Beloved, what I want you to see as we gather together as we come to Communion is that if we are in Christ, if God has saved us, if our sins are forgiven, mark this clearly, that if we are in Christ, Christ saved us even though we did not deserve it. This is the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
I'm Bill Wright, and we're so glad you could join us for today's lesson. Today as Don continues teaching God's people God's word, he'll look at the subject of justification, what it is, where it comes from, and how you can obtain it. Let's join Don for part one of a message called, Justified by God, from the Truth Pulpit. Communion is a church ordinance appointed by Christ. It is one of the means that he established by which to remember him. We remember today that the Lord Jesus in love, in mercy for sinners like us, went to the cross in furtherance of the Father's preordained plan in order to shed his righteous blood as a sacrifice to reconcile guilty sinners like you and me to a holy God. And as we consider Communion, as we consider the meaning of the cross, we realize that properly understood, it helps us understand how we are justified before a holy God.
Now justification is a very important term, biblically, in our salvation, and it is connected intimately with the death of Christ, and justification will be our meditation to prepare us for taking Communion in a worthy way. You know, Scripture calls us to take Communion in a worthy way. Jesus warns us, and the Scriptures warn us against coming to the table with unconfessed sin.
It warns us against taking Communion as an unconverted soul, because to take Communion is to say that I partake in the benefits of the death of Christ, that I recognize my guilt, I recognize my sin, and I trust in Christ alone to be the one to take away all of my guilt before a holy God. Those are sober matters, beloved. It is a sober matter to come to the table. It is a sober matter to remember the cross. It is a sober matter to remember that we are accountable to our Creator, that we are accountable to a holy God, that we are accountable to a God who made our eyes, who made our ears, who created our hearts, and therefore who sees each moment that we live, who hears each word that we speak, who knows our inner man. Therefore we are exposed before a God who knows all of our ways. We are exposed before a God who knows us intimately, and therefore all of our sin and guilt is known before Him. He takes account of those things and will one day bring judgment on those who are not reconciled before Him.
These are serious matters. And therefore when we come to Communion, we remember the fact that God sent His only Son. He sent the second person of the Godhead in order to save sinners like us. We remember that as we preach the cross, as we sing about the cross, that we are speaking and remembering and singing of the highest and holiest and the loftiest things in all of the universe. We realize that a holy God in love came down to earth, bent as it were His glory in order to take our sin upon His shoulders and to suffer the wrath of God on our behalf. That it was our guilt, it was our sin, it was our shame that sent Him to the cross.
That it was our guilt that had to be paid for. And all of these things come into focus when we consider the biblical doctrine of justification. Now the Bible, speaking to, considering ourselves as Christians here, Communion is for believers, not for the world.
This is given to the church, not to the world at large. And so as we gather together as the people of God, we speak in that way. The Bible speaks of our status before God in many different ways, uses different metaphors to help us understand, for those of us that are Christians. As Christians, God is our Heavenly Father, and we are His children.
And that speaks of the love and the security that we have in that family relationship. He is our Father, we are His children, we are under His fatherly care. The Bible speaks of God as our Creator, and we are His creatures. He is infinite and uncreated, we are finite and subject to death.
He's not like that, we are under the realm of His creative care. Scripture speaks of Christ as our Shepherd, as the Good Shepherd, the Lord is my Shepherd, Psalm 23 says, and Jesus applied that to Himself in John 10. He is the Shepherd, we are the sheep. He is the one who provides for us, who protects us, who guides us through life by His care and His love and His omniscience and His great power. And so we recognize that we are under the umbrella of a love that we never deserved.
That we are under the care of a great God who had no reason to look upon us, we mortal passing specks on the orbiting rock of earth spinning throughout the universe that the Lord Himself created. No wonder the psalmist in Psalm 8 says, what is man that you take note of him? And yet here we are as believers in Christ, under His care as a Father, under His care as a Shepherd, under the direction of His providence, we're greatly blessed aren't we?
None of that would be possible except through the cross of our Lord. And you know, if you step back and you remember your life before Christ, before salvation, there was a status before God, there was an aspect of His dominion, there was an aspect of His rule that was a threat to us and that we were powerless to address. And that status was this, we were guilty sinners before a holy God.
