Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Victorious runners in life's race know they are but clay in the potter's hands, and the potter can do whatever he wishes with his clay. Can you accept this bottom-line reality?
What's more, can you embrace it? Today, the end of a life-changing series on the life of Job. 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, Job's final words were, I repent in dust and ashes. Truly, we see here a God much greater than our wildest conception of him. Dave, I have to say that the older I get, the more time I spend contemplating God. And long ago, I have concluded, of course, that God is beyond our imagination. We are thankful that he's personal. He revealed himself in Jesus Christ our Lord, and for that we can give thanks. I've written a book entitled God, Why Me?
Actually, it's based on the book of Job. It's a book that is very accessible, very readable, and I believe that it's going to be a great blessing to our listeners. Now, I need to tell you that today is the last day that we are making this resource available. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.
Now, because this is the last day, I'm giving you that contact info again, rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book God, Why Me? What I'd like to do is to give you three lessons now that will help us to put it all together and answer the question of the purpose of it all. How does it all come together?
What is the bottom line? Number one, let us always remember that God, God is worthy of worship. God is always worthy of worship. Can you think back to the beginning of the book when Satan comes to God and says, well, yes, of course Job serves you because you put a hedge about him.
You've given him a fine family. You have given him flocks and herds and you are bribing him. Anybody would serve you if you are that good to them, but take it all away and he'll curse you because he's in it for what he can get and you, oh God, are bribing him. That's why he is faithful. So God takes all these things away, including Job's health, and Job continues to hang in. Times of doubt, times of anger, times of frustration, but nevertheless he keeps tracking with God, proving that there are still some people who will go on worshiping God even if there is no tangible benefit to it. I think of the words of Job who said, though he slay me, yet will I trust him. God is always worthy of worship.
Now let me ask you a question. What would have happened if Job had died, not in chapter 42, but let's say in chapter 32? What if he had died in the middle of his speech? What if he had died and had never seen this additional prosperity that God had given him? Would God still be worthy of worship?
The answer is yes, yes, yes, because do you know most of the time we do not have such a beautiful finish ending to a life. Most of the time we have people struck down in accidents and struck down in cancer with cancer or dying in concentration camps, as many believers did, and there was no beautiful ending like there is in the book of Job, and even then God is still worthy of worship. Whether we see the end result or not, God is God, we are humans, and he is worthy to be worshiped whether it's beneficial or not. Secondly, another important lesson is that trials are ultimately from God. Trials in the life of a believer are always ultimately from God.
Do you remember in those opening chapters where we emphasize this? Oh, I know it was Satan who brought the hail, it was Satan who was given power to have lightning to strike Job's children, so it might be tempting for us to say, well, it came from the devil. Yes, it did come from the devil, but the devil was in God's hands. It was God who marked out the parameters, who said so far and no farther. It was God who said you may take his children, but you may not touch his life. It was God who said you may take his health, but even then you may not touch his life. In other words, back behind the tragedy that Job experienced was still the hand of God. Yes, all of these concerns of nature, the ravages of nature were in Satan's hands, but Satan, I shall say it, Satan is in God's hands.
You've heard me quote the words of Luther, even the devil is God's devil. Now let's think about that accident on I-94. One day I was just musing in my mind regarding the contingencies in order for that to happen. The Willis family was on that highway because there was an election here in the city of Chicago and their church was being used as a polling booth and so they decided that this would be a good day to visit another son who was a student in a university near Milwaukee. And then you begin to think of the fact that this piece of iron could have fallen from the truck at a different point in the highway. The Willis family could have begun 60 seconds earlier or 60 seconds later or the truck could have been in a different position in the highway and the piece of metal itself could have flown into the ditch. There were so many different contingencies, so many different what-ifs, and yet who is it that controls the what-ifs of life? Is it not true that as Christians we have to take all of the ifs and then we have to draw around them a circle called the providence of God and recognize that even such accidents are highly planned occurrences from the standpoint of God's sovereign intervention in the life of his children? So let us say it boldly, it was God who took the six children from the Willis family and they themselves acknowledged that. Because God is bigger than a truck whose metal falls onto the pavement.
