Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. He moved aggressively to cities in Greece and beyond with the power of the Spirit directing His energies and birthing faith wherever He preached. Today, that power is on display atop a famous hill in a city known for its philosophers. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Wind with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, is it possible for philosophy to be compatible with the Gospel?
Well Dave, that's a very interesting question and it has been debated throughout the centuries and Christians have taken different points of view on it. But you know, even though I think that philosophy ultimately cannot be combined with Christianity, I see much benefit in studying philosophy. As a matter of fact, I have a degree in philosophy and I think to a certain extent it has enabled me to interpret our culture. I've written a book entitled No Reason to Hide, Standing for Christ in a Collapsing Culture. It deals with a number of different issues that we are facing today. What about the war against white supremacy?
What about the cancel culture? What about the triumph of the self? All of these issues are discussed in the book No Reason to Hide and I'm glad that the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill found no reason to hide and I think we have to stand with him. Let us go there now. He's saying God made you, you didn't make God. Look at all of the idols around here, they are man-made, but the God that I am proclaiming to you is not man-made.
As a matter of fact, he is the creator of all things that exists and because of him, you have your existence. That's the God I proclaim to you and that's the God who can redeem you. So he begins by saying yes indeed, God is creator, God is omnipresent, he doesn't exist in temples made by hands. In other words, you can't build a temple and you're saying I'm building this temple for God and God is going to dwell there. No, no, no, it says in the Old Testament, the heaven of the heavens cannot contain thee, Solomon said, how much less this house that I have built. Oh yes, in Old Testament times God was localized for the purpose of people connecting with him, but God pervades the entire universe and is everywhere and he's not limited to a temple or an idol that is made with hands. And then you'll notice, Paul says you need to have a straightened out your doctrine of God and also your doctrine of man.
That's the next part of his sermon. You'll notice it says, verse 26, and he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods that could refer to the seasons and the boundaries of their dwelling place that they should seek God in the hope that they might feel their way. One of the translations says, grope their way toward him and find him, yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being as even some of your own poets have said, for indeed we are his offspring.
I read it quickly. We have to go through now and understand it in a little bit more detail. The Apostle Paul is saying, first of all, that God created man from one person and by the way, now science continues to have evidence that we all descended indeed from one set of parents. So the Apostle Paul here in speaking to them about human beings said, God determined the seasons and God determined where all of the various tribes would live. If you ask the question, why did Ham go into Egypt and Jephthah went to Europe and Seth stayed in the Middle East, it is attributed to God that men might grope after God. Now what's in that text? What he's saying is that as people moved out into different areas and they began to understand that the earth was created for man and that's why they were able to live in different parts of the country through agriculture and what have you, they should have said to themselves, surely God created this world, surely this is all of him because of the light of history, because of the light of nature, because of the light of conscience, they grope after God hoping to find him and everybody grotes for God. They don't know it.
They have all kinds of substitutes. The man who's involved in addictions and sexuality and ruining his life trying to find fulfillment and some reason to live, he's groping for God but he doesn't know it. He thinks that he can get a buy by filling his life with all kinds of substitutes. People grope for God and then notice that you say, well, is God difficult to find? Well, there's a sense in which God is hidden but there's also a sense in which he's revealed himself.
He is hidden but he can be found. Look at what Paul says that they should seek God in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him for he is actually not far from each one of us and then Paul quotes two of their philosophers. He says in him we live and move and have our being even as some of your own poets have said for we are indeed his offspring. I discovered this week that that phrase we are indeed his offspring come from a Greek poet by the name of Aratus and he was actually referring to Zeus.
It's a poem about Zeus and then he ends by saying we are his offspring and the Apostle Paul pulls that line out and says that the philosopher, the poet was right in what he said. He just had the wrong God but in him we live in the God that I'm proclaiming to you. We live and we move and we have our being and he's not far from any one of us.
I can imagine that someone has come here today and you have had such a difficult week. You're in the midst of tragedy. You're in the midst of heartache and you've come today perhaps with a conscience that is cluttered with all kinds of sin added to it and you say where can I find God?
Well, the answer is this. He is not far from you. He's not far from you. You can find him even where you are seated. You can find him if you are listening today on the internet in any one of the 80 countries of the world that we've heard from. You can find God there because he is not far from any one of us.
Now what do people need to know today? They have to have the correct doctrine of God, the correct doctrine of man and the correct doctrine of sin. That's why he speaks about judgment and notice he says, being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone or an image formed by the art and the imagination. God is not the idols that you can see as we walk through the city of Athens, Paul is saying. The times of ignorance, God overlooked. You know, in a time of idolatry, it is not as if God comes along and forgives those people and says it doesn't matter what God that you worship, but God has always been fair and always judged people on the basis of what they did with what they knew. Now the bottom line is, of course, that nobody lives up to what they know. So on that basis, they're going to be judged. That is also true regarding the final judgment. Jesus will not say to those who've never heard of Jesus, well, you're condemned because you didn't believe in Jesus.
