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Christianity Today #2

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

Christianity Today #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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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. Corinthians 4, the Apostle Paul says this, and he says, even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 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. How desperate is the unbelief? How desperate is the spiritual condition? The unsaved man has a heart that is in rebellion against God, does not have the spiritual capacity to understand, rightly appraise, or respond to the truth of the gospel.

And on top of that, Scripture says he's spiritually dead and trespasses and sins, dead men don't do anything. On top of that, they're encased in this dungeon of darkness from which there is no escape and there is no key of the way out. That dungeon is guarded by a supernatural foe called the devil, the adversary, and Satan himself, who actively hinders the light of the gospel from reaching into the dark dungeon of that human heart. That's a problem.

That's a problem. And all of the easy preaching, all the easy believism that is peddled in the name of Christ today, it has to neglect, ignore, and overlook that, knowing that, number one, it's not popular truth and people won't gather around in big crowds to hear that. And it just exposes the emptiness of the promises that they make to those who hear and are trusting them to lead them to God. It's so sad.

It's so wrong. And yet this is clear all over Scripture. Now, beloved, it's always been this way since the fall of Adam, and when the apostles preached in the first century, they were preaching to men who had the same condition of heart that we're describing here today.

This is a common thread throughout humanity. It's a common chain that binds all men into darkness with a common God of this world who actively hinders the preaching of the gospel. This is hopeless, humanly speaking.

This is hopeless. And yet, beloved, as you read the book of Acts, you see the apostles preaching with supernatural confidence. They were marked out by the boldness with which they spoke even though they were uneducated and untrained men. Why were the apostles so confident? And why did they not find their mission to be impossible? They knew these things that we're talking about.

They wrote them to us. Why did they not just close up apostolic shop and go back to fishing? That brings us to our second point this morning. Second point is the reality of supernatural power. The reality of supernatural power. Beloved, Scripture says that the things that are impossible with men are possible with God. What's impossible with men is possible with God. And as we look at so many things, as we look at the biblical record and see the explosion of Christianity in the early church, we have an answer. As you look, if you're a true Christian and you look at your own testimony and how you were once dead in sin and now you are alive with God, how did that happen? The only sensible answer, the only thing that explains and ties all of these things together in a way that lets us move forward toward eternity and to minister in the name of Christ and to preach the Word of God with confidence, with power, and with authority, the only sensible answer is found in the New Testament, and the answer is this, is that the gospel advances and succeeds only by supernatural power that is not resident in humans and which is not subject to human control. So that when Jesus Christ in his great commission sent the disciples out to preach the gospel, to make disciples of all the nations, he ended on this note when he said, Behold, I am with you always even to the end of the age, Matthew 28 verse 20. Christ says, I'm sending you out to preach the gospel, your audience is going to be filled with people and dominated by people who are dead in sin, dominated by the devil, and doomed to suffer the wrath of God.

It's an impossible mission that I'm giving to you, but there's more to it than that. Christ said to those apostles, he said, I'll be with you as you go. This Christ who rules the seas, who created the heavens and the earth, who stopped storms with his spoken word, who raised the dead, who healed the deaf, who gave sight to those born blind, that Christ of demonstrable proven supernatural power.

We looked at this also a few months ago as part of this greater series that we're preaching. You start to see how all of this is necessary to build a Christian mind. The Christ raised from the dead, the Christ who did miraculous work, told those disciples, go, and he said, and I'll be with you as you do. So that the supernatural power of Christ was attending the ministry of the apostles as they preached. And that need for supernatural power is why God sent the Holy Spirit. Look at Acts chapter 2.

The reality of supernatural power, the need for supernatural power, explaining how human deadness and satanic blindness is overcome for the advance of the gospel in a way that mere historical facts cannot accomplish. Acts chapter 2 verse 1. When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all gathered together in one place, and suddenly there came from heaven a sound, like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as a fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterances. And the tongues there are known human language, not spiritual babble, as you see as you read later in Acts chapter 2, as a diverse group of people from many geographic regions say, we're hearing them preach in our own language.

