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The Battle For Your Heart Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
March 2, 2023 1:00 am

The Battle For Your Heart Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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March 2, 2023 1:00 am

Billions are spent in provocative advertising. As sinners surrounded by media choices, it’s no surprise that immorality is rampant. In this message, we learn three ways we can responsibly guard our hearts.. As Pastor Lutzer says, “There are some things we cannot help seeing, but we cannot let our hearts go there.”

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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. Since we're all sinners in this internet age, it's no surprise that immorality is rampant. How should Christians protect themselves from the media onslaught shouting from their computers, phones and TVs?

Stay with us. 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 wants the church set the moral tone and culture for the most part followed, at least in public. Nowadays, the restraints seem to have been lifted entirely. Well, Dave, if I'm hearing you correctly, the restraints have been lifted not only in the culture, the restraints have been lifted in the church. And that's why it is the statistics indicate that there are so many people who no longer have a filter by which they say no to the culture, but the culture has come to us through technology and they participate.

Of course, all of us use technology, but we need to be aware of its tremendous dangers. I want to thank the many of you who support the Ministry of Running to Win because messages like this need to get out to thousands upon thousands of people. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? An endurance partner is someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. We so much appreciate all those who pray for us, all those who support this ministry. Here's what you can do to get more info. You go to

When you're there, click on the endurance partner button, or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Thanks so much for helping us get the message of the gospel and the message that is needed for the church to so many today. It deceives us in terms of how good or bad we are. Most people think that we are much better, that we're much better than we really are. And the way in which the heart does that is it gets us to compare ourselves with others. We find somebody who's worse than we are, especially a churchgoer, and then we say, well, if they're like that, I do this and I'm good. The Bible says that the way of man is pure in his own eyes, but God judges the heart, and the heart deceives us. You're not as good as you think you are.

I'm not as good as I think I am. We're deceived. The heart also denies the dark parts of our lives. That's why you see you can have somebody who is abusive, somebody who is unkind, thoughtless, and all the rest, who does horrible things and hurts people, and he thinks he's actually pretty okay, thank you very much, and that the people that he steps on and hurts deserve it.

And he denies how evil it is. You and I know all that we need to do is to watch the news to see how deceitful the heart really is. You know, when you see of what is done, whether it's not it's to children or whatever the abuse that goes on, I'm reminded of the fact that the human heart is just as bad as the Bible says it is. In fact, there have been times when you and I have heard about evil and we have gone and we have thought about that evil and we have seen it and we thought to ourselves, this is the worst possible thing that anyone could do. And you feel as if you're finally in the basement, you got to the bottom of how bad man or woman can be. And then while you're standing in the basement, you notice that below you, somebody's knocking under your feet and you realize that there's another story down there full of all kinds of serpents.

The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Let me ask you something. Do you think that you could live for 24 hours, 24 hours without a single thought that was either unkind, untrue, or impure?

Could you do that for 24 hours? And then after you've done it, would it be okay if we played it here at Moody Church on our screens and we all came to observe? Wouldn't we be surprised? We'd say, why is she so jealous of so-and-so? We never knew that so-and-so was concerned about the way in which she looked in a very unfortunate way angry, jealous, vindictive, bitter. We didn't know that. And then the next night, it was our turn.

What would we see? The human heart has this good side and we'll talk about the good side, but it has the bad side. It is capable of unthinkable evil. So the first thing is we have to know our hearts. We know our hearts. Are you aware of what you are capable of? Or do you simply point your finger at somebody else and think that they do this and you hold yourself in check? Never, never think to yourself, that's something I could never do.

Under certain circumstances, you might, especially if you thought nobody would ever know and if God, if you thought God didn't know, you might be surprised at the serpents that lie coiled in the bottom of your heart and mine. We have to know our hearts. Secondly, the Bible says we should guard our hearts. We have to guard our hearts. Now, there are many people who would never leave their car anywhere unless their car were locked. They want to guard that car or they want to guard their house. They would never think about such a thing as leaving the house with the door unlocked. And yet there are people today whose minds are totally unguarded. There's no lock.

Again, I read the Bible and I am so struck by its accuracy. The Scripture says in the book of Proverbs 25, 28, that's 25, 28, a man without self-control is like a city broken into without walls. And we'll discover in these messages as we go through that indeed, oftentimes, there are no guidelines at all.

There's no guarding. Whatever comes along, whatever you're tempted to do, you simply go ahead and you do it. And that's the way in which many people live their lives. And the Bible says that it's like a city with the walls broken down in the midst of the devastation. That's what happens if you don't guard your heart. Now, because this is one message in a series, I'm not going to say too much about it except to look at the text again and find out ways in which we're to guard our heart here because I think that the following verses actually explain how our hearts should be guarded. You'll notice it says, and now I'm in verse 24, put away from you crooked speech and devious talk far from you.

