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The Bible, the Spirit, and You #2

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

The Bible, the Spirit, and You #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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March 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 again, I'm Bill Wright. It is our joy to continue our commitment to teaching God's people God's Word. Today Don is continuing with the second part of a message we started last time.

So let's get right to it. Open your Bible as we join Don now in the Truth Pulpit. So the devil snatches the Word away as Jesus himself said and holds men captive. In 2 Timothy 2, you don't need to turn there, but in 2 Timothy 2, beginning in verse 24, we read this. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil after being captured by him to do his will. You see it, beloved?

Do you see it? Those that are opposed to Scripture, that are opposed to the gospel of grace found in Jesus Christ, they are under the snare of the devil. They are under his power. They are under a power that they do not have the ability to deliver themselves from. A supernatural enemy holds their soul captive and thus blinds them to the truth.

Why do men reject the Bible? John chapter 3, he said this. He said, this is the judgment. The light has come into the world.

This is verse 19, John 3, 19. The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

And so, beloved, here we are. We have somebody that has no ability to receive the word of God, has a love for sin that causes them to reject the word so that their sin is not confronted and that they would have to give it up. And on top of that, you have a devil that is active and is instigating all kinds of resistance and confusion, both within the hearts of men and in the false philosophies and false religions that surround the proclamation of truth. It is impossible for us to accomplish this in our own power because you and I do not have the power to release someone from the bondage of Satan. We do not have the power to turn their hearts, their inner man, away from their love of sin, away from darkness and unto light and unto a love of truth. That power is not given to men. It's not given to parents.

Or grandparents. Why do men reject the Bible? Beloved, it's so crucial for you to see this. There's no defect in Scripture. The problem is not it's something that is intrinsic to the character and nature of the pristine word of God. The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. It is clean.

It is pure. It is accurate. Everything good that we know about spiritual things comes to us through the pages of Scripture, and it is an unmixed blessing. The reason men reject the Bible is because they are in bondage to sin.

They are in bondage to Satan. Think about it this way. I've used this example, and it's very necessary and helpful for us to see it in this way. In these simplistic ways. Beloved, we're filled with light in this room, literal light coming down from the ceiling, lamps that are above us.

We go outside. We've got the light of the sun. We see it.

It's clear. The light is there. Now, if a blind person entered into the room, he or she would not be able to see the light. If we measured the existence of light or the goodness of light simply through the perspective of a blind person, we would completely miss it because a blind person does not see light. But, beloved, that doesn't mean that the light isn't there. The fact that the receptor doesn't have the capacity to appreciate it says nothing about the external reality of light. In the same way, the fact that a majority of mankind, the fact that people close to you reject the truth and mock you for holding it says nothing about the perfection and the purity of the Word of God.

It's simply an indication that they do not have the capacity to receive it. And in that distinction and in that difference is a world of understanding about the nature of Scripture and what is necessary for us to come to believe it. Why do men reject the Bible? No failure of Scripture whatsoever. That could not possibly be the explanation. It's not that the Bible is boring.

It's not that people don't like to read, that they reject Scripture. There's none of those kinds of explanations. The fault lies within the heart of men. They are lost.

They are dead. And we can't overlook that reality as we deal with these issues. Well, that brings us to our second question this morning.

The second question we want to answer today. Why, then, do we believe the Bible? Why do we believe the Bible? How did we pass from darkness into light? How did we pass from ignorance into some measure of understanding?

How did we go from being hostile fools, speaking autobiographically here? How did we go from being a hostile fool to one whose mind is in subjection to the Word of God? Because we were all born bound. We were all born blind. We all loved our sin. Oh, beloved, the answer to that question is completely humbling. To understand the answer to that question is to realize that there can't be anything about me, about you, if you believe Scripture today, there's nothing intrinsically good, meritorious, or better about you that puts you in that condition today, because you were just like the rest. We were all just like them.

Ephesians 4. We all dwelt in that realm of darkness. So it can't be that we have some kind of superior wisdom over which we can boast. So what happened to us that we believe the Bible? How is it that what we were once blind to we now can see?

How is it that you can see now when before you couldn't? And this man, in the simplicity of what happened to him, said, what happened to us is the reason that we can believe and receive Scripture today, it's because the Holy Spirit did a gracious work in our hearts that He did not have to do. God showed favor to us that we did not deserve.

He had no obligation to extend. The Holy Spirit took Scripture and made it real to us. In an act of undeserved kindness, undeserved favor, God opened our hearts to understand that which we previously rejected.

And not simply gave us a new mental perspective, He reoriented the entire moral disposition of our heart in salvation. Go back to Romans chapter 8, where we began. Romans chapter 8, where we began. And don't let me forget to go to Ephesians chapter 2.