God is bigger than having the contingency where that metal would just puncture the gas tank. God is not subject to the futility of these random events. What is random to you and to me in the life of a believer is really planned by God so that the believer can say confidently all things, all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
You're driving along the city of Chicago, traffic lights hinder you, the expressway is full of cars, traffic jams, there are all of these things that bother you, there are people at work that bother you, there are bosses that bother you, and there are co-workers who trouble your soul and who make life very miserable. Is God in these kinds of things? Are these just the happenstances of life that we need to endure because there's no other alternative except to endure them? Or can we take our piece of chalk and even include the providence of God around those events in the life of a believer? The answer is yes if you have the faith to grasp it because all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose, and that means all things including injustices. Trials are ultimately from God.
And then thirdly and finally, the best way for me to communicate to you today so that you might understand what I'm trying to say is that every trial, I'm putting it this way, every trial has two purposes, every trial has two purposes. There is the hidden purpose of God that sometimes we get glimmers into. Job saw some of the hidden purpose of God because he got to chapter 42 of his book. The Willis family has seen part of the hidden purpose of God because their witness has been so profound that many people have been blessed and challenged and I'm sure that people have come to faith in Christ because of their example. But oftentimes the hidden purpose of God remains completely hidden. Try as you might, there is no purpose in it that you can see.
I saw in the news last night that Nazi soldiers in a concentration camp would take children and throw them over the wall and then other soldiers would try to shoot those children as they were falling for target practice. If you come to me and say well what was God doing there, what was his purpose? I have to remain silent.
I will lay my hand upon my mouth. God has not shown us that purpose. It is a hidden purpose.
There has to be some but I know it not. But there is always a revealed purpose for trials in the life of believers and the revealed purpose is simply that we might trust God and that God might have the opportunity of showing that he can meet the deepest need within our hearts even while our many questions go unanswered. The bottom line is as I mentioned last time it is not that we know the hidden purpose of God but that we might know the person of God and that is the real teaching of the book of Job. It ends up saying even though my mind is unsatisfied my heart can be because I trust God.
And I've lived long enough and you've lived long enough to know that when you have the problem of the heart, when there is the loneliness of the heart and the questions of the heart and the tearing of the emotions because of what goes on with inside of us, there is no explanation that can be given to the head that will be an ointment to the heart. Only God can meet the need of the human heart and say trust me with the questions that are in your head. We all live with unanswered questions but the bottom line is can we trust God even in those areas where we see no purpose whatever.
God's purpose is trust. The other day Daryl Worley whom some of you know who's sitting behind me as we're talking about the book of Job pointed this out so clearly in the 13th Psalm and I want you to turn to Psalm 13 for a moment. It's a very short Psalm but notice how clearly this is presented.
David begins by just spilling out his heart to God and asking the age-old question why? He says how long oh Lord will thou forget me forever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
Somebody who is listening this morning is saying exactly those words. How long shall I take counsel in my soul having sorrow in my heart all the day? That's you. How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me oh Lord my God. Enlighten my eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death. Lest my enemies say I have overcome him. Lest my adversaries rejoice when I am shaken. Verse 5 but I have trusted in thy loving kindness my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation I will sing to the Lord because he hath dealt bountifully with me. Notice the juxtaposition you know I kind of like that word juxtaposition of the two ideas in the Psalm. One is oh God where are you?
