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What We Might Lose – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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October 25, 2023 1:00 am

What We Might Lose – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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October 25, 2023 1:00 am

There’s only one thing we can lose and never be able to have for all eternity. And that is hearing Jesus say, “Well done.” In this message from Luke 19, Pastor Lutzer exposes three devastating losses of the servant who hid his talent. What must we do to avoid losing any rewards from Christ?

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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. There are some things we can lose and not miss, but there's one thing we can lose and never be able to have for all eternity, and that's hearing Jesus say, Well done. Today, the challenging conclusion to a study of what we might lose at the judgment seat of Christ. 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, if a believer makes it to heaven but has almost no reward, will that sense of loss ever fade away, or will he or she have to bear it for eternity? No Dave, they won't have to bear it for all of eternity. I'd like to use the illustration of a chandelier.

There are various bulbs. Some burn more brightly than others, but all contribute to the glory of God. And we have to keep in mind that the judgment seat of Jesus Christ is not a time when we are punished for our sins. We are evaluated, and of course, it will determine our rewards, but I'm not sure about the long-term effects of our rewards or lack thereof.

All that I know is this. I don't believe that all people will hear, Well done, thou good and faithful servant. And I can't help but think that everyone who is listening right now would like to wish, as I would, that we would hear those words. I've written a book entitled Your Eternal Reward, Triumph and Tears at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and we're making this resource available to you in order to encourage you and help you to realize the importance of living for all eternity.

And at the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be giving you some information as to how this book can be yours. For now, let us listen. Let's look at Ephesians chapter five, verse three. But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you as is proper among saints. And there must be no filthiness and silly talk or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Now comes the shocker. For this you know with certainty that no immoral or impure person or covetous man who is an idolater has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things, the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, do not be partakers with them, for you were formerly darkness.

Now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light and learn what is pleasing to God, it says in verse 10. I think that there are Christians who can be characterized as immoral, impure and covetous. Are there not Christians who still struggle with sexual addiction?

Are there not men who are addicted to pornography who are Christians? I think when Paul says do not be partakers with them, what he's saying is he recognizes that you can become a part of the same lifestyle. So when he says these kinds of people will not inherit the kingdom of God, I think he means that they will enter the kingdom, but they will not have kingdom rule. They will not inherit it.

They will be denied rule with Christ. What a sobering passage. What a sobering passage.

I know that you're saying to yourself, time out, just wait a moment, hang on, not so fast. What if some of these things were characteristic of your life for five years, but not for the last 10 years? Or what if they were characteristic of your life for only a short period of time?

What if, what if, what if, what if? The Bible doesn't answer all of those questions, but this much we can be quite sure of, namely that every life is going to be a mixture of wood, hay, and straw and gold, silver, and precious stones, and that both will be taken into account. The years that you lived in purity or the years in which you lived in sin, all of that will be taken into account. Furthermore, I think Paul is referring to those who have these things as their lifestyle. By the way, it's not just immoral immorality, which we often emphasize, but notice he says a covetous man. You think it's possible for a Christian to be covetous and greedy? Paul says he's an idolater, and don't let him ever think that he's going to inherit the kingdom. He won't make it. He'll make it into the kingdom, but he's not going to inherit it because God says covetousness is idolatry.

You love money? You're in big trouble, big trouble. Now, here's what the Bible would teach us. Two things. First of all, that sin is very, very serious among God's people, very serious.

This is not play stuff. And secondly, if we judge ourselves and deal with our sins, there's no question about God's grace and mercy, and we have to hold those two truths together and never let them become separate. The apostle Paul was talking in 1 Corinthians to believers who were being judged by God. They were dying. God was causing them to die because they were disrespectful and dishonoring at the Lord's table. Some of them were getting drunk.

