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Togetherness With Christ Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 3, 2022 8:20 am

Togetherness With Christ Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 3, 2022 8:20 am

In our difficulties, whether physical, emotional, or vocational, we often ask ourselves, “Is Jesus able to meet my need?” Jesus knows not only the demands each day brings but also what’s in our hearts because He is Lord. In this message, we learn with Peter three aspects of Christ’s Lordship over everything. When challenges arise, what truly is our greatest need? 

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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.

Jesus knows full well our races of life. He knows our weaknesses, and He knows what we need. He's aware of the demands each day brings, and so today we'll join Peter in learning a lesson from a coin in a fish's mouth.

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, we've come to a point of testing. Can Christ really meet our needs, even our financial needs? Peter's about to find out in learning another lesson by the seashore. You know, Dave, I have to say that this is a very interesting passage of Scripture, and I even recall preparing a message on it. And I say I recall that because I was wondering, how does it apply to us?

But you're right, Jesus supplies our needs. I'm so glad that you have joined us today, and we're in the midst of our matching gift opportunity. We have some friends who have said that they are willing to double whatever you give to the ministry of Running to Win. Here's what you can do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Be sure to stay tuned, because after the message, I'm going to have a few words with you. The topic is togetherness with Christ. We're studying the life of Peter, and you remember when Peter decided to follow Jesus, he had to leave the fishing business.

And now the question that undoubtedly was in the back of his mind was this. Without the fishing business to depend upon for an income, will I be able to depend on Christ to meet my needs? It's the kind of question that missionaries sometimes ask if I'm willing to leave the homeland and go to another country. Is God going to follow me, and will all of the needs and my cares be taken care of?

We feel the same way too, don't we? Some of you are without jobs. Some of you are going through times of physical difficulty. You are in emotional and spiritual turmoil because of broken relationships. And so you ask yourself this question, is Christ able to meet my need?

Is he really that dependable? Well I want you to take your Bibles and turn to the 17th chapter of the book of Matthew. Matthew chapter 17, where we have a remarkable story.

It's one that I've never preached on before, and I'm going to read it to you and then make a couple of introductory comments and we will see its relevance to Christ meeting our needs. It says in verse 24, And when they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the two drachma tax came to Peter and said, Does your teacher not pay the two drachma tax? And he said, Yes. And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or pull tax, from their sons or from strangers? And upon his saying, from strangers, Jesus said to him, Consequently, the sons are exempt. But lest we give them offense, go to the sea and throw in a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a stator.

Take that and give it to them for you and me. Now in order for us to understand this passage, we must see that Jesus did do a remarkable miracle. You know there are some liberals who read this and they say, you know, that's not possible that Jesus did this. This seems too odd. And so liberals interpret it by saying that Peter went to get a fish and after he caught the fish, he sold the fish, I should say, and then took the stator or the shekel and paid the tax. That's a liberal interpretation, but I don't accept it.

It sounds too fishy. Something else that is in the text here that I need to explain before we begin to really dig into it and that is that there are different kinds of money that are found in the Bible. For example, here it talks about the two drachma tax.

To make it simple, think of a drachma as being a quarter because it was the responsibility of each person in Israel to give two drachmas, which make a half a shekel, to the work of the sanctuary and to sacrifices. This was not a civil tax. This was a religious tax that was used.

And then one other comment. You'll notice that my translation says in verse 27, you will find a stator. I think the King James says, a shekel. A shekel and a stator are the same. And remember it takes four drachmas to make a shekel.

So that in total they were giving four drachmas, of course, because each of them giving two and it all comes out as one shekel or one drachma. Now that was perfectly clear, wasn't it? This is indeed a very interesting passage. When I told my wife I was going to speak on it, she said, taking the words almost out of my mouth, how in the world are you going to come up with a message on that?

Well, today we're going to do that. Let's look at what this passage of scripture tells us about Jesus Christ. First of all, Christ is Lord over our circumstances. Christ is Lord over our circumstances.

You say, well, where do you find that in the text? Notice, first of all, that Jesus Christ is indirectly spoken of as being a king, which we know he was. Look at his question to Peter. He says, what do you think, Simon, from whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or pull tax from their sons or from strangers? Christ was saying, Peter, actually, I wouldn't have to pay this tax. Kings don't pay taxes.

Why should I pay a tax to the temple when I am in point of fact Lord of the temple? And so Jesus Christ is presented here as being the king. He is king, and therefore he is Lord over all of our circumstances, not only because of who he is but also because of what he knows.

You know, we read passages like this so quickly we miss the import. But do you notice that in this passage we see that Jesus Christ knew ahead of time what Peter had done and also because of his omniscience was able to respond in kind. Peter is asked outside the house by someone who came to collect taxes, does your teacher not pay the two drachma tax? Peter very quickly said yes, one of the shortest answers in all the Bible that Peter ever gave. And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first. Before Peter could even explain the situation, Jesus is already asking a question which shows that he knew the conversation that had gone on outside.

