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Heaven Guaranteed Part 2

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

Heaven Guaranteed Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 2, 2023 1:00 am

How sure can we be that our heavenly home is secure? Though we face distractions, temptations, and worries, God has firmly established a sign of ownership on His children. In this message from Ephesians 1, Pastor Lutzer affirms the certainty of our future blessing in Christ. When we belong to God, our future is guaranteed.

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.

Home security experts urge us to indelibly stamp our names onto our prized possessions. God has placed a mark of ownership on His children by sealing them with the Holy Spirit, and what He owns, He owns forever. Today, why a Christian can be certain of a heavenly home. 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, does the sealing of the Spirit mean that a believer can do whatever they want and still assume they'll never face eternal judgment?

Dave, I love the imagery that you have used. You said that God has stamped His name on those who are His, and He will bring them into the heavenly kingdom. And I think that that's exactly what the sealing of the Holy Spirit means. It means that we are sealed until the day of redemption we belong to God forever. Now, can a Christian commit sins without being judged? Well, there is the judgment seat of Jesus Christ mentioned in 2 Corinthians chapter 5. But the judgment seat is not a final judgment in the sense that it sends people to hell if they don't pass the bar.

It has to do with rewards. But all those who appear at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ will be saved. Paul says some people will arrive, and they will be saved as by fire.

The imagery is they are coming out of a burning house that's collapsing behind them, but they are saved. I'm so excited to mention to you that we are beginning our matching gift challenge. What that means in practical terms is every gift that you give up to $90,000, that gift will be doubled. And again, at the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be giving you some information as to how running to win is expanding. If you want to connect with us and become a part of the matching gift, you can go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Remember friends, we exist to get the gospel of Jesus Christ to millions, and because of your support, we thank God that we are adding stations and opportunities to share the good news with many. Listen, let's suppose that there's a woman who's in love with a man and he gives her an engagement ring, and she knows absolutely that he will follow through. There is nothing that she can do that will prevent him from marrying her. So you know what she does? She says to herself, well now that means I can sleep with every guy in town because my marriage to this man is guaranteed. Is that the way it works?

No. She's devoted to him. She loves him. She rests in the security of the knowledge that she is his and that she is going to be his forever and that she can depend upon the fact that he is the kind of marrying man.

He will do it. That's what the security of the believer is. Now of course there are those who have misused the grace of God. You say, well I know somebody who was a Christian who committed suicide. Well I know several people who certainly professed to be Christians and had every indication of being born again of the Spirit and they committed suicide. I also know a man who died in bed with a woman who was not his wife, and this man had been my Sunday school teacher and very much focused us to love God.

He had a single-mindedness. First of all, let me say that God ultimately has to judge these folks because we can't see the human heart. We can't see for sure whether or not they were born of the Spirit. But yes, it is possible for Christians to die that way. It's possible for them to die that way and they will appear in heaven. They will be at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. They will there be judged for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad. But having been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, they will arrive.

They will be there. This is what the scripture says. The foundation of the Lord standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knows those who are his. And then it says, but let those who name the name of the Lord flee from iniquity. So if you know the name of the Lord and you belong to him, flee from iniquity. But the name of the Lord stands sure.

God knows those who are his, those who are the sealed ones. So we're going to arrive in heaven at the marriage supper of the Lamb. You know Christ as Savior, you're going to be there. And what a wedding it's going to be. It's going to be different from any wedding that I attended, at least in two respects. First of all, I can't prove it scripturally. I'd like to be able to point to a verse I can't, but I think that everybody there is going to be on time.

That's one way. And secondly, I think it's going to be very different because this is one wedding where the groom is going to receive a lot more attention than the bride. It'll be different in that respect as well. And then it's going to be different because we might all not be clothed the same. You know, remember you need two clothes, two articles of clothing to get there.

