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The Keeper Of The Keys–Part 1 of 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2024 2:00 am

The Keeper Of The Keys–Part 1 of 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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March 19, 2024 2:00 am

Many attempt to ignore Jesus, but we can’t ignore Him when we die. No one can change their destination after death. In this message from Revelation 1, Pastor Lutzer plunges into a stunning description of the risen and glorified Jesus in glory. Jesus says, “I am alive forevermore. I have the keys of Death and of Hades.”

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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. I am He who lives and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. I have the keys of death and of Hades. The glorified Jesus said this as revealed in the book of Revelation. Today, a celebration of the empty tomb formerly occupied by the keeper of the keys.

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, as you speak to us again about the vanishing power of death, tell us about the keys Jesus holds. Dave, when I think about the keys, what comes to mind is authority. You have the ability to go through a door. You have the ability to lock a door. And I'm especially reminded of this because just about a month ago, my wife and I were with some friends, and he works as an attorney in one of America's cities, and it was after hours.

And he was able to go into this building, which otherwise was closed because he had the keys. Jesus has authority. And I visualize that someday everyone will stand before him, and he will be the one who will open one door or another because he is the one who has authority. I'm so thankful for the many of you who helped support this ministry because of people just like you, the ministry of running to win continues to expand.

Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Of course, the amount that you give is entirely your decision. You need more info. Here is what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com.

When you're there, you click on the endurance partner button or you call us at 1-888-218-9337. Thank you in advance for helping us. We desire to get the gospel of Jesus Christ to millions of people. Well, as you know, Jesus is in the news these days, and there are many different conceptions of Jesus. For example, there's the Jesus of the Da Vinci Code, the mortal prophet who was declared to be a god by Constantine for political purposes. There's Jesus of the Jesus dynasty, a competing Jesus. The book says that there were several messiahs. There was John the Baptist, there's Jesus, and then a half brother of Jesus. So you have the Jesus who competes to be king. Then also you have the Jesus of the humanists and the naturalists, the Jesus who's a teacher, but he is not a Jesus who's a savior. He's a Jesus who speaks, but not a Jesus who can do miracles. That's also a different Jesus. All these different Jesuses have some of the same characteristics.

For example, one of the characteristics that they have is they always in this context are a Jesus of manageable proportions. These secular visions of Jesus presented Jesus whom you can manage. A Jesus who's something like a book on a shelf.

You can take it off, you can read it, it may be interesting, but when you're done, you can put it back on the shelf until you have an interest in picking it up again. A Jesus who's dispensable during the week. A Jesus who will never challenge the sin that is in your life. He'll simply be a very safe Jesus. Second characteristic is these Jesuses are the kind of Jesus whom you need not trust, you cannot trust.

Trust for what? A competing Jesus who's one among many. A mortal prophet, a good teacher, trust him for what? And then finally, this kind of Jesus is one who may solicit our interest, but he will never solicit or demand our worship. These Jesuses are bogus Jesuses. John the apostle, and by the way, it was he who was painted by Leonardo da Vinci next to Jesus in his famous painting on the Last Supper. Wasn't Mary Magdalene, it was John the apostle. He knew Jesus well.

In fact, they were intimate friends. He's spoken of in the Bible as the disciple whom Jesus loved. And so he knew Jesus, but after Jesus died and rose again and ascended to heaven, John had a vision of his friend, a vision that he would never forget.

It's given to us in the book of Revelation chapter one. And you can see that this Jesus is a very different Jesus. I'm going to plunge into the text in the middle of the description of this Jesus. Revelation chapter one, verse 14, the hairs of his head were white like wool as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze refined in a furnace. And his voice was like the voice of the roar of many waters.

In his right hand, he held seven stars from his mouth, came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. Is it any surprise, it says, when I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. That's the Jesus of the New Testament. But he laid his right hand on me saying, fear not, I am the first and the last and the living one.

I died and behold, I am alive forevermore and I have the keys of death and of Hades. What are the characteristics of this Jesus? First of all, you'll notice that he has eternal existence.

The text says, I am the first and the last. In verse eight of this chapter, we read that he is Alpha and the Omega, the first letter of the Greek alphabet and the last letter. He was here before anything was created because the Bible presents him as the creator. We can't get our minds around it, but he existed from all of eternity. He himself was not created, he always was. He's eternal from the standpoint of the past and he's eternal to the standpoint of the future. The Alpha and the Omega, the A to the Z.

