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A Bad Man Made Good Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
February 1, 2021 1:00 am

A Bad Man Made Good Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 1, 2021 1:00 am

We cannot win in life’s race without agreeing with God about our basic condition. We need His grace, not to supplement our goodness, but to save us from our depravity. In this message, we hear some straight talk about how badly we need the grace of God.

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Morris longer life's race without agreeing with God about her basin condition. We need his grace not to supplement our goodness, save us from our gravity string about how badly we need the grace of God church in Chicago this morning when Sir helps us make it looser. Why do some perceive their need for God's grace while others do not.

Well Dave, thank you so much for asking me a question that has been debated by theologians for about 2000 years. The simple fact is that there are some who see their need. With God's help and then there are those who perhaps God is trying to help but they refused to see their need and so they don't respond to God and and what's exciting about the New Testament is when God converted this all and he became Paul Jesus himself came from heaven to do it and what a miracle that was in a moment were going to be emphasizing why it is that only God is able to take bad people and make them good.

Meanwhile I have to tell you that this series of messages titled why good people do bad things. This is the last in the series and were making it available for you for a gift of any amount. Here's what you do go to RTW that's RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 of course I'll be giving you that contact information again after this message. For now, let us open our hearts and see once again the transforming power of God who are you, Lord Saul asked, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. He replied in the rest of the story is that he begins to understand that he, Jesus is Messiah, God of very God, let me ask you the question, what does God do as a result of this, by the way the vision was so real, so real that later on the impossible is going to argue that he has a right to be an apostle because he seen the risen Christ. Just like the disciples who saw Jesus after he rose from the dead in the very same way, Paul says, have I not seen Christ in the flash how real the revelation was to him what happened. Let me explain what happened and then will look at the text and find out how God did it oppose mind was changed about who Jesus was.

He now realized that the very act of persecuting the church of God meant that he was actually persecuting Christ himself who are you, Lord. He recognizes Christ to be God of very God, so he changed his mind about Jesus. That's not where the transformation ended. It all happened is that Paul would've changed his mind about Jesus, you have simply turned around and begun to persecute all those who don't trust Christ, he would've just been the same person with a little bit more added information. No my dear friend when God converts somebody he he changes the desires the desires or change the nature is change during the days of the first great awakening in the 1750s in America. Hundreds of people were being converted many people were listening to the preaching of Edwards and Whitfield and then conversions were taking place all over but the revivalists were very concerned because when ever you have a movement of the Holy Spirit of God. Satan always impersonates that movement and furthermore people want to get caught up on it and they have false assurance. Third, people hopping around with supposedly a great deal of joy. Even then, and Edwards would look at them and say you know a couple of months down the road. There's no evidence that you have actually believed in Christ in a saving way because I don't see it in your life. So in order to defend the movement.

Edwards wrote a book entitled religious affections.

We could translate it religious desires or proper desires and what he says is that one of the first evidences of the new birth, but one is been saved is a whole new set of law. One loves differently whom having not seen ye love. Speaking of Christ and though you see him not you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, imagine you so love the person whom you have never seen that you are still filled with unspeakable joy and Edwards went down the line that God implants within us a love for himself a love for his word.

A love for others a sense of brokenness and humility and all those things are gone thing within the human heart.

If it's a true conversion not have to ask you a question. As I was preparing this message, it dawned on me that there could be dozens of people listening to this message and eventually thousands listening once it's on the radio, who think that they are saved and are not, and the reason they think they are is because they say when forward I believed in Jesus. When I was a child or maybe I said the prayer and and I said this prayer in and I'm basically a good person and so forth. But there is no evidence that the work of God is actually taken place in their hearts and and they don't love God and they don't love Christ and they don't rejoice in Jesus ever with joy unspeakable and full of glory. They had never been born again by the Holy Spirit of God, that's so sobering to think that could be people in the choir would never saving the believed on Jesus even though their singing these marvelous marvelous hymns there could be ushers there could be Sunday school teachers there could be deacons there could be members of our executive committee who in one sense, give some indication because they're very religious and very cold fine people, but their heart is never been transformed by God. You see, when it comes to love. You can't just wheels to love or there's a sense in which we can even will to love our enemies. But there's another sense in which love cannot be turned on and off like a faucet you can say to yourself what you know, I'm just going to choose to love and there's no feeling there's no infection all just simply choose to love. Nor can you stop loving. Think of all the lovers who have had broken hearts because they wish they could turn it off but somehow the heart is not subject to the head. It just keeps on going on what you have so much tears and brokenness and sometimes it takes years to get over a relationship.

What I'm saying is you can't wake up in the morning and say to yourself today. I'm going to love God. Today I'm going to have a hunger for the word of God. Today I'm going to love Jesus, you can do that.

The only way that can happen is if God does and miracle of implanting that love in you because it is not something that arises from our sinful hearts so the apostle Paul had this conversion experience and all throughout his writings he talked about his love for Christ and his love for God. How did God do it very quickly notice were back in the text in first Timothy chapter 1 he says I wish shown mercy. That's verse 13.

