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To Love Again–Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
April 26, 2024 1:00 am

To Love Again–Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 26, 2024 1:00 am

Many wounded people feel no one could possibly understand the pain they feel. In fact, Christianity is the only religion in the world that has a God who is wounded. In this message, Pastor Lutzer shares five facts regarding the wounds of Christ. Jesus is with us on the path to restoration.

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. Many wounded people feel that no one could possibly understand the pain they feel. For millions down through the ages, this truth has liberated them from bondage.

Jesus feels their pain just as he felt his own pain on the cross. Today, a wounded Savior offers hope to all who are wounded. 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 finish a life-changing series on pulling together in a world tearing apart. You'll point to the wounds of Christ as evidence that any of us can love again. And you know, Dave, it is really true that the more time we spend contemplating the cross and understand the richness of our redemption, the more healing is poured into our souls. But at the same time, I want to emphasize that I know I'm speaking to many people who perhaps do not feel that they are emotionally healed, and I want to encourage them by letting them know that God loves them just as much.

And not only that, isn't it wonderful that you don't have to have it all together in order to be used by God and walk with him? I believe that this series of messages entitled Pulling Together in a World Tearing Apart has been a tremendous blessing, but perhaps you've missed some of them. You want to share them with your friends. We're making them available to you in permanent form. Here's what you do. Go to RTWOffer.com.

That's RTWOffer.com, or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. The series is entitled Pulling Together in a World Tearing Apart. And of course, as we think about pulling together, let us spend some time now at the foot of the cross. 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. You say, well, does that mean we can be healed physically whenever we want to be? No, it doesn't just like we can't be delivered from sin completely like we want to be. Even in this life, we never become sinless, and we never become, if I may be so bold as to invent a word, we never become sickless. But what it does mean is that God now begins the healing process in the human heart, and it is from those wounds of Calvary, the blood of Jesus Christ, that redemption comes. See from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e'er such love and sorrow meet or thorns compose so rich a crown? How much do the wounds of Jesus even mean to us today?

Are they still applicable? Well, you remember the words of Charles Wesley, five bleeding wounds he bears received on Calvary. They pour effectual prayers.

They constantly pray for me. Forgive him, oh, forgive, they cry, nor let that ransom to sinner die. And the wounds of Jesus in heaven are wounds representing us to God the Father, a reminder of the grace and the love and the forgiveness that flowed from painful wounds inflicted by others. Let me simply say that God can use your wounds too to bless others. Oftentimes when God heals people, he uses people who have been experiencing the very same affliction. Sometimes the best healers are those who themselves have been healed. And by the way, did you know that God can begin to use you even if your wound has not as yet been closed up?

You don't have to wait until you are perfect before God begins to use you to help others become healed. Fact number one, his wounds were inflicted by others. Number two, his wounds blessed others. Number three, his wounds identify him.

They are his mark. They identify him. We won't take time to turn to this passage, but Zachariah said in the Old Testament chapter 12 verse 10, it says that God is going to send forth the spirit of grace and supplication upon the land of Israel and the land of Israel will yet, this is a prophecy, will yet turn to Christ and recognize him as Messiah. And how are they going to know that he is the Messiah? How are they going to know that the man who comes to the Mount of Olives is the very same man who is crucified 2000 years before?

What does the text say? It says that they shall look upon him whom they have pierced. And they'll say it's Jesus because we see the nail prints in his hands and we see the wound in his side. This is Messiah.

This is king. We know him because of his wounds. You know that your wounds can become means of identification. The apostle Paul says, I bear in my body the wounds of Christ. He was speaking of the physical wounds because of the beatings that he endured. But there are many different ways to carry wounds that become your mark of identification and even your mark of ministry.

In history, there have been those who have been blind and that has become their wound, handicap, emotional pain. Some of you were adopted and that is your wound because you don't know who your daddy was. You don't know who your mother was and that is the wound. But in God's sight, that is the wound that identifies you.

It is the wound, the badge of your usefulness and blessing. Number four, his wounds have become scars. His wounds have become scars. They're not wounds anymore. They are scars. Scars means that a wound has been healed. The bleeding has stopped.

The pain has subsided. Take your Bibles and turn with me to the fifth chapter of the book of Revelation, Revelation chapter five. And what a beautiful story this is of heaven. And we notice it says that John was weeping greatly because no one seemed to be found worthy to open this book. And it says in verse five, Revelation five, verse five. And one of the elders said to me, stop weeping, behold the lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the root of David has overcome to open the book and its seven seals.

And I saw between the throne, between the four living creatures and the elders, a lamb standing as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent to all of the earth. He was as if he had been slain. Bleeding, no, the blood has stopped. In pain, no, the pain has stopped. But scars, reminders of the fact that he was indeed slain.

