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Judging Miracles Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2023 1:00 am

Judging Miracles Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 17, 2023 1:00 am

Where is the power of God most evident? Those with discernment know that the power of the Gospel far outweighs the power seen in miracles, signs, and wonders. In this message, we observe two implications of biblical miracles. As Pastor Lutzer says, “At the end of the day it’s up to God and we submit to His will.”

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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. Where is the power of God most evident, in a healed tumor or in a life changed from the inside out? Those with discernment know that the power of the Gospel far outweighs the power seen in miracles, signs and wonders. 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, give us a look ahead as we'll be hearing your teaching on miracles in just a moment.

Well, you know, Dave, you're absolutely right in what you have said. The miracle of the new birth, the miracle of transformation, of forgiveness is the greatest of all miracles. But the simple fact is, all of us would like to see a miracle.

We'd love to see people healed, people who are lame walk. And God may do that in certain instances today, but I also have to emphasize, and that's why this message is so critical, there's so much deception out there. Think, for example, even during the time of Moses. Moses was able to do a miracle.

The magicians did the same, the Bible said, miracle after miracle until, of course, they got to some miracles that they could not do. We're living in an age of confusion. And that's why I've preached this message. And by the way, I like to emphasize that these messages are available.

If you're interested in receiving them so that you can listen to them again and again, share them with your friends for a gift of any amount, they can be yours. And at the end of this broadcast, I'll be giving you that information. The title of the series is Who Are You to Judge? Learning to Distinguish Between Truths Have Truths and Lies.

For now, let us listen. You know, it's interesting that faith healers themselves, some of them end up wearing glasses, they get arthritis, and you know what happens in the end? They die. Well, I thought that if Jesus Christ died that we always be healed.

Just keep getting your healing. We had some friends like that. They said we will never die because we are going to claim our healing moment by moment by moment by moment. These are friends of ours. Well, guess what? They died.

They died. I see so much hurt in this area. I see faith healers blaming people. If you don't have the faith, it's your fault that you weren't healed. If you are healed, look at my gift of healing. I've seen that so often.

Now let me be very candid. And here again, you know, this could be a whole separate message. That's why I'm a little frustrated, but you're going to get the big picture. And that is that, of course, Jesus died for us body, soul, and spirit. I don't argue with those who say that there is healing in the atonement, that the redemption of the body was included in the death of Christ. But my dear friend, we do not enter into all those benefits and blessings in this life. In this life, says Paul, we groan, waiting for the redemption of the body. Some of you bless you.

I'm looking at you right now. You woke up this morning and you were groaning and you were thoroughly biblical. Those groans were biblical groans. Yes, of course the day is coming when we're going to have brand new bodies when we'll be no longer subject to illness and arthritis and car accidents and all of the other things. Of course that day is coming and that's what Jesus purchased. But in this life, we shall have tribulation. In this life, we have sickness. In this life, we die. Number four, and now it really begins to get testy. Some people are going to say, well, you know, he went a little too far on point four. Well, I'm going there.

I'm flying out of town later this afternoon. This is going to sound, I don't know how to make this sound really postmodern. Miracles are done for the benefit of God's people with God's purpose. They're not just done indiscriminately. It doesn't matter what you believe. You get your miracle too?

No. Here I do have to step on some toes. I'm thinking, for example, of the television program Touched by an Angel. Now, I have many Christian friends who watch it.

They say, yeah, but at the end it always ends up so nicely and it's the feel-good television show. All right, fine. The problem is it is loaded, loaded with theology and cultural stereotypes. For example, the whole idea that people are essentially good, that it doesn't matter what you believe and that there are angels out there willing to do anything for anybody no matter what you believe because that's not the issue. It's just that these angels are loving and they come along and they help anyone.

Let me say a couple of things. First of all, about evil angels. Evil angels can mouth a very sound doctrine. In Mark chapter 1, you'll notice that an evil spirit said to Jesus, we know who you are, the Holy One of God.

Is there anyone who would disagree with a demon at that point? In fact, a little later on, again it was said that you are the Son of God. These are demonic spirits confessing good evangelical biblical theology. We also know that evil angels, if possible, duplicate the miracles of Christ. That's why it says in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 9 that the time is coming when antichrist is going to do signs and wonders and miracles and all three of those words are used in the New Testament for what Jesus did and he's going to duplicate them and today there are duplications of healings and visions and all kinds of things that are in line with evangelical theology even. But as we learned at the beginning of this message, people who even say, Lord, Lord, and that in itself is not proof that they have come from God. What do good angels do? It says in Hebrews chapter 1 verse 14, they are ministering spirits and forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation. You say, well, do you believe in guardian angels?

Yes, I do. I think that, you know, Jesus said regarding the little ones, their angels behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. I think I'm standing here because my guardian angel was taking care of me on some occasions. Now it is said, you know, that angels that guard you when you drive officially retire at 65.

