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Creation and God's Existence #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 13, 2024 12:00 am

Creation and God's Existence #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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February 13, 2024 12:00 am

https://www.thetruthpulpit.comWelcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thanks for joining us as we continue teaching God's People God's Word. Don begins a new message today, so let's join him in The Truth Pulpit without further delay.2149Click the icon below to listen.

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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. Before the text of our sermon this morning, I invite you to turn to the book of Psalms in Psalm 19. And I'm going to read the entire Psalm, although for this morning we're only going to consider the first six verses.

Psalm 19, beginning in verse one, this is a Psalm of David, the man after God's own heart. The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world.

In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The rules of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned, in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins.

Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer." Today is the beginning point of a long journey that we're going to take together here at Truth Community Church, and I'm very, very much anticipating what the Lord will do with it. Over the next several months, we're going to be doing a series of series of messages that I am calling Building a Christian Mind. That is our goal over the coming months is to build in you a Christian mind, a solid biblical way of thinking. And if I can take the liberty to expound on my own chosen title, every word is important in that title, and I just want you to have a sense of what I mean by it.

The word mind, we'll reverse engineer it here. The word mind tells us that thinking is important in the Christian life. Christianity is not a mystical religion in the sense that it is based on subjective impulses apart from rational considerations. It is not a series of rituals to be rigidly obeyed and enforced without engagement of the mind.

That's not Christianity. Christianity involves and addresses the mind. That's why Paul says in Romans 12 to be transformed by the renewing of your mind and why Jesus said in Matthew 22, you must love the Lord with the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind. The mind is central to true worship.

Now the word Christian mind, the Christian mind tells us that there is a distinct way for Christians to think. We are not to be conformed to this world, and that's not simply a reference to matters of outward behavior. We are not to think the way that the world thinks. The world thinks in terms of the here and now, either denying or ignoring the eternal, either denying or ignoring the existence of God. You and I are not to think that way. The world is motivated by what can be accomplished for our glory and for our profit in the here and now.

Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die. That is not the Christian perspective at all. A Christian mind thinks differently about the entire approach to life and different priorities than what the world knows. And so there's a Christian mind to be had.

And as we've said, as I said two weeks ago, there's a lot of challenge against that to undermine our effort to think in a biblical way. And when I say think, I don't just mean thinking in the moment, thinking about how to approach a particular problem, but a comprehensive view of life through which everything else is interpreted. And so a Christian mind is something worthwhile to aspire after. A Christian mind, a biblical mind, is something that is desirable. It is lovely in the sight of God.

It is the point of our sanctification, and in many ways, it is something to be sought after and developed and pursued as though it were a pearl of great price. And the word building, a Christian mind, the word building is what I want to pause on here for just a moment. If you think about building a house, you know, I'm not a contractor. I can barely swing a hammer, let alone to do anything that's actually constructive with materials and tools.

That is not what the Lord made me to do. But if you think about, just in a basic way, the building of a house, what does a contractor do and how does he do it? He builds a home with a lot of different materials.

He uses concrete and wood, bricks and drywall, carpet and paint, glass and fixtures and plumbing apparatus and whatever else goes into the making of a house. Often when we see a house, we just see it as a unit. We just see that as we're driving through a neighborhood, we just see a unit and say, well, that's a lovely house.

Look at what they've done with that. And we appreciate it. But if we look more closely and we think just a little bit more deeply, we realize that within that unit, there is a diversity of material that was put together by the mind of the architect and implemented by the skill of the contractors and the carpenters that brought together a lot of diverse materials into a single place to make it a place that you could call home, in which people could safely live and have their family life and enjoy the good gifts of God. The contractor uses a lot of different things to do that in order to bring that final result about. Not only that, beloved, and this is important for our sense of expectation going forward here at Truth Community Church.

Think about it this way. A contractor does not build a home in a few hours or even in a few days. A well-built home is something that is done over the course of weeks and months before someone goes in to live and dwell in it. And a hastily built house is one that will fall. Think of the end of Matthew chapter 7.

The house built on the sand, the winds came, burst on that house and it fell and great was its fall because they were in a hurry and they didn't take the time to build the house in the right way. Well, beloved, I trust that with that little bit of homely example, in that homely example, I trust that you see the pattern, the blueprint for the building of a Christian mind. We build a Christian mind with many biblical texts and with many biblical doctrines that are developed over the course of time. We could not possibly develop a Christian mind in a 30 minute message and send you out thinking like a Christian. That would be impossible.

