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A Praying Faith Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2022 1:00 am

A Praying Faith Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 23, 2022 1:00 am

Just like Abraham interceded to spare Sodom and Gomorrah, Christians make an impact in the world. In this message, we contemplate lessons on prayer for others, for our cities, and for our families. Despite Abraham’s intense intersession, the cities were destroyed. Was His prayer worth it? 

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Abraham thought he had assured you then smoke rose so was his rare work today probing look at the real purpose of prayer, the Moody Church in Chicago this morning with one mixer whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line after Luther there were some tough days during Abraham's long journey.

One such day came when the prayer was answered with a decisive no.

The story of Abraham as a plan for Sodom and Gomorrah is one of the most interesting in all the Scriptures when Abraham was finished. He thought for sure that God would spare Sodom and Gomorrah because as you mentioned, he believed that there were 10 righteous in the city and therefore God would give his request. Well, when the smoke arose I have no doubt that Abraham was shocked.

But here's the thing that is so interesting regarding prayer, God did spare Lot and his family. So you see, even though God didn't give Abraham the prayer of his lips he gave him Abraham's prayer the prayer of his heart.

It was a lot that he wanted to see spared and he got that request even though lot ended very badly.

The bottom line is God sometimes answers our prayers, but in ways that we could never possibly predicted I've written a book entitled the cross in the shadow of the crescent.

Let me ask you a couple of questions. Why does Jesus allow Islam to triumph over the church. Here's another question when a church dies is it always the fault of the church. That's a question that we need to have answered his persecution always good for the church or does it sometimes destroy the church or those of the kinds of questions I answer in the book the cross in the shadow of the crescent free gift of any amount.

It can be yours. Here's what you do, you simply go to RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let us listen to Abraham as he pleads with God.

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. 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 meet 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. God's waiting for you to give up all of your prayer lists. They're not wrong to have but give up all of your requests.

Learn to spend time and quietness in meditation in submission listening to his voice through his word. That's where it begins and then what happened is God says that Sean disclosed to Abraham what I intend you closely with God and God lay on your heart. Certain things he wants to accomplish, and you begin to pray about them and they come to pass.

I always say that Abraham and God had this thing going. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all of us could say we in God we got this thing going. This friendship so that he can disclose to us where he sat rather than us barging into his presence. God look at this request this of this need. Now the second purpose of prayer, not the first is a second lesson and that is that God may choose to deny our requests. God may choose to deny our request and yet give us what we really want when God says no to a request. He either either the answer is denied. It is perhaps delayed and sometimes it is disguised as it is here. When Abraham was praying and saying, oh God, please don't destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. If there are some righteous in the city.

There's no doubt that is great concern was for his nephew Lot and so what he was thinking is in order for Locke to be spared to God has to spare the city in which he lived. It never dawned on Abraham that maybe God could have a different way of answering his prayer. Namely getting a lot out of Sodom and Gomorrah and then destroying the city that never crossed Abraham's mind. So Abraham gets ends up getting what he wants, namely that Locke would be spared and his wife and his family. He got back but he got it in and in higher lead different way than the way in which he had prayed.

That's the way it sometimes is. We pray for one thing, and we think we know how God is going to do it. Have you ever noticed how often were wrong when we think we know how God is going to do something God seldom does at the way in which I think he's going to do it.

He so creative he's always got something else that he does instead but sometimes it is an answer to our prayer that is disguised good example is David at the end of his life. David says that the Lord I'd love to build a house for you.

I want to build the temple I got the time I got the money I got the organization.

I'm getting the materials ready let me build you a house. God's is David the answers no, but I'm going to build you a house wonderful God says I want you to build me one time to build you a house. In fact, I'm going to give you a house, namely posterity that will go on and on, will be part of the divine plan and the divine stream of history, God says I'm going to do that for you. Furthermore, he says I'm going to give you the opportunity to gather the materials and give some instruction to your young son Solomon because Solomon is going to build the temple.

