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We Are Called To A Living Hope–Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
April 29, 2024 1:00 am

We Are Called To A Living Hope–Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 29, 2024 1:00 am

The trials we face are sometimes necessary. For the persecuted church in the first century, Peter’s letter anchored them with a lasting hope. In this message, Pastor Lutzer explores the blessings of being chosen by the Triune God. Amid all the trials, Christians have an inheritance, reserved in heaven.

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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 you read the headlines, the future looks dark, but believers in the race of life know the goal line is not affected by this present darkness. Peter wrote that we're born again to a living hope. Today, part one in a series on living as God's community. 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 we embark on living as God's community.

Tell us where you'll be going as we learn together. You know, Dave, this series of messages emphasizes the need for holy living, for commitment to Jesus Christ, but also commitment to each other. You know, as a result of COVID, people discovered that they could watch the church service, their church service online, so they stayed home.

And we can all understand why that happened. But the problem is that many continue to do that, even though they could physically be in church. And they don't recognize that watching a computer is not exactly going to church. Going to church is bearing one another's burdens. It is connecting with others.

It is serving within the body. That's what going to church is. And I have to tell you very honestly and directly, given the confusion in our world, we need one another more than ever. We can't live the Christian life alone. God has given us community, and we need to take advantage of it. So how are y'all doing this morning? Everybody ready to jump into God's Word?

Everybody ready to have their hearts opened by God and to leave encouraged and changed? The problem was not Katrina. The problem was that the levees broke.

If the levees hadn't broken, Katrina would not have been the catastrophe that it turned out to be. We're living at a time in history when there is a great storm on the horizon here in the United States and I'm sure around the world. We're living at a time when secularism is gobbling up all the public square that used to be occupied by at least some kind of a Christian consensus. We're living at a time when Islam is making tremendous gains in Europe and a lot more gains here in the United States than you and I are aware of. Morally and spiritually, we are a nation that is filled with rot.

The question is, will the levees hold? Just this morning, it so happens that I read in the scripture that if God does not take care of a city, those who oversee it and watch it labor in vain. I believe that the church is God's last big hope and our last big hope for this nation, for ourselves and for the gospel. In this series of messages, we are going to be talking about the church. You know that years ago here at the Moody Church, we established a promise statement.

The promise statement was only 15 words. Moody Church is a trusted place where anyone can connect with God and others. And we continue to hold to that promise.

And isn't it wonderful to see the kind of diversity that God has brought to us? But today I'd like to also introduce you to a mission statement. The mission statement is that Moody Church is a community called by God to live passionately for Jesus Christ. And in the next couple of messages, we're going to unpack that and find out what that means, what it means in terms of being a called community and what it means to live passionately for Jesus Christ. If you have your Bibles and it is very important that you open them today, if you are perhaps one who just happened to forget yours, though you regularly bring it, but you just happen to have forgotten and you want to use the Bible that is in front of you, it would be page 1014. 1014, it is the book of First Peter. There's a verse that I want you to memorize, which is kind of the the anchor verse for this series, and that is First Peter, chapter two, verse nine. First Peter, chapter two, verse nine.

Put this on your refrigerator, because at some point I'm going to ask all those who know it by memory to stand. Not today, but in the future. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. That says it all. The first two messages in the series are going to deal with what it means to be called. The other messages will deal with what it means to be a community, and I'll speak more specifically at that time, casting vision for Moody Church. Today I decided that since it says that we are a chosen race, that what we do is look at the first nine verses of First Peter to find out what that is all about. I also determined that today is a day in which I believe that the word of God is going to bless us so much that at some point you're going to say to me, Pastor Lutzer, stop. We can't take all this blessing anymore.

I hope that when it's time for me to stop, that's where you'll be at. You'll notice that it opens by saying that this is a letter to the elect exiles of the dispersion because of the persecutions. Jews and Gentiles went everywhere. Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia means Asia Minor, and Bithynia. And this is basically the land of Turkey today.

Rebecca and I have actually been to Cappadocia, one of the most remarkable places in all the world. And so Peter is writing to people who are in the midst of persecution. They are going through hard times as people have always gone through hard times, and he's going to write to them. But first of all, I want you to see how Peter anchors his remarks in God, and that's what I want to do as well. If we can think of the church as being a tree, today we're going to talk about the roots going down deep. The first two messages in the series is how deep do the roots go, and then we'll talk about the fruit of it all, proclaiming the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. You'll notice that God determines the salvation of you and me.

Peter says that unashamedly and unapologetically. You'll notice he says that he's writing to those who are the elect exiles, and then in order to continue this sentence, he gives us who those are, and then he says, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father in sanctification of the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood. I want you to see how the whole Trinity is involved in salvation.

I've been mulling around the idea of sometimes preaching a series of messages just entitled, What God Had to Do to Save You. He really had to have a very far reach, and God was involved, and the entire Trinity is involved, and we can see it here. First of all, we are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. It is the Father who elects us, a word that is used 22 times in the New Testament, the elect.

