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The New Life, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
July 10, 2024 9:00 am

The New Life, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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July 10, 2024 9:00 am

Most religions share the same basic moral code. We might vary on certain points and nuances, but we all agree that it’s bad to lie, steal, or murder. And everyone has met good, kind people from others religions. So if that’s the case, then how is Christianity different than any other faith?

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J.D. Greear

Today on Summit Life, a keystone principle from J.D.

Greer. The Gospel is not just the diving board off of which we leap into the pool of Christianity. It's also the pool. It's how you start off with God. It's also how you grow deep with God. The Gospel doesn't just save us from the penalty of our sins and the past and take us to heaven in the future. The Gospel empowers us to say no to the temptations in our presence. Welcome to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of pastor, author, and apologist J.D.

Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. So if you've ever looked at world religions before, you've probably noticed that most of them share a very similar basic moral code. They might vary on certain points and nuances, but for the most part, we all agree that it's bad to lie and steal and murder. And we've all met good, kind people from other religions as well. Quite frankly, that's what makes spiritual discussions so difficult at times, is that we seem to be so similar.

So if that's the case, how is Christianity actually different from all other faiths? Pastor J.D. answers that all important question today as he continues our series called Mystery and Clarity. Turn in your Bible to Ephesians chapter four and let's rejoin Pastor J.D. now in this teaching he titled The New Life. Verse 17, now this I say and testify in the Lord that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do. When Paul says Gentiles here, he is not referring to people of a certain race.

He's referring to anyone who doesn't know God. Now he's about to give you a description of what those people are like and what we were like before we met Jesus and I want us to work through it backwards. So let's start at verse 19. Verse 19, he says they have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. That's the language of craving, greedy. These are people who feel enslaved to their desires. Now where does Paul say that these cravings come from?

Okay let's work backwards, look at this verse 18. They come because we are alienated from the life of God. These cravings arise from the absence of God in our lives. In his absence our hearts are restless and naked and so we fill our lives and cover ourselves with cheap substitutes.

Here's the next question. All right where does this alienation from God come from and why do we stay that way? Watch this verse 18. They are alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them. We stay alienated from God because we're ignorant of him but there's more. That ignorance itself is caused by something. What causes that ignorance? Again verse 18.

That ignorance is, look at this, due to their hardness of heart. We see God not as he is but as we want him to be. You see the strangest thing happens when God softens you up and opens your eyes to him. You suddenly start to see him everywhere. The skeptic says I can't see God and some of us look around and say how can you not see God? You don't always understand him but you see the evidences of him everywhere and you sense his presence.

So there we are. Paul has described the problem because the human heart is alienated from God. It craves sin and it can't see God or sense him or know him because it is too hardened or deadened or blackened by sin.

Now that's not to say by the way that gentiles are not religious people but the religious tendencies of the human heart are not born out of a love for or a delight in God. More often than not our religion is an attempt to use God. It's something that is done because we receive something back from God for it.

It is entirely self-interested. You give to God because God will reward you. He'll bless your life, take you to heaven. Paul says verse 24 that what God is after, look at this, is true righteousness and true holiness. All right so our problem is we have an ignorant dead heart that doesn't really want God.

Well then what would the solution be? We need two things. Solution part number one, we need verse 21, a new knowledge of God so we're not ignorant of him. And verse 23, we need a renewed heart to delight in that knowledge so we can receive that knowledge, we can grasp it. We need a new, in other words we need a new vision of God and then we need new eyes to see that vision with. So where does this knowledge of God and where does this renewed heart to see it come from?

Two different places. Verse 21, this is so good, assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him as the truth is in Jesus. In other words, the new knowledge of God comes to us through the story of Jesus. And in seeing the beauty of God revealed in the story of Jesus, we are changed.

But there's something else we need. Verse 23, and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, we need a spiritual renewal. So here's your summary. Give you a definition of biblical change. The Spirit of God using the story of God to make the beauty of God come alive in our hearts. So now I'll give you six axioms of biblical change. Six axioms of biblical change that make Christian morality unique. And throughout this I will show you how this shows up in those moral prescriptions that are given to you in verses 25 through 32. Number one, gospel change is fundamentally a change of desire.

You do truth because you love truth. You see, one of the biggest substitutes for true gospel change, catch this, is what we call moralism. Here's a definition of moralism. Moralism is teaching people that external behavior matters more than internal disposition. For example, how do you motivate a kid to quit lying?