Christ knows. My friend today I want you to know that Jesus knows the inward parts of your heart. Just like he knew what was in the bottom of the sea, that shekel that was there in the bottom of the sea, he knows also what is in the bottom of our hearts where eyes never penetrate. He knows us just that well. Scientists tell us that the same elements that make up the stars make up the human body.

It's understandable because it is the same creator. And it says in Psalm 147 that you count the stars and you heal the brokenhearted. That's an interesting juxtaposition of verses.

Yes, Jesus Christ counts the stars and he also counts the number of hair on our head, which for many of us is becoming less and less of a problem for him to do by the way. But Jesus knows us intimately. Perhaps you're a child here today. I want you to know that Jesus at one time was a child. You teenagers, with your desires and with your ambition and with your idealism, you wonder whether Jesus knows what you are going through. Jesus at one time was a teenager.

Jesus also was an adult and when the time comes for us to die, we can be assured that he himself has gone already behind that curtain because he is one who has had all of these experiences of life. Christ knows your circumstances. He knows your boss. He knows your landlord.

He knows your marriage partner. He knows the things that are said. He knows the things that are not said, the things that are revealed, the things that are hidden. Jesus is Lord of circumstances. But secondly, I want you to notice that Jesus clearly is Lord of nature.

He's Lord of nature. In the creation count in the Old Testament, you remember the Lord said to Adam, he said, Adam, I'm giving you dominion over the beast of the field, over the fowl of the air and over the fish. Now Jesus exercised authority over all those realms and a whole lot more beside. We know that Jesus had authority over animals. When he rode down the Mount of Olives on what we call Palm Sunday, he did it on an animal, a colt that had not yet been broken.

No one had ever sat on that colt. And yet the colt obeyed him and went all the way down the Mount of Olives to the city of Jerusalem. We know that Jesus had the power and the authority to control the birds. You remember the night that Peter betrayed him. Jesus in effect said to all the roosters in Jerusalem, do not crow. Be quiet. And then when Peter denied the Lord three times, he said to a rooster, all right, it's time now.

You can do it. You see, Christ has authority over the whole realm of the animals and most assuredly he has authority over fish as seen many times in the New Testament. I want you to notice how his authority over nature is actually directed in three different ways in this passage.

First of all, he directed is someone to lose this shekel, this stator. We don't know whether it was a child walking along the shore, whether it was someone who was in a boat who accidentally lost this coin. The very fact that they didn't go after it and find it, that in itself is a miracle. And Jesus just allowed that coin to fall where he knew it needed to fall for his purposes. So there was direction there. There was another kind of direction and that was he had to direct the fish to find that particular coin.

No other coin would do. It had to be a coin that was exactly one shekel because that's what our Lord needed. So we can imagine that as the fish was swimming through the Sea of Galilee and this coin began to find its way down either as it was falling the fish went to catch it or else when it arrived on the bottom the fish saw this very shiny substance and thought that he would go for some food and he went and he found the coin lodged in his gullet and there was nothing that he could do about it and he began to swim with this load inside of him. Jesus directed that. Now if that isn't enough there is a third kind of direction and that is the Lord had to direct that particular fish to that particular hook.

It had to be done. Now there were thousands of fish in the Sea of Galilee and what Jesus had to do is to have Peter at the right place at the right time with a right fish and all the other fish would have to look at Peter's hook and say no deal but there would be one fish that would say I like what I see. Now can't you just imagine Peter on the shores of Galilee near Capernaum where this happened. A group of boys gather around him and say aren't you Simon Peter you used to fish with nets yes but I no longer do that because I've decided to follow Christ I now fish just with a hook and then Peter says now you guys watch because the first fish that I catch that's what the text says I'm not making this up it says take the first fish that comes up so Peter says the first fish that I catch is going to have a shekel lodged in its mouth.

You guys can't believe this. He throws the hook at random brings the fish up and there's the shekel and these boys have their eyes just as wide as saucers and say Peter please tell us what bait you use because they think they'd like to do the same thing. What a miracle just the miracle of timing but he's God he's king he's king over circumstances he's king over nature he is king over all the earth all authority has been given unto me in heaven and on earth why should we find it hard to believe this story if Jesus Christ is God. God can direct fish wherever he wants them to be. Isn't it interesting that whenever Peter fished in obedience to Christ he always caught something. Fifth chapter of Luke that we looked at several weeks ago you remember they were toiling all night and they couldn't find anything and then Jesus said cast into the deep and they went and they cast the nets into the deep and they almost broke because of the number of fish. John chapter 21 a passage that we will be looking at several weeks from now they were toiling all night and Jesus said do you have any meat and they said no and he said cast the net on the right side and you will find and I can almost hear them saying this is ludicrous we've been toiling all night we have been casting the net on the right side.

