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Jesus Christ and NT Authority #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
March 6, 2024 12:00 am

Jesus Christ and NT Authority #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, Founding Pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hello, I'm Bill Wright. Thanks for joining us as we continue teaching God's people God's Word. Don begins a new message today, so without further delay, let's join him right now in The Truth Pulpit. To begin our time in God's Word here this morning, I want to take you for a short little devotional by way of an introduction to the full text to the book of Romans, chapter 1. I just want to encourage the believers among us with just a brief reminder of the very essence of what it means to be a Christian.

What is a Christian, and who is a Christian, and what is the mark of a Christian? One of the good things, I suppose, about living in a decadent world like we do is that we can see, and there are less and less people that are interested in an outward show of religion for the sake of maintaining an appearance of righteousness. When the world gives itself up to a pursuit of sin, then it's not as easy and comfortable to just maintain an outward fa├žade of righteousness, holding to a form of godliness but denying its power and having no interest in it. But today I speak, and at this moment I speak to brothers and sisters in Christ, trusting the Lord to sort out and apply that rightly to each heart as need be. There's a little phrase that's a couple of clauses that's tucked away in an introductory statement in the book of Romans that I just want to point you to, and it does have a carryover effect toward the fullness of what I want to say today. After Paul has introduced himself and made general statements about the Gospel in the first six verses, he turns and identifies the recipients of the letter for to whom it is that he is writing. And he makes a statement that is true not only of the Christians that were in the city of Rome at that time, but he identifies them by unique, distinctive marks that are true of every Christian of all time. And I just want to ever so quickly point these things out to you in Romans 7 where he says this, to all those who in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.

In that brief little introduction there, that formula by which he speaks to them, are stated profound things that would be easy to miss if you just read through the text really quickly. What is a Christian? Well, first of all, a Christian is someone who is loved by God.

Look at it there, to all those in Rome who are, number one, loved by God. To be a Christian is to be someone that God has set his love upon for his own purpose. God brings people into his kingdom, brings us into his family, not on account of our works, not on account of any religious rituals that we might have done because we are sinners and there is nothing that we could do, no tears of repentance are adequate to reconcile us to God.

There are no rituals like baptism or communion or things like that that you can do and automatically be transferred from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God. If you are in Christ today, beloved, it's because God loved you and he loved you from the foundation of the world. He set his love on you.

Think about that. In all of your effort and your strivings to please God, to realize that before you were even born, God set his love on you, God set you for his own purpose. 1 John 4.19 says that we love because he first loved us. He first loved us. It's because God set his love on us and to be a Christian is to be loved by God and his love is an eternal love by his eternal choice from his eternal purpose that does not rise and fall as human love does depending upon your conduct and behavior and whether you're worthy of it or not.

From the very start, you are not worthy of it. We could never be worthy of eternal love. So to be a Christian is someone that God has set his love upon. Secondly, Paul says there to all those who are in Rome who are loved by God and called, well, there's another aspect of being a Christian. It's that God called you and there's two kinds of call that we understand from scripture. Paul here is not talking about the general call that goes out to all men everywhere through the proclamation of the gospel. All men are called that way and invited freely to come to Christ for salvation from their sins to enter into the love of God, enter into the purpose of God, enter into the fellowship of God, enter into the service of God. Every man everywhere is called to that, but not all respond, do they? You didn't respond the first time you heard the gospel, did you?

Well, what made the difference? What distinguishes a true Christian from those who hear outwardly with the ear but remain dead in their hearts? Well, it's that God performs an effective work inside the heart.

He makes an effectual call, an effective call. Whereas all men are invited to Christ through a general call that goes out, God works in a particular specific manner by name with power to create a new heart in that person to draw them to Christ. Jesus says, no one can come to me unless the Father draw him.

The Father calls him. It is, as it were, that he calls us with, and this is a terrible analogy, but it hopefully will communicate, he calls us with an authoritative whistle that says, you come to me. And in response to that life-giving command, in response to the work of the Spirit, we come to Christ and we are saved, not because we thought this up, not because we decided it was a good idea, but God, by a prior work in our hearts, powerfully, inwardly, effectively, certainly called us to ensure that we would be saved.

And beloved, the call flows out of his love. When God loved you with an everlasting love, I want you to see that one of the wonderful things about the nature of that love is that he made certain that you would be saved. None of this nonsense about God respecting the free will of man and he won't force anyone to be saved. Well, God doesn't force us against our will. He changes our will so that we will come. God loves us enough to make sure that his power and his choice has the operative final say on when you come to Christ and that you will come to Christ. He doesn't leave you to your sinful enmity against God to decide for him.