All right, here we give you a couple ways we try to do it. We tell a kid don't lie because if you lie you're gonna get caught and you're gonna get in trouble. Or other people are gonna think badly of you if you get caught lying. So what you create in him is a fear of punishment or of rejection. And he becomes honest because he doesn't want to be punished and he wants to be accepted by others. That's why most of us by the way don't lie.

It's either a fear of being punished or fear of losing face or out of a sense of pride that says we're better than everybody else. The problem is neither of those make us love the truth. The gospel motivates us differently. It creates in our hearts a love for truth. You might get people you see to change through moralism but you can't really change them in their hearts. Here was Jesus' analogy for this.

It's Mark 7. You can't make a tree come alive by just hanging fruit on it. We have weeds in our flower beds in our yard. I hate weeds.

My wife hates the weeds and sends me out every Saturday to take care of the weeds. Now I figured out there's two ways you can do it. Right, one is you can pull them up by the roots which is the way that you probably ought to do it. The other way is you can nuke them with Roundup.

Right and I much prefer that because it is so much easier. The problem is you do it so much and I've saturated the crown so much that I've killed a number of our bushes. You come over to our house you'll see these kind of brown looking things at different parts of our yard and my wife rightfully so she complains. So if she complains to me and I'm like yeah I understand there's some bushes that are dead that's unsightly um so I go out to the Kroger and I get a dozen roses and I come back and I take these roses and I staple them on to this dead plant. I'm like fixed it. Beautiful rose bush now. That's crazy right?

Most of the techniques for change that you read about are rose stapling techniques. Moralism, that's what it is. It's what's preached by every religion in the world and unfortunately in most churches.

You know exactly what I'm talking about. Some of you grew up in churches where you heard real Christians don't watch R-rated movies. Real Christians don't say that word. Real Christians don't drink beer.

Real Christians vote Republican. And external behavior mattered more than internal disposition. That's moralism. It's not gospel.

Here's number two. Gospel change begins with sight. Gospel change begins with the gospel. It's why we always preach it here.

It's why we keep coming back to it. We keep telling the story of Christianity. Many of us grew up in churches where we were taught that the gospel is simply the entry right into Christianity. It's the prayer you pray to begin your relationship with God.

It is that yes but it is not just that. It is also the way that you grow up in Jesus. In verse 21 look what it says. It says when you are taught in him then you'll put off your old self. The gospel is not just the diving board off of which we leap into the pool of Christianity.

It's also the pool. It's how you start off with God. It's also how you grow deep with God. The gospel doesn't just save us from the penalty of our sins in the past and take us to heaven in the future. The gospel empowers us to say no to the temptations in our presence. So I want you to study the story of Jesus here with me in your small groups in the time where you have just you and God.

I want you to study it deeply not like the seminarian studies it but like you study a sunset that leaves you speechless or like the man who is passionately in love with his wife would study her until he is so captivated by her that his enthralment with her has driven out all the enticements of other women. I want you to study the God revealed in Jesus because the beauty of that God revealed in the story of Jesus changes you. It's also by the way while we bathe our efforts here in prayer because until the spirit of God gives you eyes to see the beauty of God you'll never see him. You're like a blind man before a rainbow. Not only the spirit of God can open your eyes.

Here's number three. Gospel change is a response to grace and not an attempt to earn God's favor. Gospel change is a response to grace and not an attempt to earn God's favor. All throughout this passage 25 through 32 all throughout this passage God reminds them that he has already forgiven them. Verse 32 he says just as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you. Verse 30 you are sealed or guaranteed salvation to the day of redemption. Jump to chapter 5 verse 1 Paul reminds them God has already made us his beloved children through the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. This passage is built on something that we call gift righteousness.

Righteousness given to us not because we earn it but because of God's love given to us freely as a gift if we will receive it. You see every religion in the world tells you if you obey enough then you will be accepted. The gospel reverses that. It says you have been accepted not because of what you do but because of what Christ has done and in response to that you should obey. Ephesians 2 8 and 9 4 by grace you have been saved through faith not of works not of yourselves it is the gift of God not of works so that nobody could boast. You see that's the only way to change.

You see as long as your acceptance before God is tied to how good you are you will always have a self-interest in being good. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. If you want to know more about this ministry visit us online at jdgreer.com. You know what we appreciate you. Yes you are faithful listeners and friends. It's an honor for us to be able to bring you this teaching each day on your radio but did you know that these Summit Life broadcasts are only one of the ways that you can keep up with Pastor J.D. 's ministry. Now if you're like me I spend a good amount of time on my phone.

Does anyone else have this issue? Well did you know that you can put your phone to really good use by following Pastor J.D. on social media?