Answer my questions. God does not give him one single answer and yet there in his presence David's heart is strangely warmed. God says I won't give you any answers but I will give you the gift of myself and when David has that gift he says I have no answers nothing has changed but I will trust in the Lord and I will rejoice and that is the bottom line that's it. There's no use trying to pry into his hidden purposes I don't understand the death of a child I I don't understand cancer in the life of of young people who are serving God but God says you can keep your questions just give me your heart and I will meet that need. Seems strange doesn't it that in a book that is supposed to explain to us the purpose of suffering that I should end the whole series by quoting the words I am not skilled to understand what God hath willed what God hath planned but this I know at his right hand is one who is my Savior and that is enough. The answer of the heart is God. Now many of you are struggling with this and many of you struggle and there may be various reasons for it but in many instances not all it is that you and I fundamentally do not want to yield ourselves to such sovereignty we want to maintain control of our lives we want to be able to say God there's a part of me that you cannot have I cannot give you my job I cannot give you my children I refuse to give you my future because I'm afraid you will not do what I think you should and because of that our hearts are never joyful we never get to the place of David in Psalm 13 where he says nevertheless I will trust in thee and I will rejoice and the need of the heart has never met and therefore the needs of the mind are just ballistic they just take off because there's no peace inside the end of the book of Job is that God is God we are his creatures blessed are those who say father my life is yours my future is yours my business is yours my injustices are yours God you take over and take it all then we can say I will rejoice in the Lord I do not understand but God has met the need of my heart let us pray together and our father we do want to thank you today that in grace and mercy you've given us the opportunity to follow the life of a man whom we fully expect to meet someday perhaps to discuss some of these issues with him but we thank you that Job was faithful and thank you that you were faithful and thank you that the Willis family is faithful and we pray father that you will give us such a sense of surrender that we might be able to say as that family did with a van burning this is the moment for which we are prepared Oh God that grant us that yieldedness to your sovereign will now many who are listening have struggled today we pray that you will release them from the struggle release them that they might rejoice in thee now before I close this prayer I want you to pray I want you to give all your questions to God he may answer some of them he may answer none of them but in giving your questions give him also your heart and if you've never trusted Christ as your Savior you have never believed on him at this moment this is the moment of faith to trust Christ and to let go of all that you hang on to in the presence of the Almighty father we think of those who struggle with health issues overwhelming issues those who struggle with relationships with promises that have been broken towards them fear of the future unsettleness in their vocation their jobs financial strain families that are broken apart through anger and hatred father we are so needy and we can't answer all these questions all that we do is we look to you we look to you in brokenness and humility we look to you father and say Lord Jesus just make us satisfied with you and then we shall be satisfied even though we do not see other purposes would you father grant that faith in the life of your people so that even those in the midst of these strains can be a witness for you and not be down just because life is so difficult father renew your people renew us as a church we ask in Jesus name Amen well this is Pastor Lutzer today we come to the end of our series on the book of Job and I want to stress once again that God is greater than our wildest imaginations and even though there is so much about him that we do not understand we submit we worship we say with Job I repent in dust and in ashes and today is the last day that we are making a special resource available to you it's a book entitled God why me it's a very accessible readable book I think it will help you as we summarize the teaching of the book of Job and end up in worshiping God here's what you do go to rtwoffer.com and thanks in advance for helping us financially but you can go to rtwoffer.com or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 as a matter of fact I'll give you that phone number again 1-888-218-9337 it's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life when we near the end of life being sure we're forgiven becomes a crucial issue Carolyn from Michigan writes like this I'm 98 years old and spend many hours thinking of my past since I now know the Lord is my Savior I need help and assurance that I am forgiven I became pregnant when I was date raped as a teenager and due to pressure from my family I had an abortion I was not strong enough at the time to say no after a few years I tried to forget but I became a Christian and I loved the Lord I was finally able to forgive the perpetrator I got married to a fine man but had no family now pastor I'm not able to forgive myself for the abortion like King David my sin is ever before me is there any hope for me can I be forgiven well my dear sister here you are at the age of 98 still thinking of the sins of your youth you know I think it is just like the devil to take our past and to throw it in our face particularly when we know that we don't have a lot of time left and he wants to win some kind of a victory in your life before you die but I do have a question for you is the blood of Jesus Christ God's Son able to cleanse you from all sin I believe that the answer to that is resoundingly yes what you are really listening to our accusations that come I think from the devil who wants you to die as one who is not dying victoriously don't listen to those voices Carolyn when my father was a hundred years old he mentioned to my mother the very same situation how Satan was throwing up his past before him and he kept praying for forgiveness but my mother very wisely said this is not a time to pray for forgiveness this is a time to thank God for forgiveness and to accept Christ's sacrifice as totally sufficient for the past blotting out the past and wiping it out so that we can go into heaven with a clean slate and Jesus as our Savior this is a moment when you must exercise faith in all that God has promised about his forgiveness and his grace and stand on those promises we sure want to thank Carolyn for opening her heart to us in this very revealing way and thank you pastor Lutzer for helping her if you'd like to hear your question answered go to our website at RTW offer dot-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 many believers have never seen themselves as clay on a potter's wheel being molded to suit the potter's purposes but the sooner we understand that the sooner will be fruitful members of the body of Christ next time on running to win lessons from a wheel and a furnace during a trip to Israel thanks for listening for pastor Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-21 02:16:34 / 2022-11-21 02:24:36 / 8