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MTD and the One True God #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
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October 5, 2023 12:00 am

MTD and the One True God #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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October 5, 2023 12:00 am

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The Truth Pulpit
Don Green

The words of Christ show that this worldview could not possibly be true.

It cannot possibly be right. He himself is the refutation of this man-made, man-centered, man-glorifying religion. And to know Christ is to reject moralistic therapeutic deism.

There's the one true God, and then there's all those little g gods that people, in their willful ignorance and rejection of the Bible, create out of their imaginations. And on this edition of The Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green will contrast them as he takes us further into our series titled, Deception Close to Home, with part one of a message titled, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and the One True God. I'm Bill Wright, and Don, if moralistic therapeutic deism were only a problem outside the church, it would be bad enough. Well, my friend, I believe that this is one of the most urgent and important series that we've ever broadcast on The Truth Pulpit. This philosophy known as moralistic therapeutic deism is something that permeates the teaching of churches, and people aren't even aware of it. It is a silent assassin of many souls, and we want to help you defend yourself and your loved ones from it. Jesus said many will be sent away on the day of judgment.

We don't want you to be in that mix. Stay with us and learn from God's Word today. Thanks, Don. And friend, let's join Pastor Don Green right now as he continues teaching God's people God's Word in The Truth Pulpit.

What we said last time, I'm going to read them by way of review. These five principles of moralistic therapeutic deism. Number one, a God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth. Number two, God wants people to be good and nice and fair to each other as taught in the Bible and by most world religions. The Bible's just kind of saying the same thing that other religions are, in other words.

Number three, the central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about oneself. Hard to argue with that. Who doesn't want to be happy and feel good? Why wouldn't you want that? How could a man stand in a pulpit and argue against that?

Well, I will find out because that's what I'm going to do. Number four, God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when he is needed to resolve a problem. And so you pray when something comes up that you can't handle or something unexpected happens, God help me in this difficulty, and then, you know, things go back to normal and you can forget about God until another need comes up. And finally, fifth and finally, good people go to heaven when they die. And so that's just by way of review to get us oriented before I start talking at length here today. As we start to enter into this, we must remember, beloved, what the precious words of our precious Lord in Matthew 7, when he said that it is a narrow path to heaven and there are few who find it, and the road to destruction is broad and the gate is broad and many people enter through a broad gate that simply leads them to destruction. And so the fact that this is a prevalent, dominant worldview in culture at large and even within the professing church, broadly speaking, and we're going to say that no, this is not biblical Christianity at all.

As stark as that may sound, as bold a claim as that may seem to be, beloved, it is consistent with the most basic things that our Lord taught about the entrance into the kingdom of heaven. A road that is broad and easy is the road that leads to destruction. It is not the true path to Christ, to reconciliation, to God, to eternal life. That's not the true path by definition.

If it's broad and easy, you should immediately say, wait a minute, something's wrong here. I don't know exactly what it is, but if it's this broad and it's this easy, Christ himself warned me in Matthew 7 not to be sucked into something like that. And if you start to feel the suction of the vacuum hose pulling you into a mindset that says it's really broad and easy, and there's no difficulty here, you need to realize that you need to disconnect from that and come back to Scripture and rethink everything about life. This is what most professing Christianity needs to do. They need to rethink everything that they think is true about life, because these predominant presuppositions are leading people to destruction.

And therefore it is crucial for us to bring Scripture to bear on it so that we can understand. Al Mohler said this about moralistic therapeutic deism, and I quote, he said that it appears to reflect the culture as a whole. Clearly, this generalized conception of a belief system is what appears to characterize the beliefs of vast millions of Americans, both young and old. These individuals, whatever their age, believe that religion should be centered on being nice, a posture that many believe is directly violated by assertions of strong theological conviction.

Now continuing to quote, stay with me, I'm still quoting Al Mohler here, he says, in the end, this study, referring to the book Soul Searching, in the end, this study indicates that American teenagers are heavily influenced by the ideology of individualism that has so profoundly shaped the larger culture. This bleeds over into a reflexive non-judgmentalism and a reluctance to suggest that anyone might actually be wrong in matters of faith and belief, end quote. And so, according to their mindset, would automatically show that what we're doing is wrong, because we're saying that someone is actually wrong in what they believe. And so it's very slippery, but the very nature, and what I would say is that one of the very subtle satanic aspects of this is, is that its very nature is that it insulates itself from critique, because by a prior statement, a prior presupposition, it says, judgmentalism or anything that declares anything to be wrong is automatically itself wrong, then it's insulated itself from any kind of critique, and it's free to go about its own business. Well, what Scripture says to test the spirits to see whether they are from God. Scripture commended the Bereans in Acts 17, 11, who were examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

You're not supposed to just drink in what somebody tells you and just drink in what the culture says. We're to go to God's Word and to evaluate it. Here's a truth claim. Okay, let me take Scripture to bear and apply it to that truth claim and see if it withholds scrutiny or not.

