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For the Cause of Truth #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2024 12:00 am

For the Cause of Truth #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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February 6, 2024 12:00 am

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Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. It is our joy to continue our commitment to teaching God's people God's Word. Today Don is continuing with the second part of a message we started last time. So let's get right to it. Open your Bible as we join Don now in The Truth Pulpit.

The Willow Creek model. Secondly, the prosperity gospel has conditioned people to be selfish and to consider what is in the gospel for themselves in an earthly material sense. How can I become rich like Abraham?

How can I have God solve my problems? And these charlatans tell them that, for a donation to my ministry, God will return His blessing to you. Oh, there's prosperity in that gospel, all right. But it's not for the people that are being abused by it.

Thirdly, we've taught on this in the past. You can look for these sermons online in a phrase that will not be familiar to some of you, and that's okay. But the spirit of moralistic therapeutic deism has conditioned men and women to think like this, that God simply wants to help them in their problems and for people to be nice to each other, and that is the God that is proclaimed to them. There is nothing in that about dying to self, taking up your cross and following Christ. God exists to help you.

Something like a AAA record driver who just comes alongside when you're broken down, picks you up, gets you going again, and then goes and leaves, and there's no accountability, there's no authority, there's nothing, there's no relationship or submission there. God's just there to help you through the rough spots, and you can keep going and get on with your life. God's just there to help you through your life. Fourthly, the Charismatic movement has deluded millions and told them to look inside for new revelation from God. Pastors routinely cite their own visions, the word that God gave to them as authority, and they appeal to that which cannot be independently verified or falsified. And what a tragedy. What a sorrowful thing it is to see people following after false teachers like that. Beloved, these are souls of men. These are eternal souls. Everything that we're talking about here has profound eternal consequences. This isn't just a matter of differences of opinion on religious matters that really don't matter, and can we just hurry up and get to the bingles game?

This is about truth itself. More recently, some of you may know about the disastrous, and I love the providence of the fact that I'm saying this on this particular day on January 4th, and I'm saying this on this particular day on January 15th. More recently, in 2018, the Gospel Coalition put on the disastrous MLK 50 conference, supposedly in honor of the memory of Martin Luther King, and in the process, they blew open the door to race baiting and the social justice gospel in the church. In 2021, the Southern Baptist Convention elected a sermon plagiarist as its president, and then their entire leadership circle circled the wagons when criticism was raised against that, and many called for his resignation.

The Southern Baptist Convention rallied around a man who had been deceptive from his pulpit, preaching the sermons of another man as though they were his own, and not a nary a seminary president in that whole denomination stood out and called for his resignation. Then, perhaps closer to home for those that are like-minded with us, then we have our own stream, steady stream of men who disqualify themselves from ministry, although on the sake of their own sexual misconduct. Beloved, let me ask you a question in this book, and I'm going to ask you a question now.

Beloved, let me ask you a question in light of all of these things. Come back to the sexual chaos of our age, homosexuality and transgenderism, and you look at that. Now, the church wants to say that truth matters on matters of sexuality? That's a joke!

That's a travesty! Why do we, and I speak collectively, why do we as a church insist on the truth now when it is obvious? It is obvious! As you look at the scene broadly, it is obvious that truth does not matter in these ministries when things that cause us discomfort are not pressed upon us.

What's the change? Why does truth matter now if it hasn't mattered in the past 50 years? But understand something else, beloved. Understand that individual Christians are also part of the problem.

Individual Christians, people like you and me, are part of the problem here. It shows in different ways at an individual level as opposed to an institutional level. It shows in the way that they talk about their daily life and their daily decisions. You've all heard someone say this, the things that I'm about to describe. I say it gently. Many of you have have said these things yourself. What am I thinking about? What am I alluding to at this point in the message? You know, the Lord spoke to me. The Lord spoke to me about this. I heard God's voice or sounding a little more spiritual maybe. You know, I know what I'm about to do is God's will because I have peace about it.

And let's not leave out a small church pastor's favorite. After much prayer, I've decided to leave the church. In every instance, beloved, in every single instance of those and a thousand others like them. In every instance, feelings supposedly place what the person has said or decided beyond any challenge or any accountability. I'm telling you that God spoke to me. I'm telling you that I've prayed about it and I have peace about it. And therefore, there is an infallibility attached to what I'm saying.

They won't say it like this. But the whole spirit of what they're saying is, is that I am my own authority and you must accept it based on my self testimony without regard to any counsel, reproof or accountability. Beloved, here's what you need to see.

