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Seeing the Father in Christ #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
April 17, 2024 12:00 am

Seeing the Father in Christ #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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April 17, 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, for those of you that are joining us for the first time or perhaps have not been with us for a while, we're in the middle of probably a year-long study that we've titled Building a Christian Mind. And the goal of our study is to help people understand the most fundamental principles of biblical thinking so that they would understand how to respond to God, respond to the times in their lives, and to prepare themselves for eternity. We've seen without question from Scripture the existence of God, and we looked at a number of different factors that support that. We live in a universe that God created and that God is present in. We are neither alone in the universe, which is a great comfort to know that there is a God who is directing the course of events to His own glory and for our good.

And yet, at the same time, we are not living in a way where there is no accountability. There is a God, and He will be a judge at the end of the age. We will all stand before Him and give an account for what we have done with His Word, how we have responded to Christ, and how we have lived our lives. Every moment of every day is building toward that ultimate accountability before God.

And it's that and that alone which gives meaning to our lives. God will judge us. God will assess us. God will evaluate us.

For those that are in Christ, God will reward us for the pattern of life faithfulness or unfaithfulness, as the case may be. It's important for us to know these things, beloved. And to have a mind that operates with a theistic sense from the very beginning leads you in a very different trajectory of life than to ignore that or to disbelieve it and suppress it in your mind.

This leads you in entirely different directions as far as the difference between West and East may be found. So while some of these things may seem to be so simple, and I sympathize with those who say, Why do you spend so much time in even reviewing it so constantly? It's because it's so fundamental. If you believe that there is a God and you fear him, you will live a much different life and you will have a much different assessment of the world around you than if you're indifferent to that. If there is a holy God who reigns, if there is a holy God to whom you must one day appear and give an account, you will live differently. Or you will seal an even greater judgment by ignoring the things that are so ready and so evident to be applied to your soul.

This is so fundamental, to know these things and to think through them. Then we had the blessed privilege for a number of weeks of looking at the authority of Scripture, knowing that the Bible is true, receiving it on the authority of Jesus Christ himself, that the Bible is true and accurate in faith, doctrine, morals, history, geography, every area to which it speaks and affirms, to know that the Bible is true in all of its fullness. And we receive that on the authority of Jesus Christ and we disregard and we reject those men and those with scholarly credentials who would undermine the Scriptures. We don't accept that. We reject that because we receive the Word of God on a higher authority than that. We receive it on the highest authority in the universe, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. He affirmed the Old Testament.

He said, not a jot or a tittle of it will fall. He prepared the way for the New Testament as he commissioned his apostles to go out and promised them the help of the Holy Spirit to record his words and his word for future generations, to rightly interpret the person and work of Christ for the benefit of the church until he returns. Now who can stand and challenge Christ in that way? Who can stand and reject Christ and undermine his word?

It's a great sin to undermine the confidence of little ones in the authority of Scripture. And so we spent time there. God exists. The Bible is true. And what we've been looking at and we're about to conclude this week is the Lordship of Christ. We've looked at a number of different Scriptures considering the Lordship of Christ.

It's been a blessed privilege to do these things even though it has taken time and there's been interruptions. Beloved, those of you particularly that are at Truth Community Church on an ongoing basis, it's my prayer for you that these things would sink in very deeply to your hearts because this is essential to thinking rightly as a Christian, as having a Christian mind. And the longer that we go in ministry, we as elders have talked about this, we realize that there is a reality that ministry takes place in. You know it theoretically, stepping into ministry, then you live in ministry and you go for a few decades and then you see it experientially. But it's so easy, and I speak this earnestly to every one of you here in the room today, it is so very easy to confess these things outwardly without them being real in your heart. It's so very easy to confess Christ in a superficial way and yet to be guided by such worldly thinking, to be sucked into a worldliness, to be sucked into a humanistic approach to living, a materialistic approach to life, a superficial approach to life that is just concerned about making money and making friends and without any real serious thought of God, of Christ, or living and being committed to Him, and how to serve Him and to serve His people.

And over time that plays out and it becomes evident. It's sad and I don't mind telling you that over the years, you know, there's some scars. There's some scars from feeling the sorrow of people that you thought were walking with Christ and then they turn away. And in the subsequent outworking of their lives, you realize there was no conversion there at all.

