see Mary Whelchel here who leads tours to Israel. Wouldn't it be great if we could lead a tour to Israel and say, come with us and see Solomon's temple?
You can imagine what that would do to the tourist industry in Israel. Beautiful temple. It's up for a couple of hundred years, I think. God destroys it. And then something else, even worse to take in, that temple is destroyed. Centuries later, of course, you know, you have the small temple under Zerubbabel. Herod comes along and builds this massive temple, massive.
You've seen pictures of it. And Jesus is sitting there on the Mount of Olives looking at it and says to the disciples, do you realize that every stone here is going to be thrown down? Why?
Because you didn't know the day of your visitation. Oh, my. The temple isn't even finished during the time of Christ. It's finished in about 64 AD, begun 19 BC. It's finished in about 64 AD, talking about, what, 70 or more years, 80? And then six years later, 70 AD, the Romans believe that there is gold in the stones. They dismantle it stone by stone. And there it's destroyed. And I say, God, think of all of the work that went into building this beautiful temple. And it would still be standing today built with great Herodian stones of tons, some of which still exist. God says means nothing to me.
You didn't know the day of your visitation. This beautiful structure is destroyed. Do you see my heart today? Rebecca and I were in Washington DC this fall with the national religious broadcasters. You drive down Pennsylvania Avenue. You see these beautiful buildings in Washington. Many of them have snatches and verses of scripture engraved on them. And to know that we are consciously, as a nation, turning away from that heritage, turning away from the Judeo-Christian ethic, which gave us unity and in its place, replacing it with a kind of relativism and the acceptance of immorality. And God may keep those buildings, and they may be inhabited eventually by other people, by other nations, by other religions. But to see that, you say, God, this nation, whatever.
I know that there's argument about how Christian the founding fathers were, and I can't get into that. But there was a historical Christian Judeo-ethic base, certainly, can't be denied, to know that all that is that. And God says, I don't care about your buildings.
I could destroy them in a moment of time. If I don't have your heart, the buildings don't matter. Number six, when a nation is judged, when a nation is judged, the righteous suffer with the wicked. The righteous suffer with the wicked. You see, when this nation was judged and you had all these people going to Babylon, there were righteous people among them. That's why we're going to be looking at the book of Daniel eventually and so forth, because Daniel is one of the ones who was carried off into Babylon. And there he is, living for God in a pagan culture.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, those guys living for God in a pagan culture. They don't bow before the idols of their culture. And that's why what we need to do is to learn that. So they themselves experience temporal judgment, not eternal judgment.
I mean, that's the thing. The city of God and the city of man are concurrent only in this life. Eventually, they will be separated after the final judgment, the righteous in one place, the unbelievers in the other. But the point to be made is that we also suffer. If a nation goes downhill economically because of an overspending government, we all suffer as a result of that. So that's just an observation to be made. True historically, true today. Number seven, God uses evil nations to judge his own people. God uses evil nations to judge his own people. Now, you have to think about the book of Habakkuk. You remember Habakkuk?
He's writing during this period of time. Habakkuk is saying, oh, there's so much wickedness in the earth. God says, Habakkuk, you haven't seen anything yet. I'm raising up the Babylonians to come against your nation. Habakkuk says, you've got to be kidding. Now, this, of course, is the paraphrased version.
He's saying, you can't be real God. They're worse than we are. God says, I know they're worse than you are, and I'll judge them for their evil. But I'm using them against you to destroy your city because you don't turn to me.
Wow. Europe is understanding this. I know that most Muslims, and I hope that many are listening right now, we don't paint Islam with a big brush because we know that there are many Muslims who don't want Sharia law. The ones that live near you, I'm sure, want to live peaceful lives and they make good neighbors. But Europe, some of the countries there, the game is over.
I've talked to historians because of the birth rate and all. The time will come. You know what God said in the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy? He says, as a judgment, just catch this for a moment. He said, as a judgment, your children will worship other gods.
Wow. What does that say about generations? And what you're going to find as Sharia law begins to gain steam in some of the European countries that are totally paralyzed, completely paralyzed by political correctness.
We'll see there what happens. Oh, we're not as bad as the people who fly planes into buildings and kill innocent ones. God says, yeah, but those are the kinds of people I use when a nation turns from God. Number eight, the Lord, and isn't it time for a hope after all this? I think so. How many of you say, Pastor, it's time for some hope here.
All right. I don't know if that's a quorum, but I'm going with hope right now. God gives us promises to live in a pagan culture. God gives us promises. We haven't looked in detail in the book of Jeremiah by any means, but you remember it is Jeremiah 33 that says call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knows not. You know, there's a man in the book of Jeremiah and I wish I could tell you his story. He pulled Jeremiah out of the pit and even had pads under the ropes so that the prophet wouldn't be hurt. And you know, this man who was an African, he's from Ethiopia, he was scared with the coming judgment. He said, boy, am I ever scared. You know what God said to him? God says, I am going to deliver you. This is in chapter 39. Because you trust me, there's not anything that's going to happen to you.
