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Walk Wisely #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
April 4, 2023 12:00 am

Walk Wisely #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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April 4, 2023 12:00 am

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My words, my attitudes, the orientation of my heart, what I do is going to be given over to the glory of God, to the good of His people, and with an eye toward the fact that I want to stand before Christ unashamed.

That's how you live wisely. Welcome to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and Don continues to teach God's people God's Word. Today we conclude our series, As You Walk With Christ, with part two of Don's message titled, Walk Wisely. Last time, Don showed us that exercising wisdom has to do with factoring in who God is, what Christ did for you on the cross, and that coming before the judgment seat of Christ is definitely in your future. With those things always in view, what then should you do?

Well, Don will answer that question on today's program, so turn again to Ephesians chapter 5 as we join Don Green now in the Truth Pulpit. If you're on the back half of life, which, you know, if you think about it, the back half of life is 35 or 40 and beyond. That's kind of a creepy thought when you're about that age. You say, oh, you know, I'm young, and you know, I'm not like the pastor who's that old. You start to realize middle age isn't the 50s. Middle age is 35.

Wow! All of a sudden there's a sense of urgency about this. For most of us, you know, you hit 30, 35, most of your life is already behind you. The days are short. And so there's an urgency to take this and say, I've got to maximize what's left because I've squandered so much, squandered so much of my life in trivial pursuits, squandered it in arguments and hard-hearted refusals to forgive others for what they've done, and I've just squandered life that way.

Well, look, this isn't designed for those of us that are further into that back half of life. This isn't designed to discourage you. This is just designed to wake you up, as verse 14 said.

Wake up, sleeper, and recognize that the opportunity is going by, the window of opportunity is closing, so be wise with what you do with what's left. This is commanded by God. This isn't optional. This isn't human motivators speaking. This is about recognizing the eternal value of Christ, first of all, realizing the eternal value of his salvation, the eternal purpose that he's appointed for our salvation. Say, you know what, I've got to live according to that.

I've got to line up life so that it reflects something about the strategic value and importance of that. That's why you were saved. That doesn't mean that you abandon your secular job.

Your secular job is part of the purpose that God's given to you, and praise be to him for that. What Paul is saying here is he's calling for you to make a conscious choice on whether you're going to live a wise life in response to your salvation, or whether you're going to dabble in the realm of darkness and worldliness without really taking to heart what salvation is supposed to do in the way it's supposed to transform your life. You know, Jesus gives us a really good commentary on this. Turn over to Luke chapter 12.

We'll just step aside and give Jesus the floor here for a moment. Not that he hasn't had it all along, but specifically given over to his words in the gospel. And this illustrates it as someone with earthly concerns comes to him, somebody who's angry, somebody who's got a dispute, and wants the Lord to take his side.

How often you see that. Somebody has a disagreement, they say, well, I know God's on my side. Well, let's think about that a little bit before we talk that way, and see that salvation and Christ dwell above that realm. Luke 12 verse 13, someone in the crowd said to him, Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me. Now, can you imagine how foolish that is?

Honestly, this is as foolish as my high school desires were. Absolutely. This is ridiculous for a man to talk this way in the presence of Christ. You know why? The Son of God is in front of him. And what's he doing?

He's bickering with family over finances. Why is he not saying, Jesus, save me from my sin. Jesus, take my life and use it. Jesus, tell me about the Father. He's totally wrapped up in his earthly existence, and Christ will have none of it. Verse 14, and if your life is solely only given over to your earthly pursuits, understand Christ wants none of it. He didn't save anyone. He didn't come to bring salvation simply to give you a pass out of hell, and then for you to live selfishly like you had never been saved at all. That's not Christian salvation. Let's just be really clear and definitive about that. Jesus says in verse 14, he said to a man, who appointed me a judge or arbitrator over you?