Some of them were using it as an opportunity to have a potluck dinner, and they were excluding the poor. And God said, you know, I've had enough. These are my people, but they are being disciplined. Then Paul said these words. If we were to judge ourselves, the Lord would not have to judge us this way. And I ask you today that if the sins that we just read about are a part of your lifestyle and you've accommodated yourself to them and you've said this is the way I'm going to live and I'm not even going to repent of them or fight them, I warn you today.

Could this be any clearer? No of a certainty. How often does Paul say that?

Not too often. That no immoral or impure person or covetous man who is an idolatry. He doesn't have an inheritance in the kingdom, Paul says.

This stuff. But if you judge yourself in repentance, if that is not your lifestyle, Dr. Carson was here some time ago and he was talking to somebody who was actually cheating on his wife. It was a student who was living in another country. And now that his wife was in another part of the world, he felt free to, to be immoral. And when it was pointed out to him that this is serious business, his answer was, well, of course God will forgive me because that's his job. No of a surety that that man will not inherit the kingdom of God. If he's a Christian, he will be saved so as by fire he will suffer loss.

That's what we're talking about. He shall be saved, but he shall not inherit the kingdom. That guy will not sit on the throne with Christ to rule.

He'll have other duties, but he won't rule. Now, one of the ways in which we can suffer loss is by the things we do, the sins that we tolerate and learn to live with and will not judge. There's a second way that we can lose at the judgment seat and that is by the things we don't do. And that leads us to a story of someone who suffered loss at the judgment seat. Would you take your Bibles one more time and turn now to the Gospel of Luke and this passage is one that has oftentimes been referred to and you know the story and because of time I'm going to summarize it very quickly. Luke chapter 19, we pick it up at about verse 11.

Let me tell you the story. A nobleman goes into a country and he decides to give money to some of his slaves. In my translation, it says minas. I still like the old word talent, but it was a sum of money and he called 10 of his slaves and he gave them 10 talents and said do business with this until I come. And so you'll notice that when he returned, having received the kingdom, it says in verse 16, the first appeared saying, master, your talent made 10 talents more. And he said to him, well done good slave because you have been faithful in a very little thing, have authority over 10 cities. And the second came and said, master, your talent has made five talents. And he said, you are to rule over five cities.

Now I want you to notice that the scripture tells us here that there was one man and that's why Jesus told the story of the man who was not a faithful servant at all. Another came verse 20 and said, master, behold your talent, which I put away in a handkerchief. I was afraid of you because you were an exacting man. You take up where you do not lay down and you reap what you do not. So verse 10 and he said to them, this is the master speaking now in verse 22 by your own words, I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you not know that I am an exacting man taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not.

So why then did you not put the money in the bank and have it gain some interest that I could collect? And the master said to the bystanders, take the talent away from him and give it to the one who has 10 talents. And they said, well, master, he's got 10 talents already. The master says, I tell you that to everyone who has more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he has shall be taken away. And then he talks about the enemies who were not his servants who will be brought and slain in his presence.

A couple of observations. Here was a man who was wrong about himself. He felt that maybe because he didn't have the same talent that others did.

There's another parable that Jesus told where there was a different degree of talents given to each one, just like life. Perhaps he thought to himself, if I can't have the same talent that somebody else is, I'm not going to use the one that I've got. And so he was, he is wrong about himself. He was wrong about God. He thought to himself, you know, God is such a hard man. He kind of does what he wants in the world.

And therefore, if I can't serve him the way I want to serve him without any risk, I won't do it. By the way, have you ever felt that way? Have you ever thought to yourself, you know, why is life so inexact and so unfair? There are people who are, who are gifted and talented. They are born into money. They, they ascend the ladder.

Everything they touch turns to gold and everything that you touch turns to mud. And you think to yourself, this just isn't fair. If that's the way God is going to run his world, I'm going to run my own life. Like one woman said in anger as she got into the car and zipped off, God, I'll see you around town, but I'm going to do my own thing.

Have you ever felt that way? Beware, beware. Now, what did this man lose? He was a servant. What did he lose? Well, he lost the approval of his master and that was really tough to lose. Can you imagine it?

