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For the Cause of Truth #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 5, 2024 12:00 am

For the Cause of Truth #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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February 5, 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, I'm Bill Wright. Thanks for joining us as we continue teaching God's people God's Word. Don begins a new message today, so without further delay, let's join him right now in The Truth Pulpit. Bill, this morning we're going to open up a long series of messages that will be connected together like links of sausage that will give us the source of Christian clarity, Christian courage, Christian compassion, Christian consolation.

All of those things are grounded in the reality of Christian biblical truth, and it is essential for us to lay a strong, broad, deep foundation to establish those things in your hearts. Some of you may have heard, may remember the message that I gave at the Truth Matters Conference back in May. I was assigned at that point the broad topic of sexuality and gender to speak on.

I did not take that occasion to detail LGBTQ issues. I approached it in a different way that is pertinent for everything that I want to do in these next few months here at Truth Community Church. It was interesting as I preached that night, there was a pastor in the room, and he was deeply affected by what I had to say that evening. The message crystallized in his mind, he would tell you, the challenge of this age to him, the age in which we live.

And every day since then, he's thought about that message. It burdened his desires for his flock as he went back to ministry with them, gave him a perspective on the totality of what ministry should be like in a broader way, I guess he would say, and it committed him to an irreversible, irrevocable direction in his pulpit, his ministry, and whatever else the Lord would give to him. This will sound strange to you, but that pastor was me. That pastor was me, and the Lord did a work in my heart even as I was preaching that message, and I was so impressed by the message. That pastor was me, and the Lord did a work in my heart even as I was preaching that message, and I said a few things that were not part of my prepared remarks that have just so gripped my heart that I must act upon them. I don't know if that message meant diddly squat to anyone else in the room, but I have to respond to it, and by God's grace, I will.

I think that this will have long-term implications for Truth Community Church, and so for two weeks, today and next week, I plan to explain and expound on the what I said that night back in May. To set the context, what I would like to do this morning is to read a brief passage from the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, and if you would turn in your Bibles to Nehemiah, it's just before the book of Job, before the Psalms, if that helps you find it. In Nehemiah 2, verse 17, we read this. This is Nehemiah speaking, and he said, Then I said to them, You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned.

Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision. And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, Let us rise up and build.

So they strengthened their hands for the good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the Ammonite servant, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us, and said, What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king? Then I replied to them, The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem. Jerusalem.

Only the briefest word of context for that text that I just read. In 586 B.C. the Babylonians destroyed the city of Jerusalem. Scripture tells us that it was a judgment of God upon his rebellious people. He was disciplining them. The Babylonians took the Jews out into exile as judgment from God.

They were taken from the land that flows with milk and honey and taken to a place where the language in the home was not theirs. To teach them that they were not to follow idols, that they were not to rebel against God, he utterly thoroughly humbled them as a result of their many centuries of sin against him and abandoning the word of God. When Nehemiah writes now, over 100 years have passed, the Persians have conquered the Babylonians and a new king is in place, and Nehemiah was influential with that Persian king, and yet his heart was burdened over the state of his homeland, of the city of the king, Mount Zion, the city of God.

And so the king gave him opportunity to speak. Nehemiah explained his concern and God working through that Persian king gave Nehemiah permission to leave his civic responsibilities and to go home, as it were, and to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, to begin to restart the work of God in that chosen place and to reestablish the boundaries of God and to reestablish a sense of his glory and of his purpose being worked out among men. It was a massive task. The city had been thoroughly destroyed, the walls around the city, and that's how cities worked that day.

They had walls built around the city for military protection and established boundaries and all of that, and the walls were utterly broken down. This place was desolate and in need of massive, massive attention. The project seemed unbearably great, but Nehemiah trusted the Lord, he called the people to work, and in time the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt, the people were back into their city, ready to serve the Lord with a freshness of purpose. What God had done, you could say, is God had turned their weakness into a display of his strength. This is what God does amongst his people.

