The real mark of the rebellion was found 2,000 years ago when Jews and Romans alike nailed Christ to the cross. That is the height of human rebellion. It's the height of sin against God.
The creature took the Creator and killed Him. Welcome to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hello, I'm Bill Wright and Don is continuing the series, So You Call Yourself a Christian. Today he'll wrap up a message titled, The Gospel in Miniature, which highlights the fruits of a genuine believer in Christ. Last time Don showed us that your attitude toward the revelation of scripture is a key indication of your relationship to God.
If you prefer to superimpose fallible human ideas onto biblical commandments, you end up rebelling against scriptural authority. On today's program, Don will give us three more ways to evaluate the authenticity of a professing Christian. How one relates to Christ himself and what follows from that relationship is also very revealing, as you'll see during the next half hour or so. So turn again to 1 John chapter 4 as Don continues in his ministry of teaching God's people God's word in the Truth Pulpit. You can tell a true Christian by their attitude toward the revelation of scripture. Secondly, you can tell a true Christian by his attitude toward the role of the Son. Look at verse 14 with me again as we look at the second half of the verse now. John says, We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
Oh, there's so much packed into that verse, isn't there? First of all, it tells you that the world needs saving. If you've never understood that you need to be saved out of this wicked world, that you need to be delivered from your own environment, that's a warning sign about the health of your soul. When John talks about the world here, he's talking about sinful society in rebellion against God and under the domination of the devil. The height, the measure of the rebellion of the world against God, the rebellion of the realm of the creature against the Creator, those things are only symptoms. The real mark of the rebellion was found 2,000 years ago when Jews and Romans alike nailed Christ to the cross. That is the height of human rebellion. It's the height of sin against God that the creature took the Creator and killed Him without compunction, glorying in the act as they did it.
Glorying in it, mocking Him. This is a measure of how much the world hates Christ, how much it hates its Creator. Now listen, listen to me very carefully because we're not used to thinking this way. When we are born into this world, we're born into a physical and spiritual lineage that connects us directly with those who killed Christ on the cross. They are our spiritual forefathers.
They are the ones who set the pattern for us. They express what we would have done ourselves when we were there, apart from the work of God in our lives. Those are your spiritual ancestors, the ones gathered around the cross. What you have to ask yourself, what you must come to grips with, is have you separated yourself, have you consciously repented from the way that the world treated the Creator at the cross? Do you consciously disavow that as being wrong, guilty, sinful, worthy of judgment? Do you disavow it and look to that same crucified one for mercy?
Look to that same one and say, Lord, if I had been there, I would have been just like them. Because, Lord, I know that. I know that because the strains of rebellion have been in my own life.
The strains of rebellion have marked my own life. And so we're staggered at the reality of how much this world needs a savior. It couldn't possibly save itself. It couldn't possibly generate a desire to save itself because when the savior was there, we killed him. And what that says to us as we continue on, as we continue the passage here, beloved. Oh, please just look at verse 14 with me again.
Look at verse 14 with me again. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the savior of the world. What do the apostles tell us? They tell us that salvation was God's idea. It originated with God. It originated with him sending Christ. It originated with Christ saying, I'll gladly submit to your will, my Father.
I will go. I will offer my life. I will be the savior of the world that you have appointed. A true Christian grasps that and understands that. Look over at John 16, the Gospel of John, chapter 16. I just want you to see this point about the Father because I know that some people get off track on it, thinking that the Son was willing but maybe the Father was reluctant.
Some of that comes from bad teaching about the nature of Christ's intercession for us now that he's ascended into heaven. John, chapter 16, verse 26. Jesus is speaking to his disciples and he says, In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf.
Watch this. Verse 27, for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. The Father himself loves you. We have the full magnitude of the triune God exercising love toward us in perfect divine harmony and purpose when our salvation is accomplished.
It was the Father's love, it was the Son's love, it was the Spirit's love, all working together to make sure that you were saved out of that wicked world and brought into the kingdom of God the Father. A true Christian believes that, loves that. A true Christian understands that in Jesus Christ, that in Jesus Christ we won't insult him with pretended flattery that says, Oh, he was a good teacher. We won't insult him with supposed flattery saying, Oh, he was one of the great men, one of the prophets. A true Christian understands that Jesus Christ is utterly unique, that there is no one to compare him to, that there is no prophet Muhammad who somehow shares glory with him.
There is no subsequent revelation that came through Joseph Smith or anything like that. The true Christian, if you want to know if you're a true Christian, ask yourself what do you think about Christ and what you should find in your heart if you're a true Christian is that there is an elevated place for the Lord Jesus Christ that no one else comes close to. And you understand that when he came to earth it wasn't simply to be a good example.
