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Why Have a Confession of Faith? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
July 5, 2022 8:00 am

Why Have a Confession of Faith? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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July 5, 2022 8:00 am

Today, Pastor Don Green continues Teaching God's -People God's Word. Pastor Don will show you that there are several non-negotiables when making that very important decision for yourself and your family.--thetruthpulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

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While I have a confession of faith, you might be asking the question what you mean by confession of faith. Well, we want to address some of those foundational issues here today hello and welcome back to home with John Green, founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I dove you know we all have different reasons. Choosing the church we attend today as he continues teaching God's people. God's word. Don will show you that there are several nonnegotiable when it comes to making meth very important decision yourself and your family and on selecting the right church really should be about more than just a popular pastor a great worship team and coffee and donuts in the lobby after service.

Isn't that right well Bill, I certainly hope that is right because our church does not have a popular pastor. We don't have a worship team and we don't have coffee and donuts in the lobby. There are several must have is my friend that I would want you to know about looking for a church, a church needs to be a place where doctrine is at the center of what the church stands for the teaching of Scripture and teaching it in a theological way that leads people into a knowledge of God and knowledge of Christ and a full understanding that leads to an assurance of salvation but starts with what the church teaches all of those other accessories don't matter if the pulpit isn't strong and so that's what were going to look at as we start this series the confession of truth. Look for the things that distinguish a biblical church and what you're about to hear. I'm glad you're with us today on the truthful. Thanks, Don friend, let's begin today's lesson right now on the truthful in Colossians chapter 3 verse 16 it says let the word of Christ richly dwell within you with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the father.

You see this emphasis on the word of God dwelling in the hearts of believers dwelling amongst the people of God, you know, in a local church and being that which drives everything that they do all of the singing.

All of the admonishment. All of the glory given to God flow from a context of teaching what the Bible means. Now hold that thought in your mind for just a moment and I I suppose that there are many many reasons why people choose a church to attend. There are many reasons for that and and this list that I'm about to give you is not at all intended to be exhaustive, just illustrative people choose church for the sake of geography. This church is close to my home and so I want to attend there.

I don't want to drive 30 minutes to be at a church I want to church in my neighborhood so people choose something based on the proximity of the church to where they live. Okay some people choose church for social reasons.

They like the people that attend there may be there friends attend. There they have friends and they find their social environment. Their social contacts their social circles within a church. Okay some people choose a church based on music there musically inclined, or their younger and they like the music and in this place rocks so they choose based on the music that they find it, the place probably more than we would care to admit.

Many people choose church for simply for emotional reasons. I like how I feel when I go there. This place makes me feel good about myself makes me feel good about life and all of the aspects of things and it's just it's just an emotional response. They haven't really thought about so much. We know of course a lot of people choose a church based on the programs it's offered there. They like having a lot of activities for their family for their children and so because the church has a lot of programs they go to a church for that reason and you could probably multiply examples I'll give you one more.

I've given you five will give you six based on the online biographies that many if not most pastor's post about themselves.

It would appear that they think that people attend their church because there are a fan of the New York Mets. They like to barbecue and the foolish aspects of what their personal interests are. I was meant to be funny you didn't take it is funny but that's okay. There's is there's an element of truth to what I just said you go to the online biographies of most pastors and they'll be saying things like that.

I'm a fan of the Cincinnati Reds or you know I'm a fan of classical music or whatever.

As if that had anything to do with the purpose of the church. Goodness bothers me hold my online biography doesn't have any of that stuff in there and said that quite sure that it doesn't in the midst of all of that, my friends, which we can all understand and relate to. It's easy to forget something really basic and important.

It's this that doctrine matters what a church teaches has far more profound consequences than all of those other things put together multiplied by 5000. What a church teaches is far more important than all of those other secondary things that tend to be the consumer-based decision upon which many people make their decision to attend a local body as will see in later in this message. As we've said many times a church exists to teach the truth of the word of God. That is why the church exists and it is in the context of truth. It is in the context of a biblical doctrine that we worship God is in the context of truth in biblical doctrine that we grow spiritually is in the context of truth that evangelism takes place exultation edification, evangelism, what we call the threefold purpose of the church. All of these things are being advanced in the context of the doctrine that is taught on a consistent basis over time by a by a local church. It is in doctrine. It is in truth, that we proclaim that Jesus Christ died for sinners like you that he was buried, that he rose again on the third day, and he ascended into heaven, from where he reigns with power and as of the exalted Lord he calls you out of your sin out of the world to come to him in faith and he makes a claim that you would sacrifice that you would forfeit that you would leave behind your your love and your slavery to sin in order to be a devoted lover and disciple and slave of Jesus Christ either a slave to sin or a slave of Christ. There is no in between. That's it. Well beloved. It's truth, it's doctrine, it's biblical teaching that communicates those things and gives us the context to proclaim that message is truth that enables us. That is the foundation upon which we call centers everywhere to repent and believe in Christ for their eternal life for the forgiveness of their sins and so truth matters. There's a reason why nine years ago, almost. We decided to name this place, truth, community church, we wanted to send a message by the very name that we were about truth, preeminently and you know God will be the final judge as to whether we have succeeded in that or not. When it's all said and done so. Truth matters truth matters that background helps us understand the answer to the question, which is the title of today's message.