You lazy slave, you lazy slave. You say, well, you know, Jesus would never talk that way. Well, don't be so sure. You know, in the book of Revelation, he wrote some letters and he said some very harsh things to his own people about the way in which they were living. Maybe only his book, maybe the way in which he turns away in sadness will say it all. Something else that might happen at the judgment seat and that is that he experienced temporary rejection. Temporary rejection. The master said, take the talent from him.

Could you imagine how that hurt? Not permanent rejection, but temporary rejection. Let me read you a passage of script that I just want you to think about and put into your pure mind. This is what the Bible says in the book of Timothy.

Just listen. It is a trustworthy statement. If we died with him, we shall also live with him. If we endure, we shall reign with him. If we deny him, he also will deny us. It's possible for God to deny one of his people temporarily because we shall receive the recompense for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad.

I'm just reading the Bible. And then it goes on to say, if we are faithless, he remains faithful. He cannot deny himself. It's not as if there's some kind of a permanent denial because that would then affect the integrity of God who has chosen to bring his children all the way home.

But could it be there is a temporary denial because we will be recompensed for the deeds done, whether they be good or bad? There was a third loss. The approval of the master, he lost. The temporary acceptance that he should have had was not there.

And then thirdly, of course, he was not permitted to rule in the kingdom. You say, well, does that mean that there are some people who, when they suffer loss, they're going to enter into heaven and throughout all of eternity, they're going to cower in some dark corner in regret? No, that will not happen. You know that that won't happen because God himself shall wipe away their tears.

And I think probably the tears are tears of regret that some of us will have. No, no, no, it's not like that. It's like when we discipline our children in the family and then we bring them back and we sit them at the table and we enjoy them and we are reconciled to them with great joy and great rejoicing. And in heaven, everybody happy, everybody singing praises to God, everybody having access to the Almighty, but some people, some people having more responsibility in the kingdom than others because they were faithful here. Different assignments in the kingdom. You can have a kingdom today and there are some servants who do one thing and some servants that do another. Everyone assigned a task, everyone happy, but there are some people who will not get the ultimate rule.

And if they do rule, it will be over a smaller segment of the kingdom. That's what the text teaches. I do not know how to interpret Christ's parable in any other way. The issue of faithfulness is important. Two quick observations on the parable. Obviously, your talent is your trust.

Your talent is your trust. You know that they didn't own this money, the slaves didn't. The master gave it to them. See, our problem is God gives us money and he gives us advancement and he gives us health and we think it's ours to kind of do with as we wish.

No, no, no, no, no. Those are gifts of God, gifts of God. They didn't come from us. They belong to him.

We're accountable to him for it. Your talent is your trust. Your talent is your test, your test. How faithful are you going to be, whether it's gold or silver or whether it is straw?

How faithful will you be? That's what the talent is all about. And you know, next week we're going to talk about that which really is the gold, silver and precious stones, what Christ is looking for.

But let me mention one thing since we're talking about talents. Let me talk about money for just a moment. Sometimes when churches like ours have needs, and by the way we do have financial needs here at the Moody Church, we tend to advertise those needs and we tell people about them, we challenge people to give, and that's fine. But I want you to know that that is not the highest reason to give. That isn't the real, real reason to give.

I'll tell you why. If you give only because a church has a need or a mission organization has a need, you are going to become critical of that church or mission organization so that you don't have to give anymore. You'll say, well, why should I give to them? Look at what they did with that money. I don't like what they bought and so I don't have to give.

So that's your protest vote. That's not why you give just because there's needs or else you say, well, the organization has a lot of money. Why should I give? That's not the point, really.