And that's what we're going to do with MTD. Now, we asked this question last time. This book, as I mentioned, was directed toward the beliefs of teenagers in American culture. But here's the question.

No one escapes the indictment of what follows here. Who is teaching these teenagers what they believe, except their churches and their parents and adult figures who have some kind of influence over them? They didn't just come up with this on their own. This is what they have heard and imbibed from the authority figures around them. And what that means is, is that although the study was geared toward the belief systems of teenagers, what you actually find is, is that by implication it is showing what they have been taught by those who went before them.

And therefore, what this does is it just brings a heaping helping of condemnation upon the entire culture of religion in Western society. And what we want to do here is lend our meager voice to rise up against it and to stand opposed to these things and to, most importantly, to help you understand why that this mindset could not possibly be true. And so what we want to do is to look at these five points of moralistic therapeutic deism individually and evaluate them by scripture. We're going to look at two of them today, if I get that far, and then we'll look at the other three in subsequent weeks to follow.

So here's what I want to do. Number one, the first principle of moralistic therapeutic deism. Number one, a God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth. That's the first tenet of this, the first rule, the first principle, the first presupposition. A God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth.

Now, beloved, I understand and you understand that that statement standing alone by itself is not problematic because of what it says. There is a sense in which we would agree with that. We believe that there is a God who exists, right? We believe that God created the world.

He watches over human life on earth. We would agree with that. And so the statement itself is not what's problematic here. What the problem is, where the devastating deception in it, as is so often the case, the problem's not what it says.

The problem is what it does not say. This statement leads people to think that there is no difference between the God of the Bible, the God of Islam, the God of Mormonism, or the so-called gods of Mormonism, for those that really understand what Mormonism is saying. Any statement like this about God that lets you think that everybody's saying pretty much the same thing about God should immediately clue you in that something's wrong, something is missing. And that is certainly the case here with the God of M.T.D. The problem is that they leave this God largely undefined. They don't go into detail to say, well, who is this God? And so they're content with the idea that some higher power created the universe. He has some kind of order that governs his creation.

He more or less passively watches over everything that happens. But, beloved, for us as biblical Christians, for those of us who hunger to know the truth, for those of us who have been born again by the Spirit of God, that kind of pablum, that kind of baby food is not sufficient. We realize that there are other questions that need to be asked and answered and clarified.

We have to be specific. We have to ask the question, who is the true God? Who is he really, as he really is? I don't care in one sense, this is going to be easily misunderstood, and there's a sense in which I don't care what anyone believes God to be. I don't care what the man on the street thinks God is. I'm much more interested in who God really is. Who is he really?

That's the question that matters, not your opinion. Who is God if you had never been born? Who is God before you were born? Who is God after you're gone? You see, when you view the question that way, then all of a sudden we realize that our opinions really aren't important, because there is a transcendent element, there is an eternal, permanent aspect to this that has to be answered.

It can't rise and fall on the opinions of the man on the street. Who is the true God? And with that question in mind, and with this principle of MTD in mind, I invite you now to turn to the Gospel of John chapter 17.

The Gospel of John chapter 17. And as I said last time as you're turning there, the entire stumbling block to the worldview that we have applied the label moralistic therapeutic deism to, the entire stumbling block to MTD is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the problem with this worldview. And actually, which is another way of saying, the words of Christ show that this worldview could not possibly be true, it cannot possibly be right. He himself is the refutation of this man-made, man-centered, man-glorifying religion. And to know Christ is to reject moralistic therapeutic deism. In John chapter 17 verse 3, he says, he's praying to his Heavenly Father on the eve of his crucifixion, and he says this, he says, verse 3, this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. The only true God.

There's only one. Now, beloved, that means something to us here in this room. That means something to us at Truth Community Church. It means something to every true Bible-believing Christian and every Bible-teaching true church. Based on that prayer in John 17 verse 3, we immediately see that not just any God, small g, will do. It's not enough to simply talk about a vague God according to the opinions of men. The true God is the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible is a particular God. There is a defined essence to him. There is a reality about him that excludes any claim to anything else being a God, small g. You see, beloved, what you and I have to remember as we are interacting with the worldview of those around us is that the God of the Bible is this.

