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When Loyalties Collide Part 2

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

When Loyalties Collide Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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July 1, 2022 1:00 am

Under pressure from agenda-driven groups, what was once considered free speech is now considered a hate crime. How do we stand up when the Cross offends somebody? In this message, we identify three principles when there’s a conflict between God’s law and the law of the nation. There can be no compromise with Jesus.

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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. Under pressure from agenda-driven groups, what was once free speech is now a federal crime.

In public schools, tax money is spent teaching our kids about the homosexual lifestyle. Is there a time to stand up and say no? Erwin Lutzer says yes. 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 sum up our series. Give us a preview of your bottom line.

Well Dave, the bottom line is this. We as Christians must have the courage to stand for Jesus Christ. This means, of course, first and foremost that we are gospel-driven, that the cross of Jesus Christ, which is an offense to the world, has to be shared and proclaimed. And then beyond that, we need to live with a Christian worldview. Today we are making available this series of messages entitled Christians in Conflict. It's the last in the series, and this is why we are giving you an opportunity to have it in permanent form. Here's what you can do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the series of messages, Christians in Conflict. And remember, we want to be faithful to Jesus Christ all the way to the finish line. Now let's be clear on this point. I don't think that Jesus meant that there are two compartments. On the one hand, we owe the state this, and when we're owing the state this, we have no allegiance to God. But over here in spiritual matters, now we have an allegiance to God in these matters of spirit. Martin Luther, you remember, spoke about the two spheres, and it was misinterpreted during the days of Nazi Germany. The idea was this, that when you're in the realm of the state, you can do whatever you like, whatever the state tells you to do.

You can torture people in a concentration camp over here, because the state compels you to do that, but you go home for Christmas, and you go to church, and you sing Christmas carols, and you read the Christmas story, and you're a good Christian when you are in church. Perhaps Luther did not intend that, but that's the way in which it was interpreted. What I believe Jesus would agree with, because of other passages of scripture, is this, that God is over all things. We owe him our allegiance, and in the process of obeying God, we render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and we fulfill our duties to the state under the guidance and the leadership of God Almighty. Did you know that God desires your heart and your allegiance?

The Bible says that a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways, and God does not want that kind of instability. If there's a part of your heart today that is shut out, like someone says, there is a closet in my life where I do not allow God to enter, today I ask you in the name of Jesus, open it and let God in. God deserves our total, complete allegiance. Secondly, it says in the book of Malachi, what does the Lord your God require but to seek justice and mercy? You see, not only should we have a right relationship with him, but we should be making a difference in society by the mercy and the grace and the love that we show to those around us, and do what we can to bring about just laws like Wilberforce did in England and to change the nature of the culture by our lives and what we do.

It is indeed tragic that the evangelical church sometimes has been AWOL in very important events such as the civil rights movement of the 60s and the 70s. It is we who should be seeking justice and mercy and be on the forefront of transforming society by our lives and by our attitudes. Many years ago I read the book A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vonaken, and he talks about his first encounter with Christians, and that night he wrote these words in his diary. The best argument for Christianity is Christians, their joy, their certainty, their completeness, but the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians, when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug and complacent, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths. Indeed there are impressive indications that the positive quality of joy is in Christianity and possibly nowhere else.

If that were certain, it would be proof of a very high order. I can't say it strongly enough that we have the responsibility of representing Jesus Christ to a broken, hurting, confused and lost world. What does the Lord your God require of you but to do justice and to seek mercy, and we should be agents of Jesus in our culture. Also we have the responsibility to spread the knowledge of God. Jesus said, go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.

Israel was to be a light to the nations in the Old Testament era. We are to be a light to the nations today, and therefore we desire that God would use us, and that's why we built the Christian Life Center, is so that hundreds of Christians would be trained both in relationships and in knowledge and in practice to be able to impact this community, this city, and ultimately touch the world. It's the lives of people that should concern us, and all of us represent Jesus wherever he plants us. So that's our responsibility to God.

Now how do we resolve some of the conflicts? In the Bible it is very clear that the law of a nation is not necessarily the law of God. That's why you have the example of the midwives in the Old Testament.

You remember they were supposed to kill the male babies of the Israelites and they refused to do it, and the Bible says that God honored them because they feared God. They said, we're breaking the law of the land, but this is a matter of conscience. The higher law of God interferes, and therefore we go with the higher law and we break the law. We are law breakers. You have the apostles in the New Testament who were taken and thrown into prison for preaching the gospel, and they said that it is better to obey God than to obey man, and so they made a distinction, and they understood that there are times when our loyalty to God supersedes our loyalty to the state.