Here's what you need to see. When Christians think that way, when Christians talk that way, when Christians live that way, live by their subjective impressions as being the revelation of God for their lives, the will of God for their lives, this is what you must understand, is that they are operating by the same, by the power of the same presupposition as the transgender man or woman. Truth is determined by what I feel inside and you must bow to what I say.

You must accept it on my self testimony. The Christian church that is like that is headed itself to a full acceptance of transgender ideology because the fundamental presupposition is identical. This person tells me he's a girl because of how he feels inside and I see that and I see that in the media or talk to people that I know and I get this thrown at me, and you do too, and then I turn around in ministry and I have people telling me that based on what I feel, this is what the right thing is. It's the exact same principle. It's the exact same governing presupposition and it isn't changed by whether it's supporting transgenderism or unfaithfulness in the church. It's the exact same principle, beloved. If you can think about that and digest that and meditate on that and come to see why that is true, you've come a long way toward being a part of the revival of biblical thinking in the church today. Yes, beloved. Yes, homosexuality and transgenderism violate biblical truth. Yes, these are things that are sins against God, but that's not our point for this morning. I believe out in the lobby as you leave, my series of messages on those topics are available in a CD form.

You can find them online. It's readily available. We haven't hidden in a corner as we've taught those things. But, beloved, just going back, I want to set up what I'm about to say here. In light of Willow Creek and the prosperity gospel and moralistic therapeutic deism, in light of the charismatic movement, in light of the MLK 50 conference, in light of the Southern Baptist Convention, in light of the deplorable way that evangelical pastors routinely disqualify themselves from ministry, in light of all of that, I ask you this question. I ask it rhetorically. How can the church confront society? How can the church help a confused society if the church itself is not clear on the very seat of authority that is needed to assess truth claims? How is the church part of the problem? The church is part of the problem.

In a different context, Martin Lloyd-Jones said this. He said, I argue that in many ways it is the departure of the church from preaching that is responsible in a large measure for the state of modern society. The church has been preaching morality without godliness, and it simply does not work. And the result is that the church, having abandoned her real task, has left humanity more or less to its own devices." When the church abandons the truth, when the church abandons the centrality of the pulpit, whether it's for entertainment or biblical counseling or you choose whatever you want it to be, when the church abandons the pulpit, it leaves a vacuum of truth that other philosophies are going to rush in and to fill.

That was the doctor's point. And the consequence on humanity is disastrous. It's sorrowful. Another author said this. He said, To be blunt, the church has become a laughing stock with no moral authority to stand before the world and confront sin, declare Christ's lordship, and speak with any credibility about sin, righteousness, or judgment." Beloved, for you and me, this is a most serious matter that we cannot neglect, that we cannot avoid, that we cannot retreat into our own little circle and wait to die for the coming of Christ.

Listen. In 1 Peter 4.17, it says this. It says, For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God.

And if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? You see, my friends, the evangelical church, to the extent that it even stands with us on these issues, the evangelical church should not and cannot congratulate itself on its sexual ethics today. The sad truth is that the collective failure, the collective failures of the church are so broad and so deeply ingrained that there is absolutely no human solution for it. This challenge, this problem of our age is beyond the solution that any one man, any one pastor, any one book, any one conference, any one church can begin to address.

That's especially true when we remember our final point for today, our third and final point. So we're just kind of laying out the challenge to the church today. It's all the challenging culture, the challenge in the church.

Thirdly, what I just said over these past 40 minutes or however long it's been, I have no idea. What I've just said by itself would be enough to help us recognize our utter helplessness to be able to address it. How do you change the way a culture thinks? How do you address systemic issues throughout the body of Christ as an individual Christian or as an individual pastor?

It is impossible. Humanly speaking, to do anything about it. And then you come to the third and final point and you realize we haven't even gotten to the worst of it, that which is most difficult, that which is most arrayed against us. And that is thirdly the challenge of cosmic forces, of cosmic forces. Scripture teaches us to discern things with a spiritual eye. In our day and age and in the evangelical church, the whole realm of the satanic and the demonic is ignored as an inconvenient embarrassment in the enlightened age in which we live.

But beloved, not for you and me. We cannot go there. We cannot allow ourselves to deny significant aspects of biblical revelation and significant aspects about the world in which we, as it exists, we can't do that and be faithful to Scripture and to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself, who loved us and gave himself up for us. We have to get our truth from Scripture and when we do that, what do we see?