These men who were fishermen, untrained, uneducated, suddenly speaking in a language that they had never studied or spoken before. Supernatural power being poured out upon the early church for the proclamation of the gospel. And we don't have time to go through all of Acts chapter 2, just jump over to Acts chapter 36 as Peter, preaching, now filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with supernatural power that is at work in the hearts of his audience as shown by the fact that they recognize their own languages being spoken. In verse 32, we read, this Jesus God raised up and of that we are all witnesses. Being therefore exalted to the right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. Jump down for the sake of time to verse 36.

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. Now, this was supernatural preaching about a supernatural Christ under the power of the supernatural Holy Spirit, and the result of that was that the problem in the hearts of men as they heard, their deadness, their blindness, their spiritual domination by the devil, the whole problem of unbelief, controlling unbelief in the heart, now is being addressed by something that belongs to God and God alone. In verse 37, when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, brothers, what shall we do?

The chains of Satan surrounding the dungeon broken. The dungeon itself busted into, light pouring into their hearts as they realized that they had just in recent days crucified their own Messiah, that there was guilt upon their souls, that Christ was the one appointed by God to be the savior of mankind. They say, what do we do? The Spirit of God having pierced them, the Spirit who had just arrived, anointed the preaching of Peter, now working in the hearts as shown by the attitude of response.

Brothers, what shall we do? Peter said to them in verse 38, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Spirit will come and indwell you, in other words, for the promises for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. And with many other words, notice that that wasn't all that Peter said, he spoke to them for a long period of time as I'm doing today. With many other words, he bore witness and continued to exhort them saying, save yourselves from this crooked generation. In other words, exercise faith in this Christ that has been preached to you so that you can be delivered by him.

In verse 41, so those who received his word were baptized and they were added that day about 3,000 souls. How does Christianity advance in the light of supernatural opposition and spiritual deadness? Christ himself is present as the word is preached. The Spirit of God himself has gracious influence on unbelieving hearts. He inwardly changes them and redirects and inclines and gives them a new heart that empowers them to believe.

Beloved, Jesus Christ rose from the dead not only for the sake of 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ lives today. Jesus Christ is a living presence in the room right now, making himself known through the preaching of his word. And in his grace, he calls sinners just like you to come to him. In his grace, he promises sinners just like you that if you'll simply come, repent, that he will meet you in your repentance and faith. He will receive you into his kingdom. Christ does for sinners what they cannot do for themselves. During his earthly life, he kept the law of God in a way that none of us have or none of us could do.

At the cross in our place, he suffered the penalty of sin, which is death. And now the glory of the gospel is this, that for those who turn from sin to this risen Christ, truly turn, truly turn from sin, truly receive him. Not playing games anymore, not mouthing words of a prayer that someone else put on your lips that has no reflection of what's going on in your own heart. Not going through outward forms, outward motions, not trusting in a priest to absolve you of your sins, mortified at the thought of a plaster statute of Mary having anything to do with your salvation. Turning away from dead idols like that to the living Christ with a broken heart full of confession of sin saying, God, save me, the sinner.

For one like that, God graciously accepts all that Christ has done as though they themselves had done it. Christ having suffered the penalty of sin for the one who puts faith in Christ, God says, the merits of the death of Christ, I apply to your account. The merits of his perfect righteousness, I apply to your account. You have everything that is necessary to enter into my kingdom. So much so, beloved, that death holds no longer any fear for us. That is the greatest gift that God could give us in this earthly life, to know that we can face the judgment seat of God without fear.

Everything else is secondary vanity by comparison to that. What we deserve has not come to us. It fell on Christ. And now all that belongs to Christ, all of his righteousness, all of his goodness, all of his promise, all of his blessing, all of it belongs to those who will simply believe in him. Thirdly, that brings us to the invitation of Christ.

The invitation of Christ in light of everything that we've heard. My friends, God has brought us together here today to hear in unambiguous terms these truths. The biblical gospel is not fiction. It is true.

It is reality. It is the way things really are, even though it is contrary to the spirit of our age. There is no other name given under heaven among men by which we must be saved. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Now Christ comes freely and truly to those who deserve only judgment and condemnation and says, Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Those of us who trust in him find certainty in him, not fiction, not empty promises.

What we find in Christ so transcends everything that we experience on earth. How many of you have been brokenhearted by people that broke faith with you? How many of you have been brokenhearted standing at the grave of a loved one, especially those that you don't know went to heaven when they died?

