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Our Duty in the Truth War #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 8, 2024 12:00 am

Our Duty in the Truth War #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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February 8, 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 beauty of it all is that when we insist on truth, objective, external to the thoughts of man, that that approach leads us to the Lord Jesus Christ. Understand that as we do this, this is all ultimately pointing us to Christ. It is all ultimately pointing us to Him, pointing to a person who alone has the power to deliver man from this spiritual bondage. In the Gospel of John, we read that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. There, there we find truth, not in the way that a man feels about his circumstances or about his life or about his body, truth found in the Lord Jesus Christ. You know, when you think through the philosophy of the world in which we live and you compare the words of Christ to it, it is shocking and stunning the self-assertion, the claims that Christ made about Himself. Because Jesus said in John 14 six, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.

So that we are left with this vast dichotomy that has no overlap. There is no common ground between the mindset of the world and the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ says, I am the truth. The world, I understand, rejects Him. As they do, they reject the truth Himself, itself, and they commend themselves into ever-increasing darkness. Are we?

Listen. In light of that, in light of that, when a world has turned off the light and is going into darkness, having rejected objective truth, having rejected Christ Himself, are we as the people of God supposed to lightly withdraw from the engagement of that which detracts from His glory, that which denies the glory that is uniquely Christ's? Are we to look at our Commander-in-Chief, as it were, realize the assault upon His esteemed nature and person, and then just say, ah, you know, that's kind of a bummer.

But we got dodgeball coming up on Thursday night. We got life groups coming up. We've got our little circle and we just withdraw, surrender the ground without a challenge, ignore the command to preach the Word, to make truth known, because it's too difficult, it's too long, it doesn't appeal to our carnal desires. Is that a picture of the church militant? Is that a picture of the church ultimately triumphant, self-centered, not engaged in the battle? Beloved, when the questions put to you like that, I trust that in your heart somewhere is resounding the thought, not me. I can't surrender that.

I can't let that go. I can't let Christ be desecrated that way by Philistine lips. And not even more, but in addition to that, further, to look at a world spinning off into darkness and not call out, be saved from this perverse generation?

Acts 2.40. Can we, as men are engulfed in this deception both inside and outside of the church, can we be silent? Can we not call out to them? Can we not call attention to the issues that would awaken them in the hands of the Spirit of God? That they might repent and come to Christ and be delivered from that which guarantees their eternal destruction?

Would we be silent in the midst of it while we're making our plans for free Chick-fil-A at dodgeball night? Is it calling to me? I can't but speak.

The church must point to real truth, that there is objective truth, and keep emphasizing that point until men understand what it is that we are saying, that we are assaulting the spirit of the age and telling them that they cannot think rightly if they are living their lives by their feelings and impulses and what they simply want to do, and that they are not right with God if their mind is not submitted to the Word of God itself. I don't know, beloved. I can't do anything else.

I can't evade this, and I don't want to. Now secondly, what else must the church do? What else are we? What are our call to arms? What are our call to our battle station?

What is the battle station that we man in this truth war? As warriors, as warriors for the truth, as we embrace a mission of fidelity to the Word of God, what do we do? Now, superficially, superficially, even someone sympathetic to my point, a fellow pastor could say, well, we preach the Word. And yes, of course, we preach the Word.

But this, look, this is a really big book. What is it that we choose to emphasize that addresses the spirit of the age? Yes, we could do a character study on King Manasseh. We could do that. Yes, we could have an extended series on what was the nature of Jephthah's vow in the Book of Judges.

And we could fascinate ourselves with theories and historical information. And all the while, teaching the Word, yes, that's good as far as it goes. But does any of that address the spirit of the age in a direct confrontational way that actually is for the battle at stake? Martin Luther talked about this.

He said, you know, you can affirm the Word of God in, I'm paraphrasing, you can affirm the Word of God in every particular. But if you evade, if you do not address the point of issue that is actually at stake in the world around you, you're not a soldier faithful to the battle. Because where the conflict is, you're not to be found.

Where are you? I'm speaking generally. I'm not being oppressively confrontational to individuals in the room today.

I'm really not. But speaking to pastors, I guess, where are you on the point that is driving the philosophy of man? To me, it seems, point number two, that the church must point to fundamental truth, fundamental truth. And I'm going to explain what I mean by that here in this message, and then we'll spend months unfolding it. And now I am speaking to people directly in the room in a supportive, loving, gracious way as much as I'm able to do that. Beloved, as adults, you must know what you believe, and more particularly, you must know why you believe it. And you need to know this for yourself. Those of you with parents that still have young people under your roof, there's an added responsibility for you to know and to know what you believe and why you believe it.