No, he calls you and does a work in your heart to ensure that you would come. I hope you understand the greatness and the wonder of that. That's not something to be resisted because it's contrary to the Arminian tendencies that you were taught from your earlier days and from the tendencies of your own carnal heart. That's not something to be resisted and objected to. That's something to be lovingly, worshipfully embraced. God loved me with an everlasting love, and at the time of my conversion, he effectively called me to be his and left no room for any other outcome in my heart except that I would most certainly be saved in the end. That's what it means to be a Christian.

And the outcome of that, what is the goal of the call? It's that you would be a saint. Now, the Catholics have done a horrible disservice to us in creating an idea that a saint was a super achiever in the spiritual life and someone that needed to be posthumously recognized as someone that could have had attainment and could be an example, and the rest of us yokels can look to that saint and only wish that we were a saint too.

Out on all of that falsehood, beloved. Every Christian is a saint because what a saint is, what it means to be a saint is that you have been separated. You have been set apart by God for God. God takes a sinner, saves him, and in doing so has set him apart for his purposes so that every true Christian is a saint in the sense that he is set apart for the purposes of God.

And that's true, no matter his level of maturity, no matter how long he has been a Christian, no matter the occasional struggles with sin that he comes along with, in our weakness, in our carnality, in our occasional lukewarmness, throughout all of that we're constantly always a saint in the sense that God has set us apart God is at work in us and we are set apart for the purpose to exist, to advance his purpose and to exalt and advance his praise. That is the purpose of every true Christian. You have been set apart by God for his purpose, whether you fully recognize that or live it out or not. So we're loved by God as a Christian, a true Christian. So we're loved by God as a Christian, eternally loved, loved with everlasting love, led by grace, that love to know, loved by God, called, called to be set apart. That's who we are in Christ. That's what it means to be a Christian. And we are loved by God and called and saints.

We are in this position, we are by very nature of identity because our Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross for us and he redeemed us with his own blood. He reconciled us to God with his once-for-all sacrifice, never to be repeated or extended. There was a reason why Christ cried out on the cross.

It's finished. It's because the sacrifice was done and all had been accomplished that was necessary to secure you for all of eternity into the family of God. Now, having received this wonderful gift, this wonderful position from God, beloved, Scripture tells us that we are to be transformed. Look at Romans chapter 12 verse 2. Romans chapter 12 verse 2. The reality of conversion, the reality of true salvation, belonging to Christ, has a very practical effect on everything about the remainder of our lives.

Because we've been loved by God, called by God, that we are saints by nature, set apart for him, set apart by him for him, the outcome, the outworking of this, Paul says in Romans chapter 12 verse 1 is, I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Now, notice this. This is the pivot point.

This is the transition. This is the hinge to the rest of the message. He says, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Having been loved by God, having been called by God, having been set apart by God for his purpose, then we have a responsibility to give ourselves and to give our mind over to him, not to dawdle and play around with error and false teaching, but to devote ourselves to the truth and to understand the authority by which we receive the revelation of God and to live in light of it with Jesus as Lord and confident that God is ruling over all and accomplishing his purposes and that we shut the door, we close the back door and say, the only way forward in my life is to move forward in Christ according to his word.

We gladly, we voluntarily, we resolutely close off all other options. Jesus, you are the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through you. Jesus, there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved. And beloved here, in the words of the apostles at the end of John chapter 6, Lord, where would we go?

You and you alone have words of eternal life. Having gone from desperately lost, dominated by Satan, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, dead in our trespasses and sins, to now be loved, called, and set apart for God? Don't you see, beloved, that this has a revolutionary impact on every aspect of life and the way that you think and respond to everything else? This isn't checking a box on a card at an evangelism campaign saying, I've decided to accept Christ as my Savior. No, this is a massive revolution of purpose and thought that changes the entire man for the remainder of his existence. And so it's our responsibility, once we understand that we've been loved, called, and that we are a saint by nature, to give our minds over, to be transformed in the renewal of our minds, that we might be what God saved us to be. Martin Lloyd-Jones said this in a somewhat different context. He said, the whole of the Christian life is the result of what we believe. In other words, how we think is going to determine how we live as Christians. Elsewhere, the great doctor says this. He says, and listen to this, this is just, I read this and it just exploded off the page in my mind.

And is it such consistent purpose with everything that we've been trying to do since I came back from my study leave? Martin Lloyd-Jones says, we should not really be able to think at all except in terms of these articles of faith to which we subscribe and which we most sincerely and profoundly believe. We can't think apart from the true faith when we're loved by God, called by Him, and set apart as a saint. We can't think about anything apart from that whole revolutionary new mindset that has, that we have been born again into. Whether we were born again 40 years ago or you were born again 40 days ago.