Why do you think I exist? It's not to serve your selfish interests. And verse 15, then he goes on and he makes this, talks about the wisdom that is at stake in our passage here in Ephesians 2. Then he said to them, beware and be on your guard against every form of greed, for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions. And he told them a parable saying, the land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself saying, what shall I do since I have no place to store my crops? Then he said, this is what I will do. I'll tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and all my goods, and I will say to my soul, soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come, take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

Retirement's going to be good. But God said to him, you fool, this very night your soul is required of you, and now who will own what you have prepared? So is the man who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.

What are your life priorities? Have you factored the judgment seat of Christ into the way that you live? Are you conscious of the fact that you're moving toward a destined appointment to stand alone before his throne and to give an account for your life, either as a Christian and say, Lord, this is how I served you with my life and for Christ to evaluate it to reward you eternally? If you're not a Christian, have you factored into the fact that you are destined as it stands now to stand before the great white throne judgment where unbelieving men will be judged for their sins and cast into hell where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth with the smoke of demons rising up forever and ever, amen? Have you factored that into your life?

If you haven't, you are not yet walking wisely. You are not yet living wisely because the whole point of your existence is moving toward that inevitable appointment with God. And as a Christian, we view that and say, you know what, I want to show up with a life that has pleased my father with whatever life he gave me to live. You here who are not a Christian, the thought of this should leave you undone. I'm going to be alone before God with no one to represent me, no one to intercede for me. I'm going to be alone and all that's going to be there are my sins to testify about my violation of the holiness of God.

You know, honestly, honestly, if you can hear that and go on indifferent, you're a fool to live that way. And Christian, for most of you here in the audience today, I take at face value your profession of Christ. I believe that. I believe the best about you.

I have no reason to doubt it. But let this admonition from Scripture cause you to turn things into greater focus and say, wow, I have been so selfish in the way that I've lived and I have very little time for God's word and I'm not at all someone that even thinks about praying most of the time except when I need something. You know, I'm just consumed with being happy in this life. It's time for you to wise up. The time already passed is sufficient for you to have pursued the things of this world. Let's put it this way. What we're talking about is a motivation toward excellence.

That's it. We're talking about a motivation toward excellence. And most of you in this prosperous suburb of Cincinnati, most of you have something at which you succeed at and something that you excel at, that you care about and you give yourself over to and you're good at. Whether it's your family or your job or keeping house or pursuing good grades in your school, college, career, all of that, you know something about pursuing excellence and something that you care about.

Say, I want to be good at this. This matters to me and I'm going to pursue it with excellence. Good for you. You know, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.

Good for you, honestly. But understand that that pursuit of excellence in that area of the love of your life that you understand and you know, understand that that primary pursuit of doing things well is to a greater extent the way that you are to think about being a Christian. You should be thinking, I want to be an excellent Christian. I want to be an exemplary man or woman of God. I want my Christian life to be one which displays the glory of Christ and somehow manifests His glory. The passion that you have for those earthly pursuits should be that which you take and transfer over to a greater passion for the excellence of living for Christ.

Why? Because He is one excellent Savior. He has given you one excellent salvation.

Heaven is going to be one excellent place to spend eternity. Well, if all of that's true, and it is, then ungodly speech and ungodly attitudes and ungodly relationships, you know, you've just got to turn it around and say, look, I've got to bring some excellence here. I've got to bring excellence into my desire for God's Word. I've got to bring excellence into my devotion to His people.

I've got to bring excellence into everything that I do for Him because He is worthy. That's incontestable. No one should have any sense of resisting that because it's true. And look, Jesus, you love Jesus, right? Yeah, I get that. You love Jesus.

Most of you here own Him gladly, vocally, as Lord. Good. Good. We're on the right track. This is all, all the momentum is toward you responding to this rightly. Every bit of it.

All the momentum here is good. Preaching God's Word to God's people who want God's glory. Understand that Jesus said in Matthew 6 33, in a way that parallels what we're talking about here, He said, you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

There's your defining priority in life. And so, beloved, for those of you who pursue the Word, even when you're mocked for it, those of you who are faithful to Christ, even when there seems to be no benefit in it for you, you're playing the wise man. You're the wise man of which this passage speaks. You're walking in a manner that's worthy of Him. The sacrifices that you make for Christ financially or with your time or in taking the blame for something that wasn't your fault, that's wise. That's wise.

