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Our Duty in the Truth War #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 7, 2024 12:00 am

Our Duty in the Truth War #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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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. Last week, we started and embarked on a lengthy crusade, you might say, for the cause of truth, and that will unfold for us a lot over the coming months. And one of the reasons that we're approaching the pulpit this way over the next few months is, as we saw last time, we just kind of stepped back and took a long look at the forces that challenge and undermine the truth in our culture, in the church, more broadly speaking, and even the cosmic forces that undermine and resist the work of God that have been at work since the fall of Satan back in the very beginning. There is a battlefield that we are engaging our lives on. There is a battlefield of truth. And what I want to do today, as we continue to prepare to enter into these things, is to address and answer the question, what is our responsibility as a church, and what is our responsibility, more particularly, what is your responsibility as a believer?

What is the mindset that we should adopt as we consider these things and enter into them in the coming months? Well, let me just phrase it this way, and it's language that's not popular in the world in which we live, in the somewhat effeminate culture in which we live, but it's the language of Scripture, and it is the sense of Scripture that we must be warriors for truth. We must embrace a mission of fidelity to the Word of God, and that is our goal, and that's what I want to cultivate in our mind as we approach these things in the time that we have together here today. It may surprise you to realize how often and how in so many places, Scripture uses the metaphor of warfare for the Christian life to describe the nature of the Christian life, and I just want to walk you through a couple of passages to set the groundwork for it, because only the mindset of a soldier will equip us for what lies ahead. Only the commitment and the consecration and the single-mindedness of a soldier to the battle is sufficient for the cause that we must uphold and the battles that we must engage in the years to come.

So turn in your Bibles, if you would. There's a couple of passages I want to show you in 2 Corinthians. 2 Corinthians chapter 6, for example, 2 Corinthians chapter 6, looking and identifying the battlefield mindset that comes to us through the Word of God to help us frame our thinking rightly about what lies ahead and why we must prepare for it. 2 Corinthians chapter 6, beginning in verse 3, the apostle Paul says, we put no obstacle in anyone's way so that no fault may be found with our ministry. But as servants of God, we commend ourselves in every way by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger, by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, by truthful speech and the power of God with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left. Paul describes himself as a servant with weapons of righteousness in his hands in which he engages the battle.

And notice, beloved, as he describes it in that way, notice both the challenges that serving Christ brought to him as well as the virtues that he brought to the task. Look at it there in verse 4 as he speaks about afflictions and hardships and calamities, beatings and imprisonments and riots and labors and sleepless nights and hunger. The path of serving Christ for the apostle Paul was not the path of prosperity and health and the life of ease that is promised by those who promulgate such a false gospel and the apostles of moralistic therapeutic deism.

This is not part of the package to them. They have to cut things like this out of the Bible in order to maintain the facade of what they teach and what they promise. And it is just an ever ongoing source of grief and sorrow to my heart to consider those that have been misled by such teaching when the inevitable time comes when life shows them that they have been following a lie, that those that they trusted to teach them in the Word of God had misled them either through ignorance or active deception, to see and to find that they've come to the end of their lives and everything that they had built their lives on, or they come to a particularly grievous trial, a particularly deep flood that they try to navigate through, and to find that they've not been prepared and equipped for it by the empty promises of well-being that attracted them at the first, the promise of an easy life. This is not in what we see in 2 Corinthians 6. This has nothing to do with the promise of an easy life if we are actually following in the feet of Christ and the feet of the apostles.

Shall we follow a Christ who is crucified for us and not carry a cross of our own? And beloved, understand that when Christ was crucified, and we speak of Christ crucified, that we're speaking of a literal crucifixion that actually occurred in time and space in real history. Christ was crucified in this sense, you can think about it this way, that if you were there 2,000 years ago when Christ was hanging on the cross, and you had rubbed your hand against the cross, you would have gotten splinters in your hands because it was real. We are not talking about some metaphor, some allegory, some fable. This is something that happened in time and space in a real manner that provided a real salvation. The faith of Christianity is built on truth.