Someone you welcomed and loved as a brother or sister in Christ and it wasn't real, as shown by their worldly thinking that led to and was proven out by worldly living. It's heartbreaking for a pastor. It's heartbreaking for elders to watch that take place. It's heartbreaking, trust me, trust me, it's heartbreaking to hold people in your arms in the waters of baptism after they've confessed Christ and you lay them in the water and you bring them out, people applaud, so encouraged by the testimony, and then maybe a short time, maybe a few years later, to see them walk away, to see them godless, to see them openly proclaiming their homosexual lifestyles or their, you know, their hatred for the things of God.

There's no measuring the earthly sorrow of that. You know, I keep records, keep a lot of ministry records that will be quickly deleted when I'm gone, but they matter to me and I have a record of every one that I've ever baptized. You know what the truth of the matter is? This goes back to California, not just here at Truth Community Church. The truth of the matter is, as I've watched those people over the years and some in decades to follow, easily 50% of them today show no evidence of being Christians. All you can do as a pastor, as elders, as church leadership is take people at face value and to baptize them on the testimony that they give, and you receive that in good faith because we can't look into the heart to see whether it's real or not. We look for a confession of the gospel, some evidence of repentance and faith, something in the life that shows that it's real, but Scripture warns us. And I say this not to recall and to rehearse disappointments in ministry, but for the benefit of your souls, beloved, and to warn you and to caution you, to examine yourself to see whether you be in the faith. Because Scripture tells us in the parable of the sower, that there will be seed that falls on different kinds of ground, and sometimes it falls on shallow ground and it sprouts up and it looks so promising.

But the cares of the world come and choke it out and it shrivels up and it shows that nothing ever took root. Other times people receive it with joy, but Satan comes and snatches it out before it has any fruit. And so the reality of spiritual life for every one of us in the room today, and those of you listening on the live stream and listening on the video later on, the reality that every one of us has to face is that there is really such a thing as a false conversion of outwardly confessing Christ in a superficial way without having really experienced the new birth, the regeneration that comes only from the Holy Spirit. Maybe it's children that grew up in a Christian home and just assumed these things without having ever really felt the weight of their sin. Maybe it's those superficially attracted to something of the power and authority of biblical preaching and see that and like that and yet never take it to heart and apply it to themselves. It's so common, particularly in the kind of age that we live in in our American society, so common for people of a politically conservative bent to come and hear things of righteousness that seem to align with their politics and to love preaching for that reason and to think that they're Christians because they have political views that align with ethical teaching of Scripture, having missed the most fundamental point, which is the lordship of Christ and being personally submitted to him, repentant before him, and embracing him by faith and having a new life and a new love coming out of their heart because of the work of the Holy Spirit within them. Well, beloved, I'm giving you yet another defense of this long series that we're doing, Building a Christian Mind.

It's only when fundamental principles are deeply embedded, deeply ingrained in your mind and governing the motions and affections of your heart that you can ever begin to assess these things and interpret them and discern them for how they apply to yourself. You know, I said this before, sometimes things come to me as I'm preaching that I say and then I say, I want to say that again. I hadn't planned that, but I like that. I want to say it again. In Matthew chapter 7, verses 21 through 27, Jesus says that there will be many who come to me on the day of judgment saying, Lord, Lord, did we not? And I'll say, Depart from me. I never knew you. Now, look. Look, as one who's been given a stewardship of a ministry of the Word of God and stewardship along with other elders of concern for your soul and what happens to you eternally, even if you don't care, we do, I do, I care what happens to you eternally, even if you're indifferent and cold to it. But speaking to those who profess the name of Christ and superficially call Jesus Lord, I want to remind you that Jesus said there will be many on that day that he will say, Depart from me. I never knew you.

Now, look. And what I said in the past is that if Jesus had said there'll be some, I wouldn't be so exercised about it. If he said there will be a few, so be a little bit careful about it, I wouldn't trouble you with these impassioned pleas for you to examine your heart and to go earnestly before God and say, God, where am I in Christ? Is my salvation real or not? If he had said a few, if he had said some, occasionally this will happen.

I wouldn't waste your time. But beloved, he said many. He said many. He looks out on the scope of the future of the church age. He looks out over the course of thousands of years of preaching and he says the conclusion of all of it will be there will be many and you will be shocked on the day of judgment to be sent away. It's one thing to live as a pagan and to have no care for the things of God. It's one thing to live in rebellion and to have your face set in stone against Christ. It's one thing to do that and then to go to hell.

