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Conversion and God's Existence #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 23, 2024 12:00 am

Conversion and God's Existence #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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February 23, 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. Before we come to the table, I want to continue our series on how to know that God exists, and in the providential timing of the Lord, the subject matter for this morning is a wonderful way to prepare our hearts for communion.

Communion is never to be a ritualistic thing done in a rote manner. The fresh reminder of the Lord's death and the way that He has appointed us to remember Him should always be a time special to the heart of every true Christian. To remember that our Lord loved us and gave Himself up for us, and the manifestation of the love of God through this remembrance is a wonderful time for those of you who join us today with bruised and broken hearts and feeling the weight of earthly affliction and earthly change. You know, this is just a wonderful opportunity for us to draw near to the Lord, and we do so mindful of the promise of the Lord in the book of James, where it says draw near to God, and He will draw near to you, and draw near to you in the fullness of the wonderful attributes that are intrinsic into His being. And so today we kind of have a dual purpose as we continue our consideration of how we know that God exists, and also as believers we come together in a spirit of love and humility and unity to remember the Lord at the table that He has appointed for us. Now if you've not been with us, we've had a series of messages establishing conclusively the existence of the invisible God. We have considered the matter of how God has made Himself known in creation, how He's made Himself known in the canon of Scripture, how He's made Himself known in the principle of human conscience, and how He has made Himself known in the person of Jesus Christ.

And those lengthy messages, I say that with a little chuckle in my own heart, those lengthy messages are all readily available, and if you've missed some of them, you've been away because you're sick or whatever, I can't urge you strongly enough to pick up those messages and listen to them. We're in the process over these months of building a Christian mind and hoping that God will use our time in the Word of God to help people to think biblically in a very hostile and unbiblical age. And it's important for, it starts with the adults in our congregation, it starts with you embracing the opportunity, embracing the teaching and making time for it, and even more importantly, making room for it in your hearts.

And it filters down to young families, parents, making sure that their children are imbibing this material at such a formative age and at all other points in between, we really need this material. This is urgent, the months that I spent away on study leave all pointed me to do exactly what we're doing in these weeks, and so I'm trusting the Lord to honor the burden of my heart with the preaching of His Word that He's giving us opportunity to do together. And so I just implore you, I beg you, I ask you, I encourage you to pay heed to these series of messages and to receive them with an open heart and to have your children under the teaching of God's Word, nothing could be more important for them than that. And so what we're doing here is that, with that little bit of introduction, we are unapologetically giving voice to the self testimony that God has imprinted throughout the universe. He's made Himself known in so many different ways, so many conclusive ways, and those four principles are where you begin in understanding that, but there is a, for believers, there is a fifth reason that we particularly believe in God. We particularly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and it's related to, it's related to the title of today's message, which if you're taking notes you can jot this down, conversion and God's existence.

Conversion and God's existence, that's the title of the message and it's also the first point for today, conversion and the existence of God. God has graciously blessed believers with an additional powerful testimony to His own existence and His work in our lives in a way that every Christian should be mindful of, should be thankful for, and should make it part of the spiritual arsenal that you draw upon in times of difficulty, in times of doubt, to go back and to rehearse these things. You know, I'm mindful as a pastor that the Christian life is more of a zigzag upwards trajectory that takes place, there are ups and downs that come along with it. I'm mindful, and how could I not be, that Christians themselves suffer through times of doubt and conflict of mind for different reasons. We face a powerful foe in the devil who wants to undermine our confidence, undermine our witness, draw us down and hinder the work of God in our lives, and so we are in the midst of a spiritual battle. One of the things that God has done to bless you and to help you and to sustain you in that is to give multiple evidences to His own existence and to His own character that would reassure your heart in the midst of earthly conflict of the divine reality of a good and gracious God. And so creation, canon, conscience, Christ, you rehearse these things over and over again in your mind, multiple times a day throughout the week, not just sitting through one sermon and then checking off that box in your life.

No, you go over these things again and again and again, and as you do that, as you meditate on the Word of God like that, the Holy Spirit will use His Word to strengthen your heart and to strengthen your faith in ways that make you a conqueror and overcomer of the world as Jesus speaks so often in Revelation 2 and 3. Now let's deal with this matter of conversion, the fifth testimony to God's existence. Technically, technically the theological term conversion means particularly the way that a man turns to God in repentance and faith. There is a converting of his heart and in response to the gospel, in response to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, a man turns from sin, turns from self, turns from the world and turns to embrace the Christ that has been presented to him in the gospel. And that's the technical sense in the way that the word conversion is used in theological literature. I'm using the term conversion here today in a little bit of a broader sense to simply impart, and I'll be honest with you, I'm doing it in part just to maintain the alliteration of my points.

