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The Bible, the Spirit, and You #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
March 20, 2024 12:00 am

The Bible, the Spirit, and You #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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March 20, 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. Well, as we come to our time in God's Word here this morning, I invite you to turn to the book of Romans chapter 8. I'm going to read a portion of scripture that in part will frame the things that we have to say about God's Word here this morning. As you're turning there, the title of today's message is The Bible, The Spirit, and You.

The Bible, The Spirit, and You. And in Romans chapter 8, verse 1, Paul having set forth the great doctrine of justification that reality, that through faith in Christ alone, all of our sins are forgiven and God accepts us as righteous for the sake of his Son. In Romans chapter 8, verse 1, we start to read the consequences of that, the blessed reality of forgiveness and acceptance with a holy God. Romans 8, verse 1, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. As we gather this morning, we are completing, this is the final message in our series, how to know the Bible is true, and there is no more fundamental question in life than to be able to understand the reality of the truthfulness of Scripture, the inerrancy of Scripture, the finality of Scripture, the sufficiency of Scripture.

We've covered all of those things to one degree or another leading up to today. It's part of our mega-series, Building a Christian Mind, and to have a Christian mind is to necessarily have an understanding of the place of the Bible in reality and an understanding of the things of God, the things of life, the things of death, the things of forgiveness. And what we've said in this series is that we believe the Bible, we accept the Bible as the inerrant Word of God based on the authority of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the one who guarantees the authority and the accuracy and the sufficiency of Scripture to us. We receive it on his authority, not on the authority of a church, not on the authority of a scholar someplace who thinks that he knows what is best. No, Jesus Christ is the highest authority in all of the universe. He said in Matthew 28, all authority has been given to me. And so when we need to know the things that are most essential to our soul, we don't go to lesser authorities, we don't go to fallen men or to fallen institutions in order to learn what is true.

We go straight to the Lord Jesus Christ himself. And we ask, what does he say about the Word of God? And as we've seen, this is all review, as we've seen, Jesus Christ affirmed the authority of the Old Testament during his earthly ministry. He quoted freely from the Old Testament.

He spoke of it as historically accurate, and he lived under its own authority. The words of the Old Testament were on his lips, even at the crucifixion. From beginning to end, there is an affirmation of the Old Testament as we know it today. And then we saw that he commissioned the New Testament. He authorized the New Testament that would be written after his ascension as he appointed an exclusive final group of men called apostles who had the authority to write and speak on his behalf. And the writings that they gave were directed by the Holy Spirit in a way that safeguarded them from error so that we know that we have the Word of God in the 66 books of the Bible.

It's a wonderful thing to contemplate and to understand the basis on which we receive the authority of the Word of God is to have a great clarifying effect on your mind and on your thinking and truly sets you, points you, as it were, like a compass to true north and sends you in the direction that you need to go. There is no higher authority than the Bible. Jesus Christ said in John chapter 10 verse 35, the Scriptures cannot be broken. He said elsewhere that not a dot, not an iota of Scripture will ever be broken.

It all must be fulfilled. And so there is this wonderful fullness of authority and trustworthiness found in the Scripture. Now, before we get into today's content, I just want to give you a sense of the implications of what we've seen over the past three or four weeks and what the doctrine of Scripture as Scripture does for us. And what I'm about to say, I'm not talking about what Scripture teaches in other areas.

We'll get to those things in due time. But what an understanding of the divine inspiration of Scripture means for us and what it helps us understand and the things what this does for us in terms of understanding spiritual reality. To look at the Bible and to understand what it is points us to Jesus Christ as the Lord and authority over our souls and over all of the universe. To understand the Bible for what it is clarifies who true teachers and who false teachers are, not simply today but throughout the course of church history, because the exclusivity of Scripture immediately excludes those who try to speak on an equal plane with the authority of the Word of God. As we're going to see here later today, when you understand the Scripture, you are introduced and brought inevitably into the doctrine of sin. Why is it that some men reject Scripture? Why is it that for the majority of people in the world, the Bible is a closed book that makes no sense to them, that carries no persuasion of power, no power of persuasion in their hearts?