It wasn't simply to teach for a while and then go back home. He came on a spiritual rescue mission doing that which only he could do by laying down his perfect life on the cross as a substitute to save wicked sinners out of a rebellious world. And you have in your heart the sense that not only did he do that for sinners in general, oh praise God, he did that for me. That's what true Christians believe about the role of the Son.
They understand the general slop that the world tries to throw in false homage, diminished homage to Christ can't possibly be true. The true Christian believes, no, Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost, Luke 19-10. Christ came on a spiritual rescue mission to lay down his life for sinners. And if he hadn't done that I would be lost and I would go to that day of judgment without hope and expecting nothing but certain doom.
That's what a true Christian believes. Christ was my only means of being delivered for my sin and he did it. He did it when he died on the cross.
He did it when he said it is finished. That word wasn't just that he was about to die. It meant that my salvation had been accomplished by him on the cross. That's what true Christians believe. Is that what you believe?
If it is, that's a healthy sign that you're a true Christian. If you have any other view of Christ, let me beg you to get back into the Word of God because you're not seeing things for the way they really are. The Savior of the world. Christ is the only Savior that the world will ever have. Acts 4, verse 12.
There is salvation in no one else for there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved. Point three is the response of submission. The response of submission.
You'll see this in the text. How do you know if you're a true Christian? What's your attitude toward the revelation of Scripture? What do you believe about the role of the Son?
Point three. Do you have a response of submission to him? Look at verse 15 with me. 1 John 4, verse 15. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God.
Beloved, understand something. He's talking about God abiding in him and he in God. This is all wrapped up in the question of who is a true Christian. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God. Can we just state something that should be obvious? That this isn't a superficial flippant confession. Oh yeah, Jesus is the Son of God.
Why would we treat it that way? This can't possibly be a casual flippant thing that says, yeah, Son of God, sure. No.
No. This is a life-altering confession. This changes the whole trajectory of life and eternity. We're saying that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, who walked on the earth 2,000 years ago, was no mere human. He was born of a virgin. He was the Son of God incarnate, come from heaven who existed before time began.
He's the very Son of God. This isn't casual conversation. We're saying this is life-altering truth. This changes everything. This is the road to Damascus.
This makes me fall on my knees. He's the Son of God. No, we confess Jesus as the true Son of God. And that Son of God means that Jesus Christ has authority. As the one in authority, that means he has authority over my soul, authority over my life, and I gladly submit to that as a proper recognition and a proper response to who he is by nature.
This really isn't complicated, is it? A true Christian recognizes the preeminent position of Jesus Christ and gladly bows the knee before it. A true Christian lays down his life unconditionally to Christ.
Corollary to that is that someone who does not lay their life down unconditionally to Christ is not a true Christian. And so, oh, beloved, through the Word of God as Christ reveals himself through his Word to us, what you have in front of you right at this moment is God has brought us to a point where, in a sense, he's brought the day of judgment forward to us in this room right now. And Christ as it is through his Word is presenting himself to you saying, I am the Son of God. I am the resurrected Christ. I testify to you through my apostles. And the question that I ask, as the Lord Jesus Christ would say to you now in this room, is do you submit to me as Lord or not? That's pretty sobering, isn't it? We can't play games with this.
We can't trivialize this. Jesus Christ is who he said he was. Jesus Christ is who the apostles said he was.
The Son of God. And he won't admit into his kingdom those who carry their own self-will in rebellion against him. It's utter surrender because that's a true confession of Christ.
This isn't about playing games. And you young people, 8, 10, 12, 14 years old, you've got to come to grips with the fact that this is true. That this is real.
That what the Bible says is absolutely true. And even at your young, tender age, you are responsible and accountable to respond to Christ in the way that he is worthy of. And so as you ask yourself and examine your own heart, child and adult alike, ask yourself, look at yourself in the mirror and say, do I submit to this Christ? Do I submit to him? Do I belong to him? Am I his willing, loving slave? Am I his doulos, to use the Greek term? Is he master and I'm subordinate?
Or do I still just want him to do things my way? Those are vast, different worlds. One, the sinner says I'm still in charge. The other says I am broken and gladly conquered by the son of God. Where's your heart at, beloved?
Final point. We've asked what's your response to scripture? What do you believe about the role of son? Are you marked by a response of submission to Christ? The other mark of the presence of the spirit of God in your life is the reality of love.
The reality of love. Look at verse 16 with me. Chapter four, verse 16. And you know what you see here as you go into verse 16 with all of these weighty things, you see that what God intends to deliver us to, even in this world, is a realm of love, a realm of assurance, a realm of confidence.
He doesn't play games with us, but he doesn't deliver us over into continual abject fear. He delivers us over into a realm of love. That salvation delivers us into a realm of love.
