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Judging Character Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 31, 2023 1:00 am

Judging Character Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 31, 2023 1:00 am

Our world is suffering, and much of it can be traced to an absence of integrity. We need to instill in ourselves and our children the importance of a sound character—of integrity. In this message, we mark five characteristics of a person of integrity. What does it take to honor our friendships and speak the truth even when it hurts us?

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Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Sekulow Radio Show
Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow
Sekulow Radio Show
Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow
Sekulow Radio Show
Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. A person of integrity runs life's race without lying and without ever stretching the truth.

If you find a person like this, you've found a rare jewel. Character is vital, and today you'll hear more about the characteristics of a man or woman of integrity. 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, as your series on judging ends today, what's the most vital takeaway you'd like your listeners to remember? Well Dave, you know, since you asked the question, my mind goes to the subtitle of the book that we are making available to our listeners. It is Learning to Distinguish Between Truths, Half-Truths, and Lies. And by the way, today is the last day we are making this resource available. You know, the table of contents really tell the story.

It has to do with making judgments, judging false doctrine, judging false prophets, judging miracles, judging entertainment, judging neo-paganism, judging conduct. I believe that this book will be of tremendous help to you. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for Who Are You to Judge? You can also betray people simply by silence. Another true story. Forgive the true stories that have to do with pastors today, but you have to understand, I'm a pastor and I associate with pastors and pastors have stories. A friend of mine out of Bible college, his first church, he goes there and the deacons said to him, young man, there's this wealthy man in the neighborhood who actually is a farmer. He has a great deal of influence in the community, but we don't know whether or not he's saved. Why don't you visit him and ask him, are you saved? So this kid, just as naive and enthusiastic as most young pastors are, visits this man and asks him, are you saved? The man was livid and attended the next church business meeting and stood up and said, you know, this young pastor, this young pastor came and visited me and have the nerve to ask me whether or not I was saved.

What do you think we should do? And then he sat down dead silence. Then the man stood up a few moments later and said, I suggest that we vote him out of the church. And they voted him out of the church. And he told me the only man who put his arm around him as he was leaving was the janitor. And that young man walked through the rain mile after mile after mile and never became a pastor again. Those deacons, those wimps betrayed him with their silence. Where were they when the discussion was going on? People of integrity are willing to say, even when it hurts, truth is truth, period. Do I have a witness?

Are you guys hearing me today? Number four, he refuses to take advantage of others. He refuses to take advantage of others.

Look at this. He lends money without usery. This has nothing to do with modern business practices where you get money for interest. It means the exploitation of the poor who can never repay you. There's nothing wrong with lending somebody money. And if he's able to use that money to make money to have you then share in the money that he's making through interest.

But in those days, because it referred to gouging the poor and putting an impossible burden on them, what he said is, he says, blessed is the man. He does not take advantage of people. He doesn't move in when he sees an opportunity.

Let's go on to number five. He's not for sale. He's not for sale. He does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Now don't interpret that to mean that he'd accept a bribe if the person wasn't innocent.

That's not the idea that you have to understand the Hebrew text. It just means that he, he does not accept bribes. He can't be bought. The Bible says in Proverbs 23, 23, buy the truth and sell it not. Buy the truth and sell it not. Don't you dare put yourself up for sale. It is said in the world that everyone has his price.

Let that not be said about us. Do you remember the story of the man who asked this woman, said to her, would you go to bed with me for $100,000? And she thought about it a long while. She thought of her debts. She thought of her family. She thought of her needs. And then finally she said, hmm, for $100,000. Yeah, I do it. He said, well, he said, would you do it for $50?

$50? She said, what do you think I am? He said, lady, I know what you are. We're only haggling about the price. Listen to me very carefully. There are some things in life that are worth being fired from a job for. There are some things in life that are worth flunking college for. Everybody else is cheating and doing your thing and you want to live a life of integrity and you can't compete in this cheating environment.

That's okay. There are some things worth flunking for. There are some things that are worth dying for. You see, there are many people who said throughout history, they said throughout history, that our integrity in terms of the gospel and truthfulness is more important than going on living and taking care of our families even. We think of Sir Thomas More. We differ with his theology because he died as a Catholic, but we admire his integrity.

Do you remember that story? Do you remember that story of how Henry VIII said to him, you know, you'd better agree with the act of supremacy, which put Henry VIII over the Pope so that Henry VIII could get a divorce. Thomas More said, no, he was the man for all seasons.

Absolutely not. And he was put to death because of it. Henry beheaded many, many people, but Thomas More was a man of integrity and said, no, integrity.

There's some things worth dying for. Don't be for sale. Let me bring all this together as we talk about some life changing lessons about integrity, life changing lessons about integrity. Number one, it's fragile. Oh, is this thing fragile? It's like that vase on the mantle shelf that falls into a thousand pieces.