It is built on truth in history, it is built on truth in God, and it is based on truth in all that it speaks to us about unseen and eternal spiritual things. And so beloved, the consequences of truth are incalculable, they are infinite and eternal in their consequences, and so that alone would justify us stepping back and considering truth itself for an extended period of time. But understand that as we do this, beloved, that we need to approach it with the mindset of a soldier who is prepared and willing to go into battle. And just as modern day soldiers, as the Green Berets and the Navy Seals and others prepare at great length for the battles that lie ahead, if we are going to be engaged in a battle for the truth, it's obvious that we need to be prepared for it, and that superficial teaching and just a love of ourselves and a love of programs that entertain us is not going to prepare us to engage a battle that the devil is out to win. And so scripture speaks of this as a war, it speaks of it as a battle, and we're considering our duty in that truth war. Now we won't turn to other passages, I won't have you turn in your Bibles to them is what I mean by that, but listen as I read other scriptures that use and build on this same metaphor, and Paul particularly draws upon them toward the end of his life. Last week we considered Ephesians chapter 6 verses 11 to 13, where we are called, put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For 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. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand firm. Take up the truth of God as it were, take it up, clothe yourself in it, clothe yourself in the righteousness of Christ, and stand firm as you are called to your position in the conflict.

Now, we could say I don't, you know, the other stuff sounds more attractive to me, that sounds easier, it sounds more pleasant. But beloved, don't you see that it doesn't do any good to live our lives based on a mirage, to base it on that which is not true. Scripture shows us what is true, and Scripture says that this is an engagement of conflict.

And if we're going to engage the conflict, then we must know the truth in order to do so. Paul wrote several passages to Timothy along these lines. In 1 Timothy chapter 1 verses 18 and 19, we read this. Paul says, this charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. In 2 Timothy chapter 2 verse 3, we read, as Paul instructs Timothy yet again, Timothy being somewhat timid, somewhat retiring, withdrawing in his approach to ministry. Paul had to stir him up by way of call and command and exhortation. In chapter 2 verse 3 of 2 Timothy, he tells Timothy, share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. And at the end of that epistle, the last epistle that Paul wrote, he summarizes his whole ministry, knowing that his departure was imminent from this life. He says, I have fought the good fight.

I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now, as we consider, as we will be considering in the days to come, the culture of thought, the culture of philosophies in which we live, we need to understand something. It is indeed a supernatural matter.

This is not something that is just a matter of a difference of opinion among men. We face a combination of the wrath of God revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, so that in the language of Romans 1, we see that God has handed men over to a depraved mind in order that they might do those things which are not proper. And you can read about that on your own. There's a combination of wrath against the rebellion of God that is manifest in the lies in which we live, as well as what we've already considered the supernatural opposition of Satan himself. Now, look, I don't say these things to frighten you, but to simply to engage the reality of what we are facing so that we would humble ourselves, recognize the weakness with which we approach these things, and recognize how much we need the truth of God illuminated to us by the Spirit of God as we trust in the Son of God to keep us, how much we need the supernatural resources of God for this fight that we find ourselves in. Now, for further perspective on this, let's take a quick look at a key text just a few chapters further into 2 Corinthians chapter 10. 2 Corinthians chapter 10, beginning in verse 3.

2 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians chapter 10, verses 3 through 6. Paul says, For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments, and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience when your obedience is complete. In this critical text, beloved, we see that the church wages warfare for the truth, and it is warfare of a spiritual kind.

It is warfare in the realm of thinking and of thought and of philosophies. Our weapons are not human armies, and our weapons certainly are not the shifting politics found on the American scene. If anything, if anything of living an adult life should show anyone, it's that politics come and go, and politicians cannot be trusted to uphold the truth when they have coalitions that they need to keep together in order to be elected. There is not hope for us in human politics, beloved. I trust that you see that and know that.

The church has lost sight of this, and the church has been troubled and plagued by a desire to unite church and politics since the days of Constantine back in the fourth century. No. No, it is not through politics that we will win this battle. We will win this battle.

We will engage this battle. What God calls us as his people to do is to teach scripture in order to defeat hostile human philosophies. It is by scripture that we overcome worldliness. And when I say worldliness, I'm not simply talking about the kind of music that people listen to or movies that they watch or how they dress or anything like that.

That is very much secondary tertiary to the issue. When we talk about worldliness, we are talking about the entire manner in which the world thinks, the way in which the world operates as we'll see in a little while. But what you and I have to remember and what we commit ourselves to corporately as a body, as elders, as a teaching pastor, what we commit ourselves to is this. This is where our entire stockpile of supplies, our entire stockpile of weapons is contained. This is the one tank, so to speak, that we have for the battle.

