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The Loss Of Innocence Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
June 2, 2022 1:00 am

The Loss Of Innocence Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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June 2, 2022 1:00 am

Our culture is a sea of sensuality. Some have attempted to redefine marriage while others’ marriages are infected with infidelity and pornography. In this message on Creation and the Fall, we address God’s design for sexuality as well as the effect of shame. When we abandon God’s morality, our lives—even our souls—are left in turmoil.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

Some have redefined marriage as any so-called loving relationship, no matter what gender the partners are. People want to gratify their desires in every way but God's way. The result? Millions of people's lives are tangled, their souls in turmoil. 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. Pastor Lutzer, today we're beginning a series on restoring the soul, healing in an age of brokenness. Tell us where this journey starts. Well Dave, the journey begins in Genesis chapter 3 when Adam and Eve decided to disobey God.

And as you think of sin as it has permeated the human race, certainly today we see it more clearly than even years ago. We see it in the breakup of the family. I preach this series of messages with a broken heart.

As I look around the countryside, I see so many broken homes, children who have been abused, sometimes physically, sexually, or both. The question is, how does God restore wholeness to those who are broken? I believe very deeply in this series of messages.

For the many of you who are listening, how about picking up the phone and calling a friend and inviting them to listen along with you and to listen to every message in this series? Now we are going to open God's Word and let us talk about restoring the soul. It's the story of God's grace in the midst of our sinfulness. Just as it is possible to have a disease of the body, so it is also possible to have a disease of the soul. When David said that the Lord was one who forgave all of his iniquities and who healed all of his diseases, he was not thinking of physical diseases, he was thinking of diseases of the soul. For some people it may be guilt, bitterness, resentment, defilement, like one woman who was taken advantage of by a man.

She said, I feel defiled. For some it may be regret, it may be deep hurt, shame and fear. These are diseases of the soul and as a result if those diseases are not dealt with there's a sense of disconnectedness. Disconnectedness from one another, disconnectedness from God, the feeling that God is angry, irrelevant and distant and the question is how are those diseases to be healed? There's no area of our lives that spawns more diseases of the soul than the misuse of sexuality. As a matter of fact that when boundaries are crossed there is anger, there is pain, there is emptiness, there is guilt, there is mistrust and all of those diseases of the soul are spawned by disobedience. I would say that the church historically has done a fairly good job of warning and preaching against the sins of the flesh and there certainly is a place for that. As a matter of fact in the second message in this series I'm going to be speaking about that, the warning signs, the lies that you and I believe. But the problem simply is this that if all that we do is focus on the thou shalt nots and give the warnings we do not deal with the deeper issue of the appetite and the desires of the body and the soul. You may say well why are you addressing this topic of restoring the soul?

Let me give you a few reasons. First of all I'm going to speak to you men because I want to ask you a question. I am working on two messages on the Trinity which I'm going to be preaching God willing at the end of this month. In fact I'm learning all kinds of things about the Trinity how the relationship of the persons in the Trinity is to be a model for us and so forth.

There's much in the word I did not know. But let me ask you a question. How often do you think of the Trinity? How often in daydreaming does your mind go to the niceties of the doctrine of the Trinity? Now let me ask you a different question. How often do you think about sexuality?

Do you see the difference? These are things that all of us think about. As a matter of fact our nation is drowning in a sea of sensuality.

I heard it on the news it's hard for me to believe but I'm only quoting what was said and I assume it's authentic. That more money is spent in America on pornography than is spent on basketball, baseball, and football combined. So you can see here that we have deep diseases of the soul that must be addressed. There's another reason why I speak about the topic and that is to better understand our struggles to understand sexuality in such a way that we might know why it is that these diseases come about and why they can be so painful. For example, if you're dealing with those who've been abused sexually, those of us who thankfully have been spared such indignities might be tempted to say, well, why don't you just get on with your life? I mean this happened so long ago. Why does it still hurt now? Okay, so you were betrayed and you had this happen to you.

Get on with it. We need to do is to understand why many people can't get on with it and why healing sometimes does take time and why it hurts so much. A biblical understanding of these things will help us.

And so I want you to know today that it is in the realm of sexuality that we are either blessed or cursed. We are either restored or we are destroyed. There's another reason why I speak on the topic and that is at the end of the day it's only God who can really restore us. He's the one who has the ability to cleanse our consciences.

We do not. He is the one who is able to to go down so much deeper even than human therapy. God is the one who is able to take the emptiness and to fill it. He's the one who is able to take the pain and grant the ability to bear it. God is the one ultimately who heals the diseases of the soul. What you're going to find in these messages, God willing, and there'll be perhaps seven or eight of them, is that it is my intention not just to condemn but to instruct.