We were guilty sinners before, let's say, a righteous judge. And the Bible speaks about this judgment of God, speaks about God and His role as a judge and speaks about it at length and speaks about it profusely. It's the aspect of God that the world tries to push aside.
In fact, let's just bring it, let's bring it more individual and more personal. It is the aspect of God that individual men, without exception, try to suppress, try to hold down, try to deny, try to define God out of existence, lest their conscience testify to the reality that we are accountable to one who will one day judge us. Look at Romans chapter 1, we'll spend most of our meditation in the book of Romans here. In Romans chapter 1, the Bible says that the wrath of God, in verse 18, is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.
There it is, actively suppressing what their own conscience speaks to. Verse 19, because that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them. God imprinted on the human heart the knowledge of His existence, and man in sin, man in rebellion is in continual warfare against the testimony of his own conscience, against his existence. Verse 20, since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen being understood through what has been made so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, verse 21, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Rather than submit to the glory of God, who has revealed Himself in nature and has revealed Himself in His Word, but a God who is also a God of wrath against their sin, rather than submit to that, they pushed that aside and substitute other things, creatures, for the object of their worship.
This is the driving force, the driving satanic force behind the whole convoluted theory of evolution that we came not from God but through immaterial forces and descended from animals without a God who made us. Well, God does not take that assault on His character lightly. And if you look in chapter 2, verse 1, you'll see that the Apostle Paul in this aspect of God's Word brings to bear the judgment of God upon the guilt of man, of which we were all universally a part of, both by nature and by choice and by our actions. Chapter 2, verse 1, you see the judgment of God coming to bear upon this wickedness of man in rebellion against God. Chapter 2, verse 1, therefore, you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself, for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. What I want you to see as we start to go more deeply into this is the role that God has as judge against guilty sinners. Chapter 2, verse 5, but because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God who will render to each person according to his deeds.
Verse 14 of chapter 2, when Gentiles who do not have the law do instinctively the things of the law, these not having the law are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. God is a judge, God with coming judgment, God a God of wrath, God prepared to judge our guilt, the gavel ready to fall upon the courtroom, declaring all men guilty, one day to send many away into an eternal judgment of condemnation. And beloved, you see that when we speak of judgment, we're speaking of that which is of the utmost consequence, that which is of great seriousness, and therefore we treat these things with reverence, we treat these things with fear and trembling, we treat these things with the serious contemplation that they deserve. Now to step into this room as we gather together as Christians, as we remember our spiritual past, before we were saved by the grace of God. This looming judgment of God, may I remind you, threatened the well-being of your soul. And if you are not a Christian here, it is a present and serious threat to your well-being. This looming judgment of God threatened the well-being of your soul. You were a violator of God's law and you were subject to punishment from the judge. Look at Romans chapter 3 verse 19 with me, actually in verse 10, and we see that there is a universal condemnation of all of humanity. Women and women, boys and girls, all under the judgment of God. Romans chapter 3 verse 9.
Are we better than they? Not at all, for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin. As it is written, there is none righteous, not even one. There is none who understands. There is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have become useless.
There is none who does good, there is not even one. In verse 19, Paul goes on to say, now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God, because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. Scripture condemns all of humanity, Jew and Gentile alike, that's comprehensive, that's exhaustive of humanity, violators of the law of God, guilty of not loving him with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Guilty of suppressing the testimony that he impressed on our own conscience, of ignoring and suppressing what he has testified in his word, what he has testified in the skies, what he has testified in the Scriptures, what he has revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ by whom we measure time, as we live in the year 2018, in the year of our Lord. And so what I want you to see is that there is just this great accumulation of guilt before God as judge that was characteristic of us all. We were accountable with nothing to offer to an offended judge to appease his righteous wrath. You know, we say this so often that it can sometimes seem to be a cliché, a truism, but friends, when you understand the righteous holiness of God from this perspective, you understand the depth of our guilt, the depth of our sin, the blackness of sin, the horrible condemnation that attaches to every man, woman, and child, and you have any kind of serious appreciation of that, you instantly realize that, that it would be an impossibility for a man to be saved by his works. How could a guilty man do anything from the depths of his guilty soul to offer up to a righteous God to pay for his own sins?
