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The Enemy Inside Your Home – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
November 22, 2023 12:00 am

The Enemy Inside Your Home – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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November 22, 2023 12:00 am

Our families are being seduced by other gods through the power of the media. Many parents are personally paralyzed by their own entertainment addictions. In this message, Pastor Lutzer provides five imperatives to find victory in saying “No!” to sinful desires and addictions. Are we prepared to change our technology habits?

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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. In the old days, people would sit and talk. Now, they stare into an HDTV or into a computer screen. Technology, though valuable, is a tool of the enemy to addict all of us and steal time better used for each other and for God.

Today, more on this danger. 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, it's really sad when a family sits down to dinner and each family member is staring at their social media account on a smartphone.

Dave, I have to tell you this. Recently, I heard a message given by a woman who talked about this and said that when Jesus cleansed the temple, he'd have thrown out their cell phones. But more than that, she said this, Jesus would never talk to you across a table with a cell phone in his hand.

I thought that that was absolutely brilliant. Parents need to put the cell phones away so that they can communicate with their children, especially at mealtime. We've prepared a very special resource that I'm going to tell you about at the end of this broadcast, Fighting for Your Family. It's so necessary that you have this so that you understand the nature of the battle and what you can do about it.

For now, stay tuned. I think, for example, seniors, they sometimes waste so much time watching TV, watching this and that, when they have so many years of productivity. A long time ago, I read about a woman who was so fed up watching television, and there she was in a senior home. And she decided to connect with a church and to get the names of all of their missionaries. And she began to write missionary letters to 70 different missionaries, not seven, but 70, and began to get interested in their lives and praying for them. And she lived productively until the day she died.

What's your ROI, return on your investment? Now, I don't want to get too spiritual here, but since I'm on a roll, I might as well continue in the direction that I'm going. This is very convicting to me, and I hope it's convicting to you. What is it about the entertainment industry that is so important to us, meeting certain needs in our lives, that apparently God is unable to meet? What about the pleasures of God on God's right hand?

Are they not significant? You see, we are so far from the idea of pursuing God. This past week, I was reading in the book of Isaiah, where it says, seek the Lord while he may be found. Call upon him when he is near. Let the wicked man forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord. And I thought, isn't it too bad that in our hurried life, most of us don't know what it is like to really seek God and find him satisfying? It was C.S. Lewis who said that God is the all-satisfying object.

Is he or is he not? Now with that, what I'd like to do is to give you five imperatives. You can write these down.

I see this as essential. Each one could be an individual message, but here we go. Number one, what we must do is to recognize the spiritual nature of the conflict, to recognize the spiritual nature of the conflict. As the Apostle Paul says in the book of Ephesians, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the rulers of this age. That's what we are really up against, and that's why it is that we're so paralyzed in the face of so much misuse of technology.

It is because we don't understand that at root we are in a spiritual battle, which is absolutely huge. This past week, several of us talked to law enforcement people here in the city of Chicago because there are those among us who would like to begin seriously to rescue those who are victims of sexual trafficking. And one of the things they said is that the Internet has just changed everything. Nowadays, there's so much communication on the Internet, so much available on the Internet, it's a whole new day out there trying to enforce some decency laws and being able to capture those who are victimizing others. Do we realize the extent of this kind of communication and the power of the Internet to seduce, to give out information that is harmful, to destroy?

It's huge. We can't fight that in the energy of the flesh. We are up against huge spiritual forces, and we need to recognize that and to fight for our families and for ourselves. It's more that I could say about that, but we must hurry on. Number two, clean up your own act. Clean up your own act. Now let me speak very candidly here.

In some instances, you may have to get rid of your television set. Do you remember months ago, we had a pure life conference here at Moody Church? And the whole intention of the conference was to motivate us to live pure lives. And it talked about the media.

We had seminars on that and so forth. And the lead man who actually spoke from this pulpit and inspired us and instructed us, I was having lunch with him afterwards. And I asked about his own personal life because he had been immoral. You remember he gave his testimony in the last 25 years, lived with purity. And he said that he got rid of his television set, he said, about 20 years ago because he said, to this day, put me in a room with a remote control and a television set within a numerable number of channels. And he says, I will be gone. In other words, the propensity and the desire may never go away and we need to be able to accept that.

But what we need to do is to put in place various parameters and various structures so that we don't even have the opportunity of going there. A little while ago, just about an hour ago, we dedicated a baby to the Lord. And one set of grandparents told me, they live on a farm south here in Illinois, and they said that they raised their seven children without a television set. How much do you think those kids actually lost? Yeah, go ahead and clap. And now all those of you who clapped, get rid of yours. They said that their children felt sorry for others who'd have so few experiences in life that all that they would do is sit on the couch and watch TV.