Everything is new and everything is changed. And so it is very important for us, therefore, to build a Christian mind. We're in the midst of this long extended series titled Building a Christian Mind and showing the biblical way to think, to frame your mind and to think in a right biblical way in response to being a Christian like we have seen from Scripture here today.

And what I want you to understand, beloved, this is so very vital. This is not the kind of superficial approach that tells you how to think about the particular political issues of the day. This isn't how to think about what, you know, what the latest spiritual controversy is on social media. That's in so many ways such a waste of time.

And it is so narrow. Here's the problem with that, whether it's something political, which I know that some of you are still wrapped up and captivated by political issues, the political issues of our day, or being caught up in whatever the latest controversy is among Christian thinkers or, you know, the latest gossip from people in the Christian church and trying to help you think about how to think, like, on those kinds of things. Beloved, I say those things not to be critical, but simply to clear the deck and say, that's not what we're doing here.

That's not what we're talking about here in this series at all. We're not talking about how to think about specific issues. We're talking about, we're coming to Scripture to learn how to think. How to think, period.

What are the foundational principles that frame the way our mind operates? If your mind operates properly according to transcendent biblical principles, then these other matters of political issues or the passing controversies of the day will fall into their own place as a natural consequence. And so we're in this so-called mega series titled Building a Christian Mind. We've already finished the first series, How to Know that God Exists.

We're in the middle of a second series, How to Know the Bible is True, and we're really only beginning it. Still to come is How to Know Jesus is Lord, How to Know God Rules Over All, How to Know Christianity is True, How to Know Truth Exists, How to Know True Salvation. And all of those matters, beloved, are absolutely fundamental to the way that you think, the way that your mind operates going forward from this day for however much time the Lord has appointed for you still to live on this earth. And to be able not only to be edified in your own self, but to be able to help others around us, to help those that are under our authority, parents to children, elders to people, friend to friend, neighbor to neighbor, to help others to be able to think about these things. And as I've said so many times, beloved, this is not something that is done in a single message. This is not a three-part sermon with three points and a poem that can equip us for the satanic, dark, wrathful days in which we live. We need to be thoroughly equipped in all of these matters so that we know how to think and how to approach life. And it's not simply for our benefit so that we can go through comfortably on a path littered with rose petals and have it comfortable for ourselves. We're in the midst of a battle, Ephesians 6 says, and we need to be equipped for the battle to help our spouses, to help our children, to help our church, to help others elsewhere to think through these things.

And if these matters are of such great eternal consequence, and they are, and God has given us abundant revelation to know what we believe is true and how to know it, then it seems to me that part of our humble response of faith and obedience is to patiently take the time to go through these things one by one and to, as to the best of our ability, grasp them, understand them, and be fortified that we might be able to live for the purpose for which we were sanctified by God, set apart for Him, to be people of a different mind, a different life, a different conduct. Yeah, it's a lofty goal. It's a challenging goal. It's a long-term commitment.

I realize all that. But I, you know, feel pretty small as I say this, but, you know, I think it's a goal worth pursuing. I think it's my responsibility to help you and help others along this way, because the duty of the church, the supreme duty of a pastor is not to be everybody's best friend, but the duty of the church, the duty of a pastor is to build up the saints. When Jesus commissioned Peter in John 21, he said, feed my sheep, feed my lambs, tend my lambs. Well, we do that through the preaching of the Word of God, through the preaching of Christ. Paul said in Colossians chapter 1, verse 28, I've quoted this multiple times, him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

And we have to do that, beloved. We have to do, we have no alternative but to do this, because Scripture tells us that there will be weak believers, people easily misled who are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Well, where will they find their roots? Where will they find their strength if not from a church that would instruct them? Will they find it in podcasts and Facebook to build them up in the deep things of God? We must be certain to the extent that it is within our power that the believers at Truth Community Church are established. The howling winds of false doctrine and worldly thinking pound against the walls of the church, by which I mean they pound against the citadel of your mind. You are tempted by Satan and so easily deceived by Satan and his wiles to be drawn into false doctrine. The truth is the defense against that. For better or for worse, for right or wrong in terms of the way that we're choosing to do it, this is our earnest attempt to build you up and to keep you from being tossed and turned by false philosophies, false religion. And as we saw in our opening pastoral prayer, the difficulties of sin and Satan that are constantly eating at the foundation of the church like termites, undermining the foundation and the wood upon which a house is built. And so today we continue our critical theme, how to know the Bible is true.

That's a long introduction. Scripture says in 2 Timothy 3.16 that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God or the woman of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. The claim and assertion of Scripture, Psalm 19 verse 7, the law of the Lord is perfect, restoring or converting the soul. The law of God is perfect.

