Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. In Matthew chapter 17, Peter learned a lifelong lesson from a coin in a fish's mouth, a lesson on who really provides for our needs. As we too learn that lesson, we'll realize how close Christ wants to be to every one of His people. 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. Erwin Lutzer is bringing us the life of Peter, a man chiseled by the Master's hand. Pastor Lutzer, today we've stopped by the seashore as the Master gives another lesson on His authority over all of nature. And you know, Dave, you and I have actually been on that seashore, haven't we? What an experience it is for us to visit Israel, to go across the Sea of Galilee in a boat and remind ourselves of these tremendous things that happened right in this vicinity.
And I'm so encouraged when I hear that Jesus is the one who controls fish, because He also said that we should be fishers of men. The ministry of Running to Win is intended not only for believers, but also to bring unbelievers to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Would you help us do that?
We're in the midst of a very exciting period of time when some of our friends have said that they are willing to match whatever is given to the ministry of Running to Win up to $90,000. Here is what you can do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now if you missed this info, I'm going to be giving it again at the end of this broadcast, but always remember you are a part of this ministry.
Thank you in advance. 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 the 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. Kids 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. And so because Christ said it, you remember the Bible says that the net went into the water and there were 153 fish that they caught in that net. Here again, he's fishing in obedience to Christ and Christ makes his fishing profitable. Those of you who are in businesses, those of you who work in factories or maybe you own a factory or you own a business or you're involved, I want you to know this, that when you give your occupation wholly and totally to God and leave it to him as to whether or not it will be profitable, you will have the opportunity to prove the faithfulness, the reliability and the total care of God for his people. And we can see this in this passage of scripture with clarity. Jesus is Lord over circumstances and Lord over nature. Thirdly and most importantly, I want you to see that Jesus is Peter's Lord, that most assuredly is true, but there's something very beautiful in this passage.
We know that Christ is Lord of his people. But in this case, Jesus is not only a Lord, he becomes one of Peter's partners. The text says go and catch that first fish that comes up and when you open its mouth, you will find a shackle take that and give it to them for you and me. Now notice that Jesus didn't have two fish so that there would be two coins or four fish so that there would be four drachma in all four quarters. One coin was sufficient.
Each person had to give a half shackle. And so what Jesus did was in saying this one coin is for you Peter and for me. He was becoming Peter's partner.
Partner in ministry, partner even in economics, a partner in the common experiences of life that all of us face. Jesus Christ was linking himself to his servant Peter. Now let me ask you why was he doing this? Well, first of all, he was doing it for Peter's sake. That's why God meets our needs is first of all for our sake.
After all, Peter needed some money and because he was following Jesus, he didn't have any and so Jesus used this very special miracle to help Peter. And you see, Christ does that so that our faith might be increased. We might see his faithfulness and his ability to meet our needs becomes the basis upon which we worship him and thank him and give him glory for his faithfulness. Yes, he does it for our sake. He also does it for his own sake.
He said take it and give it to them for you and for me. It says in Psalm 23 that you lead us in paths of righteousness for your name's sake, for your name's sake. What's so beautiful is that here we see the need of Peter and the glory of Christ because Christ is always glorified when he meets the needs of his people. We see the need of people and the glory of Christ coming together, linked together in this experience and those two things are linked together in our experience with the Lord as well. Why does God take care of his own?
For our sake as well as for his sake but also for the sake of others. You see, Jesus said to Peter, really I would not have to pay this tax because I'm exempt. Verse 27, but lest we give them offense. He said go ahead and do it.
He said I don't want the people to think that somehow we are not playing by the rules. Technically I wouldn't have to but there's some things that I will do that I am not under obligation to do but I want the people in Jerusalem and those who serve the tabernacle to think well of me and my followers and not give them any reason to stumble and therefore go ahead and pay it. And by the way that's another reason why God meets our needs. Believe it or not God wants us to look good in the presence of the world.
By looking good I mean so that we can handle the ups and downs, the turbulence, the misunderstandings of life much better than the world is able to because God pours grace and love and strength into our souls. He meets our need and there is a togetherness as we walk through life. I think of Jesus as he was there being tempted in the wilderness and in that temptation you remember the wild beasts were there and Christ was going through a tremendous battle with Satan and I can almost hear him say this is for me that I might get glory, that I might do the will of God but then he says to us it is also for you that I do this. And then I think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane as he sweat as it were drops of blood with all of that agony and convulsion of spirit as he anticipated the cross and he looks at us through tear stained eyes and says I do this for me but also for you.
I think of the ascension. Jesus Christ taken to the summit of the mountain of olives and there he goes to heaven and the angels say that this same Jesus who ascended into heaven will in like manner come as you have seen him go into heaven and Jesus says in effect I'm doing this for me but I'm also doing this for you. I am not only your Lord I am also your brother. That's why the book of Hebrews says that he is not ashamed to call us his brothers because no matter where we walk no matter where we go we are never alone he is always with us. And someday in eternity when we worship him forever and ever the Bible says that we shall be heirs of God joint heirs with Jesus Christ and we shall reign with him together.
Co-regency co-reigning forever and ever for me he will say but also for thee because we are together in this. You say today Pastor Lutzer you don't understand the hurt in my heart and I don't but I want you to know that if you're looking for a bottom line in this message and I always like to have one it is simply this that the greatest need that you and I will ever face is not what we generally think our greatest need is. Our greatest need is not for money.
Our greatest need is not even for better relationships. Our greatest need is not even for good health though God knows how desperately we need that but we have a need that is even greater. We have the need to have faith in a Christ who will supply our needs linked together with him for thee and for me. Years later Peter grew to become a very mature man and he wrote the book of first and second Peter and he wrote these wonderful words he says casting all your care upon him for he careth for you.