This week, notice what you say. Notice what comes out. Jesus said from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

So when you get bumped, what comes out? It's all there in the human heart. Watch what you say. Verse 25, let your eyes look directly forward and your gaze be straight before you.

What you see. And he's talking here about the ability to concentrate with focus instead of being distracted, looking every possible way. You know, there are some people who come to a worship service just like this with their cell phones and while the service is going on and maybe while this is being preached, they are looking at videos on their cell phones. The ushers have discovered that that's the case or maybe they're texting on their cell phones. Now, before you become too judgmental, you have to realize, of course, that many people like my staff, for example, have on their cell phone the entire Bible. So the person in your row who has his cell phone open right now, just be assured he's actually looking at the text.

I'm sure that he is, he or she. You know what I also have been told? This just breaks my heart. I've been told that during communion, there have been times in this sanctuary where as the communion trays are being passed, somebody has to nudge the person next to him who's on a cell phone texting or looking at a video and say, hey, the communion trays are now being passed. You know what this indicates? Such a sense of distraction. We are so distracted. We can't ever relax. It's constant churning and churning and churning. And that's the way in which we live in today's culture.

And our attention span, the studies indicate, is getting shorter all the time. Look straight ahead, the Bible says. When you're at a newsstand buying a newspaper, don't go where your eyes go. Some things you can't help seeing.

But don't let your heart go there. And then the Bible talks about where we should go. Watch our feet. So what you have here is our speech, our mouths. You have our eyes. And that's huge. And we'll be talking about that certainly in future messages.

And then we also have, of course, very importantly, our feet where they take us. Now here's the thing. I was going to mention this earlier, but there's no way that you can get out of your routine simply by choosing to say, OK, I'll put these guidelines in place.

No, the hold is huge. And I want to give you an assignment. Every message in this series will have an assignment.

Usually it is a verse of scripture to memorize. This time, it's something else. I want you to detox from the media for three consecutive days.

Three consecutive days, no television, no videos, internet only in relationship to your job. What else? Social media. You say, well, what about my friends?

I don't know if you can do this because I'm not on social media, but send a general email to them and simply say, I'm going to be seeking God for three days, so I'm out of pocket. Two good things will happen. Number one, a whole bunch will unfriend you, which probably isn't all that bad. Secondly, quite frankly, they won't miss much.

They probably really don't care as to what happened to your cat, frankly. And so what you need to do is to just get off there, three days of detoxing. Now, just to test it, I did it this past week, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Absolutely no television. Some things on the internet that I needed to investigate, got into the car, forgot, turned on the radio for a while because you want to cut that off, too. No music, nothing. Just silence and detox. So you know, for the last three days, I have no idea as to what happened in Washington. Help me here. Did I miss anything?

Did I miss anything? Fact is, the world got along very well without me knowing about what was happening. Can you do that? I'm going to do that again, beginning Monday, Tuesday, and then our day of prayer and fasting Wednesday.

I'm all up on this. I think by the third day, I began to enjoy the silence. And what do you do during the silence?

You meet with your family. You read scripture. You read Psalm 139. That's the other part of the assignment, where the psalmist said very clearly, search me, O God, and know my heart. He ends the Psalm that way. He begins by saying, Lord, you've searched me and you've known me. God knows every single detail of your private thoughts. But then he says, search me.

Tell me and show me what you see. You willing to come before God and have him search your heart like that? Three days detox.

Of course, I continued on with the emails because that's the way in which we communicate with our family, with our staff. But you make the decision as to where the line will be and for three days detox from the media. Now there's something else, and that is we must allow God. We must allow God to change our hearts. You can't change your own heart, by the way.

That would be like washing a dirty well with a dirty water that's in it. The Bible indicates, though, God said to Israel in the Old Testament, he says, a new heart I will give you. I'll take out the heart of stone and I'll give you a heart of flesh. We have hearts of stone, don't we?

Oh, there's some good things about us. But there's a lot of dark shadows and things that lead us astray. And what we need to do is to receive the gift of a new heart. That's what Jesus meant in John 3 when he said, except you be born again, you'll not see the kingdom of God. Jesus was talking about a new birth, a new heart with new desires. And if you think that's easy for God to give us, no, it's very difficult.