One, the righteousness of Christ to get you into heaven. And then the righteous acts of the saints is what you wear at the wedding feast. And that's why some people might show up being really, really underdressed. That's what it says in the Bible. It says that the clothes that are worn at the wedding feast are the righteous acts of the saints. So as you serve the Lord, you're actually sowing yourself a dress for the wedding feast. Now, then we notice here that this pledge of the Spirit means security, the certainty of heaven, but also the certainty of future blessing.

Let's back up and look at this again. You know, just like if you give a down payment, you know that there is more money that's going to be given. In the very same way, God says, I'm going to give you the Holy Spirit.

Listen to this carefully now. I'm going to give you the Holy Spirit. You're going to experience the Holy Spirit. And that will be just a small indication that there are more blessings to follow, more blessings to follow. For example, now today we have the shadow, but the day is coming when we will have the substance. Today we receive the drop, and we get to drink from God and his word, but God says that's just in anticipation of the fact that someday you're going to receive the whole ocean. Today we have the privilege of smelling a flower, and God says that that is proof that someday you are going to enjoy the whole garden. This is my deposit.

This is my down payment. There is more to follow, more good things. Wow. Now listen, how sure is it that if you're redeemed by God, you're going to get to heaven? How sure is it that some of the folks who died at Moody Church recently who knew God, whom we know, how sure is it that they arrived safely? In Romans chapter 8, God says those whom through Paul, he says those whom the Father foreknew and chose and predestinated, he says this crowd God has already glorified.

It's in the past tense. He said they're already glorified. Well you look at them today and they sure don't look like it.

I mean you see the dead, yes, but you see ourselves. I don't look very glorified. I don't feel very glorified.

Some of you look a little more glorified than others, but we're not glorified now. God says in my books it is a done deal. You have already arrived.

It's a sign of ownership. I don't know how to say this to you and unless the Spirit shows it to us, it'll go past us, but you belong to God. You belong to God.

You're very valuable to him. Also, you have security, the pledge that you are going to heaven and you will arrive. And thirdly, it is a sign of purpose. It's a sign of purpose, ownership, security, and purpose.

And here I come to the phrase again, to the praise of his glory, which occurs three times as I mentioned in the first chapter of the book of Ephesians. The reason for this is not for us. We get in on the blessings, but ultimately it is for God.

Why? That we should live for him. And I have stressed, and forgive the repetition in previous messages, I have stressed that there is really no other reason to live except for God's glory to simply say, God do in me and through me that which pleases you and that which is good in your sight. And that is what life is really all about. Now, when you stop to think of it, you realize that that is really a life of faith, isn't it? It means that everything that we are is given over to God. We really know that it ultimately is God's.

If God owns us, he owns everything that pertains to us, whether it's our bank accounts or houses and our cars. Listen, let me ask you, have you ever been on vacation? Those of you who are worriers. Oh, some of you.

Some of you majored in it in college and you took it up as an occupation and now it becomes your full-time business. You worriers. When you're on vacation, do you ever worry about the fact that a thief might be breaking into your neighbor's house and that he might be stealing your neighbor's car and breaking in and stealing your neighbor's jewelry and you say, oh, I just, the wife is saying to the husband now, no special judgment implied as to who the worrier might be but she's saying to the husband, you know, that house across the street, thieves could be breaking into it. No, you don't care.

I mean, do you really? Of course not. It's not yours. Life is tough.

You win some and you lose some. I've never worried about my neighbor's car, that's for sure. Worried about the fact that he sometimes drove into the telephone post right next to our house but not worried about whether or not anybody stole the car. Well, have you ever thought of something? You know, if you didn't own anything, it would sure take a lot of worry away, wouldn't it?

Why? Because you only worry about the things that are yours that you own. Now, what if we just gave it all to God?

