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Christianity Today #2

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

Christianity Today #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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September 8, 2022 8:00 am

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I'll give that some thought. No, no, no. That's the same thing as saying no, I reject it. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day in which you must come to Christ.

To say I'll consider it later is to say I reject it. Thank you so much for joining us on the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm Bill Wright. Today as Don continues teaching God's people, God's Word, he's going to bring our series called, Is Christianity True to a Close, with a final study exploring the fact that we are completely unable to save ourselves, and how Jesus Christ and the power of his Holy Spirit in our lives are our only hope for heaven. So if you're ready, let's get started with today's lesson.

Here is Don with the second half of a message called, Christianity Today, on the Truth Pulpit. In Acts chapter 1, verse 6, Jesus is getting ready to depart and to ascend back into heaven. And in verse 6, when they had come together, they were asking him, saying, Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?

He said to them, it is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by his own authority, but you will receive what? Power. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth. Jesus says, you need power in order to do what I am calling you to do.

So before you go out, wait for the power to come. And the power came in Acts chapter 2, verse 1. In Acts chapter 2, verse 1, you will remember the disciples had been huddled together. Peter was speaking to them toward the end of chapter 1 and then in Acts chapter 2, verse 1, when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit was giving them utterance. As you read on in chapter 2, you see Peter starting to preach with power, and he convicts the Jews of having crucified Christ.

In verse 36, chapter 2, verse 36, he says, therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. Peter wasn't simply speaking to men about historical information, beloved. The Holy Spirit had come upon him, and the Holy Spirit was empowering his preaching as he preached on that day of Pentecost. And so when they heard this in verse 37, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, brethren, what shall we do? The Spirit who was working through Peter in his speaking had been at work in their hearts while they listened, and so they were pierced to the heart, and the Spirit got to the heart of the problem in a way that mere words could never have done, unaided human language could never have done. And so Peter said to them, repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself. And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, be saved from this perverse generation. Peter expressing the heart of every true gospel preacher as he pleads to men who are dead in their sins and indifferent to the matters of God and the matters of their own sin and the matters of eternal judgment, and he pleads with them and exhorts them, be saved from this perverse generation, lending every element of human persuasion possible. Just as I say to you today, be saved from this perverse generation.

Leave this world behind, leave your ungodly thinking and your ungodly friends behind and come to Christ and be saved. In Acts chapter 2, because the Spirit was with Peter and because the Spirit was at work in the hearts of men, there was this result. Verse 41, so then those who had received his word were baptized and that day there were added about 3,000 souls. 3,000 men came to Christ in response to that one sermon. A beloved understand what was happening there, understand in the light of everything that we've been talking about, Peter addressed them with the historical information in that sermon. Peter spoke to them about Old Testament promise and New Testament fulfillment. Peter exhorted them to come to Christ. But the reason that those men were converted and the women converted is because the Spirit of God was at work in their hearts to enable them to do what they could not do in their own human power.

The things that were impossible with men are suddenly possible under the power of God. And for that frustrated young woman that might be hearing me today, I've tried and this hasn't worked. Let me plead with you and encourage you. Go to Christ again and say obviously I don't have the power to make this happen on my own. I am at your mercy. If you don't help me, I will never be saved.

I'm done with trying. I need to receive help from your Spirit that is beyond my ability to produce, but which is in your power and your love and grace to give. So look on me, Lord Jesus, and have mercy on me, the sinner, and cry out to him like that.

And if it seems that nothing has happened in the moments and hours that ensue, you go back to him and say it again. And you pray again. And you just keep seeking Christ and keep begging him for mercy like the tax gatherer did in Luke 18. Be merciful to me, the sinner. I am desperately dependent upon you.

I can't do anything to save myself. Send the Spirit with power to my heart and help me. You see, Jesus Christ was present with the disciples as they preached. Their confidence and power came from Christ himself, came from the Spirit that was with them. And for any man or woman, boy or girl, to be saved, there must be a gracious influence from the Holy Spirit upon their unbelieving heart. The Spirit of God must inwardly change them, must take out the heart of stone and give a heart of flesh.

A heart that is dead and cold and hard must receive a heart that is soft and tender and beating and alive. And only the Holy Spirit can do that. He must inwardly change the unbeliever and empower them to believe. Jesus Christ is alive forevermore. He lives now to make himself known here on earth. And he will meet everyone who acknowledges their sin, their rebellion that comes to him in repentance and faith.