The Encyclopedia Britannica used to come in 26 volumes, articles of history and science and theology, but all of those articles, all of those words have been all composed of 26 letters. Jesus is the A, he's the Z, he's everything in between and the Bible says that in him reside all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He is the eternal Jesus. So he has eternal existence, but notice that the text also tells us that he has earthly existence. He says to John, I am the living one and I died and behold, I'm alive forevermore. I died. How can the eternal one die?

Well, that's the good news of Christmas. Jesus, the eternal one takes on a human body and actually becomes, the word becomes flesh because you see he comes on a rescue mission. God had to become a man in order to die for us.

You can't nail a spirit to a cross. So in order for there to be a sacrifice for sins, because the Bible says the soul that sins, it will die and you and I will die. But in order that we might not have to die eternally, Jesus took our place and he died on the cross. But because he is the eternal one, when he was taken down from the cross and he was put into that tomb, he did not stay there. I am he that was dead and am alive forevermore.

Amen. And that's resurrection. That's the power of death broken. That's the power of Satan quenched.

That's the death in which he died for sinners so that if you and I trust him, we can receive his forgiveness and his grace and we can come to that water that we've heard so beautifully sung to us. That's the good news. Today you have a lot of emphasis on death. You have near death experiences. Some people have good experiences.

They supposedly say that it doesn't matter what you believe. There are other people who have horrendous experiences. I'm here today to tell you that I don't trust people who have been near death to tell me what lies on the other side. I want to trust someone who actually was dead. Somebody who was so dead that his body was put into the tomb and it began to disintegrate. That's the one whom I want to trust because he can tell me what lies on the other side.

He can tell me how to prepare for that final moment. And by the way, when the people came to the tomb, the reason that the stone was rolled away is not to let Jesus out because the molecular structure of his body was such that he could go through doors and he could go through stones and tombs. He was raised with an entirely different body. The reason that the stone was rolled away was not to let Jesus out.

It was only to let the disciples in and to show them that Jesus had risen from the grave. What do we know about this Jesus? He is the eternal one. He has eternal existence. He also has earthly existence or had earthly existence. But he also has authoritative existence.

Notice what he says to John. I have the keys of death and of Hades. I have the keys. I have in my pocket here somewhere keys. We all have key chains.

I have the key to Moody Church. Now, you know, there are different kinds of keys here at the church. You can have one key that will just let you in.

And that's about as far as you can go. There are other keys that will let you in and let you into the office area. Well, 26 years ago, the trustees entrusted to me a key that will not only let you in, not only into the office area, but get into my study and supposedly in every closet in this church. It's called a master key. It's called a G key. I want you to know today that Jesus has a G key. It's the God key.

It's the God key. And there is no place in the universe from which he is barred. There is no closed country.

Strictly speaking, there is even no closed heart. Jesus is able to walk in and he has the keys of death. He died.

He looked around. Then he went to his father and he says, I've conquered that and I know what it's all about. I want to, when I die, trust somebody who knows what it's all about, who's been there, who's done that. Jesus says, I have the keys of death. He also says, I have the keys of Hades. What's Hades? Hades is a translation of the Hebrew word Sheol of the Old Testament.

Sheol had two compartments as Jesus showed when he told a story. Jesus said that there was a rich man and Jesus told it to show how the fortunes of people can be reversed in the afterlife. He said there was a rich man who died and was buried and in Hades, he lifted up his eyes being in torment. And then there was another man who died, a beggar whose name was Lazarus, and he goes to the other side of this compartment and they actually can speak together of all things. And Lazarus is in bliss. Later on, this part of paradise, I should say this part of Hades becomes known as paradise. Jesus says, I have the key to this side with unending regret, self-loathing, and sorrow, and this side with unending peace and joy. I have the keys of death and I have the keys of Hades.

Wow. No wonder Jesus said, you know, modern medicine says to us today that if we do the right things, we'll live longer. Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. He who comes to me, though he is dead, yet shall he live and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.

You know anybody else making promises like that and having the ability to back it up? Is there anybody else out there? There's nobody else out there like Jesus. He has the keys of death and of Hades. It's very important to realize today that every human being, every human being at death will meet the keeper of the keys.

Remember that. I want you to visualize a large castle. People who die go into the castle.

In the castle, there's a man standing and there are two doors. There's the door to paradise and there's the door to sorrow and self-loathing and regret. And Jesus stands there and says, you go here.

In fact, the Bible is very clear. He's going to say to some people, he says, depart from me, you workers of iniquity. So they go through that door. And then to the thief on the cross, he said those blessed words, today you shall be with me in paradise. And Jesus was able to say that to the thief and he'll say to the thief because you believed on me and recognized your sinfulness and your need, you can go with me into this door. But Jesus is the keeper of the keys. No atheist will ever be able to get by him undetected. No Muslim will ever get by him undetected. No Buddhist, no Hindu will ever get by him undetected.