What if we just said, take the whole thing, possessions, houses, land, future, you just give it all, give it all. It's God's. Makes life easier. You know, it's not easy when you're told by a doctor that you have cancer. I've never been told that but I could imagine that when I am, it's really going to hurt. It's going to be something that it's going to be difficult to accept but I do know this, that a woman who was told that told me that even though it was difficult, it became easier when she realized that her body was not hers but God's. This is your property, God.

If it's got cancer, remember, it's your, your body that has cancer. Let's get that straight. I do know that my brother who one day just watched a hailstorm come and just absolutely decimate his field told me later that that was a little difficult to accept until he remembered, I should say, that the field wasn't his but it was God's and God can do what he wills with what is his own and if he wants to have one of his crops pounded into the ground, God, this is your crop.

If this is the way you like to see your crop, then go ahead, go ahead. Do you see how many problems are solved when we finally solve the issue of ownership? Think about all of the things that distract us. Think of the temptations for immorality. You say, well, this is something that really tempts me, something that I might fall into. Yes, but remember that the Bible says in 1 Corinthians, Paul's great argument against immorality is this. Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost and you can't take the temple of God and you can't combine it with a fornicating spirit and you can't, you can't expect God to go through that kind of impurity where the spirit of God and a spirit of unfaithfulness and impurity have to exist together. That's the reason we should live pure lives is because we belong to God. You can't do it with it whatever you wish unless you forget who owns you.

It's a sign of ownership, security, purpose. You say, does theology really help in the difficulties of life? You know all these theoretical ideas that you folks give out so quickly on Sunday, do they really help? I may have told you this earlier, you know, once you're my age, you can sometimes be forgiven for repeating a story, especially if a year or so has intervened, but do you remember that friend who comes here to the Whitfield fellowship, that pastor in Indiana, that I might have mentioned to you who about, I would say three months ago at max, his house totally burned down and it was in the middle of the night, two o'clock in the morning, they were awakened by something, they don't know what awakened them and they rushed out of the house and it was an absolute total miracle that his family was spared because they just had a matter of minutes. The whole thing incinerated and as he stood there from a distance watching the house go up, he said to his 15 year old boy who had been schooled in the shorter catechism, remember the days when people actually used to have to learn something in Sunday schools and catechisms and in schools regularly where memory work was still considered to be okay?

Remember that? Some of us, you know, back in the one room schoolhouse, that's the way it was back there, I know, but we live in a different day, turns to his 15 year old boy and says to him, what is the chief end of man? The boy says, well, to know God and enjoy him forever. And the father says, son, has anything changed? Nothing's changed.

A house is inflamed. The purpose for our existence is still as clear as ever. The fact that you've lost it all hasn't changed a thing. The chief end of man, what does the text say? That we should live to the praise of his glory.

You have a good week, you have a bad week, you have an indifferent week. Does it change anything? It doesn't change anything really important. You are still to live for the praise of his glory. You've been disappointed by other people, other Christians have failed you, you've been hurt, you've been maligned, injustice seems to be springing up from every bit and you're going through all these difficulties that you don't think you should be going through.

Does it change anything? Nothing that we should be to the praise of his glory. Do you see, by the way, do you see how the ceiling of the Spirit answers all of the major questions that you university students face, but for which sometimes your professors do not give you biblical answers?

Listen to this. It answers the sign of the question of who am I? Answer, I belong to God. That should give you some significance. It answers the question of where am I going? Answer, all the way to heaven. And then it answers the question of purpose.

What should I do until I get there? All these people seeking the will of God, this needle in a haystack, and some people come along now and tell us the reason it's been so difficult to find that needle in the haystack is, guess what, there is no needle, you know, there are people who say that. Sometimes it's difficult to discern God's will, that's true in specific situations, but the bottom line still is I exist for one purpose, namely to the praise of his glory.

There is no other purpose and that's what I'm going to do until I see him face to face is to exist for the praise of his glory. You know what God does? He saves somebody and they're like a letter. And he is the one who seals them by the Holy Spirit.

