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How to Know Jesus Is Lord #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
March 22, 2024 12:00 am

How to Know Jesus Is Lord #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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March 22, 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. We return tonight to our mega series titled Building a Christian Mind, and today and on Sunday, we're going to take two hours to do an introduction. This is an introduction.

Next week is an introduction, an extended introduction, to set the stage for the next segment of this series. Now, when we started, we established how we can know that God exists, and we know that God exists through at least five different areas where he has made himself known. He's made himself known in creation, in the canon of Scripture, in the conscience of man, in the person of Christ, and in the reality of conversion. When you were converted to Christ and the Spirit of God opened your eyes and moved your heart to embrace Christ by faith, God was making himself known to you personally by name.

It's a wonderful concept to think on that, you know, if Psalm 8 says, what is man, that you look upon him, and the Christian can say, who am I that you would look upon me by name and make yourself known to me. And so we know that God exists because of the way that he has made himself known in creation, the canon, conscience, Christ, and conversion. We went on from there to answer the question, how do we know the Bible is true?

How to know the Bible is true? And we said that we know the Bible is true, we accept the Bible is true based on the highest authority in the universe, which is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ affirmed the authority and the inspiration of the Old Testament. He quoted it incessantly during his ministry, he expounded it, the words of the Old Testament were on his lips as he died on the cross. And he also prepared the way for the New Testament. He commissioned the apostles, he sent the Holy Spirit to work through the apostles in order to produce an accurate, inspired, inerrant record of his life and ministry and an interpretation of that. And so we know the Bible is true because we trust Jesus Christ as Lord. He said, you call me teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am, in Luke 6, 46. And Christ, who accepted the word of God, accepted the Old Testament, and spoke of its authority going all the way back to creation and all the way through, that's enough for us.

That settles the matter for us. Christ has taught us to receive the word of God. But as you work through these things in your mind, even that raises a question. You say that we accept the Bible on the authority of Jesus Christ.

Well, let's drill a little bit deeper into the well there. On what basis do we receive his words? How do we know to trust him? Or to put the question for this next segment of our series, how do we know that Jesus is Lord? How do we know that Jesus is Lord?

On what basis do we know that? And what we're trying to develop in this series, beloved, is to know why we believe what we believe. You're here in this room, almost every one of you, because in one sense or another, you acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. You acknowledge that.

You already accept that. You accept the Bible as true. You know that God exists. But the purpose of this series is to equip us to know why we believe what we believe, and to be able to explain it to someone else with the authority that is befitting the authority of God himself. How do we know that Jesus is Lord?

What does scripture point us to in order to acknowledge his lordship? Well, that stirring subject, that critical subject, is what's ahead of us for the next three weeks or so. And I invite you to turn to the book of Romans as we begin this series. I'm going to show you something over these next two messages that is so painfully obvious that you'll wonder why you didn't see it and appreciate the significance of it before now.

I know when this started being raised to my awareness in my study, I thought, how did I not appreciate the significance of this more deeply than I did before? How do we know that Jesus is Lord, that he is the Christ? In other words, God's Messiah, the one sent to redeem his people, Israel, and through them to be a blessing to all of the world, the Gentiles.

How are we to know that? Well, let's read the first four verses of Romans, and this will launch us into a couple of messages. We see in Romans chapter 1 verse 1, Paul, a servant of Jesus, of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures concerning his son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. We'll stop there for those four verses. There is a super concentrated expression of critical doctrine in those opening verses there. I know that when you read the book of Romans, there's a tendency to want to get to chapter 6, 7, and 8, or to deal with, you know, the universality of sin in chapter 3, and you kind of read through. There's a tendency to read through these opening verses rather quickly thinking, well, it's just introductory, let's get to the meat of things as quickly as possible.

That's a mistake. That's an easy mistake to make, but it is a mistake because Paul is setting forth matters in a concentrated synopsis here that has profound significance for the way that we understand everything about the Christian faith. Tonight we're just going to focus on one little phrase and show how it flows through Romans and other aspects of scripture.

But notice what he says at the end of verse 1. Paul's called to be an apostle, and so right there this links together what we said about how to know the Bible is true. We talked about the authority of the apostles, that Christ appointed the apostles to be instruments of his revelation to the church and to the world.

And so it's linked that way. And Paul says, I'm set apart for the gospel of God, the gospel of God. And then he makes a clarifying or an expanding relative clause to talk about the gospel of God. Set apart for the gospel of God, which. The gospel of God is something of which something is true. And he says he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scripture. The gospel of Jesus Christ, at which the center is the Lord Jesus himself. This gospel was promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scripture. In other words, before Jesus Christ ever came to earth, there was groundwork laid.

