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Let's Experience The Power Of Prayer – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
January 25, 2024 1:00 am

Let's Experience The Power Of Prayer – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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January 25, 2024 1:00 am

Many of us pray without taking much risk. In the middle of a waning battle, Joshua asked—in faith—for God to make the sun stand still. In this message from Joshua 10, Pastor Lutzer paints the context of Joshua’s prayer, relating it to our daily lives. Is it possible for a Christian to live without fear and by God’s promises?

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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. Many of us pray for little things where there isn't much risk. Then there's Joshua, who prayed for really big things. He needed more daylight to defeat an enemy, so he asked God to make the sun stand still. Now that's faith.

Stay with us as we pay a visit to the Valley of Agilent. 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, what do scientists have to say about the miracle of the sun standing still? Well, Dave, I have to say that I have never asked a scientist as to what he believes about this account, but I do know that there are multiple explanations, and I'm not sure exactly which one is right.

What I do know is, from the bottom of my heart, I believe it happened. And because God is the Creator, having created the sun, the moon, the stars, and the earth, He can do this according to His will, according to His purpose, and according to His power. I'm so glad for the many of you who support the ministry of Running to Win. We're so thankful for you. Many of you pray, many of you give. Have you ever considered becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Now, I know that the new year has begun, but even as you look into the future, would you consider making Moody Church Media a part of your giving strategy? Here's what you can do.

Go to rtwoffer.com, click on the endurance partner button, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. To refer to the book of Joshua, let's march around the walls together and see God give the victory. Have you ever thought of how wonderful it would be if God were to fight for you? What a statement, the Lord fighting for you. Can you just imagine it, trampled down by people, misunderstood, circumstances that are very difficult, and God comes along and takes up your cause and says, I will fight in your behalf. And basically, all that you have to do is to kind of stand by and watch God do it.

Watch God do all the things that you always thought he should but didn't, and now he takes up your cause and he fights in your behalf. Of course, in one sense, God is always doing that, isn't he? If he were not fighting for his people, we'd have been devoured by the devil long ago.

Sin would have corroded our character in such a way that we would never recover were it not for the fact that God is for us. How wonderful it would be, though, if God did more than that, if he just came from heaven and just said, I am here to fight on your behalf. Israel had that experience in the 10th chapter of the book of Joshua. If you turn there for a moment, I want you to notice the text for the day. Joshua chapter 10, they've gone through a difficult experience, as we'll mention in a moment, and now we come to one of the most dramatic passages in the entire Bible. You'll notice I'm going to pick up the text in verse 12 of chapter 10. On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel, and I love this and I think you do too, oh sun stand still over Gibeon, oh moon over the valley of Agilon. So the sun stood still and the moon stopped till the nation avenged itself on its enemies. It is written in the book of Jasher, a book that we don't have today, but there were other books that were written during the time of Joshua. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, I love this even more, when the Lord listened to a man. And now we have the text for the day folks. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel.

I'd say yeah, I think so. The Lord was fighting for Israel. What I'd like to do is to paint the context and then we're going to of course relate it to ourselves, but the context is that Joshua made a treaty with the Gibeonites which he should never have made.

If you were with us last time you know that he made an unwise decision and we spoke on the topic of making the best of a bad decision. But nevertheless he made it and so he kept it. Now you have a coalition of five kings that are gathering together to fight against the Gibeonites and Joshua has no choice, his integrity is at stake, he has no choice but to make sure that he defends the Gibeonites and fights on their behalf. These five kings they gathered, chapter 10 verse 1 says, now Adonai Tzedek, if I remember my Hebrew correctly, Adonai of course is the Lord and Tzedek is king. He's taking the name of the Lord as such, but of course he's a pagan king and he gets four other kings to go with him, making a total of five and they said we're going to go up and we're going to fight against the Gibeonites and so Joshua painted into a corner has to fight on the behalf of those with whom he made the treaty.

So that's the context. Now what I'd like us to do is to look at this passage and ask this question. What kind of a prayer did Joshua pray that made God come and fight for Israel? Because isn't it true that you want God to fight for you? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Lord came and took over your cause and held your side of the argument and the bargain? What kind of a prayer did Joshua pray to get this kind of a response from God? The kind of response that says that the Lord listened to the voice of a man. First of all I want you to know that Joshua prayed with a promise.

He prayed with a promise. You'll notice it says in verse 7, Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army including all the best fighting men. The Lord said to Joshua do not be afraid of them. I have given them into your hand.

Not one of them will be able to withstand you. Now there's something to hang on to. Chapter 1 God had said all the place where the sole of your foot treads I have given that to you. And here God reiterates the promise and says don't be afraid Joshua. I have given them into your hand. If you have the faith to believe it it is a done deal.

It is over with. I am the Lord and I'm doing as I will in this battle and I want you to know that they are going to be yours. Now Joshua had this promise you see. Just as you and I as we shall see we need some promises to hang on to. The question is which promises can we hang on to for what?