He really really does care for you. Some of you may have bitterness in your heart that you have to give up. Did you know that your greatest need is for faith? You see because one of the reasons we do not give those things up is because we think to ourselves that justice rests upon our shoulders and we are not willing to commit our justice and our case to God. From the beginning of the New Testament to the end of the New Testament the whole theme is have faith in God believe that he will be with you he will never leave you and forsake you and that as he asks you to be obedient he will give to you and to me the grace to be obedient because we're in it together. Let me ask you this question. Have you believed on Christ personally for yourself?
Have you received him? Because when Jesus went to that cross for us that cross was a sacrifice for sinners that those who believe in him would be saved and when you do that you come under the umbrella of his protection the umbrella of his special care and he's with you together to the end. Let's pray. Our Father today we pray that you might take these words as they have been spoken and that you might use them in our lives for mutual encouragement. We pray that everyone may know that whatever dark tunnel they are passing through they are not going through that tunnel alone.
Whatever experience comes to them no matter how explosive no matter how fearful you never abandon us but we become partakers of Christ sharing the very same life and fellowship. Encourage your people today we pray and give them strength and help all of us to love you more and to believe you. In your name we pray. Amen. Yes my friend we can be assured that God is always with us.
Jesus in fact before he left said behold I am with you all the way to the end of the age and of course he's going to be with us even beyond that and one of the ways that God makes his presence known is through others we are so thankful for technology. For example I'm holding in my hand a letter from someone who says as a prisoner I listen to moody and running to win via radio they are a lifeline. There's someone who is in jail today but even though he is isolated in jail there is a lifeline as he himself says through the ministry of radio and I want to thank the many of you who are helping us. Indeed we go into prisons people listen to us in all kinds of different contexts on different platforms thanks in advance.
I have to emphasize that we are in a period of time where some of our friends have said that they are willing to double whatever gift is given to the ministry of running to win. Great opportunity to give. Here's what you can do go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.
Thanks in advance for helping us and if I said that too quickly and you didn't get a chance to write it down that's rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Remember every gift that you give is going to be doubled maximizes your impact and we thank God for all of our listeners all throughout the entire world. It's time again for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Eternal security some believe salvation cannot be lost others feel we can fall away from the faith.
Fred listens to running to win in Marion Kansas this is his story. I attend a Bible study and one of our group members said that if we can choose to accept Christ then we can choose to give back our salvation once attained. However I believe that I'm sealed by the Holy Spirit and that no created thing including myself can separate me from God. However my pastor told me that a person can lose his salvation he doesn't accept my argument that a person who falls into some kind of apostasy only professed salvation and did not really believe.
He said I was a Calvinist by holding that belief. I do not believe the strict Calvinist view that God has pre chosen all believers without their will being a factor. I do believe that God has chosen many Paul comes to mind but I can't accept the view that we can lose what the Holy Spirit has sealed.
Pastor Lutzer I've not had a good past and the devil keeps attacking me and trying to get me to doubt the assurance I have in Christ. When I hear my pastor and a knowledgeable friend tell me that I can lose my salvation it makes me wonder if I'm understanding the word correctly. So can we lose our salvation? Fred I want to thank you so much for asking this question and the clarity with which you asked it and I know that for you it is a very personal question because as you say because of your difficult past there is within your mind this question of whether you can lose your salvation. So I want to begin by saying first of all that there are good Christians on both sides of this controversy and I hope that it's not a controversy that splits your church or drives you away from your church which in many respects may be a very good church and throughout the years Christians have differed on this point. It's not because God vacillates it's just that there are some passages of scripture which if we had them by themselves we would conclude one point of view and then you read other passages of scripture and they clearly give another point of view and clearly both cannot be right.
I believe that you cannot lose your salvation because as you mentioned we are indeed sealed by the Holy Spirit. Also there is a verse in Romans chapter 8 that is very clear that God foreknows us that means that he chooses us and then he justifies us he sanctifies us and then it says this group of Christians he even glorified. It's a very strong statement that God has seen fit to save all those who believe and to carry them all the way to heaven. Let me give you another example in the New Testament Jesus is spoken of as the Good Shepherd. I've often pointed out that if you had a hundred sheep and in the morning you left with a hundred sheep and in the evening you came back with 98 you'd be the laughing stock among the other shepherds.
It's your responsibility to bring as many home as you were given. Jesus repeatedly spoke about those whom the Father has given me. I can't imagine that the Good Shepherd would lose a sheep no matter how stubborn the sheep is sheep have a tendency to go on false paths etc and yet the Good Shepherd brings them back by hook or by crook. What do we say about those who do fall into moral sin or doctrinal error? Well I do believe that many of these might be Christians.
Christians can fall into great sin but I believe that generally they do come back to the Lord and if not God does bring them into great discipline some of them might actually die as the New Testament teaches there is a sin unto death so we need to leave them in God's hands. As far as your salvation is concerned Fred don't take it for granted but just remember that your faith is in Christ he regenerated you and have confidence that he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. So be encouraged keep going and remember that you are in God's hands and Jesus said no one can pluck them his children out of my hands. Some good news from Dr. Erwin Lutzer for Fred and for all of us. If you'd like to hear your question answered go to our website at rtwoffer.com 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. Believers know they need daily cleansing from daily sins. That's a lesson Peter learned long ago when his master approached him with a basin and a towel. Next time on Running to Win the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet. Don't miss living clean in a dirty world. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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