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MTD and the Only Way to Heaven #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
October 16, 2023 12:00 am

MTD and the Only Way to Heaven #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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October 16, 2023 12:00 am

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It is a horrible deception. It is a great false conceit for men to think that most people will go to heaven when they die.

That is a deception, and it is born out of the conceited heart of humanity to think that way. Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, where we're teaching God's people God's Word. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and we're about to close out our series titled Deception Close to Home with part two of Don's message, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and the Only Way to Heaven. Last time, Don exposed the conceit that all good people go to heaven for the lie that it is. The Bible tells us that the path leading to heaven is narrow, and only a few find it, leaving the wide path that leads to destruction. Today, our teacher will give us some powerful scripture references proving the point.

So have your Bible again open and ready, and let's join Don Green now in The Truth Pulpit. Paul gathers up these Old Testament quotations and says this, There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now, beloved, he says that in a statement condemning the entire human race. And as we have seen, as we have gone through this phenomenon that marks the spirit of our age known as moralistic therapeutic deism, we have said over and over again what Paul summarizes as being the pinnacle of the condemnation, the righteous condemnation of the human race. It's that there is no fear of God before their eyes.

And as we have rehearsed these things, we've said over and over again, this lulls people into a false sense of security. It conditions them not to think about sin and hell. It conditions them, indeed, it tells them that you can ignore God and just come to him when you need him, and he'll be there for you. Don't you see that everything woven in that is built off an assumption that there is nothing to fear about God at all? And Paul says, and blankets the human race with the condemnation that they do not fear God.

Any religion that conditions you to never fear God, to never revere him, to never worship him, when those thoughts don't cross into your mind, it cannot be the truth. And Paul goes on in verse 19, he says, now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law so that every mouth may be closed and that all the world may become accountable to God, because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. No one escapes this condemnation, every mouth is closed, no one is good enough, no works that anyone does will justify them in the sight of God, because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And so it fails utterly on the score of the depravity of man and the sinfulness of all humanity.

Now, let's take it a little bit further here, again, we're just wrapping all of these things up and summarizing them. Not only that, beloved, let me remind you of this. It is a horrible deception. It is a great false conceit for men to think that most people will go to heaven when they die.

That is a deception and it is born out of the conceited heart of humanity to think that way. And if I could remind you of something that I said right from the beginning, over and over again, the spirit of our age crashes on the rock of Jesus Christ and is shattered before his person and before his words and everything that he said. The idea that most people will go to heaven when they die could not have been more directly contradicted by our infallible Lord than by what he said in Matthew chapter 7.

Turn there with me. Matthew chapter 7 in verse 13. Matthew chapter 7, beginning in verse 13, Jesus said, enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction and there are many who enter through it.

For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and there are few who find it. And so the idea that most people go to heaven when they die is just immediately refuted by the teaching of Christ. He said in Luke chapter 13 verse 24, strive to enter through the narrow door for many I tell you will seek to enter and will not be able. And so, beloved, speaking to you as, speaking to you if I can put it in this way, considering ourselves apart from Christ, you are not good, you are sinful, and you must be born again. God requires a perfect righteousness to go to heaven that none of us have on our own.

We must receive righteousness as a gift because we cannot earn it and we do not have it. And so all of us, all of us are humbled before the narrow gate that leads to heaven. We realize that our sin excludes us from admission into God's holy presence. We realize that out of our sinful hearts we cannot generate anything good to save ourselves and so there is a sense in which we are sitting outside of the gate with sores all over us like Lazarus was sitting outside the gates of the rich man, needing someone to show kindness to us, someone to show grace to us because we are not in a condition to enter through that majestic gate on our own.

And that's why the gospel is so glorious, my friends. That's why it is so wonderful to realize that in the gospel God gives us a gift of righteousness that we do not deserve. In the person of Christ, God came to earth and Christ lived a perfect life in perfect obedience to the law of God and then offered himself up as a sacrifice on the cross of Calvary for everyone who would ever believe in him. God accepted that sacrifice as shown by the fact that he raised him on the third day and what happens in genuine true salvation is is a guilty sinner comes to Christ and confesses his sins and calls upon Christ to have mercy on him to save him rather than coming with an air of arrogance, rather than coming with a spirit of entitlement, of expectation that I have something here that I'm entitled to. The one that God justifies, the one that God saves comes to him humbly confessing sin, confessing unworthiness, and asking for a gift of mercy that he does not deserve. Any sense of asserting right before God, asserting a right before God for his blessing is in utter contradiction to the principle of grace that underlies Christian salvation. And in this gift of salvation, what God does is that God looks at that sinner and as it were assigns the righteousness of Christ to his account and says I will credit you with the righteousness of Christ which is a gift that you utterly do not deserve and could never earn on your own. And in salvation, God takes the guilt of the sinner and places it on Christ who paid the price for it at Calvary. And when you understand, when you think about salvation in these terms, you start to realize what a magnificent gift it is and that it could be no other way and there is no way to earn that. There is no way to qualify for that in your own righteousness.