No, no, no, no. They never had that opportunity. That would be unfair. God will say to you, you're condemned because you had the light of conscience and the light of nature and you didn't live up to what you knew was right. And that will be the basis of their judgment. So in times past, God was more lenient and not in terms of his eventual justice, but people knew less. But now that Jesus has come, things are much more stringent as far as God is concerned. Grace increases responsibility. It never decreases it.
The more light, the more responsibility. And so you'll notice that Paul says, verse 28, that God overlooked those times, but now he commands people everywhere to repent because he has fixed today on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed. And of this, he has given us assurance by raising him from the dead.
Look at just in that verse, all of the things about final judgment. First of all, it is a fixed day. You have to appear in court.
Can't send your attorney. Can't say I'm busy that day, Lord. You'll be there.
It's compulsory. And you'll notice he's going to judge us according to a fixed standard of righteousness and it's God's standard and it's not yours. And it is a terrifyingly holy standard that none of us can meet on our own. And that's the standard by which God is going to judge you and me. And then you'll notice it says also that this judgment is going to be for the world.
And of course, even though it mentions the word world, he's talking generally, but it's an individual judgment. You are going to stand before God individually, nobody to hide behind. I heard this past week, God is my witness. Somebody told me that he was speaking to a woman and helping her to see that she was a sinner and she said she had never sent. And then she said, well, let me correct that. I told a lie one time, but it was my husband's fault. It's not going to work.
It's not going to work. Individual judgment. And then he says he's going to judge it by the man whom he appointed, that is Jesus. And of this he has given us assurance by raising him from the dead. Jesus is the one who is both redeemer and judge, Paul says.
And he's the one with which you have to do. He is Lord and therefore repent of your sins and trust him. And God confirmed that Jesus had the ability to forgive because after all he was raised from the dead. And when they heard about the resurrection of the dead, verse 32, some mocked. Others said, we will hear you again about this. So Paul went out from their midst, but some men joined him and believed among whom also was Dionysius, who apparently was responsible for the Areopagus, Mars Hill, and a woman named Damaris. Now these are the three responses you always have whenever the gospel is preached.
If you were to walk down Clark Street here in Chicago, you would come to the Newberry Library and in front of the library where you have that park, it's known as Bug House Square. And one Saturday in July, they have soapboxes as it were, upon which you can stand and you're given a bullhorn and then you can preach whatever you like and people gather around you and they heckle you, they stop you in the middle, tell you that you're crazy and perhaps also some other things. And that's the way in which you speak. Now I've been speaking there for three or four years and again they've already asked me for this summer. And they want to have the title and I've been agonizing over the title. Of course they want something controversial and I'm very happy to supply that. But this summer I've chosen the topic why every honest historian should believe in the resurrection of Jesus.
So that should give some controversy. Imagine doing that in 15 minutes with hecklers in between. It's the closest that I get to be able to preach on Mars Hill.
It's the closest that I can get. And you know what? I'll have the same three responses. First of all, some mocked.
I can already hear it. Not based on historical evidence, but it can be God doesn't raise people from the dead. The Epicureans, they mocked because they were materialists. Miracles don't happen. How do you know?
It's just that we know. The Stoics, they didn't want to believe because after all the soul gets absorbed into the one and disappears. There's no physical resurrection from the dead. Some mocked. And some listening today possibly mock. And the reason that you mock is not because the evidence is wanting. It's because you do not want to believe.
You have made up your mind. And you came in advance knowing that when you listen to this sermon, you would not believe. But the Bible says God is not mocked. I've been praying for you this week that God would overcome that mocking spirit. And then the Bible says some procrastinated. We'll hear you again.
We want to do more comparative shopping. And we want to see if we can come up with a religion that is more in tune with where we're at. Can't you just hear it? And you know the Bible says in the book of Proverbs that if we delay, I wrote the text down, but I didn't write what it actually says. But I know it's there somewhere in the Bible. It warns about those who delay. And it was Dr. Sweeting who liked to say that the road mark tomorrow leads to the town called never.
Bottom line, I can tell you this. If you delay today, you'll delay tomorrow and you'll delay the next time you hear the gospel and the next time. And you know, many people who intend to accept Christ at 12 midnight actually die at 10 30. If you're here today, do not delay in believing in Jesus.
Don't fall into the trap of the procrastinators. And then finally, some believed, some believed. And I'd like to think that in the audience that is here, as well as the way in which these messages get broadcast on radio and what have you, that there may be some in whom the Holy Spirit is working.
I was thinking this week of Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened and God is opening your heart. You are open to the truth and there is enough conviction of sin in your life for you to know that you really do need a savior. And Jesus is the only one out there. And so what you need to do is to believe on him, to trust him.
