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We Are Called To Holiness – 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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May 2, 2024 1:00 am

We Are Called To Holiness – 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 2, 2024 1:00 am

Every believer is a saint. How do we live in light of the price Jesus paid for our redemption? In this message from 1 Peter 2, Pastor Lutzer defines three distinctives of God’s call to holiness. If there is nothing within us desiring to be like God in purity and love, we need to seriously question whether we are truly a believer.

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Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. When God said, Be ye holy, for I am holy, He was giving us a command that our characters grow to match His. As members of the body of Christ, we're called to live in sync with God's will and purpose, and that includes a separation from sin.

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, if holiness is separation from sin, how can any of us get there in a polluted culture? Dave, I have to say that I've been captivated by the phrase that you used when you said we are to live in sync with God. And really, that's true because God said, Be ye holy, for I am holy. In answer to your question, how can we be holy, maybe that's why the Bible says that we should pursue holiness. We never really get there, but it is possible for us to walk in fellowship with God, and in that sense, to be holy, thanks to Christ, so that we can come to God the Father and be in fellowship with him. That's our goal, that's our desire. I've written a book entitled When You've Been Wronged, and I have to say, I don't think that there is anything that keeps people away from God as much as bitterness, anger, and injustice. And at the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be giving you information as to how this book can be yours.

For now, let's consider how to live a life of holiness in a world that is so filled with sin. Were there others of you who had a dad like that? He just looked at you and that's all that was needed? Now, my older brother needed a little more than simply a look.

But I was the youngest, and the youngest is always the charmers. They just need a look, and they begin to obey. But I feared him, but in a good sense. In the very same way, we should fear God. You remember when Joseph was confronted with sin, what did he say when Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him? How shall I do this great wickedness and sin against God? That's a proper fear of God. What he was saying is, I have a right view of God and I have a right view of sin. He didn't say, now how can I have this affair on the side and get by?

What lies can I tell afterwards? It's not the fear of God that is insulting God. It's not the fear of a servant, but it is the fear of a son. Why should we be holy? First of all, because if you're born again, you have the nature of God. And not only that, but we anticipate the judgment of God. God takes it very seriously.

And by the way, if you're here today and you're simply investigating Christianity, I want you to keep listening, because I want you to know what you're missing out on when it comes to holiness and everything else. There's a third reason, and that is because of the investment of God. Notice how Peter connects these ideas. He says, for example, in verse 18, knowing that you were ransomed, and this is a continuation of the sentence, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish and without spot who was foreknown or foreloved or chosen from before the foundation of the world.

Peter says, don't you know how much God invested in you? Now, when we think of the word ransom, we have to realize that there's the word redeem. You have a situation in those days where there were many, many millions of slaves. And a slave could have bought his own freedom if he had had enough money, but of course he didn't.

In that sense, the slave had a better chance of redeeming himself than you and I do, because he could have won the lottery or in some way he could have had the money that he needed. But there was no way that you and I could redeem ourselves. Dead and trespasses and sins, everything that we do is somehow tainted.

There is really no way that you and I could have accomplished our own redemption. Jesus had to do it. Just like in the Old Testament, you remember the story of the Israelites in Egypt, how that God was going to send a plague and he did. And the firstborn of Egypt were killed by the angel of death, the angel of the Lord. And yet if there was a lamb that took the place of the firstborn, when I see the blood, I will pass over you, God said. And that's why we have the Passover is because God passed over all those who were protected by the blood of Christ. But the lamb died in the place of the firstborn. In the very same way, he says here that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and the price that he paid was called a ransom.

Two things about that ransom. First of all, it was intended to purchase us out of the slavery of sin. And you know, sin is a terrible slave master. Jesus said, whoever commits sin is a servant of sin, especially when sin becomes an addiction.

What a terrible master it is. You wake up in the morning and it tells you what to do. It tells you what to do during the day, no matter how much you dislike it, no matter how much it affects your conscience, no matter how polluted you feel afterwards.

This is something that you have to do. And Jesus came to purchase us out from under that kind of slavery. He bought us so that we don't have to have that obligation to sin anymore. And so the object is really our redemption.

And what is the price that is paid? Once again, Peter refers to money, silver and gold. If you're with us last time, you know that he referred to the trial of our faith being much more precious than gold, even if it's the kind of gold that is refined by fire. He says now in the very same way, he says, we were not redeemed with perishable things.

Don't you love it? When an economic crisis happens, the thing that people go for, the thing that they are willing to die for is gold. Have you seen on television, probably the history channel, all that people have been willing to endure during the gold rush?