This is a gift. You come as a sinner to Christ and cry out for mercy. You come knowing that you don't deserve anything from God and the glory and the gift of the gospel is is that God takes that righteousness of Christ and places it over you, assigns it to your account, looks on you as though you had lived the perfect life of Christ yourself. He thinks of you as having lived the righteous life of Christ yourself. I'm saying the same thing in a lot of different ways.

What I'm trying to do here is to articulate the principle of imputation in multiple ways to help you grasp it as we look at the same thing from different angles. That's all we're doing here. And God takes this infinite righteousness of Christ's perfect obedience to the law of God and says I will look at you as though you had done that yourself. Now when you understand it that way, you realize how greatly humbling that is. God, you are looking at me and you are giving me credit for something I didn't do. Precisely. God, that's really good of you. Precisely. God, God, this is humbling to be on the receiving end of a gift like that. Precisely.

God, all I can do is thank you and express my gratitude through my lips and my life. Precisely. God, I have nothing to boast in then.

I have nothing of my own in which to boast. The scripture says, precisely. Paul said, God forbid that I should boast save in the cross of my Lord Jesus, Galatians 6.14. This is not a matter of good people going to heaven when they die. This is a matter of a good God giving a great gift to bad people.

And then you look at it from the other side. You know, and just as the majesty of Christ is exposed through God's word to us, and as the Spirit opens our eyes to these things and we see His majesty and we see His glory, we see His goodness, we see His condescending love, we see His kindness and His patience toward us, and we realize that that great Christ, that most worthy Son of God, who was love incarnate, who was God incarnate, full of grace and glory, full of truth, that that one was the one on Calvary. He who was pure and blameless and innocent, undefiled and exalted above the heavens, and God looked on him and said, I will assign the guilt of that one to you, and you will pay the price. You will suffer the equivalent of eternal punishment for what all of their sins deserved.

And imputing your guilt to Christ and you step back for a moment and you say, but wait, wait, time out! He doesn't deserve that! He didn't do that! That was my sin! I'm the one to blame!

I should be punished! And Christ was pleased for His Father to assign the guilt to Him, though He had done nothing wrong, though He was sinless, as even His enemies were forced to acknowledge because they could find nothing wrong, they could find nothing to accuse Him of, and your guilt was assigned to Christ and the stroke of your eternal punishment was inflicted upon Him. Look at Isaiah 53 verse 5, prophetically speaking of a crucifixion yet to come when Isaiah said these words 700 years before the coming of Christ. He was pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. Verse 6, all of us like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to His own way, but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. There is this lovely Lord Jesus on the cross, innocent, righteous, the maker of heaven and earth, and your guilt God assigned to Him. God looked on Christ as though He had committed your sins. He assigned it to Christ. Christ took responsibility for it. He was held accountable for what you had done, and the punishment fell on Him, and multiple hours of darkness fell on the earth, and that righteous soul cried out, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And the bitter cup of wrath that was ours to drink, He took the cup from our hands and drank it to the full, drank it down to the dregs, and paid it all in the climactic moment when the wrath had been extinguished, when the wrath had been absorbed to the full, cried out, it is finished.

The work of redemption was done. Don't, don't talk to me about the goodness of man. There is one good, and that is the Lord Jesus. And beloved, Scripture would teach us, Scripture would have us to think along these lines. If there was any possibility for you to be good enough to go to heaven, then Christ died without reason. There was no point to what I just described if there was another way to heaven.

There's no point in it. Galatians chapter 2 verse 21, if you want to turn there with me, Galatians chapter 2 verse 21 says this, Galatians 2 verse 21, I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died needlessly. Applying that verse to the topic at hand, if moralistic therapeutic deism was true, it would nullify the grace of God. If you can be good on your own without regard or mention of Christ, then Jesus Christ died needlessly. The whole purpose of redemption was foolish in this worldview. But beloved, Christ did not die for no purpose.

He died with reason. And indeed, I would go so far as to say that this prevailing worldview cannot begin to explain the purpose and mission of Christ as he himself articulated it. It can't begin to explain it. It makes absolutely no sense. Look at Mark chapter 10 verse 45. Mark chapter 10 verse 45. Mark 10 verse 45 says that the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many.

