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To Love Again–Part 1 of 2

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

To Love Again–Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 25, 2024 1:00 am

When we fall victim to anger, jealousy, or obsessions, we usually are tearing apart inside. We feel unloved and loveless. Pastor Lutzer identifies three wounds which make it difficult for us to love. Let’s listen to a personal letter from a church member who wanted to love again.

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. 

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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. When people fall victim to anger, jealousy, or obsessions, they are tearing apart inside.

They're often both unloved and loveless. What they need way down deep is the chance to love again. And that's our focus as our series on pulling together in a world tearing apart nears its end. 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, today you're offering a heaping helping of hope to a lot of people for whom hope is beyond grasping.

Thank you for this amazing series and the hope it offers. Dave, I remember preaching this message in the great sense of conviction that I felt, the conviction that it was being conveyed to very needy people. And it was a very helpful message because it's centered on the cross of Jesus Christ. And it is there that we find hope. This is a message that I trust is going to touch the lives of millions of people. Millions have been hurt by others. They've gone through all kinds of distress. And they need to know that there is hope.

And yes, they can love again. This is one of the last days we're making available to all of our listeners a book entitled Living with Your Passions. Now this book has to do with sexuality, the consequences of sexual sin, those who want to rationalize it, how we deceive ourselves, the lies that we want to believe so that we can live out our passions. But at the same time, and of course the great emphasis is that it is a book of hope.

It points people to a sense of wholeness, a sense of forgiveness. For a gift of any amount, we're making it available to you. Hope that you have a pen or pencil. Here's what you can do.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. I'm going to begin today by reading a letter from Larry. Some of you know who he is. We disciplined him here at the Moody Church 11 years ago for adultery. And he wrote me a letter a couple of weeks ago and asked that I share it with the elders and with the church family whom he hurt because of his sin.

Just listen. Eleven years ago I walked out on my wife of fourteen years and our six-month-old son. You and the elders counseled me concerning my actions. You did so with love, truth, and honest obedience to scriptural principles. I chose to harden my heart against your counsel. I think you know in some part how hard it was for me to turn my back on you because my relationship with my Christian family at Moody was extremely important. But I accepted the correctness of your action in removing me from fellowship with the body of Christ according to 1 Corinthians chapter 5. I believed at the time that my happiness and fulfillment as a man was dependent on an intimate, exclusive, and totally committed relationship with the right woman. Against the advice of my Christian friends, my family, counselors, and school president, I dropped out of Bible school just months prior to graduation to marry someone who I thought was the right woman.

I had it all figured out and I followed my plan. Well, as you know, my plans fell apart. I lost hope that our marriage would ever give me the kind of relationship I wanted. And I became more vulnerable to the thoughts of finding the really right woman who would answer to my needs and desires.

Well, you know what happened. Such a woman found me at the hospital where I worked. She really wanted and needed me just like I was. She thought that I was wonderful and my ego went through the roof.

Suddenly, I was special. I saw her as the woman I had always dreamed of. Still my commitment to my marriage and my knowledge of the word kept me from adultery. But I fantasized about her and because Jesus said that to lust is to commit adultery, I thought since I'm guilty, I might just as well go ahead. I had a way now to rationalize the breaking of a sacred covenant with the wife of my youth.

I believed a lie. The pleasure of my new relationship and what I believed was our total mutual commitment to each other and that gave me the strength to accept the loss of my son and my excommunication from Moody. My life was more totally focused on my true love.

Two years later when our divorces were final, we married. I was trying to lead her to Christ but she was very independent but she loved me totally and said she had learned through a very hard life. Later she said that she really didn't need me, God or anybody. But I poured my being into the relationship. Now get this, I believe that with total love, commitment, patience, kindness, all the qualities of a Christian husband, I would eventually heal her of the wounds of her past.

Oh some Christian that I was. In 1984 my wife's son committed suicide. She was absolutely devastated. She wanted to die herself. The shock of his death broke through her wall of independence and self-reliance. She finally was able to acknowledge that she needed God and she accepted Christ as her savior and she's received some emotional healing since then.

In 1985 God blessed us with two beautiful healthy twin daughters. Then we moved to another state and I went to the pastor of our church and I confessed everything and I did not get involved because I thought that my sinfulness would contaminate the congregation. But I was basically happy with my new wife and totally delighted with our daughters. But all how I needed God. I longed for forgiveness and the healing from my sin and the guilt of my past. I wanted the same close relationship I had with God years ago when I decided to go to Bible school. Well the pastor explained that God would forgive me and restore me. As much as I could I chose to confess and repent of my adultery and breaking the covenant with my first wife.

But I struggled. I couldn't deny the love for my new wife and our girls. How could I wish that they had never happened? My entire life was wrapped up in my family.

But all how I wanted God to heal me. He talks about the fact that he had difficulty in employment and then he says it seemed as if everything was falling apart. My wife had begun remembering things that happened to her as a child. Now along with the periods of depression from her son's suicide came periods of rage at men who had hurt her. I was unemployed and couldn't find a job anywhere and had no hope for the future. I was no longer providing the security she needed and I reminded her of a man who had abused her. Two days before Christmas in 1991 she told me she wanted a divorce and literally threw me out of the house. I can't begin to describe the agony, the emptiness, the absolute despair I have experienced this past year.