So David, even though your motives were right you wanted to build it for my glory, so that I would have a place where people could worship. I want you to know that the desire of your heart. David is going to be fulfilled.

The temples going to be built not by you but by Solomon. It will come to pass all answer your prayer but not in the way in which you think that it's going to be in.

Sometimes God gives us. Therefore, substitutes substitutes, and when he doesn't, you know, is exactly what he wants. So the second lesson is that God may choose to deny our request and still give us the desires of our heart. Third, the impact of the righteous is greater than their numbers suggest the impact of the righteous is greater than their numbers would suggest. After all, if there had been 10 righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah, God would not of destroyed. Now you must understand that this whole world is under the judgment and condemnation of God and the only reason why God withholds judgment is because this whole world is still populated in various places with his people, and because the world is populated with the people of God. God therefore restrains judgment and he blesses nations because of the believers that are those I don't know how to say this without the possibility being misunderstood want you to know that the world has no idea of the debt that they old believer.

We are seen as obnoxious and sometimes we are unfortunately we are seen as those who impede progress. We are painted by the media and various hues of people who want to impose our values.

We are often misrepresented. But Jesus said he and he alone that's what the Greek text says he and he alone are the light of the world, even a candle in a cave can do something he and he alone are the salt of the earth preserving society from total decay. What would happen if all the believers would be taken out will then the final judgment of God would fall as it will during the great tribulation because as long as believers are here. They are salt and they are light in there helping preserve the world from judgment. All I know what you're saying you're saying but weren't there 10 righteous in New Orleans. Well, I think there probably were. I'm saying that with a smile on my face because I'm sure that there were hundreds of righteous in New Orleans.

Many fine churches there and told you see, there would've been nothing wrong with God to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah with lot in it. By the way. In fact, considering the way in which lot ended up we can look back and say that, perhaps, that would've been part of God's plan would've been nothing wrong with that God chose not to do it that way. Abraham prayed for Lot safety. God gave lot safety is not wrong in this life for judgment to fall on the wicked as well as the righteous. In fact, they die in catastrophes together all the time. But what would be wrong is if in the final judgment. There were not made a separation so that at last, in the final judgment when eternal destiny is at stake. Then, of course, God makes a very, very clear distinction between those who are considered righteous and those who are counted as unrighteous but in this life, the wicked and the righteous often die together there so much more that could be said about natural disasters and even the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which by the way is the subject of the next message in this series. Today I want to simply end by reminding you that in Jesus Christ we can draw near to the holy of holies and we can intercede for others.

We can intercede for cities we can intercede for families and by the way, even those of you who are married to save spouses. Did you know that the Bible says that the woman who's a Christian who is married to an unsaved man actually sanctifies him by her present, the whirling doesn't believe it but that's what the Scripture says, because it is his people that are good influence on others but also to remind ourselves that the final decision regarding judgment is in the hands of Jesus.

It is Jesus the Lord God, Christ, who goes down to see Sodom and Gomorrah who evaluates it and the next day you have all of the sulfur in what had you falling from heaven on the city and destroying it. Ultimately, Jesus is the judge of all the earth is that I am he who was dead in them alive and, behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. I want you to visualize everyone at death going through into a castle and the only way out of the castle is either the way of life to heaven or the way of darkness and hell, and it's Jesus, whom you must encounter any makes the decision where you will spend eternity. He made the decision for Sodom and Gomorrah and he makes the decision for us. But if you trust him. You're exempt from the final judgment up to tell that story about forest fire, actually a prairie fire and as it was the blazing along as it did during the time when there was so much prairie here in the United States and Canada. There was one farmer who realized that the only way he could be spared. Ultimately, as if he lit his own fire and then he burned one patch of ground after another after another after another so that when the real big fire came he had to stand with the fire already was. And of course he would not be consumed because the fired already been there when Jesus died on the cross. He took her fire. He took our condemnation.

He took the wrath of God and he says if you trust me, you'll be exempt will be standing where the judgment already occurred. Abraham, in the presence of Sodom.