The kids really didn't miss a whole lot in terms of growing up and in terms of what is truly, truly valuable. So we have to clean up our own acts. That's why when it comes to this business of commitment, I have to admit that the real issue is whether or not we're desperate. If you're not yet desperate, this is just going to go swish over your head. But for those of you for whom it is intended, because you are desperate and determined to no longer be hooked on what hooks you, you will respond and you'll do some drastic things and put them in place.

Like Jesus said, you cut off your hand, you pluck out your eye, you do whatever you need to do so that you don't keep falling into the pit. And so the second thing is we have to clean up our own act. Third, if you're a parent, this is for you. We have to set family standards and the standards have to be based on the word of God. Your teenagers are going to argue with you.

Oh, you just don't like Madonna, you know, or you don't understand when a movie is PG 14, it means that all 14 year olds are supposed to see it and you don't understand that. And so they'll give you this hard time. But what you need to do is to put those standards in place. You need to stand on those standards and insist on them. And in this way your kids have structure.

You know, I take the point of view and I know a few disagree, but that's okay. They can come up later and ask for forgiveness. No teenager should ever have a television or the internet in their room. I remember when I was teaching in a seminary, a guy gave a testimony of how his parents trusted him with it in his room and how it led down this terrible path that you can only imagine. Remember what to say if your kids say, well, you don't trust me. You know what to say to them.

The correct answer is no, I don't. That's what you say to them. And then you say, because I don't even trust myself.

It's not a matter of trust. This is a matter of desire that is built into us by God. We are sexual creatures from the bottom of our feet to the top of our heads. And let's just recognize that we are and that temptations that are out there are powerful, seductive, and very difficult to say no to. And so what you do is you have a family standard. Number four, you need help.

We all do. That's why it's so important to attend church. It's important to connect with other people and in our families to talk, to connect, not in a condemning way. Your children are going to see things that it would have been better if they had never seen, but accept that reality. There's no way if you're going to live in this culture. Unless you are to live in a monastery, there's no way to live in this culture without your children being exposed to this. And you need to talk to them about it. And you should not be shaming them as a result of their preoccupation with some of these images. It's not a time for shame because shame often just fuels the addiction. So what you need to do is to back off and to help your children and to help yourself to see the bigger perspective and to recognize that with God's help, there is help here.

There is deliverance. But at the same time, what you do is you talk, you discuss, you connect. And remember, as I've emphasized in this series, rules without relationship equals rebellion.

It's relationships that help us most. Finally, we must practice the spiritual disciplines. We're looking for victory over here, and we're looking for this intervention over there, and some dramatic experience that will bring about deliverance. And God says what you should be doing is what you and I should be doing all the time. The word of God washes us. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandments of the Lord are pure and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold, sweeter also than the honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them as thy servant warned and in the keeping of them, there is great reward. It's the word of God that cleanses us and keeps us. The way to have your devotions, and by the way, as part of this series, one of the messages is entitled The Power of Praying Parents, where I'm going to be emphasizing how to pray scripture so that every single day you walk away from the word of God with a snatch of scripture in your heart that you carry with you throughout the day. And I'll be giving some illustrations of how those kinds of passages of scripture can be prayed, because at the end of the day, what we really need is the intervention of Almighty God.

Without it, we are helpless. Now there's something else that is important. There are many of you who are listening to this and you haven't taken the first step toward deliverance. You know, Jesus said, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. And the angel said in Matthew chapter 1, Jesus came to save his people from their sins. So you see, what we must recognize is that to receive Jesus Christ as Savior gives us a new nature. It gives us new desires that now are in conflict with our old desires, and that's what we've been talking about.

But at least we have the basis for deliverance and freedom. Remember the story of Augustine, the famous Christian philosopher who lived in the 400s. He was into debauchery of every kind, had a mistress. And then as a result of reading actually the 14th chapter of Romans where it talked about laying aside the unfruitful works of darkness, it is then that he was converted. And later on he was walking down the street and his mistress was running behind him and she shouted to him, it is I. And he turned around and he said, but it is not I. In other words, I'm a new person now.

I'm going in a different direction. I don't have to be attached to all those things because Jesus came to set his people free, but it doesn't mean that there isn't a struggle. And the deeper that we are into the world, the more difficult the struggle, but it is a winnable war because Jesus died that we might be free from the effects and the power of the world.

Amen. There is a story about Pharos the horseman. I've read different dates when this supposedly happened, but it is only a legend, so it doesn't matter what the date supposedly is. How that he was going through the Arabian desert and suddenly in the distance the horses that he was with, and he had a herd of horses, they saw a mirage and they began to run toward the water, what they thought was water. But he blew on his bugle and six mares turned around and came with him and didn't run.

And the legend is that it is from those six mares that you have the very famous Arabian horses. Today, our society is mad with a mirage of pleasure. Everybody is running in every direction. We can't live without technology even for a few moments. And of course, what we have to do is to distinguish its value from its detriment and from its temptations and its seduction.