Verse 16. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. The love of God expressed at the cross. Whenever you think about the love of God, please let me say this again. Stop thinking about your external circumstances, and when the phrase love of God comes to your mind, make a beeline to the cross and say, oh yeah, the love of God means that Christ came and was the propitiation for my sins.
Look up at verse 10 with me of chapter four. This is the context that led into the discussion of God's love. In verse 16, he had just said, this is love.
What love? Not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. When John is talking here in verse six, we believe the love which God has for us, he's saying we believe in the propitiation of Christ at the cross. We believe that God loved us and sent a savior for us.
That's the love that we abide in. Christ became the sin offering for us and satisfied the demands of God's law and God's holiness. And so to abide in God's love, watch this, we're almost done here. To abide in God's love means this. It means that you continually, there's the abiding part, you continually find your spiritual rest in Christ's propitiation.
Let me say that again. To abide in God's love is not an emotional, sentimental thing. It means that you consciously continue to rest the well-being of your soul, the forgiveness of your sins in the work of Christ on the cross.
God's love, 1 John 4.10 said, he sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. The true Christian says, that is my hope. That is where I trust all of my eternal well-being upon. I trust it in the cross. In other words, you consciously recognize and continually affirm the love of God as it is revealed in the gospel. Christ came to save sinners.
He saved me. I rest in that. I abide in that. I believe that. I rejoice in that.
I'm confident and assured in that. That's abiding in God's love. We understand that the circumstances are going to fail us. We understand that some of us are going to end up in broken bodies and smelly nursing homes someday. We understand that the end of this life, for most everyone, comes with a total loss of dignity. We're not living for this world. But that's not the place of our confidence.
That's not the reality of our love. We are resting in the love of God shown at the cross. And we know that in Christ we have a perfect substitute who secured the salvation of our souls never to fail. And we rest in Him and we abide in that reality. Say, how are things between you and the Lord?
Are you kidding? It's perfect. Because Christ is perfect. And Christ bought me as His own. And He owns me. And He says He'd never let anyone pluck me out of my hand. It's perfect. Isn't your body ravaged with cancer?
Yeah, but that's just my body. Don't you understand that it's well with my soul? I'm abiding in the love of God.
Things couldn't be better. I am closer to heaven today than I've ever been. God wants us to know that we belong to Christ. He wants us to enjoy conscious communion with Him. If we're tossed about with spiritual uncertainty, I hope I go to heaven.
I don't know. That diminishes the glory of Christ at the cross. If you see yourself reflected in these four things that we've talked about today, let that ground you. Put away your doubt. Put away your uncertainty.
And rest in confidence that what God has begun, He'll complete in you. And honor Him by trusting Him. You see, we not only trust Christ by looking back at the cross and trusting Him for the forgiveness of our sins, we do that for sure, but the true Christian trusts Christ so completely, so much, so without qualification, that he can sit down and rest and abide and say, just as He forgave my sins, He is going to deliver me into glory without fail. I trust Him.
That's what He said. He would never lie to me. I believe Him completely. And when Christians start to think and talk like that, joy starts to just dominate your perspective on life. You see, when a person is truly converted, that kind of love for Christ comes out, spills over in the way that we interact with each other.
I love Christians because I love their Lord. Beloved, if you're confessing Christ, if you're loving the brothers, the Spirit of God is at work in your life. And if the Spirit of God is at work in your life, verse 13 says, we know that God abides in us and we in Him, and this ends up in glory, and we have assurance of eternal life. Don't trivialize it.
Don't take it lightly. But if you can look at your life and see these things, then it is your birthright, your spiritual birthright. You are entitled to the most profound sense of joy and confidence that transcends everything in this world. With the writer of the hymn, we say, Loved with everlasting love, led by grace that love to know, gracious Spirit from above, Thou has taught me, it is so. In a love which cannot cease, I am His and He is mine.
In a love which cannot cease, I am His and He is mine. And with that, we've come to the end of a message titled The Gospel in Miniature. But there's more still to come in our larger series, So You Call Yourself a Christian, next time. Join Pastor Don Green then, here on The Truth Pulpit. But right now, Don, let me ask you to summarize the main takeaway from your just completed lesson. Well, I think what we've seen from these last two broadcasts, Bill, is this, is that in the life of the true Christian, there is a love and a centrality of Scripture and of Jesus Christ. The written word reveals Christ, and Christ affirms the written word. A true Christian, someone who's really born again, loves and submits to both.
So my friend, keep your heart set in that direction, and may God help you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thanks, Don. And friend, to get ordering information about free CDs for this series, and for more about our ministry, just visit thetruthpulpit.com. There you can also find a link to Don's Facebook page and much more, all at thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time, as Don continues to teach God's people God's Word on The Truth Pulpit.
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