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Best Of Finding Purpose

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
September 13, 2023 12:30 am

Best Of Finding Purpose

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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September 13, 2023 12:30 am

Today's episode is a "Best Of" for Finding Purpose.


Hello, this is Matt Slick from the Matt Slick Live Podcast, where I defend the Christian faith and lay out our foundations of the truth of God's Word. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network.

This is the Truth Network. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious.

This is part two of a special two-part episode. I believe that everyone in America has had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the very least, we have more access to the gospel message than anyone else in the world. We have churches on every street corner.

We have multiple Christian bookstores in every city. We have Christian radio and television stations broadcasting the Word of God 24-7. And you can hear your own preacher today at 1230 on 105.7 if you want to hear Grant. He spoke Tuesday night and it'll be on the radio in a little while.

I'll finish right before you on the radio, okay? That's a joke. We have the benefit of Billy Graham's evangelistic outreaches for nearly 70 years in this country and we have more Bibles than any other people in the world. Here in America, we have been given more light, I believe, than any group of people who has ever lived in the history of the world. So, consider what Jesus says in Luke 1248. From everyone who's been given much, much will be what? Demanded. And from the one who's been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. I would argue that right here in Raleigh, we have more Bible studies per capita than any other city in the world.

Now, I can't prove that, but if we're not first, I bet we're close second. Sadly, I believe that Jesus is addressing our generation here in America when He says, they will be ever seen but never perceiving and ever hearing but never understanding. Otherwise, they might turn and be forgiven. Do you know how many people right now are sitting in churches where they're not hearing the truth or they're hearing scripture? They were citing the Apostles' Creed, so they are hearing the truth and they've been hearing it for years, but they don't get it because they're ever hearing but never understanding.

You see, when the seed is scattered along the path, some of it falls on hard soil that's been trampled down. Lots of people that you and I encounter have closed their minds to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They have rejected the light of God's revelation for so long that their hearts have become totally unresponsive. The Satan just comes along and snatches the seed right out of their hearts. This is why Paul writes in Romans 1 18 and 19, the wrath of God has been revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

Since what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them. No one from Raleigh will ever be able to stand before God and say, Well, you know, Lord, you didn't give me an opportunity to hear the gospel. Right, Jeff? Right. Right.

Got to get Jeff in here somewhere. You see, our problem here in America is not with our physical ears but with the ears of our hearts. And this is why Jesus said, He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Now let's look at the second type of heart.

I call it the superficial or shallow heart. Look at verses five and six and 16 and 17. Some fell on rocky places where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and they withered because they had no root. And then Jesus explains, others like seeds sown on rocky places hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time.

When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed that fell on the rocky places actually refers to an underlying bed of solid rock that's just beneath the surface. This soil is very shallow.

That's when the seeds begin to germinate. My wife could explain this. She loves to work in the yard as I do. Thou shalt not lie.

I've got a picture of me one day. I was in the back on a lounge chair with a glass of lemonade. My wife was over there with her hands in the dirt, pulling up leads.

And I thought, I think this is what it means when it says wife, submit to your husband. I'm kidding. I'm kidding. That was a joke. Okay, I'm not mutt. But that is a true picture of life in our backyard.

And where was I getting in trouble? Yeah, I've got to go home this afternoon. Therefore, even though the seedlings spring to life and they look healthy at first, they quickly wither under the scorching sun. This word superficial. It's very interesting word. It means existing on the surface.

Everything looks good on the surface. I've been observing men. I began. I became a BSF group leader when I was about 32.

So I've been in even before that. Well, even during that, I was leading a small group Bible study in my office at week for securities for about 10 years. So I've been observing men, particularly men, because God's really called me to minister to men. Men typically need more help than women when it comes to spiritual things. But I've been observing men for over 35 years who go to church and may even attend a Bible study.

And many give an outward appearance of belief. But here's what I notice when I'm with them. They never talk about Jesus or even much about the Bible. All they really want to talk about are sports, the latest trip they took, work and the last thing they bought. But the most telling aspect of their lives is that nothing seems to have changed. They never want to go deep and discuss temptations they're dealing with or something they've learned in the in their study of scripture.

