Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. After great spiritual failures, we say with King David, my sin is ever before me. So how can it not be before God?
The answer lies in the concept of covering. Today, hope for all who fear their sins on earth will never be forgotten in heaven. 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, I think today's teaching might be revolutionary for those who think they're stuck with their sins. Dave, I cannot think of anything that excites me more than the fact that we have forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ, and more than that, our sin is actually covered. A man who fell into immorality did a study later on entitled, What God Does with Forgiven Sin. And it was so encouraging, he remembers it no more.
Doesn't mean that it might not have effects, but we can have fellowship with God. I'm holding in my hands a book. I wish that this was a book I could put into the hands of everyone who is listening.
We have never offered it before. It's a devotional, but actually it's very unique. It's entitled, Have You Considered? Evidence Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. Now, 365 readings, each with color photographs, regarding history, regarding archeology, regarding all different aspects of science. I'm just looking at it right now.
Geology. This is a tremendous gift for you, for your children. It will be a gift that will last the whole year. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours.
Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And now let us be blessed by God's word. Bible says in 1 John chapter 1 verse 9, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us. Why does John separate forgiveness and cleansing? Aren't they both the same?
They happen at the same time. Yes, they're part of the same work of God. But John knew what you and I have experienced, that there are many people who have experienced the forgiveness of God, but they have never been cleansed by God. The pollution of their consciences has not been washed away. Like the woman who had an abortion and said to me, though I've confessed it many, many times, I still feel foul from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. She had been forgiven, but what she needed was cleansing. Now we're talking about the conscience. For if the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Do you today as a Christian come to church and live tomorrow, Monday morning with a purged conscience or is it always nagging, always feeling unclean? God actually purges the conscience.
I love that. You know why? Because there isn't a psychiatrist in the world. There isn't a counselor in the world.
You can take a seminar on guilt management and there's no way for you to be able to reach down to the crevices of your conscience and cleanse it. One day, many years ago, I was sitting in my study and I received a call and my secretary said, there's a distraught woman on the phone who wants to talk to you. So I spoke with her. She had been listening to a radio program where it seemed to be that after you receive Christ as savior, if you so much as sin too many times, it shows you were never saved. And so she began to doubt her salvation. She said, I was converted at the age of 19. I've led people to Christ. And then she said, weeping.
Oh, but God knows that I have failed him so many times. And she says, where can I go to, Pastor Lutzer? She says, where can I go to accept the blood of Christ? And here's the line now.
Isn't this sweet? She said, I cannot take steel wool to my heart and scrub it. I must receive the blood of Christ. And you can't take steel wool to your heart and scrub it either, can you? Can you imagine going to Home Depot and you say, well, give me some steel wool and some Lysol?
Why? I have a dirty heart and it needs to be cleansed. The answer is, of course, there's no way for you to do that because there is something that tells us that we cannot get down deep into the psyche. We can't go to that deep level of consciousness to be forgiven and to be cleansed. But God cleanses us. Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.
And though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. God wants you to be free from that nagging conscience. He wants you to receive cleansing, which sometimes takes time.
It's something that you have to insist on. The devil will oppose you at this point. But David, with all of his sin, experienced the washing and the cleansing of God.
Look at how far we've come. He covers it that he doesn't see it. He cleanses it so that he doesn't regard it.
He cancels it. We sing, he breaks the power of canceled sin. You'll notice that David says, blot out my transgressions. Isaiah 43, 25, I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions and I remember your sins no more. Those of us who have worked with pocket calculators know how often and how important it is to have a delete key.
Those of us who use computers and we're writing and we make mistakes all the time, the computer is so forgiving, you just hit that delete key. God says, I delete it so that I do not even remember it. Now I need to tell you of course that that doesn't mean that God has lost some knowledge. When the Bible says that God does not remember our sins, it simply means that he's not bringing it to the table every time we come to him. He doesn't say, yeah, oh yeah, you want fellowship.
Look at what you did last week. Now that's the way we are, but that's not the way God is. He does not remember our sins.
Now we're talking just one on one. You're having a cup of tea in my study and we're talking heart to heart, aren't we? Have you ever had to confess the same sin over and over again? If you don't say yes to that, then the sin that you have to confess right after that is the sin of lying, okay? But we come to God and we say, oh God, how can I face you with this same sin again? And God says, what sin are you talking about? I don't remember it.
Why is your memory so much better than mine? And we keep remembering what God says he is forgetting. He remembers our sins no more. And as a result of that, we do not need to remember what God has chosen to forget.