We in the presence of Chicago standing before the Lord, the God of judgment. Let's pray our father, we do not pretend that we understand all the nuances of this wonderful account, but we thank you today Lord, that grace and mercy is a part of your nature. Thank you that you remembered Abraham by rescuing a lot. Thank you. Today father that we can intercede, but first of all, we must be your friends.

First of all we need to discern your mind.

Get to know you and see that the primary purpose of prayer is fellowship under the tree and not interceding on behalf of the city and we pray today that is your word says if you abide in me and my word abides in you, then you can ask what you will and it will be done as God talk to you today.

We just have a moment of silence, you know, talk to God our father we ask today. In Jesus name that you will help us to be the people that we should be in the midst of a country that is turning its back on you. Help us to know what it means to be salt and light to be ministers of the gospel of Christ to stand for righteousness, and to believe that in grace, you are there to help us lead us. We ask and they many people trust Christ as Savior coming to him, knowing that they are standing where judgment has already come in Jesus name amen is wonderful to know that Jesus Christ died for us took our place so that we could be spared God's wrath and God's judgment. That's the good news of the gospel, you know, I've written a book entitled the cross in the shadow of the crescent and informed response to Islam's war with Christianity. I wrote this book because we visited the seven churches of Revelation only to discover that there are no such churches in Turkey today, but only mosques, so let me ask you a question. Does Islam's ability to crush the Christian church isn't proof of his superiority as we are hearing. These are the kinds of questions that I answer in the book the cross in the shadow of the crescent.

I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy because for a gift of any amount.

This book can be yours. Here is what you do go to RTW that's RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 so matter of fact you can pick up the phone and call right now: 1-888-218-9337 it's time now for you to ask Pastor looks her question about the Bible or the Christian life, William Young, experienced sexual abuse in the New Guinea tribe's parents were trying to reach as missionaries. Later, his own life fell apart due to adultery. He found his way out by stuffing the evil done to him into a shack, a metaphor for a dark place hidden deep within himself in a novel called the shack he now writes of being spiritually reborn through an encounter with three people who symbolize the Trinity. Some say he advocates universal salvation. Others say he's found God's love without the baggage of conventional theology. Patty contacted us to say this, I listen to Dr. Luther. Every morning I was wondering what he thought of the book, the shack, by William Young couple of comments Patty first of all, I've not read the entire book. I need to tell you that I've read a good portion of it.

I have also a very good idea of what the book teaches because I've read summaries of it and so forth.

Furthermore, I spent some time with the author and I have no doubt after a good conversation with him that he is one who has come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. He loves God, you have to keep in mind. He wrote this book to help his family understand his pain, no publisher would pick it up and he self published it and somehow it got started and that it's become quite a phenomenon, and as so many people are reading it today.

You see it absolutely everywhere couple of comments.

First of all its theology is very troublesome when it makes God out to be three people and these three people represent God the things that they say in the way in which they act are often times in my opinion not to godly so that creates a problem but I want to say on the positive side that this book is been used to open many people up to the gospel. In other words, if you can think of the human heart is frozen. People are angry with God. They got deep pain that they've never dealt with what this book does is it opens the human heart and it lets them see themselves in the story.

And even though the book may teach some questionable theology at points and may not be a clear exposition of Jesus being the way the truth and the life. The fact is that there are those who read the shack who go on then to begin to attend church, they begin to read the Bible and so in that sense, it is become a bridge for them to the gospel.

I can't recommend the book because of its theology, but damn I don't think that it has been harmful. As such, God sometimes uses imperfect people and imperfect things to prod people toward the Savior, and I think that the shack has done that, despite its great limitations. Thank you Patty for your question. Thank you, Pastor looks her for your perspective. If you'd like to hear your question answered to our and click on ask Pastor Luzerne or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 Sodom's debauchery was relentless to the end. The brimstone was on its way is God mercifully sent to angels to rescue lots family before the smoke rings. Next time I'm running to win a story of compromise and faith two week stand against. In short, a worldly thing. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin Luzerne this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the nature

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