There was a foundation laid by God through the ministry of the prophets, which we read about in the Old Testament. This is a gospel concerning his son. His son is, verse 3, he is the son of David, verse 3. And verse 4, he is also the son of God. Now, by what method?

What method do we use? What method did the Apostle Paul use to establish the lordship of Christ in this context? And as I said on Sunday, you know, the book of Romans is arguably, you know, there are men who would say that the book of Romans is perhaps the most important book in all of the Bible. Now, there's a sense in which it's not good to talk that way, to set one part of Scripture as over and above the other parts of Scripture. I realize that, and I don't like to talk in those terms, but there is something special about the book of Romans in that it is such a comprehensive and systematic explanation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And as you read through it, you get the full sweep of what salvation is and how God makes it known. Well, in this most critical book, as Paul is introducing it, he goes right to the heart of the matter and he says, as I am writing to you about the gospel of God, I would have you know up front that this is what God promised beforehand through the prophets.

What is the method by which we establish the lordship of Christ? We look at what God said before he ever came. For 1,500 years from the time of Moses down through the time of Christ, with a 400-year parenthesis of silence before the Incarnation, for over 1,000 years, beloved, God through his prophets, God through the Scriptures was laying down what to expect when the Messiah came. He was giving us markers to look for that we would know who the Messiah was and be able to recognize him. And so being overly simplistic here at the start, we'll go through all of this later, it's as though for 1,000 years through many different prophets in many different times, God said, look for this. Number one, look for this.

Number two, number three, number four, number five, this is a gross oversimplification. But he said, you need to be looking for this, and when you see these things, you will recognize that you have seen the Messiah, that you have found him, you know him to be true. And so for 1,500 years before Christ came, there was groundwork and a foundation being laid to show that this, who the Christ would be. And so to know, how to know Jesus as Lord, there is an essential aspect of this in which we do this. We show that Jesus Christ is the one whom the prophets foretold.

If you look at Deuteronomy 18, for example, this is just an illustration of the matter, in Deuteronomy 18, verse 15, Moses is speaking to the children of Israel shortly before his death, before God removes him from the scene and Israel enters into the promised land. In Deuteronomy 18, verse 15, Moses told the children of Israel, he said, the Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers, it is to him you shall listen. It is to him you shall listen. And so Moses, using the future tense, says there is something, there is someone who will be coming that Yahweh will raise up for you. He'll be a prophet like me. When you see him, listen to him, he's the one that you shall hear.

He's the one that you must recognize and give heed to. And so in that little microcosm of an example, there is a sense in which the whole Old Testament is pointing us toward the recognition of a Messiah. And when Jesus arrived on the earth and he taught and he ministered and he performed miracles and he did all that he did, as revealed in the four gospels, as recorded in the four gospels, we see the fulfillment of what the prophets had foretold. So that there is a perfect symmetry between what the Old Testament said you shall expect and what was found in Jesus Christ.

You look at what the predictions were, what the overall picture of what this Messiah would be like, and you understand that on its own terms, and then you look at the life of Christ and you say, ah, he's the one and there could be no other, and therefore you receive his lordship on that basis. We could put it this way. To speak with a little bit more technical language, we establish the context of the history of God's revelation. We establish the context of revelatory history. I like the way that rolls off the tongue.

I had to say it that way. Revelatory history. And when you establish that context and you look at the life of Christ, that leads you inescapably to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. You use the Word of God to verify the Son of God, just as the Son of God verified the Word of God. There's a mutual testimony that the written word makes to the incarnate word.

You could say it this way. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to exalt the Son of God. Now, with that little bit of introduction out of the way, I'm gonna give this to you in three sections, and then we'll have more sections like this on Sunday.

But let me just give you a first point if you're taking notes here, and we'll just put it this way. We'll do it in the context of the book of Romans. We'll say in Romans, you see promises made, promises kept. Book of Romans, promises made, promises kept. And what Paul says there in verse two of Romans chapter one, verse two, he says, the Gospel of God was promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures. As Paul opens up this majestic, incredibly important letter of his, he starts and he builds on the foundation of what was previously said by God through his servants the prophets. And Paul is very concerned to make this clear. Now, what you find in the book of Romans, beloved, is that he makes this point, he comes back to this point again and again and again in the book of Romans. He emphasizes throughout these 16 chapters that what he is teaching in Romans is the fulfillment of and consistent with what God had promised all along. And this was critical.