Why should we do it? Well a good reason is because Jesus said you should do it. Well this is Pastor Lutzer and as I mentioned at the beginning of this broadcast I want a personal word with you. Where are you on your spiritual journey?

I can't help but think that I'm talking about two different groups of people on the one hand there are those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior they've repented of their sins on the other hand there may be some of you who have never savingly believed. You know the reason that the story that we have just emphasized is so important to me is it reminds me that Jesus said to the disciples you shall be fishers of men. God brings people into the net and today he may be bringing you into the net. Let me ask you this question would you help us here in this ministry? I'm holding in my hands a letter from someone who says while listening to your program you gave a sermon that I believe was directed at me.

I knew it was from God I had no choice I had to either walk away in the dark or get on my knees and thankfully he got on his knees and accepted Jesus and finally repented. Now I need to emphasize that many of you have had a part in this story because you contribute to this ministry and we're in the midst of what we call a matching gift campaign. We have some friends who have said they will double whatever gift is sent to the ministry of running to win during this period of time. Would you consider helping us?

Now very quickly here's what you do go to that's or call us at 1-888-218-9337 again Time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. What Satan could do to you or someone you love is weighing heavily on Sam's mind today.

He asks several questions Dr. Lutzer. First was demon possession an occurrence only during the ministry of Jesus and the early church or is it still happening today? I'll answer your question very quickly Sam. The answer is yes of course it happens today. We should not think that it was simply something that occurred during the time of Christ.

If it happened during the time of Christ and among early Christians most assuredly it is happening today not just in primitive countries but also in great countries like the United States of America. Yes demon possession is very real. Time goes on to ask does a person have to deliberately open himself up to demon possession? I would say on balance the answer is yes let's take Judas as an example. There's no doubt that Judas had it in his heart to betray Jesus and he had that in his mind the Bible makes it very clear before the Last Supper he had already gone to make preparation for his denying Jesus or I should say betraying Jesus and yet now in the 13th chapter of John it says that after Jesus gave him the sop and said to him whatever you do do Satan entered into him.

The reason that Satan could enter into Judas is not because Judas suddenly was just overtaken by the devil it's because Judas had already opened the door for the devil to enter by what he was planning to do. So generally speaking the answer to your question is yes there has to be some doorway for satanic entry. Pastor Sam also wonders can demon possession happen to children?

Now Sam this is getting very difficult but I do have to say that the answer apparently is yes. We have that account in the New Testament for example Luke chapter 9 you can read it on your own and it's also referred to in other gospels where a man comes to Jesus and said I have a little boy and in Greek the word is boy teknon child and he says a spirit seizes him and suddenly mauls him and throws him into the fire and so forth and I asked your disciples to cast it out and they couldn't you remember that account now that's a little child. So we might ask what sin did this little child commit to have this demonic affliction? We don't know but there could have been occultism in the family. If you're born into a family where there is occultic activity and you have this submission to Satan on the part of parents children are sometimes affected. Also there may be sins in the family you remember the Bible does say you know that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children. Now don't put too great an emphasis on that without also emphasizing the rest of the verse where God says but I show mercy I think it is to the thousands of those who love me. So if you're a God lover that verse of scripture does not apply to you the verse that talks about the curse. I guess what I'm trying to tell you Sam is yes we need to pray for our children and sometimes it appears as if some children may have a demonic affliction. Sam has one final question pastor if demon possession still occurs today in the modern church age how do we as Christians recognize it and what should we do about it? Sam a couple of things first of all it may be difficult to recognize and I think we should be very careful to talk about who is demon possessed or a child who might be and yet sometimes there are telltale signs where people are changed almost into another person there's some kind of a power a presence that comes over them and how should we handle it we should pray and the way in which we should pray is to pray against the spirit and if the person is able to to invite the person to pray with us and what we will discover is that eventually the demonic power may lose his authority lose his ability to be able to harass and hopefully there will be deliverance that will be lasting and then of course I do have to add that it's always wise to ask your pastor talk to somebody who's had some experience in these areas who can guide you with wisdom because a lot of foolish things sometimes have been said about demon possession and a lot of conclusions have been assumed far too quickly sorry I can't be more specific but be careful move ahead pray a lot seek God for wisdom and also seek the guidance of others thank you Sam for those questions thank you Dr. Lutzer for handling them so competently 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 Illinois 60614 Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life with Peter we're learning a lifelong lesson from a coin in a fish's mouth a lesson on who really provides for our needs next time on Running to Win join us for more on how close Christ wants to be to each of his people thanks for listening to our series on the life of Peter for Dr. Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-17 01:30:41 / 2023-03-17 01:39:07 / 8

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