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Why Should You Pursue Godliness? #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 28, 2023 7:00 am

Why Should You Pursue Godliness? #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hello, I'm Bill Wright. Today, Don continues teaching God's people God's Word in our current series titled, Living as God's People, with part two of a message called, Why Should You Pursue Godliness? on The Truth Pulpit. We are pursuing sanctification in response to the grace of God. There is something transcendent that we are anticipating, that we are waiting for.

Verse 13. There is a wonderful concept, an utterly wonderful promise that there is so much more in Christ for us than what is happening right now. Because what Christ has promised to his people is that while he is in heaven now, one day he is going to come back for us. One day he is going to appear. He appeared in his first coming in humility, in the humiliation of Bethlehem, in the humiliation of his earthly life, living gladly as a man, walking on earth, but walking humbly in a humble state, identifying with us in real humanity.

And scripture said he had no earthly form by which we should be attracted to him. But beloved, when he comes again, he comes a second time, it's not going to be like that. When he comes in a second time, when he comes this next time, it's going to be of great, great glory, of power, of a display of his, of Shekinah might.

That's what that's going to be like. And for those who belong to him, that is going to be a blessed time. That is going to be a further manifestation of the favor of God upon us.

What is that going to look like? What is the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior going to be like? Well, look at Acts chapter 1. Acts chapter 1.

You see, whatever happens to us in this life, however our fortunes may rise and fall, however prosperity or people may come or go in our lives, beloved, there is one thing that is fixed and certain for sure, more certain than death and taxes even. And that is the return of Christ in Acts chapter 1, trying to decide where to start. Just before his ascension in verse 6, Acts chapter 1 verse 6, the disciples had come together and they were asking Christ, saying, Lord, is it at this time that you're restoring the kingdom to Israel? And he said to them, it is not for you to know times or epics which the Father has fixed by his own authority. Beloved, don't go after people who are trying to set dates for the return of Christ. That's not for you to know. How clear can Scripture be about that? As soon as someone starts talking like that, just walk away. Ignore it.

Don't let it trouble you. Christ will come at the time appointed by the Father, and it's not for us to know what that time is. He says, verse 8, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.

You shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth. Spirit came in Acts chapter 2 and fulfilled that. But keep reading and we get an insight into what the return of Christ is going to be like. A preview of the entire book of Revelation, Acts chapter 1 verse 9. After he had said these things, he was lifted up while they were looking on and a cloud received him out of their sight.

Beloved, mark this. In their presence, with their physical vision, they saw Jesus lifted up into heaven and into the sky, and the clouds received him. What's the second coming of Christ? What's his return going to be like?

Somehow, in a way that I won't pretend to try to describe, it's going to be just like that. It's going to be a visible appearance where he returns, and we know that. He will descend out of heaven in glory, in earth-changing, history-ending glory.

He will appear like that. And we know that because if we keep reading, we see what Scripture says, verse 10. As they were gazing intently into the sky while he was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.

They also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come, future coming, another time Jesus will come. His second coming will come in just the same way as you have watched him go into heaven. You've watched him go up into the sky, into the clouds, and be received. In the same way, when he comes again, and he will come again, somehow it will be just like that.

That's the future purpose of God. And when he comes, beloved, we're going to look at a few texts here. When he comes for us, and we're not going to get into all of the complexities of eschatological systems here, we just know it's sufficient to say for today that Jesus Christ is going to return.

He is returning for his people, and his people will see him in glory. That is our blessed hope that Christ will appear. Our great God, our great Savior, Christ Jesus, is coming in glory, and we will see him. And everything about this wretched planet, all of the difficulties of life, all of the struggles with sin and sorrow, and all of the goodbyes that we've said to loved ones in the past, all of that sorrow is going to be slain when Christ comes and receives us to himself, and we are with him. You see, beloved, Scripture says that Jesus Christ is coming again. Our Lord who saved us, our Lord who sacrificed himself on the cross, and gave himself over to the degradation of that wretched instrument of execution, that one who was buried, that one who was gloriously resurrected, who ascended into heaven, he's coming back, and he has a purpose of grace to fulfill for his people when he does. That is the immutable purpose of God for the future. Christ will come just as visibly as he came the first time. And here's the beauty of it all, beloved.

Here's the beauty of it. Right now, we are being swept up by the Word of God as the Spirit works through the Word. We are being swept up into heaven itself. Do not miss the spiritual significance of the themes that Scripture is bringing to us today. What we live for ultimately is we are living for that day when Christ returns.