I know that from personal experience. I know what it was like to go dead in sin, to go convicted of utter shameful guilt, and to cry out with the help of the Holy Spirit looking back in retrospect, Jesus save me. I'm lost. I can't help myself.

There's nothing I can do. And glory to his precious name. He met me in that moment. He saved me in that moment. He changed me in that moment.

And it's not of anything that I did. It was all an act of his grace. Jesus Christ did for me what he's done for every Christian since his resurrection, what he must do for sinners who cannot help themselves. He comes and he helps us. And he helps us based on what he did during his earthly life. In the place of his people, Jesus Christ obeyed God's holy law.

Perfect conformity to the Ten Commandments and everything else that the law of God required. In the place of his people, Jesus Christ suffered the penalty of sin on the cross. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Christ, forsaken as it were by the Father in the same way that sinners ought to have been forsaken by him. Christ having fulfilled the law, Christ having died, Christ having rose again, Christ having done everything that is necessary for the salvation of a sinner, now for those who turn to him from sin and turn to him, God graciously accepts on their behalf everything that Christ has done as though the repentant sinner had done it themselves. He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Look at the book of Romans again, chapter 5. In other words, Christ did everything necessary for salvation.

We trust not in ourselves but in what he has done. Not on the basis of deeds that we have done in our lives, but based on the deeds that Jesus did in his life two thousand years ago, Romans chapter 5 verse 6, for while we were still helpless at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. That prayer for mercy that I was describing just a few moments ago, that's the prayer of someone who's helpless, who's given up all hope of anything that he can do. God, I'm helpless here!

If you don't help me, it's over! That's the urgency that the Spirit of God produces in a heart crying out to be saved. While we were still helpless at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man, though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son. Much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

You look at those terms in that passage. Who were we? Helpless, ungodly, enemies of God. Nothing in us that can save ourselves. Nothing in us that can prompt the faith that's necessary to appropriate and receive Christ.

It has to be a gift that God gives to you. For it is by grace we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. Even the faith that saves us, even the faith better stated, the faith that lays hold of Christ must be given to us by God. He must empower our hearts, he must influence our hearts, he must renew us, he must help us.

Because we can't do that on our own. If we could, historical information would convert us. The result of all of it, when God saves a man, saves a woman, saves a boy and a girl, Romans 8 verse 1, look at it with me. Therefore, Romans 8 verse 1, therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. All of those verses in Romans telling us this, everything wrathful, vengeful judgment that we deserved, it fell on Christ.

He absorbed it all on our behalf. And for those that believe in Christ, that turn to him, God justifies them, gives the credits, the full merit of Jesus Christ to their account so that it is no longer possible for condemnation to come upon them. It's not even possible for a true Christian to ever be condemned by God, because what God requires was fulfilled in Christ. And when that is received by faith, then the full merit, the full work of Christ is attributed to that person in the mind of God in a way that makes condemnation no longer necessary, no longer possible. The judgment was already born by Christ, already carried by Christ. And when one believes in Christ, everything good about Jesus is counted to them. Everything perfect about Jesus is counted to them so that there is no condemnation. And everything that belongs to Christ is freely offered to us in the gospel.

But it takes supernatural power. Beloved, if you've been with us during the course of our series on the Ten Commandments, you've seen how every individual commandment condemns every single one of us thoroughly and completely. And you just go through one through ten and you just realize the multiplied condemnation that is upon all of our heads. The law of God condemns us. We can't save ourselves.

There's nothing we can do to erase the penalty of our guilt. And so under the conviction of the law, under the promise of the gospel, under the glory of the working person and majesty of Christ, we see that in Christ is our hope and in him alone. And God offers it freely. He so loved the world that whoever believes in his only begotten son will not perish but have eternal life. That brings us to our third and final point, the invitation of Christ. The invitation of Christ. You walk through the history of the early church. You walk through the Old Testament promise of a coming Messiah, the New Testament fulfillment. You see the way that the apostles preached that the man Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ of God, that that one who walked on the face of the earth was the one that God had been promising all along.

You see how the human heart is unable to move in its own behalf in order to receive Christ. All of these things are true. There's nothing that you've heard from God's word in these past few messages. There's not a hint of falsehood anywhere in God's word. A lot of defects in the way it's preached maybe.

