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

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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January 26, 2024 1:00 am

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

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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January 26, 2024 1:00 am

There are powerful Bible promises we can, and should, stake our lives on. How do we discern which of God’s promises are for us? In this message, Pastor Lutzer offers three lessons about the application of God’s promises. Whatever struggles or conflict we might face, God’s promises are stronger.

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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. Just because Joshua prayed for the Son to stand still doesn't mean we can. It just isn't true that every promise in the book is mine. But there are powerful Bible promises we can and should stake our lives on.

To discern what they are, stay with us. 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 takes a great deal of faith to ask God to stop the Son, like Joshua did. Yes, Dave, it certainly did take a great deal of faith. And what you said, that every promise in the book is not ours is true. That is to say, not all the promises of God are given to us specifically. For example, God gave a promise to Abraham about the land that does not apply to us. But there are so many promises that we can apply to our own lives, particularly in the New Testament.

But in the case of the standing of the Son, well, God just did a remarkable miracle that I don't think He has ever duplicated. I want to speak to you personally about the ministry of Running to Win, but also the sermon series that we are completing today, which is entitled, Getting Started Right. Oftentimes, when people listen to Running to Win, they can't listen to every program. They hear one program, and then perhaps a few days go by, and then they hear another. How would you like to have this sermon series in permanent form so that you can listen to it again and again? Well, at the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be giving you information as to how you can receive it so that you can listen to it repeatedly. But I want to remind you, go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

The sermon series is entitled, Getting Started Right. 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? Son, stand thou 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 thou 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, D.C., a prayer group that met, that said, oh, Lord, we banished Satan from Washington, D.C.

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, D.C. 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 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. No, 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 to be dropped in the offering plate today.

I don't know why I chose that figure. It just happened to, just happened 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. I speak today to some of you who are really struggling with guilt. Your conscience is troubled because there are things in your life and even though you've confessed your sin the regret is there and the mind it keeps going back to things that are troubling you and your conscience is saying shame on you, look at what you've done. You don't really think that you deserve to be in church do you? And listening to the word of God you hypocrite, look at what you've done. So you have this troubled conscience even for sin that has been confessed. Do you have a right to be free from that? Can you point to a text and put your finger on it and say on the basis of this text I do not have to be harassed like that that I can actually have a clean conscience?

Yes you can. You can even take 1 John 1 9 there are other verses but that one will do. If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins that's the promise and to cleanse us that's the application of the promise from all unrighteousness.

Not only to forgive us but to give us a clean conscience to give us a clean non-condemning conscience that is your right as a child of God if you've confessed your sin. So on the one hand you have the promise on the other hand you have the faith and you put the two of them together and you can say conscience stand out still at Gibeon and troubled heart in the valley of Agilon. If I may take scripture and show you its application because we do have authority over those kinds of things. I was thinking also this morning about the worldwide missionary impact and Jesus said this and this is a verse that I would use if I were a missionary in countries of the world particularly that were closed and where you had hard hearts I smile because actually you don't have to be a missionary to do that you just have to live in Chicago you just have to have neighbors that some of us know. But think of this verse all authority has been given on to me in heaven and on earth oh I love that I could quote that verse every day. Jesus said all authority is given on to me in heaven and on earth go ye therefore and teach all nations. When you are involved in the worldwide missionary enterprise there's a promise that you can hang on to and there is an application to that promise to say I will go because though the situation is totally hopeless humanly speaking I go under the authority of one who has all things under his feet.

Do you see the connection between the promise and its application? So when you read the scriptures look for that look for that. Now what I'd like to do in the next few moments as we think about the story that is before us I'd like to leave with you today three lessons that we can learn about the application of God's promises. First of all I want to remind you number one that the land of blessing is the land of conflict. The land of blessing is the land of conflict.

I'm thinking about Joshua. Remember the Lord says now I want you to enter into the promised land. This is Canaan. God says this is the place where you're going to have lots of minerals that will be available. This is the place that's going to give you some good crops. This is the place where Jesus is going to be born that's within the land of Bethlehem. This is the place where Jesus is going to die Calvary the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem. All that is within the promised land and God says this is the land where my great acts are going to be performed. This is the land that is going to be visited by my blessed son. It is the promised land and yet you begin in chapter one and you go to chapter two and chapter three of Joshua and you go all the way through and what do you have one fight after another one battle after another. I know that all of us want to have a Christian life without struggle. We all want to make sure that we get through life with God fighting on our behalf and we're standing by and we're just watching him zap everybody that should be zapped within the line of fire.

Finally doing what we think God should do. Bring him into judgment oh Lord. Hedge up his way with thorns. Paint him into a corner.

Teach him a lesson. Oh God sometimes does that but seldom. God allows us to struggle and to say this is your inheritance but every single inch is going to be contested by the world of flesh and the devil but hang in hang in. The land of blessing is the land of conflict and warfare. Number two we have as many promises as we need to win the battle. We have as many promises as we need to win the battle. I really do believe what was said at Founders Week by Larry Crabbe if you were listening one evening when he said there is really no circumstance that we will ever walk through but through which we can walk successfully I'm paraphrasing at least spiritually on that level because God has promised to be with us. He will not leave us and he will not forsake us. God will be there. We can't promise a bed of roses.

We can't promise health and wealth and all the other things but we can promise God. Some time ago a woman wrote a letter to me in which she said all of my faith in God has been totally shattered and what shattered her faith was a picture of some children in an orphanage in an Eastern European country. They were dirty.