Why is that? To understand Scripture is to have answers to that question. To understand Scripture is to understand something about the veracity of God. If Scripture comes from the God of truth, and it does, and Scripture cannot mislead us, and it cannot, then we are seeing something about the utter truthfulness and faithfulness of God simply by understanding what Scripture really is. To understand Scripture for what it is is to affirm the historicity of Christianity. We do not follow some abstract philosophy when we study Scripture, when we follow Christ.

We are following that which is rooted in time and space history that is based on things that actually happened in time and space on earth. Scripture was written in the course of time and expresses those things that happened in time and then gives us an understanding of them. To understand Scripture and that Scripture is the Word of God, it exposes Satan and the angelic realm because Scripture, as it were, it assaults that realm and exposes it for what it is. And all of those things we have discussed. To understand Scripture is to understand where you go in times of adversity, when times of complete confusion, difficulty, of broken hearts, and what do I do next?

I have no idea what to do next, you say to yourself. To understand Scripture is to realize that the answers are somehow found within the corners of the 66 books of the Bible because the Word of God is sufficient to make the man of God adequate, equipped for every good work. And so to understand Scripture is to realize that we are not cast out to sea, lost on heaving waves of uncertainty in the midst of our affliction, in the midst of our difficulties.

No, we have an anchor that we can go back to that is unchanging, that is stable, that is true, that is powerful, to equip us to face whatever God has given us in life. This is an amazing book. This is a remarkable book.

And the multifaceted splendor of this perfect diamond radiates clarity and beauty as far as the enlightened eye can see. Now, today, as we contemplate those things, it leads us to a final question that I've hinted at already. Most of us, as we're gathered together in this room, we accept the authority of Scripture. We believe the Bible and, hopefully, the things that we've studied over the past few weeks have deepened and strengthened us in that conviction. But the reality is, we know all too well, sometimes people close to our hearts, the reality is that many, many more people do not believe the Bible. They reject it as ultimate truth, perhaps consciously reject it, or even worse, they just have an attitude of cold indifference to it. If you want the Bible, that's fine for you, but it means nothing to me. And, you know, you can have your truth and I'll have mine. How is it, beloved, that you and I believe the Bible when so many men do not?

What was the distinguishing mark? How did it come that we came to see the glory of this book and the glory of the Christ revealed in this book when so many others do not? Well, beloved, the answer is very humbling. It's not because we are smarter than they are. In fact, Scripture says it's not many noble that come to the truth.

It's not because we're smarter than they are. When you understand what Scripture is, you come to realize that a gift has been given to us that hasn't been given to others. What has happened and what has enabled us and given us the power to believe that does not reside in the hearts of others, the source of that is this. The Holy Spirit from God gave us a new heart to believe the Bible, to receive Scripture as an authoritative word from God. The Spirit of God graciously worked in our hearts in a way that has not been given to everyone else. And so we want to answer two questions here this morning.

And in the simplicity of the structure here, we're just going to answer two questions. Why do men reject the Bible? And secondly, why do we believe the Bible? Why do we receive the Bible, you might say? Why do men reject the Bible, generally speaking? Why do we receive the Bible? Those of you especially that were like me, saved in your adult life, could frame the same question in this way. What was it about your earlier years where you rejected Scripture, but now Scripture is a living book alive to you that when you read it, you know intuitively, you know intrinsically, you know in the depth of your heart, this is true, this is true, this is true. Where does that come from? Where does that deep heart conviction come from when you didn't have it before?

Was it just a matter of one day you picked up a book and started reading? There's a deeper spiritual explanation than that. But we need to go back to the original source. Why do men reject the Bible? Why did you reject the Bible in your younger years?

Well, there's a dual answer that we can give to that. It's related to sin, and it's related to Satan. There is a spiritual dynamic that causes men to reject the Bible.

And we saw this in part in what we read from Romans 8 just a moment ago. Why do men reject the Bible? Well, first of all, they're in bondage to sin.

They are in bondage to sin. And beloved, it is not natural to receive Scripture. It is not a natural capacity of fallen man to believe the Bible because the fallen man, the natural man, is opposed to Scripture.

