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Who Needs a Savior? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
November 2, 2023 12:00 am

Who Needs a Savior? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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November 2, 2023 12:00 am

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So who needs a Savior? Let's put it this way. If you're a member of the human race, you do.

There are no exceptions. Who needs a Savior? Every last human being, that's who. And on this edition of The Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green will show you why, as he looks at the reality and universality of sin. Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. We're continuing our series, Your Sin and God's Salvation. We'll again be in Ephesians chapter 2, but before we get started, here's Don with a few opening words. Well hello my friend, and welcome to The Truth Pulpit. I realize this may be your first time in hearing our broadcast, and let me just encourage you to stick with us over the next 25 minutes. We love to teach the Bible in a clear and hopefully compelling way that is easy to understand and easy to apply to your life.

There won't be a lot of heavy promotion at the end of the broadcast. We just want to minister God's Word to you. If that sounds like something you're interested in, stay with us as we study God's Word together on The Truth Pulpit. Thanks Don, and friend, open your Bible as we join our teacher now in The Truth Pulpit. Chapter 2 verse 1, if you will. Paul here, he says to those who are now alive in Christ, he speaks and he says, And you who I am writing to, you who are the saints, let me remind you of where you came from before you were found by Jesus Christ.

You were dead in your trespasses and sins. Paul here, writing to these Christians, is telling them what they used to be, what their lives used to be like, what was their spiritual status before their conversion in Christ. He is stepping back in time, as it were, to remind them of a reality that once existed in their lives. With this point, he's doing this so that they could see by contrast how great the power is that changed them from death to life. Look at chapter 2 verse 1 again. He says, And so, writing to this audience of Christians here in Asia Minor, he says you were dead in your trespasses and sins. Now, watch what happens for now as he expands out the problem of sin.

It wasn't just that these Gentiles in Ephesus were dead in their trespasses and sins. He goes on and expands in ever greater circles of reference so that eventually he's including the entirety of humanity in the condition. Look at what he says in verse 2. He says, In which you formerly walked, according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

Stop right there for just a moment. So there are these Christians who in times past were dead in their trespasses and sins and who walked according to the spirit of the age. He sets them in contrast to those who are now living that way, now in the sense current and contemporaneous with the time at which Paul was writing. He says this spirit is now working in the sons who disobey God.

They are known by nature as people of disobedience because they were disobedient and disregarding the gospel of Christ and walking according to sin and according to Satan. So he says, there's you and then there's these non-Christians that are around. And then watch here as we go into verse 3 how he continues to expand the circles of reference to include the entire human race. He says in verse 3, among them, them who?

The sons of disobedience. Among them we to all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh. Paul is saying it's not just that you were dead in your trespasses and sins. It's not just that the sons of disobedience are now walking in their trespasses and sins.

He expands it out further and says we were like that also. Paul as the apostle was once a persecutor of the church. Paul, a member of the Jewish race. The whole Jewish race was opposed to the true and living God, and were involved in the crucifixion of Christ and rejected him as king, saying we have no king but Caesar. And he goes on and says, we formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest.

Even as the rest of all of mankind. I don't know if you've ever seen or had those collapsible cups that come like they're a disk and then you screw the top of it off and then you pull it up and it expands so that there is more there than what it seems to be. The whole cup can come into a disk, but it expands and in ever greater circles there is an organic connection with the base of it, but it expands out bigger and bigger than what you first saw when you were just looking at it as a little disk.

This is a picture. That is the way that it is with the sin of humanity, and as Paul is writing here he says you were dead in your trespasses and sins, writing to these Christians, but as he pulls the cup up it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger until the entire human race is included in what he has said in these first three verses. You Gentiles and we Jews were all alike dead in sin. That was our organic connection. We shared together in the fallenness of the human race, and together we were all just like the rest of mankind.

This is a universal problem. It reminds us of a more familiar text, Romans 3.23, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Old Testament, New Testament, continuing on to today. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We were children of wrath. We were sons of disobedience even as the rest. This is a sad, bleak picture of humanity, isn't it?

So who needs a savior? Let's put it this way. If you're a member of the human race, you do.

There are no exceptions. It's one thing to say that in a broad, general sense and to see it from the text. It's another thing to be convicted about it in your own soul, and that's where I want to take us now. Secondly, as we look at the reality of sin, and this is where we'll spend the rest of our time here, the reality of sin, the universality of sin, and then the reality of sin. There's a couple of things that go on in the minds of the unconverted.

First of all, there's a sense that I've heard all of this before, and therefore, you know, I'm not going to hear anything new again today. And then there's that callousness of heart. There's that hardness of heart that somehow tries to persuade and convince itself that I'm really not that bad, that this really isn't that serious, that there's really no reason for me to be interested in this.