They were unfed. They were many of them according to the picture seem to be almost what shall we say having all kinds of disabilities because they were not cared for and the woman took a look at that picture and said if God does not help those poor little children what right do I have to think that he's going to help me and her faith was shattered. It was an incredible letter. So what do we say in those circumstances? Does God walk with us or not? Well I forget exactly all the things that I wrote to her but probably I referred to 2 Corinthians chapter 5 where the Apostle Paul says look he says we do not lose hope in this life because he says for one thing though the outer man is perishing and it will all perish someday the inner man is being renewed day by day. In fact he says the afflictions that we have are light momentary afflictions that are working within us an eternal weight of glory. What is Paul saying is even though God may not deliver us from those kinds of situations in this world even though we cannot claim yes God you owe me this or you owe me that we do have the promise that he never leaves us or forsakes us and he has an entire eternity to help us to understand and to make up for the trials that we're going through here. So we just keep walking along believing that we have as many promises as we need to face life as representatives of Jesus Christ to face life successfully. Joshua had his promise and we have ours finally and it's already been implied that the promises always have a struggle.

We have a struggle when we want to apply them don't we? You know in the rest of this chapter which we do not have time to read Joshua takes the five kings they're put into a cave eventually they're brought out and they're killed and we look at this and we say Joshua you mean it why are you doing it this way? Of course God had said that these people their iniquity was already full it was time to give the land to the Israelites and so forth but when Joshua did this he received a lot of help from his men. It's interesting that the Lord comes and fights for us but that doesn't mean we simply sit back and say well now God you're going to do it all we do have our part in obedience as I frequently said from this pulpit we do what is possible and then God comes along and does the impossible and God comes and walks with us and takes up our cause but applying the promises is not automatic it's a struggle. One day the disciples came to Jesus because they were trying to cast out a demon and the demon wouldn't leave. Now it's interesting this is Luke chapter nine and it says in chapter nine verse one the Lord says I give you authority over all demons and then you read a few verses down and you read a story over a demon that would not budge when the disciples wanted to cast out the demon.

So they of course are wondering you know here you have the promise over here and there's no reality over here. Authority over all demons chapter nine verse one about verse 27 and following no authority at all the demons do not do not do anything when you try to cast them out. You remember what Jesus said he said first of all how long shall I put up with you and be with you bring him to me and that's where Jesus Christ used those words talking about their lack of faith. He says for one thing you lacked faith for another he said there are some that do not come out except by prayer and fasting. Well Lord I have a promise over here why do I have to fast all that I have to do is to just apply the promise. God says no there are some that do not come out unless there's prayer and fasting.

The promises are not applied automatically. See that's why we have prayer meetings. That's why we encourage you to come Wednesday evening and gather with the people of God to pray together and to worship together and that's why we have an elders prayer meeting. That's why we have prayer meetings in homes it's because we know that it is when we are yielded before God and when we deal with sin and when we struggle in the presence of God and when we hang on to promises that don't seem to be fulfilled but we still hang on anyway because they're ours it is during that period of time that we are refined and purified and humbled and brought low and it is then that God begins to take up his cause and fight for our cause. And so the Lord said to the disciples first of all it's lack of faith lack of discipline. He said we have to fast sometimes. Now you know we've had this I've been around long enough to know that when you call a fast there aren't nearly as many people who show up as when you call a feast.

It's very interesting very interesting I haven't done a statistical analysis but I'm pretty sure that that could be proven. And then the Lord says what about humility they were arguing as to which was going to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven what the Lord is saying in the strongest possible terms is this you can take all the promises in the world but if you do not have the ability to apply them through faith discipline and humility and brokenness they don't happen automatically because there are conditions. Now mind you there are some promises that have only one condition and that is that you come to the Lord. Some of you who are here today have never received Christ as your savior. Here's a promise for you and I want you to know how it applies to you. As many as received him to them he gave the authority to become the children of God even to those who believed on his name.

Now there's a universal promise with a universal invitation as many as received Christ he gave the authority to become the children of God. Now there's a promise for you to hang on to my friend and I want you to hang on to it and say that is for me and today I received Christ as savior. And then you begin to enter into all the other promises of the New Testament that are given to those who love God that must be applied sometimes with a hassle but in the end they become ours and God says I will fight on your behalf.

Surely there has never been a day like it before or since. A day when the Lord listened to a man because the Lord fought for Israel. Oh that God would fight for you for me for our church for his cause but let's be the people we should be so that he can do that. Father we pray that you might take these words to us today and help us to understand and help us to apply. Those who struggle father we pray that you shall grant them promises and the ability and the faith to believe and to trust and to know that that you are there. That you oh God will walk with them. Grant us that we pray today in Jesus name.

Amen. Well this is Pastor Lutzer I want to ask you a question. Did you listen to the message in this series entitled the high cost of hidden sin?

Did you listen to the message entitled making the best of a bad decision? Possibly you've listened to some messages in this series but not all of them. That's why we are making this series available to you in permanent form so that you can listen to these messages again and again.

Share them with your friends. For a gift of any amount you can receive these messages and let me thank you in advance for helping us financially because people just like you enable us to continue to expand this ministry. Now here's what you do go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now because this is the last day we are making this sermon series available to you I'm going to give you that contact info again and let me tell you once again how much we appreciate your involvement in our ministry. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Remember the sermon series is entitled getting started right.

Hope that you receive the series enjoy it and share it with others. 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. Next time we begin a brief series on two different prodigal sons and how their stories played out. Thanks for listening. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-21 09:46:13 / 2024-02-21 09:55:10 / 9

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