Yes, you can glue it together, but even after it's glued together, you can still see the hairline cracks. If you don't think it's difficult to win integrity back, try to do business with someone whom you once defrauded and see how that works or explain that you cheated to a partner and then work out it and try to recreate what your marriage once was. If you don't think that integrity is difficult to regain, think about that. One day I told somebody something about a Christian organization, and there were reasons why he should know this because he did have some influence, but I told him, I said, I don't want you to in any way tell this story to certain people, and he promised he wouldn't, and he did. He did.

You know, it's interesting that even though it's been maybe 20 years ago, when I see him, that's the first thing I think of, and if I have lunch with him or breakfast with him, I say to myself, we can be friends, absolutely we can be friends, but as far as conversation is concerned, I'm only going to share with him what I want other people to know. Integrity. It's fragile. One breach can set off a series of dominoes that is unbelievable. Just one breach of integrity. Secondly, losing your integrity begins with small infractions. Losing your integrity begins with small infractions. It's like a tire.

Before it blows, you know, you say, well, you know, we went along and suddenly this tire blew, but actually the experts tell us that there are cracks already that have been developing in that tire probably for months and maybe years. Usually begins by lying to your parents, lying to the school system, lying and not taking care of it, going through life, finding out that lies sometimes work, sometimes they don't, and consequently, you then become a liar. Young ladies, if you are dating someone and you find out that he lied to you, there are two assumptions you can make with absolute certainty. In fact, I'll use the word apodictic certainty.

It's probably not a word you use from time to time, but I remember it is on the first page of Kant's critique of pure reason and every once in a while I like to use the word apodictic. It refers to absolute certainty. Two things you can know. Number one, this isn't the first time he lied. Number two, you can be sure that this isn't the last time he's going to lie. You say, but oh, he promised, he promised, he promised he'd never lie again. My dear friend, he just added one more lie to his list.

Can you believe a liar if he promises you that he's not going to lie? Throw the fish back into the pond. I don't know, are you guys with me here?

I need to know this today because we're plowing some ground here. Last number three, restoring integrity. Restoring integrity begins with repentance. It's not enough to say, well, I'm not going to lie anymore. I'm not going to do this anymore. Don't accept that. That's like an alcoholic saying, I'm not going to drink anymore. A true liar will lie and lie and lie and lie and lie.

Remember what I told you that most people don't change when they see the light only when they feel the heat. It begins with repentance. Well, what is repentance?

Repentance is not only to turn from the sin, but it also, I believe this so deeply begins with restoration. You've stolen something from work. You've taken goods that belong to others, tools, supplies, and you steal. The answer is not to say, well, I'm not going to do it anymore.

The answer is to take it back and say, this is what I took and this is what I'm returning. You say that you have spoken dishonestly about other people. And by the way, the more angry a person is, the less evidence he needs to say what he wants.

Do you realize that there are some people who the best thing that can happen to them in their day is to hear something bad about somebody. What there has to be is repentance for that deceitful tongue that has been used to poison the minds and hearts of others. You can't just simply say, well, I'm going to change.

No, you won't. If you have the habit of lying, I'm going to give you a sure fire way to break this habit. Every time you lie and it just comes out of your mouth and then you realize, oh, I lied. You say to the person to whom you're speaking right at that time, I want you to know I just told you a lie. You rebuke it right there and say that I've lied to you and that God is telling me and teaching me truthfulness. And so I'm going to tell the truth.

I lied. And what you have to do is to ask yourself, what people have I hurt? Whom shall I ask forgiveness for? Now, some of you have some very complicated, very complicated situation.

Some of you wives are living with a deceitful, dishonest husband and you don't know what to do because you know that he's being deceitful at work and you know that his income tax is deceitful and you're somehow a part of it, yet you're subject to his authority. You say, well, pastor Luther, what shall we do? I'm not sure if I have an answer that says one size fits all, but what I'd like to suggest is that you ask God, what do you do? Talk to someone you respect and say, what do I do in the midst of that situation? But there are many situations in which we know what to do. We have to make things right so that our consciences are clear. The Bible says in the book of Proverbs, the integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by duplicity. That's so good I have to read it again. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by duplicity. Now notice what the Bible says about someone like this. Last verse of Psalm 15, he who does these things will never be shaken.

Wow. It doesn't have to have a good memory because his story is always going to be consistent. It doesn't have to say, well, you know, I said this to this person and this to this person and now I forget who I said what to so that I have to cover myself and try to remember.

No, he just says the same thing all the time. Integrity. We all have deceitful hearts. We have all at times lacked integrity.