It would be ridiculous and it would be an offense to the majesty of the Word of God to even try to do that. No, we don't. It will take more than a few messages and it will take more than a little bit of time in order for us to do that. And as we go forward, if you choose to be with us as we go forward on this, here in the room, over the live stream, we're so glad for the many of you that find a spiritual kinship with us at Truth Community Church. You know, you write and you tell us that this matters to you. Well, I want you to know from this side of the pulpit that your presence with us joining us, it matters to us as well. But as we do this together in the room, in other places, to understand that this was something that will be developed over time.

And we must be patient in the process for us to do that. This is the last time I'm going to give you the overview of these things. But over the next few months, we're going to do a series of several series of messages. This is not one series, this is several series that we are doing. All of them dealing with how do we know, how to know certain important doctrines, certain important things to think, how to know that God exists, how to know the Bible is true, how to know Jesus is Lord, how to know God rules over all, how to know that Christianity is true, how to know that truth exists, how to know true salvation.

Beloved, I could have expanded those series, but those seven should be sufficient for our purposes. But every one of those is fundamental to the proper operation of your mind. If you neglect or ignore or are ignorant of any one of these essential topics and the biblical grounds that undergird them, your mind is not going to function properly. And if, perhaps for some of you that are newer to the faith, new to our church, you've come out of emotionally driven environments and you're looking for biblical truth, maybe you saw the sign driving by our church building, it said truth community church and the word truth stood out to you.

I'd like to know truth, well then this is just the place and the time for you. It's amazing as I talk to people how many people walk through our doors simply because of the sign out front, truth community church, and the Lord uses that very word to draw them in. But we're going to be doing this over a series of months. And so what I want you to know is we come week by week, Sunday and Tuesday, it's all united together in one track of preaching. For better or for worse, there is a long term plan in place and every message is like a brick going into the house being built up into the edification of the saints.

That is what we seek. And so today we start this entire series, Building a Christian Mind, and we begin with the topic how to know that God exists. How to know that God exists. Listen to the words of a seventh century pastor named Stephen Charnock who wrote extensively and well on this matter. He said this, this is kind of the launch pad for everything to come. Charnock said this, he said the existence of God is the foundation of all religion.

The whole building totters if the foundation be out of course. If we do not have deliberate and right notions of it, we shall perform no worship, no service, and yield no affection to Him. Charnock goes on to say, we must first believe that He is and that He is what He declares Himself to be before we can seek Him, adore Him, and devote our affections to Him.

End quote. How are we going to worship God if it's not clear in our minds that He exists and how we know that He exists? If we've never really seriously considered those things, we are vulnerable to being led astray by false approaches to worship that tell you to bypass your mind and just speak out whatever syllables happen to come into your mouth.

We are vulnerable to being led astray by false claims of authority from those that run the Catholic Church and demand obedience based on their tradition, their magisterium, rather than according to the truth of God. And one of the things that's going to be so delightful to you about this, I believe, it should be anyway, is that you're going to be able to use your mind to consider these things objectively. There is nothing of Joseph Smith or Ellen G. White in what we're about to say here, by which I mean people who have come along and said, take my word for it and just trust what I tell you that God said this to me.

There's none of that. This is a pointing out to objective things outside of yourself that you can look and consider with the mind and common sense that God has given you and see the perfect reasonableness of it all. The writer of Hebrews spoke to the importance of a conviction about the existence of God when he said in chapter 11, verse 6, he said, without faith, it is impossible to please him for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. This is the most fundamental of all, of all principles. And it's important that we get it right. It's important that we know it clearly.

And as I just wrap up this little bit of introduction, let me add what Charnock says in a different location. He says it is important that we should know why we believe that our belief of God may be found to be upon undeniable evidence and that we may give a better reason for his existence than that which we have heard from our parents and our teachers, perhaps. You know, when I was a kid, long before I was a Christian, there was a song, I won't call it a hymn, that was sung in the churches that we attend.

And the chorus of the song was, you ask me how I know he lives. He lives within my heart. Now, that's kind of sugary, it's kind of sentimental, and it also borders on the meaningless because that is not an adequate basis upon which to believe. To simply say, it all depends on what I feel inside. Beloved, that is precisely what we have rejected in our prior messages over the past two or three weeks. We're not saying that we believe because we feel it inside.

And I know that perhaps some of you, perhaps many of you, were raised and nurtured on that kind of sentimental approach to Christianity. We need a stronger foundation than that. What happens if you start to feel bad?

What happens if trials come and you lose that sense of feeling? Have you suddenly lost the groundwork, the foundation upon which you can believe? It's inevitable to happen.

It's inevitable to happen. We have to dig deeper and we have to understand why we believe and not simply say that we believe. And so in bringing forth the existence of God, we have reached the bedrock of the proper function of a Christian mind. This must be in place, and it's not simply that He exists that we're after.

