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Discernment, Discipline and Discipleship Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
March 14, 2023 2:00 am

Discernment, Discipline and Discipleship Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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March 14, 2023 2:00 am

The Bible bluntly says, “Touch no unclean thing.” In a media-saturated age, Christians must take bold steps to honor God. In this message, we learn three practical guards for our hearts: relationships, rules, and redemption. It matters where we scroll, swipe, type, or click.

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. 

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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.

The Bible says, Touch not the unclean thing. We need to make choices that honor God, and where that mouse pointer goes is a choice we have to make every day. Today, how to make the right choices and say no to the wrong ones.

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, the onus is clearly on us to make right choices. We need to see ourselves as accountable.

Dave, absolutely. And first of all, we are accountable to God. You remember in the life of Joseph when he was tempted to be with Potiphar's wife, he said, How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God? Because we can fool others. We should, of course, also have accountability to other people, to those with whom we meet and to those to whom we give an account. But ultimately, it is accountability to God. My friend, Easter is really just around the corner. What are you doing to prepare your hearts for this special time of year? Well, I have in my hands a book I've written entitled, Cries from the Cross, A Journey into the Heart of Jesus. It takes the seven sayings of Jesus Christ and applies them directly to our individual lives.

Now, 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. Ask for Cries from the Cross. And even as we listen to this message, remember it is on the cross that our sin was born by Jesus Christ. Many years ago, Leadership Magazine had a long article by many years ago, I mean probably 20 years ago, on a man who was a minister, but he was very much addicted to pornography and he wrote this long article about his struggle. In it, he would talk about how he would go preaching and then he'd go to the hotel room and look at all of the recent pictures. And I remember he said, can you sense the schizophrenia?

Well, obviously the schizophrenia is I want to worship and walk with God, but how can I do that with this idol over here that constantly occupies my attention? What is it that brought him out? What motivated him to finally say whatever price I need to pay, I'm willing to pay so that I'd be free of this?

After all, he could have continued to secretly have his habit. He said it was the loss of the fellowship of God. He said because I love God.

There are people today who love God, who are bound by various addictions. He said I loved God. But he said as long as I was doing this, I knew that I was grieving the Holy Spirit and my fellowship was always broken even when I confessed it. If I fell into the same sin again, I was morally limited. And as a result of that, he said what brought me out was the verse of scripture I asked you to memorize. You remember every one of these sermons has an assignment and the verse is blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. He said that was the motivation.

Finally, when I saw that God wanted to walk with me and love me and I had the privilege of serving him, he said that's what brought me out of it. All right. Now notice he says, come out from among them and be separate and don't touch the unclean thing. Young people don't touch that violent video game. Don't even turn it over and to see what it says on the back because you and I as human beings and we've all been there have been overcome by curiosity.

Don't even touch it. You know, we as men, we like the remote control, don't we? And women like to watch something on TV. Men only like to try to find something to watch. And I don't know what we as men are looking for.

I'm sure it's some cooking program. You know, I told you years ago that the reason that the man of the house likes the remote control is that even remote control for him is better than no control at all in the home. Touch not the unclean thing. Curiosity will kill you. It's exactly what happened to Eve, isn't it? You know, God says don't eat the fruit.

Now God didn't say they couldn't touch it, but that would have been a good idea if Adam had been standing there and said, Eve, don't touch it. Well, I just want to know what it feels like. I want to know what the tactical sensation is. And if I don't eat it, I am going to wonder what it would have been like if I had done it. So I might as well do it and find out. And you know what happened.

All of the consequences began to boomerang. So the Apostle Paul says, look, and you know frequently in the Bible, you know that when it uses sons of God, it includes women. Now are we the sons of God? Well, of course, we're also daughter of God, those of you who are ladies.

But isn't it beautiful here? Doesn't this passage just warm your heart? Touch no unclean thing, then I will welcome you and I will be a father to you and you'll be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord God Almighty. As we learned last week in the message, the real motivation is not to say I'm going to get over my addiction, though that's important.

That's part of the agenda. But the real motivation is to learn to walk with God and to enjoy him and pursue holiness to please him. And then in the process, we find suddenly that God begins to help us in our addiction because we are going to walk with God. I love to walk under the stars, maybe because I was a farm boy at one time, Saskatchewan, Canada. Many of you probably couldn't find that on the map anywhere. But when we'd go out at night, you could just see the stars.

It was as if you could just hold them in your hands. And I used to, as a boy, walk under those stars and already talk to God. What could be greater than that? Let me tell you, what sin do you love so much that you're not willing to give up for God? That's the issue. So Paul says there's something else to separate from.