What do we find? We find that the church of Jesus Christ has an arch enemy. In the language of Revelation, he is the ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan. Beloved, when we think about the challenge in our culture, the denial of truth and the fruit from which grows from that, when we consider the challenge from our culture, which we talked about in our first point, you and I need to remember this. We need to remember what Scripture says about the supernatural, unseen reality of the entire situation. Scripture says the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, 2 Corinthians 4. Scripture says that the men of this world are following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, Ephesians 2.2. Scripture says that unsaved men are captured by the devil to do his will, 1 Timothy 2.26. Scripture says that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one, 1 John 5.19.

Beloved, it's breathtaking, it's sobering is what I mean by that, to start to connect what we see in culture with what Scripture says about the forces at work in the world. The challenge of our culture is a visible effect of the invisible force of Satan himself. Satan intends to exclude God, rob him of his glory, and to destroy men.

It's what he's been doing since the Garden of Eden. When he misled our first parents, they disobeyed God and the fall ensued, this is what happens. There is a satanic element to this. Our philosophical environment around us in our culture, that philosophical environment is the merchant of death from Satan himself. No one can find truth in Christ, no one can find salvation from sin, no one can even think rightly.

You can't even think rightly in this philosophical environment. People can't even process and interpret the gospel properly, Scripture says, because their minds have been blinded by the devil. Now look, either we believe Scripture and accept that as true, or we're so proud and embarrassed to talk in those kinds of terms that we neglected and deny Scripture in the process.

There is a satanic, overriding, demonic dimension to what we're dealing with, and by definition it is supernatural. By definition we are mere natural men without the power to resist, overcome, and defeat it. Non-Christians, individually, if you're not a Christian what I'm about to say is true of you personally, and in our decadent culture it's true on a broader level. Non-Christians are slaves to a power greater than themselves. Jesus said everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. He looked at his age in the first century and he said you are of your father the devil.

He was a liar, a murderer from the beginning, John 8.44. Beloved, any full, proper, right assessment of the spirit of our age has to start right there. We are in the middle of a supernatural battle that is beyond our power to address. We cannot, we must not ignore the influence of Satan or his schemes as we consider these things. The apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2, we are not ignorant of his designs. The biblical thinker, the biblical Christian has to contemplate this, see it from Scripture and let that drive the way he views the world around him. But beloved, it's not just the influence of Satan in culture.

Satan is active in the realm of the professing church of Christ as well. What did the apostle Paul say in Ephesians chapter 6? He said we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. He says this as he writes to the church, the church which was chosen before the foundation of the world in Christ, to that body of people, that body of believers, he says we, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.

In other words, it's more than what we see and observe with our physical senses. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6, 12.

The apostle Peter said your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Beloved, do we believe Scripture or not? I mean I'm asking a simple question.

I'm asking a simple question. Do we affirm that this book is God inspired truth that reveals the reality of existence or not? If we do, then we need to take seriously the warnings and the description about the spiritual demonic realm that is arrayed against us. Satan is audacious. He is shameless. He is infinitely wicked. He is supernaturally powerful, not omnipotent, but supernaturally powerful. And as you read Scripture, you see his influence affecting and undermining the church. In the Gospels, you see him tempting Christ in Matthew chapter 4, our Lord alone being the one who successfully resisted him at all points. It was a lie of Satan to Ananias and Sapphira that brought judgment into the early church in Acts chapter 5. Peter said, why have you listened to the lie of Satan and lied against the Holy Spirit? When you read the book of Revelation chapter 2 and 3, you'll see Christ speaking to seven different churches of the first century day.

And in those chapters, you will find Christ explicitly identifying the opposition and influence and effects of the devil's work in the churches of Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, and Philadelphia. Beloved, what we need to understand and take seriously is that false teachers are not merely mistaken and have a difference of opinion about things with us as if it's just kind of an in-house, intramural debate that really doesn't matter. False teachers are mouthpieces for the enemy of our souls. False doctrine is not an innocent matter.

It is deadly poison. False teachers are servants of Satan that are leading men to hell, and it's not easy to identify them. It's not easy to recognize them. The realm that our vulnerability to deception in this realm has no measure. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11, said, even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, so it is no surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. There are two ways to verify the truth of this satanic realm in the church. One is to see Scripture and to take it seriously, and secondly is to see the effects all around us. You can see, begin to see why Scripture commands us to be discerning, to know the Word of God, to be like the Bereans in Acts 17, to examine the Scriptures to see whether what you're being told is true or not.

But, beloved, here we are on the brink of a new year. Here we are, God having placed us in an environment like this, and what do we see? We face philosophical challenges from the culture. We face the challenges of false teachers and false movements within the professing church of Jesus Christ, and we face the supernatural challenge of Satan and demons.