Poverty, the death of some of their teams, going through excruciating things just to get gold. And Peter says that far from it being imperishable, it is perishable, silver and gold. He says, that's not what purchased you. You were purchased by the precious blood of Christ.

There's no comparison. Gold may be able to buy a slave out of slavery in the Roman empire, a piece of gold. Gold will never purchase you out of the slave market of sin.

Only Jesus could do that. Have you ever thought of how terrible sin is? It is so terrible that in order for God to purchase us out of its power and slavery, he had to give the best he had, namely his son to come and die and to give his life and to shed his most precious blood. Sin is terrible. Now, when you and I magnify sin, because it was sin that put Jesus on the cross, it would be like taking a knife that was perhaps used in the murder of your own son.

If your son were murdered, you would take the knife that the murderer used and you'd keep it in a case and you show it to all your friends and you'd say, you know, this knife is very, very precious to me. You say, well, that's absolutely absurd. And that's how absurd it is for us to honor our sins and become slaves of them because we were purchased at such high cost by God. No wonder we should love the Lord Jesus Christ.

No wonder we should serve him. No wonder we should love holiness. First of all, because we've been born again with the nature of God. Secondly, because of the fact that we should fear the judgment of God. And then we think of the investment of God and we're playing around toying with our sins when Jesus did so much to redeem us from them. How sin dishonors Jesus. Now to help us nail this down for just a few moments.

Let me suggest the following bottom lines. The call to salvation. The call to salvation is a call to holiness. The call of salvation is a call to holiness. It is a call to God likeness. You know, when the Bible calls us saints and it does often, for example, the apostle Paul begins the book of Ephesians and Philippians to the saints, which are in Ephesus or the saints, which are in Philippi, et cetera, et cetera. Do you know what the Greek word is? It's the holy ones to the holy ones in Ephesus, to the holy ones in Philippi.

That's what it really is. Because in Jesus, when you receive him as savior, you are already in him made holy and God declares you to be a saint. You know, this idea that you have to die and then you have to do some miracles because somebody prayed for you in order to become a saint.

I hope that you understand that that is purely human man made tradition. That's not the way you become a saint. You are already a saint. Would you look at the person next to you right now and say you are a saint?

Some of you are taking a little longer to say that than I am. Paul could write and say to the saints that are at Moody Church, you see, we become saints by faith in Christ, but, and this is very critical now, now that we have been made holy in Jesus, it is our responsibility and privilege to pursue holiness in actual experience. I told you that the prayer that I tried to pray every morning before I get out of bed is this, oh God, glorify yourself in my life today at my expense.

Eventually, by the way, that expense becomes the very best thing that could happen to me. But another prayer that we really ought to pray is this, oh God, today make me as holy as it is possible for a human being to be. It says in the book of Hebrews that we should pursue holiness without which no man will see the Lord.

I want to speak to you candidly today. If you are totally comfortable with your sin, if there is nothing within you that says I desire something better and I would like to really be holy, I would like to be God like in purity and in love. If there's nothing within you that says that you need to seriously question whether or not you're a believer because God implants his nature within us. God gives us a desire for holiness because a desire for holiness is a desire for God and a love of God produces holiness.

In fact, a love of God to the exclusion of self or if you love self, you will not love God. But the call to salvation is always a call to holiness. Are you saved?

Have you been born from above? There's a second bottom line and that is this, the call to holiness, this call to holiness is always a call to enjoy God, to enjoy God. Remember I mentioned the little boy who said that holiness is being clean inside? Is there anything as wonderful as being clean inside and being in fellowship with God?

Oftentimes when I'm asked to give my autograph to something, I always like to write Psalm 16 11. In thy presence there is fullness of joy at thy right hand. There are pleasures forevermore. You really want to be free of sin. You want to be free of the clouds that are left over after you sin and all of the nagging conscience.

You want to be free of that. You come to Jesus Christ, you're cleansed, you're forgiven, you're made clean inside and then you live clean and you discover fulfillment and blessing and a sense of the benediction of God on your life. First page of Augustine's Confessions. O God thou has made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they find they're all in thee. 16th century Henry Segal I believe it was is that every person is born within having a raging thirst for God and he goes to this well to get it quenched and to that well and all of the wells are basically empty and he goes to the cisterns that are broken that can hold no water and he goes from here to there from relationship to relationship from issue to issue and what he doesn't do is to go to God and find that that's what he's been looking for all the time. Pascal we are created with a God shaped vacuum that only God can fulfill. I wish it would be more true of my life but the more you know God you can really say you know there is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God. A place where sin cannot molest near to the heart of God.

