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Christ and God's Existence #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2024 12:00 am

Christ and God's Existence #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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February 21, 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. I'd invite you to turn in your Bibles with me to the Gospel of John, chapter 1. I just want to read a text that we'll deal with briefly a little later in the message, but just something to set our minds in focus on the revelation of God and how we know that God exists. In the Gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 1, we read, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the light was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And down in verse 14, we read, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness about Him and cried out, This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me ranks before me, because He was before me. For from His fullness we all have received grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, the only God who is at the Father's side.

He has made Him known. So we gather this evening to continue our series, How to Know that God Exists. How do we know that God exists? And in the most simple way, the way that I encourage you to more and more think about this, is that we know that God exists by looking to the places where He has made Himself known, where He has revealed Himself. If you wanted to know who I am, you wouldn't go and interview people in Wyoming.

No one in Wyoming knows who I am. You go and you talk to me or or listen to some sermons that I've preached or something like that. You go to where I have spoken or where I can be made known. Well in like manner, in a far greater more infinite, more holy, more infinite way, God has spoken in certain ways in certain areas and those are the places that we go in order to know that He exists.

We go to where He has manifested Himself. And the series of messages that we're going to be doing over the next few months is just far more important than I can begin to state and I trust that over time the Lord will vindicate the importance of what we are doing even as even as we speak. We need, beloved, we need convictions to anchor our lives. We need convictions to animate our witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. And we need convictions to assist us when times of persecution and difficulty come to us.

And I'll say more about that at the very end of the message. We have an opportunity right now. We have an opportunity in a time of comparative peace and tranquility in our land where things are relatively stable. We have a time and an opportunity to consider deeply what scripture says about the most foundational things. And if we apply ourselves to these things now they will serve us well in the future to say nothing about the young people who are coming up and having their minds formed under biblical truth.

And so it's just very, very critical. We believe in God, we've said over our past three messages, because He has made Himself known in certain areas. We said first of all that God has made Himself known in creation. You observe the heavens and conclude that there is a powerful God who established them by His wisdom. We looked at Psalm 19 one, the heavens declare the glory of God. If you want to hear as it were God speaking, you go and observe Him in creation. And we looked at other passages, Genesis one, Psalm 19, Acts 14, Acts 17, Romans one.

And I just encouraged you at the time to just have a mental list of those texts. And when the subject of creation comes up that you have those texts to go to readily and they're just readily available right at your fingertips so to speak. There's a second place where God has spoken also laid out for us in Psalm 19. And that is the canon of Scripture. God has spoken in creation, He has also spoken in the canon of Scripture, the 66 books of the Bible. In other words, Psalm 19 verse 7 says, the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. God has spoken, God has made Himself known in His law, in the testimony of His word. And in addition to that text in Psalm 19, when it comes to the canon and the fact that God has spoken there, you would want to make note of texts like 2 Timothy 3, 16 and 17. All Scripture is inspired by God, God breathed it out, He has spoken there.

2 Peter chapter 1 verses 20 and 21, men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. And what I want you to see, beloved, and I don't apologize for repeating myself so often on these matters, there are realms in which God has spoken and this is where we know and come to our convictions about the reality of our existence. He has graciously imprinted Himself and placed His hand upon different aspects of the realm in which we live so that we can know the reality of God even though we cannot sense Him, feel Him, touch Him with our physical senses.

So God has revealed Himself in creation, God has revealed Himself in the canon. On Sunday, this past Sunday, we considered the fact that God has revealed Himself in conscience, in conscience. God has imprinted upon humanity an inner sense of right and wrong that points to a righteous God. Psalm 19 verse 14 says, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

David is saying, I know God, I recognize Him in my inner man. And an aspect of our inner man is the conscience which speaks to us and tells us and guides us in those things which are right and those things which are wrong. We looked also at Romans chapter 2 verse 15 that says, the work of the law is written on their hearts. God wrote His law, He wrote His moral law on the inner man of humanity in a way that testifies to His existence. Now what's so important to grasp and to start to put together in your mind is to not look at these things individually like they're different silos on a farm someplace that have no connection to one another. Rather to see that what we are finding and what we are establishing as we look to God's Word is that there are these interlocking testimonies that God has made that speak in different ways in different aspects of human experience and yet consistently point to the conclusive evidence that He is there and that He is not silent in the words of Francis Schaeffer. God has spoken in creation, God has spoken in a completely different realm in His Word, in a completely different realm, He has spoken in conscience. And what you start to see is that and what starts to weigh on you and to impress you and to deepen the sense of the whole reality of it all is that is the cumulative witness the combination of these things are so very very powerful in to our heart and to our conviction.