Everything just exists on the surface. The person who makes a superficial commitment is the real problem has never truly repented of his or her sin. Thus, they don't understand what it means to be a new creation. They never leave their old way of life.

They're the same person they've always been. David Platt in his book, Follow Me, which I highly recommend everyone read, writes repentance is a rich biblical term that signifies a basic transformation in someone's mind, heart and life. When people repent, they turn from walking in one direction to running in the opposite direction. From that point forward, they think differently, believe differently, feel differently, love differently and live differently.

Real conversion results in a break from your old way of life as you follow Jesus and live a totally new way. Platt goes on to say, our reason for living changes, does it not? Possessions and possessions are no longer our priorities. Comfort and security are no longer our concerns.

At least it shouldn't be. Safety is no longer our goal because self is no longer our God. We now want God's glory more than we want our own lives. The more we glorify him, the more we enjoy him and the more we realize that this is what it means biblically to be a Christian. You see, there's nothing superficial about the Christian life. This is why I would much rather hang out with my Christian brothers than my friends who don't know the Lord because I get so tired of talking about nothing when I'm with them. And it's actually draining.

It drains you. Whereas when I'm with my Christian brothers, you come away enriched and encouraged. Here's a warning. Every day the seed of God's revelation falls upon hearts that are unresponsive and closed. Hearts that are shallow and superficial. And third, every day the seed of God's revelation falls upon worldly and distracted hearts.

That's the third type of heart. Look at verses 7 and then 18 and 19. Other seed fell among thorns which grew up and choked the plants so they did not bear grain. Verse 18, still others like seed sown among thorns hear the word, but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Once again, welcome to America. In America, we have become so rich. We are rich in religion. We are rich in education.

And we are rich in just plain old money. And I believe these are the primary weapons in Satan's arsenal that he uses to keep a man or woman blind to the truth of the gospel. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4 verse 4, the God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they could not see the light of the gospel, of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. They can't see it. You see, religion blinds us into thinking that we're basically good.

I remember asking a friend of mine years ago, we got into a discussion. I was actually trying to lead him to Christ. And, you know, sometimes you got to be subtle in the way you do it. You can't just, hey, you need Jesus.

That just doesn't usually work, okay, for the record. So I asked him a question. I said, how do you think a person gets to go to heaven?

And he told me, I'll never forget it. He said, I think God takes our good deeds and weighs them against our bad deeds. And if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, then what?

You get to go to heaven. He grew up in a Baptist church and then was attending an Episcopalian church. I asked him one time, he told me he thought mankind was basically good.

Now, I think he's turned from those eras. But, you see, religion makes us think we're good. Education blinds us into thinking we don't need to be taught by God because we already know it all. And money blinds us into thinking we are self-sufficient. We can take care of ourselves. We don't need anything. And I would say that self-sufficiency is the number one thing that keeps people away from God.

They don't think they need them. And this is why Jesus said in Matthew 19, 24, again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. We have so much here in America. We've become the wealthiest nation in history. The sad reality is that most of us aren't satisfied with what we have. We just want what?

More. We have bought into the lie that he who dies with the most toys wins. Thus, we worry about making more money so we can buy more things. And this is the deceitfulness of wealth that Jesus is talking about. You see, money cries out to all of us, get more of me, and you'll be what?

Happy, content. But this is a lie. You see, money never satisfies the deepest longings of a person because God never meant for it to satisfy. And this is why Jesus warned. But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 1 John 2 verses 15 through 17 says, Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does comes not from the Father but from the world. And then he gives us this last little warning. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for how long?

Forever. I want you to understand this, particularly men. Your job, your wealth, your prestige, your position in life does not define who you are, but your heart does. Remember, man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. So let me ask you this question, everyone. What does God see when he looks into your heart? Because what he sees is who you really are.

And that can be convicted, can it not? If you see something in your heart that you don't like, what should you do? Get on your knees, take it to Jesus. Because he loves what? Broken and contrite heart.