But the world is mad over entertainment. God is in heaven and he's blowing his bugle and he's saying, is there anyone listening? Will you turn around? Will you do whatever is necessary that you may no longer be seduced by the world so that you might be able to live for me in a way that is honorable and pure and decent?

That's the question that all of us have to face in this world that has gone mad. Now, I've given you a lot of information and your response to this message is going to be different. There are some who say, well, you know, that's very nice, but I'm deeply into this and I have no intention of changing. There are others of you who perhaps feel very deeply that you need to do something drastic. Could I ask you to do whatever God has asked you to do that you know right well you should, even if you seem powerless to do it?

Because if we're going to fight for our families, we're going to have to deal with the issue of technology and the entertainment industry. And then there are those of you who have never received Christ as savior. You have no personal relationship with God, though you admire God and you admire Jesus, he's not become your savior. This is an opportunity for you to acknowledge your sinfulness and your need and look to Christ who died for sinners and who came to deliver us from our sins.

You respond to God, even as God has spoken to you. Join me as we pray. Our Father, we ask today that you might help us to have the courage and the strength to do whatever you require of us for your glory and for your honor. Lord, we're particularly concerned about those who find themselves in an addiction today, find themselves helpless in the power of huge forces.

And they've tried a thousand times to be free. We ask, Father, help them to see that through Jesus and through your people and your word, that deliverance is a possibility and a reality. We read, and Father, oftentimes we sing, he breaks the power of canceled sin.

He sets the prisoner free. Show us that today, we ask. And now before I close, what is it that you, my friend, have to say to God today?

Would you tell him what you know you must do? Our Father, we ask that Jesus will reign in our homes. No matter what it takes, we ask in his blessed name. Amen. From my heart to yours today, are you willing to do whatever Jesus requires so that you might be faithful to him and be free?

And what about the other members of your family? We here at Running to Win want to prepare resources that are of benefit to you. And we've just done that. We have actually a new book. It is really transcripts of these messages so that you can read them. It also contains a study guide, and then it will provide a link by which you can listen to these messages again and again.

For a gift of any amount, this can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Don't you think it's time to fight the battle and to take technology head on and see it, yes, for its benefits, but also for its tremendous pitfalls? That's why I think that this resource will be of critical help to you. Once again, go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and continue to help us get this message around the world. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Pastor Lutzer, some questions may not have easy answers.

One of them was discovered by Doreen, who listens to us on WCRF in Norwalk, Ohio. She says, I was reading in Ezekiel 28. I've been taught that this passage represents Lucifer. If that's indeed true, speaking of Lucifer, verse 15 says, you were perfect in your ways from the day you were created till iniquity was found in you. Verse 16 says, by the abundance of your trading, you became filled with violence within and you sinned. How was iniquity found in Lucifer, who was a created being from a perfect God? And God said that you were perfect. So where did the iniquity come from?

Does God himself have some iniquity in him? Doreen, thank you so much for this question, which has puzzled theologians for hundreds of years. By the way, I think your interpretation of Ezekiel chapter 28 is right. You know, it begins by discussing the king of Tyre and then it begins to talk about how you were perfect in all your ways and you were in Eden, the garden of God and so forth. It must be a reference to Lucifer.

And you know, you quoted it as saying that because of the abundance of your trading, you became filled with violence. I think that Lucifer's responsibility before the fall was to make sure that all the praise that the angels gave got to God. Maybe he was something like a choir leader. Now, if you're asking the question of how a being like that created perfect could find iniquity within himself and therefore rebel, well Doreen, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't think we have an answer to that question. You know, there are those who say, well, he had free will. All right, grant that that he had free will. But still, why would a being with free will choose against God, namely sin when in point of fact the being was righteous and therefore loved God? What would be the motivation to do evil? We simply do not know.

But I'd like to add this. I think that after Lucifer sinned, he probably regretted it because he didn't realize that he was setting into motion evil and these repercussions would reverberate throughout all of eternity and his end would be hell afire forever. You know, there's a lesson here and that is that we cannot predict the consequences of sin. Eve, for example, could have never predicted that what she ate there in the garden, her disobedience, would end up engulfing the entire world with evil. We can't predict the consequences of sin and therefore what we should do is to ask God to help us to stay away from sin. Meanwhile, thank God that even though Lucifer cannot be redeemed because he was an angelic being and Jesus didn't die on the cross for angels, but Jesus died on the cross for us.

Therefore, though he cannot be redeemed, we can be and we must rejoice in our salvation even though there are some mysteries that perhaps will be made plain to us someday in heaven. A look into Ezekiel chapter 28 from Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Thank you, Pastor 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, IL 60614. The dark secret in all too many families is abuse, verbal, physical, even sexual. The hurt caused by abuse is incalculable, both to the abused as well as the abuser. Next time on Running to Win, what to do if you are a victim or a victimizer? This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-22 03:24:25 / 2023-11-22 03:33:15 / 9

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