Only a fool, only a fool would try to project an air of confidence and ability in light of those things. And here's what we need to see, and this kind of brings us full circle back to Truth Community Church and what lies ahead for us in ministry together. This is what you need to really grasp with. I'll say it again.

One message does not solve this problem. What I've preached today doesn't dent what we're facing. You and I have to understand that we have been on this postmodern trajectory for decades and decades, and it's going to take, absent a revival from the Holy Spirit, it is going to take decades and decades to undo it, to address it, to do something to correct it. You see, beloved, speaking of the people of God, generally speaking, our walls of Jerusalem are broken down. They are consumed by fire, and we must rebuild them. It is a long task with satanic opposition. What could possibly give us any hope in the midst of that? Turn in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians chapter 12.

I'm almost done here. 2 Corinthians chapter 12. One person, one pastor, one book, one conference, one church cannot change this. We are weak.

This is beyond our ability to change the course of it. And yet, here in 2 Corinthians 12 verse 7, we see a light that beckons us to come this direction. Apostle Paul, having been afflicted by a messenger from Satan, says this. He says, so to keep me from becoming conceited because of the depressing greatness of the revelations. He had received revelations, been to the third heaven.

That's what he's referring to in context there. He says, a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me to keep me from becoming conceited. In light of everything that we said today, beloved, that electrifies me and draws me to say, what do you have to say, Paul? You say that there is a messenger of Satan that was afflicting you.

How did you respond to that? Perhaps in Paul's response, Paul's principles, we can find something that gives us guidance. He specifically identifies Satan. We've said that we see Satan at work in our culture and its philosophical environment. We see Satan at work in the church. Then we need a word to help us, particularly as we feel the great weakness of our ability to respond to it, to say nothing about the brevity of life in which to do it.

He was harassed by Satan and what did he do? Verse 8, three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me, but it didn't leave. But God said to Paul, verse 9, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, Paul says, therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. The challenge of our culture, the challenge of the church, the challenge of the cosmic forces, beloved, should have one effect upon us.

It is like it is a 40-foot wall of water coming on an ocean ready to break onto the shore. And we can either look at that wave and let it drown us, or we can let it be the power and the force that casts us upon Christ so that we might become vessels in which He displays His strength in the midst of our weakness. So what are we doing? What's our goal in response to all of this? Particularly within the church, beloved, our goal is this. Our goal over time is no less than to change the fundamental way that men think. Our goal over time is to do nothing less than to change the fundamental way that men think. Our thinking is so messed up. It is so wrong. Our presuppositions are so out of whack.

We've got to change that. I don't mind telling you. That's a spiritual goal beyond my ability. It's a spiritual goal that is beyond my lifetime. No man, no single church can do this alone. When you come back on Sunday, I'll lay forth the direction that this is all going to take next Sunday.

And I want to say this. I don't know what God will do as we pursue this course. I don't know if He'll bless our effort at all.

I don't know if there'll be any visible success to it at all. I don't control that. But I know one thing for certain. The God of Nehemiah who enabled him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, He's our God today. The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Christ who raised from the dead, He's alive today. And He said and promised, I will build my church. The third person of the blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit is alive and active in His people. He inspired the Word of God. He works through the Word of God.

We can appeal to Him and ask for help and expect Him to respond. But someone, beloved, in the midst of this chaos, someone has to pick up a brick and say, let's get started. That's what we intend to do in the months to come at Truth Community Church. We're going to pick up our brick and get started. I'll lay out the plan next week. Come and join us.

It's for the cause of truth, and truth matters. Let's pray together. Gracious Father, we think with the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 90, our days pass away under your wrath. We bring our years to an end like a sigh. We're weak. We're mortal. The years of our life are 70 or even by reason of strength 80, and yet their span is but toil and troubles. They are soon gone and we fly away. Father, now then, is it possible to even consider these matters?

It would be impossible. It would be overwhelming, but for the promises of your Word, but for the promise of your Spirit, but for the glory of Christ. And so Father, with that same Psalmist, as we have tried to earnestly, soberly consider the culture and the church around us, Father, for the sake of your glory, for the sake of your truth, for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, we pray that you would make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us and for as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be shown to your servants and your glorious power to their children. Father, as we pick up the brick, let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us and establish the work of our hands upon us. Yes, establish the works of our hands. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you so much, friend, for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Join us again next time as Don begins a new message as we continue teaching God's word on the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-09 09:48:18 / 2024-02-09 09:59:57 / 12

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