Let's consider the fourth type of heart, the receptive or open heart. Look at verses 8 and 20. Still other seeds fell on good soil. It came up, grew, and produced a crop, some multiplying 30, some 60, some 100 times. And then in verse 20, he explains this. Others, like seeds sown on good soil, hear the word in what? Accept it and produce a crop, some 30, some 60, some 100 times what was sown. And so what makes this heart so different from the others?

Three conditions. First, the receptive heart accepts the word of God by faith. In other words, this is the only heart that actually believes and trusts in God. As I said earlier, all four types of hearts hear the word, but this is the only one that accepts it. This word accept means to receive. This is the man who welcomes God's word into his heart.

John 1-12 says, yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. I had the most incredible opportunity three Fridays ago. I've got a morning Bible study that I do with about 15 to 20 men. And I've gotten to know this guy, I'm not going to name him, through an exercise club that I'm a member of. And we would meet in the locker room, and he was clearly not a Christian, I can tell you. But I just liked him.

And so we got to know each other. And I think back in August, I asked him right there in the locker room, I said, do you mind if I ask you a blunt question? He said, if you were to die today, do you know where you'd spend eternity? He said, no. I said, would you like to know?

He said, yes. I said, well, I've got two Bible studies, one on Tuesday night, one on Friday morning. And I thought that Friday morning might be better for him. So I said, why don't you come to our Friday morning Bible study?

We're going to be studying the book of Romans. So he didn't even have a Bible. He grew up Catholic. He told our group when he first got there, this is what I love about meeting with men who are honest. He said, to be honest with you, he's a member of a church here in this town, which will go nameless. He said, to be honest with you, I'd rather get up in the morning, sleep late, get some breakfast, go play golf. I'd rather them do that than go to the church he was going to. Seriously.

I'd rather get up, go play golf. I said, well, see how honest he was and transparent? God loves that.

And so September, October, November, we've been going through Romans, Romans one through three, just the basics of Christianity. And three Friday mornings ago, we only had about 10 there that morning. He looked, he said, he was just frustrated.

This was like 10 minutes left in the study that morning. He said, I just don't get it. I don't understand this. And I could see he was saying, I want to get it.

I want to get it. So I said, do you want to understand? And none of the guys were just looking at him. He said, yes. So I took a chair.

I'll just take this one like this. And I said, you see this chair right here? And I pointed, I stood up. I said, you know, when I came in here, y'all could have put a fake leg on that chair.

And when I sat in it, it collapsed. But I believed the moment I came in here that that chair would support me. I said, but is that real belief?

No, it's not. I said, this is real belief. I come over and I do this. And that's what the Bible means when it talks about belief. You put your full weight of what you believe. And so then I sat back down and I said, you seem like a confident man. I said, so I'm just going to do this right in front of these men. I said, would you like to believe now? He said, yes, I would. I said, okay.

I wouldn't even believe in this. I said, I've never had this happen before like this. Never.

In 35 years, I've never seen this happen like this. I said, would you like to pray to receive Christ right now? He said, yes, I would. I said, okay.

I still couldn't believe it. I said, I'm going to go through this sinner's prayer and I'm going to do it like it's the first time I've ever prayed it. And if these phrases describe what you want to say, then I kind of walked him through the prayer before I prayed it. He said, okay. So we bowed our heads and he prayed that prayer with me out loud.

Now, I wish I had brought this with me this morning because I wasn't sure I was going to share this. But after that, we just all were like, everybody was like, did this really just happen? And so one of the other guys in the study sent him an email that morning, congratulations. The guy's name is Bill.

And I wish you could see the email that this guy sent to Bill. Basically said, thank you so much for sending this to me. This morning meant so much to me.

I just can't even believe it. He said, but I'm so glad to now be a believer. This morning before I came here, because I sent out an email just inviting them if they wanted to come.

None of them came, which what does that say? But he sent me an email this morning. I had him share this with Tracy and he basically said, Russ, it's not about me, but he said, thank you for transforming my life. He knows it's Jesus. He said, I'm going to pray for you this morning. I know that the people there will, he just said something nice.