They're sealed by God and the seal can only be opened by God. And meanwhile this letter then gets battered about with every kind of a thing. You know you've read these stories that it sometimes takes letters along well to get to where they're supposed to go. And the letter gets taken to Atlanta and people live there for a while and then it gets taken to Chicago and then from there is this, the thing gets tattered and weary and tired and its contents seem to be aging. Just yesterday I opened a book and I saw a piece of paper that I wrote in that book when I was in seminary and believe me, Darryl you won't believe this, but the piece of paper was yellow. Now what does that say about my age? So the contents, the contents become weary and yellow and aged.

But you know what? It arrives in the Celestial Post Office and it makes it, makes it. The people of God have this seal, I quoted earlier, for the Lord knows them that are his, guaranteed all the way from here to heaven. And fear not, little flock. God's postal system is so much more dependable than the Chicago postal system. You will arrive battered and weary and torn but you'll get there because God says, stamped, you are mine.

You're mine. All the way from here to heaven. Now some of you don't know Christ is your savior.

You know the earlier illustration I gave about the logs floating down the river, some are stamped with one company and others another and you're going to be on the wrong side of the river when you get there. There's only one way and that is to simply admit you're helplessness and the need that you have to put all of your faith in Jesus Christ because the text says, having believed, at the time that you believed, you were sealed. So I urge you even now to believe in Christ.

Maybe you've come with a hungry heart, a questioning heart. Believe in him. Admit your sinfulness. Believe that he died for sinners and say, I receive him today as mine. You know we like to sing Amazing Grace and we forget that there's a stanza that illustrates beautifully what I want to say, what I've said to you this morning. Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come. Twas grace that led me safe thus far and grace will lead me home, sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. We're en route and we will arrive.

Enjoy the journey and let us pray. Father, we thank you today for all that Jesus has given us. We thank you that when it comes to your purposes, that we're the focal point of the whole thing. That from before the foundation of the world, the Father chose us. The Son died for us and redeemed us.

The Spirit seals us. And Lord, even though we sometimes don't feel valuable or appreciated or even needed, you've taken out all of this time to show us that we, your people, are special to you. Now we know we don't deserve it and that's why we sing Amazing Grace with such enthusiasm. We know we don't deserve it.

It is all one-sided. We bring nothing to the table except our great need and we receive nothing except that which you give us and you give us so much. For those who do not know Christ as Savior, we don't understand why they don't believe but only you can overcome that blindness and show them how necessary it is for them to believe that they too might be saved. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Amen. My friend, I want to ask you a question. Can you imagine messages like this heard throughout the country of Turkey?

I'm so excited to be able to share with you that within the next 12 months, we hope to have Running to Win in Turkish available to almost all of Turkey. The reason that we can expand this ministry is because of people like you and we are in the middle of what we call our matching gift challenge. What that means in practical terms is we have partners in the ministry who have said that they are willing to match every gift given during this period of time up to $90,000. Of course, you can do the math.

$50 becomes $100, $100 becomes $200, and you can do it, of course, in larger numbers or smaller numbers. I just want to emphasize that no gift is too small and no gift is too large. Thank you in advance for helping us. And in order for you to participate, I have some information for you. I sure hope that you have a pencil and a piece of paper handy because this is a great opportunity to help us in our expansion projects.

Here's what you can do. Go to rtwoffer.com. Now, as you know, rtwoffer is all one word, rtwoffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Because of this exciting opportunity, I'm going to repeat that contact info because you can become a part of something that is continuing to grow for the glory of God.

Go to rtwoffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. From my heart to yours, I want to thank you in advance for your prayers, for your participation. Because of you, we're reaching millions with the gospel. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Pastor Erwin Lutzer has concluded Heaven Guaranteed, the fourth message in a series on Between Heaven and Earth, taken from the book of Ephesians. Next time, join us for a message on Learning to Pray God's Will. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-02 05:52:06 / 2023-08-02 06:01:08 / 9

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