What does this have to do with my own real life? What can we say about the nature of sin from this passage? Go back to chapter 2, verse 1. And what it means, what it means to be a sinner, what it means to be lost, what it means to be separated from God. Look at it here in Ephesians chapter 2, verse 1, and I'm going to try to do my best to put the cookies on the bottom shelf, as it were here, because, look, what we're doing week after week, for those of you who do not know Christ, we are pleading for the sake of your soul. We're mindful of the fact that there is eternal life after earthly death. And we're mindful that there are great eternal consequences that go along with that. And we're mindful that if you're not in Christ, that you are not prepared to enter into that state.

And we've got to do something to ring the fire bell alarm to get you to take this seriously. And yet we acknowledge gladly, humbly, that we're entirely dependent upon God to use His Word and the Spirit to work in your hearts, because we can't make anyone listen. Only the Spirit of God can change a heart and make it listen to that which is rejected for so long. And this bears upon Christians as well. Paul is writing to Christians here and explaining things about the reality of their salvation. Look at Ephesians chapter 2 verse 1. It says, You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked. You were like the sons of disobedience, just like we are, even as the rest.

This is the totality of it. What does that mean, that you were dead in your trespasses and sins? What is the spiritual death of which He speaks?

Let's just make a quick observation. It's obvious that he's not talking about someone who's physically dead. Just to be really obvious here, Paul is writing to people who are physically alive because he's assuming that they can read the letter.

To read a letter assumes physical life. He's not talking about physical death here. He's using death in a spiritual sense. And what he's saying is that you were dead in your trespasses and sins. What he means is this.

Follow me here. He's saying apart from Christ, you were separated from God. You did not share in the life of God. Look at Ephesians chapter 4 verse 17 where you can see this stated with clarity. Ephesians 4 verse 17, where Paul says, So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind. Watch this in verse 18. Being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart, and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. Embedded in that passage there in verse 18 is a really good understanding of what Paul means when he says you were dead in your trespasses and sins.

Look at it right there in the middle of verse 18. He says you were excluded from the life of God. That word you might see a marginal note indicating that it can also be translated, you were alienated from the life of God. You were separate from Him.

You did not belong to Him. You did not think godly thoughts. You did not have godly desires. You did not live a godly life. That is a picture of everyone currently who is not a Christian.

And let's think about this for a little bit. To be alienated from the life of God means that you don't share in it. You have no part in it. You are alone in a universe made by your Creator and yet you have no relationship, no affinity with, no love for, nothing to share with Him. You're alienated from God and it shows up in the way that you think and the way that you talk and what your desires are.

As a non-Christian, you have no righteous thoughts about God whatsoever. It shows in the fact, your spiritual death shows in the fact that you have no desire for His word, the 66 books of the Bible. If you pray, you pray only because you want something not to give worship, honor, and adoration to Him. And you are more than content to just go through this life doing your thing, enjoying the things that this world has to offer you, with no vertical thought of humble love and dependence upon God, no love for Christ, no desire to proclaim Him to others, and no desire or thoughts about eternal life. That's what it means to be dead. Everything that matters to God is something of indifference or hatred to you.

Everything that animates the purposes of God and the outworking of human history are something that you could not care less about. That's spiritual death. And in that condition, Scripture says that you're separated from Him. Psalm 66 verse 8. Why don't you turn over to Psalm 66 verse 8 and just see what Scripture says about this condition. We'll look at a couple of verses. If you go by Isaiah, stick your finger in Isaiah as you turn into Psalms because we'll go to Isaiah also. But Psalm 66 verse 18 says, If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear. Turn over to Isaiah 59 verse 2. Isaiah 59 verse 2. This is so sad.

This is tragic. Isaiah 59 verse 2, where the prophet said, Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. What a spiritual death it is to be so alienated from God that He won't even, in a sense, listen to you when you talk. He has no intentions of listening to you with favor, of answering your prayer, of considering your requests, because your current state of sin and rebellion separates you because of His holy, righteous character. You have nothing in common with God. There's no ground for a relationship because of the hardness of your heart and the love that you have for sin and the dislove and the, if I can make up that term, and the ignorance and the rejection that you have of God. And don't think that God doesn't understand and see the fact that you resist what's being said to you even now.

I mean, let's just not play games about this. It's far too important. God looks down on every one of your hearts, some of you receiving the Word with gratitude and receptivity, some of you just closing your ears and rejecting it. Understand that God sees it all.

He knows your heart in intimate detail, and everything about you is open and laid bare before Him with whom we have to do. And for those of you who are not Christians here today, understand that you are so separated from God that you are alone, hurtling down on a runaway train toward judgment with no one to stop the train. You are defenseless.

You are in great jeopardy. And the big problem is you like it that way. Go figure. Make sense of that kind of insanity. What does it mean to be dead in sin? One writer says it this way. Quote, As those who are physically dead cannot communicate with the living, so also those who are spiritually dead cannot communicate with the eternal living God and thus are separated from God. End quote.