And it is this. It is that the omnipotent Holy Spirit of God uses the preached word to overcome prevailing human philosophies in order to lead his people into the truth. All scripture, 2 Timothy 3, is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

And beloved, we have to use, to mix metaphors, we have to use the purity of those weapons and not dilute them with human philosophies, not dilute them with counseling theories that are so man-centered that they're not easily distinguishable from psychology and other matters of the flesh. It is the Word of God preached and applied to your heart. It is the Word of God, you reading it privately on your own, contemplating its meaning, internalizing its truth, guiding your life by the way that it instructs you. That is, that is our weapon.

That is the one single solitary weapon that we have to combat the forces of this age. It is the Word of God. And beloved, the truth of the matter is is that that Word, in the hands of the Spirit of God, it's sufficient for the task.

We don't need to accommodate worldly theories of origin and evolution. We stand clearly on the Word of God and our Creator, Redeemer, and Judge. We stand firmly and clearly on the sufficiency of Scripture. Paul says in Ephesians 6 17 that we take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The sword of the Spirit, the sword of the Word of God is our offensive weapon in the battle. And so, beloved, as we'll see in the months to come, again, I'm just laying a foundation in these early weeks for what we're doing long term.

And so, understand that. But in the months to come, we will see and come to appreciate how a program-driven church is not up to the task. We will see why pastors that are just so totally relationally driven at the compromise of their pulpit, they're not up to the task which we face.

Those are human pop guns. They are squirt guns in a battle against cosmic forces, against cultural ways of thinking that are so deeply embedded around us. No, the church must be on the front lines of a battle for knowledge and human thought that is captive to the revelation of God.

We must be on the front lines of this. We must have the sharp edge of the sword being wielded continually in front of us, developing our minds, clarifying our thoughts, cutting away worldly thinking and casting it aside and replacing it by the truth of the Word of God in its most fundamental primary elements. At the great risk of being misunderstood, this is not the time, this is not the age, this is not the occasion for pastors to be teaching on obscure points of doctrine, obscure points of scriptural and debatable scripture interpretation, things that are incidental in the broader context of what the battle for truth really is. You see, beloved, it is only by truth that you will grow in the Christian life. It is by truth that the Spirit of God will lead you safely into glory.

Jesus said, those who abide in my word and continue in my word that continue in the truth, they are my true disciples. It is only by truth that unsaved men can be rescued. It is only by truth that human philosophy can be contradicted effectively as the Spirit of God works through us. And so this is essential.

This is essential and that's all by way of introduction. And so the question that I lay out for today as we look toward what is to come in the coming months is this. What specifically is our duty as the body of Christ in this modern war in the cause of truth? And I want to be clear that I'm speaking to truth community church, obviously, as I speak, but I am also speaking beyond our walls to those who may listen because this is a, what we are seeing is what the church is called to around the world.

This is a universal call to the church that we must unite around and be of common mind and of common purpose. And I want to be clear that we be of common mind and of common purpose on what is our duty in this modern war on truth? Well, remember, before I get into my first point here, remember that we made a contrast last time and we exposed the feelings-driven, subjective approach to truth that marks our modern world as we illustrated it through the transgender person who says, I feel like a boy in a girl's body, therefore I am a boy without regard to my bodily anatomy. The way someone feels inside drives what reality is and everybody is supposed to bow down before their subjective consciousness on what they think that they are.

And if you don't, it will be enforced by legislation that tells you to call them by their chosen name and their chosen pronouns. Beloved, what you have to see is that not only are people individually determining truth by their internal perceptions, that the time has arrived and now is in which government will use its force to compel you under penalty of all kinds of consequence to go along with it and to agree with it. Now, the question becomes, and again, that's just an illustration of the problem, the question becomes, how do we prevent ourselves from being sucked into that vortex and participating and propagating the lies that undergird it? Beloved, it's only through the truth. It's only through the Word of God.

There is nothing else that will do this. Those of you that were with us on Tuesday night or saw it on the live stream will understand the somewhat inside joke that I use here. Dodgeball night isn't going to equip us for this. And a mindset that puts forth dodgeball night as the great event for the church of the week, the mindset that thinks that way cannot help us in the battle for truth. We have to recognize these things enough to stand apart from worldly philosophies and pragmatic approaches to ministry that drive so many to stand apart from that so that the focus on truth is clear, it is compelling, and it is unmistakable.

