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A Costly Faith Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2022 1:00 am

A Costly Faith Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 6, 2022 1:00 am

After backsliding in Egypt, Abraham returned to God. Yet his renewed faith is tested again during a dispute about the land. In this message, we meet two men—Abraham and his nephew, Lot—at the impasse of faith. Let’s learn from Abraham why we do not have to manipulate circumstances or insist on our own rights. God has our lives in His hands.

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Run with endurance the race is looking to Jesus after backsliding in Egypt Abraham is back in fellowship with God's renewed faith is seen clearly during the dispute his nephew Lot today why we don't have to manipulate circumstances.

Since God has our lives is stay with us from the Moody Church in Chicago this with Dr. Sir, whose clear teaching helps us get across the finish line. It seems today's teaching will show that furthering one's own nest is not always the best policy date. I have to tell you that this account of Abraham fraught with lessons it has to do with the fact that lots saw and the things that he saw. It says reminded him of Egypt.

So when he went into Egypt. Egypt got into his heart. Wealth got into his heart so he chose the best pastureland and Abraham here.

God bless him he's willing to allow his nephew to make the choice that he wants to make, but it's how it all ended. That is important.

I've written a book entitled the cross in the shadow of the crescent. I wrote that so that we might be able to understand much better the ideas that guide Islam.

Also what is happening in America as we think about Islam here among us, and we think of the many people who have been integrated into our culture. How should we relate to all that. It also has stories. By the way of those who have been in the Muslim faith who have come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. So it's a book of information but also the book of hope for a gift of any amount. It can be yours. Here's what you do go to RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Now let's go back to the life of Abraham and the consequences of a good choice and a bad choice.

Sometimes we sing that song I've decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.

But the minute we begin to follow Jesus. God brings tests into our lives.

No question about it in the test always has the same essence, the same principles behind it.

The question is are we going to follow God's way or our way. That's the basic bottom line. Are we going to make a decision on faith or simply on the basis of science are we going to do what is right where are we going to do what is expedient. That's always the question when God tests us.

Genesis chapter 12 may turn to that in your Bibles last time we learned that God allowed Abraham to go into Egypt and there he lied, he failed the test. He got sent out of Egypt by the Pharaoh himself. Nothing as tragic as when pagan discovered on ethical behavior in the lives of people who supposedly are following God. Abraham lost his testimony in Egypt, he lost his altar in Egypt but he comes back and today were in chapter 13 of the book of Genesis in the Bible shows us how he was restored to God, despite his sin. You'll notice it says in verse three of chapter 13. Now Abraham was very rich in livestock and silver and gold and he journeyed on from the negative when you come across that word really means the South lots of desert there in the South. As far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and AI to the place where he had made an alternate first notice the words beginning and first God leads us back to where we got off track with him. He gives us a new beginning because he is the God of new beginning.

So Abraham here is restored to God, the altar is back fellowship with God is back and then only phrase that occurs over and over again, and Abraham called on the name of what a wonderful description of what prayer really is. Well, he flunked that task, but thankfully he's back in fellowship with God. But now God is going to bring another test into his life and that test is going to have to do with the land very very specifically. Here's what happens. Let's pick up the text it says that lot. Verse five who went with Abraham also had flocks and herds intense so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abraham's livestock and the herdsmen of lots, livestock, and at that time the Canaanite and the parasite were dwelling in the land while strife, Abraham and Lot are going to part their going to part company. Even though they are kinsman they're going to see things differently are going to split many of us don't believe that the church actually is in the Old Testament. It is there maybe in seed form, but many people have looked at this and rather humorously concluded that this chapter represents at least the beginning of the Baptist Church. Now I've been a Baptist for 5 1/2 years as a pastor of a church and I love the Baptist very much and if you can't say that don't tell this story to tell you there is a story of a Baptist who got washed up on an island and he was there for 20 years, no contact with human beings until some people found them and they said show us around the island which he was very glad to do and I noticed that there were three hots so they said to him what's in this study said that HUD is the one in which I live. That's fine.

Is it what's the other hottie said the second HUD is where I go to church Mason and what's the third hot and he said that's where I used to go to church, lighten up you Baptists splitting strife, not able to agree and so what happens in this text is we have a very interesting insight into human nature and into the character of these two men. Now let's read the text and will find out that lot actually is the one who made an incredible choice but listen to the text. You'll notice it says in verse eight that Abraham said to lot. Let there be no strife between you and me in between your herdsmen in my herdsmen, for we are kinsman is not the whole land before you separate yourself from me.

