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Behold the Lamb #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
November 12, 2021 7:00 am

Behold the Lamb #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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What we're going to see as we walk quickly through the Gospel of John is what you're going to see is that receiving Christ, saving faith in Christ means receiving Him in three distinct ways. What is saving faith? What does it mean to receive Christ? That question is answered definitively by the Apostle John. And that's where we'll turn today on the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hello, I'm Bill Wright. We've come to the last leg of our journey through the four Gospels to put together portraits of Christ. And Don, here's where Scripture tells us there's no such thing as halfway when it comes to receiving Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ calls a man to Himself, He is claiming allegiance and asserting His sovereign prerogative over that man's life. It's so much different from those who say today that Jesus wants you to be happy or to have your best life now. This study in the Gospel of John summarizes Christ's call as a new life, a new law, and a new Lord.

Have you come to Christ on His terms? He said that unless a man is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Stay tuned for more on the Truth Pulpit.

Thanks, Don. And now part one of Behold the Lamb on the Truth Pulpit. The act of preaching is meaningless if Christ is not proclaimed. And let me add from your perspective, the act of hearing is meaningless if Christ is not received and obeyed.

It is your responsibility as we come to the Scriptures to hear it and to apply it to your lives, to think deeply about your soul, particularly with the kind of message that we have before us. We are going to the Gospel of John, and we're completing a brief four-week series where we've kind of taken an overview look of the life of Christ. If you thought about the life of Christ as a beautiful extended movie, we've just looked at three snapshots. We've just looked at little snapshots as we've done single messages from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And now we're taking one more snapshot look at the Gospel of John, but all beloved, the message that we're going to see from John today could not be more urgent for you to hear and to appropriate and to examine yourself. It would probably be widely agreed by anyone who's familiar with the Bible to realize that the most frightening passage of Scripture is found at the end of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 7, where Jesus said, looking forward to the day of judgment, that there will be many on that day who will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not do all of this stuff, prophecies and miracles and all of this stuff in your name?

Jesus will say, he said, I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness. In 2 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 5 it says, test yourselves to see if you're in the faith, examine yourself, for do you not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you fail the test? And so, as I am fond of saying from this pulpit, for an hour suspended as it were between time and eternity in the preaching of God's Word, as we have one more opportunity to examine our souls in light of what God's Word says, I invite you, I call you, under the authority of God's Word, I command you to examine yourself in light of what you're about to hear, because it is too urgent to treat it any other way. Because the Gospel of John is written as a gift from God to humanity.

It is written as a gift of God from his holy mind to humanity, to understand, to awaken us to the only possible means of salvation from sin. Each one of us are under the weight of the recognition that we fall short of the glory of God as he has revealed it in his perfect law. We fall short of the moral character of God, with our loves and our affections and what we say, do and think. We all fall short of the glory of God, and when you read Scripture, you realize that God does not trifle with such violators of his holiness.

This is a matter of immense consequence. Who could stand up and speak and tell stories about himself and tell jokes and get people to laugh while they're rushing down the river toward the waterfalls of eternity? Who would do that as we come to this providential time in God's Word from the Gospel of John?

I just want to ask you to take this seriously. I ask you, I invite you to open your heart to God's Word, because the Gospel of John is, in one sense, uniquely written to lead us to saving faith in Jesus Christ, to give us the knowledge of Christ that is necessary to flee from our sin and to embrace the only one who can save us. And that's what we have in the Gospel of John. Look at John chapter 1 verse 29.

I want to give you bookends to the Gospel to kind of help set the stage for what we're about to see. John chapter 1 verse 29. John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Christ, saw Jesus coming to him, and he said at the time to his audience words that still ring true today that are the trumpet call to every soul that would come under the sound of God's Word. Look at John chapter 1 verse 29. The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. There's our one single hope, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The writer John, and John the Baptist as it is, presents to us, holds forth to us right at the start, puts on center stage with the spotlight on Christ, and says, Behold this man. Behold this one who alone can take away the sins of the world. The one who alone can take away your sins.

And make no mistake about it. Without apology, the Apostle John is writing with an evangelistic purpose. He is not writing as an abstract disinterested historian here who is just chronicling facts for us that we can take or leave as if we were reading a book about World War I. No, no, this Word of God in the Gospel of John is written to impact us, to confront us, to save us. Look at the end of the Gospel, John chapter 20. We're just broadly setting the context for what we have to say here today, and beloved, I just plead with you to receive what is said from God's Word today. Look at John chapter 20 verse 30, and line yourselves up with the purposes of God in the proclamation of the Gospel of John today. Scripture says that, Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. That's why the Gospel of John was written, was to lead us, and he states it so clearly.

