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Meditation: Mercy

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
January 10, 2024 12:00 am

Meditation: Mercy

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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The Truth Pulpit
Don Green

Hello, my friend, and welcome to another episode of The Truth Pulpit.

We're so glad that you joined us. And I know that many of you have recently signed up for the podcast looking for the series that I told you about called Building a Christian Mind, and that series is going to start on February the 5th. February the 5th for Building a Christian Mind. Until then, here's the next episode of our teaching as we look to God's Word and as we continue our commitment to teaching God's people God's Word on the Truth Pulpit. To come to communion is to be reminded of that which is the deepest joy, the deepest hope, the greatest satisfaction that there is.

Nothing else matters by comparison. Welcome to a special edition of The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and today Don presents a communion meditation focusing on God's mercy.

And, Don, what's ahead for today's broadcast? Well, Bill, what we have ahead today, I think, is something that our friends are really going to enjoy and be edified by. It's a communion meditation that I did several months ago at our church as we prepared for communion during one of our morning services. Don, communion is an important part of life at Truth Community Church, isn't it?

Well, I'd like to think so, Bill. You know, we try to take communion seriously at Truth Community Church and just not make it a routine rote matter that we go through, but to try to prepare our minds so that we're taking communion in a worthy way, as Scripture tells us to do. So what I've started to do on a pretty regular basis is to introduce communion with a 15- or 20-minute devotional that is focused on some aspect of the work of Christ, some aspect of the glory of our salvation. And then when we take the elements, we have a freshness from God's Word in our mind that helps us appreciate what Christ has done for us as we're taking the bread and the juice together in remembrance of Christ. Help us think through what we're remembering at the communion table. Well, there's so many ways that we could answer that question, Bill.

Let me approach it this way for now. There's a threefold aspect of remembering Christ that goes on in communion to one degree or another. First of all, we are remembering the past work of Christ for us. The bread and the cup are symbols by which we remember the sacrificial death of Christ for sinners on the cross. The Lord gave us communion as a visual way to remember what he did for us.

His literal physical body was literally nailed to a cross. He literally spilled his literal blood in his crucifixion to inaugurate the new covenant by which sinners would have a true and immediate access to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture says the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. And so we remember that past work. We also remember his present work for us. As we take communion as Christians, we are remembering that we are participating by faith in his saving virtue. We remind ourselves and we remind each other that our gracious Lord has secured forgiveness of our sins and eternal life for us. He did all of the work on our behalf.

There's nothing for us to add to it. We simply receive Christ by faith and God accepts us based on the shed blood and the righteousness of his Son. And that's a present reality for us at all time as Christians. And then finally there's this wonderful aspect of the future work of Christ. The Lord said to do this, to take communion until he comes. And that reminds us that our Lord is coming again. He will not abandon us to the grave or to this wicked world. He said in the Gospel of John, I will come again and receive you to myself. So the past work of Christ when he was nailed to the cross, the present work in that we participate now in his saving virtue, and a future work that Christ is coming again for us. All of these are realities that we remember at communion. And when you slow down to take communion seriously, those are the spiritual things that come to mind and it is a refreshing time of joy and love for Christ as you gather together with other believers around the communion table.

Thanks Don. So friend, let's hear this communion meditation now from The Truth Pulpit. I invite you to turn to the letter of 1 John at the back of your New Testament. 1 John chapter 1. I'm going to read from chapter 1 verse 1 through chapter 2 verse 2 as it points us so clearly and evidently to Christ incarnate, to Christ crucified, to Christ resurrected.

1 John chapter 1 beginning in verse 1 says this, what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands concerning the word of life, and the life was manifested and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the father and was manifested to us. What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also so that you too may have fellowship with us and indeed our fellowship is with the father and with his son Jesus Christ. These things we write so that our joy may be made complete and this is the message we have heard from him and announced to you that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say that we have not sinned we make him a liar and his word is not in us. My little children I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin and if anyone sins we have an advocate with the father Jesus Christ the righteous and he himself is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world. As we come to the communion table we are reminded that God's intentions toward us are good.

That's the only possible explanation that you could have for the things that we just read in scripture. God in his goodness God in his grace sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world to live a perfect life and to offer that perfect life as a sacrifice on behalf of sinners who are not perfect indeed who were rebels and are rebels against this holy God of goodness and of grace. As we prepare for communion then my friends I invite you to remember Christ first and Christ foremost that it was his willingness to come into the earth in accordance with the father's plan. It was his willingness to voluntarily lay down his life for sinners just like you. It was his perfect shed blood spilled at the cross of Calvary that alone could satisfy the righteous wrath of God against your sin and against mine.

Christ's death on the cross was a work of atonement bearing God's wrath against your sins or to use a different metaphor that Christ is described with here in verse 7 of the passage we read. The blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin. My friends do you understand that there is nothing that you could do to wash away your own sin? Do you realize that that there are no works no rituals that you can do that would satisfy the infinite debt that you have toward God for your violations of his law? For your indifference toward him?