I'll have more to say about that in a few moments. I want to identify three things here today to help clarify what our duty is, what our responsibility is, and understand, beloved, in everything that I'm about to say, we are talking about the most fundamental aspects of Christian thought, of Christian theology, of Christian religion, of Christian religion. The thought of Christian theology, of Christian thinking, of Christian living. These things might sound simple at one level, but we are speaking about them in a profound way that goes beyond a superficial nod to something so that we can get on to another matter.

And so let me just walk through these things with you. First of all, the church must point to real truth. The church must point to real truth.

Now, real truth is actually redundant. Truth is real, and that which is real is true, but the thinking of our culture and the philosophy of the world is so confused in its definition of truth that we have to specify exactly what we are talking about and that we are being specific. And we are not taught, when we speak of truth, we are not addressing what you might feel is true. Feelings have nothing to do with it. Feelings have nothing to do with truth.

And if you think about it, there are many ways to vindicate that position. If truth depended on what you feel, then are you saying that truth dies when you do? Does truth die when you die and take your feelings away to another realm? Did truth not exist before you were born and started having feelings? Is truth that casual, that inconsequential, that temporary?

The world would say it is. Beloved those of you that know Christ and know Scripture know it could never be that way. We simplify in order to make the point. And so what the church must do in my judgment, and so what the church must do in my judgment, the first call to arms that the church must engage is that we must positively assert and teach and defend the fact that objective truth exists, that there is objective absolute truth that applies to all men at all times without exception, that truth is independent of man, that truth comes from a God who is true, and it is rooted in his eternal nature as he has revealed himself in so many different ways. That truth is real, that truth is objective, that truth is independent of the feelings of a man or a woman, so that in Psalm 119 verse 142, Psalm 119 verse 142, we read this, your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your law is truth. The law of God coming from the revelation of God, that is true.

That is unchanging. Truth unchanged, unchanging. Truth immutable, rooted in the immutable character of the God who revealed it and made it known. Jesus said in John 17, 17, your word is truth. Truth being found not in man, Jesus addressing God the Father in his high priestly prayer, Jesus speaks to God the Father and says, Father God, your word is truth. The eternal, transcendent God is the source of truth, and what he says is the way things really are. It's that which is actual. And so truth is actual.

And so truth is objective. It is external to us. It predated us. It will live on after our earthly lives come to an end.

It transcends us. There is truth like that. Now, at this point, we're not identifying any specific doctrines of truth in what we're saying here. We're simply contending for and asserting the reality and the existence of something independent of man called truth that is revealed in God's word. Now, look, if we are to destroy modern arguments and modern approaches to the knowledge of truth and how we even know what is real, if we are to do that, if we are to change the fundamental way that men think about reality, we have to continue to do that. If we are to change the fundamental way that men think about reality, we have to confront postmodern assumptions about the nature of truth.

Now, look, please stay with me. Please stay with me as we go through these things, because what you will find in time, if it's not immediately apparent to you right now, is that these things are profoundly practical, and these things profoundly shape every aspect of life. When these first principles of truth are established in a person's mind, they drive the way that he thinks about everything else.

What someone thinks about these fundamental issues set a trajectory for the way that their minds go for the rest of their lives. Is truth real and objective, or is it subjective and dependent upon me? Am I the final judge of what is real, or is it outside of me, and does it reside in the word of God?

Those are fundamental issues of which there is a colossal conflict between God's word and the thinking of man. And so, we come, we come to the modern world, we come to the spirit of our age, and we say this without apology, we deny absolutely that men can find truth about reality within themselves. Your feelings are no judge to what is true. The feelings of man cannot possibly be a guide to what is real.

Back when I was a kid, there was a song, a real sappy, syrupy song, I can't even remember what it was, it was a song that was written by a man named John. Back when I was a kid, there was a song, a real sappy, syrupy song, I can't even remember who sang it, which is good, but the song said, it can't be wrong when it feels so right. It can't be wrong when it feels so right. Understand, beloved, that that is a statement of profound philosophical consequence, saying I can know that it's true, I can know that it's right by what I feel about it inside. Beloved, that is a prescription for deception, blindness, and eternal damnation. What does Scripture say? Scripture says in Psalm 36 verse 1, Scripture says that transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart.

