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June 1, 2022 8:00 am
You know, one of the things and I just more that I go with this more that I just hate this mindset of moralistic therapeutic use.
The more I thought about it the more I truly hated think it is more lethally dangerous and may be anything that we talked about. Thanks for joining us on the truth. Paul played with Don green founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Here Don teaches God's people.
God's work find Bill Wright and Don is continuing our series deception close to home with part two of a message titled moralistic therapeutic deism and the true goal in life. Last time John took us to the sermon on the Mount in Matthew five Jesus describes the true believer as mournful over sin that flies in the face of moralistic therapeutic deism whose premise is that happiness is the true goal in life today.
Don will show us how suffering is often the means God uses to make us more like Christ. So Fred have your Bible open and ready as we join our teacher now in the truthful beloved the promises of God, the goodness of God. The faithfulness of God are not for the people who are selfishly autonomous in their approach to life. The promises of God, the goodness of God for the repentant.
Those who are humbly dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ for their righteousness. Those who look at themselves and find reason for morning and only when they look up to Christ or they find reason for joy. Now, obviously. Obviously, God often blesses us with joy. Obviously, we often find satisfaction even as were walking through this life.
But, beloved, the joy that God gives often comes in the midst of adversity that is personally trying and uncomfortable look at John chapter 16 verse 33 John chapter 16 verse 33. There is no place in the Christian worldview for an assumption that God simply wants your life to be easy for you. Jesus said again and again the exact opposite. The exact opposite. In John 16 verse 33. He said these things, I've spoken to you, so that in me you may have peace in the world you have tribulation, but take courage. I have overcome the world. Elsewhere in acts chapter 14 verse 22.
You don't need to turn their elders quoted briefly in acts 1422. It says that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God, look at second Corinthians chapter 1, you can turn to this place. Second Corinthians chapter 1 verse three Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ abundance sufferings all our affliction. You see the comfort that God gives comes in the midst of the afflictions that come from living with corruption in our souls and in the midst of a fallen world that cause us to despair of our self-sufficiency because us to despair of hope in this world and to look up to Christ, who is gone before us as the forerunner and as our representative in his sufferings during his time on earth and ultimately at the cross of Christ we follow Christ who suffered without having a cross of our own peers thought Scripture speaks of affliction and tribulation being the mark of those who are truly entering the kingdom of heaven. Beloved, if you're here today. Your life is been one of affliction are currently is one of affliction and you have a sense how I'm clinging to Christ in this but all this is so hard. Let me just encourage you with the words of Scripture. This is to be expected for believers. This is sometimes the lot of believers, moralistic therapeutic deism and the influence of it. It can, and I think the true Christians can be influenced by this when they're not aware of its influence.
I think you can be influenced by this and recognize it by certain spiritual attitudes that it inevitably produces and those who think that along these lines, a God just wants me to be happy.
Well, where do you see moralistic therapeutic deism, raising its ugly head. One place that you see it is when people collapse when supposedly bad things happen in their lives and they wander about as lost sheep saying I don't know where to go. How could this happen. Why would God do this to me with a reason that you ask questions like that is that you have a prior expectation that God is going to protect you from every tribulation protect you from every harm, and that you walk through life relatively unscathed and and then when it happens you wise. Why is God doing this to me, why is God angry with me.
Something bad has happened. Well, no Christ. Christ had done nothing bad. Christ did not send it all and he suffered greatly in Gethsemane.
He suffered greatly at Calvary of great internal anguish of soul, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me is the appointed path for Savior that he would perfect us through his own sufferings. Sometimes it's our appointed path that God will perfect us, sanctify us through suffering. Sometimes God will prepare you for future ministry by bringing you years beforehand through suffering, through sorrow, through difficulty that seems to crush you under the weight of it.
Moralistic therapeutic deism has no place for that.
Another way I have somebody specific in mind from decades ago in my life. I won't mention the name you never know where things are going to go on the Internet and so you want to be careful with what you say to some extent, but it's probably not. I know that it's not just from somebody from decades ago this. This is the way that a lot of people determine what God wants the way God is directing their lives. They start with this presupposition. Surely God wants me to be happy. Why would God want me to be happy and so when that's there controlling presupposition in life. Then when bad things start to happen when adversity comes in marriage or in a job situation, or in some other kind of life, setting a little bit of adversity comes then what starts to come out of their mouth is.