It is not just my intention to cut. It is also my intention by the grace and the love of God to heal. Now to analyze all of this and to begin today, I want you to take your Bibles and turn to the first chapter of the book of Genesis. We will be returning to Eden, to Paradise, perhaps a number of times in this series because it's amazing how things got off track back here and the implications are profound indeed. First of all, we speak briefly about creation. I'm in Genesis chapter 1 verse 26. Then the Lord said, let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. God created man in his own image. Verse 27, in the image of God he created him. Male and female, he created them. It's interesting, why does God say let us make man in our own image? Probably a reference to the Trinity because what we're going to discover is that God, when he uses that word us, referring to the Trinity, and then it says that he created them male and female. Just like in the Trinity there is unity and individuality. So in the male-female relationship there is unity and individuality. As a matter of fact, as I'm discovering, the Trinity becomes a model for fellowship beyond the marriage relationship and really a model for fellowship for all of us.

Perhaps I'll have an opportunity to preach on that sometime. But when God says later on that man and woman will be together, and it says in verse 24 of chapter 2, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh, the word one in Hebrew, echad, is the same word that is used when God says behold the Lord God is one Lord. The bottom line is that sexuality not only lies at the base of who we are as persons, but rather in Jewish understanding of the Old Testament, which I happen to think is correct interpretation, Jewish understanding was that the sexual relationship should be the most glorious intimate relationship that really mirrors our relationship with God. To the extent that the Holy of Holies, which is where the high priest entered in one day a year, communing intimately with God, the Holy of Holies was called by the Jews, it was referred to as the bridal chamber. Because here God was meeting with his people. In the very same way in the intimacy of the marriage relationship God is always there, as we will see also in a future message, God is always there, he is present, this is to be a divine encounter.

Are you beginning to understand the sensitivity of this issue? What that really means is that if you're involved in a sexual relationship outside of the man-woman relationship of marriage, if you're involved in any other kind of sexuality, it's like barging into the Holy of Holies and desecrating the place. And even though you can receive forgiveness later, the fact is that there's furniture that has to be repaired and there are boundaries that have to be rebuilt. Because there are some people who once their temple is desecrated, they have no boundaries, they have no ability to say no because of the desecration. And do you understand now why some people can't just walk away from it and say, well, it happened, it was a physical event?

No, it was a profoundly spiritual event. And as a result of the fall, it is now holy but also polluted. And this explains by the way how that no matter how many rationalizations you can have for sexual relationships outside of marriage, the simple fact is that those rationalizations fall to the ground in the midst of anger, in the midst of guilt and mistrust and emptiness.

Why? Because we are violating that which is most holy, that which God created as most sacred. Well, the Bible says that Adam and Eve were naked but they were not ashamed. It says in verse 25, they felt no shame. So much for creation. Now, let's talk about the fall.

You know of course that the fall polluted everything. And we won't go into the details because you're well acquainted with this passage but I want you to notice in verse 7, after Adam and Eve sinned, it says the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked so that they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. And they heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day and they hid from the Lord. As a result of sin, hiding is going to begin.

Hiding from one another, hiding from God. The secret life is now going to be very important and much psychological energy is going to be absorbed in this business of hiding. Furthermore, appearances are going to be important.

How you look, how the fig leaves that you wear, how much should be exposed, how much should be covered, how much you pay for your fig leaves, all of that is going to be now something with which people are going to be absorbed. But more than that, shame will now enter into the world. And as a result of that shame, people are going to hide even better. Let me say that of course there is an important aspect to shame.

Part of the problem in our country is people don't even blush. There is no way for them to overcome their shame so they flaunt their shame. They take delight in their shame and we have a lot of that. In fact, in the Old Testament, God said to the nation Israel, one of the problems is you no longer feel shame. You've gotten so used to your sins. Lewis Smeeds wrote, a healthy sense of shame is perhaps the surest sign of our divine origin and human dignity.

We are all closest to health when we let ourselves feel the pain and then be led to do something about it. This is objective shame. But as a result of the fall where everything becomes polluted, there is also going to be what could be called subjective shame. Subjective shame is the shame that is imposed upon us by others. It would be interesting to take a vote here today and see how many of you were brought up in an alcoholic home or an abusive home. What you find is tremendous shame and of course you can't speak.

You have to keep the family secrets. What you find is in excess of parental control, sexual abuse. If you're in a home where there was ridicule and blaming, you have that sense of shame. I feel so sorry for homes where shame is used as kind of a weapon to make kids shape up. So natural sexual curiosity is shamed and the parent thinks he's going to keep his child from sin and does not realize he is beginning to feel desires that the shame is going to eventually try to work out.

What are the effects of shame? First of all, it imprisons the soul. Adam and Eve were not looking for God, believe me. They were running from him.

