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A Praying Faith Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 20, 2022 1:00 am

A Praying Faith Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 20, 2022 1:00 am

When we feel burned by unanswered prayer, we often neglect our friendship with God. With neighboring cities facing fire and brimstone, Abraham welcomed three men—no ordinary men—into his tent. In this message, we listen to Abraham’s intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah with transforming lessons for our prayer life. Let’s recover the primary purpose for prayer.

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Let us run with endurance the race is looking to Jesus, founder and perfecter of our one day Abraham came out of his tent and saw three men standing there men were not ordinary men with keen spiritual insight since he was in the presence of the Lord is Hebrews 13 says, some have entertained angels without knowing the Moody Church in Chicago.

This is running to win with Dr. Erwin Moser is clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Abraham found strength for the journey God called him to undertake vasculature. I'm sure the day Abraham met these three men was a day like no other days it almost takes my breath away to realize that Abraham entertained these men and somehow knew as you have indicated that he was in the presence of the Lord, and of course what follows is dramatic and when you quoted that verse from the book of Hebrews that some of entertained angels unawares. I was reminded of something in my past, many years ago Dale Evans Rogers. It was the wife of Roy Rogers and many of our listeners will remember that name. She wrote a book entitled angels unaware that she told the story of the children that she had, who died and she indicated that she didn't realize that at the time, but God was actually giving her a gift, the gift of a child and then God took that child home. Here's the point.

Let us always remember that in one way or another we have the opportunity of encountering God. If we see him in the dilemmas, the disappointments and the puzzles of life. Abraham, yes, actually did see God in the flesh. What a story so let me begin by asking you a question how would you like to have a conversation with God. Amen.

Years ago the book was written entitled conversations with God in the introduction, the author said that he took this book and it was written actually by automatic writing, and being came along and moved his hand and that's how the book came about that is known in occultism as automatic writing. That's why the book says many foolish things that only a human being and the devil would agree with such as quote God says I think whatever you think how you come across a God who thinks whatever you think, and that your thoughts are his thoughts. You come across the wrong one.

God says, my thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways, that's a different God. But Abraham had a conversation with God.

The real God. And what a conversation it was that's recorded in the 18th chapter the 18th chapter of the book of Genesis where Abraham has this encounter with the divine being, and with your Bibles open. Let me tell you the story then read the part of the account as it is given to us in Scripture.

Here's Abraham he's sitting at the door of his tent. It's hot, it's time for a siesta and three men come to him.

It almost appears as if Abraham realize that these were not three ordinary Bedouins, though perhaps they were dressed that way.

Abraham not only bows before them and calls one of them, Lord, but begins that even though he's 100 years old to act very quickly.

It says in verse six and Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said quick free seal is a fine flour needed and make cakes verse seven and Abraham ran into the herd and took a calf tender and good and gave it to a man who prepared it quickly is a man in a hurry so the three men gather under a tree and he feeds them the very best that he possibly can. Who are these three men well. We learned very clearly that one is Jesus Christ. Now if you been with us in this series and I believe that this is the eighth message in the series.

You know that we've encountered this before in the Old Testament Jesus Christ about whom it is written in his goings forth have been from of old and from everlasting was already appearing at times in the Old Testament. For purposes of communication oftentimes referred to as the angel of the Lord. Here he is simply referred to as the Lord as we shall see in a moment. One is Jesus Christ and the other two are angels backed in the book of Hebrews. It says that you should be very very careful very anxious to entertain strangers because by doing that. Some have entertained angels unawares.

Probably a reference to this particular account so they're eating together, and doubt one of them. That is the Lord I'm sure is speaking and says where is Sarah your wife verse nine. Wait a moment. Now how does he know that her name is Sarah and Abraham answers and says she's in the tent and the Lord says where in verse 10.

Now I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son and Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and advanced in years, the way of women had ceased to be with Sarah so Sarah laughed to herself as she was told in the previous chapter that she was going to bear a son, but Sarah does not believe it.

Abraham seems to believe, but she does not, and you'll notice that even though she's laughing to herself. She is overheard by the angel of the Lord by Jesus actually and in verse 13 the Lord said to Abraham. Why did Sarah laugh and say, shall I indeed bear a child now, but I am to old is anything too hard for the Lord. Is it possible for God to take a man who's 100 and a woman who is 90, and to give them a son is that to heart for God, sometimes in our praying we say no. Lord, I'm just praying about something that's very little. I smile when we say that because to God.