He perfects his strength in our weakness. Now, keep that in mind as we turn to the challenge of our age, the challenge not to a physical location, but to the spiritual principle and the existence of truth itself. We face a, this is an oversimplification, of course, but we face a threefold challenge as we seek to uphold the truth of God in this wicked age in which we live, and in turn I want to go through them one by one. The challenge in culture, the challenge in the church, and our challenge with cosmic forces.

What I said on that fateful night in May as we spoke about the issues surrounding the sexual chaos in our culture today, we start with this first principle, the challenge in our culture. You know, and I'm using the walls of Jerusalem as a metaphor for what we're facing today, beloved. The spiritual walls of the church are utterly broken down, as you will see and you will be convinced of by the time we are done today, Spirit of God helping me.

The walls are broken down and the question is, what are we going to do about it? And what we, as we think about the sexual dysfunction in our world today and the rise and acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual so-called marriage even within the past ten years, seven, eight years since the regrettable Supreme Court decision in 2015, and then immediately following that, the explosion of the agenda of transgenderism being pushed upon us. Here's what you need to see and must understand about that, beloved. You must realize that the general acceptance, the approval that is given to these anti-biblical ways of life, the acceptance of that sexual chaos in our culture is the fruit of an entire way of thinking. The issues, the public issues to which I have alluded just now are really not the issue at hand. It's not the issue at stake. And for the church, for Christians, if we think only about these matters in terms of the behavior and the outward manifestation of these things, if we are only consumed with how it makes us feel uncomfortable or perhaps threatens our integrity in a workplace as the diversity people impose their agenda upon the workplace, if we only address it from that perspective, we have utterly missed the point of what's actually at stake. And we as a church, as the people of God, if that's all that we think about, we have lost the argument before it even begins. If, a little closer to home, if we think that this is simply a matter of evangelism and we need to have targeted ministries for the LGBTQ communities, if we think that that's the response that needs to be made, we have missed the point completely.

We have lost the argument before it even begins because we're not dealing with the root, what the cause of all of this chaos in our society is. Beloved, what you and I have to do, what the church of Jesus Christ has to do, what the challenge of the age, not just for me, not just for Truth Community Church, but for the entire segment of the like-minded body of Christ is a great challenge because we need to think and we need to teach in categories that many of us are not used to engaging. I say this sympathetically. I say this as a man of like common flesh. I say this as a man prone to easy distraction from the things at hand. But we are so much creatures of flesh, so much driven by what we see and by daily responsibilities and daily life that we neglect the underlying matters of truth and knowledge at a profound level. You see, the sexual chaos that we see today is a sign of postmodern thinking, postmodern thinking. And if that term is fuzzy or unfamiliar to you, don't worry. We'll address it forthwith here.

I've got to repeat this because this is pivotally important. The sexual chaos is a symptom of the greater disease. If you could make the sexual chaos go away with a snap of the fingers, the problem would still remain.

It would be like taking scissors and snipping off a noxious weed in your garden but leaving the root unaddressed. It's just going to come back in another form. We have to get to the bottom of this postmodern madness. What is postmodernism? John MacArthur defines it this way in his little book titled Why One Way.

That book is far more important than its size would suggest or even the familiarity that the church may have with it. John MacArthur says this. Now listen carefully. To the postmodernist, reality is whatever the individual imagines it to be. That means that what is true is determined subjectively by each person. There is no such thing as objective, authoritative truth that governs or applies to all humanity universally. And you know what?

I think that's so important I'm going to say it again because I want you to get this. This is the crux of the matter. This is the issue of our age. To the postmodernist, reality is whatever the individual imagines it to be. That means what is true is determined subjectively by each person. There is no such thing as objective, authoritative truth that governs or applies to all humanity universally. Beloved, that's the mindset of the age in which we live. You have your truth.

I have mine. I define truth for myself. You can define it for yourself and we shouldn't challenge each other on these things. Now when you think through these matters, you'll soon enough come to recognize, even if it's not immediately apparent to you right now, the sexual chaos of our day is based on a presupposition. It's based on an assumption in the way people think that drives everything else.

