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A Faith That Endures Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 31, 2022 1:00 am

A Faith That Endures Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 31, 2022 1:00 am

Where is God when we really need Him? Many lose what faith they have and give up on God altogether. Believers across the ages have experienced loss and devastating trials. In this message from Hebrews 11, we unpack four facts about faith in God in any circumstance. No matter what, we can trust Almighty God.

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Wonder what good is to have faith in God. When he never seems to answer their prayers. Many lose what faith they have and give up on God altogether today a look at the heroes of faith who believed God no matter what we stay with us from the Moody Church in Chicago. This is going to win with Dr. Erwin Sir blues clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Estimates are why do some people have great faith and others have little Dave. I think the answer to your question involves a mystery. Sometimes it's difficult to know why there's some people with great and others don't have that great faith but we can take a page from DL Moody who said that he prayed for faith and then he came across the passage of Scripture which says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God so you paid great attention to the word of God and that build faith in his heart. You know, throughout history. Sometimes the church of Jesus Christ looked around and found no reason to believe that God was on its side.

I'm talking about how Islam was able to capture the Christian church throughout the Middle East. I've written a book about this is titled the cross in the shadow of the crescent. What I'm talking about in the book is lessons we can learn from the past and what the church has endured in other countries. Today is the last day, we are making this resource available to you for a gift of any amount. It can be yours. Here is what you do go to RTW or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337 ask for the book the cross in the shadow of the crescent and informed response to Islam's war with Christianity and now let us open God's word and listen to what he has to say to us. I remember attending a conference where there was a young pastor in a wheelchair dying of terminal cancer. The whole conference prayed for him. I learned that the church of which he was the pastor had had a prayer chain and they prayed all night and then they decided that they would bring the prayer request to an even wider community in the hundreds of people prayed for him. Sometimes, day after day, but then finally the time came when his last words were these I hope that I could go in a blaze of glory. This is the best that I can do and then 20 minutes later he died a woman who is part of the prayer chain later on said I'm never going to bother God with another request.

Again, why should II don't want to be heard if he didn't answer the prayer all those people for this young pastor. Why should I trouble the Almighty.

I remember a woman in a Bible class saying long ago I'd given up on God and I've given up on prayer I prayed for my daughter that she grow up and be a missionary. Well, she married an unsaved man. Everything went downhill from there. She said I'm not a trouble God I want to be hurt yesterday in the mail at our home came the wonderful publication that we get regularly. The voice of the martyrs I picked it up randomly, opened it, and by the way they check out all that they write in that magazine and read the story of a young convert from Islam to Christianity, who was shot as a result of his conversion, his sister, also converted but then because she was so severely beaten. She denied the faith under that kind of pressure. My question today is simply this. Where is God when we really need him and how do we keep believing when he doesn't seem to do what all rational people would think a God to show it with all of his power.

How do we hang in. Let's take our Bibles and turn now to the 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews Hebrews chapter 11 and I'm going to begin in verse 32 in verse 32 where it says these words and what more shall I say pastor began reading that passage of Scripture and began with that question and someone in the back said try on man and what more shall I say for someone time would fail to tell of Gideon Eric Samson Jeff David and Samuel and the prophets who through faith. Conquered kingdoms enforce justice, obtain promises, stopped the mouths of lions.

Evidently a reference to Daniel quench the power of fire escape the edge of the sword were made strong out of weakness became mighty and more foreign armies to flight women received back their dead by resurrection, just that bar probably a reference to the time of Elijah and Elisha where you have resurrections from the dead today, but I'd like to do is to give you for facts regarding faith for important facts regarding faith. Fact number one is simply this, that sometimes faith changes our circumstances.

Sometimes faith changes our circumstances. Look at the list of victories that is referred to here. It includes such things as military victories that includes of course healings and all kinds of miracles that God did they cross the Red Sea by faith we don't have time to list all the miracles.

In fact, he couldn't. That's why he said what more shall I say, and then he began to summarize, sometimes faith changes our circumstances and we have good evidence that it does sometimes when we pray for people. God answers prayer and their people in this congregation today who would say that they were healed when the elders pray for them and then there are others for whom we pray, that were not healed but sometimes God intervenes and faith and prayer changes our circumstances. Sometimes he miraculously almost miraculously grants money to us when were in financial need.

He proves his faithfulness in multiple ways.

Number one. Sometimes faith changes our circumstances but there's a second fact of faith. I want you to remember and that is that sometimes faith does not change our circumstances. Sometimes faith does not change our circumstances.