Why not get some biblical insight as you scroll? Just search for Pastor J.D. Greer on Facebook, at Pastor J.D. Greer on Instagram, and at J.D. Greer on Twitter. And don't forget that we're on YouTube as well.

Just search for j.d.greer. Follow along on all your favorite social media platforms and stay up to date with this ministry while filling up your timeline with encouragement from God's word. But right now we've got a bit more teaching to return to so go ahead and set your phone down for just a few more minutes and let's get back to God's word.

Once again here's Pastor J.D. So the gospel changes us by telling us of God's love and acceptance of us and then invites us to love him in return. And some of you that is what you most need to hear this morning is that right now right at this moment God could not love you more than he does. Even if you never are able to overcome this pornography problem, even if you never become the great husband, the great father, the great Christian, the person who is so consistent in all their Christian disciplines, that does not affect how much or whether God loves you. God's love for you is given to you as a gift. It's his gift to you that when you receive it and I'm telling you if you are going to try to change to earn that you will never get there. But if you will accept it as his gift and receive that whether or not you ever live victoriously God's love for you is given to you then that gift becomes the basis of how you will achieve victory.

Whether or not you struggle with pornography this week does not affect God's love for you. Receive it, embrace it, and be embraced by it. Number four, gospel change is intimately connected to a person.

Gospel change is intimately connected to a person. Watch this verse 30. In the middle of all these moral commands Paul throws in this little command not to grieve a person. He says grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. You go to the next chapter again just chapter five real quick chapter five verse one. He says be imitators of God therefore as dearly beloved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.

Did you see that by the way? He tied our joyful obedience to every member of the trinity. We do good because we're children of God the father and we love what our daddy loves. That's why we do it. I see this in my own kids. My kids have a tendency to love the things I love, to pull for the things I pull for. They just they love that. They want to love what their daddy loves. He says do it in response to God the son who poured out himself for you and then do that for others.

We do good in response to God the spirit because he lives in us and we love his presence and his friendship in our hearts. Gospel change is intimately connected to a person. A reference a recent movie when I do is going to bring my manhood seriously into question for some of you. It's called the Young Victoria and it's about the courtship and the marriage of Albert and Queen Victoria. Basically the gist is this when he comes when Albert comes into her life she really is kind of annoyed by him because she has no intention of ever getting married. She is scared of being controlled because people have all throughout her life have tried to control her and so you know she doesn't like the attention that he's showing to her but patiently he courts her and blah blah blah blah blah they get married okay.

However after they get married tensions between Albert and Victoria start to emerge. She wants him to be obedient and to do her every whim and he won't do it. So they get in this argument one afternoon and she demands that he leaves. Later they are both riding later that afternoon to the streets together in a carriage and a crazy man comes out of the crowd tries to kill her tries to shoot her. He throws himself in front of her between her and this crazy guy and he's badly wounded almost killed.

Shocked by the danger that he put himself in for her and amazed by the strength and the power and the grace of his love. This leads to an entire life change for her. That's gospel kind of change and some of you say well yeah if I had somebody if I had something if I had something like that happen for me I'd become a nice person too.

You have. God has loved you with a love more intense than has ever entered into the heart of any other person and he has done more to save you than he is any human has ever sacrificed for anybody else in all of human history and as you come to know that love your life produces these spiritual fruits. Well when Paul says spiritual fruit what that means is you don't you don't generate spiritual fruit by thinking gotta have patience gotta have patience gotta have patience patience you don't do that you gotta have self-control gotta have self-control give me self-control now I mean that's not how it works.

Spiritual fruit is just like physical fruit spiritual fruit is the offspring of an intimate loving interaction with Jesus Christ and the fruit of that intimacy is the spiritual fruits that Paul's talking about. Number five gospel change is more powerful than religious change. Gospel change is so much more powerful than religious change. Gospel change produces deeper more genuine sacrificial love than simply resolving to do better.

Let me give you two quick examples from from this real quick. Number one verse 32 be kind to one another tend to heart and forgive one another even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you. If you don't forgive one another it's forgiven you. He's saying it's not just forgiveness it's not just you know not being angry it's you've got to love them and forgive them the way that Christ has forgiven you and the only way you will ever learn to do that is to saturate your heart and how much God has loved you and forgiven you. Here's the other one verse 26 be angry and do not sin. Notice it doesn't just say don't be angry that's moralism it's more than that he commands you to be angry he commands you in a loving way because anger is always a part of love.

Some people don't get that let me explain that. Whenever you love something you are angry at the thing that destroys it. For example my daughters when I see the traits of lying and violence and selfishness or laziness in them it makes me angry not because of what it's doing to me but because of what I see it's doing to them so if I love them I hate the things that are going to destroy their lives.