I won't. We're going to go to Romans and 1 Corinthians and then to Ephesians 2. In verse 7, the mind that's set on the flesh does not submit to God's law.

Indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. We're all there.

Then how did we ever get out? Verse 9. 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 God. The Spirit of God does not belong to him.

Verse 11. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. The Spirit of God does a work in the hearts of those that once were dead but now are alive. The Spirit of God has done a work. He has taken out, in the language of Jeremiah, he has taken out the heart of stone and put in a heart of stone.

And a warm, beating heart of flesh. One that was before cold and dead in his inner man has been given a new life from God himself that is responsive to the things of God. The Spirit of God dwells within you. And that's not because you made him come in as if you had control over the sovereign spirit of the universe.

It's because he sovereignly worked and exercised on your heart. To do something for your benefit that you did not deserve. Look over at 1 Corinthians chapter 2.

It says, parents can't do this for their children as much as they would love to do so. We are rendered helpless before the Spirit of God. And the sooner, beloved, the sooner that we embrace and accept that, the sooner we can be in the realm that God can bless. When we are divested of our pride, when we are divested of our self-sufficiency, when we are cast upon the mercy of God alone to help us in these spiritual realms, then we are in a position for the manifestation of the blessing of God.

Look at 1 Corinthians chapter 2 verse 12. We have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God that we might understand the things freely given us by God. What a great reality to enter into.

What a great reality to understand. We have received the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God has come to us. And part of his coming to us was to enable us, to give us an ability that we did not have before. To give us the ability to understand the things that were previously locked away from our minds. To give us a receptivity to the things that we previously rejected. To know the things of God that previously were foolishness to us. It is a work of the Spirit of God. The regeneration is that God puts into the heart of the one that he saves an ability to understand the things from the Spirit of God that previously was not in that man's mind. That was not in that man's heart.

That was not within that man's ability. That's why those of you that go to foreign places, talk with believers there that haven't had a lot of exposure to biblical teaching, but they're genuinely saved. It's remarkable to see the insight that they have in spiritual things.

It's not because of superior intellect and superior study, necessarily. It's the fact that the Spirit of God has intervened to help them and to give them something that they didn't have. A gift from God to know the things of God.

That person might henceforth live to the glory of God. If you and I believe Scripture today, if you and I have a heartfelt conviction that it is the Word of God, we desire it, we believe it, we want to grow in it, we have grown in it, we have that, because the Holy Spirit of God worked in our hearts so that we would receive Scripture. He brought a sovereign, supernatural influence, greater than the supernatural resistance of Satan, greater than the power of sin in your heart. God sovereignly, God graciously, God powerfully overcame that principle of resistance within you, that principle of ignorance within you, and put within you His Spirit, gave you a new nature.

Because once you were blind, now you are able to see. The Spirit of God does an inner work to give you a new capacity to discern, receive, and believe divine truth. That, if we can just take a moment of application for the way that that affects us in our minds and in our disposition, this is completely humbling.

This is completely humbling. I can't take any credit for that. I didn't have the power to get out from it, and I had no way to obligate or to expect or to demand God to be gracious to me. Wasn't anything I could do to provoke God to be that kind to me. I was dependent before I even knew it for Him to be gracious to me.

I can't take credit for it. This does not make me better than the person next to me who rejects Scripture. It doesn't make me better as a man, somehow superior to them and my intrinsic being.

It's the same way for you, beloved. If you believe the Word of God, if you treasure the Word of God, it's because the Spirit of God has been gracious to you. The Baptist Confession of 1689 says this.

Remember, we're answering the question, why do we believe the Bible? The Baptist Confession of 1689 says it this way. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, depends not on the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God its author who is truth itself. Therefore, it is to be received because it is the Word of God.

Now, going on, listen to this. Our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth of Scripture and its divine authority is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts. The reason that we believe, the reason that we have conviction, the reason that we are animated about the Word of God is because the Spirit of God is doing a work in our hearts, testifying to the truth of the Word and with the Word that this is the Word of God, and we receive it on the authority of nothing less than God himself. Nothing less than the Spirit of God working in our hearts. That is the source of full persuasion of the truthfulness of the Word of God.

It comes from the Spirit. And so, beloved, when God saved you, when you heard the Gospel, God opened your heart like Lydia in Acts 16 to believe. Understand that he did more than simply forgive the guilt of your sin. He did more than just rescue you from hell and put you on a path that leads to eternal life. The multifaceted wonder and the multifaceted gift of all that he has done for us includes the fact that he enabled you to believe the Bible as the Word of God. Part of his gift in salvation was to turn your heart toward Scripture.