So don't be presumptuous. And some of these angel stories could be right. I mean, you know, a child falls into a swimming pool and miraculously is rescued. And who am I to say that this might not be a genuine God sent angel to take care of a child or to take care of his people? But I find in the book of Revelation that angels, angels, when they, quote, minister to unbelievers, it is always in judgment.

I wish I had time to read the passages. Time and time again it speaks about how God sent the angels even with a sickle to cut down people because the wrath of God has come. And that's what the angels do. I see nothing in the scripture to lead us to believe that angels are out there doing miracles for people no matter what you believe, no matter how you come to God.

I just don't see it in the Bible. Swedenborg was one of the greatest spiritists, very well known, and he used to talk to spirits. Now, some of us have talked to spirits, but we know that we're talking to evil spirits. We're talking about demons. He spoke to them and he thought that God gave him the ability to judge between the good ones and the bad ones. But he was deceived.

I won't take time to quote him, but he does quote something like this. If you ever talk to spirits, don't believe a word they say. You know, almost always the only time you can believe the devil is when he tells you he's lying. And Swedenborg says, he says, discerning these spirits is so difficult, he says, that no matter what they say, you have to be suspect.

Well, indeed you have to. And that's why we should have nothing to do with the spirit world because there are good angels and there are bad angels and you and I, once we get involved in that metaphysical world, we can't tell the difference. And the Bible warns us about occultic metaphysical involvement with entities, which is what the New Age movement calls spirits.

Since things are so quiet, I'm going to continue. What about healings at shrines such as Lourdes and other places? I'm told that at Lourdes, Mary stands with her arms outstretched, welcoming everyone to come and to experience healing. You say, well, are people healed at those shrines?

I'm not qualified to say. And to the credit of the Catholic Church, they emphasize very strongly the fact that only very, very few instances that can be verified will they accept so. But I'm not qualified to say maybe people are healed at Lourdes.

But my dear friend, how can people be invited to be healed if healed by God when it absolutely does not matter what you believe, what religion you're from or whatever, that healing is available to everyone without any emphasis on the fact that God does a special work for his people who come to him in his way through his son. Now I'm speaking today that what is called the offense of the cross, because what I'm saying is not going to be well received by some people. They're going to say that you are arrogant.

No, I am not arrogant. I simply bow in the presence of Jesus and say, Jesus, if you're Lord and if you're a king and if your word is right, I have to believe what is true even if it contradicts popular culture. In the New Testament, a very interesting story. Just read it this morning in Acts chapter 8 to refresh my memory of Simon the sorcerer. The Bible says that Simon was able to do such great wonders that people held him in amazement he was able to do it. And later on when he saw the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he thought that he could purchase them for money and thought that he could get in on this power too. Peter and Paul give me a course in miracles so that I can do what you can do. And they basically said, be condemned with your money.

Be condemned because your heart is not right with God. Don't you ever think that miracles are something you can just learn to do because you figure out the technique. I think that Ignatius Loyola was correct when a young man apparently said that he had the stigmata. Is that what you call it? The wounds of Jesus miraculously appeared on his hands and apparently Ignatius Loyola said that those wounds could be just as much the work of the devil as the work of God. We must be careful.

Number five. God does miracles in answer to prayer and in accordance with his will. You say, do you believe in miracles? Yes, we believe in miracles. Before this service today, a half an hour before we gathered together to sing an opening hymn, some of us, some elders and my prayer partners met and we anointed someone with oil.

We do that here at the Moody Church. We prayed for their healing physically, emotionally, and in every way. And sometimes as a result of those prayers, as God grants us that prayer of faith that James talks about, we do see great improvement and we see miracles. Often we don't see what we hoped we would see, but we believe in God's intervention. And there are many miracles that in my own life that God has performed that no one else would really be able to believe. Some skeptic would shoot them down, but I know in my heart that God has answered prayer and so I come before God and I keep praying and I keep seeking his will and in my own heart and in my own ministry, I see miracles after miracles, but they're not necessarily the kind that you could put on a video camera.

Absolutely. We pray for healing. We seek God. We pray for this miracle and that miracle. We pray for a miracle with reference to the money that we need that I spoke about earlier, but at the end of the day, we always end it with the words of Jesus in Gethsemane. Father, if it be thy will, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done. At the end of the day, it's up to God and we submit to his will.

A few bottom line issues. Number one, it's very obvious that not everything that is miraculous is of God. Not everything that is miraculous is of God. Not everything that turned out good is of God. Not every healing that turned out wonderful is of God. They may be, they may not be because there are a lot of miracles out there. And so what we need to do is to have both faith in God and his promises and a healthy skepticism with what we may see on television or what we may hear about and there may be many instances and this has happened in my life where someone asks me a question about this miracle or that miracle and I have to say in all honesty, I just don't know. I don't know its source and its origin. I don't know enough about the situation.

I don't know enough about the person. Only God knows. But one thing is sure, I don't want to be dragged into a situation where I'm chasing miracles because I think any miracle is God.