For your failure to love him with all of your heart soul strength and mind? Do you realize there's nothing you can do that you are helpless before a holy God? That's where an understanding of salvation begins is to realize that Christ came for sinners just like you. And that blood of which the apostle John speaks is a reference to his sacrifice on the cross for our sins. And when he says that it cleanses us that it washes our sins away it has the idea that that for the one who has put his faith in Christ God no longer holds their sins against them. If you have put your faith in Christ God no longer holds your sins against you.

There is no further penalty to be paid. There are no works to be done to complete salvation. It's not like Christ started it and then you have to finish it. No, his sacrifice was a complete and perfect atonement for sinners just like you.

And my friends my brothers and sisters in Christ I would remind you of something that is so very precious. If you have your Bible open to 1st John chapter 1 look at the end of verse 7. 1st John chapter 1 verse 7 where it says the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin. Not part of it, not the socially acceptable sins, but the dark sins even the dark sins in your life.

The things that still bring pain to your mind and to your conscience when it's come to your attention when it's brought to your mind. To understand that the blood of Christ is a thorough cleansing agent from sin. That there is no stain left when his work is applied to your soul and that God looks at you and sees the righteousness of Christ. It is imputed to you as a gift and for the one who has put his faith in Christ God accepts the righteousness of Christ the shed blood of Christ is the only righteousness he requires from you.