There it is. Chapter 7, verse 1, since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit. Paul means all of the defilements of body and spirit, whether outward or inward, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God, in light of the fact that God says that he's willing to walk with us, to be our father, and to know that we are his sons and we are his blessed daughters. God says, in light of that, cleanse yourself, get rid of it.

Do whatever you need to do to get rid of it, the thing that causes you to stumble, as we'll see in the next message in the series. Now how do I bring this down to practicality, to your home, and to talk about parents and children and all, and make this so practical that we can leave here with some handles on our minds and hearts? First of all, I'm going to give you, actually first and last of all, I'm going to give you the three R's, three R's.

The first R is relationships. Here we're talking about our relationship with God, but remember this, that the best way to begin to overcome addictions is healthy relationships with other people. That's why we encourage all the men to sign up and to say, we're going to become part of our men's ministry, we're going to join a small group, we're going to be part of the TMC communities.

Why? Because healthy relationships breeds health. It gives us perspective. It gives an opportunity for us to share.

You know, one of the things that I would like you to do this week is to make sure that you have an accountability partner, someone with whom you can share, not just someone with whom you confess your sins every week in a cheap kind of way, but someone who's going to pray with you and walk with you through that experience. Parents, talk to your children. Every study indicates that the kids who stay out of drugs and premarital relationship, every study indicates that those who do that have parents who talk to them realistically, really lovingly, but frankly about what is going on in their culture and the temptation that young people face. The first word, the first R is relationships. The second R is rules. Yes, rules. One rule, no TV in the bedroom, no cell phone on all night. You bring that and you put it somewhere where the other cell phones are and you pick it up in the morning.

No iPads, no Xbox, whatever else there may be out there. None, period. You say, well, what if my child says to me, oh, you don't trust me, mom. Parents, are you taking notes?

You should right now if you haven't until now. I'm going to tell you exactly how to answer that. The answer is no, I don't. And then when the child says, well, why don't you? Write this down. Next answer.

Because I don't trust myself. And then you can even impress them by quoting the words of Martin Luther who said, I fear my own heart more than I do the pope. I used to teach preaching up at Trinity Seminary. I used to teach a class up there. And one time in one of my classes, there was a student who always sat at the front, a young man who wanted to learn how to preach.

And I'm sure today he is a good preacher. But we were all just sharing about our backgrounds and, you know, the brokenness that we have in society. He told me a story. He said, my parents trusted me.

They allowed me to have cable television in my bedroom. He said, late at night I would watch and I would watch. He said, they never really suspected anything because our boy is a good boy. And we know what he is watching.

Remember this, 70% of parents who think they know what their child is watching don't have a clue what's going on in the secret parts of his life and with his friends. And so he's talking about the tremendous struggle he had. He was overcoming it.

Today, I'm sure he's a great pastor because God is a redeeming God. But his parents trusted him. I can't trust myself.

How can I trust others when our hearts are so prone to wander? That's why this assignment this week is not only that you might find someone who's going to pray with you, but also to make sure that all of the computers and the cell phones and the other gadgets in your home have filters. You say, oh, but kids can get around them. I know there are so many smart kids out there. But at least it keeps them from accidentally coming across these sites.

You know, I've read three or four books as a result of preparing for this series. And I know that I'm wound up about this, but I am angry at the way in which our children are being seduced today on the internet. And you ought to be angry too. Evil people buy URLs, that is internet space, if I can put it that way.

So that if you type in a legitimate name, but you misspell it, suddenly one of those sites comes up. And that's why filters should be on all of your equipment, your media equipment. And of course, all the other things, the rules that you are going to talk about in your family and in your home so that you do all that is possible. You can't do a perfect job. Kids are going to see things that we wish they wouldn't. But that's why the third R, the third R is redemption. What a terrible thing it would be if I were to just stand up here and talk about all of these sins and all of these conflicts and all of the media and everything that's out there. And I didn't remind you of the fact that we have a redeeming God, a God who understands our weakness, a God who is touched by the feelings of our infirmities, a God who invites us to come to him as we are.

Nobody has to clean himself up. You don't come to Christ and say, well, now I'm not worthy, but someday I will be when I get this addiction taken care of. No, you come to Christ as you are. You come with your doubts, you come with your anxieties, you come with your hangups, but you come to the only one who invites you to come and to save you and wants to do that.

And that's how you come. A name that maybe you should remember is Michael Leahy, L-E-A-H-Y. He has written many books on this subject having himself have been deeply into the addiction. And so he discusses not just his story, though, it's all about what's going on and how to get out of it.

I was reading it this past week and there was a letter from a young woman who heard him speak because the minute he speaks, you know, in college campuses and so forth, everything opens up. Now everybody is free to share, right? I mean, if this was your problem, now I can say that this is my problem, too.