That is the day that is most blessed to us. That is what we rest our hope on. We don't base our hope on anything in this world, on any man, woman, boy, or girl in this world, on any political outcome, on anything that happens in culture, on anything that happens in our jobs or anything else. We don't put our hope in any of that. We can't. It's all too fragile.

It's all going away. What we hope for is the certain reality that Christ is coming back. When the Bible uses the word hope, it's not talking about a hope where you've superstitiously cross your fingers and say, I hope this is going to happen. Hope in Scripture is a confident, certain expectation that what God has promised he will do. I believe the promise of God, you say to yourself.

God has promised that Christ will come back, and I hope in that. I'm certain of it. That's what I live for. There's nothing else worth living for, beloved, than anything else that's worth living for.

Not ultimately. So what we see as we contemplate this is that we're looking for our hope, what our deepest desire is, is for the return of Christ, not anything that we hope for in this world. What it tells us is this.

What it wonderfully tells us is this. And by the way, you know, I should, you know, I preached a lot of funerals over the years, and sometimes, you know, you preach on that hope. Especially when you're preaching a Christian funeral, you preach on this hope. You're not there on the pulpit at a funeral to extol the virtues of the dead. You're there to proclaim the gospel to the living and to proclaim hope to the people of God.

Remember, remember your hope. This death, this casket in front of us is not the end. And what all of this means, it's so blessed and precious if you're in Christ, is that as wonderful as it is to be a Christian today, we have not yet begun to receive the fullness of our salvation. We've received a tiny morsel. We've received so much in Christ, and we have all of Christ. There is nothing more of him to receive. We have all of the Spirit, and there is nothing more of him to receive. But the outworking of our salvation, the fullness of the blessings have only begun.

The fullness is going to be seen when Christ comes back, and we reign with him in glory. Future, that future grace is coming. That is the grace of God, that is the purpose of God that motivates us and instructs us to live as the first 10 verses taught us to live.

We can be content with a quiet, unremarkable life from a human perspective because we know that there is a remarkable future that is ahead that we are patiently waiting on for God to bring in his own time. And that future grace, that grace that is to be added to what we already know, promotes godly living. Let me remind you of a small handful of passages here to make the connection of the return of Christ, the blessing that will be for us, and how it motivates us to live a godly life. John, chapter 14, turn there with me, please.

Verse 1, do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also. Beloved, take it on the inerrant, infallible, impeccable word of Jesus Christ who makes a promise and keeps it. It is impossible for him to lie to us. He cannot lie. It is contrary to his nature. He would never lie to us.

He would never mislead us. And he makes these promises to comfort us and to give us grace to help us persevere until the fulfillment of what he says. Look at it there in verse 3, Christian. This is his promise to you.

Put your name in the page. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also. Christ expressing his purpose of grace to one day bring you to himself. Christ expressing his purpose of love for you, that having redeemed you, he longs for that ultimate fulfillment of fellowship with you. He wants you to be with him in his presence, that you might see his glory and bask more and more and adore him more and more, that the presence of his visible glory would be the great joy of your heart beyond anything that you or I have known in the present life.

He's coming again. That's the purpose of God. 1 John 3, 1 John 3, and to just see the love and grace mingled together, the promises mingled together, along with the implications of what it means for us today. 1 John 3 says, See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God, and such we are.

For this reason, the world does not know us because it did not know him. Beloved, now we are children of God. Stop for a moment and see exactly the same thing that we're discussing here today, the exact same principles here in 1 John 3 is what we're expounding in Titus 2, the present purposes and the future purposes of God. Now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be, future purpose of God. It hasn't been manifested to us yet, but we know that when he appears, the future purpose of God is this, we will be like him because we will see him just as he is. We will see the resurrected glorious face of Christ, and when we see that, it will somehow change us so that we share in his glory and the wretchedness of this present body, the wretchedness of this present existence, and the wretchedness of dealing with sin and temptation and disappointment and sorrows and tears and rejection. All of that is going to be gone and forgotten, and all we are going to know is the greatness of the glory of Christ and that we are sharing in it with him and that we belong there.

Beloved, when that moment comes, it's not going to be an alien moment to us where we feel like we're out of place. This is going to be the ultimate fulfillment of home. This is where we belong in Christ. This is what he saved us for. This is the eternal purpose of God to one day conform us perfectly to the image of his Son and to share in his glory throughout all of the endless unfolding ages of eternity.