He naturally rejects Scripture from the very core of his being. And we need to see some Scriptures to help us understand this because this will give us a lot of light and understanding into the dynamic of interacting with unsaved men in a fallen world. Look, you're in Romans 8. Look at verse 6.

Romans 8, verse 6. Why do men reject the Bible? It's because they're in bondage to sin. It's a moral dilemma that they have.

It's not a lack of information. It's a matter of morality and a matter of the fallenness and the deadness of their heart, of the inner citadel of their being. It is fallen and corrupt and unable to receive the Word of God for what it really is. Verse 6. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Now, verse 7. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God. In other words, the carnal, unsaved, unregenerate man has an inbred hostility toward God that causes him to reject the things of God. And this is a supernatural force of fallenness in his inner man that makes him incapable of receiving the Word of God for what it really is. Verse 7 again. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law.

Indeed, it cannot. He does not have the ability to submit his mind to the Word of God because his mind is taken hostage by sin. And verse 8. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. They cannot receive God. They are hostile to His Word. They are hostile to Him.

They are hostile to Christ. And that is a fundamental starting point of understanding the world in which we live. Look over at 1 Corinthians chapter 2. 1 Corinthians chapter 2. What I want you to see here, beloved, to simplify and clarify things is the utter inability that man has in order to receive the Bible for what it truly is.

1 Corinthians chapter 2 verse 14. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The problem that the unsaved man has is that he is dead in sin.

He's physically alive, but he's spiritually dead. And the things of the Spirit of God are alien to him. They are foreign to him.

They are outside him. They are in a realm and in a jurisdiction to which he does not have access. And he does not have the ability to pry into them. He can't work his way into them. He can't repent his way into this. He has utterly fallen and utterly unable to do anything to receive favorably the Word of God. He likes to boast about his free will.

He likes to boast that he's the captain of his own destiny. He's the master of his own soul. Even within the church, there are those that want to exalt the free will of man. Well, beloved, these passages and others like them put the lie to that and says there is an utter inability because of the fallenness of man and his domination under sin in order to be able to see these things and understand them rightly. Look over at Ephesians chapter 2. I'm really going to Ephesians chapter 4, but we might as well pause at a rest stop at Ephesians chapter 2 by way of reminder of this very familiar text and to see how it fits into here the theme of this morning.

Ephesians 2 verses 1 through 3, and you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind, dead in sin under the power of the devil, by nature children under the wrath of God like the rest of mankind. Beloved, where is there the ability to receive scripture as the word of God there? Where is the ability to respond to God there?

It doesn't exist. Death is a condition of non-life, non-ability. And if you look over at Ephesians chapter 4 in verse 17, Paul speaking to believers contrasts their present condition with what the nature of the rest of mankind is and what they used to be themselves. Ephesians chapter 4 verse 17, Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them due to their hardness of heart.

They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. Beloved, that's the spiritual condition of every unsaved man, darkened, alienated, ignorant, hard, callous. There is no capacity of responsiveness to the word of God found in the natural man. And so here's the spiritual reality, and this is why men reject the Bible. Beloved, I'll say this again throughout the course of this morning's time together, the problem is not with the Bible.

The problem is not that Scripture is somehow inadequate or is imperfect. The problem resides within the heart of man. Man is born, women are born, with a natural disposition against the truth. They are born in sin. They are lost in sin. They are helpless spiritually and have no ability to receive anything spiritual or to receive or to act upon anything that is rightly presented to them. Men are lost in sin and helpless.

And beloved, we were all in that condition. We're all born into this condition. No one is born a Christian. No one is born into a natural responsiveness to God. And no amount of splashing water on a baby can take away the original sin that binds their heart and closes their minds to the truth. This is a spiritual problem. The physical water cannot wash away. And, you know, you talk about baptizing infants, and the same thing goes for those who believe in adult baptismal regeneration, that you can be baptized and receive new life.