If people are basically good and good people go to heaven, then why on earth did Christ come to do that? That makes no sense. What I would suggest to you is that what doesn't make sense is the prevailing spirit of our age. What Christ said makes perfect sense. And the fact that it contradicts the spirit of our age merely vindicates and shows forth its glory all the more. It is not an argument against the words of Christ that the world disagrees with this. That couldn't be true.

And it's not true. Jesus said in Luke 19 10 in the presence of Zacchaeus and those who were objecting to Christ's kindness to that tax gether, he said, hey, Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 5 31-32, I did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. It's not those who are well who need a physician.

It's those who are sick. Those who say good people, most people are good or go into heaven are saying we don't need a doctor. We don't need a Savior.

We're good enough on our own. Jesus says fine, have it your way. I didn't come to call people with that mindset. Just understand that that mindset leads you to judgment.

You might want to reconsider the mindset. Salvation is not a reward for good people. Heaven is not an oasis for people who were good on Earth. It's a gift, an undeserved gift of grace to bad people, ungodly people who come to Christ crying out for mercy, crying out for salvation and giving themselves to him in an act of loving self-surrender and self-commitment to him which is faith. In Galatians 2 again, verse 15, because the Bible is just so repeatedly clear on what it says, Galatians 2 15, where Jews by nature are not sinners from among the Gentiles. Nevertheless, knowing this, be it Jew or Gentile, a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Christ Jesus. Even we have believed in Christ Jesus so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, since by the works of the law no flesh will be justified. He triples the statement in a positive way. We're justified through faith in Christ.

We believed in Christ, faith in Christ. He mirrors it in a negative way. He triples it, not justified by the works of the law, not by the works of the law.

By the works of the law, no flesh will be justified. It's a gift, beloved, for it is by grace you've been saved and that not of yourselves. It is what?

What is it? It's a gift. It is a gift of God, not of works that no one should boast. It is such a gift that God even has to work life in us and God has to work a life that produces the faith in us. We can't even bring faith on our own power.

We need a work of God in our heart to even generate that kind of faith in us. One final passage you don't need to turn there as I wrap this up in 2 Timothy chapter 2. 2 Timothy chapter 2, Paul tells Timothy that the Lord's bond servant must not be quarrelsome but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil having been held captive by him to do his will. Ephesians 2, God is granting faith. 2 Timothy 2, God is granting patience.

He's giving it as a gift. We are sinful and our only hope is in a merciful Christ. Beloved, everything about moralistic therapeutic deism, everything about the spirit of our age collapses in the presence of Christ, falls to the ground based on the clear statements of Jesus.

It is destroyed in light of Scripture. The spirit of our age dulls people clear to hell and that means that we need to proclaim Christ to them. We must cling to Christ in the Bible for ourselves for only then we are safe and as we come and talk to people, as you have the opportunity to engage in spiritual discussions with them, oh friends, open your Bible to them because the Scripture is what God uses to open the eyes of the blind, to unstop the ears of the deaf, to loosen the tongues of the mute. We must come to the Word of God. We must show them the Word of God because that is where the power is. Paul said, I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes and that Gospel is revealed in the pages and in the Word of Scripture and so as we draw this to a close, I trust that we've seen the spirit of the age, we smell the smoke of hell all around it and we step even further away from it and look with gratitude and trust renewed to our great Lord Jesus who loved us and gave himself up for us. That and that alone is our eternal hope of salvation.

And with that, we come to the end of our series, Deception Close to Home. We hope you have a better understanding of the threat posed by moralistic therapeutic deism. Pastor Don Green will have another edifying message for you on our next broadcast. So join us then here on the Truth Pulpit. But Don, before we wrap up today's program, what is your pastoral advice to a believer that notices some elements of MTD creeping into his or her church?

Well that's an excellent question, Bill. And you know, my friend, I think the most important thing is for you yourself to be a student of Scripture because God's Word will give you discernment on these issues. If you have questions about what's happening in your church, talk to your pastor, ask him questions. Help me understand how what you're saying compares to this Scripture. Finally, I'd encourage you to go to our website and request a free copy of the CD series so that you're able to review these things in the privacy of your home at your own pace and be able to become a good handler of God's Word. Thanks, Don. And friend, be sure to visit thetruthpulpit.com to find out more about our ministry. That's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright, 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 / 2023-10-18 22:33:47 / 2023-10-18 22:42:19 / 9

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