It's the future purpose of God. When the Spirit of God brings our minds into this realm, I don't want to leave. It's too glorious to walk away from, and yet Scripture instructs us that the future grace has a present impact on our lives.

Look at verse 3. He says, everyone who has this hope fixed on him purifies himself just as he is pure. Beloved, I read recently something that I've seen so many times people say. It's a wretched statement that is used to marginalize our hope and to undermine our trust in Christ, and you've all heard it. You've heard people say that he's too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.

That's a wretched statement, and you should never speak that way, and you should never let anyone speak to you that way. How could we ever be too heavenly minded? How could we ever have our hope fixed too much on the coming of Christ? How could we ever over-desire and over-value what God has stored up for those who believe in Christ? How could we ever make too much of that? How could we ever think too much of that?

That's infinitely wonderful. And Scripture says that as we're mindful of that, it'll have its earthly effect. We will purify our lives. We'll grow in grace now.

There's a balance to it. One final thing from Titus chapter 2. We've seen the present purpose of God, verse 12, deny ungodliness, live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age. We see the future purpose of God.

Christ is coming again. And now Paul wraps it up by considering the past purpose of God. He so seamlessly goes from what Christ is going to do in the future to what he has done in the past. Notice how he immediately switches to a past tense in verse 14 as he discusses the past purpose of God. Christ Jesus, end of verse 13, who? This relative clause is expanding on the person and work of Christ. Christ Jesus, who did something?

Who? What did he do in the past before you and I were born? He gave himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed and to purify for himself a people for his own possessions, zealous for good deeds. Christ, when he died on the cross, he accomplished a twin purpose in his sacrifice for us.

We've already talked about it today, so I don't need to expand on it again here. In a negative sense, when Christ died for us, he purchased us out of our slavery to sin. He redeemed us, he bought us out of sin and delivered us from the spiritual bondage in which we were and those of you who are not saved are still existing in. He saved us in a negative sense by bringing us out of the slavery to sin and notice, beloved, notice, beloved, in reinforcing what I was saying earlier, talking about our ongoing struggles with sin today, that when he gave himself for us, he did it to redeem us from every lawless deed, every lawless deed, the worst of you, the worst that you have done, the worst that you have thought, the worst evil that dwells in you in a remnant sense.

And beloved, it's evil, it's sinful, it's wretched, I get that. Understand that when Christ laid his life down on the cross, that he was making a comprehensive payment, he was making a comprehensive redemption to deliver you from it all, to deliver you from all of the power and all of the guilt of it. Every lawless deed, beloved, your precious Savior, your precious Savior, when he suffered and shed his blood on the cross, he knew your every sin in advance and he gladly, willingly, courageously covered it with his blood so that you would be released from the penalty of it so that God would never hold it against you ever again. Every lawless deed has been redeemed.

But beloved, there was also a positive dimension to his saving work. He didn't simply erase sin. He took us as his own people. Verse 14, to purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good deeds. He didn't just die for you and leave you as an orphan, wandering about on the street, dirty, vulnerable.

He didn't do that. He brought you into the family of God is what he did so that you would belong to him. I am his and he is mine. And he did that to purify us, to own us, and to have us serve him. Oh, the work of Christ. Oh, the glory of Christ in his first coming, dying in humiliation, in his future coming in glory. To purify us, own us, and to have us serve him.

So, beloved, let's circle back and bring this plane in for a landing after a long flight. Why should you pursue godliness? It's because it's the purpose of God in your life. God's grace is at work in you to change you now. God's grace in Christ redeemed you at the cross in the past. And God's grace in the future will complete your salvation, glorify and change you and make you conform to the image of Christ, where you will be with him forever and there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more death, no more pain. Just the fullness of dwelling and luxuriating in the glory of Christ and marveling throughout all of eternity that such a great one as that loves such a one as me. To conform your life to the principles of Titus 2 shows gratitude for his grace.

To reject it, to reject the revealed will of God is an unthinkable sin against grace, isn't it? May the Spirit guide you all to honor the glorious son and the glory of his Father who sent him in love for the redemption of our souls. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with part two of a message called Why Should You Pursue Godliness? here on The Truth Pulpit. Now just before we go, here again is Don with a closing thought. Well, thank you, Bill. My friend, I just want to end today's broadcast with a simple biblical benediction, which is really my prayer for you as we close today.

It comes from Numbers chapter 6. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance on you and give you peace. God bless you from everyone here at The Truth Pulpit. Thanks, Don. And now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don continues to teach God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-28 04:47:51 / 2023-02-28 04:56:30 / 9

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