I often pause to talk to the young people with good reason. Look, I realize that most of you are here and having come from a Christian family. That doesn't save you.

That doesn't help you one bit. Look, as much as your mom or your mom and dad may love you, they cannot plead for you at the final judgment seat of God. You will stand before Christ alone and answer for your sins. Your parents cannot somehow by osmosis communicate saving faith to you. You must repent and receive Christ on your own or you will die in your sins. And I realize that everything about your world conditions you to treat everything with superficial thoughts. The music, the video games, the media, all of it just conditions you to be a superficial, indifferent person even in the midst of living in a Christian home. Young people, you have got to separate yourself from that.

You have got to recognize the danger that that puts you in. Go back to Ephesians chapter 2. He says you were dead in your trespasses and sins.

Let's think about those words, those last two words for a moment. Trespasses and sins. How does this describe your life?

For those of you who are Christians, how does this describe your former manner of living? Well, trespass, just think about a no trespassing sign on someone's property. It says there's a boundary here which you must not cross, right?

A trespass has the idea of crossing a boundary, taking a false step, deviating from a path. God has established boundaries of righteousness, of righteous attitudes, of righteous conduct, and to say that you were dead in trespasses means that you were living in a sphere where you lived outside of those boundaries. You crossed those boundaries and you lived there. It's what you knew by nature. It was what you loved.

It was what you embraced. You were outside the boundaries of God, guilty as a trespasser, and loving it that way. Sin has the idea of missing a mark or falling short of a standard. God has established criteria for righteousness, and none of us meet the bar.

None of us can jump over that bar and successfully navigate what He requires. It's one thing to talk about this in general terms like this. It's easy for you at that level to say, this is not as bad as everyone else, maybe this isn't so bad after all. But it's not difficult to show you your utter guilt before God in individual, particular ways. God's law says, do not murder. Jesus said, that means don't even get angry. God's law says, do not commit adultery. Jesus says, that means don't even lust in your heart, which would certainly more than include the places where some of you go on the internet when you think no one's watching. God's law says, do not steal. God's law says, do not lie. God's law says, do not even covet or be jealous of what other people have. God says, that is my standard of righteousness.

It goes on. I mean, that's just on the human level. Have you ever used the Lord's name in vain? Have you ever happily texted OMG to somebody else, trifling with the name of God over some kind of, oh my, please.

The guilt of that is great. Have you ever been angry? Have you ever lusted? Have you ever stolen something that wasn't yours? Have you ever gotten into your parents purse or wallet and taken money because of something you wanted? Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever coveted that which was not yours?

On a greater level. Jesus said, the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God, is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind. Have you always done that? Have you always loved God with your entire being?

Have you always joyfully worshipped Him and just had a spirit of gratitude toward Him? You know, your spirit of complaining about your circumstances in life are kind of contrary to that. Why do I have to do this? You young people, when you're bickering with your siblings and yelling and fighting with them over silly stuff, understand that what that's expressing is not just a momentary irritation, that is the overflow of the sewage that is in your heart. You respond in anger and fighting because that's what's in your heart, you're unrighteous in your innermost being.

And beloved, and you've got to understand something, God brings this kind of teaching into your life because He loves you, because He's trying to help you understand, that He's trying to get you to see the reality of your life. And your temptation is to say, I'm not that bad, or I'm not as bad as that person over there. Look, if you think about righteousness from that perspective, if you try to evaluate whether you're okay with God by looking at how you compare with other human beings, you are completely missing the point. We measure ourselves by God's standard, by His righteousness, by the perfection of Christ. And if you fall short of that perfection, Jesus said you are to be perfect even as your Heavenly Father is perfect, Matthew 5.48. If you fall short of that standard, you're a sinner dead in trespasses and sins.

And you can't get off by saying I haven't done that much, or I'm not as bad as someone else. We'll pause there for today, but Pastor Don Green will have more of our series, Your Sin and God's Salvation, next time here on The Truth Pulpit, as he brings us part two of his message titled, Who Needs a Savior? We hope you'll join us then.

Right now, though, Don's back in studio with some closing words. Well, hello, my friend. I want to thank you for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Thank you for being a student of God's word.

You are the reason that we do these things. We want to bring God's word to you in a way that makes it alive and applicable to you and brings you into a deeper knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. You know, if you've benefited from this broadcast, we just ask you to do a simple thing. Go to our web page or go to our Facebook page. Look us up on Facebook and just drop us a little note, just a word that would let us know that you've appreciated today's broadcast or the other aspects of our ministry. We would love to hear from you. Thank you for listening to The Truth Pulpit.

We are grateful to Christ for you. Thanks, Don and friend. Remember also to visit thetruthpulpit.com, where you can learn more about podcasts and free CDs of Don's teaching. That's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright and we'll see you next time for more from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-02 04:48:46 / 2023-11-02 04:57:50 / 9

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