No Protestant, no Catholic, not a one of us will ever get by him undetected because he is the keeper of the keys of death and of Hades. Now you can ignore him here, but you can't ignore him when you die. You can't ignore him. He is savior today.

He is judged tomorrow and the day will come when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord to the glory of God the father. You can ignore him here. You will not be able to ignore him there. You'll meet the keeper of the keys. And I need to tell you that this is the life in which we prepare for that final moment. This is the life, not after death. There's no hope for people after death to change their destinations.

When you die, your destiny, eternal destiny is fixed. You say, well, how do we, how do we prepare? Well, what we do is we recognize that it is not enough to believe that he lived, to believe that he died, or even to believe that he rose again, to believe that he is the Messiah.

It's not enough. It's a good step, but it's not that. The Bible talks about belief in, belief in a personal trust in Jesus, a transfer of trust. Whenever I explain this to people, they always say, they react variously. Some people say, oh, it's so simple what you're saying. And the answer is yes, it's simple and it's easy, but it is terribly difficult because what that means is that we acknowledge our sinfulness. We acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves.

We acknowledge that our self perception is totally wrong. If we think we're okay with God apart from Jesus, and that's tough, that runs against all of our pride. It runs against everything that you and I want to build up in terms of our self image because we come just as we heard moments ago that Jesus paid it all and we come with nothing to, nothing to add to what he's done. In humility, we come to receive what he has done. And when we receive him, we'll be welcomed into paradise as if we were Jesus because we'll be saved on the basis of his merit. Bishop Muncy tells a parable, just an allegory about a man who is walking along and suddenly he comes to a cliff and happens to slip over it. And as he's going down, he's able to hold onto the tree stump that is jutting out of the rock and there he hangs. Well, in the story, an angel comes and says to him, sir, do you believe that I'm able to save you? The man sees the strong arm of the angel and he says, yes, I believe that you're able to save me. The angel says, do you believe that I will save you? The man says, yeah, I believe that you will save me as he sees the smile on the angel's face.

Then the angel says, well, if you believe that I can and if I will, then just let go. Some of you today have to let go of the notion that your baptism has saved you. You have to let go of the notion that your good works are going to save you. You're going to have to let go of the notion that you're a pretty good person and you can stand on your own record. You're going to have to let go of all of those things and trust the one who says as many as received him.

The Bible says to those he gives the authority to be called the sons of God, even to those who believe in his name. And when you die, he'll be there to open the gates of paradise. He's the keeper of the keys. Let's bow together in prayer. Father, we thank you that the Jesus of the New Testament is actually a savior, not just a prophet, not just a king competing with others, not just a teacher.

He actually saves. He's the one whom we worship. He's the one whom we love.

He's the one who came to rescue us from ourselves and our sins. And now I'm talking to all those who are listening. If you're here and you've never made that transfer of trust, you've never let go, you've never received Christ and said, I need the water of life. You could even do that where you are sitting. You may be in the farthest part of the balcony.

You may be right up close on the lower floor. God sees your heart. Why don't you pray to him right now and say, Jesus, I receive you as my savior, as my sin bearer. Father, we just want to say that we not only worship Jesus, but we love him. He means everything to us. Thank you that he's redeemed us. Thank you for those who right now in their hearts may be believing in him. What a savior. What a savior. Amen. Amen.

Let me have a personal word with you. Have you savingly believed on Jesus Christ? Are you superficially a Christian, perhaps not a Christian at all, though you've assumed that you are a Christian? The Bible says that we should examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith.

Take a moment and examine yourself. Even as you think about your future and you think about who you are, if you believe on Christ today, if you are saved, the Bible says that the angels in heaven will rejoice. The ministry of running to win is committed to getting the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible. And I want to thank the many of you who are helping us. I'm holding in my hands a letter from someone who is listening in West Africa. I am a regular listener to your program and I cannot stop listening because I see your teaching is turning my life around. I am so blessed. It's because of people just like you that we can have testimonies just like that. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts.

And of course, the amount that you give is entirely your decision. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com. And when you're there, you click on the endurance partner button. Or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Pray and ask the Lord if he would have you help us as we get the gospel of Jesus Christ to millions of people. rtwoffer.com. Click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Early on, the disciples of Jesus argued over who would sit with him in the kingdom. But when Jesus died, their dreams died. The best thing to do seemed to be simply walk away. Next time, how the resurrected Jesus revived their dreams and how he can revive yours. Thanks for listening. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-19 05:35:04 / 2024-03-19 05:43:21 / 8

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