Are you plagued with memories that have been forgiven, but they still have a hold on you? Number four, God carries them away. He carries them away. Listen to the text of scripture. You will again have compassion on us. It says you will tread on our sins underfoot and hurl them into the depths of the sea. So God takes our sins and he cast them into the depths of the sea. And when the Psalmist wrote that he had no idea of how deep the sea was. In those days it was believed that the sea was about as deep as you could wade in or a little bit beyond that deep enough to drown certainly.
But they didn't know that the sea was five or six miles deep in certain places. And he says, you have taken our iniquities and you have cast them into the depths of the sea. And then after God throws them in the depths of the sea, he puts up a sign next to the sea and the sign says, no fishing, no fishing.
As far as the east is from the west, so far have he removed our transgressions from us. God carries them away. He takes them away. He buries them and says, I'm actually removing them so that they are no longer an issue. So that he cancels them that he does not remember them and he carries them that he might not revisit them. You and I revisit them all the time, but he says, I cast them into the depths of the sea.
Be free, be free. In fact, in the Old Testament on the day of atonement, there is a very interesting story in the Leviticus chapter 16 of what the children of Israel did every year. And this of course was powerful symbolically. What they had to do is to choose two goats and then the lots were cast and the one lot that would become the Lord's goat, that goat was sacrificed. The blood of the goat was put on various parts of the altar and that goat represented the atonement that would be coming through Jesus Christ centuries later. But God knew that in order to illustrate what Jesus actually does for us, you need two goats, one that would die and make the atonement. And then there would be another one who would actually take the sins away. This was called the scapegoat.
Azazel, Azazel, the escape goat. And the scripture says that Aaron was supposed to confess all of the sins of Israel on the head of this goat. I'd love to know how long that confession took. I can imagine him with his hand on the head of this goat and he goes on praying and praying and praying and a little kid tugs at his mother's dress and says, Mommy, what's he doing?
Why is he taking so long, Mommy? Well, it depends of course upon how many sins he confessed and whether he just did them in general categories. If we had to do that today, can you imagine how we would have to confess moral uncleanness, materialism, self-will, stinginess, a lack of love for God, a fear of man, and we could go on and on and on and on. But after the sins were confessed, the Bible says that the goat was to be led out of the premises and to be taken in the wilderness. Later on, tradition says that this goat was actually taken and pushed over a cliff to die. Why would they do that to this goat that left the premises?
I'll tell you why. Nobody, remember now, that goat was loaded, all right? That goat has upon him the sins of all the people and nobody wanted this goat to show up in his backyard and say, whoo-hoo, here I am. No, you don't want that goat. You don't want that goat in your backyard. One of the ways in which we can fight the devil today is to say to the devil, uh, you know, the goat is gone. There's no goat around here. The devil comes to you and says, oh, all of the sin is laid on you. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry. The goat is the one bearing the sin and I don't see the goat. The goat has left the premises and so it is. Now what about Jesus? What does the Bible say about him? You remember it says in Isaiah 53, he hath carried our griefs and carried our sorrows because he not only dies to make a sacrifice for sin, but once that sacrifice has been made and it's been received on behalf of his people, the sins are actually carried away. They are taken and they are done with, cast into the depths of the sea, no longer held against us.
We may hold them against ourselves. We may doubt God's ability to forgive us, but God says, from my standpoint, I don't see them. I don't regard them. God says, I don't remember them and I do not revisit them. They are gone.
They are gone. Let me wind this up by two important observations. First of all, either God covers our sin or we will work at covering our own sin. There's something within us that tells us that sin has to be covered and either we let God do it or else we are going to do it. And we do it by denial, dishonesty.
We do it by deceit. We take that dog and we bury him in the yard every evening and we're saying, this time he is dead and buried. And by morning, there he is, back on the front yard, wagging his tail saying, hoo hoo, I'm still here. Before David confessed his sin, he said, my sin is ever before me. It's there all the time.
The phone rings and I wonder who knows. Someone comes to me with a problem and I'm saying to myself, I wonder if he knows. The sin is there. It is this distraction.
It is there all the time. It plagues me. And so what we do is we say to ourselves, I'm going to manage it. I'm going to stifle it.
I'm going to cover it. And God says, he who covers his sin shall not prosper, but he who so confesseth and forsaketh it shall find mercy. I personally would much rather have God cover my sin than me attempt to do it. There's a second lesson, and that is that repentance, repentance is really liberating.