And that's a big study in scripture one that really really should necessitate a series of messages because oftentimes we want to take promises out of contexts that don't even apply to us. For example this promise does not apply to us. This was a specific promise given to Joshua in that context it doesn't mean that we as the United States of America can claim this promise. If we were in a war it doesn't mean that you and I can necessarily claim this promise and say that this is ours.

We have other promises that we can claim. This one is for Joshua and once he heard it he began to apply it. Now there's a parenthesis here I want to say that not only was it necessary for Joshua to have this promise but he needed to pray with a pure heart.

Remember earlier in the case of Achan when he took something and hid it in his tent 36 men died on the battlefield. I guess what I want to say is that the promises of God are not automatic. Even implied in this promise and the other promises that God gave to Joshua there are conditions even when they're not spelled out. The Lord is saying I've given you the land but you must possess it you must fight for it and I want you to know that applying the promise is always a struggle and sometimes we fail in applying a promise even though it is rightfully ours. What is the first step if we want God to fight for us we must lay hold of a promise that relates to us and hang onto it no matter what. Let's look at a second step and that is we must pray not only with a promise but we must pray with authority.

Another word for authority here might be faith. Listen to what Joshua prayed I already read it but I'm going to reread it because I love the words oh sun stand still over Gibeon oh moon over the valley of Agilon. Wow you can't say that Joshua was asking for something trivial.

It wasn't a case you know where he was saying just give me something small I mean he was asking for something big. What he was saying is I want all of the forces of nature to fight on my side in this because I want to be able to win and it's important that I have more time to win. Now there's controversy as to what really happened in this chapter. For example there are some fine evangelical theologians who believe that when it says the sun stood still it means that the sun stopped shining and the argument is that Joshua who came from Gilgal that night in fact I'm picking it up at verse 9 after an all-night march from Gilgal Joshua took them by surprise and the Lord threw them into confusion before Israel who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up from Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkida as they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah. The Lord hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.

On that day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel and God fought for them. So there are many people who say that what it means is that Joshua needed some cover because the sun was too bright his men who had marched all night were weary and tired and so God used a hailstorm and gave Joshua the shade and gave the enemy the hailstones and that's really what happened is that the sun just stopped shining so that the people were able to be refreshed. Well I can see that possibility in fact those of us who were to Israel many years ago at that time we actually stood on the hill where Joshua stood and we looked at Gibeon and we saw the valley of Agilon and that was the view that our tour guide took as to what happened but you know you look at the text here and you say well I don't think that that's all that happened it almost seems as if there was an extension of light because it says the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.

There has never been a day like it before or a day when the Lord listened to a man surely the Lord was fighting for Israel. There's something else going on here in the text it almost seemed as if that the day was prolonged and there was more hours of sunlight. Now that of course creates a great problem for scientists because first of all Joshua said the sun stand thou still. Well if you know anything about astronomy we are told that the sun is always standing still it is the world that is turning at about a thousand miles an hour at the equator but of course the Bible is written in the language of appearances just like your almanac is written in the letter of appearances or if you are listening on the news and you're listening to the weather they do not say now tomorrow morning the earth is going to rotate in such a way that we hope to be able to see the sun at 745. Now they talk about a sunrise and a sunset and that's what the Bible is talking about too so that's really not a problem.

The other problem which is more difficult scientifically is if this world were to actually slow after going a thousand miles an hour if it were to slow down you could imagine what would happen tremendous catastrophes as lakes and rivers and oceans would be thrown helter-skelter because of the slowing down of the earth. So some people say that it was a miracle but it was a very local miracle and maybe we don't know what happened. Bottom line look if God is the creator if he spoke the sun and moon into existence if he said stars exist and they already began to twinkle it is not difficult for the almighty to cause the earth's rotation to slow and also to make sure that the damage throughout the world is not catastrophic. I mean God can do all that in fact there's some scientists who say that there is actually a day missing in the in the calendar of the universe.

I'm not sure whether that is the case but I did read recently a report about that. But notice this God was fighting and God did a miracle and could even cause a day to be longer if necessary in order for Joshua to win this battle but what authority he had sons stand out still and the day was prolonged. Now I have to ask the question you have of course on the one hand the promise of God.

Joshua held that in one hand and in the other hand therefore he had authority and he had faith even to have nature fight on his behalf and to see this tremendous miracle. How does that apply to you? How does it apply to me? Does this mean that we can stand and say son stand out still or we can say snow today stop snowing today?

I don't think so. You know there are some people who think they've taken this business of authority and the reason they're messed up about it is because they're taking and they are believing promises that really don't apply to us and I need to spend a moment about that. There are those who believe that we have absolute total authority over the devil after all we're in Christ. Christ is above the devil therefore we have total complete authority and that's why you have groups meeting for example in Washington DC a prayer group that met that said oh Lord we banished Satan from Washington DC he must leave this city and never return. Well may I humbly suggest that I think that there is empirical evidence to show that Satan has not left Washington DC.