If you love somebody you hate the cancer that is destroying their body if I love the person I'll hate and be angry at the moral cancer that is destroying their soul. The problem Paul says with our anger is that it is selfish anger. You want to get them back for what they did to you. They hit you so you angrily hit them back or maybe you punish them through yelling or maybe you punish them through the silent treatment.

They cut you off in traffic and you're going to punish them with noise from your horn. Your anger is a desire for vindication and Paul says don't be selfishly angry that's sinful anger have loving anger like Jesus. Jesus got angry and confronted sin rebuked it even drove it out with whips but when it came time for punishment Jesus took it all. Paul says that's how you ought to be angry when your spouse offends you when your boss takes you off don't be angry about what they've done to you in fact you should absorb that yourself and forgive them like Jesus forgave you. Any anger you direct at them should be loving broken-hearted anger anger at what their sin is doing to them. See what he's doing he's not talking about simply ceasing to lose your temper he's talking about the entire structure of your heart being transformed so that even your anger is not selfish it is loving. Now real quick this is too good to pass up Paul even gives you a test to know whether or not your anger is sinful or loving. Verse 26 don't let the sun go down in your anger when you're selfishly angry it stays with you it simmers you mull it over when you love somebody anger quickly dissipates again for example my children when they do something that makes me mad I deal with it and then I'm overcome with love again for them it's when somebody does something to me that I'm personally wounded by that I'm all it over at night and I can't sleep that's selfish anger and the test is if you can't get rid of it before you go to bed that is a guarantee that that is selfish anger not loving anger. I mean the reason I say this because I was always told by marriage counselors that that verses met you and your spouse had to talk about what was taking off for you went to bed so Veronica and I tried that and after talking about it I was still ticked off about it I mean because clearly she didn't just submit right there and say you're right I was wrong let's be done I was like I'm still personally wounded you don't realize that that's just a sign that my anger was not loving anger it was always selfish anger here's number six gospel change is total gospel change is total in these chapters Paul watches what you're gonna see is Paul just names off these areas like this hey Paul talks about communication emotions relationships sexuality materialism time management humor care for the poor theft families employer employee relationships marriage the occult world not one square inch of your life is unaffected God covers them all the result of encountering Jesus is all of you changes that's why when Paul talks about the fruit of the spirit he uses the singular fruit not fruits not the many as if they're flowers you staple onto the bush but singular the fruit of the spirit listen if your Christian life is compartmentalized and I know that it is for many of us you're like yeah you know I'm doing this whole church attendance thing I'm coming I'm even giving some money but yeah this past Thursday I cheated a little bit my taxes it's all right and yeah I got this relationship over here over here that's not really right I understand and yeah my boyfriend and I are sleeping together but no big deal that's okay or maybe you're like yeah I'm going to church now and I'm starting to be a little bit more moral but I got my temper under control but I'm not really what you would call a generous person if that's what's happening to you if it's all compartmentalized then whatever is happening to you is not gospel change it's not you're just stapling on roses the result of being in love with Jesus is total change gospel change is a complete total transformation as a response to grace have you experienced this in your life we pray that this program would be a catalyst in your journey toward knowing Jesus more fully J.D. during any study of Ephesians chapter five might be the most returned to part of the book we're headed there shortly here on the program and it has a lot to say about relationships doesn't it yeah I don't know if you return to it because it's got so much information about practical relationship or it's because it's got that submit word in there that everybody's like what does that mean you know there it is um you know for that many other reasons um people just return to this chapter our joy is to be able here to help you always my favorite definition of preaching is helping people read the word of God better so we do that through what we do at summit life we do it through um discussions like the one we're having right now molly and we also do it through things like the gospel flip book series that just help you it's a companion to help you get more out of the scriptures as you're reading them think of it as a series of flashcards and helpful tips almost like an interactive study bible it's a great companion to sit right there on your bedside table or wherever you do your quiet time i think you'll get a lot out of it it's our gift to you when you become a supporter of our ministry which is what keeps us on the air here so just go to jdgrier.com and you can find out more about it we'd love to send you a copy of our newest resource the second part of our gospel flip book series with your gift of 35 or more to this ministry every gift we receive helps us proclaim the gospel each day all across the country and around the world as always you can give by calling us right now at 866-335-5220 that's 866-335-5220 or you can always give online at jdgrier.com i'm molly vidovich join us again tomorrow when we continue our study through the book of ephesians that's thursday right here on summit life with jd career today's program was produced and sponsored by jd career ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-07-10 10:37:42 / 2024-07-10 10:47:52 / 10

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