Mercy was shown to me what is mercy mercy is God preventing us getting what we deserve because we deserve judgment, mercy is God withholding that judgment and it's a free gift.

Obviously pulses I was shown mercy.

It's in the passive tense.

He says that I can do is receive it just like the vegetation cannot cause the rain but can lay back and enjoy the rain and the very same way the mercy of God came to the apostle Paul. Furthermore, he says next.

He said I received grace. This is in verse 14 the grace of God was poured out on me of Bentley. You know, in Greek. It's super grace hits the Greek word who pair from which we get hyper you know children who have the hyper energy or their hyper active with we mean is there is super active.

That's the word that's used here. Paul says you know when God save some people.

All that they need is grace, but because I was such a super center.

I needed super grace special grace because I'm a big sinner.

I'm not just one of these little sinners, you know, brought up in the evangelical church who goes to Sunday school and wins awards" verses of Scripture.

I was somebody who was trying to kill the people of God and defaming the only Savior who can possibly save people from their sins. I was a blasphemer. This is bad stuff boy when God save me. He had to have super grace and this meant that the transformation of the heart took place, but also that God granted to the apostle Paul, the gift of righteousness, so that he would be declared as legally perfect as God himself is which is the only way we can get into heaven today. I speak to some of you who need super grace if the truth were known to bowl the secrets were out of the closets or some of you listening to this message. You've done terrible things, maybe even criminal things, things that if were really known you might be put behind bars today and you say to yourself if there is anyone who needs to be saved is I've but I just don't need the grace of God I needs for grace pulses. That's what I received John Newton who was a slave trader wrote his own epitaph. I think that's important to do some debt like to write mine but I do want to rush it.

He said I was an infidel, a libertarian slave trader I was by the mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ preserved, restored, pardoned and appointed to preach the faith I had at one time determined to destroy that's conversion were you become a lover of the gospel. Now notice pulses. I received the mercy of God, I received the grace of God. What else did he receive he received the showpiece of God.

I'm using that word because it says in verse 15. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst pulses just look at my pedigree look at my resume look at what I was doing, but for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, listen up. Those of you who have thanked that you send too much for God to forgive you, that in me, the worst of sinners, Jesus Christ might display his unlimited patience. Now here's the word I want. As an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Underline the word example in Greek it means a first draft prototype sketch. Paul says God decided to show mercy upon me, so that throughout all generations of the 20 and 30 generations and centuries from now people would be able to say if God can save Paul he can save anybody. I was the worst that God had because it involved a change of mind.

It involved a change of heart and now nobody will ever here's the gospel can say I'm too bad for the good news. How do we summarize this today, as we conclude this series of messages. How does God make a bad man, good. First of all let me say that the issue is not the greatness of your sin. The issue is the ability of God. The issue is not the greatness of your sin. It is the ability of God to see when God gives righteousness to the good, the people you know the goody two shoes people. The man who told me that the worst thing I ever did was in a fit of anger.

Rapa golf club around the tree.

I mean, aren't you just impressed with that. Aren't you just saying wow you know what else can you do can also walk on water. Drumming is marvelous.

God saves those people by giving them the righteousness of Christ and how is he saving the vilest offender. How does he save the criminals. I'll tell you how he does it by giving them the same gift of righteousness.

The issue is not the extent of your sin. The issue is really the willingness of the hard heart, that's the issue. It is true that the vilest of sinners who truly believes that moment from Jesus of pardon receives. Secondly, the issue is not whether you repented, but whether you are repenting, not whether you repented, but whether you are repenting, see this is what happens in evangelical circles. People say what course I'm saved. I prayed a prayer when I was six years older when I was three years older when I was two years old. If two years older are able to pray prayers as their mother leads them in and they say what you know of course I accepted Jesus at camp and are looking back to some experience what Edwards and some others wanted to say was that you can never have assurance of salvation by looking back to an experience you can only have assurance by looking today saying has God implanted with in me a love for him and for his word and have my desires been transformed not from within, but from without the intervention of God. That's really the issue and therefore the fruit of the spirit is a life of brokenness and humility. It's a life in which we recognize our our great sin and we we never get over the wonder of the salvation and therefore were putting our arms around people who also need the same salvation, not by thinking when you are so much worse than I am. No no no no, because we have seen our sin and its ugly and we received his grace and it's beautiful and we say to others you receive that grace to now, of course. Unfortunately, to go back to Lewis Stevenson's analogy when we are saved that Mr. hide within us does not leave and say adios, a Mr. Hyde shows up in Mr. hide in fact begins to give the new nature that got implants within us all kinds of trouble and so the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh and where in this tug-of-war that sometimes gets worse after we are saved, and it was before we were saved before we are saved, we just fulfilled our desires and took them wherever they lead. Now suddenly God is implanted new desires within us and the conflict intensifies. Someone said to an Indian. He said I have two dogs within me. I have that evil dog and I have a good dog which one wins. Someone asks well the one I feed the most. So what you do is now you begin to feed on God's word.