No. Number two, the spiritual life, our spiritual life is always more important than the physical. We go back to the miracle that Jesus performed there on the shores of Galilee. Five thousand people and he takes the bread and he breaks it and he gives it to the disciples and they of course distribute it and everyone eats and they pick up twelve baskets of crumbs that people left on the grass. The very next day the people were back and saying Jesus do this again because we're hungry again.

You know how long did that last? Well that was a good lunch. But some of you have had lunch and you're hungry the next day.

You can smile at that point if you want because that's our experience, right? You know you can have water and you can say well Jesus performs this miracle and he gives water but he said to the woman at the well that whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst but the water that I shall give in him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life and that is permanent.

It is an everlasting spring of water. All of the people that Jesus healed on the pages of the New Testament ended up getting sick and dying including our good friend Lazarus who probably wondered why he was brought back from a place of bliss saying all that for this. But he had to get sick and die. And you and I can have all the physical miracles that we want but in the end we will get sick and we will die. But it is the power of Jesus to give us the resurrection life. I am the resurrection. He that believeth in me though he were dead yet shall he live and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die. That's the eternal life that Jesus gives and it is to that life and it is to that message that we as a church dedicate ourselves. It is for that message that we are willing to die and it is to that message that I plead with you who have never come to know Christ as savior. Open your heart to him because your need is greater than you realize and accept him as your savior as your sin bearer and as the one who can give you everlasting life. Water. I am the bread of life.

Notice this. Wow what powerful words. I am the bread of life he that cometh to me shall never hunger. He that believeth on me shall never thirst. That's the great miracle that we are all invited to accept for our very own. Let's pray. Our father we pray today grant us Oh God discernment in an age when we so desperately need it and we pray today father that the wonderful miracle about which we spoke the miracle of the new birth do that father in the hearts of those who listen who've never trusted you as savior and help the rest of us to continue to believe and to trust for great things yet to also know that those things must be tied to your word and to your promises. Grant that Oh God we pray in this age we ask in Jesus name. Amen.

Amen. Yes my friend we all wish for physical miracles don't we healings perhaps money coming miraculously in some way but let me tell you that all the miracles in the world if they happen to you at the end you and I will die and that's why the greatest miracle is the gospel of Jesus Christ and we here at running to win are totally committed to getting that gospel to millions of people around the world. Now when you listen to a message like this is there something within you and you begin to think I wish so-and-so was able to hear this or perhaps you're missing some in the series that oftentimes happens we are making available this series of messages to you for a gift of any amount.

I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy so that you can write down this info but let me also thank you in advance for helping us. We make these resources available to you to enable you to manage life yes but also to manage it with a heavenly glance and a heavenly commitment for a gift of any amount these messages can be yours simply go to or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now I'm going to be giving you that contact info again because I believe that these messages in permanent form are going to continue to bless you and others simply go to or pick up the phone even right now and call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for who are you to judge. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life. All of us have a past and some of those pasts are not pretty.

An anonymous listener wants to know this. Can a former pornography addict be hired as a pastor? Is this biblically correct and what does God have to say about this? Well first of all let me say that when the Bible gives the requirements to be an elder in 1 Timothy chapter 3 it speaks about someone who is apt to teach someone who is a one-wife kind of man it speaks about the fact that he should not be a striker he should not be violent all of those characteristics it seems to me are present characteristics before a person is converted perhaps they committed these sins so in order to answer your question I would need to know is this addiction something that took place before conversion after conversion all of that becomes important another question was how long ago did this take place in other words someone may say well I'm recently delivered from pornography that's very different than someone who says that this was a part of my early life or years ago all of that becomes a possibility we should never think that God can't lift people out of the dust and the dirt and the mire God can and God can mightily use them but it would take someone other than me to evaluate you my friend because it takes wisdom someone who knows you someone who can answer some of the questions that I have in mind also I want to say this I believe that the desire the struggle with lust is something that is ever with us so the best advice I can give you are the words of Jesus if your right eye will offend you pluck it out and cast it from you what Jesus is saying there is in the strongest possible way get rid of whatever it is that causes you to sin if it's television cancel your subscription if it's magazines where are you getting those how are you getting the opportunity to look at pornography all of us need to make some hard choices in this regard and get rid of that which causes us to stumble that's just an added word of advice that I am giving you and I suggest that you have a long talk with some other pastors who know you who can help you answer your question meanwhile I pray that God might mightily use you in the future as you have victory over your past thank you Dr. Lutzer for your helpful advice 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 Illinois 60614 your cable TV over a hundred channels of mostly nothing yet we watch anyway entertainment has sunk to new lows to a large degree movies popular music and TV have become a wasteland how can a Christian discern what to watch or listen to is a time now to toss out the large screen 4k TV next time on running to win don't miss judging entertainment this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-17 07:54:54 / 2023-05-17 08:03:37 / 9

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