The why you believe it is so crucial and is the point that I'm going to try desperately to get to over the next few months. Beloved, beloved, the days of assuming, of presupposing a Christian worldview are over. Those days are long gone.

There is no assuming these things anymore. And so, here's a preview of coming attractions. What are we going to do over the next few months from this pulpit? Well, we're going to emphasize seven key themes, and I'm just going to lay them out to you.

I'm not going to explain them now or anything like that. This is what's coming, and each of these themes is the subject of multiple messages in and of itself. What is it that addresses the postmodern mindset of the world? What is it that addresses the darkness in which we live? How do we bring light into this darkness? Well, these are the seven series that are going to come.

I may switch the order of them a little bit at the end. Number one, how to know God exists. How to know God exists. Listen, it makes a whole big difference in the way that you think about life, the way that your mind operates, and the way and the choices by which you live your life.

It makes a big, big difference whether God exists or if He doesn't. And those are two diametrically opposed mindsets, and the consequences of not being clear on that are lethal. How to know God exists.

You're all here to one degree or another. You assume that. But how would you articulate that?

On what basis do you believe that? How can you instruct your child in these things in a way that will stand the test of time and opposition? How to know God exists. Secondly, how to know the Bible is true. Thirdly, how to know Jesus is Lord. Fourthly, how to know that God rules over all. Fifthly, how to know Christianity is true. Sixthly, how to know truth exists. And seventh, how to know true salvation.

The titles of those messages are carefully chosen. It's not up for debate whether God exists. He does. As a matter of objective reality, God exists. The question is, how do we know that?

As a matter of objective reality, the Bible is true. That's not up for debate. The question is, how do we know that?

Jesus is Lord. That's not up for debate. The question is, how do we know that? How do we defend that? How do we assert that?

And on it goes. Now, I said, you know, you have to point to fundamental truth on these things. This is the fundamental truth. This is what drives Christian thinking. You could say, and there are secular people that use this term, I'm not identifying with them or tapping into their worldly wisdom with what they say about this, but these are the first principles of a Christian mind. These are the things that a man, a woman, a child needs to know in order to have a biblical mind, a worldview that is driven by right and Christian thinking. The existence of God, the truthfulness of Scripture, the lordship of Christ, God ruling over all, the truth of Christianity, the nature of true salvation. Now, listen, think about it this way, beloved, because I feel like... That's funny, isn't it?

I think... I've been thinking about this for a very long time, and I think the challenge is to help people understand that we're speaking of these things in a way that goes beyond the superficial. When we raise these matters for consideration, beloved, understand this, that the world does not think this way.

Think about all the different ways in which the world environment informs the way that we live and think. Think about it in entertainment. Even in movies that are not specifically carnal and wrong in their content themselves, you know, entertainment, news reports, sports, Disney, politics, music, advertising, all of that which just pours into our minds continually day after day after day. None of it, none of it is informed by a perspective that affirms the existence of the biblical God. None of it upholds the Bible as true. None of it upholds Jesus as Lord. None of it upholds the providence of God, superintending and directing all things to his appointed ends. None of it supports the truth of Christianity. None of it teaches men how they can truly be saved and delivered from Satan and darkness and sin and enter into eternal life and the forgiveness of their sins. None of it does.

If you're going to watch the Bengals game today, none of the ads are going to reinforce a single aspect of this. And that means that that means that you and I have to consciously step out of the world's realm and into this realm of truth in such a way that by the time we're done in several months that those of you that are with us, that stay with us, that internalize this at the drop of a hat can engage a conversation. You want to know why I affirm the existence of God? You know why you're responsible to believe it?

One, two, three, four, five, all beginning with C. That's why. Just be able to articulate that. Let me give you two words that establish that the Bible is true. Let me give you seven principles that establish the lordship of Christ.

Now look, these are all multiple message things, but that's what I'm talking about. That's what I'm aiming at is that I want this pulpit to be the means by which those things or those presuppositions are articulated, supported in your mind in a way that will stay with you and those that you influence long after I'm gone. Peter speaks of that. I want to stir you up by way of reminder.