One last piece of review before we get into new material for tonight. One of the things that we said looking at Matthew 16 is that it does not matter that there are people who disagree and who contest these things. That doesn't matter. That is not a barrier to you to having confident conviction about the existence of God. Jesus said to His disciples when they said that there are a variety of opinions about who Jesus was during His earthly ministry, Jesus as it were said, put all of that aside. Who do you say that I am? And as we consider these things together from the Word of God over the course of time, there's a sense in which there's a sense in which the Spirit of God addresses you directly in your inner man, not the person you're sitting next to, not the you know the philosophy professor who challenged you in college or anything like that. The Spirit of God comes to you directly and says, what do you say about these things? Do you affirm?

Do you agree? Do you submit to the revelation of God and acknowledge that He has made Himself clearly known? If so, rejoice for God has made Himself known in that way. But it does, there will be no one standing beside you on judgment day if you deny God, if you deny Christ, there won't be anyone standing beside you that said, I taught him to think that way.

There's not going to be anyone there. It's going to be you before God and you're going to have to answer for what you have done with the testimony that He has made to Himself. And whether you have affirmed and believed what He has said, what the God of truth has said truthfully about Himself, or whether in resistance or indifference and rebellion you rejected it all.

No, don't be like that. The consequences and the eternal reality of these things is far too great to deal with them in a flippant manner. Well tonight we come to a fourth way that God has made Himself known, a fourth manner of self-revelation that is even more compelling. You know, you don't want to set these things against one another, but there is a sense in which the climax of God's self-revelation is found in the person of Jesus Christ, the person of Jesus Christ.

So we go creation, canon, conscience, and now Christ. God has made Himself known in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what I want to, I want to kind of lead up to this with you in a manner of speaking here and just kind of think through the ways that God revealed Himself in the Old Testament. In Exodus chapter 3, God spoke to Moses through a burning bush.

In 1 Kings chapter 19, He spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice. In Isaiah chapter 6, Isaiah saw his glory in the temple. And all of those are familiar stories to those who read their Bibles.

And yet these were shadows, these were preparatory to a greater revelation that was still to come. And what we find when we come to the New Testament is that in Jesus Christ, the person of Jesus Christ, there is a finality of revelation where God has spoken and made Himself known in the incarnation that goes beyond anything that the Old Testament saints knew in their day and in their experience. And let me just say by way of preface that I'm going to treat this very lightly and superficially really here this evening because we have a whole other series coming up on Christ as Lord in a few weeks down the road.

And so I'm going to save a lot of the material for that time, but I want to inject it here now and then draw out some manner of application at the end of the message. In the Gospel of John, you should still be in John chapter 1, I believe. Look at verse 14. John chapter 1, verse 14, as we look at it again. The Word, verse 1 told us, was God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Word was preexistent, existing before time, before creation. The second person of the Godhead was in full union sharing the full essence of God. And the way that God revealed Himself and made Himself known is that the second person of the Godhead took on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. And in that way, in a tangible, visible way that was testified to and witnessed by all of those who lived in the area at the time, they saw what God was like. They saw God move. They saw God speak.

They saw God heal. They heard His words and said, never has any man spoken like this man has spoken. Christ stood out so much so that they said, where did He get this knowledge? They thought that He was the Son of Joseph and Mary.

He was just a carpenter. Where did He become this powerful in the knowledge of God? They recognized that there was something distinct about Him. Now what we have, we do not have the physical presence of Christ with us, but we have the inerrant, reliable Word of God that records His words and works for us and interprets them to us, all of it being, beloved, all of it being a revelation of God, a manifestation of Himself to humanity, and then recorded for us by His authorized representatives, the apostles and their close associates. So that in verse 18, we see again, our overriding question is how to know God exists.

In verse 18, we read this, no one has ever seen God, the only God who is at the Father's side. He has made Him known. Jesus Christ has made God known. So that as we read about Christ in the scripture, God is making Himself known in a way that goes beyond and yet is consistent with what we read in creation, what we read elsewhere in the canon, what the testimony is in our inner man, in our conscience. God made Himself known by becoming one of us, by taking on humanity.

This is incomprehensibly great. And the fact that this may be familiar to you should not cause you to despise it because of its familiarity. But with the help of the Spirit of God, we want to have these things impressed upon our mind with a new freshness, a new vitality in the full context of the overwhelming way in which God has made Himself known. Turn over to John chapter five, verse 39, and you see how the canon supports the revelation in Christ. In John chapter five, verse 39, Jesus said, you search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is they that bear witness about Me, and yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people, but I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.

How can you believe when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Christ manifesting the glory of God by putting on display in humanity the perfect attributes of God. The revelation of God is made full and complete in the Lord Jesus Christ. Many scriptures speak of Christ in these revelatory terms.