You're going to survive this. Not because he was good, not because he was courageous. God says, because you trust me. And God gives promises to his people. You know, when you pass through the fire, I'll be with you. When you go through the floods, you'll not be overcome. God always stands with his people in a time of trial. Tony Evans, great African American preacher, friend of mine. I was actually with him last week, if you can believe it.
And he tells this story that I love. He and Lois, his wife, were on a cruise. And over the intercom came the thing that, you know, we're headed into a storm, so buckle up.
It's going to be rough. Lois didn't like it, so she calls the captain and talks to his assistant and said, if we're going into a storm, why don't we just stay here, let the storm blow over, and put down anchor here, and then we can go into the storm. The assistant said, I'll get back to you in a moment.
I'll talk to the captain. He calls back and says two things. Number one, and I'm sure number one was said very diplomatically. He wanted me to remind you that he's in charge and you're not.
That would be a good thing to be reminded of. And then number two, he said this. And I want to give you a sentence that I never want you to forget. On your deathbed, you should be able to quote this. Are you ready for it?
All in the balcony, wherever you're listening. Are you ready for the sentence? He said, tell her that this ship was built with this storm in mind. And when you trust Jesus, who died on the cross for your sins, and took God's judgment, and was raised from the dead, and ascended into heaven, I'll tell you that that ship was built with our storm in mind. Do you agree with that?
Yeah? God's going to walk with us through this. Lesson number nine, we must not be passive because we have work to do. You see, you were born into this generation because God says, I want you right now. And I want you to be able to spend your life telling about the excellencies of God and the redemption of God.
The nation might not believe, but your neighbors might. And what you need to do is to be able to witness to the glory and the forgiveness of God because during times like this, God is calling out a people for his name's sake. And he's calling out those people and he's using me and you to do it. This past summer, a teenager committed suicide, left a note and said, I've messed up too many times. I was actually at a Bible camp talking with one of the professors there and I said, tomorrow I'm preaching a message on why he didn't have to commit suicide. Never preached that message at Moody Church. See, I don't get to preach here as often as I could.
That's actually somewhat of a joke since I preach here all the time. But I pointed out that if he understood the gospel, nobody ever has to commit suicide. Mess up, we've all messed up. Jesus died for people who have messed up.
Aren't you glad for that? That he died for people who have messed up. Do you realize something of the judgment of God in this message?
I mean, just judgment. God says, I'm going to become the enemy of Israel. I'm going to destroy you. God says, I'm going to do it.
I'm going to use nations to do it, but I'm doing it. That ought to scare you. Typhoons ought to scare you. Tsunamis ought to scare you about the terrifying nature of God.
And that's why this world needs the message of God's grace and the message of Jesus. You remember the days when prairie fires used to devastate homes and homesteads? What the farmers used to do when the wind was blowing favorably is to start a fire around their homestead, burn it all, you know, as far, maybe a quarter of a mile or whatever. And then they knew that if the fire came, it would not come to them because their homestead was standing on ground that had already been burned. The Bible says it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But when you come to Jesus, you're standing where the fire of God has already struck, where the fire of God has been burned. And Jesus took the hell that you and I deserve. My friend, this is Pastor Lutzer. I hope that you grasp some of the conviction with which I have preached the gospel because I believe so deeply it's a message that needs to be heard.
We need to understand the grace of God, yes, but we also need to understand the judgment of God. Perhaps you've missed some messages in this series. Would you like to have it in permanent form so that you can listen to it again and again, share it with your friends? Here's what you can do.
Go to rtwoffer.com, or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. I'm going to be giving you that contact info again. But ask for the church in Babylon. I believe that these messages are very relevant to what we see happening in our culture. And if we don't heed the warnings, we will discover that we will experience much of the same fate.
But thankfully, God is always with his people, even as Israel learned in Babylon. Here's what you can do. Go to rtwoffer.com.
Ask for the series of messages entitled The Church in Babylon. Or if you prefer, you can call us right now. Call 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.
Thanks in advance for helping us because together we are making a difference. The gospel of Jesus Christ goes to many people through the ministry of Running to Win, and you are a part of what we are doing. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635, North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. When God's judgment fell, Jerusalem, with its temple, was sacked and looted by invading armies. Next time on Running to Win, Erwin Lutzer takes us to Lamentations, Chapter 1, as Jeremiah is mourning the destruction of a great city. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-26 19:37:24 / 2023-05-26 19:46:23 / 9