And so honesty begins to reign in an atmosphere of sharing and transparency. So this young woman, age 20, age 20, I'm going to spare you the details as to what kind of thing she was involved in. She says, your speech broke me down, my past, my parents divorced when I was 12. Then she goes on to talk about all the multiple relationships. I'll skip that.

But this is what she said. I wanted to feel fulfilled and wanted God in my life, but just a little bit because I was so afraid he would judge me and wouldn't accept me because I was so impure. But once I told God I was sorry for everything and all the immoral relationships and stopped blaming him for my parents' divorce, I realized that I couldn't survive without his help.

When God found me, it was like the greatest love anyone could ever have given me. I want to thank you for bringing all this to my attention. You made me consciously think about it, how I used to live and how I don't feel like that anymore and how awesome God is. Signed, Erin.

Let's give her a hand, shall we? I invite you today to come to a redeeming God. The word redemption as it is used in the New Testament has to do with the idea that somebody would come along and buy a slave out of the slave market and he'd pay the price. Jesus, when he said, this is my body which is broken for you and this is my blood, this represents my blood. When Jesus said that he was saying, I'm paying the price of redemption so that I stand in your stead. You come to me as you are. And when you come, both as one who's never trusted Christ as Savior, I hope that there are many of you who fall into that category who will believe on Christ right now and be saved and say, Jesus, I come to you to receive your redemption. And for those who know him, but you've got issues in your life and walking with God, you want to because you love him.

There it is. I urge you to deal with it honestly before God. Become involved because you see, God accepts us the way we are, but he loves us too much to leave us the way he found us.

Aaron would testify to that. She comes to Christ as she is. God cleans her up. She begins to live differently.

Why? The tremendous privilege of being the daughter of God. And today you can be the son of God, the daughter of God because of his grace and mercy. Shall we bow together in prayer? Our Father, we thank you today that you are redeeming people from every experience, every addiction, every heartache, because you are a redeeming God. And we ask, Oh Father, that your Holy Spirit would work mightily in people's lives. All who have heard this message, we pray open up our life to you. May we relish the thought that you walk with us and we with you. And as we remember the death of Jesus who purchased us out of the slave market, we give him praise and thanks in his blessed name.

Amen. My friend, this is Pastor Lutzer. I want you to know that the burden on my heart today is that all of us might deeply appreciate the tremendous price that was paid to buy us out of that slave market. And there's no better way for us to understand that price than to go to the cross of Jesus Christ to contemplate what he said. I've written a book entitled cries from the cross, a journey into the heart of Jesus.

Let me ask you a question. When Jesus said, my God, my God, why has thou forsaken me? What was happening on the cross? Of course, we don't fully understand all that was happening, but we do have to at least ask the question, in what sense was Christ forsaken? And as we contemplate this, we must realize that we are getting into the depths of theology because in a sense, God was forsaken by God.

But we have to ponder these matters. I believe that this book will be a tremendous help to you as you prepare your heart for Easter. For a gift of any amount that can be yours, go to RTWOffer.com. That's RTWOffer.com or you can pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337. I hope you had an opportunity to write that down. If not, I'm giving you this info again.

Go to RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book, cries from the cross, a journey into the heart of Jesus. And thank you for helping us get this message to millions. Time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. When is dead dead and when is risen risen?

Bob listens in Florida and wants some answers. I recently heard Pastor Lutzer say that Jesus was the first to rise from the dead. But in the Old Testament, Elijah and Elisha both raised people from the dead and even Jesus raised up Lazarus in the New Testament. How can Jesus be the first to rise from the dead if others are recorded in the Scriptures before him?

Bob, there's a very easy answer to your question. Jesus is the first one to rise from the dead with a resurrected body. It's true that in the Old Testament, you know, you have those who were raised from the dead and, as you mentioned, Lazarus in the New Testament. But as far as we know, Lazarus had to die again because he was really resuscitated. I think that's a better word than resurrected because when Jesus was resurrected, his body was glorified.

Now, the good news is that the Apostle Paul says in the book of Philippians that someday we will have a body of glory like his. Now, of course, even on the Mount of Transfiguration when Moses and Elijah showed up, I don't believe that they had their permanent bodies. They have not yet been permanently glorified in their bodies. They are in that intermediate state.

So that's the answer. That's why Jesus Christ is the firstfruits of them that slept. He's the first one to be raised with a perfectly glorified body, the kind that we shall have someday when Jesus returns for us.

And at that time, we'll finally be resurrected in that full and glorious way. A Bible answer for Bob in Florida 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, Illinois, 60614. There's a good reason why the Bible tells us to guard our hearts. Next time on Running to Win, we probe the mind of a sex addict to see what leads someone there and learn what steps to take to prevent being addicted to the easy availability of explicit images. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-14 09:42:53 / 2023-03-14 09:51:29 / 9

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