That's excellent. That's the way to walk. Beloved, let's just say, though, to round it out on the other side, if you are pursuing the world while only paying lip service to Christ and you know who you are and you know what I'm talking about, if that's your life, you're playing the fool.

It won't turn out well for you in this life or in the life to come. This passage that Paul gives us here in Ephesians chapter 5, be careful how you walk is your wake-up call. This is your opportunity to pivot. You're at a fork in the road and say, you know what, I'm going to take the fork that leads to godliness. I don't understand everything that that means right now, but the settled conviction of my heart going forward, I'm disowning my ungodly past for the sake of a wise walk with Christ. Now, Paul gives us the way forward. What does that way forward look like? How is it that you are wise?

It's so practical. Point number two, be diligent. Be diligent. Be wise.

Understand it in principle and then be diligent to bring it out in the application of your life. Look at verse 16 with me. Ephesians 5 verse 16. How can you be wise? How can you act appropriately in response to God's word?

Again, it's more present tense. It's more an approach to life here, making the most of your time because the days are evil. Making the most of your time has the idea of maximizing the opportunities that God gives to you. For most of us, in most areas of our life, it's going to be the simple way that you interact with family, simple ways that you interact with people at church or at work, but maximizing that opportunity.

When you have an opportunity to do good, to say good, to say the encouraging word, to give your time over to that particular need in the body, act on it. Maximize the opportunity while you can. Why? Because you might not get a second chance. Now, I'm not talking about, you know, if you die suddenly.

I'm not talking about that here right now. Just that the opportunity passes by. You know, the opportunity to say that particularly encouraging word to the person particularly discouraged, it's there at the moment and you recognize it and you say, I'm too busy for this.

I gotta go. And you don't take it. You're not maximizing the opportunity.

You're not making the most of your time. And beloved, just thinking broadly, our world, your existence is being lived out in the jaws of wickedness, in the jaws of evil. We live in an evil world, an evil society that's getting worse as time goes by. And I get the sense that that just gets really discouraging to think about. Oh, you know, you look at what's happened in this area of the world and what happened in the news here and what are our leaders thinking there and it just gets really overwhelming. Especially when you're just honest with yourself and say, you know what, I can't change that. I don't have the power or the capacity to reorient the whole direction of society. You feel a little helpless in the midst of it.

What do you do? Well, okay. You know what, let's take it for granted. Our world is in the jaws of evil. Okay, well, here's an idea. Why don't you do good to the glory of God in the realm that he's given to you and trust him for everything else?

Trust him for what you're doing good. But you know, the fact that the world is in the jaws of the evil one, in John's language, in 1 John 5 verse 20, I believe it is, the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. Okay, yeah, that stinks. You know what, the good news is it's not going to be like that forever. We're going to go to heaven and everything's going to be perfect and bliss and righteous, so we're just living through a little window of time here before we get to the good stuff.

So I can deal with it that way, but we just can't let our minds sink into a political reaction to evil as if that was the highest lofty Christian response to it was to be a good Republican. You know, what's that? Honestly, what is that? It's nothing.

No, no. You narrow your sights down and say, what is the life that God has given me to live? And you know what, in that narrow realm that God has given to me, I'm going to live to his glory. My words, my attitudes, the orientation of my heart, what I do is going to be given over to the glory of God, to the good of his people, and with an eye toward the fact that I want to stand before Christ unashamed. That's how you live wisely. And then you're just diligent to say, okay, and that informs hour by hour the nature of your life.

What's this hour hold for me? What conversations are going to take place when we dismiss in a little bit? You know, some of you, I understand, and you need to hear this, I need to step on your toes this way. I'm sorry, but you need to be more godly than you are. You know, it's not godly to bolt for the door doing everything that you can to make sure you don't have to engage a discussion.