And you know that that's what God wants to do in your life. It's not going to take the entire past that you have had away, but what he's going to do is to take those gaping, painful wounds that mean that you can't give or receive love. Those wounds that are so sore that if you did get married, somebody would find it very difficult to live with you because they'd soon find that they were poking themselves into sores that you thought nobody should ever touch. But intimate relationships always touch those sores. What God is asking us to understand is that there is healing.

I think, for example, of Dori Vanstone, abused sexually, first of all, conceived illegitimately, abused sexually, abused physically in those foster homes, and God using her today to heal and to bless thousands and thousands of people that are hearing her testimony and are reading her books. You see, she says always, she said, I still have scars, but the wounds, the wounds have closed. Number five, his wounds are proof of triumph. His wounds are proof of triumph. Notice what it says in verse nine, and they sang a new song, worthy art thou to take the book and to break its seals for that was slain.

Well how do they know he was slain? Well, if they need it, there's a visual representation of Christ's slaying. Someone has said that the wounds of Jesus may be the only scars of sin allowed into heaven, but that was slain and its purchase for God with thy blood, men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and those wounds are a sign of Christ's ultimate triumph in the purposes of God and the purposes of redemption. And the wounds that you have that are turned into scars show the absolute triumph of God over human need. You know that recently here at the church, we have been confronted by situations where there has been such ugly, awful, terrible abuse. And even in those situations, we may say to ourselves, why would God ever allow it?

I mean, how could his purpose ever be fulfilled? But if we have the grace to understand it, perhaps God is trying to prove to angels, to demons, and to men that there is no wound that is so deep, but the mercy and the grace and the loving kindness of God is deeper still. And even in the midst of brokenness and wounds, there can be triumph.

There can be triumph. Well, enough of that. Let me ask you a question. So what do we say to Larry who wrote the letter? What do we say to a man and his wife who say we can't get along anymore because the pain is so severe and because the wounds on both of our parts are so sore, so sensitive, so painful? What do we say? Well, what I'd like to do is to say three words, and that's the whole answer.

Isn't that wonderful that we as pastors have such gifts at being able to summarize things and to wave our hands and find that in the process of doing that, all problems disappear. Here are the three words, but listen to them carefully because they can be the means of healing of your heart and the heart of others. Number one, forgiveness, forgiveness. But oh my, how that word forgiveness needs to be understood in its different relationships.

What do I mean? First of all, the forgiveness of God. They need to understand that God is able to cleanse and to forgive and to put behind them every bit of self hate, every bit of self condemnation, which is always going to lead them back into the pit of despair. That's why Jesus died. You remember the words of Martin Luther, he died for damnable sinners.

I mean real hard boiled sinners. They need to understand that. But they need to also ask the forgiveness of all those whom they have hurt. And so far as I know, they've done that.

Writing this letter was a part of that process. How important that is because every person who is right with God wants to be right with man. There is no such thing as somebody who says, I have a grudge against this brother and hate him, but I still walk with God.

It says in first John that the person who hates his brother and says he loves God lies lies. But there's another kind of forgiveness that these dear people need and this gets a little tougher even. They need to be able to forgive those who gave them their wounds. They need to be able to forgive those who gave them their wounds.

Let me ask you a question. When did Jesus Christ's wounds start to be healed? You know when? It's when he was there on the cross when the wounds were still fresh and the blood was dripping to the ground and the pain was shooting through his body. It was then that he looked out on those who had treated him so unjustly and said, Father forgive them for they know not what they do. And that was the beginning, the healing of his wounds. Now mind you, forgiving people for the past does not mean that healing has occurred. That does not heal the wound.

It only, it only gets rid of the poison because you can have a clean wound and it still is fresh and painful and hurtful, but the poison has to be lanced. And so forgiveness for those who inflicted the wound, that's the first word. It's a word of forgiveness. The second word that I need to give is the word of love. The word of love because if forgiveness lances the boil and gets rid of the poison, it is a love that becomes the salve that helps the healing process. And that love has two aspects. First of all, the love of the people of God.

Yes, the love of a man's wife, the love of others. And I hope that Moody Church is a place where wounded people can be healed. That isn't the only purpose why we exist, but that should be one of them where there is a caring community where they know that it's okay to be wounded and you can be in the process of being healed.

How important that is. But I want you to know today that there's also another aspect to love and that is the love and the grace and the mercy of God. Did you remember a few moments ago when I read this letter, Larry said that he had to repent of the idolatry of putting a woman ahead of God and thinking that she could meet needs in his life that only God can really meet. You see, there is a sense in which people with all of their love and compassion and help, which we so desperately need can ultimately only take us so far. And there comes a place when you and God must take over and when you open your life to God and let him love you back to healing and to believe that God even loves that core part of your personality that you think is unloved and unlovable.