If you take the left hand and I'll go to the right. If you take the right hand and I'll go to the left while Abraham defers to lot. We most assuredly would not expect that that comes as a big surprise for at least a couple of reasons.

First of all, Abraham is older than his nephew Lot it was because of Abraham. That lot had the blessings of many cattle and wealth because he got in on the sum of Abraham's blessing and his expertise. That's one reason why Abraham should have most assuredly we would think, choose and then let lot take whatever was left over. But there's another reason why we should be surprised at how magnanimous magnanimous.

I hope I got that correctly that Abraham was, we should be surprised because God gave Abraham the land. It says in chapter 12 verse seven the Lord appeared on Dave Brandon said to your offspring I will give this land, God gave them the title deed to the land and said the land is yours Abraham might've thought since the land is mine. Of course I should take the best pasture land. I should get first did this notice what he says to his nephew. You choose whatever you want and I'll take whatever is left over faith is able to handle strife because they said I don't need what I have coming to me right now face says I don't have to insist on my rights. Faith says, I believe in the invisible God and his promises. Faith means I don't have to fight for what I think I own faith believes in another world and faith believes in God and so faith is able to solve this strife.

Abraham defers to lot lot now has a choice before him, and Lot chooses to defer to greed will notice that the text says that verse 10 lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt in the direction of sewer and then in parenthesis how ominously this occurs.

Now that was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah while you say well today, the Jordan Valley maybe is good but is not exactly like the Garden of Eden. Well, evidently before that destruction.

And in those times, it was very beautiful and noticed that it also says like the like Egypt.

Egypt along the Nile River. You see, when Locke was in Egypt with his uncle Abraham. Abraham was able to pull himself out of Egypt bounce back into fellowship with God and go on lot wasn't.

There was something in Egypt that lot coveted and that covetousness came out now, in this choice, so you'll notice that lot sees the wonderful pastureland the possibility of garden C visualizes his livestock and grass as high as their legs and so Lot chooses for himself what everyone listening at this point, especially the young people the teenagers but if you're younger than that you listen and if you're older than that.

I want you to listen even more carefully. There's a phrase there in verse 11 that every Bible should have underlined it says a lot shows for himself while in in those four words you had the destruction of many a life. The tragedy of many a life can be found in those four words he chose for himself and that's the whole story. We think of some of the terrible marriages that have taken place because someone decided that rather than consulting God, he would choose for himself.

We think of some of the bad business arrangements and the bad business ethics that people have stooped to because they would choose for themselves. We think of the entertainment that some people get into and the addictions that come as a result of that because somebody said I'm going to choose for myself and there lot experience. The law of unintended consequences.

Suppose we were to interview lot in with a lot tell us why you made the decision he say well number one opportunity.

What a great opportunity. My uncle is giving me and furthermore I don't feel guilty because you know he told me to make a choice opportunity. Secondly, prestige and position because later on. He's going to be there in Sodom and he's going to have a position in Sodom is not to live in a tent anymore is not going to be able to sing this world is not my home, I'm just a passing through.

He's no longer a pilgrim. He now lives with in the city he's a city dweller. Nothing wrong with being a city dweller, but he was content in Sodom and received prestige in Sodom but unintended consequences were on the way there is the story of the president of a large company who is going to build a series of buildings and so he farmed it out to various bidders to various contractors, and that you know how the process works, the contractor that submits the best bid.

Probably the lowest cost with proof that he will do the best job usually wins, so one of the contractors was going to submit his bid. It was the last day for bids and he walks into the president's office and no one is there. The room is an so he thinks to himself. I don't know where the president is any looks on the desk and there on the desk of all things of the president is an open bid from his most interesting and greatest competitor and he thinks to himself, if I could just see the number that he came in on. And if I come in just a little less than that. Almost assuredly get the big business problem was that right on that number on the application was a can of soda pop, he thought to himself, what am I going to do nobody's around.

He walks the hallways looks in the office again.

The president is nowhere to be found in his thinking, should I or shouldn't I should I or shouldn't I say decided that he would, he decided that what he would do is to lift the can of pop really fast. Look at the number and then put it down and he does that and when he does that hundreds of babies spill out onto the table and drop onto the floor. That is the law of unintended consequences when the Bible says that lot lifted up his eyes and saw and chose for himself. Lot did not realize that entailed in that decision were some terrible terrible terrible consequences. Let's look at them first of all lot lost his testimony in Sodom is there is a judge at the gate he's being honored and when the menace around this house.