It is complete. And in the teaching of Scripture, we have everything that we need for life and godliness, everything that is needed for the conversion of a soul is found in the 66 books of the Bible, 66 and no more. Everything that is necessary for your sanctification, here meaning your growth in Christ as a Christian, everything is found in the Word of God, everything that is necessary for a full assurance of salvation is found in here, not in some other institution or writing that claims to be from God. Beloved, Scripture is sufficient. Scripture is final because that's what it claims for itself. If there was something else needed, then Scripture would be lying to us when it said it is perfect.

If something else was needed, Paul would have been lying to us when he said that everything is there to make a man complete, equipped for every good work. If there was something else needed for your salvation, the Word of God would not be sufficient for you. And so this really is a most fundamental issue to come to grips with, is the finality and the sufficiency and the authority of Scripture. And that's what we've been dealing with for the past few messages and a few more messages to go.

Because this is so important, I'm going to dwell on this for, you know, two or three more weeks probably at least. And so Scripture claims to be the Word of God. So I think it's like 3,800 times in the Old Testament. We read the Word of the Lord came, the prophets spoke and said, you know, and 3,800 times. I mean the claim of this book to be the Word of God cannot be missed.

And what it teaches about itself then becomes one of the most crucial things about its overall teaching. Now, we've seen as we've gone along that the ultimate authority by which we receive the Bible as the Word of God, the ultimate authority by which we receive God's Word as true is based on the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If, beloved, if you've been loved by God, called by Him, you've been made a saint by the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, if you belong to Christ in that way, if you don't belong to Him that way, you're not a Christian. That's true of every Christian. Then one of the consequences of that, as we've said multiple times, is that Christ Himself is our teacher. Jesus said, call no man father.

You have one in, you have one teacher. You have, you know, Christ warned us against those who had claimed to be, you know, to be a father to the church. He warns us against that, and He says to His disciples in John 13, 13, He said, you call Me teacher and Lord, and you are right, for I am. Christ is our teacher. Christ is our Lord. Our first question when it comes to the matter of the Word of God is what does Jesus say? And what Jesus says is found in this book. Beloved, the written Word testifies to the incarnate Word, and the incarnate Word testifies to the written Word.

There is a mutually interdependent authority among them. Now God loved us and called us and set us in this glorious position, and now it is our responsibility to grow in it. And so our question is what does our Lord, what does Christ think about Scripture? Because what He says will settle the matter for us. Because He's Lord, He's our teacher.

That's the way we view Him. He is our final authority. And for Him to be Lord over all means that He's Lord over our minds as well. In other words, we are not free, this is going to trouble some of you, we are not free to think independently and contrary to Christ, to think in terms and to hold to beliefs that are contrary and contradict what Christ Himself taught is a great sin against Him.

This is not a matter of academic freedom. This is a matter of loyalty and obedience to Christ. He says this is the way to think and our only responsibility is to study that, understand it and affirm it as our own and defend it against all enemies and all who would contradict. Because Christ is Lord over all and that includes our mind. We are to love the Lord our God with our whole heart, soul, strength, and mind. We can't divvy up our mind and give some of it over to sin, give some of it over to worldliness, give some of it over to false philosophy or false religion. Christ owns it all and it's our responsibility to be transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. And so the teaching of Christ is our final authority and we don't apologize for that.

That's the way it really is. Christ really is Lord. He really is right in everything that He says and everything that He teaches. And so our responsibility is to study, to make ourselves a diligent workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth, not looking for new revelation, not looking for additions to the word of God. He's given us everything that we need.

Our responsibility is to study and apply ourselves to this book, to give our mind to this book, to the four corners of this book. And beloved, I think I've said this before. If not, I guess it doesn't really matter because I'm going to say it again. And if I haven't said it, you need to hear it for the first time. Listen to me carefully, beloved.

If Jesus Christ is not the Lord over your mind, there's no reason to think whatsoever that He is the Savior of your soul. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, my friend, just before we close today's broadcast, I just wanted to give a special word of greeting and thanks to the many people that listen to our podcast internationally.

It's remarkable to me. The last report that I saw listed 83 different countries that, in one way or another, are listening to us. And I just want to send a special word of greeting to those of you that are in lands that are distant from my own home here in the United States. You know, we've seen people from every continent except maybe Antarctica and people from countries like Ireland and Australia and Singapore, Canada, the UK, India.

I have friends in all of those countries. And whether you've met me face to face or whether you only know me as a voice through your favorite device, I just want to say God bless you. Thank you for your interest in the Word of God. And may the Spirit of God work deeply in your heart as you continue to study God's Word. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for your prayers. God bless you. My prayers and love are with you as well. And we'll see you next time on the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-06 04:51:41 / 2024-03-06 05:03:12 / 12

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