There is no fear of God before his eyes. If someone is simply listening to what he feels in his heart, Scripture says he's listening to the lies of the devil, he's listening to transgression that can only lead him astray. The unregenerate heart is filled with deception, and deception may feel good in the moment, but it's not true, it's not real, it's not right. You and I have to be abundantly clear on this.

Of course, we have to be abundantly clear on this. Of course, the prophet Jeremiah famously said the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick. Who can understand it? Beloved, your heart, your unregenerate heart, your heart apart from the influence of the Spirit of God and your heart uninformed by the truth of God is a pit of deception that you cannot trust your emotions to lead you into what is true. What you feel is not an indication of what is real. What you feel is not the voice of God.

You cannot think that way. The mind and feelings of man are utterly defiled and deceiving. They do not and cannot guide us into truth.

They lie to us. One of the things of developing a biblical mind, one of the things about developing truth that transcends, truth that transforms is to understand that we have to look outside ourselves. We have to humble ourselves and look outside ourselves for truth and authority.

This the world does not do. What other conclusion could we draw from what Jesus himself said in Matthew 15, 19 to 20? Listen as I read it. Matthew 15, 19 to 20, Matthew 15, 19 to 20. Jesus said, for out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man.

What is the source? James asks in his epistle, what is the source of quarrels among you? He says it's your lusts within.

It's the things that are going on inside you that are producing quarrels. Jesus says when you look around at the debauched nature of our society, understand where that comes from. It's all coming from the heart of man. The man acts upon that which is in his heart. The mouth speaks from that which fills the heart, and Jesus says the heart is filled with evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. As far back as Genesis, Scripture said that there is a heart that is filled as far back as Genesis. Scripture said that their thoughts were evil continually. In Ecclesiastes it speaks of how insanity fills the hearts of men all their days.

Beloved, stop for a moment. Whatever you may have thought about these things before now, whatever the level of your engagement with the thinking and the mindset of the world is, understand what Scripture says and see it clearly for itself. The heart is no source of truth. Truth must come from outside because our hearts are fallen and defiled. And as I said earlier, the present wrath of God rests on the modern mind.

In Romans 1.28 we read this, just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind to do those things which are not proper. Now look, at some point, at some point we should be discerning a sense of discomfort and disconnect between us and the world with what Scripture says. As Scripture drives our thinking, we realize that we are in a world that we do not belong to.

We may be in this world, but we are not of this world. I cannot think like the world thinks. I cannot process the world like the world thinks. I cannot process the information in the way that the world does. Because the world's thinking has been so totally perverted by the fall. We could sum it up this way from Proverbs 28 verse 26.

Proverbs 28 verse 26. We're talking about the world's thinking. We're talking about the world's feelings. We're just thinking because those feelings don't exist.

It can't exist without God's word. So we have broken these precautions down to little pieces and the thing that we have pause to think is, why is the world trying to make all the time that we know? We can't we point men away from themselves. And the beauty of insisting upon objective truth, the beauty of insisting upon truth outside of a man, I can picture a hypothetical modern man saying, saying, if what you're saying is true, then where do I look? What you're saying is I am helpless on my own. Yes, that's precisely what we're saying. That we are saying to the modern man, we are saying to the unsaved person on the live stream or in the room today, we are saying that you're miserably and hopelessly lost. You have a mind that cannot lead you into the truth.

You need help from outside. That is exactly what we're saying. It's an assault on human pride.

It's an assault on human self-sufficiency. But beloved, it's the truth. How can we not say that?

How can we not make that known? That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, thank you, Bill. And just before we close, my friends, I just want to let you know that this podcast is made possible for you by the generous support of many friends of our ministry.

We're grateful for that. And if you have supported us, I want to say a special word of thanks to you for all that you've done to make this possible. And if you would like to join in the support of our ministry, you can do that so easily by going to thetruthpulpit.com.

That's thetruthpulpit.com. You'll see the link to give and you can add your support to the others who make this possible for us. Thank you for whatever you do and whether you give or you don't give.

Know that our love and prayers are with you. Thank you for joining us. We'll see you next time as we continue to study God's Word together here on The Truth Pulpit. 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 / 2024-02-07 05:17:44 / 2024-02-07 05:31:33 / 14

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