That's not true. It's not an outward work that we need. It's not an outward motion on our physical flesh that can open our spiritual minds to the truth. Martin Lloyd-Jones says, apart from the enlightenment given only by the Holy Spirit, the things that pertain to salvation are not known and cannot be known to any man.

The things that pertain to salvation are not known and cannot be known to any man. Beloved, that's bad. That's bad. Why do men reject the Bible? It's because they're in bondage to sin.

Their hearts are dead and incapable of responding to light and life. It's bad. But it gets worse.

It's worse than that. It's worse than simply what's inside the man that keeps him from the truth. Yes, he is in bondage to sin, but he is also in bondage to Satan.

He is in bondage to Satan. There is a supernatural deception that is at work that disposes men against the truth, that restrains them from coming to the truth. And those of you that have loved ones that are so hostile to the truth, this gives you a sense of perspective and takes away a little bit, at least, takes away a little bit of the sense of personal rejection when they won't hear your words, takes away a sense of frustration as they continue to go deeper and deeper into darkness, and you start to realize and discern the spiritual reality of these things.

There is, as I said, a supernatural deception that is at work in their minds and in their lives. Turn over to 2 Corinthians 4 with me. 2 Corinthians 4. We'll begin reading in verse 1. Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced disgraceful underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth, we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in their case, the case of those who do not see the glory of the gospel, in the case of those who are perishing, who reject the truth, who are hostile to Christianity, who are hostile to biblical preaching, who are hostile to biblical authority, who are hostile to the exclusivity of Scripture.

What's happening in their lives to make them like that? Paul explains it. He says, in their case, the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel, of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. This is frightening. This is troubling.

This is humbling. This makes everything at a new level of urgency, as we understand it, that those who are rejecting Scripture, who are hostile to it or indifferent to it, there's something spiritual going on. There is a supernatural foe to their souls, the devil, who is also called the adversary, the God of this world, and he has supernaturally blinded their minds so that they cannot understand, they cannot receive, they cannot respond to the things of truth that are so plainly set forth in Scripture.

It's supernatural. This isn't simply a matter of intellectual debate. Personally, I believe it's foolish for a Christian to get on stage with an unbeliever and give him an equal platform because there is so much more going on than just an exchange of information for a mixed audience to choose what they think is right.

You know what? A mixed audience is always going to side with those who share their disposition against the truth. In Matthew 13, Jesus said it himself. He said, When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. I don't think about this as often as I should, I suppose.

I think about it a lot. But as I stand before a group of fine folks like you, preaching to some that are saved and others that are not, there is a supernatural element to everything that transpires when any preacher opens the word of God and preaches it to men. Satan is right there at the door waiting to snatch the word from your heart. And to the extent that men, women, boys and girls come with a hostile attitude, they're just enabling Satan to rob them of that, which would be the instrument of God's grace to their souls. Satan is a malignant force. He's not a cartoon character.

He's real. He has power greater than we do. He has the ability to hinder men from understanding the truth. And he not only has the power to do that, he does do that. He delights in doing that. There is nothing that Satan finds greater delight in than in turning men away from Christ and turning them to his own service and their own destruction, whether men are conscious that that's what they're doing or not. You're either a child of God or you're a child of the devil.

There are no spiritual free agents that way. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts.

Well, thank you, Bill. And my friend, I want to let you know of a special ministry that we have at thetruthpulpit.com that's very near to my heart. We have a ministry to those who are in prison.

And in the nature of life, sometimes we have loved ones that go astray and find themselves behind bars and spending significant time in incarceration. Well, we have a ministry to them. We send them transcripts of messages that I've preached from the pulpit of Truth Community Church. We do it on a weekly basis.

They get mail every week. If you have a loved one in prison that you would like to have us reach out to in that way, do me a favor. Go to our website, thetruthpulpit.com. That's thetruthpulpit.com. Click on the link that says About, and you'll see a dropdown menu that will take you to our prison ministry. You can fill out the form, and we'll be happy to respond and then join in with you in ministering to that one who is outside the normal course of society. So that's thetruthpulpit.com, the About link for our prison ministry. 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 / 2024-03-20 04:46:14 / 2024-03-20 04:57:18 / 11

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