There's no defect in God's word. It's all true. It's all true. And the force of that truth leads us to this concluding point, point number three of my message. It's the invitation of Christ.

The invitation of Christ. My friends, it's well established that biblical Christianity is no fiction. It's true. It is real history. It is accurate.

It is the way things really are. And it excludes every other religion from consideration. No one comes to the Father except through Christ. There is salvation in no one else.

The truth of Christianity is mutually exclusive with every other world religion, including Roman Catholicism. And so on the basis of that truth now, Jesus Christ, through his word and by his spirit, comes truly and he comes freely to those who deserve only judgment and condemnation. He comes freely and he offers himself freely to those who will repent and believe in him.

That's all of us. And all who truly trust in Christ find certainty in him. Find truth in him, not fiction. I want to show you a few passages from the Gospel of John as we close. John chapter five, if you would turn there and look at these verses of scripture with me. John chapter five verse 24, Jesus said, Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

He gives that invitation and promise. And here's the thing, beloved, every one of us has to answer. There is no option of ignoring it. We either say, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief, or you say anything else that is a rejection, even if it's just, I'll think about this later.

I'll give that some thought. No, no, no. That's the same thing as saying, no, I reject it. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day in which you must come to Christ.

To say I'll consider it later is to say I reject it now. Christ gives that invitation and you must answer. Look at John chapter six, verse 37. And look at the the gracious promise in all of this.

How, how gracious toward rebel enemies is this conquering king? How gracious is this sovereign Lord to those who have rejected him? How free and unconditional the promise that he will receive you, even you, even today. In John chapter six, verse 37, he says, all that the father gives me will come to me and the one who comes to me, I will certainly not cast out for I have come down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. This is the will of him who sent me that of all that he has given me, I lose nothing but raise it up on the last day. You want to know the will of God for your life? People say with their lips all the times, they want to know what the will of God is for him.

But they have such a superficial construction of it, of what school I'm going to do, what decision am I going to make, blah, blah, blah. This is the will of God for you. Forget all of that earthly stuff. You want the will of God?

Here it is. Verse 40. This is the will of my father, that everyone who beholds the son and believes in him will have eternal life and I myself will raise him up on the last day. The will of God for your life, the command of God, the command of the gospel is that you believe in Christ in the way in which we've been speaking here today. John chapter 7 verse 17.

Jesus said, if anyone is willing to do his will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from myself. And finally, in verse 37, I imagine someone a little confused, trying but can't quite get their hands around what's been said here. I want to understand, but I can't.

I'm missing something. I long for this, but I don't know what to do next, what to say next. I'm at the end of my rope. I'm tired of sin. I'm tired of being subject to habits that I cannot control.

I'm tired of being a contentious person with those that are closest to me, but it seems like I can't help it. Fill in the blank of your own sin, whether it's your drunkenness or whatever it might be, and look to the gracious promise of Christ. Realize the promise that he makes to sinners just like you.

Without qualification, he says this, in the middle of verse 37, Jesus stood and cried out saying, if anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture said, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. My friend, you've heard the truth of Christ today. You've heard the gospel.

You've seen it with your own eyes from God's own word. And Jesus Christ offers himself to you today, right now, in this moment, in this room, on this day. The question is, will you respond to his loving, gracious offer of himself?

Will you respond to him in repentance and faith alone? That's Don Green bringing our series called Is Christianity True to a Close here on The Truth Pulpit, and we pray it's been a blessing to you. If you'd like to find out more about this ministry, simply go to thetruthpulpit.com.

That's thetruthpulpit.com. Here again is Don with a special invitation. My friend, if you enjoy these broadcasts, I am sure that you would enjoy the live stream of our church services from Truth Community Church. We meet Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Eastern time and Tuesday evening at 7 o'clock.

You'll find the live stream link prominently displayed at the top of our website, thetruthpulpit.com. And you know, if you do join us like that, drop us a note at the website to let us know. Even your brief note helps us know that our resources are reaching friends who want to grow in God's word. Thank you, and may Christ be with you. Thank you, Don. And friend, that's our time for today. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you to join us again next time when Don Green will continue teaching God's people God's word on the truth pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-28 07:59:02 / 2023-02-28 08:07:19 / 8

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