We want you to be able to articulate with clarity and with conviction why you believe that because that is essential to the proper function of a Christian mind. So how do we know that God exists? We can't see Him, can't touch Him, can't feel Him. He doesn't speak in audible voices to us contrary to what some would say.

We can't sniff the aroma of Him as we could burning incense or a flavored candle. So how do we know that He exists? And how can we be certain about that?

Well, today we set forth the first of five different principles, and the first three will come from Psalm 19 on today, Tuesday, and next Sunday if it all goes according to plan. But let me just say up front, those of you that have perhaps done some reading in philosophy, in perhaps some Christian philosophical courses or things like that, you'll know, and if you're not familiar with this, you can forget that I even referred to this, but I need to acknowledge it. Some theologians and some Christians even would try to resort to complex philosophical arguments in order to establish a probability case that God exists.

And the common thread through those philosophical arguments in my opinion is that the names of these theories are all difficult to pronounce, and the reasons for them are even more difficult to remember. And beloved, philosophical arguments appeal only to a certain kind of person, a certain kind of thinker, those who have the mental ability to grasp very abstract argument, and it's a mental ability that frankly most men and women, including me, do not have, do not even have the patience to try to wade through this as the existence of God is sought to be established through philosophical arguments rather than the testimony of Scripture. We're not going that direction. I've read that stuff.

I don't think it's helpful. I think there's a far more clear, convicting method in which to establish the existence of God, and that's what we're going to do over the next few messages. How do we know that God exists? Can we know that God exists?

Is that knowledge even possible? Well, the answers are so simple, beloved, that a child can understand them. A child of six or seven or eight, ten years old can hear these things and say, that makes sense to me. I believe that.

That's compelling to me. And yet the answers to that question are also so profound that the best trained of adults cannot plumb the depths of the significance of what they mean. And so that's what we're going to lay out in the coming weeks, our five principles.

And let me just give them to you right now, and so you'll have a sense of anticipation of what is to come. They all start with C, and the first three are lined out for us in the book of, or in Psalm 19. There is a direct, exegetical, expositional base for this that I'm not making up by taking scriptures out of context. All right, so number one, creation.

That is our topic for today. Secondly, the canon, by which we mean God has spoken and made himself known in the 66 books of the Bible. Thirdly, in conscience. Fourthly, in Christ. And fifthly, in conversion, in Christian salvation. So if you just want to have the overview in mind, it goes creation, the canon, conscience, Christ, and conversion. Those are the five principles that we're going to explore, each one independently on their own sufficient to establish beyond doubt the existence of God.

That is so important for you to see. These are independent grounds for the conclusion that we are asserting that God exists. When you take the five of them together, it becomes so overwhelming and so encouraging to your face, so formative to the scaffolding upon which your Christian mind is to be built, that as you consider these things, as you rehearse them repeatedly in your mind, your mind starts to function in the way that God intended. But I want to deal with a preliminary matter before we get to those five and to the first one here today in creation. If you're taking notes, you like to take notes, we'll make this the first point for this morning, and that is the principle of personal accountability.

The principle of personal accountability. Someone, a skeptic perhaps, someone who, lazy perhaps, who doesn't want to have to engage the mental discipline to enter into these things, might try to foreclose the question by saying there are so many different opinions about these things. There are scholars that deny everything that you say, preacher. Where did you get your doctorate?

Oh, you don't have one? Well, the doctors here in science and in other fields say that there is no God and that that can't be known. Look, I gladly embrace the fact that there are competing ideas in the world. I acknowledge that prominent authors with great book royalties would deny everything that I'm about to say and challenge and reject it.

I acknowledge that freely. Beloved, I have close relatives that would mock and deny everything that I am about to say, and so do many of you. Is that, does that mean that we are wasting our time trying to build a Christian mind? Does that mean that we are wasting our time in establishing the grounds upon which we believe that God exists?

Does the mere fact that someone who maybe is more intelligent than you and has a strong opinion to the contrary mean that you are precluded from entering into the confident faith that Hebrews says is necessary to know that God exists and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him? We need to address that, don't we? Turn to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 16.

This is my favorite place to go when this question comes up. Beloved, here's the thing. You are personally accountable for your own response regardless of what anybody else thinks, but it's not only a matter of accountability, it is a matter of availability. There is opportunity for you to know these things truly for yourself regardless of what other people think. You are responsible to think and answer for yourself, and you cannot pass that responsibility off on the confusion of the age or the fact that some really smart guy went on the television and mocked Christianity and said there is nothing beyond this life. The cosmos is all that there ever was, all that there is, and all that there ever will be, famous men have said.