I needed another C here, and conversion is a worthy one to do. But it shows us that there is a personal aspect of God's self testimony that we need to be aware of. We have been speaking in such broad, lofty, universal principles as we've been considering this. I mean, look at the heavens and you see the glory of God. Look at the 1189 chapters of the Bible and you find the self-disclosure of God. Look at the principle of the hidden operation of the principle of human conscience and the matter of the person of Jesus Christ, the God-man. And it's just remarkable and broad and universal, these self-revelations that God has given to us.

And if we were only left with that, then there might be a sense where the utter transcendence of it all would almost intimidate us, would almost cause us to shrink back from the majesty of it all and the transcendence of it all. But as we come to the nature of Christian salvation, we find something sweet, we find something spiritually delectable for the believing heart to consider what Scripture says that conversion does about the point that it makes about the self-manifestation of God. So as we talk about conversion, we're talking about the fullness of Christian salvation and the work of God in order to draw sinners to Christ in order to save them and bring them into his kingdom. And so a complete view of God's self-disclosure is ultimately going to lead us to the cross of Calvary, what we will remember momentarily in the Lord's Table. And I want to take you to a passage we looked at not long before my study leave began, in Titus chapter 2 verse 11 through 14.

I invite you to turn there with me because there is something particularly individual and powerful about the way that God has made himself known in the salvation of each of us who have been led to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. And in Titus chapter 2 verses 11 through 14 we read this. Remember we're talking about conversion and the existence of God. Titus chapter 2 beginning in verse 11 says, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled upright and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, for the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. And so Christ has come to earth, Christ gave himself on the cross of Calvary in order to purchase his people out of the slave market of sin to free them and to deliver them from the bondage of self, the bondage of Satan, the bondage of the world, and to powerfully bring them into his kingdom. He did this as an act of grace, as an act of mercy upon those who would believe in him.

And so Christ has done a wonderful thing for his people that we will remember in just a few minutes together. Now as you continue to read on in Titus chapter 3, what you find is this, is that, and now we're speaking on a somewhat more individualistic term as opposed to all of humanity, we're addressing this to the way that God has spoken to individual hearts. Paul says in Titus chapter 3 verse 3, he reminds us of how we used to be dead in our trespasses and sins. He says in verse 3, for we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. Paul looks back to the pre-conversion days of a believer's life and says this is what we were all like, this is what you were like. You were blind, you were foolish, you were sinful, you were slaves to your passions and pleasures, you were full of malice and envy. It's a very ugly picture of the reality of humanity, the reality of our own individual lives before Jesus Christ saved us. And so he looks back and says, remember the chains of your slavery to sin, self, Satan and the world.

You were utterly lost and you had no power to deliver yourself whatsoever. But he's writing to Christians, that condition, that spiritual condition is not the end of the story for the believer, was it? Your pre-conversion days in the lostness of your sin, the lostness of false religion, the lostness of your arrogance and indifference to God, that wasn't the end of the story for you, was it? God showed grace and kindness and mercy to you. Someone brought the gospel to you. Someone told you about the Lord Jesus Christ. And there was a time when the light bulbs went on for you, where all of a sudden that which you had rejected suddenly made sense. That which you attached no value to now became the most important thing in the world to you. Christ whom you rejected now became Christ your Lord, King, Savior, prophet and priest.

What happened? What happened in order to make that change? Some of us can testify plainly and fully that it was not anything of our choosing or our seeking, that the Lord sought us out. You know, I once was blind but now I see. Here's what happened, the Apostle Paul says in verse 4. He says, but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us. Not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. What God did and what God had planned before the foundation of the world is that there would come a time in your own life, as I'm speaking to Christians here today, and offering the same hope to those of you that are not yet in Christ, God came to you in the midst of your hostility before you took a step toward him, the Spirit of God opened your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. He graciously influenced your heart, he graciously took away your heart of stone and put in a heart of flesh as the prophet Ezekiel speaks of, and the Spirit of God took the redemptive work of Christ that was accomplished 2,000 years ago at Calvary and he applied it to your heart, he made you a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5 verse 17, he opened your eyes, he gave you a new heart, and in that change, in that new birth, in that regeneration by the work of the Holy Spirit, your eyes were opened, you saw things anew, you saw things for the first time. There's a hymn that we sometimes sing, heaven above is softer blue, earth around is sweeter green, something lives in every hue that Christless eyes have never seen, birds with gladder songs o'erflow, flowers with deeper beauty shine, since I know as now I know I am his and he is mine.