My earthly departure, Peter said, it's imminent. I want to stir you up with these things so that you'll be able to recall them after I'm gone. And beloved, that takes sustained study and application and proclamation. It takes sustained application over time in order to really develop this, to purge out the poison of the worldly influence that is in our minds and replace it with the purity of God's truth. Now look, I realize that for most of you, you would already affirm these things at one superficial level. The problem is that as Christians, we live inconsistently. We say things that we believe and perhaps genuinely believe them, but we're so inconsistent in carrying it out because the fundamentals, the pillars that support those presuppositions have never been clearly understood in our minds. So I realize that many of you would already affirm these things that I'm talking about, but I'm responsible to be realistic enough to realize that most of you could not on the spot persuasively support those beliefs and to engage them.

And to the extent that you're lost if they're challenged is the extent to which we need God's word here. You put it this way in this little metaphor. You affirm these truths. And look, I'm on your side as I say these things. I am not being critical. In fact, let me say this.

I nearly forgot to say this. And I'm going to be excessively vulnerable in what I'm about to say, excessively candid in a way that I don't like to do typically, but you need to understand what drives me. If you understand what drives me about these things and why I feel like this has to be the subject of a long series in the defense of truth, this will help you understand. I went to a fine seminary for eight years, did well in my studies, and I'm grateful and owe a debt to the men that instructed me, many of whom have gone on to glory.

So I want you to understand that in what I'm about to say. But I found after I came out of seminary that I was not equipped, maybe that was my fault, I was not equipped to articulate these things myself in a clear and compelling way. It was as I was raising children and having to answer questions and as I was stepping into a pulpit on a more regular basis, I realized that these most fundamental things were things that I needed better to articulate. I did not come out of seminary with the ability to say these things clear and in a compelling way. Well if that's true of me as a moderately competent seminary student, what am I to think about those of you that haven't had the benefit of that? How can it be clear in your mind if it wasn't clear in my mind back then?

That compels me to do this. And so I look back at the days when I first came out of seminary, my lamp was plugged in to these truths, but it was plugged into someone else's outlet. This wasn't internalized in myself in a way. And beloved, you and I, we cannot live in this world on borrowed belief.

That will not sustain you nor your children through the assaults that are to come. We have to make a sustained effort to make it our own. We must know why we believe and what we teach, alongside that, why we're doing this. It's not just because I was an idiot coming out of seminary, although that's part of it. Understand also, beloved, in speaking to those of you, you adults, you've been around the church a long time, maybe you think you know these things, maybe you do know these things, but understand that our young people, under the age of 18, under the age of 15, our young people, many of them will be hearing these things for the very first time. We owe it to Christ and we owe it to them to lay a foundation that will serve them all their lives and not simply engage in the things that we find interesting at this stage in our lives. We have an obligation. We have a sacred duty to the hundred or more young people under the age of 18 that come here to lay these things in their mind. I'm going to give an account. I'm going to stand before God and give an account.

What else can I do? Now, we can be successful in this together if we take to heart the final point for today, the third and final point for today. We said that the church must point to real truth. The church must point to fundamental truth. Thirdly, the church must make a principled commitment.

We must make a commitment based on principle as we move forward in this direction and understand and count the cost before we start to build this tower. I'd like to think that I've done that. I'd like to think that I've counted the cost before embarking on this path. Look, beloved, I am under no delusions here. This is not the path to human glory. This is not the path to human popularity, not just in the world but within the church itself to say, you know, we need to humble ourselves all the way back to the beginning and begin to renew our understanding and build our understanding of things in our pride.

We say, I've got that down. Well, if the church as a whole had these things down and was believing it and living it and teaching it, if the church truly had this governing its heart, do you think we would possibly see the mess that constitutes the evangelical church that I described last week? It's impossible. Because we don't see these things, speaking broadly, we don't see these things. The church does not understand these things. The church is not obedient to these things that all those things I listed last week have come to pass.

And look, look, this is not the path to human glory. Truth did not make Christ popular. Truth did not make Jeremiah or the other prophets popular. Truth did not make the apostles popular. The scars on their back are testimony to the contrary. Truth did not make the early church popular.

Truth did not make Protestants in Scotland popular under the reign of Roman Catholic monarchs. And on and on we could go. The world killed them all.

Killed them all. And so, beloved, you and I, and as a church, we cannot go forward being governed by a desire to please carnal men. We cannot be intimidated by those who lose interest. We have to have bigger goals and bigger motivations than that. And Scripture tells us this.

There's no excuse to miss this. Paul said in 1 Timothy 4, 1, In later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons. Elsewhere, Paul said, In the last days there will come times of difficulty. Most pertinently, in 2 Timothy chapter 4 verses 3 and 4, Paul told Timothy, He said, The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn aside from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. Beloved, look.