The Bible says they were hiding from God. It imprisons the soul where people then begin to withdraw because they withdraw from healthy relationships which is absolutely necessary for their wholeness, but they withdraw and they retreat within themselves and the shame begins to feed on itself. It imprisons the soul. It diminishes the soul. Obviously when we come before God we are unworthy, but this brings about the destructive unworthiness, the belief that one is somehow fatally flawed and that there is no hope for oneself and that even God is not able to intervene because after all we're so terrible and so it diminishes the soul. Could I say also it focuses the soul because you begin to think about what caused the shame and it becomes an obsession, it becomes a preoccupation. Counseling a woman who was abused as a child physically and sexually. She said that as she would go to school she thought for sure that all of the other students could see within her soul and to see the abuse and the tremendous shame.

She said it was as if I had an S branded on my forehead. Shame, shame, shame, shame. You can imagine the healing and the years of healing actually for her to overcome that shame. You understand now when it focuses the soul that it actually fuels addictions and as a result of that people tend to do over and over again the things that they know they shouldn't do.

Why? Their temple has been desecrated. The boundaries have been violated. The pig has been brought into the sanctuary and so there's no use trying to do better because they are imprisoned with this shame and the shame keeps fueling the thing that produces more shame. You see that's why men who are obsessed with pornography don't feel free to tell their wives about it because they think that all that they will get is more shame and the shame that they deal with begets that which produces more shame. That's why women who have had an abortion and maybe their husbands don't even know about it they have kept this secret to themselves living with it saying well you know I'm forgiven by God. Yes they are forgiven by God but you cannot be whole until you have been have a relationship with other people of acceptance and knowledge where others know you and accept you and affirm you as a human being and so even though they're forgiven by God somehow it's always there.

It's always there. My friend do you now understand why this sermon series is so important? We live in such a broken world we live with shame and as I emphasize in this message shame begets more shame and shame binds people but the hope of the gospel is that Jesus Christ shamed shame.

We can be made whole. I've written a book entitled Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know actually I co-wrote it with my wife Rebecca. This is a unique book. It's a book that you can use to disciple someone.

It has about 36 different articles and each article is two or three pages on various topics of doctrine and Christian living. It will be a great resource a great blessing to you I'm sure the Lord has already used it in the lives of countless numbers of people. It's entitled Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know for gift of any amount it can be yours and remember we make these resources available to you so that you can be helped and given encouragement and instruction to make it all the way to the finish line as we like to say. Here's what you do go to rtwoffer.com or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know. You'll be encouraged you'll be given instruction you'll begin to understand much more clearly many of the doctrines and the issues that we face in Christian living. Here's what you do go to rtwoffer.com or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Thanks in advance for helping us. Thank you for joining hands with us in the ministry of running to win. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. A listener named Lay poses this question for you Pastor Lutzer. Will not paying tithes or attending church on a regular basis prevent a person from going to heaven? Well you know when I think of this question it can be interpreted in different ways when I first heard the question I was tempted to say that you were saying that paying tithes and attending church will prevent one from going to heaven. But as I listen to it more carefully I think what you are trying to say is that if we don't pay tithes and attend church we won't get to heaven.

Either way here's the deal and this is very important. We are not judged on the basis of whether or not we go to church or we pay tithes or whether or not we are faithful in our lives. Ultimately the issue of whether or not we go to heaven or hell is dependent upon a relationship with Jesus Christ. Now the good news is that salvation is a free gift. It's a gift and because it is a gift you don't earn it by going to church or paying tithes and furthermore even if you went to church and did all of the other things give a generous offering etc that could not possibly purchase it nor can not doing these things hinder God from giving you that gift if you receive Jesus Christ as Savior.

I hope I'm being clear. Salvation is free to those who believe. I love those verses near the end of the book of Revelation you know.

He who is at thirst come and let him drink of the water of life freely. So let us always establish in our minds that going to church and giving tithes is not only good it is expected when you receive Christ as Savior. It is our thank you to God for his mercies but it does not purchase our salvation nor does it guarantee us a place in heaven. It is simply the fruit of a redeemed life.

Could I just encourage you if you've never received that free gift of eternal life to do so by humbling yourself acknowledging your sin and say today I receive the gift not of works lest any man should boast. Thank you Lay for your question. Thank you Pastor Lutzer for your clear answer. If you'd like to hear your question answered go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60614. Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God. Then the ripple effect moved into all areas of life. As time passed people began using other people to gratify their desires without commitment. Next time on Running to Win we go back to Eden to learn about one unavoidable after effect of violating God's moral laws. It's the awful byproduct of shame. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-09 17:35:46 / 2023-04-09 17:44:05 / 8

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