When I say revelatory, what I mean is they tell us, these scriptures tell us that Christ is making God known to those who consider Him. So that in 2 Corinthians chapter four, verse four, we read Christ is the image of God. In Colossians 1 15, we read, He is the image of the invisible God. He is the exact imprint of his nature. He makes known, he makes manifest who God is. Jesus Christ manifests exactly who God is because he himself is God. Jesus is not as other religions would try to mislead you into believing. Jesus is not a created being. God did not make Jesus as something distinct from his own essence. Christ comes from the very essence and shares the full essence of God, not a created being. There was never a time, there was never a moment where Christ was not in the language of Athanasius.

Jesus has always existed because he is God and God is eternal from before time began. Jesus said in John eight, verse 19, he said, if you knew me, you would know my father also. There is such a one to one correspondence without absence, without remainder, without any carry over, such a perfect sharing of the essence of God that to know Christ is to know who God is. To read about Christ is to read about God, to see him live and work and move and speak is to see God himself in action. God has made himself known uniquely in the person of Jesus Christ.

So that, beloved, so that when you pick up a Bible and you read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you're reading about that, you're reading about Christ, God is making himself known through the pages of scripture that you read and isolating, setting apart the Lord Jesus Christ and saying here is the unique final revelation of God found in the person of Jesus Christ. Look over at chapter 14, verse nine, John chapter 14, verse nine, where we read in verse eight, Philip said to Christ, he said, Lord, show us the father and it is enough for us. Jesus said to him, have I been with you so long and you still do not know me, Philip? In other words, Philip, how could you ask such a clueless question to ask me, Christ, to ask Christ to show him the father when you've been with Christ all this time?

Philip, you are completely missing the point. You have missed everything about the Lord. As Jesus goes on to say, Jesus says, whoever has seen me has seen the father. How can you say show us the father? Jesus said to Philip, Philip, I'm right here. When you see me, you are seeing what the father is like.

There is no distinction between us. God in the nature of our essence, a personal distinction within the Godhead, yes. A distinction in essence where there would be different characteristics in the father that are not found, different attributes in the father that are found in Christ, no.

One to one correspondence. To read about Christ is to learn what God is like. And so God appeared in the person of Jesus Christ.

And what you and I do is we believe in response to that revelation. Look over at the book of Hebrews chapter one. As you're turning there to Hebrews chapter one, we do a flyover in Colossians where it says in Christ, all the fullness of deity dwells in him in bodily form. All the fullness of deity. When we see Christ, we see God himself and here in Hebrews, Hebrews opens on this subject.

Hebrews a book that is dedicated to showing the superiority of Christ to Moses, to angels, to the Old Testament sacrifices, to the Old Testament priesthood. Christ superior to all of these things. Those shadows that were known in the Old Testament, Christ surpasses them all.

Why? Because he is God himself. Not a shadow. The reality was with us in humanity when Jesus walked on the face of this earth. In Hebrews chapter one, the first three verses we read, long ago at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets. But in these last days, notice the contrast. But in these last days, in the old days, God spoke this way. He spoke in many ways at many times.

Spoke to Moses, spoke to Elijah, spoke to Isaiah. But now in these last days, something different has happened. Something unique has happened. Something transcendent has happened. In these last days, verse two, he has spoken to us by his son. You could read that also as in his son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. And look at these words about Christ that could be said about nothing else in all of creation since the beginning of time and never ever could be in at any time in the future. This is alone.

This is unique. This is exclusive to Jesus Christ. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature. And he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. The name of God belongs to him. He is the exact imprint of the nature of God. He is the radiance of his glory. Beloved, all of that simply to say in as many ways as we can reasonably say in such a short period of time here this evening, God has made himself known in the Lord Jesus Christ in a unique, non-repeatable way that is not true of anything else or anyone else. God appeared in the person of Christ so that the written word of God, written revelation points to the personal revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Or you could say we believe in the word, the word written in scripture and the word incarnate, the person of Christ, God in human flesh.

And as I said, we'll consider all these things more in the future so we just summarize for this evening. To come back and to circle back to our question and what I hope is becoming increasingly easy for you to recite in your own heart and to say to your children and to repeat to one another, how do we know that God exists? How can we know that? Beloved, understand this, understand we believe in response to something. We believe, we believe because of what God has first done. God has spoken, God has made himself known. We see that and we believe in response to it. It's not at all something that we made up inside ourselves. This is not a fable fit only for old people to discuss in times gone by.

No, no, no. Whatever anybody else says about it, what you and I believe and understand is that we believe in response to a multifaceted self-disclosure from God. He has given us objective reasons outside of ourselves, outside of our inner man, outside and beyond our opinions. He has given us objective reasons to believe in creation, in the canon, in the principle of conscience and in Jesus Christ. And beloved, what you need to know and to settle in your mind so that you're not intimidated by arrogant unbelievers, so that you're not deluded and persuaded by arguments made on a college campus or by persuasive speakers that you may unwisely expose yourself to, that you're not intimidated by people that try to dismiss it all and say, well, that's your opinion.