God even loves you there. And that becomes the salve. There's a third word that I'd like to share and it's the shocker. Some of you won't accept it immediately.

Give me some time. And it is the word thanksgiving. Thanksgiving. You actually have to be able to thank God for your wounds.

Now, let me understand this clearly. I'm not saying that you should give thanks for evil. You know, the Bible says give thanks in everything. It doesn't necessarily say give thanks for everything. And so I'm not saying you should thank God for all the injustices that have been done upon you as if to say that the evil somehow is something that we should prize or exalt, but you can give thanks to God for the wounds that you bear, the wounds that you bear because they can become that means of blessing that we have talked about this morning. And in the process of giving thanks to God for those wounds, you will entirely be able to change your perspective and you will begin to see that God can become a part of some awful, terrible wounds. Recently somebody said, you know, he said, I was, I was born out of wedlock.

You know, you always have this question in the back of your mind with that kind of a background. Can God really bless me? I mean, really bless me.

I mean, not just save me, but how can I be special when strictly speaking, I shouldn't be here. I want you to know today that some of the people whom God has used the most mightily were conceived out of wedlock. You've heard me tell many times from this pulpit, the story of Felix months and how he was drowned in the Lamont river and how we were there this fall. And we had the privilege of standing right where the drowning took place. And I gave an exposition as to how this godly man was shoved out into the water and drowned because he believed that he should be rebaptized.

Felix months was the illegitimate child of a priest, great hero of mine. Never sell God short on his ability to take deep wounds and scars and make them beautiful. Psalm 147 verse three, he takes the broken hearted and he binds up their loons. Blessed are those who can see God even in the midst of painful wounds and hurts. There was a man who was the son of a prostitute born into conditions that were so dehumanizing, growing up with bitterness towards his mother for the situation in which he found himself and all the hostility and the rejection and the anger and the wound, which seemed beyond healing. But he left this area and he got it on a train and he went all the way to Pennsylvania where he stood at the grave of his mother and stood there for the better part of an afternoon to let all the bitterness, all the venom, all the hurt, all the pain, he let it out. I told you earlier that that doesn't mean that he is just there by healed, but healing now becomes possible because the healing can't take until the poison is out and after the poison is out there has to be the salve of love and then there has to be the bandages of thanksgiving and it becomes a part of a process for wounds to become.

Scars. But will you remember today those of you who cannot receive love and seemingly can't give it either? Will you remember today that Christianity is the only religion whose God was wounded and today has scars?

Let's pray. Now Father, we pray that your blessed Holy Spirit would work in the lives and hearts of all those who have listened. May the grace of Christ, may the love of Christ, may the compassion of God reach even that part of us that we think is unloved and unlovable. And let us remember that he was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed.

Thank you that we come today to a savior who looks as if he had been slain. We pray today Father that you might just mightily speak to those who are present. Give couples the freedom to get right with each other and right with you. Give young people with all of the baggage of the past the freedom to be healed.

That they might be able to love again. Father, thank you. Before I close this prayer, why don't you pray now? You tell God whatever you need to tell him. If you need to cry, please do that. That's why God gave you tear ducts. Let God love you. Let God heal you by his grace and strength. Would you? Talk to him.

Talk to him. Father, thank you for your grace and love. We pray today for open hearts and responsive spirits. In Jesus name, Amen.

My friend, isn't it wonderful to know that the only wounds that we shall see in heaven are the wounds of Jesus. God understands us much better than we realize. And no matter where you are at on your spiritual journey, God is able to walk with you.

Indeed, he does walk with you. The question is, are you willing to give it all to him and to be sure that your heart has been purified by the blood of Christ? This series of messages, I believe, has been a tremendous blessing to a lot of people.

Perhaps you've missed some of the sermons, you'd like to hear them again, the ones that you have heard, you want to share them with your friends. That's why we are making this series available to you in permanent form. Here's what you do, and I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy. And because this is the last day that we are making them available, I'll give you that contact info again in just a moment.

But for now, RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. The title of the series, pulling together in a world tearing apart and aren't we tearing apart? We're being torn apart politically, racially, morally. In every possible way, we are bombarded with conflict and everyone is shouting at everyone else. We need calmness. We need to meet at the foot of the cross. We need hope.

That's why I think this series of messages is so critical for this cultural moment. Once again, go to RTWOffer.com. That's RTWOffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. The title of the series, pulling together in a world tearing apart.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1935, North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Scars. Scars mean that you and I can be healed. Pastor Erwin Lutzer has concluded his message to love again. The last in a life changing series on pulling together in a world tearing apart. A wounded savior can indeed heal our wounds so that we can once again run the race of life. Next time a series begins on how being in the body of Christ means we can be living as God's community. Plan to join us. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-26 02:55:01 / 2024-04-26 03:03:29 / 8

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