What are we to say about that? Are we bound by what a man says and we can't look beyond that? Is it possible that a man is wrong? Is the fact that there is conflict in the thinking of the world an insurmountable barrier to you having a confident belief? Well, I find great encouragement in the fact that in Matthew chapter 16, we see that even in the days of Jesus, men had conflicting opinions about him. Jesus was right there himself and men were arguing back and forth about the significance of his person. Look at Matthew chapter 16 verses 13 and 14. Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, who do people say that the Son of Man is? Now look, Jesus isn't asking for information that he didn't have. He's drawing out a discussion in order to accomplish the triumph of faith that will occur in just a few verses. The disciples answered his questions and in essence they say, Lord, the opinions are all over the map. Verse 14, some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. So Lord, there are multiple opinions out there about who you are.

This is the state of the age. People talk about you and they can't come to any settled consensus about who you are. The best that we can say, Lord, is that there is such a confusion of opinions and these opinions are mutually exclusive.

They can't all be right. Jesus just cuts through like a hot knife through butter or whatever metaphor you want to use. Jesus brushes aside the human controversy and he says, but who do you say that I am? Who do you say that I am? Forget that.

Forget the world and the conflicting opinions out there. You've seen me. You see it for yourself. What do you say? You're accountable.

You're responsible. And the very nature of his question shows us this. The contradictions of men as they argue amongst themselves and the confusion of men on spiritual matters does not consign you to a mental hell of uncertainty, unable to know what the truth is.

As Jesus draws out the disciples, he simply uses that conflict among men to bring forth the birth of eternal conviction in the hearts of his disciples. Who do you say that I am? Jesus says, you've got a mind. Use it. Make it up.

Come to a decision. What do you say about who I am? Verse 16. Simon Peter replied, you are the Christ, the son of the living God. You're no mere prophet.

You're no mere man. You're the son of the living God. You are God in human flesh. You're the Messiah that God has promised for millennia to our people. You're the one, the chosen one. Here I stand. I can do no other. Luther would have said in the moment, God help me.

Amen. Peter got it right. We know that by what Jesus said in verse 17. Jesus answered him, blessed are you Simon Barjona for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father who is in heaven. He says, Simon, that is correct. You did not reach this by human wisdom.

It has been granted to you by God, but you have stood out apart from the confusion of the world and rightly identified me. How did Peter know in the midst of the unbelief that surrounded him and the confusion? Jesus says God revealed truth to him. God made it known to him.

There is accountability. There is the possibility of true belief. But Peter knew because God had revealed truth to him in his heart. He had made it known.

Now listen to me carefully because this is a critical pivot point for several messages to come. How do we know that God exists? We know because God himself has spoken. God himself has made himself known in those five areas of creation, canon, conscience, Christ and conversion. God has manifested himself. He has revealed himself. He has made himself known.

He has spoken there. So there are two critical things to come away with from this principle of personal accountability. One is that the fact that men fight about these issues and disagree is no barrier to you personally having a confident right belief. We do not yield to the postmodern mindset that says truth cannot really be known. And so just keep your opinions to yourself. No, something is true and something else is false.

This is right and that is wrong. That's critical to understand. But beloved, we, if you think about it this way, if you think about living in a world that has a veil around it, let's say, and if we were only bound by time and senses and that was the only realm that we could operate in, we would not have the ability as men and women, boys and girls, to puncture that veil and to look out beyond it to see what lied beyond. It doesn't depend on us doing that. The way that the veil has been punctured is not by man puncturing it through his reason to find God.

That way, the veil is punctured from the other direction. God has punctured it and made himself known. That's critical for us to understand. And God has created us in His image. He has given us minds that are capable of receiving and understanding what He has made known.

And Scripture is abundantly, abundantly clear on that. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, my friend, thank you for joining us here on today's broadcast of The Truth Pulpit, where we love to be teaching God's people God's Word.

And I just want to send a special invitation to you. If you're ever in the Midwest area, come to see us at Truth Community Church. We're on the east side of Cincinnati, Ohio. We're easy to find, easy to get to. We have services at 9 a.m. on Sunday and 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday evening for our midweek study. You can also find us on our live stream at thetruthpulpit.com.

That's thetruthpulpit.com. But we would love to see you. And if you do happen to be able to visit us in person, do this if you would. Come and introduce yourself to me personally. Fight your way through the people and tell me that you listen on The Truth Pulpit and that you're here visiting. I would love to give you a word of personal greeting. So hopefully we'll see you one day in person at Truth Community Church. You can find our location and service times at thetruthpulpit.com.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-13 04:57:04 / 2024-02-13 05:08:26 / 11

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