Now I understand why some people commit suicide. I don't know what to do except for times when I can focus on Jesus and God's love. I am in constant emotional pain. The pleasure of sin lasted for a season but the fruit of my sin has ripened into agony and loss. Everything I try to gain has been taken from me. I am empty and alone. Yet I have learned much through this pain.

Forget this now folks. My downfall did not start with adultery. It started with idolatry. I believe that the key to happiness was the right woman and a mutually committed, passionate marriage. When my first marriage didn't provide the joy I sought, I turned to another woman, the quote right one. I held nothing back from her but she wasn't capable of receiving that love and I now know that no woman really is. In effect, I had made her and our marriage like God to me. My devotion was misplaced. I had all of my self-esteem, my self-worth.

It was all tied up with pleasing and being affirmed by a woman. I had given and sought from a woman that which only God can provide. I love my wife and still hope for restoration. I do repent of my adultery and the divorce of my first wife. Please carry this message to the elders of the church and the church family whom I harmed by my sin. I am truly sorry. Please forgive me. I believe that it was your hand of judgment that God used to bring me back and I'm grateful beyond measure. I have shamed him and I deserve to be crushed but please pray that God will purify and heal. When I was younger in the ministry, I used to talk about loving one another and I used to tell couples to love each other. The Bible says love your enemies.

Begin there. I'm a little older now. Some would say a lot older and I don't preach that message anymore very often because I've learned something and that is that there are some people who cannot love because they are wounded people and unless the wound is in the process of healing, no matter whom they marry, no matter what right person they pursue, they will never be able to really love. You've just heard a letter from someone who loved once, tried to love again, his wife loved once, tried to love again, trying it again. The same problems beginning to surface because of wounds that are not healed. What kind of people have wounds that make loving very difficult?

Let me list three very quickly. First of all, people who themselves have not felt loved. People who themselves have not felt loved find it difficult to give and to receive love. Secondly, the painful memories of broken relationship.

People who have these memories of broken relationships because you see the more promiscuous you are, what happens is you become attached to all the people with whom you have a sexual relationship and you feel you belong to all of them. I have to tell you that I think the most important series of messages I've ever preached in this church was on sexual redemption. There's a booklet that grew out of those messages that are available and I urge you to purchase it and to give it to friends.

That is the message that this nation needs. But you know, many of you women who are listening to me right now, you've had abortions and you belong to that group of people, that sisterhood in the quietness of your soul and you know the emptiness, the despair, the loneliness, the regret. I've counseled Christian women who have had abortions who say that the greatest thing that they face is going to heaven and then seeing the little child they aborted who is there and having to be reconciled and to explain why mommy killed her baby. Thankfully, many Christian women have come to grips with that and they are no longer plagued by it. But you know the despair and the emptiness in your soul and because of what you have done, you will find it difficult to love and to love again.

Then there's another category and that is those of you who have experienced the sword, the powerful sword of misplaced promises, the powerful sword of betrayal. Oh, he promised he would love you. In fact, he said, of course we're going to be married.

And then after you got pregnant, he left you and he decided that he would leave you in your need or with your sexually transmitted disease. I was on a plane recently and reading an article in which it said that every five minutes in the United States, a woman is assaulted. Think of what it is that she takes into her relationships and how is she going to love again? Do you know that in our broken society, you know what is happening when people get married? Of course, during the marriage ceremony, we are all sitting there and you know what we're waiting for, the bride, because God makes every bride beautiful, at least on her wedding day. And we're there and we want to get a glimpse of the bride and the wedding march is being played. And as the wedding march is being played, our eyes are on the bride, but you know what is really happening?

One of those partners is probably saying to the other, or both of them are saying to each other, I am a wounded person and I'm marrying you to heal my wound. Please heal my wound. I expect unlimited love. I expect unlimited forgiveness.

I expect unlimited patience. Please heal me. And whatever you do in the process of healing my wound, whatever you do, do not touch my wound because if you ever touch my wound, I will make life miserable for you. So heal me without touching my wound. And what they're really saying is please do for me something that only God can do.

Aren't I nice? That's what's going on. And so sometimes you have two wounded people who are trying to heal each other. And the fact of the matter is that even those of us who didn't experience abuse in our background have, in the words of one person, a part of us whom we really feel is both unloved and unlovable. And that's what we protect from others and that's the thing that guards our wound, you see. And we can't articulate what our need is.

These people who are marrying, they don't know what their need is and even when it surfaces, they don't know how to handle it. But we hope to God that they will live forever or at least happily ever after. Well, I want you to know today that I'm going to be speaking this morning to wounded people and I've got some good news for you that I just heard recently put so beautifully. Did you know that Christianity is the only religion in the world that has a God who is wounded? Christianity is the only religion in the world who has a God who is wounded.