He's willing to actually give them his daughters for this terrible terrible kind of perverted sexuality is willing to give them his daughters and when he told his son a lot God is going to judge this city. The Bible says they thought he was joking. While no testimony, no altar in Sodom and Gomorrah. He lost his testimony, he lost his family. He lost his wife who turned back into a pillar of salt and in the end he lost his character.

He ends up in a cave committing incest with his two daughters. He did not know that all of those things would happen because he chose for himself, opportunity, prestige, but at what price. Now it's interesting that lot succumbed to a very respect double sin. There are some sins that are not respectable. For example, sins of the flesh are generally regarded as not respectable but sins of the spirit are oftentimes extolled. They are, they are honored. Greed is good. Greed makes capitalism work. Nothing wrong with covetousness because actually if you see your neighbor have something what's wrong with wanting the same thing and working until you get it. Those are sins of the spirit, respect, double sin back in the days of the Reformation, when Martin Luther was complaining about some of the abuses of the church. A Cardinal was sent to him to buy him often and the Cardinal was told to tell Luther to shut up and in order to encourage them to do that will give them some gold use money to bribe Cardinal road back to the Pope and said the fool doesn't love gold fool doesn't love gold couldn't be bought off. It is sometimes those respectable sins that cause trim men. This problems in family.

Families have been split over inheritance says they been split because of money you way big money in somebody's face and even a rational Christian can become un-realistic and can become greedy and manipulative money has that power. It has the power to seduce because it makes all of the same promises that God does, I'll be with you in sickness and in health all be with you. If the economy collapses all be with you and so what you have here is lot choosing in the direction of wealth and power and look at where he ended, I might also add that lot ended in sensuality, which is usually where wealth, power, ends up what a story many lessons for us to learn and you know speaking of lessons to learn.

I've written a book entitled the cross in the shadow of the crescent. I wrote this book because it was my privilege to visit Turkey in the year 2009 and I discovered that there are no churches in Turkey that are visible rather only mosques and I asked myself the question, does this mean that Jesus Christ is weak. Why was it that God allowed Islam to basically crush the church and I remember going back to where we were staying and I rode on the back of an envelope seven or eight lessons that I thought we could learn as Americans from the nonexistent churches in Turkey churches to whom Jesus wrote personal letters. The result eventually was the book entitled the cross in the shadow of the crescent for a gift of any amount we are making this resource available to you. Here's what you can do. Go to RTW now. Perhaps I said that to quickly. I'm going to be giving you this info again but let me tell you in advance.

We want to thank you for your support of this ministry. We are in four different languages in 20 different countries. Thanks to you.

Here's what you can do. Go to RTW or if you prefer you can call us right now you can call 1-888-218-9337 it's time again for you to ask Pastor looks her question about the Bible or the Christian life personal evangelism is Tim's focus today and Dr. Blitzer.

He takes issue with your approach versus question why did Dr. Blitzer say we have to earn the right to witness to someone I can witness after getting acquainted for less than three minutes. It's not our power were depending on but the Holy Spirit. If you'd known on September 10, 2001 that almost 3000 people would die the next day and it was up to you to serve the gospel with them. What would you tell them you wouldn't have two or three years to build a friendship or relationship with them to my just want you to know that I do agree with you, and I'm sure that whatever it is that I said it has to be repeated in context. The fact is often eyewitness to people in three minutes and that particularly in situations like on the plane where I've not had an opportunity to get to know people in contexts.

I've met people and have witness to them almost immediately if there's some kind of a bridge that can be built but at the same time. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5 verse 16. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven what Jesus was saying is that it's not only by our words. It's by our deeds and our friendship. It is in these ways that we gain authenticity and a sense of integrity and while it is true that we can witness to people in a few moments as God opens their hearts.

It's also true that there are many people who will not come to saving faith in Christ. Many people who have been deeply wounded by the church and they probably will not be open to hear the gospel until you have established a sense of credibility, friendship, and that once they know that you care that will go a long way to having them think about what you have to say. So that's the balance and I hope that all of us keep it. We are ready in season and out of season to witness at the same time we live lives that glorify God that eventually attract the unsaved to the gospel message. Thank you Tim for your question, Dr. Blitzer, thank you for that balanced answer if you'd like to hear your question answered.

You can to our and click on ask Pastor looks her or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at the running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago 60614 running to win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life.

Our culture says look out for number one lot got first pick of the land, but it led to his ruin. Next time I'm running to win why God always gives his best to those who leave the choice with him.

Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin loser this is Dave Callister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church

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