This is critical. The Jews at the time were looking for a Messiah, but in the degradation of their national religion, they were looking for one who would be a political deliverer for them. They were looking for someone who would deliver them from under the bondage of the Empire of Rome. And so they were looking for a conquering Messiah and therefore had the wrong lens through which to understand the person of Christ. What Paul does and what he emphasizes here is that if you would look at the Old Testament rightly, you would see that Jesus Christ fulfills what should have been expected all along.

Because for those who were expecting a great political deliverer, a crucified Messiah didn't fit the bill. And because, and in fact look at this for, look over at 1 Corinthians chapter one as my, you know, my mind engages things even as I'm speaking. In 1 Corinthians chapter one, verse 22, Paul gives us a sense of the Jewish mindset in which he ministered. He said Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom. But we preach Christ crucified. And what is Christ crucified to those Jews?

It's a stumbling block. They were so conditioned to think of a political Messiah that the idea of a crucified Messiah was a stumbling block to them which made it as a matter of course something that they rejected out of hand. The Jews heard this message in their carnal natural mind and said that can't be right because the Messiah comes to conquer. Now, going back then to Romans chapter one, verse two, what Paul is saying here is that this message of Christ crucified is what the prophets had been saying all along.

You just need to know your scriptures in order to see it. Now, as you move on in chapter one, Paul states that he is eager to preach the gospel. This gospel which is consistent with the prior revelation of God. In Romans chapter one, verse 16, we read this. For I am not ashamed of the gospel.

Do you see, beloved, the link between verse one and verse 16? I'm set apart for the gospel of God which was promised beforehand through his prophets and the holy scriptures. I'm not ashamed of that gospel which is a reverse way of saying I'm proud of the gospel. I delight in preaching the gospel.

I'm not ashamed of it. I proclaim it gladly and freely. And he says I'm not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it, for in the gospel in other words, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith. As it is written, the righteous shall live by faith. And then he goes on to say in verse 18, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Now let's slow down a bit here. Paul says I'm here to preach the gospel. It's the gospel that was revealed beforehand by the prophets. I'm not ashamed of that gospel. Why am I not ashamed? Well, it's the power of God. Why would I be ashamed of the power of God? This gospel is unto salvation. It is the message that brings spiritual deliverance of men and women from the bondage of Satan and of sin. Why would I be ashamed of the gospel?

When it's from God, it's powerful and it accomplishes this result. And this is a gospel, why would I be ashamed of it? This is a gospel for everyone who believes. Anyone anywhere in the world can hear the gospel and know that it is for them. If you are here and you are not a Christian, I can assure you the gospel is for you because it's available to everyone who believes. I'm not ashamed of the gospel. And then he expands on that.

He gets more specific. Everyone who believes, Jew and Greek alike. That was a comprehensive description of humanity. This gospel, it's in this gospel, verse 17, where the way of God's righteousness is made known.

Why would I be ashamed of it? It's consistent with what was written in the past. The righteous shall live by faith, quoting from Habakkuk 2.4. And then he goes on, continuing on, I'm not ashamed of the gospel. I want to preach it. Why do you want to preach it, Paul? Verse 18, four.

There's another expansion of his reasoning here. I want to preach the gospel. I'm glad to preach the gospel because the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. The gospel alone is the answer to the collapse of society that we see around us, speaking in first century terms. Paul says, we see the wrath of God manifested by the way society is going.

What I am preaching to you, I'm not ashamed of it because it is the one thing that can deliver man from the wrath that is around him and upon him. And so it's invigorating to see this. This is wonderful to see and to contemplate. And Paul goes on. He's given us a sense of the gospel. It's in accordance with promises previously made.

And now what we're going to start to see is how those promises were kept. Paul, having introduced the subject matter of the wrath of God, look at Romans chapter three, verses 19 and 20 as you turn there. Mankind in general and every man, woman and child in particular, they're all lost, separated from God, guilty before the bar of his justice.

Paul spent the intervening chapters, the end of chapter one, two and through three in order to establish this point. Verse 10, he said, none is righteous, no, not one, no one understands, no one seeks for God. And in verse 19, we read this chilling condemnation of all of humanity. Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law so that every mouth may be stopped and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law, no human being will be justified in his sight since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

This idea of works producing salvation, utter impossibility cannot happen. That's why the true gospel is so critical and so essential to protect no matter what because the guilt of man is universal. The law condemns everyone for their sin and thereby teaches every man to close his mouth and to hold his tongue before the holiness of God.

There is nothing to say in our own defense. There is nothing that you can say in your own defense before God about your sin. You are guilty before him apart from Christ. Now, we take great encouragement by the fact that we know that Paul didn't stop there. We know that Paul's going to go on and show forth the gospel and the means of deliverance that God has provided from that guilty, sinful, lost, and separated condition, and that's what he does in verse 21.