It is not right to say my country, right or wrong. There are times when we say this is right and this is wrong, and we stand on the right, and we say here we stand. We can do no other, so help us God. You see, when you think about laws, realize that every law comes from some God, so to speak. If you're a law unto yourself, then you're your own God. If the Supreme Court of the United States, if you think that there is no law above the Supreme Court of the United States, you're regarding the Supreme Court as being God. Show me your laws and I will show you your God.

Now with that being said, what about the conflicts? What I'd like to do is to give you three principles, and I'm going to give you time to write these down, and then the application of them can be given as you think and pray about what God is saying to you as a result of these three principles. Are you ready? Thank you for affirming that you are.

I'll go with as many of you as are ready. Number one, what is moral supersedes what is legal. What is moral supersedes what is legal. The state can make abortion legal, it cannot make abortion moral. I say that with the full understanding that there are many women, I'm sure, who are listening to me today who've had abortions, and today we offer you the forgiveness and the cleansing of Jesus.

Remember, Jesus died so that we would have a second chance and a third chance. But at the same time, this is a huge issue in America, it's a huge issue in Europe, and we need to affirm again that a preborn infant is an infant, and no matter what the Supreme Court of the United States says, there are times when we must say that something may be legal, but that does not make it moral, and we need to make a distinction between those two. I could give you examples from history. Did you know that during Hitler's time, Hitler made the killing of Jews legal by redefining their personhood.

They were untermenschen in German, subhuman, therefore killing them was totally legal. Second, the rights of parents. The rights of parents have supremacy over the rights of the school system or the school board.

My heart breaks for you parents. Many of you have children in the public school system and maybe your public school may be very, very good. I do not want to make any generalizations here today because there are differences. But I do know this, that teachers have your children to mold them, to teach them, to convey values to them or lack of values to them. And I do not know how we in America are going to be able to overcome the impact, now I'm speaking about the negative impact of the public school system. I remember a speech given in Denver many, many years ago to 2000 teachers, and I was going to quote it to you and then I decided not to because it would be too depressing, where the person said that all the children who come to us in our school system come to us sick. They come with reverence to their parents, to their elected leaders and to God, and it's our responsibility to make them well. I believe that what you should do is to pray and to seek God if your child is going to the public school system. And as one man here at the church talked to me about his six-year-old daughter, they took her out of school because she was supposed to have a sex education course at the age of six. Remember the reason for that is not a positive reason as I gave at the beginning of this message. And what you need to do is to form coalitions, not belligerently, not in anger, but get other people who agree with you.

Maybe they aren't even Christians, but because of common grace they have the same values as you. They have said this is wrong, you should not be stepping over this line, but make no mistake about it, there are some schools in this nation and some school systems that intend to take public schools and turn them into government schools where there is indoctrination right from the very, very beginning about the issues that are so important to what we usually call the left, the political left. You as a parent must know that your responsibility to your child supersedes whatever teacher, whatever school system your child may be in.

I have a friend who is an advocate for homeschooling and I understand that there are many benefits, but I also want to caution and say that there is some schools where you may not have the problems that we're talking about this morning, but you as a parent need to know what is going on. My heart was broken. When I heard a woman on the James Dobson program say that in a high school of about 2,000 students they were going to give sex education and they sent a notice home to parents saying we want to discuss this with you so that you know what we are doing in school, we're going to have a meeting at a certain time and location, and a mother went there and said that there were seven parents there. Why?

Maybe too busy? More seriously, probably they don't care. This is our future generation. More than that, these are little children whom Jesus loves, tender plants, and we have a responsibility to them. So secondly, the rights of parents have supremacy over the rights of the school board. Third, Jesus has supremacy over politically correct policies. Jesus has supremacy over politically correct policies.

I have a book that I read entitled The Criminalization of Christianity showing that all public expressions of Christianity in what is called the public square, there are those who want to criminalize it. You can't speak about Jesus. Well, some of us are going to go on speaking about Jesus anyway. When I was on vacation, I was interviewed by a man who owns a radio network and he told me something that I already had learned through a different source, but there are a number of churches who, when they have discussions with Muslims and Buddhists and others, they take down the cross so as not to offend others who come and have this discussion. Now we here at Moody Church don't have a cross.

We could have a cross, we don't have one, but I think that that's a travesty. It's the same kind of mentality when our auditorium is used for other purposes where we've been asked to take the sign that is behind me, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever, and to cover it. And we've said, no, this is who we are. This is who we are.

If you don't want to look at that sign, you may have to go elsewhere. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Can I just be blunt here today? Are you guys still with me?

Everybody on the page here? I am sick and tired of people saying they're offended by this. They're offended by that. Listen, our Christian kids in universities are offended every single day because of what is taught in those universities.