Students I throw this out to you. I hope that you memorize scripture when I was your age I could vote the entire book of Hebrews by memory. Also, St. John. By the way, the book of John and a few others. It took me 45 minutes to quote the book of Hebrews. Once I learned it but don't ask me to do it today. All right I can do it and I memorized it all in the King James version and now we have different translations but I remember quoting the book of Hebrews and not even thinking about what I was really quoting and I didn't realize until later that there are two classes of people in the famous 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews and the break comes there in the middle of verse 35 you know of course that the paragraphs in the Bible the verses and the chapter divisions were put in by people they did not come inspired. That's why sometimes you have the brakes at a bad place if I had been there I would like to think that I would have begun a new verse in the middle of verse 35, but our text doesn't it says some I memorized it in a translation that said others.

Now we have a break. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release so that they might gain a better life.

Others others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stone, they were sawn into they were killed with the sword. They went about in sheep skins and goat skins, destitute, afflicted, mistreated, whom the world was not worthy wandering about in the deserts in the mountains and dens and caves in the earth, and I want to say will. Where was God for them. Thank you very much.

There was no deliverance, where is God for the young man who shot because of his faith, and the young people have to dig their own graves because they convert to Christianity where is God, then we love to tell the story of Daniel in the lion's den, and of course it's a true story and how God came and shut the mouths of lions in that Dan but my wife and I've been to Rome and we've seen this Circus Maximus and we've been to the Coliseum. We discovered there that Christians were thrown to the lions and they cried up to God but the Lions came in them apart might say, parenthetically, that some of the people who watch said that before they died.

They looked into heaven, and it was as if they could already see the world to come. But there is no deliverance for them. 12 chapter the book of acts.

The Scripture says very clearly there that Peter and James were in prison to be beheaded by Herod and Herod the heads James and lo and behold Peter is sleeping there with the intention that he should be brought out the next day and beheaded as well and is between two guards and suddenly he's tapped on the shoulders by an angel. His chains fell off the prison door opened. I think it was something like when you go into Dominic's you know you did it just opens and suddenly say, but today we accept that but can you imagine in that day before the days of technology and Peter lives. What's up you deliver one and you let the other die. The older I get, the more I love God, but also the more mysterious his ways are. No wonder the Bible says their past finding out you can probe them and think about them, but there's a certain unpredictability regarding the way in which God treats people and he certainly doesn't treat everybody alike, and the 11th chapter of Hebrews shows that sometimes faith changes our circumstances. Sometimes people of faith discover that their faith does not change their circumstances and they are tortured and they are hunted and they are killed and they die at the hand of the sword, and there's no deliverance, but notice this both groups are heroes of faith. Now there's 1/3 fact that I want you to remember about faith and the third fact is this, that faith does not judge God by circumstances. Faith does not judge God by circumstances you see. That's how come they made it into the catalog of the heroes of faith even though they didn't see a miracle what they said is life is hard, but I'm not going to blame God. I'm not going to conclude he doesn't love me. Just because things don't turn out my way. Once again, let me ask you if you were to look at the world with all of its natural disasters with tornadoes and tsunamis and floods and windstorms and tornadoes that indeed wipe out whole towns even here in the United States. Would you conclude that God loved the world, I don't think you'd make any conclusion like that you looked at circumstances. The reason that we know that God loves the world is not because this world looks like a loving place. We believe that God loves the world because his word tells us for God to soul the world that he sent his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should have everlasting life.

That's how come we know God loves the world you want to know whether not God loves the world you look at the cross of Jesus Christ and that'll be a reminder of the fact that God loves the world, and these people didn't say based on what were going through. God doesn't care about us. God doesn't love us, despite our injustices that are done against us.

They didn't say that God doesn't love us, but rather they trusted God and their faith in Duard no matter what because faith isn't simply receiving what we want. Faith is even the ability to accept whatever God gives us and if we accept that we also will be heroes of faith.

You know, the apostle Paul spoke about this in the eighth chapter of Romans, and it was Cowper.

Actually, I think that to be pronounced Cowper. I think the English folks pronounce his name Cooper. William Cooper, who wrote regarding people and this would certainly apply to atheists with net they snatch from God's hand in the balance and the rod they read judge his justice and become judge of God.

Blessed are those who allow judgment to be in God's hands. This is what Paul says realistically in the Bible is such a realistic Paul says, who shall separate us from the love of Christ will tribulation doing will distress good persecution. Now what about persecution, famine, that means hunger. Senior kids starve nakedness means poverty danger the sword you're dying for the faith pulses as it is written for your sakes we are being killed all the day long we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. That does not count against God's love. When we go through such trials, and then he really wants to make a point even more clearly and so he says this know and all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us, and then he lists things that people might think could separate us from God's love and that this list every one of these things is something that caused somebody to abandon their faith in God.