So what I want to talk today about is the wounds of Jesus and in the process of talking about Christ's woundedness, hopefully shed some insight as to how you can be healed from your woundedness and really the woundedness of us all. And my text is Isaiah chapter 53. Isaiah chapter 53, someone said that the prophet Isaiah wrote the 53rd chapter as if he were sitting at the foot of the cross. It's a message of prediction regarding the sufferings of Christ. It is a message that actually is written in the past tense because it is as if it has already happened.

It is so certain. And so we pick up the passage in verse 1. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed for he grew up before him like a tender shoot, like a shoot out of parched ground. He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon him, no appearance that we should be attracted to him. You know that when Jesus was buffeted and whipped 39 times, you did not want to look at him. It says in the previous chapter that his visage, his form was so marred that you wouldn't have known who he was. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief like one from whom men hide their face. He was despised and we did not esteem him. Surely our griefs he himself bore and our sorrows he carried, yet we ourselves esteemed him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted, but he was wounded for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities.

The chastening hand of our well-being fell upon him and by his scourging we are healed. Five facts this morning regarding the wounds of Christ. Five facts. You can jot them down. Don't use the offering envelope.

It should be used for other purposes. Five facts. Number one, Christ's wounds were inflicted by others. His wounds were inflicted by others.

Some people are self-wounded. Christ was wounded because of the injustices of others, specifically his enemies. They wounded him because they hated him because of jealousy.

Oh, how they wanted to do him in and how good they felt when he was on the cross because it gave them a feeling of power that they had triumphed. Wounded by enemies but also wounded by a friend, Judas, mine own familiar friend whom I loved and trusted. Actually, Jesus didn't trust Judas.

There is a passage in the Old Testament that is quoted regarding this and it leaves out that word trust in the New Testament. But Jesus said, my own familiar friend, Judas, he has lifted up his heel against me. Why did Judas give Christ wounds?

It was because of money, because of money. You realize, of course, that sin always wounds. Sin always wounds. You can see it all over the place. You could see it in our lives.

You can see it in culture. Sin always wounds and you can particularly see it in families. So Jesus was wounded by others.

But you know that there's something else in the text that may be a little difficult for you to grasp, but just hang on. Did you know that he was also wounded by God? He was wounded by God. Notice it says in the last part of verse four, we ourselves esteemed him stricken, smitten of God. Glance down to verse 10, but the Lord was pleased to crush him. You say Jesus Christ put on the cross by God. God didn't do the evil to be sure, but the plans of evil men and the purposes of God converged. It says in the book of Acts that Jesus was offered by the predetermined counsel of God.

God did not do what wicked men did, but what they did was part of God's plan. He was smitten of God so that he could be a sacrifice for us. His wounds were inflicted by others, just like some of you. Some are self-wounded, but there are others of you who have been wounded by other people. Secondly, fact number one, his wounds were inflicted by others. Number two, his wounds blessed others. His wounds blessed others. Notice what it says again in verse five, he was pierced or wounded for our transgressions.

He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well-being fell upon him, and his scourging heals us. What does the text of Scripture say? First of all, that Jesus Christ died for our transgressions, and because he offered himself and his wounds became the means by which salvation would come to fallen humanity.

He died so that we could be forgiven, and he died that we might be healed. You say, well, is this physical healing? Is it spiritual healing? It is all kinds of healing. Jesus died for his body, soul, and spirit. He died for the whole man.

Total complete redemption by a perfect, total complete cross with all of its wounds and blood and smells. Yes, of course, and this is Pastor Lutzer. There are many people on TV who tell us that healing is in the atonement, and we can have that healing right now. Well, if that were true, we wouldn't have to die. The simple fact is that there is healing for us, but it is reserved for another world.

Meanwhile, we struggle in this world, don't we? And I've written a book entitled Living with Your Passions, and this is one of the last days that we are making this resource available for you. And we make it available because we think it will help you in your spiritual journey. It'll be a resource that you'll be able to read, to share with others, and it will deepen your own understanding of the matter of sexuality and the path to freedom and wholeness and hope.

For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to RTWOffer.com.

That's RTWOffer.com, or pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, because I believe so deeply that this resource will be of help to you, I'm going to be giving you that contact info again, but I want to remind you that the ministry of Running to Win continues around the world. We're in 50 different countries in seven different languages. Why?

Because of people just like you that support the ministry. So I want to thank you in advance. Ask for the book Living With Your Passions has to do with our sexualized culture, how we can maintain a commitment to purity with all of the messages that bombard us every day. Here's what you do.

Go to RTWOffer.com or pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337. Once again, the title of the book Living With Your Passions, it is a book that gives us guidance as we make our way all the way to the finish line. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60614. To love again is hard when you've been betrayed. Thankfully, God has answers for deep questions. Next time on Running to Win, Pastor Erwin Lutzer concludes this compelling message, another in our current series, Pulling Together in a World Tearing Apart. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-25 02:07:24 / 2024-04-25 02:15:56 / 9

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