You begin to feed on the blessings of God. The hymns of the church, the body of Jesus Christ and as a result of that new appetite that God has implanted it become stronger and stronger and when Mr. Hyde knocks on the door more confidently tell him that he has no longer any authority over you, but the conflict is there, but I have to ask those of you who say that you repented. That's not the issue. Sometimes when people fall in sin, they say, well, you know, he fell and send you know a year or two ago, or did he repent, well that's a nice question. I'm not really the question is he repenting today does he yield to the authority of Jesus Christ and entered the issue is not what you can do alone. But what the body of Christ can help you do. The issue is not what you do alone.

But what the body of Christ can help you do. There is no question but there are sins that people get themselves into a night emphasized this in the preceding message. There are sins that people get themselves into that they cannot get out of those sins alone.

They need help and that's what the body of Christ is all about. That's why we have prayer groups.

That's why we have small groups. That's why we have these opportunities to stimulate one another to good works and to study the word together into pray together and to think together into fellowship together because we know we can't fight this battle on our own, but the transformation of heart can take place. God does take bad people and make them good, not perfect in this life but good people God does do it during the seven days. Many of you will remember this but to New York was terrorized by the son of Sam all kinds of murders throughout the city of New York and everyone was alert and all the women were taking cover and making sure that they didn't want the streets alone and turned out, I believe that the son of Sam was a man betting that David Berkowitz, I think I have that right. When my wife and I were in New York just a couple of weeks ago and talking with Jim symbol, a he was telling us about the marvelous conversion of the son of Sam David Berkowitz, whom he visits often in jail and he says that Berkowitz's leading Bible studies.

He has deep regret over what he did.

He is not looking for parolees received several 100 year sentences and then the pastor symbol is said that a publisher, he's encouraging a Christian publisher to publish his story and these publishers said to him, yeah but you know for sure you save you get weary about all these people being converted in prison, presents a nice place to get converted right, however, forget pastor symbol is responses that I said to this Christian publisher is it I know, son of Sam.

I know that he saved but he said I am worried about you said was said good-naturedly, you understand son of Sam is in jail today in New York, leading people to Christ, holding Bible studies and giving evidence of the fact that God does take bad people.

Evil people and he does make them good and so I have to push the responsibility on you today is not God. Problem is a heart problem.

It's a willingness for you to receive Christ as Savior, as was mentioned today were you transfer your trust to him were you trust the Holy Spirit of God to do his deep work in you and then say I need the evidence of God's implanted miracle in my life because people are pray prayers that going forward. They had all kinds of emotional experiences, but they've never say evenly accepted Christ as sin bearer and as a result of that they've never been converted though they are good people and though they saying and though they go to church God has not yet saved them. Sorry you say good place to begin. Augustine who we often quote sometimes pronounced Augustine to Mistress and after he was saved.

After reading the 14th chapter of Romans. You heard the story of his conversion, he he met the mistress along the street and she ran after him. He ran away and she shouted to him, it is II and he turned back and said, but it is not high, it is not why God changed his heart and gave them a new set of desires we could pull the lie, the worst of sinners.

He says Jesus displayed his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe nobody would ever say I'm too far gone. The issue isn't God today it's you. Let's pray our father, we thank you for this series of messages that has enabled us to look into the human heart and what we've seen full of its deceit and all of its deceptions is not pretty and we thank you that in your grace you have chosen to not reveal to us the depths of our evil because we could not take it if we could see it as you do. Yet father, you have shown us enough to know that unless you save us. We will not be saved unless you forgive us will not be forgiven unless you change as we will not be changed so we invite your blessed Holy Spirit today to do the work in the lives of all who have heard how many of you say today this morning pastor Luther I want God to change me. I want God to change my desires. I want to be born from above, would you raise your hands. Please number of people, especially in the middle section but also the aisles. What about the balcony. Other those of you who their KIC that hand, but there may be others also that I can see father we ask in the name of Jesus, that all who raise their hands. Today will be saved by you.

We pray father that your blessed spirit would do what we can't come father because we are so needy reveal Christ, to those who have raised their hands into those who should have, that they may be saved.

We ask in Jesus name.

Well my friend, this is pastor Luther and once again it's been my opportunity to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with you. This actually ends a series of messages entitled why good people do bad things. If you remember in this series of messages we talk about such things as addictions. We talk about the difficulty of walking in the light all kinds of insights that help us to understand biblical humanity and God's solution. I believe that this series is going to be a great blessing to you and you can listen to it again and again for a gift of any amount. It can be yours. Here is what you do go to RTW or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 ask for this series of messages why good people do bad things. Let me give you that reference again. RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and remember. Thanks in advance for helping us as we get the gospel of Jesus Christ to Manning.

You can write to us run into when 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 eight in every human heart is a conscience, a sense of right and wrong that we cannot shake off when our conscience is clear you have freedom when we violated we are in bondage.

Next time after listserv begins a series on the power of a clear conscience.

Don't miss part one what it's like to be living in the shadows. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin Blitzer this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church

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