Don't you love the clarity of God's Word? Don't you love how it just lays it out on the table, it puts the banquet out before us, and says here, come take and eat. Come and eat the spiritual food that will give you eternal life.

Come and receive the banquet. Come and receive the food which can nourish your soul, which can save your soul. Come and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

It is a promise of the full and free forgiveness of sin to repentant sinners who will receive Christ. Nothing else matters. Nothing else matters. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? And so nothing else matters except that we would understand and be assured that we are lined up with the purposes of God in salvation.

Now, here's the question. What does it mean to believe in Christ? You might think that that was an easy question to answer, that there was a superficial answer to that question. Many writers from certain seminaries will try to reduce it to such a bare mental assent to certain facts about Christ that never confront a life with sin, that never transform it with true saving grace. We understand that there are many who think that they are saved who are not. Well, beloved, this word from the Gospel of John is written, and in part when you read it with any level of seriousness at all, helps you understand that the question, do you believe in Christ, is not a superficial question. It is not a moment in time bowing the knee at the altar and then moving on with life and nothing changes. Do you believe in Christ cannot be answered by, I bowed the knee at the altar when I was eight.

That's just not true. That is not what Scripture leads us to contemplate. In fact, Scripture teaches us that many, many men and women will react favorably to Christ at a certain level, but they fall short of true salvation. Frightening. It's in Matthew 7 21 to 23 where Jesus said, Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not? And I'll say, I never knew you, depart from me.

And they're going to go off into perdition. Shocked! Shocked at the outcome!

Shocked! But Lord, Lord! He says, I never knew you.

What else can I do? You don't belong in heaven because I don't know you. You don't know me! And I would be a foolish, irresponsible pastor if I thought that there weren't some in exactly that condition that were sitting in front of me today as I opened this word. It would be pastoral malpractice for me to just assume that all of you were born again, truly in Christ, that the devil's self-deception has not settled on your own soul.

I can't preach that way, and I'm not going to preach that way. What does it mean to believe in Christ? Well, it starts with a recognition of who He is. And John, again, puts Christ on center display right from the beginning. In John chapter 1, he says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This Jesus Christ who is proclaimed in the Gospel of John is God Himself in human flesh. Look at verse 14 of chapter 1. And the Word became flesh.

What word? This Word who was with God and who was God. The Word who was God became flesh.

And then the rest of the Gospel of John is an exposition of selected portions of his ministry. John takes the Word who was God in human flesh and displays Him so that we might believe in Him. And believe in Him unto eternal life. Believe in Him unto the forgiveness of our sins. Believe in Him unto the deliverance of our souls from the desperate judgment in which we are in danger.

But all of that so far still begs the question, doesn't it? What does it mean to believe in Christ? Well, John, in the middle of those framing verses that I just read, says this, John chapter 1 verse 12. John chapter 1 verse 12, he says, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.

There it is. As many as received Him, as many as believed in His name, they were born not of blood, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Somehow, somehow God gives birth to true Christians. Somehow, believing in Christ means to receive Him. And that idea of receiving Him that we want to focus on, as you read the Gospel of John, you see that John sets forth various signs, miracles, mighty works that Jesus did that authenticate the reality of His claim to be the Son of God. Jesus turned water into wine. He healed the sick. He healed the lame. He fed 5,000 people with just a little bit of bread and fish.

5,000 men, there were more in the audience beyond that. Who is this Jesus? He walked on water. He raised the dead. Everything that Scripture says about Him was verified, authenticated by what He did during His earthly life. There's no disputing it.

This is what we read. This man of whom we read in the Gospel of John is the very Son of God. God in human flesh. This is the one to whom we are called.

This is the one who alone can save us. And yet, and yet, you could believe everything I just said and fall short of eternal life. You could affirm every factual statement that I just made and still be outside the kingdom of God.

You could believe everything. You could receive and affirm and amen the preacher. But you could affirm all of that and still fall short of what it means to really believe in Christ. What is saving faith? What is saving belief in Christ? What does it mean to receive Him? What we're going to see as we walk quickly through the Gospel of John is what you're going to see is that receiving Christ, saving faith in Christ means receiving Him in three distinct ways. There are three distinct aspects of receiving Christ might be the better way to say it. And I'll just give you the outline here at the start and then you'll know where we're going.

You can trace the path before we go there. Receiving Christ. Believing in Christ means receiving new life, a new law, and a new Lord. New life, new law, new Lord. Scripture makes this abundantly clear and that's the roadmap that we're going to follow here today.