Look. As a pastor, as a church, as elders, we cannot wet our finger and stick it up in the air and check how the wind is blowing and then decide what we'll teach from that. We can't be driven by the opinions and the desires of men. We have to be independent of those. We have to be driven by the Word of God because only truth can change the fundamental way that men think. And beloved, you change fundamental thinking with fundamental truth.

And these are the fundamentals. This is no path to ease and popularity in the world or in the church. To the extent that anyone from the world notices, they will mock us and despise us. I'm okay with that.

I don't need their approval. But we must confront their dysfunctional minds. Frankly, if I read the situation right, the bigger challenge will be inside the church with the professing people of God. Because the professing people of God, Scripture tells us, not always clued in to a desire for the truth, not even ready to hear it.

The writer of Hebrews said this in chapter 5. He says, about this, we have much to say and it is hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God.

You need milk, not solid food. This was a problem in the first century, how much more 2,000 years later in our postmodern mindset. People want that which pleases their ears.

They lack the patience for sustained teaching of fundamental truth. And again, I'm going to be far too transparent in what I'm about to say, but I don't know how else to say it. And I say what I'm about to say in order to prepare you when this inevitably comes to pass. I know in advance, I know in advance as we go this direction that there will be some people who will not stay. And when that happens, it will grieve me.

It always does when that happens. But beloved, we can't be motivated by the turnstiles in and out of Truth Community Church. We have a transcendent duty in the truth fort. We have to be soldiers manning the station.

Attacks will come from expected and unexpected places that I'm sure will surprise even me. But beloved, we have a transcendent duty in the truth fort. We may get weary in the battle, but we have a transcendent duty in the truth fort. We can't do anything else. We don't want to do anything else. It's not just a matter of duty.

This is a matter of desire. In 1886, the professor of systematic theology at Princeton Seminary died, back in the day when Princeton was a beacon for truth. Archibald Alexander Hodge, he had been the professor of theology there for about 10 years following in the steps of his father, Charles Hodge, who was professor of theology there for about 50 years.

Sixty years, the Hodge family, the Hodge name upheld biblical truth at that great beacon of light. One of A.A. Hodge's colleagues, Francis Patton, gave a eulogy for the man who had died too soon by human perception. And in words that apply today, Francis Patton said this as he gave his eulogy to Archibald Alexander Hodge.

Patton said this. He said, we need a theological revival. We need an era of conviction. We need, if this appalling inertia and religious indifference is to be overcome, the outbreak of an epidemic of faith. We need a revolution of thought that shall reach the core of manhood and that shall make men see that they have forsaken God, end quote. Beloved, my strength, our strength is unequal to the task, but we must rise to duty. And may God use our great weakness to His great glory. Let's pray together.

Father, once again, time has betrayed us. But we just lay all of this at Your feet and pray that You would use the word by Your Spirit in the lives of Your people. However weak the presentation may be, Father, may Your Spirit make it strong to accomplish Your purposes. May You establish in the minds of those that look to truth, community, church, these great principles, these fundamentals of Christian thinking. Father, may You look upon our young people with great grace and favor and mercy and raise up among those that are still running around in their youthfulness.

Look upon them, lay your hand on some of them and raise up, Father, pastors and preachers of the word of God that would carry forth Your truth in generations yet to be born. We ask for nothing less. We can do nothing less. We ask You to help us in the cause, O God, because it's Your cause. It's the cause of Christ for which we do these things. In Jesus' name we pray.

Amen. That's Don Green here on the Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, my friend, just before we close today's broadcast, I just wanted to give a special word of greeting and thanks to the many people that listen to our podcast internationally.

It's remarkable to me. The last report that I saw listed 83 different countries that in one way or another are listening to us. And I just want to send a special word of greeting to those of you that are in lands that are distant from my own home here in the United States. You know, we've seen people from every continent except maybe Antarctica and people from countries like Ireland and Australia and Singapore, Canada, the UK, India.

I have friends in all of those countries. And whether you've met me face to face or whether you only know me as a voice through your favorite device, I just want to say God bless you. Thank you for your interest in the word of God. And may the spirit of God work deeply in your heart as you continue to study God's word. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for your prayers. God bless you. My prayers and love are with you as well. And we'll see you next time 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 / 2024-02-08 04:46:40 / 2024-02-08 04:57:54 / 11

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