What a place to be. Can we agree as a church to be done with sin? Can we agree to that? Anybody out there who says yeah we agree?

Playing around with mud pies as C.S. Lewis said when God has prepared something so much better for us be holy for I am holy. Write that verse above your television set. Finally a call to holiness is a community project which really leads us to the messages that will follow.

You'll notice it says that we are one nation. We are a holy nation. We can't be holy alone.

We can't make it on our own. God established the church in such a way that he says we need each other and that's why the early church that we will also be looking at how the early church always was meeting together always meeting together why because there's strength there's strength in community. We are a community as we'll be explaining called by God to live passionately for Jesus Christ but we can't do it without community.

I conclude today by appealing to those of you who have never trusted Christ as Savior. There was a man by the name of John Bunyan who wrote a book entitled The Pilgrim's Progress. Actually Bunyan was in jail for 12 years for preaching the gospel.

He could have gotten out if he had just stopped preaching but the whole idea was he was told there in England that he had to be licensed to preach and he said I'm not going to be licensed by anybody because licensing means control so he's in jail. He writes that marvelous book The Pilgrim's Progress and in it if you know the book he visualizes himself with a burden of sin on his shoulders. The burden of sin is a troubled conscience. It's with you when you wake up.

You need sleeping pills to put you to bed because of the guilt and the turmoil and it's always with you and the Apostle Paul described it in Romans chapter 7 who shall deliver me from this body of sin. This sin that I carry on my shoulders. If you could go to the grave of Bunyan as Rebecca and I had the privilege of doing in England you would see that there on his tombstone chiseled into it is a picture of a man broken burdened over with his load of sin and he's rolling it off at the foot of the cross. It's the only place my friend where your sin can be rolled away.

The precious blood of Jesus to redeem you to save you. Can we as a church be committed to holiness? If we are committed to holiness we will be a strong powerhouse in the city of Chicago and around the world because the Bible says that Jesus is working with his people to sanctify the church to present her pure and holy without spot and without wrinkle and that's really what Jesus is after but you and I fought that because sin means so much to us we don't want to give it up. Be ye holy for I am holy saith the Lord God. Let us pray. Father this message is difficult to preach and difficult to hear because we've had our own way so long we have had such a casual attitude towards our own sins and I confess that and our congregation confesses that and we ask today Lord that in these moments as we sing together may we sing a prayer from the very depths of our heart that whatever you ask us to do would you give us the grace to do it and now before I close in prayer those of you who have never trusted Christ as Savior why don't you just finally give up your sin and say I trust Christ I receive the precious blood of Jesus for myself and those of you who already know him and love him what issues in your life are keeping you from the joy of holiness.

Speak to us Lord we pray. Well my friend I can tell you that one of the reasons that so many people walk away from God and walk away from God's people they don't experience the joy of holy living is because of bitterness they've experienced injustice they oftentimes have been hurt by others who should have helped them and as a result this bitterness festers and as the Bible says many are thereby defiled. I've written a book entitled when you've been wrong the subtitle is moving from bitterness to forgiveness for a gift of any amount we're making this resource available to you I have no doubt it's going to be a great blessing and help to you.

Here's what you do go to that's or call us at 1-888-218-9337 let me ask you this question are you experiencing bitterness that you won't give up the title of the book when you've been wronged go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Pastor Lutzer Luke chapter 16 contains the story of the rich man and Lazarus in the afterlife. One of our Running to Win listeners wants to know this in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man you said this is the only parable in which Jesus uses a specific name does this make it more than a parable?

Yes I think it does as a matter of fact I pointed that out when I say that Jesus used this specific name namely he's talking about Lazarus and the rich man and in parables Jesus always simply said a certain man did this or that I believe that the reason that he named Lazarus in Luke 16 is because it's an actual story so I think yes it is more than a parable and if it isn't an actual story of something that happened it illustrates something that is very chilling doesn't it because that's the story of the rich man who died and found himself in a place of suffering over against Lazarus the poor man who was in Abraham's bosom really does open up death to us it's something like a curtain pulled back and there we see the afterlife it's a great account and I believe it just as Jesus said it. Thank you Pastor Lutzer for your thoughts on Luke chapter 16. If you'd like to hear your questions answered you can just go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. A lot of people like to do their own thing and some Christians take that approach when it comes to church attendance. Next time on Running to Win find out why you and I need a local church. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-02 02:18:13 / 2024-05-02 02:26:29 / 8

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