It was a huge challenge. And that's why Jesus Christ came to die on the cross for our sins, so that he could stand in our stead and meet all of God's obligations on our behalf. So then the blessed Holy Spirit of God could be given who regenerates us and changes us, thanks to faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Before our conversion, our heart is the most difficult thing we have to deal with, full of anxiety, anger, bitterness, hopelessness, despair, wanting to get even.

That's before our conversion. After our conversion, we still struggle with those things, but we struggle from the standpoint of victory, because now the peace of Christ can rule in our hearts. Now we can have joy that has been given to us by the Holy Spirit of God. It is the new birth without which you and I will not see the kingdom of God. And as we allow God to search our hearts, what we'll discover is that indeed we are sinners, and indeed we are in need. I have no doubt that in this large congregation today, and listening audience in other ways, that there are some in whose hearts God is already working to bring you to this moment, to this hour, and to this part of the sermon, so that you realize that that emptiness in your heart, that frustration in your heart, is a longing really for God to come to you and to give you a new heart with a love for God, an ability to overcome the dead weight of a heart cut off from God. And it's available to you.

It's available to you. Jesus said, or rather it says in the Scriptures, as many as received him to those he gave the power to become the children of God, even to those who believe on his name. That's the beginning point. The beginning point is to have a new heart. Come to God. Ask him to forgive you, to make you his child, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. There is once an evangelist by the name of Billy Sunday. I know that there's also a Billy Graham, but this was Billy Sunday who used to preach in this church back in the 1920s.

He was a baseball player here in the city of Chicago, and he came out of a bar. And there were some students there that were handing out literature telling him the gospel that I've just explained to you. And Billy Sunday said, and I quote, I staggered out of my sin into the outstretched arms of Jesus, and received him, and instantly became a new creature.

And Billy Sunday was a great evangelist for the cause of Jesus Christ. The transformation of heart. What heart did you bring with you today?

Hard heart, indifferent heart, skeptical heart? Come to God. He gives a new heart to all who trust his Son to save them and to transform them. And if you will, let's bow together in prayer. Father, who can penetrate the human heart?

Many come to a service like this with various defenses, various ideas. Would you grant them, Lord, the grace to say, search me, O God, that I might see my heart and my need for you? And before I close this service, no matter where you are, no matter how you're listening, you can talk to God right now and say, I receive Christ as my Savior. I need to be born again, to have a new heart implanted within me.

Would you tell them that? Father, we are helpless apart from your divine intervention. Help us, Lord. Help us in this series of messages to be honest, to be realistic, to be transparent, and to be obedient. In Jesus' name. Amen.

My friend today, if you're going to stagger, stagger in the direction of Jesus. I want to thank the many of you who support the ministry of running to win. You know, because of you we are in many different countries of the world. For example, I received a letter from someone in Iraq who said that they felt alone until they came across the ministry of running to win and they don't feel alone anymore.

That's because this ministry is also in Arabic. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner, someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts? Here's what you do. Hope that you have a pen or pencil handy. Go to Click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Click on the endurance partner button. And now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Not everyone likes what they hear on running to win. John listens to us on KDKR in Rutherford, Texas. He has this observation. In one of your broadcasts, someone asked a question about profanity. In your answer to him, you made the statement that we must accept people and their faith so that they may accept our faith. If this is so, I'd like to see anywhere in the Bible where this is taught. Jesus is portrayed as meek and mild on this subject, and I for one can't find anywhere in his Word where he says we are to do this.

Please enlighten me on this statement. John, I'm not exactly sure what it is that you're referring to in the question that I answered, but I doubt very much that I made the statement that when people use profanity, we simply have to accept it. There is a way, of course, by which we can connect with them and let them know that we don't appreciate it, because after all, they are talking about our God and our Lord Jesus Christ. But I think that this can be done in a winsome way rather than a condemning way, and I'll tell you why. Because the real issue in these people's lives is not the fact that they use profanity, however unscriptural that is. The real issue has to do with their relationship with God, and what we need to do is to recognize that profanity is but a symptom of a much deeper problem, and that is that they haven't been reconciled to the Father and don't appreciate our Lord Jesus Christ. So I'm simply saying that what we need to do is get beyond the sin to the Savior.

And that's, of course, I think what I meant in the comment that you referenced. So I pray that God will really give us wisdom, because what we need is wisdom so that we can both rebuke but also bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Some wise counsel from Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. 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, IL 60614. In terms of moral temptation, we're all in the same boat. Whether in the church or not, all of us are prone to moral sins, and the media makes such sinning easy. Next time on Running to Win, we'll explode some myths about who is actually vulnerable to the power of the Internet. Don't miss The Seductive Power of Desire. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-02 03:31:33 / 2023-03-02 03:39:58 / 8

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