And that my friend is liberating. That is wonderful to know that all of the burden of guilt and sin has been lifted from your shoulders and placed on Christ where it was punished once for all. And that is the message of the gospel that Christ is such a savior as that that his blood is such a perfect atonement for sinners that those who simply receive him in believing faith in a repentant faith find that all of the righteous demands of God are satisfied in Christ and shared freely as a gift to unworthy sinners like you and me. The Bible tells us that the one who has put his faith in Jesus Christ has been declared righteous before a holy God. Do you understand that that God's requirement for righteousness according to the law you can never meet but his gift the offer in salvation is that the fullness of righteousness is fulfilled in you when you are joined to Christ by putting your faith in him. The apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 2 24 that that Jesus bore our sins in his body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness for by his wounds you were healed. Why are we making that point now? Well so that it'd be fresh in our minds when we come to the communion table so that when we hold that bread and hold that cup in our hands that tangible symbol that the Lord ordained for us to remember him by until he comes that we would have a visual reminder that a full salvation has been applied to our souls. I'll go back to the hymn I quoted in the water my sin oh the bliss of this glorious thought my sin not in part but the whole has been nailed to the cross and I bear it no more praise the Lord praise the Lord oh my soul to come to communion then is to be reminded of that which is the the deepest joy the deepest hope the greatest satisfaction that there is nothing else matters by comparison and so my Christian friend I ask you did you come today feeling the weight of some sin perhaps recent in your life perhaps even this past week perhaps even this morning I invite you to look fresh to the wounds of Christ and remember that the blood of Jesus Christ continually cleanses you from all sin and that God is gracious and glad and finds joy in forgiving sinners scripture says there the angels in heaven rejoice over the repentance of even one more so than over 99 people who need no repentance if you're not a Christian and I know that some of you are not the good news of the gospel is that Christ has paid a full ransom price for the forgiveness of sin you can be saved this moment by coming to Christ in faith the threat of hell can be removed instantaneously if you cry out to Christ for salvation you see God promises in his word to remove our sins from us as far as the east is from the west he says in the he says in the book of Hebrews and elsewhere that their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more my unsaved friend why would you walk away from a gift like that knowing the judgment of God is upon sinners knowing that death awaits you because it awaits every one of us knowing that judgment is on the other side of death how could you bear the thought of appearing before a holy God unforgiven especially when forgiveness is offered to you freely right now in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ and so as we come to the Lord's table this passage in first John reminds us that we come in one sense as sinners because it says that if we say we have no sin we're deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us we're humbled as we come to this table but we are greatly encouraged realizing that God has provided a salvation for us that is complete that is final that is utterly trustworthy now to come as a sinner might sound like you're coming as a place in a place of weakness or in despair in one sense yes we come in weakness as sinners we come in weakness in our flesh but see that's not our point of emphasis at the communion table the point of emphasis at the communion table is Christ and his power Christ and his accomplishment Christ and all that he has done for sinners like us in first John chapter 2 verse 1 we see that it's more than just an atonement for sinners that Christ is to us that he in himself is the satisfaction that God requires but there's something more there's something even more wonderful or something additionally wonderful may be better said John says if anyone sins we have an advocate with the father Jesus Christ the righteous but as we come as Christians to the cross as we come to the table we are remembering that not only has Christ made a perfect sacrifice for our sins but he is now exalted in heaven after the ascension having gone to heaven at the right hand of God where he represents us in the very throne room of God what a great savior he met the demands of the law on your behalf the law no longer condemns you and now Christ is as to us as an older brother in heaven representing us before the father having perfectly satisfied all of the demands of God on our behalf that's pretty wonderful isn't it as we sang earlier and now for me he stands before the father's throne he shows his wounded hands and names me as his own not a generic general atonement made for a blob of sinner someplace for them to decide sort out later whether they'll believe it or not no Christ made an actual atonement for sinners and accomplished all that was necessary for our security of soul for our forgiveness to be achieved and for that we give him all of the glory those thoughts on the atonement and those thoughts on Christ our advocate frame our hearts as we come to this table Christian I remind you and it's a blessed privilege to do so that Christ has interceded for you a loving savior has stood in the breach stood in the gap between you and God and made a perfect propitiation he himself is the propitiation for your sins he himself has done everything needed for the wrath of God to be turned away from you and if your faith is in Christ for your salvation you are fully reconciled to this God and he freely invites you to come to this table of remembrance on behalf of our elder brother who loved us and gave himself up for us and we remember his death on our behalf as we come to the table the Lord's appointed this to be a blessing and encouragement a strength and a help to your soul and that's the spirit in which we take it and as we will take it in just a moment if you're not a Christian or if you're a Christian living in sin that you're not willing to confess and forsake let me ask you on behalf of Christ not to sully this remembrance by taking the elements and pretending to be a part of this celebration of his atonement for sin when in reality you push it away and you want nothing to do with him it would be better for you to let the elements pass if you're not truly in Christ and contemplate instead the words of scripture that we have had before us here in these past few moments I'm going to bow and ask you to bow with me in prayer and as I do the men are going to come to begin to distribute the bread let's bow together in prayer as the men come father we commit this time to you we ask for your grace to be upon us as we remember our Lord crucified risen and ascended the perfect sacrifice for sinners just like us in Christ's name we pray amen that's a special communion meditation on god's mercy presented by pastor don green to his congregation at truth community church in cincinnati ohio this is the truth pulpit and don in light of the importance of communion and those wonderful themes of mercy that you spoke of in the message what's our takeaway for life and the next time we come to the communion table well bill I think one of the really important things for an earnest christian to remember is that jesus told us not to take communion lightly you know that that we can drink judgment to ourselves if we take communion while we are conscious of rebellion and sin in our life that we're not willing to repent of and so communion is an earnest act and it should be preceded by some measure of self-examination you know am i am i walking with christ in a generally obedient way or am i stuck in rebellion and indifference and so we have to examine ourselves and ask questions like that is the first part of my response to your question sounds like you have some other things in mind as well don is that right yeah that's right bill there are other aspects that communion brings to the fore in our minds as a body as a local body of believers and as individual christians as well you know communion is in some ways primarily a vertical focus on christ his shed blood for us in salvation but it also has implications on a horizontal basis for us that we need to take seriously you know scripture places a great emphasis on the unity of the body of christ the unity of believers one with another within the context of a local church and so it gives us opportunity to say okay i'm not aware of any conscious sin that i'm carrying against the lord but but are my relationships right with my fellow believers am i open and transparent and loving and serving and edifying those that are around me in my church or am i harboring bitterness am i carrying a grudge against someone communion is a great time for us to look at those aspects of our life as well and if need be to repent of some of those bitter things to go to somebody and be reconciled before it goes any further before those difficult bitter feelings take root in our hearts and our hearts and our difficult bitter feelings take root in our hearts and so my friend as we close this broadcast today i would just encourage you as you approach communion the next time in your own local church to think about these things to think about the work of christ on your behalf and what a wonderful thing it is that he laid down his life voluntarily to save you from your sins to rejoice in that to rest afresh in the salvation that christ purchased with his perfect life and his perfect death on your behalf and then to realize that that that spills over in your attitudes toward your loved ones and toward your friends and your fellow believers at church what we see from all of this is that communion rightly taken and and earnestly received has such a refreshing impact of bringing joy and sanctity and holiness and unity back into our lives and as we practice it regularly that becomes a regular part of our christian testimony and the life that we live for our blessed lord jesus thanks don i think you've helped us gain a much better appreciation for the ordinance we observe on a regular basis we might well lose some of that in the monthly repetition but as we've been reminded today that shouldn't happen well friend we hope you've been blessed by today's communion meditation on mercy pastor don green will again take us to god's word for more important teaching next time on the truth pulpit so plan now to join us meanwhile we invite you to visit us at the truth there you can download podcasts or find out how to receive cd copies of don's radio messages for your personal study library and if you want to go even more in depth you'll also find the link follow don's pulpit that'll take you to don's full length weekly sermons not subject to the time editing we need for radio broadcasts and if you happen to be in the cincinnati area check out the service times for truth community church also on our website and plan a visit we'd love to welcome you again just visit the truth that's the truth pulpit dot com i'm bill wright and we'll see you next time on the truth pulpit
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-10 04:48:34 / 2024-01-10 04:57:21 / 9

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