I realize you may not want to talk about yourself, that's okay, but you know what? There's a lot of hurting people in this room right now who've had some really hard days. And if you just took the time to express some love and kindness to them, that would be one way for you to maximize your opportunity rather than just selfishly bolting for the door. Now, look, predominantly we don't have that problem here.

Those of you that watch on the live stream, when the camera goes off, there's still people here an hour later. So I'm not rebuking a whole congregation, I'm talking to people that like to live on the fringes in anonymity for you people at home. Don't live that way. How are you maximizing the opportunity? God brings you into a place where his people gather together and you have nothing to say or to contribute to help those that are here gather together. What sense does that make?

That's just one little way of application. Now, the whole point being the world is evil, okay, that stinks, wish it wasn't like that, but what about me? What about you?

How can you maximize the opportunities that are here right in front of you? You say, well, it just seems so little and so tiny. Okay, it's little and tiny, but it's good. It's to the glory of God. Jesus said that the one who gives a cup of water to a disciple of mine in my name will not lose his reward.

You can offer a cup of water, can't you? This isn't that difficult. It's a question of your heart.

That's what makes it difficult. Now, in Matthew 25, we won't take the time to turn there. Matthew 25 verses 14 to 30.

I'm not going to read another 17 verses here. But in Matthew 25, Jesus distinguished good slaves who used their talents that were given to them from the wicked one who did nothing with his. The good slaves received a reward.

The wicked slave was thrown into the outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus said, I gave you this, and what did you do with it is the question, beloved. God has given you your life, your resources, your talents, your personalities, your time. God has given that to you.

The question is, what are you doing with it? Are you being wise in the way that you think about it? Are you being diligent to take advantage of the opportunities that are there for you to do good and to not excuse yourself into inaction simply because the world is evil? Listen, yes, the world is evil. That's all the more reason for you and I to act upon what's here.

All the more reason to display light when the darkness is enveloping in ever greater degrees. Don't let the wickedness of the world excuse you from what is your Christian responsibility, duty, and privilege. No, Christian, there's boundless opportunity for you to do good in your daily life. Take advantage of it. In fact, as you're thinking about it, go one step further, especially you young people. I love talking to you young people.

If you knew how much you're on my heart when I preach, you'd understand. Think about your life on the front end like this. You have one life to live.

We all do. But you as a young person, you have one life to live. And think about this, don't think about this simply about how you can maximize it in in a moment. Think about your life and say, I've got one life to live. I want to maximize my life for Christ. I want to give what I have over to Him and use my whole life that way and not let my Christian service simply be incidental to something else. I want my life to be that way.

That's true for all of us, but for you young people, you have a particularly fruitful opportunity to settle convictions like that into your heart and to act upon them. And to set the whole trajectory before the cement is settled, dried out and hard. Your life is still wet cement. It can be molded.

It can be shaped into something. Do it for the glory of Christ. We're all going to give an account one day. How are you walking? Don't be a fool. Walk wisely. Be diligent while there is time. Being diligent to walk with Christ means doing what you can to bring some good into an evil world, turning neither to the left nor the right.

Recognize that your talents, abilities, and opportunities come from a sovereign Lord and act accordingly. Well, that concludes our series as you walk with Christ. Pastor Don Green will again take us to God's word next time here on the Truth Pulpit and we hope you'll join us then.

But right now, here's Don with some helpful information. Well, my friend, I am committed to the dynamic of verbal preaching. I love to preach and speak. I think there's a dynamic when a preacher opens the word of God to hearers that the audio component of that is a means that God uses greatly in the lives of those who hear.

But I also understand that sometimes you want to go back and study what was said more closely. We have transcripts of all of my full-length sermons available on our website. And I would encourage you to go there to find them and to be able to study the messages more closely through the written word as you've also enjoyed it through the spoken word. Just visit us at thetruthpulpit.com for those transcripts and more. Again, that's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright and we'll see you again next time as Don Green again teaches God's people God's word from the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-04 04:54:09 / 2023-04-04 05:04:13 / 10

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