Why do we hang on to all that stuff? Why do we hang on to our sin? Why do we say to ourselves, even as Christians, I'm wandering away from God, I am living in carnality, but here's where I'm going to live and I'm not going to come and receive God's forgiveness.
I'm not going to humble myself and repent. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we torture ourselves when God says, I have a cleansed conscience waiting for you?
I have freedom. In the Bible, sin is often spoken of as a sickness. It's also spoken of as a huge load. Remember in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, a burden, Paul called it the burden of death, the body of this death, like a dead body strapped across your back and you have to walk. The Apostle Paul says that this is the burden of sin. And then you come to Christ and the burden is lifted and the sin is forgiven and the weight is gone and the freedom is there and the joy returns because the longer we postpone our repentance, the longer we postpone our joy. God says you can be forgiven. Yes, Bob Greene can be redeemed. He can be redeemed as he comes to the cross to receive that forgiveness. He can be redeemed. He can be accepted by God. The guilt can be taken away because God is in the business of forgiving his people. Centuries ago, John Dunn pondered the state of his soul and he said, Oh, my sinful soul.
Now thou art summoned. He was talking about sickness and he knew that after his sickness, death would be there. His soul was being summoned and he begins to think to himself, what will it be like on the other side? He looks within his soul and he sees envy and selfishness and pride. He sees his sin and he thinks to himself, must I die in such despair? The answer is no because he realized that in a mysterious, powerful way, when we come to the blood of Jesus Christ, God's son and that blood we shall honor as we have communion together today. As we come, we receive a pardon and a cleansing which wipes the slate clean so that we can be in fellowship with the living God and die with the knowledge that we're saved and forgiven on the basis of Christ's merit.
That's why we sing. He breaks the power of canceled sin. He sets the prisoner free. His blood can make the foulest clean. His blood availed for me. Just imagine what God can do with forgiven sin. Would you join me as we pray? Father, we ask that you shall use these moments as moments of deliverance.
People plagued by the past, people burdened with memories, sins that have been confessed, continually relived, dug up one more time. Oh Father, come and set your people free. Grant us joy and freedom in our relationships because we have been forgiven. We thank you, Father, and even as individually we confess our sins, we pray for ourselves as a congregation, even as Israel, that as a congregation confessed its sins.
Come and cleanse us corporately. Cleanse us. Oh Father, we ask that we might be free. In Jesus' name we ask. Amen. Amen. From my heart to yours today, I can't help but think that this message is indeed transforming. Many of you plagued with guilt, wondering whether or not you can be forgiven. I urge you to take advantage of all that God has provided for us through the coming of Jesus Christ to this earth, born in Bethlehem, dying on a cross for us.
And you know, speaking of Christmas, which is just around the corner, following that we have the new year. I'm holding in my hands a devotional book, but it's unlike one that you probably have ever seen. It has to do with cosmology, microbiology, and all of the different aspects of science, all with colored pictures. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to RTWOfferer.com. RTWOfferer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.
You know, this is a gift that will go on giving every day next year. Very readable, very inviting for all to participate and to learn. You can call right now at 1-888-218-9337. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. An anonymous listener has a question about what church to attend. Here's what she wrote, I left an old-fashioned second blessing holiness church, and my two daughters are still attending it.
I had never struggled that much before as a believer as I did for the years I attended this church. The leadership tells you their messages are anointed, and God's glory is there. So could they be in error? Could you address what's wrong with their doctrine?
Well, my friend, first of all, the answer to your question is yes, they could be in error. When you speak about the holiness church, it includes a broad range of churches and ideas and doctrines. But you say it's an old-fashioned second blessing church. Well, I have some acquaintance with that, and I will say that I disagree with their theology. I'm not surprised at all that you struggled when you attended there because you're not sure whether you have the second blessing. You're not sure whether or not you can lose the second blessing.
Oftentimes this kind of theology is wrapped up with a kind of experiential emphasis where God is brought in and expected to do miracles and speaking in tongues, et cetera. This involves issues way beyond the ability that I have on this broadcast to address. But I would say I commend you for leaving the church, and I do hope that your daughters also will eventually do the same. Some wise counsel, as always, from Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. 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, IL 60614. Are you a repeat offender? Often we get tripped up in the race of life by returning to the detours of past behavior. For some, it seems there is no way to break out of a cycle of sin, forgiveness, restoration, and back to sin. Next time, we begin to find that way out as we hear a message to all who keep failing, those who have to tell themselves, so you've done it again. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-05 07:56:33 / 2022-12-05 08:04:58 / 8