Everything is little hurricanes or little earthquakes are little to God. Everything is a little weird, dealing with omnipotence so the angel written assurances. Why are you laughing Sarah and she she denies that self protection first thing we do when we're embarrassed as to why what she does. She says no she says I didn't lapses yes you did. You did see she laughed to herself in the tent. She didn't laugh loud enough for them to hear out there but God knew that she was laughing so after the meal is over. Abraham then begins to go his way, and the three men began to go to Sodom and to have them move off to angels do and Abraham now is confronted and he stands in the presence of the Lord and we are allowed to enter into a divine soliloquy, the Lord of glory is talking to himself and he asks this question. He says in verse 17.

Shall I hide from Abraham what I'm about to do. Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. Bribe chosen him that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice could I just pause and say that the primary responsibility for spiritual instruction in the home is the father whether the father is absent, or whether he is present, God holds them accountable for the spiritual instruction that he gives to his children, and then the angel says are actually the angel of the Lord. If we may call him that it is the second person of the Trinity is saying I'm going down to take a look to see where how bad the Sodom really is once again you have to read this with some theological glasses.

It's not that Jesus is on a reconnaissance mission trying to find out the state of Sodom and Gomorrah you have to put this in the same category as God asking Adam in the garden. Where are you not that God doesn't know but God.

Here Jesus is being represented as a human being places I'm going to go down and check out how bad Sodom has become. And that makes it Abraham realize that judgment is coming to Sodom and that's why we come now to this great period of intercession in Abraham's life we have to look at it more carefully.

Verse 22.

So the man turned from there and went toward Sodom. But Abraham stood still before the Lord, and he drew near and said will you indeed to sweep away the righteous with the wicked suppose there are 50 righteous within the city, will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the 50 righteous who are in it. Far be it from you to do such a thing to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fair as the wicked far be that from you shall not judge of all the earth to do what is just and the Lord said if I find that Sodom 50 righteous in the city. I will spare the whole place for their say. From here on out. I'd love to see a video of this from here on out.

I think Abraham's needs are quite he now realizes that he is in the presence of God who can make a decision whether Sodom will be destroyed or not and in his mind what he's thinking is locked lives there. My nephew whom I rescued and after I rescued and he went back to Sodom.

It's amazing what it takes to change some heart and so what he's saying is Lord I'm thinking of my nephew Lot and his wife and his daughters.

Lord, I'm not sure whether or not there are 50 in the city. He began rather high. He wanted God to agree on this and he appeals to the justice of God, not the mercy of God, as we sometimes do, and that's fine. But here, he appeals to the justice of God, and he says God you will not sweep away the wicked and the righteous together will you if there are 50 righteous in the city and God, since it's a promise I won't. Now he begins to tremble and he begins to intercede and he says, Lord, what about 4545 if he can get God to agree with. 45 maybe I can agree get him to agree with less than that.

So he goes to 45 will you do it. If there are 45 God's as I will do it if there Abraham is not bargaining with God when you bargained with God you have something to give in exchange or haggling over a price he has nothing to haggle with.

He brings nothing to the table except his concern for lot God's righteousness.

That's all that he has any please and he says God, he says, what if there are 40 and from now on. I believe that in Abraham's mind. He is thinking that every and dance in this prayer that I make might be my last. God might wipe me off the face of the earth because you'll notice how he begins to form his prayer before God. I'm going to begin here in verse 29.

Again he spoke to him and suppose 40 are found there. He said for the sake of 40. I will not do it, then he should also let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak.

Suppose 30 are found there, he answered, I will not do the pipeline 30 there. Abraham is speaking behold I've undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose 20 are found there. He said for the sake of 20 I will not destroy. That is an old Lord, let not the Lord be angry and I will speak again this one's he believes that the Lord may be exasperated with them. Please don't be angry. One more time. Suppose Tanner found there. He answered and said, for the sake of 10, I will not destroy it.

The Lord went his way and when he had finished speaking to Abraham and Abraham returned to his place. While what you think.

Abraham told Sarah that night in the tent. I can't prove it but I think he said Sarah I just talked God out of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. I can imagine Sarah saying hello. A huge is hello in the dark. You and God have got this thing going. This is wonderful because think about who was in Sodom I can imagine that Abraham was maybe thinking this way there's Lot and his wife, his two daughters. That's for their about to be married to two young men that six if the parents of the two young men are believers.

That's another four that makes 10 he goes home believing that Sodom and Gomorrah will not destroy he got God down to I can imagine the shock that he had the next morning. Verse 27 chapter 19 now and Abraham went out early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord, and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the Valley and he looked, and behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of my home. He thought either a goddess deceived me, or else be.