You don't really have any surprises there. But beloved, to approach the judgment seat of Christ, to think that glory awaits you just on the other side and to see his hand set before you, stop. You shall go no further. Turn around and depart from me.

I never knew you. That's unthinkable. And he says it's going to be many. I don't know how many people are in the room here, 250, 260. What does many look like in those numbers? Which of your precious faces do I look on from a pulpit and yet I will not see in heaven?

It's unthinkable. And so what we have to realize is that today is the day of salvation, that today is the day that God has given us to contemplate the eternal destiny of our souls. And the only way that we can find a sure guide in these things is through the revealed Word of God in the pages of the Holy Scripture. And there are certain themes that rise up as you study the totality of Scripture, not simply isolated passages and focusing simply on little matters of lexical or grammatical things and missing the whole big picture of it all.

There are certain themes that we must have swept up in our thinking that dominate the way that we view life and view our souls. There is a God who is to be feared, who is present everywhere in the universe. This God has revealed Himself in His Word and has declared a gospel which alone can save you from your sins. At the center of that gospel is the Lord Jesus Christ. And so as we've considered His lordship in the past couple of studies, we've gone to the Gospel of John. We've seen from the Gospel of John that the Bible calls Jesus God, that Jesus does the works of God, that Jesus has the name of God, that Jesus shares the essence of God with Him. And so we look at these things and then we realize as the Scriptures present Christ to us, Scripture is presenting to us the supreme ruler of the universe. It presents Christ to us and sets Him apart. And until you've come to grips with the lordship of Christ, you're wasting your life. You're on a road that leads to destruction. Perhaps you superficially name Him as Lord, but you have no real heart desire for His Word, no real heart desire to worship Him, to live in submission to Him, to obey Him, to live as you see so often in ministry. But you don't see it at the time.

Subsequent events reveal it. People living double lives, showing up on Sunday, getting drunk on Saturday, being with the people of God one day, being in bed fornicating with someone on Wednesday. Do I speak to you directly for the comfort of some of you?

This is the way it is. And those double lives are the kinds of people that are going to be sent away. And if you know that you're harboring sin, you know that you're hiding sin in your life, beloved, you are in the greatest danger of them all. Having heard the gospel and living like that as a practical atheist, as though there were no God, my heart, my mind is overwhelmed with fear and concern for you.

And I know there's got to be people like that in the room right now. But what can a man do to convince people of these things, warn them in a way that they take to heart? It's beyond human power to do that.

I could speak until the cows come home and not make a difference to a hardened heart. It takes the work of the Spirit. It takes the work of God to overcome the bias and the prejudice and the hatred of the things that I'm saying. It takes a work of God to overcome those things and to lead a person to the truth. How does God do that?

How do we help men who hate the very things that are being said, how do we help them? We preach the Word of God and we ask the Spirit of God to use that. For faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.

That's the only hope. We stake everything on this Word. We stake everything on the Spirit and His promises to work through the Word to accomplish His will. And I say this not to be dramatic, not to be uncaring, but as Paul said, there comes a point where your blood's on your own head. If you don't hear the things of the Gospel and respond to them, your blood is on your own head. And to whatever extent that we're called as church leaders to testify at the end, did you preach the Word of God to this person?

Yes, I did. And then you're left without excuse. It's as if Christ would say, so you heard the Word and rejected it. You heard about your sin and you loved it more than the truth.

You heard about my shed blood and you despised it as something that was not for you that you did not want. How is the Lord of the universe going to respond to that kind of rebellion against Him? I ask you, what will happen to some of you when He sends you away unless you repent today? That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, thank you, Bill, and just before we close, my friends, I just want to let you know that this podcast is made possible for you by the generous support of many friends of our ministry. We're grateful for that, and if you have supported us, I want to say a special word of thanks to you for all that you've done to make this possible. And if you would like to join in the support of our ministry, you can do that so easily by going to thetruthpulpit.com.

That's thetruthpulpit.com. You'll see the link to give, and you can add your support to the others who make this possible for us. Thank you for whatever you do and whether you give or you don't give.

Know that our love and prayers are with you. Thank you for joining us. We'll see you next time as we continue to study God's Word together here on The Truth Pulpit. 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 / 2024-04-17 04:54:19 / 2024-04-17 05:02:12 / 8

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