What do we do? Let me answer that by asking you this question. How perfect do you have to be to get to heaven to be accepted by God? So let me answer it by saying as perfect as God himself is with no daylight between you and God at all, none. If that's true, of course, the Bible says, if you should mark iniquity, who can stand?

We can't stand in God's presence because all of us have been deceitful. But what we do is we thank God that when we accept Christ as savior, God puts our sin upon Jesus Christ. Christ's righteousness is credited to our account and we are cleansed and we are forgiven and we have a brand new heart and we do things differently.

C.S. Lewis has a chapter in mere Christianity in which he says that sometimes there are Christians who are nastier than non-Christians but the nasty person would be even more nasty if he were not a believer. That's encouraging, isn't it? And so what do we do? We begin there by accepting Christ as savior, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit and then we begin to say, Lord, in all of these areas in which I've lacked integrity, how do I begin to make them right so that I have a conscience void of offense before God and before man? The promise is he who does these things will never be shaken.

Let's pray. Father, we pray for those today who as the word was being proclaimed, felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit and saying, I lack integrity. I pray today, Father, that you shall grant them the grace not only to receive your forgiveness but the forgiveness of others whom they have wronged.

Where sin is understood superficially, it is dealt with superficially and liars go on being liars and deceivers go on being deceivers and promise breakers keep on being promise breakers and on and on it goes unless you put a halt to it through repentance and restoration. Grant that Father God for your people today wherever they may be. Now listen, I want you to talk to God.

What has he said to you today? How many of you would say, Pastor Luther, God has spoken to me this morning and I know I have some issues I have to deal with. Would you raise your hands please? All over the auditorium, also in the balcony, thank God for the many of you.

And there were others of you who didn't want to raise your hands. Whatever God has said to you, do it. And if you've never trusted Christ as Savior, that's the place to begin.

That's the place to begin is to receive him. Father, do what you have to do in our lives but make us honorable representatives of Jesus and may we be willing to pay whatever price is necessary. May we buy the truth. Oh God, we pray that we might not sell it. In Jesus' name we ask, amen.

Alright my friend, I have a question for you today. It is simply this, what is the most popular verse in the Bible? You perhaps think it's John 3.16, but I'm told the one that is quoted most often, the words of Jesus, judge not lest you be judged. We're living at a time when people don't want to judge. Well of course there is a difference between judging and becoming judgmental, but I also need to emphasize that in my book Who Are You to Judge? Learning to distinguish between truths, half-truths and lies, these distinctions are laid out in the first couple of chapters.

After that it discusses all kinds of issues that we face within the church when it comes to the issue of judging and discernment. Now today is the last day we're making this resource available so I hope that you have a pen or pencil because here's how you can contact us. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. For a gift of any amount this book can be yours and remember today is the last day we're making this resource available. or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Who Are You to Judge? It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. It may not be wise to get dogmatic about things the Bible does not mention.

Steve listens to Running to Win and tells this story about his local church. My pastor is always preaching that Paul had to be married because he was a member of the Sanhedrin. I've searched the scriptures.

I found nothing stating he was. My pastor also says this was a great loss and was one of the crosses Paul had to carry because he lost his wife and children when he found Jesus. Why did Paul not mention this in 2 Corinthians chapter 11? I've discussed this with some Jewish believers who are well-versed in Judaism and they totally disagree. Another question is, why would someone make a stand on a position that is not in scripture? This bothers me. Why would a teacher or pastor be so convinced on a subject that Paul never discussed?

Well, my brother, first of all, let me say I can't answer that last question. I don't know why your pastor has become so dogmatic, evidently, on a point that is not mentioned in scripture. And on his part, I think that that is unwise and all that we can do is recognize that sometimes we as human beings perhaps may overextend ourselves in areas where we shouldn't. Having said that, so far as I know, nowhere does the Bible say clearly that Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin. It may be implied in certain places, it may well be that this is what Paul was moving toward, but it does not say expressly in the scripture that he was a member of the Sanhedrin. Furthermore, it seems to me that Paul does imply in Corinthians that he isn't married. For us to dogmatically say that he was married and then he lost his wife is going well beyond what the scriptures teach. So I would say we need to have a word of caution here.

It seems as if Paul wasn't married, and until we receive further light on that, I think that that's what the scripture teaches. Thank you, Steve, for the question. Thank you, Pastor Lutzer, for your answer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, you can by going to our website at, and there, 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. During the Middle Ages, a time of revolution swept the church as forces of reformation arose in many countries. This turbulent era brought back the centrality of the Bible as the rule of faith and life. Beginning next time on Running to Win, Pastor Lutzer will detail what happened back then and what it means for us living in our day. Don't miss the Reformation, then and now, starting on our next broadcast. Thanks for listening. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-31 03:43:37 / 2023-05-31 03:52:09 / 9

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