How about that? This is a brand new believer. He said, I'll be praying for you this morning. And so I sent him back and I said, thanks, brother. I said, you do understand that you're now my brother in Christ. Have a blessed day. That's what it means to have an open, receptive heart.

And the proof will be if he continues, well, we're going to make sure he continues, because he's coming every Friday and we're hammering in the word of God. Charles Spurgeon puts it like this. The life of faith is represented as receiving, an act that implies the opposite of anything involving merit. It is simply the acceptance of a gift. As the earth drinks in the rain, as the sea receives the streams, as night accepts light from the stars, so we, giving nothing, partake freely of the grace of God. By nature, the saints are empty vessels into which God pours his salvation. When I receive Jesus, he says, he becomes my savior. So much mind that neither life nor death will be able to rob me of him. All this is to receive Christ, to take him as God's free gift, to realize him in my heart and to appropriate him as mine. Salvation may be described as the blind receiving sight, the deaf receiving hearing, the dead receiving life, but we have received not only these blessings, but also Christ Jesus himself.

Do you like Spurgeon or what? Amen. You see, the receptive heart received Jesus and accepts him as savior and Lord and friend. Here's the second condition.

This will be a lot shorter, don't worry. The receptive heart perseveres in belief. To persevere simply means to continue in your faith without falling away. Platt writes, when we truly come to Christ, our thirst is quenched by the fountain of life and our hunger is filled with the bread of heaven. We discover that Jesus is the supreme source of satisfaction and we want nothing apart from him.

We realize that he is better than all the pleasures, pursuits, plaudits and possessions of this world combined. As we trust in Christ, he transforms our taste in such a way that we begin to love the things of God that we once hated and we begin to hate the things of this world that we once loved. When I look back at some of the things I did in my life that were clearly sinful, I hate it. I hate sin. I never want to sin again. Now I know I will, but I look forward to the day when I see Jesus and I will be like him perfectly pure, perfectly holy and I'll never sin again.

Here's the third condition. The receptive heart produces fruit. Verse 15 says, and by persevering, produce a crop. You see, the real evidence of one's salvation is fruit. The true believer will give evidence of a changed life and this is the first fruit. It's a transformed life.

Can this be said of you? 2 Corinthians 5, 17 says, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he's a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come. Is it evident to those around you that your life has truly been changed?

If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? How will this change manifest itself? Your language will be different. Your thoughts will be different.

Your desires will be different. This doesn't mean that you will never sin. It just means that you will never sin in the same way. You'll begin to see evidence of a changed heart in yourself and you will also sense a war going on within you.

That war didn't begin until you became a believer. There's a battle going on between your old nature and your new nature. Paul writes about this and this war will be evidence of the spirit living in you. Galatians 5, 16 and 17 says, So I say, live by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature for the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.

They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want. Finally, you will have a desire to tell others about your changed life and with God's help, this will produce more fruit, eternal fruit. So in summary, what is the evidence of an open and receptive heart? You believe the word of God and you understand it. You continue in your belief.

You show evidence of a changed life. You begin to tell others how they too can experience what you've experienced in Jesus. In closing, one of the great privileges of being a child of God is that God continues to share his truth with his children. This is why Jesus said, The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But listen, these secrets have not been revealed to those on the outside.

That is why Jesus began to speak to those on the outside in parables. Though seeing, they do not see. Though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. You'll be ever hearing but never understanding. You'll be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused.

They hardly hear with their ears and they've closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts in turn, and I would heal them. My biggest prayer is that you're all on the inside of God's family. For if you are, every time you show up here on Sunday mornings or every time you men show up on Tuesday night, the secrets of the kingdom of God will be revealed to you.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Would you pray with me? Heavenly Father, I know that your word will not return forward, but that it will accomplish the purpose for which you intended. I pray, Lord, that you will continue to melt our hearts so that we love you more, live for you more, and share you more with others until you come.

Amen. Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local triangle men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-07 20:15:27 / 2023-10-07 20:26:31 / 11

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