As a matter of fact there are some people who think they know his address as a matter of fact. Folks if we had authority to banish the devil from Washington we would banish the devil from Chicago and Los Angeles and eventually the whole world we'd confine him to another planet and we would do away with him forever so that we would never have to mess with him again. We would just take authority and we would just do what God has not chosen to do.

We would put him in the fringes and that would be it. Of course we don't have that kind of authority. If you ask the question as to why the devil is still in Washington or Chicago or Los Angeles it is because the Lord hath need of him. There are things that God is doing.

Luther was right when he said even the devil is God's devil. Do we have authority over all sickness? Can we simply command the cancer to go?

Can we command the arthritis to recede? Can we command God you must heal? No friends we don't. We do not have such a promise because if we can do all that we can do what some of our friends have done and they have even believed that they can banish death. My parents had some friends like that who believed that they would never die because they just keep being healed. They'd keep being healed whenever they got sick. They'd just keep their healing going and they actually thought that they were going to live until Jesus Christ returned.

Well about 20 or 30 years ago they died just like the rest of us. We do not have that kind of authority. Remember Johnny Erickson talking about being number 15.

I can just see the imagery and I'll never forget it. Being number 15 in the wheelchairs lined up to go onto the elevators to leave a Kathryn Kuhlman crusade unhealed. Now we don't have that kind of authority. We don't have the authority to command wealth. I command money to come into the coffers. I command 13 million dollars to be dropped on the offering plate today. I don't know why I chose that figure.

It just happened to just happen to come to mind. I want you to know today that there are people in different countries of the world who are more godly than we are and they're living in poverty and sickness. We don't have that kind of authority. How then Pastor Lutzer, I hope you're asking the question, how then do we take the Bible, the promise in one hand and the faith in the other to have God come and fight for us and to take up our cause? Well I thought you'd never ask. There are promises in the scripture that can be applied directly to us with a promise in one hand and faith in the other, authority in the other and you can say this is mine and you can stand there and stand there even though it's going to be a battle as we're going to see, you can still say I stand on this promise.

Let me give you a couple of examples. I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Therefore we can say the Lord is my helper and now notice I shall not fear what man shall do to me. Do not fear him who is able to destroy the body and then after that he's run out of anything he can do but rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Is it possible for a Christian to live without fear, to insist and to say I have a promise that God is going to walk with me through the most fearful circumstance and therefore I need not fear?

The answer is yes. With a promise in one hand and faith in another and you put those two together and there is a promise that you can stand on to say this is mine. I stand here. What about even such promises as victory over sin? Knowing that our old man, that has nothing to do with the father that you had difficulty getting along with, I'm quoting the King James, knowing that our old self, that's a better translation, has been crucified with him that the body of sin should be destroyed that henceforth we should not serve sin and a couple of verses later as it continues to talk about this truth, what does it say? Therefore consider yourself dead indeed unto sin. Is it possible for us to say yes I will not, I do not have to be propelled by that sin that doth so easily beset me?

The answer is yes. You're going to be in for a hassle. I'm in for a hassle whenever we begin to take those promises because the devil begins to come to us and the thief begins to want to steal from us and it's a struggle but it is ours folks to hang on to because that applies to us. Speaking about victory over sin I'm holding in my hands a letter from someone who writes, thank you for your commitment to preaching the truth of God's word. As a prisoner I'm hungry for the truth.

Jesus has delivered me from a lifestyle of homosexuality and sexual immorality I began to submit to the Holy Spirit and then he goes on to talk about confession and allowing Jesus Christ to win his victories for him. He ends by saying please continue to preach on the radio there are prisoners who listen to you we need the truth here and I might say that whenever we receive a request from prisoners we always send them resources we do so free of charge because we are so glad that we have the opportunity of ministering in many different places where many of us will never have the opportunity of personally going. Now would you consider becoming an endurance partner that's someone who helps us and they help us through their prayers and their gifts and they give gifts regularly. Of course you need more info here's what you do go to rtwoffer.com when you're there you click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now I'm going to be giving you that contact info again give you time to get a pen or a pencil but from my heart I like to emphasize that whenever we receive a testimony you are a part of that testimony because the ministry of running to win is not the ministry of a person or a church or an organization it is your ministry you are partners together with us in sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere including in prisons.

Here's what you do to find out more information on what it means to be an endurance partner you go to rtwoffer.com of course rtwoffer is all one word rtwoffer.com or you can write this number down call us right now 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. Running to win comes to you from the Moody Church in Chicago to help you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. Next time more on Bible promises why we must not assume that a promise God made to Joshua is a promise he's making to us. Thanks for listening for pastor Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister. Running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-25 02:50:13 / 2024-01-25 02:58:54 / 9

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