Pulses don't do that for you says I am sure that neither death nor life.

Angels can't do it. Rulers can't do it. Things present Do it, things to come. Powers can't do it.

Height can't do it depth can't do it or anything else in all of God's creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul says that we must go on believing whether we see the answers to prayer or not. And if we trust in the goodness of God, knowing that despite his unpredictability beyond what we can see God's intention toward us is good. We also will be heroes of faith. You don't have to see the miracle that we may pray for a miracle and seek it the end of the day. Blessed are those who go on believing no matter what.

There's 1/4 fact about faith and that is simply that faith always leads to ultimate victory always leads to ultimate victory. But before I give you that fact. I was going to point out one other illustration and that is set in the Old Testament in the book of Daniel.

Remember, there is the story of Shadrach me shack in a Bendigo.

Students refer to them as my shack. Your shack in a bungalow and someday I'm going to preach on the my preparing a series of messages to lead up to that that plane at a future time, but here they are and you know what they say.

I love this, they say when they are asked to bow before the image and if not, they're going to be thrown into the fiery furnace.

They say, oh, King, our God is able to deliver us, but if she doesn't let it be known unto you.

Okay, we will not now down before the image they said whether we see a miracle whether we are delivered or not delivered our faith will not be affected by circumstances we refuse to judge God's care for us based on what we can see what heroes of faith. Now that fourth observation.

Faith always leads to ultimate victory. But before I tell you how it leads to ultimate victory. I need to share with you that not everybody listening to this message will find that what I'm going to say applies to them. These blessings that I'm going to outline apply to those who personally know Jesus Christ as their Savior.

You still don't. I know Jesus as my Savior will I'm going to give you a test. There is a woman in this congregation who sings in the choir who is not technologically connected. At least she wasn't her husband loves to tell the story how she was at work one day and a colleague said to her. Do you have the email and she said if I had it, but I know it in a she was a nurse. Maybe she thought email with some kind of the disease. You know if you have it you know it will answer I think is yes if you haven't, I think you know it. If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior. You know that you know because you have a personal relationship with him because you've received the gift of eternal life, and let me remind you that that gift is not dependent on what you can do it is dependent on what God has done. We love to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ here on running to win love to proclaim the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord.

He is Savior. When we believe in him. His righteousness is attributed to us owes such great salvation. You know, I've written a book entitled the cross in the shadow of the crescent and today is the last day, we are making this resource available to you, this book discusses lessons that we can learn from the Middle East regarding Islam. Let me ask you this question. Is it true that when the churches in the devils hands as it sometimes appears to be.

It is still in God's hands. That's actually one of the chapter titles of this book the cross in the shadow of the crescent and I show that the answer is indeed yes I prove it from the book of Revelation for a gift of any amount.

This book can be yours. Here is what you do go to RTW that's RTW I'm going to give you an opportunity to pick up a pen or pencil so that you can write this down as I mention this is the last day, we are making this resource available to you.

The cross in the shadow of the crescent and informed response to Islam's war with Christianity. Go to RTW or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337 thanks in advance for helping us. If you listen to running to win regularly you know that our desire is to get the gospel of Jesus Christ to thousands upon thousands. Thanks for helping us go to RTW or call right now 1-888-218-9337 it's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Luther a question about the Bible or the Christian life is there a special formula as to how one should receive Christ. John lives in Greenville, South Carolina. He listens to running to win online and he asks, there are some ministers that preach against using the sinners prayer to lead someone to salvation. I noticed that you use the prayer often and I'm curious as to your view on the prayer and if those that argue against it have a valid argument. Let me simply say this that I use the prayer because Jesus used it in the parable that he told and apparently it was very effective. If by the sinners prayer you're talking about the man who said that God be merciful to me, the sinner.

Jesus said he went down to his house justified. So it seems to me that that is a very legitimate and good prayer to pray. I don't know why anyone would object to that. Some people might get technical and say that in Greek.

It is God be propitiated to me a sinner and that he was praying this before the cross and today God has been propitiated to use a big term but that's a technicality. The fact is that this man was desperate, he realized that he was the center if he was to be saved, it was because of God's mercy.

Now of course because we are living from the standpoint of the cross, which he did not have the benefit of we know that part of that message is the death of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus because Jesus was substituted for us, etc. but the sincere soul acknowledging sin, crying up to God for mercy will receive it. Certainly the prayer in itself needs explanation that I think it's perfectly fine to use it. Thank you John, thank you Dr. lutes are if you'd like to hear your question answered. Go to our and click on ask Pastor Luther 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 heroes of faith include ordinary people like you and me, like them, we too can believe God without immediate answers to prayer as will see next time. This is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the church

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