This will maybe it's time for me to move on.
Maybe this is God telling me to move on to something else in my life and I need to move out of this situation and that becomes an and my point is, is it that is the first response to it.
I've got adversity. God doesn't want me to have adversity and so he must be telling me to get into another circumstance I'm unhappy in my marriage. God wants me to be happy.
It's time to block out a here will know no in those circumstances. Adversity is simply justifying any means possible to seek an easier life and attributed to God's will is you do.
You know, one of the things and I just the more that I go with this more that I just hate this mindset of moralistic therapeutic deism, the more I thought about it the more I truly hated and think it is. I think it is more more lethally dangerous and may be anything we talked about from a polemic standpoint because it's so subtle and it's so broad you know what this mindset the crossroads and others are teaching people know what it will never produce.
It will never produce people who are courageous in adversity. It just it produces people who run from adversity thinking that God wants them to be happy. You will find noble people rising up from moralistic therapeutic deism where you find people of courage and nobility rising up is is those who are confident in the sovereignty of God's confident in his sovereign purposes and are submitted to his purposes, and say I will persevere through this. I will rise to the occasion of this adversity because I follow a Lord who is overcome the world who has suffered on following after a Lord who overcame and I want to be faithful to him. I want to be like him. But if you think adversity is assigned that that God wants something different from me all you do is run run run and the person that I was alluding to. I realize I nearly forgot about that from 20, 30 years ago in my life this guy bless his heart, and bless his dear wife you had to follow them around.
He struggled in ministry. He struggled in ministry and so he goes to another church and is there about six months and inevitably troubles come up in the ministry. In his response to that is not I need to persevere. What would God have for me here. His response was God's moving me on to something else. And so he moves around from church to church for couple or three times and then he gives up and he moved back home and I who knows what he ended up doing is fundamental pretty presupposition is fundamental thought was adversity was a sign that I needed to move on, will beloved blessed. I say this pastorally essay the supporting USA. This is one who prays for everyone in this room by name and so I say this sympathetically to you. I say this to encourage you.
I say this to help you let your first presupposition in adversity be what God wants me to do is to humbly depend upon him, and persevere maybe in time. Adversity becomes a means by which God moves you along, I wouldn't sentence anyone to a permanent staying in a bad situation but don't start there in your thinking learn something about how to how to walk dependently in Christ when when the winds are blowing against you learn something about persevering in finding your satisfaction in Christ when you're lonely in life rather than pursuing sinful fulfillments learn something about the sufficiency of God in the sufficiency of his grace when you're sad when you're lonely when life is going against you, and in the reality of a Christ centered joy that is independent of your circumstances is that flows out of your life as it does for so many of you in the midst of that your joy is a testimony to the glory of God because it has no earthly human explanation see when trials come, God does not promise circumstantial immediate relief is not why God exists. It promises something different. He promises something better look at second Corinthians chapter 12 second Corinthians chapter 12 verse seven and is returning there, I just want to point something out some almost done here one point something out the things that help you see through this mindset that is superficially appealing the things that let you discern it.
These are rooted. It isn't rooted in the discernment isn't found in obscure passages of Scripture. This is found in in fundamental, basic, common passages that Christians know well and so ultimately there is no excuse for us getting sucked into that mindset.
In second Corinthians chapter 12 verse seven. The apostle Paul says, because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations that were given to and made going up into the third heaven and saw the marvelous things verse seven. For this reason, to keep me from exalting myself. There was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me to keep me from exalting myself concerning this. I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me can't take this away God take this away.
God I ask you 1/3 time take this away. It's making me unhappy. It's uncomfortable to me this is making life hard. God didn't take away whatever that thorn was verse nine he is said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. So the Paul. The last thing the Paul is saying here in second Corinthians chapter 12 is a God wanted me to be happy and to be perfectly comfortable with my circumstances.
Just the opposite.
He said I was discontent in my circumstances I was suffering I asked God to take it away.
And God said no, I have something else for you instead. My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Paul learned to depend even more on the sufficiency of my favor and my kindness to you in Christ and let that be the fountain from which you drink to find your satisfaction in life, not the circumstantial pleasant things that men seek after. Rather, the conscious knowledge that I am a good God and you belong to me and the Christ suffered for you, Christ died for you. Christ rose for you and you are alive in him without perspective. Paul says most gladly therefore I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me, and he says in verse 10.
Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses with insults with distresses with persecutions with difficulties for Christ's sake.
For when I am weak, then I am strong garden-variety professing Christian professing Christian in today's age would think the distresses and difficulties were assigned to God's disfavor would be asking for relief. And so, moralistic therapeutic deism shows up when we expect an easy life as though it were our entitlement from God or that we resent hardship or that we run at the first sign of adversity. This is not true Christianity happiness. Happiness is not the goal. Happiness is a secondary byproduct of something else. God's glory. Beloved is the goal, and if God is providentially ordering your circumstances and has brought affliction into your life than his intention is for you to show forth his glory in the midst of your affliction, not simply by relieving it from you so that you can feel better about yourself.
As you read Christian biography as you read about the ones who truly worthy the preeminent soldiers of the glory of God, you find that the ones who who who were the most noble were the ones who often suffered the most. Think of Jonathan Edwards being kicked out of his church for being faithful to a biblical view of of communion and ease and he sent off an EEs. He sent away rejected that his congregation rejecting the greatest theologian that American soil is ever produced, and he goes off and is ministering to Indians small circle of of Indians affliction, unjust, unfair treatment wasn't the God was displeased with him. God magnified his grace and his glory in the midst of the affliction in an age younger than I am now took him home to glory and so you see beloved, when you and I remember our Lord Jesus Christ, we remember his life, his death, his resurrection and his ascension is session in glory and how he represented us at every step along the way. And one day he's coming back for us when we remember Christ we turn away from our preoccupation with the things of this life, and we set our hearts on his kingdom and glory as the goal of life is the preeminent purpose of life. Jesus himself said Matthew 633 seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to the central goal is Christ, the central goal is his glory, his righteousness, his kingdom a God centered, Christ centered focus is what true Christianity is not a self-centered perspective that can leave him out of the equation. As long as you're happy and is these things crystallize in our minds. The goal of life no longer becomes our personal happiness, but something far better. You know, really for you and me as true Christians.
The goal of life could not possibly be about anything that happens during the window of life between our birth and death That can't possibly be why we exist that can't possibly have anything to do with your highest aspirations in life what you most want out of your existence. If you're a true Christian that can't possibly be it because beloved.
The thing that you and I are really living for the central purpose of our existence lies beyond the river lies beyond this life. It lies even above and beyond being in heaven if I could be that so bold as to say this, let me just tie this back in as I close here with what we said out a Philippians about being slaves of Christ. Christ is our master, we are his slave. Our desire is to please our master what your living for really is a true Christian. The only thing that matters. The thing that will compensate for everything else. Every difficulty in life. Every conflict, every want.
Every every sorrow. The thing that will compensate for it all is when you stand before Christ, whatever that looks like and he looks upon you, and he says at the end of your difficult life. He says well done you good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master. See beloved bats are goal, we want to live in a way, in response to our salvation that we hear those words from our Lord. And if you hear those words from Christ. The goal of your life has been perfectly attained, no matter what happened in the so-called 70 year window between your birth and death in honestly honestly if all that eternity was for us if all that eternity was forced was to be able to sit somewhere and rehearse and remember in our minds that are master said you were a good and faithful slave you pleased me you did what I wanted you glorified me. I affirm you. You accomplish what I gave for you to do if all that eternity was was just rehearsing and remembering that and having heard that from the lips of our Lord. That would be that would become hoary if that's all that it was be a lot more than the beloved. Our goal is to please Christ and the affirmation that we get from him lies outside the bounds of time. Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master Matthew 25 2111. That's what matters. That is our goal.
We been conditioned in our affluent society to see hardship and suffering as all bad, but as Pastor Don Greene is reminded us today on the truth. Pulpit Christians should be ready to accept them as character builders, always remembering Scripture's promise that all things work together for our good will will continue our series deception close to home on our next program and we hope you'll join us then. Right now though Don's back your in studio with some closing thoughts will hello my friend. I want to thank you for listening to the truth pulpit. Thank you for being a student of God's word. You are the reason that we do these things we want to bring God's word to you in a way that makes it alive and applicable to you and brings you into a deeper knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ you know if you benefited from this broadcast. We just ask you to do a simple thing, go to our webpage or go to our Facebook page look us up on Facebook can just drop us a little note just a word that would let us know that you've appreciated today's broadcast or the other aspects of our ministry.
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