He is the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who was revealed in human flesh in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can't talk about God in vague terms. We have to, using John 17 verse 3 as a bit of a springboard, we have to say, okay, we've introduced God into the conversation here, who is this God, who is the true God, because there is only one. And if your God is someone different than the God that I am proclaiming, then one of us has to be wrong, because contradictory views of God cannot both be true.

Now, I realize in a postmodern culture like ours, you know, this idea of absolute truth is, even that's, you know, at a discount. But you and I here in this room, we have to think beyond the mindset of the world and think according to what God has revealed. There's only one true God.

And what is this God like? Look at Matthew chapter 28. Matthew 28 at the end in verse 18.

Just before his ascension, after his resurrection, Jesus came up to his disciples in verse 18, and he said this, All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name, singular name, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Now, embedded in what Christ said, central to his teaching commission that he gave to his apostles and which we inherit as the true people of God based on believing in the words of the apostle for eternal life, central to what Christ said is you go out and you proclaim the name, singular, the one name of the one true God, and that God is revealed in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If you are not somehow in the core of what you're teaching, proclaiming that the true God is a God who is a trinity, who is a God of one essence, and yet existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you're not proclaiming the true God. You're preaching something that is no God at all. You're preaching the God who is a figment of your imagination.

Again, we see that Christ himself becomes the stumbling block over which MTD trips and splatters its face on the concrete in front of him. Can't be true, because Christ said when you go out and teach about God, here's what you go and proclaim. You proclaim his name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And any preaching of a so-called God that doesn't somewhere make large room for that manifestation and those declarations of the truth of God is not the real, is not the one true God to whom Christ prayed, the only God, the one true God.

Look at John chapter 14. Who is this God? John 14, verse 7. Again, we come back to the words of Christ, and we see what he said 2,000 years ago, standing the test of time and declaring and manifesting judgment against the spirit of our age, because his words endure. His words will never pass away.

His character, his name, his person will never pass away. And so we bring everything back to Christ and see what he has to say about it all. In John chapter 14, verse 7, Christ tells his disciples, If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on, you know him and have seen him. Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. And Jesus said to him, Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, Show us the Father?

In other words, he's saying, You want to know the Father, look at me. I am the perfect representation of who he is. I share his essence.

We are identical in essence. When you see me, you see what God is like. And so in this mindset, we always bring it back to Christ, and we tell people, You must answer the question, Who is Jesus Christ? You must answer that question before we have any idea if we're talking about the true God or not. And you bring it back to Christ because he himself is the dividing line. Go back a couple of chapters, nine to be precise, to John chapter 5, verse 23. John chapter 5, verse 23.

We'll start at verse 22, I guess. For not even the Father judges anyone, this is Christ speaking, but he has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Jesus says, You must give equal honor to the Son. You must give equal honor to Christ as you do the Father. And if you do not honor the Son like that, you're not honoring God at all. Your worship is false. It is idolatry.

It does not matter. No matter what other spiritual platitudes you might voice, if you are not giving supreme highest honor to the Lord Jesus Christ, you are not worshiping the one true God. John chapter 8, verse 19. The Jews asked Christ, said, Where is your Father? Jesus answered, You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.

You would automatically know the Father if you knew me. But the fact that you reject me, you do not honor me, you do not worship me, Jesus says, is an indication that you don't know God at all. And so, beloved, this is why when we talk about this first principle of moralistic therapeutic deism, a God exists who created the world, we're not impressed with that statement to the extent that it stops there and people want to leave it there. And when you bring the conversation to that realm, you are turning your back on the realm of moralistic therapeutic deism and entering into the realm of what is true as revealed in the Bible, as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ. John 14, 6. Jesus said, I'm the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.

First John chapter 5, verse 11. The testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has the life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

Do you see it? Again and again and again, Scripture points us to Christ, the only source of eternal life, the one who alone reveals the true and living God. If a man does not know and bow before the Lord Jesus Christ, he does not know God at all. If Christ is not the exclusive object of his trust and his hope for eternal life, if Christ is not his Lord and his Master, if those things aren't true, it doesn't matter what other kind of God talk you're doing. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with part one of his message, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and the One True God. Part two comes your way next time here on The Truth Pulpit, so plan now to join us.

Right now though, Don's back here in studio with a few closing words. Well, as we close today's broadcast, I just want to express my gratitude for the many friends whose generosity make this program possible. If you would like to join with those who are supporting us, you can do so at our website. Here's Bill to tell you how. Just visit Once again, that's I'm Bill Wright. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-05 04:56:29 / 2023-10-05 05:05:17 / 9

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