And he does this for everyone that he saves. If God, think about it this way, if God is going to bring men and women, boys and girls under the authority of Jesus Christ, he must bring them under the authority of the Bible if it's going to be true and it's going to be real. And so to ensure the right direction of the principles that work in your heart, part of his gift is to influence you in your inner man to accept the authority of the Bible. Louis Burckhoff says this, through the testimony of the Holy Spirit in his heart, the Christian stands in the unwavering faith that God is true in his revelation. And therefore, as a matter of course, he accepts the testimony of Scripture respecting itself. There's an inner testimony of the Holy Spirit that is at work in the heart of a true Christian that leads us to say, this is true. I believe it.

I accept it. And we accept the testimony of Scripture because the Spirit of God not only inspired the Word of God, he inclines our heart. He moves in our heart. He works in our heart. He changes and influences our heart so that we receive what he himself has produced. Another theologian says this, the Christian is persuaded and assured of the infallible truth and the divine authority of the Bible by this inward work of the Spirit within his heart who opens his mind to perceive the true nature of Scripture and who applies the Word with force and conviction that man may experience the truth that the Bible is from God. It is God, the Christian gladly declares, who testifies to his own word. It is God who identifies what he himself has spoken. To have that conviction is to have something, a gift from God, given to us. Now, that has a really practical effect for those of you that are wandering in darkness, those of you that feel the weight of uncertainty. Perhaps your convictions on these things are not settled. They are unsettled and you have a sense that you're lost and you're searching and you're groping in the darkness.

You know what? That sense of groping in the darkness, that's what you're doing. You are groping in darkness and it's a darkness that is within as well as without of your soul.

What this teaching does for you is it gives you a great sense of hope and a great sense of direction into what you need to do. What you need to do is you need to humble yourself before holy God and say, God, I don't get this. God, I am confused.

I don't understand. I read Scripture and it's a closed book to me. God, I need you to be gracious to me. I ask you to be gracious to me. Send your Spirit upon me that I might understand in the way that's been held forth to me from the Word of God. You go and you humble yourself before God and ask Him to help you in a way that He has not yet done. You thought I was going to forget Ephesians 2, didn't you? Nuh-uh.

I had, but I remembered just now. Go back to Ephesians 2. Ephesians 2, we looked at the first three verses, dead in sin, dominated by the devil, doomed to suffer the wrath of God. How is it then that Paul is writing to Christians when we were all in that position?

What was the distinguishing factor? Verse 4, but God. But God, being rich in mercy because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

So that in the coming ages, He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. There you were, beloved. There you were, a colossally lost soul. And God looked on you with mercy. God, having ordained this before the foundation of the world at a point in time in your life, said, Now I will show mercy. And the Spirit of God came upon you, gave you a new heart, and the triune God, full of love and mercy, despite accusations against His character to the contrary, God, in mercy to you, in love toward you, in kindness toward you, made you alive together with Christ. It is by grace you have been saved. How do we know the Bible is true?

It's a triune work of God. The Father chose us before the foundation of the world. Jesus Christ authenticated the Word during His ministry. And then the Holy Spirit did a distinguishing personal work in our hearts. Beloved, He came to you and me, speaking to Christians here, He came to you and me by name, said, I will have you as my own. You will come to me.

Come to me, you will come. And the Spirit who saved us, who applied the work of redemption to our miserably lost souls, it is now through His infallible testimony, through the one who saved us and what He testifies in our heart, that we have our final assurance and persuasion of the truthfulness of Scripture. The Bible is a spiritual book that must be spiritually discerned. May God the Holy Spirit help us to that end, to draw us to Christ, to receive His Word as the final authority, the sufficient authority in our lives. May God have mercy on each one of us to that end.

Let's pray together. Thank you, Father, for this holy book divine. Thank you for the work of your Spirit who opened its pages to us and continues to do so. Thank you for the Spirit who led us to Christ, drew us to Him so that we would most certainly be saved. Father, we disclaim any credit, any merit. We realize that this is all a gracious gift that you have done for us, and we give you all the praise and the glory and pray that you would continue it in the hearts, that you would help and illuminate those who are struggling, that you would convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment in the unbelieving hearts, Father, and that you would send forth your Word with even greater force and power in the days to come, not just here but throughout the world, Father, send a sweeping revival of the Spirit, drawing men to Christ, drawing men to truth, drawing men to the new birth and to justification by faith alone, Father, so that the glory and the majesty of your name might be extended further and further and further for the glory of God alone. We pray in Christ's name. Amen. 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 / 2024-03-21 04:47:34 / 2024-03-21 04:56:09 / 9

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