You can put it this way. A presupposition is something that men take for granted in the way that they think. We all have presuppositions. Most of us have not taken the time to examine them and to understand what it is. But there is built into our minds assumption about the nature of reality that governs everything else. And what is the dominant presupposition in our world today? I say this without fear of contradiction. Reality is determined by what someone feels on the inside. That's what's real according to the mind of the world in which we live. And again, the sexual chaos just serves as a convenient illustration of the greater point.

Don't miss this. This is not a message about homosexuality or transgenderism. These are simply illustrations of the greater point.

So think with me here. The confirmed committed homosexual bases his identity and projects his identity to the world based on his sexual attraction and his sexual behavior. But it's driven by the things that he feels or she feels inside. So people talk about their, you know, their desires and all of that.

And there's more that could be said about that. Even more clearly, even more clearly, the transgender person bases his or her identity, stay with me, on inward self-perception. If I feel like I'm a girl in a boy's body, then I am a girl. The way I feel determines what is real. So much so that physical anatomy is irrelevant to the consideration. It's not that the mind and the thinking needs to change, it's that the body needs to be changed, that the outward projection of my identity changes to conform with what I feel inside.

And beloved, what that, all that is telling us is that desires and feelings have become the basis for truth. So much so that it's not just the way that as a transgender person I feel about it. You must accept my self-perception. You must call me a girl. You must call me she. You must call me miss, misses, or miss, even if I have the body of a boy.

You must disregard everything else and address me by what I command. I have defined reality, and your perception and definition of reality must conform to mine, and on top of that, understand that this is driven by what I feel inside. So that, as it plays out in the realm of athletics, a man can compete in swimming events all of his life, change his mind, become a girl, and suddenly be competing in female athletics a short time later, simply based on his change in perception or his outward acknowledgement of what he's always felt inside. And the NCAA and all of his competition and everybody else has to bow down to that self-identity change.

It's madness. But understand, beloved, that when we say that reality is determined by what I feel inside, that is a philosophical matter of profound consequence. It is a philosophical matter of profound consequence. Now, don't let the long word philosophical intimidate you away from what we're saying here today.

I'm just using the term philosophical to mean that it relates to matters of knowledge and reality. How do we know what is true? What is real? How do we know what is true about identity and purpose in the universe and in my own life? The spirit of our age responds to that question and says it's based on what's inside you. It's based on what you feel.

Colloquially, you be you. That's what's real. You decide it for yourself. Now look, what the church has to do, what the church of Jesus Christ has to do, I'm using church in an expansive way beyond Truth Community Church here this morning. What Christians, what Christian leaders, what Christian pastors have to recognize about all of this is that the challenge of our age is a battle over truth itself, over the nature of what is true and how we even know what is true or not. This is not a battle over sexuality. This is a battle over truth. Now please stay with me and I can make this, illustrate this, and I think make it plain in your minds. We gather together as Bible-believing Christians in our little subculture of the world, and rightly so, we appeal to Scripture as we speak about what is true.

This is what, for most of us, we inherited from our families or from our prior teachers, and it is right that we do. We appeal to Scripture and say this is true, this is the Word of God, this is truth. They, the spirit of the age, the spirit of our world, they deny that truth even exists. They deny the principle of truth. They deny the principle of transcendent reality that applies to all people at all time. And that is a necessary consequence of what their judgment of what truth is.

If truth is based on what is inside of a person, then there are seven billion different potential sources for what is true. Whereas, according to Scripture, there is one, that truth does exist, that there is transcendent truth that applies to all men at all times. We appeal to Scripture, they deny that truth even exists. We preach biblical ethics and say this is what God would have men to do. The spirit of our age rejects the very concept of external authority. There is no authority but me and what I feel. They reject that very idea.

Now, listen, beloved, that's as, I think that's as technical as I'm going to get here in the message today. But you must understand this, you know, as we speak in our realm and in our world and all of that, we speak from certain presuppositions that truth exists, that God exists, that truth is found in Scripture, that Jesus is Lord. That's part of a Christian mindset. And what you and I have to recognize if we are going to live in this age and if we are going to do anything to preserve truth for the next generation and generations yet to be born, if we're going to do something to keep the light shining in the midst of the darkness, you and I have to understand that the culture around us does not even recognize our presuppositions.