While I have a confession of faith. While I have a confession of faith for some of you I understand because it wasn't that long ago that I was in in a similar position you might be asking the question what you mean by confession of faith even what is a confession of faith, let alone why do you have one. Well, we want to address some of those foundational issues here today as were thinking about the purpose of the local church here. We want to understand the context of of doctrine and why it is and how it is that we build on biblical truth is, that's what I want to do here and I would just say this by way of partial exhortation and an encouragement to you. This message is far, far more important than it might seem to you to be on first glance you know we more immediately relate to messages that talk to us about about practical matters of daily life or worship, or things like this, but a message like this. The things were going to talk about today are the foundation upon which everything else is built. If you can understand the things that are there found in this message and next you will have a great understanding of what is the engine that drives our church and what should be the engine that drives any legitimate church that names the name of Jesus. Christ, whatever. In particular confession they may happen to use. Let's step back and just by way of a little bit of introduction I know some of you are a really new to our church. We welcome you were so glad that you're with us and it's important for your sake that I have a message like this at a time like this so that you can get introduced and understand what it is we stand for and what it is that we do. This is a remarkable church.

What I mean is every week new people are coming either visiting or wanting to make this their church home. Our audience is very dynamic, changing from week to week, so I'm always trying to do things that embrace everyone keeps everybody moving in the same direction that no one would get left behind.

We care about every individual to walk through these doors. We want you to understand the truth of Christ. The truth of the gospel, we want you to know Christ and be saved by him. We want you to understand what it is we do want to be very transparent about our teaching.

We think that that we owe a duty and we have a responsibility before God and before men to be very transparent, and what it is that we teach truth community church uses a a document that is known as the London Baptist confession of faith of 1689 as it statement of faith.

That's a mouthful. It's actually the second London Baptist confession of faith of 1689 to be very technically precise in this message is today explains why we need a confession of faith. Next we'll talk about 1689, but this is talking about a more fundamental issue of why a church needs a confession of faith and why it is right and proper for church to have a a confession that it uses no going back many many years ago I was taught. The confessions were bad things I was taught the confessions meant the people didn't really respect the authority of the Bible and they like the confession. Instead, I was told that if a church had a confession they would teach the confession and not Scripture. I've come to see that that's not true, and I needed to unlearn some things in the process of ministry and but this message explains why we need a confession of faith. Now I'm grateful for the fact that we have a number of men in our church that are showing aspirations to grow spiritually and you know deep in their hearts they probably say no. What I'd like to have a role in church leadership somewhere down the road of the Lord would open that up to me you had that desire for for truth and to minister to the people of God. Well, let me give you two books if that's you, let me give you two books that have helped me in that are worthy of your time. If you desire a future in church leadership. Even if it's simply in a lay capacity is as a deacon or an elder. The first one is a book from 2012 by a man named Carl Truman called the creedal imperative. The creedal imperative what a great important book that has been in my own thinking and secondly there is a book that's available.

I checked on Amazon from 1824 by a the second full-time professor at Princeton seminary named Samuel Miller with this title, the utility and importance of creeds and confessions the utility and importance of creeds and confessions.

No look, I realize I'm about to lose everybody with what I'm saying here, but I just want you to know there's a foundation to things that I'm saying now are going to pivot. Why have a confession of faith and what is a confession of faith, a confession of faith, here's a definition for you as we start to get the wheels moving get out of the mud here of my preliminaries confession of faith is a written summary of the doctrines that its authors believe that the Bible teaches a confession of faith is a summary of what its authors believe the Bible teaches.

It's a summary of the doctrine that a church believes you could say and I quote from a work by the church historian Philip Schaff, a confession, particularly addresses those beliefs that the framers believe are necessary for salvation, or at least the well-being of the Christian church. Alright so let's let's pause here because I really want to keep you with me here confession of faith is simply a summary of a biblical doctrine that its writers in the church that holds it says this is what we understand the Bible to teach simple enough right confession of faith expresses what that church believes the nature of salvation is and what is necessary for the health of the Christian church and so that's a very important thing for you to know is you go to a church. What does this church teach me about what is necessary to be say there is no more important question for you to know, what shall I do to be saved in the language of the Philippian jailer while confession of faith is a churches transparent acknowledgment of what the answer to that most important question is, among other things. Who is God, here's what we believe it's set forth in the confession who is Christ. Here it is, and so on. Now why then do we have a confession of faith where it doesn't matter were not talking specifically about 1689. Why does he do we have a confession of faith. Let's put it this way.