How many of you have been brokenhearted by people you trusted, by turns of fortune that went against you, and just seeing the emptiness and the unreliability of life and men in general, even the best intentioned of them, let us down eventually, leave us eventually, and one day we'll be the one leaving? There is nothing in this world worthy of you clinging to, hoping in, that would keep you from Christ. Jesus said in John chapter 5 verse 24, Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.

He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. And so, my friends, every one of you, every one of you, faced with this eternally momentous gospel, in this eternally momentous instant, with hell breathing down your neck, Christ comes as a deliverer and gives an invitation and a promise that you must answer and respond to. Jesus said in John chapter 7 verses 37 and 38, If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. A command, he says, come to me.

A promise, come to me and out of your heart will flow rivers of living water. Beloved, this is the moment of salvation. This is the day of salvation. You can bring nothing to Christ, no merit of your own, no good works, nothing of the sort. All you can bring to Christ is your desperate need for him. And the cry of that publican in Luke 18 that says, Be merciful to me, the sinner, in light of all you've said in your word, in light of all of the truth that has been poured into my heart, in light of all of the accountability that comes, O Christ, O Lamb of God, I come. I come to thee and to thee alone. My dear friends, you have heard the truth in Christ today. And now the living Christ, by the power of his Holy Spirit, offers himself to you freely and without cost. Will you respond in repentance and faith? May God make it so for each one of you.

Let's pray together. O Christ, human words are so feeble and ineffective to communicate the urgency of the gospel, the truth of the gospel, and the eternal ramifications of the things that we've heard today. Human words are feeble.

Human hearts are unable, distracted. That is why, Father, we are so grateful that it does not depend upon human wisdom or human power or human insight. We commit the things that have been said from this pulpit for the past many months and from the past hour, we commit them all to you and pray that by the greatness of the power of the Holy Spirit, you would open hearts to repent and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ today. And Father, that you would look not only on the rank unsaved that need this grace, but Father, that you would look on those that have heard the truth, perhaps professed faith in Christ, perhaps been baptized, perhaps shown outward signs of a spiritual influence, but now walk in darkness and hardness and indifference and, oh God, we can't look into their hearts to know what the reality is.

Only you do. We pray, Father, we pray that you would have mercy on those whose faces come to our mind, on those whose lives we know and love, Father, represented by so many scores of people in this room with their own faces and memories and heart concerns. Father, look on it all. Look on our grieving hearts and have mercy on those that we love, even as Paul grieved over the Jews and said that I could wish myself accursed and separated from Christ if only the Jews would be saved. Father, with like desire, with like concern, with like passion, we pray in the name of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit for your work to fall upon each one of us. With power, oh God, a power that belongs only to you, the things possible to you, may the fullness of this be unleashed in our midst. As we contemplate the conclusion of our time together, help us by your grace. Not according to our merit or our deserving, but according to the love, Father, that you have for your own blessed Son and for the sake of the meritorious life and death that He lived on behalf of sinners throughout the world, Jew and Gentile alike. We ask, Father, because we can do no else.

We ask because we cannot make it happen. We ask for your glory and for the sake of sinners everywhere. For you, as you poured out grace on the early church in Acts 2, that you would pour out grace upon us today. In Jesus' name, amen. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit.

And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, my friend, there is no substitute for reading the Word of God for yourself and spending the time day by day going through the Bible in a systematic way so that you have a full exposure to everything that the Word of God says. It's remarkable the way the Spirit of God works through the Word to minister to our hearts in that way. And to help you do that, we have a couple of different Bible reading plans available on our website, thetruthpulpit.com. If you would go to thetruthpulpit.com, click on the link that says About, you'll find a sublink there that takes you to two different Bible reading plans that you can choose from. It's free, it's there available to help you in your reading of God's Word, and I know that the Spirit of God will use that in your life if you're not used to reading God's Word on a regular, systematic basis. Make this the day that you start something new and move in that direction, and join us again next time here on The Truth Pulpit as we continue teaching God's people God's Word. 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 / 2024-05-20 05:04:37 / 2024-05-20 05:12:52 / 8

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