Well, yes, in one sense, it is my opinion, but these things are true regardless of what my opinion is. We did not make this up. We believe in response to things that are outside of ourselves that I can point you to. Look up at the sun while you hide your eyes because you can't take in the glory of the sun and realize it's speaking to an even greater glory of the one who put it there.

Read the word of God for yourself and see God manifested there. Consider the principle of conscience that is within you and within humanity and pay particular attention in the four gospels and the epistles to the person of Jesus Christ. The truth of the matter is, beloved, is that a man or a woman could give their lives to studying any one of these aspects, particularly creation, particularly the canon, particularly Christ.

You could give over a lifetime of study to any one of those areas and not exhaust it. These things were in place before you were born. These things will continue after you die.

They are independent of you. And so we believe not because it feels good. We believe not because it seems right to me as the primary reason. We believe because God has spoken in these different areas. It's true even if we had not been born and it will be true after we are gone. And that shows us that it is independent of our own opinions. Now, on Sunday, I'm not done yet, so don't say, man, he can't possibly be done yet.

He speaks 75 minutes since he came back from his study leave. That's true, but I'm not done yet. On Sunday, we'll have a fifth and final reason to know that God exists. I hope that you can be with us.

It will be a communion service and a wonderful time of remembering the death and resurrection of our Lord, the atonement he made for sinners like you and me at the cost of his own life. Recall of what John said in 1 John 4.19, we love because he first loved us. We love in response to an initiating love from God. We believe in response to an initiating self-disclosure from God. That is really, really critical.

I can't emphasize that or repeat that often enough. Now, for now, for the rest of this evening, what I want to do is draw out some practical application of the things that we've considered so far in these four principles of creation, canon, conscience, and Christ. Beloved, this is part of the reason that I'm doing this whole series is that I want to get down to these matters and to help you with the help of the Holy Spirit, to help you see why these things are so profoundly important and how they affect every aspect of life in a way that goes far beyond anything that you might have previously considered.

These aren't academic matters. To know these things and to believe them is to find your life radically transformed and the purpose of your life completely redefined for you as you come to grips with these things. And so what we're trying to do here in the course of these series, we want to understand, first of all, we want to understand the biblical text for what it says. From there, we want to derive solid doctrine, correct theology from it, that we would see the system of doctrine that the text is expressing to us. And then to bring it to its climax, to the fullness of the work of God in our hearts, not simply to have mental knowledge.

Mental knowledge is not enough. But to apply this and to understand the implications of it in a way that forms deep rooted convictions in your heart that shapes the way that you live. Whether you have a short time left because so many of your years are in the past or whether you have the fullness of your life still ahead, these convictions are critical. And the existence of God and the redemption that we have in Christ, they have consequences for the way that you relate to every aspect of life in this world at every moment for all time. This is not like reading a novel and putting it down and moving to something else. When you encounter the revelation of God and it sinks into your understanding, you start to realize that it changes everything about life. You cannot overestimate the impact of it. And what I want to do is I want to outline five different implications. And this is not the kind of application that we're kind of used to from sermons, something that you take this and it makes tomorrow better or it's something cute and pithy that you kind of remember because of a clever turn of phrase. No, that's not what we're doing here tonight. What we're doing tonight is we're laying out these implications for your long-term reflection, for your long-term meditation, that as you think about these different areas where God has made himself known, you think through what these implications are and you help your children or you help your grandchildren understand what the implications are of the existence of God.

You see, you consider these different realms and you come to the conclusion God exists. Now the question becomes well so what? What does that mean? Why is that significant?

What does that matter? Well beloved, it matters for everything. It matters for everything as we're going to see here and what happens is these things start to take root in your convictions. They change your priorities. They change the choices that you make in life.

They change who you choose as friends and what it is that you give your time to, how you view yourself, how you view your family, how you view everything else. Things revolve around these convictions that we come to from God's self-disclosure. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit and here's Don once again with a final word. My friend, before we close today's broadcast, I just want to give a special word of thanks to my faithful friend Will Moneymaker. Will is the technical genius behind The Truth Pulpit podcast and everything that goes out from my ministry. I just want you to know Will. I encourage you to pray for Will and his lovely family. Will, thank you for all that you do to make this possible. The ministry of The Truth Pulpit would not happen apart from you. So I thank you, Will, and those that enjoy our podcast day by day, thank you as well. God bless you. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you so much, friend, for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Join us again next time as Don begins a new message as we continue teaching God's people God's Word on The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-21 04:51:17 / 2024-02-21 05:03:02 / 12

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