It's a point, but not the point. The point is the reason that we are generous is because we are being tested as to whether or not we are willing to take the risk and give generously, and there is a risk that this unfaithful servant wouldn't take. We are willing to take the risk of being generous, believing that we shall be rewarded in this life however God sees fit, not necessarily financially, but most assuredly in the life to come because we believe in another world. We believe in another world and we believe that we shall give an account for the deeds done and whether we have laid up treasures in heaven or not. That's the important thing. That's the motivation.

It's because we love God and we'd like to see Jesus satisfied with us because we love him so much. There is a story that comes to us from India. It's a legend. The story is that a wealthy Raja, an Indian prince, was riding along in his lovely chariot with all of his wealth and attendance and there was a beggar that was standing along the road and the beggar was there and he held up his bowl of rice expecting this Raja to give him something. And so the chariot stopped. The Raja came over to the beggar and said, beggar, give me some of your rice. Beggar couldn't believe it.

I mean the nerve. This wealthy guy asking me for rice, the beggar was angry, but gingerly he gave him a grain of rice. Raja said, give me more of your rice. The beggar said to himself in his own mind, you evil man, maybe he thought of different words to put it in, who are you to ask me that I should give you rice? So gingerly he gives him another grain of rice and then he decides to give him a third but that's it. The beggar turns away and the Raja gets on his chariot and rides off. The beggar is still angry, but in his anger and fury he looks into the bowl and he notices something glitter and he picks it up and it's a grain of gold, the size of a grain of rice.

He looks more carefully and he finds two more for every grain of rice, a grain of gold. That's how God is. God says, you let me run your life. You surrender yourself to me. You let me be Lord and King and God and for every grain of rice, you'll have a grain of gold.

But if we want to run our own lives and say, well, who is God up there anyway? I've got my life to live. Look at what he's done to me.

When has he done something for me lately? Somebody said in anger regarding God. Watch it. That's what this unfaithful servant did and he hung onto his bowl of rice and kept it for himself and used it as he saw fit. The master said to him, you lazy slave, look at what I gave you and look at what you did with it.

Your talent, your talent is your test. All of us, may I say one more time and forgive the repetition, shall stand at the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad. Some will receive a reward. Others will be saved, suffering loss.

So is by fire. What a day, what a day to motivate us and say, oh God, take my whole bowl of rice. And will you join me as we pray? Our Father, today we want to thank you for the awesome responsibility that you've given to us and the carelessness with which we live our lives is frightening. We ask today, Lord, that graciously you might complete the work that you would like to do in our lives. If you have spoken to us today, keep speaking, even after we've gone home and even after the pressure of business of next week comes upon us. Help us to know that we're doing it for you.

And we ask, Father, that graciously you might help all of us, all of us to give you our bowl of rice. And now before I close this prayer, what is it that you need to say to Jesus today? If you don't know him as Savior, you won't be at that judgment.

You'll be at another one more terrifying. You can receive him through faith. Admit your helplessness and turn to him. If you know him as Savior, what is it that is the wood-hazed stubble that Christ has pointed out today?

You tell him you want to deal with that. Our Father, we ask in the name of Christ, be gracious to us, for we are very needy. We pray in his name.

Amen. I might say in the book I've written entitled Your Eternal Reward, the very last chapter has to do with the great white throne judgment. That's the place where unbelievers will attend. Of course, attendance will be compulsory. And I encourage you to see that it is indeed terrifying. For us as believers, we will be at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ.

And throughout all eternity, there may be various responsibilities, those who are faithful perhaps given more responsibility, but we should not think that there are two different classes of people, but rather responsibility based on faithfulness. Now for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to

I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy so that you can write this down. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Let me give you that contact info again because I believe that this book will be of tremendous help to you. or you can pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-218-9337. The title of the book, Your Eternal Reward, triumph and tears at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. You've heard Pastor Erwin Lutzer concluding What We Might Lose, the third of six messages in his series, Your Eternal Reward. Next time we'll have message number four, Payday Someday. Don't miss it. Thanks for listening. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-25 05:56:06 / 2023-10-25 06:05:23 / 9

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