It means that God chose you. You say, well, did he choose in relationship to foreknowledge? In other words, he foreknew those who would believe and then chose them. If this were a classroom and I had 15 minutes, I'd show you that the word foreknowledge really means to foreordain. In fact, in verse 20 of this chapter, it talks about Jesus Christ who was foreknown. It doesn't simply mean that God had knowledge.

It means foreloved. And God chose you. And when did he do it? Before the foundation of the world. Now think of your name right now, who you are, where you grew up, who your parents are. Did you know that God, if you're a believer today, already back then before you appeared, chose you? I'm glad that he chose me before the foundation of the world, because if he had waited until I showed up, he might have changed his mind. But he chose me before the foundation of the world.

Just accept that. You say, well, what about those who aren't chosen? Listen to those of you who aren't believers today. At the end of the message, I'll tell you how you can find out whether or not you are chosen.

So that's the deal. So the Father chose you. Notice that the Spirit sanctifies you. The Holy Spirit of God works in our hearts to give us a love of holiness, keeps teaching us that sin is a bad idea, because the Holy Spirit wants Christlikeness in us. And he invites us to follow him and to be dependent upon him. The filling of the Holy Spirit, another topic that I'd like to deal with sometime, is the fact that the Holy Spirit already is resident within us, but he wants to also be president within us. And so the sanctification of the Spirit and Jesus is involved.

The sprinkling of his blood, it says. Because you see, the blood of Jesus Christ, God's son, not only forgives our sins, but the blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin. I can imagine there's some of you here today who are forgiven, but you're not cleansed. I remember a woman speaking to me who had had an abortion.

And whenever she saw a child in a shopping center that would be approximately the age of hers, she was overwhelmed with grief and had to run somewhere just to weep. She'd been forgiven because she had received God's forgiveness, but her conscience wasn't cleansed, constantly condemning her. Listen, 1 John 1 says, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us. And the cleansing of the conscience is something that the blood of Jesus Christ always does. A woman said to me one time over the telephone, I cannot take steel wool to my heart and scrub it.

And that's right, you can't. You need a detergent that goes down so deep into the crevices of your heart where no person has ever gone except you. You need cleansing in those closets within you that you have tried to hide from God and to hide from others. You need the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. The father chooses us, the spirit sanctifies us, and the son cleanses us.

The whole Trinity has to be involved to save you. This was a major project, God's greatest project. So Peter is saying, remember that your salvation is rooted in eternity in God. So God does this. Now, what else does God do? Well, God has an inheritance for us and he secured that inheritance. He prepared it and now on our journey all the way to heaven, what has God got waiting for us?

You'll notice that the text now says, verse three, blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again. By the way, did you make the decision as to whether or not you would be born?

Did your parents ask you and say, well, you know, it's not really right to bring somebody into the world unless we ask them whether they want to be here first. Now that decision was not made by you. And you know, that decision that you made to receive Christ and become a member of his family, that was made by your father in heaven.

And you were just responding to what your father already decided to do. Now you'll notice, blessed be the God and father. He caused us to be born again to a living hope. This is a living hope to be distinguished from a dead hope. A dead hope is wishful thinking.

A dead hope would be, you know, we hope that when we elect new leaders here in Illinois that they will lower our taxes. That's a good definition of a dead hope. That's a dead hope.

That's wishful thinking. This is a living hope. It's a growing hope. It is, it is hoping in that of which we are already assured. It is the hope that is secure. It is the hope and the sure knowledge that we belong to God.

And this is a living hope. And you'll notice that it comes as a result of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And now we get to what's going to be waiting for us when we die. This is going to be so exciting that when the end comes, and I asked those of you who'd like to go to your inheritance today, I might actually find a huge response.

Look at what it says. It says that we are saved, verse four, to an inheritance. And now he defines that inheritance.

We are waiting for something. And that inheritance is imperishable. It is eternal. It can't be affected by the stock market. It can't be affected by who is in power. It can't be affected by your friends who dislike you. It can't be affected by employers who are chiseling you.

No, no, no. It is imperishable. It will be there no matter how long you live, because it is unaffected by time. It is an eternal inheritance. Notice it is not only imperishable. All this is in verse four, but it is undefiled. It is very holy. Imagine when we are holy. You see, and we have to be holy to live in a place that is that holy. Imagine being so holy that you don't mind if anyone knows your thoughts, that any thought that you have would be a thought that you'd be glad to have if your mother were to know it, or your wife, or your daughter, or anyone else, because we are in a place that is holy, undefiled. And God makes us undefiled so that we can live there.

If we went there the way we are right now, we'd spoil that place so soon that it gets so dirty the moment that we arrived. So it is a place that is being prepared for us that is undefiled, that is unfading, never gets depleted, not like, you know, honors and flowers and everything else, however beautiful they may be. They fade away, but this is unfading. And my friend, it is eternally unfading. And then you'll notice it is kept. We could translate it reserved.