Why should a church have a confession of faith. Well, when I answer that question with three points. First of all it relates to the purpose of the church. The purpose of the church. We come into the auditorium.

We gathered together we sing together, but there should always be in our minds. There should always be this fundamental understanding that is operating in the background of our mind. What is the reason that we do this, what is the purpose of the local church. Well, that's what I want to spend a moment thinking through with you and pointing you to some Scripture.

Think about it this way, beloved God is an invisible spirit, we cannot see God. We can't see his essence week. See some of his handiwork in creation but but it only gives us an idea of his power and his existence. He doesn't tell us the details of who he is and general revelation is not revealed to us how we can know this God and what he will do with us when we fall into his hands, and judgment. God has answered those questions for us in verbal form in written form that is recorded for us in the 66 books of the Bible, God has made himself known in a written way in a written revelation that we find in the Bible. Now that has something to do with the confession and what a church does with God's truth and how church expresses itself because God saw fit. Watch this because God saw fit to reveal himself in a written way.

It is proper and necessary for a church to use a written form a verbal form to express its teaching God spoke in writing, then it's obvious, and Obviously incumbent upon those who say they speak for him to do something to express their teaching in writing so that I can read the Bible. I can go to a church and read their confession and I can compare what they say that they teach with the words of Scripture, and there is a fixed reference point by which these things are defined.

This is more far more important than it might seem at first glance, the local church exists to proclaim and to defend the truth. Both aspects of it. You can write down these verses that I'm just going to read for you the familiar versus overall. In Matthew 28 verse 20 Matthew 28 verse 20 part of the great commission is that Christ told his disciples, you teach the nations to observe all that I commanded you, embedded in central to the great commission is a command to take what the revelation of God and teach it to the nations teach it on an individual basis to those who are lost teach it to his people feed his lambs.

We must teach in order to obey that commandment will okay what is it that we teach what do we say what is the truth that we proclaim it summarized in the confession of faith church holds in Paul's letter to Timothy first Timothy 315. He said that the church of the living God is the pillar and support of the truth. The church exist to support the revealed system of truth that God is made known in his word.

That's why a church exists is to support the truth to proclaim it to defend it as we'll see in a moment in Jude 3. The last book before revelation. The 65th book of the Bible it says I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. So we see in these passages, and many many others that teaching is at the heart of what God of what Christ of what his apostles have told us to do. You see, my friends, what does that mean for us. We don't have the liberty to just make up a church and make it whatever we wanted to be. If a church is a true church. It needs to be doing what Christ told it to do what Christ told it to do was to teach the Scriptures and so teaching is central to the purpose and the life of any genuine church and for those who hear this message later. I want to just tell you what I think is that when a church has a very very short statement of faith that can be summarized in a paragraph or two or three, or if you have a really hard time even finding what their doctrine is that they teach. That's assigned to keep looking for a different church because the church that is devoted to truth has something to say about it and wants to put that front and center to what it does. It's an easy mark for discernment in terms of simply what a church says its beliefs are and how easy and accessible they are. As part of the purpose of the church. How does that relate to a confession of faith.

Well, I'll answer my own question.

Confession of faith.

My friends helps us fulfill that biblical responsibility in a positive sense. It establishes a doctrinal standard for the teaching of the church and so a church that has a confession of faith and said this is what we teach.

Well if someone comes along. This is happened in the past in the life of our body wants to teach something different, we can simply point to. We point to the confession say that's not what we teach. My friend, you can't teach that here that's what we teach. We've already committed to what we understand Scripture to teach and it makes the whole process objective you're saying. You're saying a confession says a is not what we teach authority. So this is a personal this is just the way it is. There's a standard for the teaching of the church in a negative sense confession of faith helps us discern false teaching and test the spirits to see whether they are from God see a confession of faith. A good one gives you definitions of what terms like justification and sanctification mean and when someone says this is what it means to be justified. You can see if it's see if it's consistent with the teaching of the church for not and so a confession of faith is related to the purpose of the church because it helps the church and its teaching function to its people going green, bringing our time to a close for today you're on the truth pulpit but if you'd like to listen again or you'd like to share this message with a friend or family member. Simply go to the truth. that's the true Don will continue in our series called the confession of truth. With part two Leslie began to bed. Meanwhile, I'm built right and join us next time. As Don Greene continues teaching God's people. God's work through people

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