It's utterly foreign to them. We speak past each other on these matters for reasons that many don't even examine. That alone presents a great, great challenge to the church of Jesus Christ. That's the challenge from our culture, and I'll have more to say about this in the months to come.

Trust me. I would say that there's an even greater problem much closer to home. The culture would be bad enough, but in one sense we could live with that. We could respond to that as the people of God from a position of strength except for the challenge that we face in the church of Jesus Christ. Second point, saw the challenge in the culture. Secondly, the challenge in the church. This is painful.

This is uncomfortable to be confronted with, but it must be done. The things which I'm about to say make enemies of people who thought they were our friends. The church itself, beloved, has undercut biblical truth, biblical authority, and biblical morality. The church itself, the professing church of Christ, so-called evangelicals, are at the heart of the problem. And let me illustrate with a sevenfold demonstration of the truth of what I just said to you. Seven in the Bible is the number of completeness.

Let me just go through these one by one. Remember, this is the challenge in the church that we have. This is the challenge facing those that would uphold the truth of God as the purpose of their existence. What are those challenges within the church? Well, we cover several decades in a couple of minutes here. First of all, the Willow Creek, Rick Warren, Crossroads, seeker-sensitive model of ministry, has conditioned men to expect the church to provide for them a soothing place of inspirational messages with many age-specific programs and a healthy dose of lighthearted laughter and contemporary music when we gather together. For decades, going back to Bill Hybels at Willow Creek in the suburbs of Chicago, this has taken root and spread its pernicious influence over the thinking and the expectations for subsequent generations. That's a challenge.

That's a challenge. Let me just say here, beloved, if you do any reading of church history at all, you go back and read what Christians were doing in the first three centuries after the time of Christ. You go to the Reformation and those who were the spiritual children of the Reformation. And you think of men like John Knox. Some of these names may not be familiar to you.

In time, they will be, I hope. You look at names like John Knox and Martin Luther and John Calvin, William Perkins, the French Huguenots, Wycliffe. You go on and you look at Charles Spurgeon and Martin Lloyd-Jones and other men of great transcendent character. You read anything of their writings. You read anything about their lives and see the courage, the conviction, the way they suffered.

You look at their teaching. Beloved, I guarantee you that you cannot find anything resembling this superficial approach to ministry that we have been conditioned to accept as normal, as the pattern for the church. This is not what Christ shed His blood for. This is not what thousands of French Huguenots shed their blood for at the St. Bartholomew massacre in 1572. They didn't die for a seeker-sensitive model of ministry. They died for the truth at the hands of Roman Catholic butchers.

I'm not alone in this. There are other like-minded men who share my sense of conviction about this. But, beloved, I can't look at the blood of Christ flowing down metaphorically through the ages. I can't look at the lives of these eminent saints and teachers and pastors and be silent in my age when so many things have risen up against the truth that they lived, breathed, and died for. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit, and here's Don again with some closing thoughts.

Don, my friend, thank you for joining us for yet another podcast from The Truth Pulpit. And we wanted to let you know that in addition to these audio resources that you are enjoying, that there are also written resources from my ministry. The Lord has given us opportunity to put some of the things that I've taught over the years in print, and I have one book in particular that I would want to call your attention to. It's the most popular book that I've published so far called Trusting God in Trying Times. It's a book born out of deep personal sorrow and is brought into context, you might say, through the Word of God. How to trust God when you are going through the deepest valleys and the most sorrowful things in life. How do you trust God through those times when you can't see your way forward?

I've been there, my friend, and the book Trusting God in Trying Times speaks to that spiritual experience in the life of the believer. You can find all of my books at thetruthpulpit.com. That's thetruthpulpit.com. Just click on the link there.

You'll find links to different books, and you will find that they take you to an easy place to purchase them for your reading enjoyment. So, thank you once again for joining us on The Truth Pulpit. We'll see you next time as we continue to study God's Word together. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you so much for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Join us next time for more as we continue teaching God's people God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-09 09:38:08 / 2024-02-09 09:48:17 / 10

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