I like that word better. You know what it's like to arrive at a place and all these people are pushing and shoving and hoping they can get in and you've got tickets and it is reserved. And so you walk past everybody else because you have a place that is reserved for you. My believer friend today, let me tell you that in heaven there is a room that only you can enter. There is a crown that only you can wear.

There are clothes tailor-made just for you. It's waiting there reserved in heaven for you. Now notice the text goes on to say that in the process we are being guarded. Well, you know, you have a treasure like this. You'd expect to be guarded, wouldn't you? I mean, you're glad that you are being guarded so that you get there. Verse five, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time.

The word guarded is a military term. Because on the way to our inheritance, the devil tempts us. He wants to destroy us. He is sometimes given awesome power to discipline us. That's why we go through his hassles. He's disciplining us.

God is using him ultimately for our good and en route. There are people who would rather that we not inherit anything. We have human relationships that are so difficult to untangle and we have economic issues.

We've got all kinds of problems. And so God says, I'm going to guard you all the way to the time of redemption. God is going to do the guarding and no army on earth is going to affect you. And no army on earth is going to affect your inheritance that is waiting there for you. That is secure. And the fact that you will arrive is guaranteed by God.

Satan can destroy, but he ultimately can afford God's purpose. It is guarded there by God waiting for you. I'll tell you, things are going to get very, very good someday. Now, what do we do in the meantime while we're waiting? You know, waiting becomes a, what shall we say?

A little, we lose patience in the midst of waiting. So what are we supposed to do while we wait? Here we live on earth with all of our problems, all of our issues, and we're supposed to be waiting for the inheritance.

What's happening between now and then? Well, the truth is that not only does God determine our salvation and he determines and preserves our inheritance, but we honor him. We honor him by faith. And here, what we're going to do is to see four purposes or four things I should say about trials. Now, how many of you say, Pastor Lutzer, I have never had a single trial?

Could I see your hands, please? I'm looking in the balcony, particularly for those of you who perhaps came late and you didn't have an opportunity to know all the good things that are going on here. And the answer to that question is that all of us have had trials. And if you're not having a trial now, you're going to write this down because it's coming.

It's coming. You'll notice that it says that while we are waiting, it tells us what we should do. But first of all, four things about trials, though now I'm in the middle of verse six, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials. First of all, they are temporal.

It's just a little while. Somewhere I remember reading a story and I wasn't able to track it down, but it was of what would it be like if you were going to a mansion, let's say the Biltmore mansion, which is out in the Carolinas, which Rebecca and I have driven past many times, but we've never gone in. But let us suppose that you knew that you inherited it. You had the papers, but you had to get there by horse and buggy and it's cold and it's rainy and in the mud there's a wheel that comes off of the buggy and the horse gets sick and you're 10 miles from the place and you're weary and you're tired. Wouldn't you be inspired though, knowing that you can endure that because not too far down the road there is this mansion that's prepared. There is this inheritance.

Listen, that's the way life is. It is short. Think of how long eternity is. Think of all of the flakes of snow that have fallen in Chicago and in New York and all of the United States of America or the world for that matter, all of the flakes of snow that have fallen during a winter, billions upon billions upon billions.

And let's suppose that every flake were a year. That's a long time. Eternity will scarcely have begun when we've lived that long in heaven. And now we're spending our life complaining. And some of you I know are going through terrible trials and I'll talk about that in a moment, but we just think that life is tough.

Yes, life is tough, but think of what is coming. There is a place that is reserved in heaven for us, kept by the power of God. And we're guarded from point A to point B by God's power. I don't know about you, but that sure blesses my soul, that word reserved.

There's a place in heaven reserved for us. It has your name on it, my friend, if you're a believer in Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, as we journey this life, we find many different temptations and there is no temptation as great as that of sexuality. I've written a book entitled Living with Your Passions and this is the second to last day that we are making this book available. Some of the chapters have to do with the consequences of sexual sin, the rationalizations that people have, those who want to take their chances, how it is that there are people in relationships that they cannot break off, and then the book ends with hope, how Christ can change us controlling our thoughts, resisting Satan's strategies, emotional healing, facing tomorrow. For a gift of any amount, we're making this book available. I'm sure I don't have to emphasize the fact that in our world today, we are obsessed with sexuality.

It is everywhere, especially in this media culture. That's why I believe so deeply that this book, Living with Your Passions, is going to be of help to you and help even as you talk to others. For a gift of any amount, we're making it available. 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. Remember, this is the next to the last day we're making this resource available.

rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And thanks in advance for helping us, because of your prayers and your gifts, we're making a difference around the world. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Life on Earth is an exam to determine the genuineness of our faith. As Peter tells us, the test scores will be announced when Jesus returns. Next time, what it means to have joy unspeakable and full of glory. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-29 02:08:05 / 2024-04-29 02:16:54 / 9

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