We have nothing to offer to him. We are standing before the bar of God, standing before the judgment of God, helpless, guilty, and condemned. Now there's a temptation that we face when we hear these things. The temptation when we hear these things of such sobriety, the temptation when we hear these things is to give a certain mental assent to them, to say, that's true, that's right, while simultaneously holding in our hearts a thought that is utterly irreconcilable to it, simultaneously reassuring ourselves inwardly that we ourselves are really not so bad. Yes, yes, I know about the judgment of God, I see all of that in Scripture, I've heard that time and again, but inside there's this sense that, but I'm not so bad, and we minimize our guilt before a righteous judge when we do that. I'm not so bad, the sinner says to himself, and in so doing, and in so doing, multiplies and compounds his own guilt in light of the Word of God. The Word of God brought to bear upon his understanding, brought to bear upon his conscience, says yes, yes, yes, I know all of that is true, but I'm really not that bad.
I certainly used to be that way long ago. For those of you that perhaps find yourself secretly harboring that kind of thought that would insulate you from the full weight of what we've said, let me ask you a couple of questions as you try to treasure your own righteousness. Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever violated truth?
God is a God of truth. Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever lost your temper? Have you ever used the name of the Lord in vain? Used Jesus Christ as a curse word rather than in the holy reverence that his name always deserves? Have you ever casually used the name of God?
Oh my God! Taking the name of a holy God as a matter of jest like that? Have you ever committed sexual sin or at least wished that you could? Jesus said the adulterous thought, the adulterous intent of a heart is just as guilty before God creates equivalent guilt before God as the act itself. As you start to consider these things, that pocket of self-righteousness and self-congratulation in our hearts is popped like a balloon with a pin pricking it and that which was puffed up suddenly explodes into a shriveled mess of judgment.
Have you ever wished harm on your enemies? Don't you see, beloved, that as we consider what the Bible says about the inward motions of our heart, what it says about our lives, that we are brought before the Bible as it were brings us before the law that God will use to judge us, convicts us of our guilt and leaves us without excuse. I could but probably need not continue along that line of thought. You see, you can only congratulate yourself on your self-righteousness. You can only harbor the thought that I don't really need a savior.
You can only harbor the thought, I think I'm good enough to go to heaven. You can only do that by closing the Bible and casting it away from yourself. And it only takes one sin to make you eternally guilty before God. It doesn't take a million, although we have a million sins against our account and more. It only takes one, Scripture says. One lie to puncture your righteousness. One sexual sin. One angry thought. One outburst of temper.
It just takes one in the course of a lifetime. Yes, that's the testimony of Scripture. James chapter 2 says this, For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For he who said, speaking of God, Do not commit adultery also said, Do not commit murder.
Now if you do not commit adultery but you do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. You see, this whole idea that God's going to grade us on a curve and as long as we're a little bit better than someone else, we're going to be okay, that is a lie from the pit of hell. That is the spirit of worldliness giving you a sense of assurance that it's false. That's Don Green with the first half of a message titled Justified by God. Next time he'll continue in his series called Declared Righteous with the second half of today's lesson. Meanwhile, if you'd like to learn more about our ministry, we invite you to visit TheTruthPulpit.com. That's TheTruthPulpit.com.
And now before we go, here again is Don with a closing word. I want to let you know that we have a number of topical series available for download or CD requests at our website, TheTruthPulpit.com. Issues like the place of Roman Catholicism, anxiety, transgenderism, homosexuality, and the charismatic movement. You'll find series on those topics and so many more at our free offers link at TheTruthPulpit.com.
I invite you to take advantage of them all. God bless you. We'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit. Thanks Don. And friend, thank you for spending some of your valuable time with us today studying God's wonderful word. I'm Bill Wright hoping you'll join us again next time when Don continues teaching God's people God's word from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-13 11:11:10 / 2023-03-13 11:19:13 / 8