So what we need to do, if we believe in diversity, let's celebrate diversity and accept one another. If I go into a temple of another religion, I wouldn't expect them to take something down just for me. Now, why is the cross so central and why is it a future battle? And I could go into this in more detail some other time, but I shan't right now.

Why? It is because the cross is the heart of Christianity. The cross is Jesus Christ's invitation to the world. It is Jesus with his arms outstretched to a dying world saying, you can come to me and have life and forgiveness and pardon. And as Steve sang, it is the place where sin and grace meet. Let us never diminish the message of the cross, no matter where we find ourselves.

As a matter of fact, it is not possible to preach the gospel really and to live the gospel without offending somebody. That's why the Bible talks about the offense of the cross. And even today in this wonderful congregation and listening over the internet, all those of you who are tuned in all over the world, I need to tell you that if you're looking for God, if you find that because of guilt or because of unworthiness, you feel that you can't come to God, the reason that Jesus died is for sinners like you and me.

And that's the message of Christianity is that Jesus died so that we will not have to permanently die, but have everlasting life. And we invite you to him who is the savior of the world. Jesus has the right to rule. King of kings, Lord of lords, he has the power to rule all power. All authority is given onto me in heaven and on earth. Jesus will rule.

He will return to rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. And that is why we honor him. And we say to a broken society, there are some things that we can compromise, but when it comes to Jesus, there can be no compromise. Jesus, Lord God, savior forever. Would you join me as we pray? Our father, we ask today that you shall grant us the grace and the strength to live authentically, lovingly in a world that has lost its way, in a world that does not know where to turn with its guilt, in a world that does not know where to turn with its problems. Help us, father, to point others to Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, knowing that no man can come to the father except by him. And we pray for those who are here today or who are listening who've never trusted Christ as savior. We ask that their guilt will not keep them away, but that they might realize that that is God trying to put his arms around them and to bring them to Jesus and make us powerful witnesses to that worthy name. We pray in his name.

Amen. You know, my friend, in this very conflicted culture, I can't help but think that this series of messages, which we are ending today, will be of great benefit to you and to your friends. We'd like to be able to share these messages in permanent form so that you can listen to them again and again.

The title of this series is Christians in Conflict. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, because this is the last day, we are making this series of messages available to you. I'm going to be giving you that contact info again. But let me tell you how much we appreciate your involvement in this ministry as you support us with your prayers and your gifts. Ask for the series of messages Christians in Conflict.

Possibly you heard some of the messages, but not all of them. This will be a great blessing as you run the race of life. Here's what you can do. Go to That's or pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. It's time once again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Is mental cruelty a grounds for divorce?

Victor needs some counsel, and here is his story. My wife and I know a couple who have been attending our church for over a year. We now know that he has been abusing his wife mentally and emotionally since they got married. He is a compulsive liar and controls everything she does. Counseling with the pastor did not change his behavior, and now he knows what the Bible says about divorce in Matthew 5 32, and so he uses that to intimidate his wife. The wife needs help, but she wants to do the right thing in the eyes of God. She wants to know whether separation from her husband is biblically justified. Is there a situation where divorce could be a solution as a last option?

Victor, thanks so much for asking that question, and it's one I'm not sure that I can fully answer because obviously I don't know the couple. I really do think that they should go to their pastor, to the elders of their church—she should, I mean to say—to find out exactly what her course of action should be. Obviously, this man also should be under church discipline, and that is a larger issue as well.

So here's the thing. I think that for a wife to live under these kinds of conditions not only is difficult, but it seems to me it could be very detrimental, especially if there are children in the home. You know, I've had wives say to me, I can put up with anything, I can put up with the abuse, but when it begins to hurt my children, when they find that they can't sleep at night, and when the anger and the hostility reaches these high levels, these children need to be protected, and this wife undoubtedly needs to be protected.

Possibly as a first measure, what she could do is to separate from him, and maybe that will jerk him into reality and he'll see how serious this is. But for him to use the book of Matthew in a way that he simply holds it over his wife and justifies his abuse, he really needs to be shown as to why that is wrong. And I think that there's nobody more qualified to do that than the elders of your church. So if there is separation, hopefully through counsel this marriage can be saved. I'm a great believer in giving God many chances and lots of time to do what no human being can. God bless you.

I pray that you will be given wisdom, this couple will be given wisdom, and through it all, God will get glory. Some wise counsel from Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Thank you, Pastor Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or 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, IL 60614. Social tyranny starts slowly and then picks up steam. That's how Hitler became dictator of Germany and killed millions. Next time on Running to Win, a series on Hitler's Cross, how the swastika replaced the real cross as the German church caved to Hitler's demands. Don't miss this. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-28 12:47:59 / 2023-03-28 12:56:32 / 9

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