The Bible says to repent because a day is coming in which God is going to judge the world. And because he is not far from you, in him you live and move and have your being. That means that he's there in the balcony with those of you who perhaps sat there because you wanted to be a distance from what is being done today.
I don't know, but it could be. God is there too, you know, and God is here. And what you need to do is to reach out to him and put personal faith in Jesus as your sin bearer. And remember, God raised him from the dead as proof, as proof of the fact that he was the son of God who came to redeem sinners. And as I hope to show, every honest historian must believe in the resurrection of Jesus. My question is, do you believe?
And if not, what is your excuse and how will you explain that to God in the day that he is fixed to judge the world? Let's pray together. Father, we pray that in a day of idols, in a day when people believe in whatever God they want and think that they have the true one because they like the God that they have created in their minds, would you Father lead us to the true one, the one who knows and sees and created and the one also who redeems through Jesus Christ. Take this message, however given, and I pray, Father, that you might work in the lives of many, that right now they might believe. And I do need to ask you today, my friend, have you believed in Jesus?
If not, you can trust him right there because he's there with you where you are seated. Father, we thank you for this message from the Apostle Paul. Thank you that it still rings in our culture with our idols. Use it mightily, we pray, and help us to be able to explain the gospel to a culture that's lost its way. In Jesus' name, amen. Well, this is Pastor Lutzer.
Once again, I want to urge you, if you've never received Jesus Christ as your savior, to do that right now. The gospel is paramount. It is most important. At the same time, it's very important that we also understand the culture around us.
At the top of this broadcast, I was asked by Dave about whether or not philosophy and Christianity can be united, and I said that I did not think so. But I need to tell you this, philosophers are very, very important and powerful because they have ideas that eventually filter into the culture. For example, in my new book, No Reason to Hide, I point out the continuing influence of Karl Marx and other atheists. So it's important for us to understand this, and people today are living at a time when they have to ask themselves the question, am I woke enough to be seen as virtuous?
You and I need to understand the meaning of those words, the meaning of the question that I have just asked. I've written a brand new book entitled No Reason to Hide, Standing for Christ in a Collapsing Culture. I've written this book to help us understand the pressure points that the church is facing today, pressure points that your children are facing in school, that business people are facing in their line of work. It is everywhere.
We're facing cultural streams that want to change what we believe and push us into the world's mold. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Let me just share my heart with you and let you know how much we appreciate your support, your prayers. You are helping us get the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, but also to help people make it all the way to the finish line.
Go to rtwoffer.com or call us right now at 1-888-218-9337. It's time now for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. How we act is definitely noticed by those around us.
What we do often reveals the state of our hearts. Richard wrote to us, concerned about his church. Here is his story. What is the role of a pastor's wife in respect to a church? We have a pastor whose wife rarely attends church, sits in the back by herself when she does come, and appears to be indifferent.
She doesn't care to interact with anyone around her unless they take the initiative. Well, Richard, first of all, a couple of comments. I'll begin with the opening part of your question. What is the role of a pastor's wife? Oftentimes in small churches especially, she is expected to play the piano, to be head of the VBS, to give leadership to the women's ministries, and I think that that is unfair. What is the role of a pastor's wife?
I can tell you what it is. First of all, to be a very good wife and supportive wife to her husband. Secondly, to raise her children, along with her husband, in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. Now, with regard to your specific question regarding your pastor's wife, who comes rarely, sits at the back, doesn't connect with people, that is actually a matter that your elders should look into. Obviously, it does not look as if they have a very compatible, happy marriage. And that, I think, affects a pastor's ability to preach, particularly on topics such as the Christian home.
And yet at the same time, I want to be very cautious and very generous. Who knows what she is going through? Who knows what she has gone through in her past? So, we should perhaps refrain from judging, but at the same time, I think the leadership of the church should get the two of them together, find out exactly what the point of friction is, and see whether or not there can't be some harmony, some sense of closeness, some obvious sense of support that would come from his wife, for her husband, and for the church. Bottom line, I pray for you, Richard. I pray for this church, that the pastor and his wife might be together on the same page honoring the Lord as one. Thank you, Richard, for your concern, and thank you, Pastor Lutzer, for your compassion. 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. To visit a place where the apostle Paul preached, go to Greece and visit ancient Corinth. You'll find an amazing excavation of the very streets and buildings that Paul saw when he first brought the Gospel there. Next time, we'll watch God open hearts to the Gospel, and we'll see a local church being born.
It's no secret that America is in crisis. Pastor's book, No Reason to Hide, Standing for Christ in a Collapsing Culture, will be sent as our gift to you when you give a gift of any amount to support Running to Win. Just call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337. Online, go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com. Or write to Running to Win, Moody Church, 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-12 01:20:41 / 2022-12-12 01:29:36 / 9