The work of salvation gives you a new mind, a new understanding to be able to appreciate and to see all of the things of creation, canon, conscience, and Christ that were there all along but there had been blinders on your eyes so that you could not see. And so what did God do for you, Christian believer? What did God do to you in the sorrow that life rained down upon you? What did God do for you in the midst of your loving sin and rejecting him? God looked on you with mercy, he looked on your broken life, your hopeless doomed future, and he intervened.

He intervened in a direct personal way by name. It's not simply that the gospel is preached indiscriminately to all men, which it is and which it should be. We preach the gospel to all men, but as we preach, not everyone believes. What's the distinguishing mark that brings a person from death in sin to life in Christ?

It's not first and foremost the choice of the man or the woman. It's that God showed mercy to you and the Holy Spirit did a work in your heart to graciously ensure that infallibly, without fail, you would come powerfully to Christ and be forever saved and forever changed. And that is a reflection. Look at verse 4 with me again. The fact that God saved you says so much about his character and says, really in some ways it says nothing about ours except for the darkness from which we needed to be saved. Look at these attributes of God that Paul piles up as he remembers the work of Christ and the work of the Spirit to save us. He says in verse 4, the goodness and the loving kindness of God our Savior appeared.

He's good. He says in verse 5, he said he did this according to his own mercy, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, the Holy Spirit washed you in regeneration and renewed you. In verse 6, he says that he poured out the Spirit richly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Beloved, beloved, this melts my heart and I hope it melts yours also to remember what you used to be like. And even if you were outwardly a moral person, as some of you I know were, you were raised, you were a good boy, you were a good girl as you were growing up, but you were still dead to true spiritual life. You were still a sinner in your own right and in your own way. All of us were dead in trespasses and sin. All of us were foolish. All of us were disobedient.

All of us were slaves. Having no God and no hope in the world and having no claim on God, having forfeited any claim on God, you know, from the fall of Adam, none of us had any claim on his mercy. The only claim we had on God was an expectation of the fury of his justice against all of our iniquities against him. And so God, in the wonder of the triune Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit working together in perfect harmony to show grace to you, God saved you. And you are on the receiving end of goodness, loving kindness, mercy, grace, and hope. And those of you that have been born again, you know within your heart, you know by the operations of your own mind and affirmed to you by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness with your spirit that you are a child of God. You have an additional revelation and manifestation of God that has been done to you in your soul. Beloved, as Christians, as Christians, we know that God exists because he made us alive in Christ.

Let me say that again. It's really, really important. Christians know God exists, yes, for the sake of creation, the canon, conscience, and Christ. We know on those bases and we affirm every one of them enthusiastically and without qualification. As the foundation for what we have in conversion, Christians know that God exists because he made us alive in Christ. The Holy Spirit opened our blind eyes so that we could believe the gospel and truly know God. This is not some irrational mystical experience that we're speaking about. This is the God-authored faith that comes through the testimony of the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. This is not somebody saying, oh, you know, a vision flashed in my mind and now, you know, I have a new perspective on life. No, we trace our new life. It's so important for you to grasp this and understand it.

I can't emphasize this enough. It is so crucial to understand that the position that we have in Christ, we can trace to objective factors outside of our own experience and say, this is what happened in my life and this is where we find it in Scripture. This is where it is testified to.

This is what undergirds it, authorizes it, and authenticates it. It's rooted in the Word of God, not in simply my subjective self-testimony about what I believe in my heart. But I do believe it in my heart. Beloved, we know, we know that God exists because of God's work in our hearts. Let me pause here for just a moment to make a really important point.

I was thinking about this driving home from someplace yesterday. You know, the traditional way, the evidential way that the existence of God's men have tried to establish all over the course of time, you know, looking at different evidences, and without going into all of that, the whole point that they're trying to make is a probability case. And this is the point that I want to get to with you. We are not saying that it is more probable than not that God exists. We haven't made a probability case here that, you know, since it's more likely than not, then you ought to believe in God.

You ought to believe that there is a God that exists. No, that is not what we are saying. That is not the testimony of the God of truth and the God of certainty. The testimony, these things of which we speak are things of certainty and conclusive evidence for which there is no justification to reject them. And the refusal to receive this testimony is morally culpable by those who reject it. What Scripture has given us is not a probability case. Scripture has said these things are true. These things are conclusive. You must believe them or you will perish in your sin. That is the reality of the testimony that God has given to us of His own existence. 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 / 2024-02-23 05:06:57 / 2024-02-23 05:15:41 / 9

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