I miscalculated the number of the righteous in the city. There weren't 10 and is true. There weren't 10 God could have destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah including a lot without breaking faith with Abraham without breaking his promise because there were not 10 righteous in the city so Abraham begins to think to himself I didn't go low enough if I said to or for maybe the city would not of been destroyed, but God remembered Abraham. It says so it was that the Lord when he destroyed the cities of the valley verse 29 God remembered Abraham and send Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which lot had lived the rest of the chapter.

Chapter 19 talks about how God rescued Lot and his wife and his two daughters. I'm going to leave the account right there.

As we look at pre-transforming lessons that should enable us to look at life differently and look at prayer differently as we look at this remarkable story. First of all let me remind you that the closer our friendship with God, the more freely he shows his intentions with us. The closer our friendship with God, the more freely God shows us his intent. Sometimes we hurry over accounts like this far to quickly don't. Here is Jesus coming with two angels to eat at the table of Abraham sitting under a tree that is awesome that the divine is sovereign, one would come from heaven and meet a Bedouin on his own terms blows you away and the Bible says that Abraham was a friend of God.

That particular expression applies in Scripture, only to him that it is said three times. Abraham is a friend of God. You say will if I were a friend of God. God would disclose to me what his intention was he would help me to pray you're right. You're completely right. The more intimate we are with God.

The more intimate our friendship. The more God discloses to us and he enables us to pray differently because we begin to discern his mind and his art in the history of evangelicalism today and in our churches, including hours.

There are hundreds of people whom I suspect, whom I suspect not pray regularly and they say to themselves. The reason I don't is because I've been burned too many times I've come to God and I've asked him to heal people whom he hasn't healed. I've asked him to bring my wayward son or daughter back into the faith and he hasn't done it.

I've asked him for an and or to the injustice that is being done against me, and it continues on abated. I have stopped praying because I've stopped believing and it doesn't do any good and so I'm glad that God is therefore great emergencies when I go for surgery all call for help and for prayer but for the normal things of life. I will not bother him because nothing changes. When I pray I think of a woman who said these exact words when they pray for their pastor who is dying of cancer and thousands of people prayed and they had all night prayer meeting. She said if God didn't heal them. After all of that prayer never going to bother him with another request again. What's gone wrong what's gone wrong is that we forget that intercession is the second purpose of prayer, not the first. The first purpose of prayer is fellowship and intimacy with God and by the way, Jesus said, I no longer call you servants I've called you friends as a servant doesn't know what his master's doing, but I have called you friends, because everything that the father has shown me. I've withheld nothing I've shared with you all of my secrets and that makes us friend so we are all friends and the purpose of prayer is really to develop that friendship in such a way that we are so satisfied with friendship with God that even if he doesn't give us what we think he should we do not give up on prayer because prayer is first and foremost fellowship with the Almighty.

What an amazing example of Jesus and the two angels sitting under a tree meeting with Abraham and today Jesus says to us, behold, I stand at the door knock. If anyone will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him and I will eat with him, and he with me, you will become disappointed with prayer very quickly. If you think it's first purposes. Intercession the first purpose of prayer is for us to come before the Lord in yielded nests in faith and simply learn to enjoy fellowship with God in such a way that whether he gives what we ask for, or whether he doesn't. It does not shake us it only deepens us in our desire to know him better. You live like that and you'll be a permit is now the second purpose of prayer is no longer the first purpose something to preach a message entitled the idolatry of second the idolatry of second see the gifts that God gives us those of the second things and when they take first place in our lives when God doesn't give them to us.

We cite why bother. Abraham walked with God and so can we know the other day I was speaking at a conference and someone came up to me and said pastor Luther what is your favorite passage of Scripture. Give me a verse will instantly I was reminded of Psalm 1611, in thy presence there is fullness of joy at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. There is no privilege is great is the privilege of knowing God experiencing his presence and walking with the Almighty let that always be our first goal. Our first priority. I'm so glad that we have the privilege of continuing the ministry of running to win and it is now being heard in many Muslim countries and we receive questions such as this. Who is Jesus I cannot find the right way to reach God. All that's exactly why running to win exists is to help people to reach God through Jesus Christ. Would you like to become a part of what we are doing on a regular basis.

Would you consider becoming an endurance partner that someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Of course, the amount that you give is entirely your decision. But here's the info you can go to RTW when you're there, click on the endurance partner button or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Let me make it very clear that your gift is an investment to get the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible.

Go to RTW Click on the endurance partner button. Call us at 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 God had agreed to spare Sodom if 10 righteous were found.

Abraham thought he had a sure deal then the smoke rose so was his prayer worth it are hours when they go unanswered. Next time I'm running to win a probing look at the real purpose of prayer. Thanks for listening, Dr. Erwin Blitzer this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the teacher

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