Let's look at point number one. New life. New life. Beloved. Saving faith in Christ is more than bestowing your intellectual approval on Jesus. Let's not trivialize the majesty of God by thinking that He needs our approval, that He wants our approval, that He is somehow a subject to whom we bestow our blessing. That is a reversal of divine order. Look at John chapter 3, you'll see why I say this. In John chapter 3 verse 1, there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with Him.

Look at that statement. Nicodemus recognizes the signs. He comes to Christ with a certain attitude of at least feigned deference, pretending at least to give Him praise and acknowledgement. He affirms Him as a teacher from God.

He affirms Him as a worker of wonders. And you might think on a first read through the Gospels that Christ would be so encouraged to get something like those words from a ruler of the Jews. Look, I say without fear of contradiction that many churches have baptized many people on a lesser confession of Christ than what Nicodemus made in verse 2. You just say something about Jesus and under you go. Well, read the passage and realize that Jesus had nothing to do with it.

Is affirming Jesus on your human level true faith? Not according to Jesus. The confrontation that Jesus makes on Nicodemus' soul in the face of what Nicodemus intended to be praise is shocking. But in verse 3, Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus comes, Jesus, you're a teacher from God.

I see the signs. No one can do this unless God is with him. And Jesus says, don't fool yourself. Unless you're born again, you can't see the kingdom of God. He is rejecting that human approval and saying this is not real faith.

Nicodemus is stunned. Look at verse 4. How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?

And Jesus reinforces the point. He says in verse 5, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. What Jesus is saying there is you must have a spiritual cleansing from the Holy Spirit if you are going to enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus, you need to be washed, not externally. You need to be washed spiritually.

You need new life. And that is in perfect keeping with what we have already read in chapter 1, where we said that those who receive Christ are those who are born of God, born from God, born from above. He needed new life. And without it, he would not enter the kingdom of heaven.

That is for a ruler of the Jews, the teacher of Israel, the one who affirmed Christ as being sent from God, having God with him. And Jesus says you are missing the whole point. You need new life, Nicodemus. You hear, and whoever else hears this message, you must have new life. To receive Christ is to receive new life. Jesus said the same thing in John chapter 4 verse 13 when he spoke to the Samaritan woman. Turn to John 4 verse 13.

And this new life is a gift. It is not something that you can do on your own power. It's not something that you can invoke in your own strength. That's why you must be born from God. Look at John chapter 4 verse 10, actually. You know the story of the Samaritan woman, so I won't bother setting the whole context. But just look at verse 10. Jesus said to her, If you knew the gift of God and who it is that says to you, give me a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.

She asks a couple of questions in the next two verses. Verse 13, Jesus answered and said to her, verse 13, Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again. But, now watch this in verse 14, Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst.

But the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. The Gospel of John presupposes that we are spiritually dead apart from Christ. That you come to Christ not as one who is approving what Jesus did and as if you were blessing him, the lesser does not bless the greater. We come to Christ not as those who have merit, not as those who deserve it, not of those who can demand anything from him. You must come to Christ as one who recognizes that you are dead and you are in need of spiritual life to be given to you. If there is any sense of human pride, human deserving, when you came to Christ in your attitude toward Christ, let me tell you, if you think you deserved it, you're not born again. It doesn't matter what else you say about Jesus. We come to Christ as those who say, Lord, I need a gift. I need you to give this life to me which you have promised because I happen to be in front of you as one who is dead in sin and unable to save myself. Now, why would I make a big point of that?

Because the tendency of your sinful, wicked heart is going to be to have reserved in the corner of your mind a little place where you say, I'm not really all that bad. I'm not really completely dead. I might need a spiritual boost here, but between Jesus and me, with God as my co-pilot, we're going to be okay. No.

No. And see, it's the truth of the new birth that gives the lie to the human condition. It's the truth of regeneration that God must impart spiritual life for you to be born again that exposes the reality of it.

New life means more than just adding something else to a mix. It really is starting all over with Jesus Christ as the center of your life and the old life crucified. Pastor Don Green will continue our lesson in John's gospel called Behold the Lamb next time on The Truth Pulpit.

Don't miss a moment. Before we go, though, here again is Don with some closing words. Are your sins forgiven? Have you taken your sins to the cross of Jesus Christ and asked him to cleanse you with his shed blood? Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus Christ offers you free forgiveness of all your sins if you will come to him in a humble, repentant faith.

You can receive him as your Lord and Savior and rest in him to be the one to carry you safely to heaven. Visit us at for address and service information. There you'll also find a link to Don's Facebook page. You can also download Don's messages to hear again at your convenience. That's I'm Bill Wright. We'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-25 23:05:18 / 2023-06-25 23:14:20 / 9

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