He now makes a hard pivot. He has conclusively established the guilt of every man, woman, and child, Jew and Gentile alike, in the first three chapters through verse 20. Now he's going to talk about this gospel which he introduced in verse one.

I'm set apart for the gospel of God. Now he's getting into the gospel portion after the law has done its work in convicting us. And look at what he says in verse 21.

But now, sharp contrast. Works can't save you at all, no possibility. Any works-based religion is false by definition. But now, Paul says, the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, meaning that the way to find the righteousness of God applied to you has been made known. And look what he says there in verse 21. We don't find righteousness by working our way and keeping the law.

We don't do that, but he says this. Although the law and the prophets bear witness to it. That's what I want you to see, that last clause there. Although the law and the prophets bear witness to it. Paul is saying, this gospel that I preached to you is something that the law and the prophets bore witness to all along.

Do you see what's starting to happen here? Paul said in the opening two verses, the gospel was promised beforehand through the prophets. Now we see him circling back to that very same theme in chapter three, verse 21, the law and the prophets bear witness to it. Where do we find hope?

Is there any more important question? If we're all guilty of sin, if we're all condemned by God, then where do we find forgiveness? Where do we find release? Where do we find objective peace with God and the forgiveness of our sins if we cannot achieve it on our own? What Paul is saying here in this phrase, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, he's saying this. And what he's starting to establish with this repetition is this point right here that I'm about to make. From centuries ago, going back a millennia, going back two millennia to the era of Abraham even, for all of that time, God's servants, his prophets had been telling us what to expect. Deuteronomy 18, 15, God will raise up a prophet. When he comes, listen to him.

Be looking for one to come. And so Paul says here as he pivots to the gospel once more, he says the law and the prophets bear witness to what I'm about to say. And beloved, as Paul spoke, he was not speaking as an independent authority in disregard to everything that came before. Paul was speaking in the flow of revelatory history. He was saying things that were consistent with what God had been saying through the prophets all along. And he goes through and he explains the gospel. He speaks about justification, sanctification, glorification. He speaks about how it applies to Israel.

He gives practical instruction. And that takes you up to chapter 15. Turn to Romans chapter 15, verse four with me. Romans chapter 15, verse four. And understand that all we're doing here right now all we're doing is highlighting how much the apostle Paul emphasizes that his teaching in Romans is built on the foundation of what was previously revealed.

That's all we're doing. We're not talking about the content of it, the particulars. We're just wanting to see how woven throughout his entire argument is this pointing back to prior authority so that he says in Romans chapter 15, verse four, for whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction that through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. The gospel was promised beforehand. Romans chapter one, verse two. The law and the prophets testified to the manifestation of the righteousness of God. Romans chapter three, 21 and 22. Here in Romans 15, verse four, he points back yet again to what was written in former days.

Paul began on the note of the foundation of the Old Testament. He has sustained that note as he's worked his way through, and I'm even skipping over other things that I could point you to that would show this. For example, in Romans chapter four, he uses Abraham and David as examples of justification by faith, and so he incorporates and he weaves in Old Testament illustrations as he makes known the gospel that has now been fulfilled in Christ. So he began on that note, he sustains that note, and now we see that he ends on this self same note.

It is astonishing to see this if you're seeing it for the first time. Look at the closing verses of Romans 16, beginning in verse 25. Romans 16, verse 25. Paul says, now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel, there it is again. It begins with gospel, it ends with gospel. It began with a gospel promise beforehand by the prophets.

Keep reading. According to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages, but has now been disclosed, and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations. This gospel has been disclosed, and through the prophetic writings it's been made known to all nations according to the command of the eternal God to bring about the obedience of faith, to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ, amen. The gospel of Jesus Christ, beloved. Romans is bookended with this point that we're making.

It opens the first bookend. I know I'm repeating myself incessantly here. The gospel promised beforehand. It ends with the gospel. It's made known through the prophetic writings.

Everything in between is premised on an understanding of the way the entire book has been framed. That we would see that this is built on what was made known in the Old Testament. Romans, promises made, promises kept. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit, and here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, my friend, before we go after today's broadcast, I just want to invite you to look me up on Facebook, Don Green on Facebook.

I often make original posts. I make comments about ministry and other matters of biblical importance there that do not make their way into this broadcast. And so if you are on Facebook, I invite you to join me. Look for Don Green and join us on Facebook for another way to connect with our 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 / 2024-03-22 05:00:33 / 2024-03-22 05:12:31 / 12

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