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God and Truth: In That Order #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2024 12:00 am

God and Truth: In That Order #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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May 23, 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, the secular experts on public speaking usually will tell you that you have to say something really gripping and captivating in the first couple of minutes of your message or you'll lose your audience all the way through for the rest and you have to really come with something that really grabs their attention. I want to tell you today that I'm not going to do that. I don't like to play by the rules that others set, for one thing.

That's a whole other story. But I just want to tell you up front today that today's message is a slow plotting presentation of truth that is repetitive of things that I've said in the past. I know that doesn't necessarily stimulate you, but just stay with me. All of that's designed to make one simple point by the end of our time together this morning. But it's really perhaps the crucial point of them all. It is the crucial point toward human knowledge and discernment and walking with God and coming to a true knowledge of Christ. It's the central point of them all.

And so I think it's worth building the foundation to do that. The title of today's message is God and Truth in that order. God and Truth in that order. And you'll see the significance of that as we go along. We are building a Christian mind, and we've been doing that all year. And we have arrived at the sixth of a series of presentations in a thematic way that build a Christian mind. And the series that we're at, the sub-series that we're at right now, is how to know that truth exists. How to know that truth exists. And the idea is not simply here that the Bible is true.

We've already covered that. We're talking about is there such a thing as truth at all? Is there a principle of absolute transcendent truth that applies to all of humanity at all time in all places without exception? That is denied in our world today. But we assert what Scripture teaches that truth does exist. It's an abstract concept.

And I could sympathize to a large degree with those who struggle with this or perhaps are interested in more what seem to be more practical things. But my beloved friends, what I want to assure you is that there is no more practical question than this one, because everything flows from the existence of absolute truth. And what I want to do today, there is a measure of repetition and remembrance of things that we've said in the past, but I want to give you three points here this morning based on things that we've said and then working out some of the implications from them.

And let me just say this. My dear friends, it is essential for us to not only exegete the Scripture and exposit the Scriptures for what individual passages say. We have to be able to take those different passages, most of which we've taught in other settings, and bring it together, bring their truth in a synthetic way together so that we see how they fit together and how they help us interpret the world around us. That's really, really essential and perhaps is a sometimes missing element in Bible teaching to help us see how all of these things fit together. And what we're doing today is to help you see how everything fits together in the most fundamental way.

So we're going to look at, I'm going to give you the outline ahead of time. We're going to look, first of all, at the reality of revelation, the reality of revelation. Secondly, we're going to look at the reality of judgment, and then thirdly and finally, we're going to look to the response to revelation and judgment. The response to revelation and judgment. So the reality of revelation, the reality of judgment, the response to revelation and judgment points one, two, and three. That's what we're going to do, and we're going to joyously plod through these things together and come to a compelling conclusion that you would not reach unless you went through the process that we're going to go through this morning. So let's consider the reality of revelation.

And we go back to the very beginning of this series. We go back to the fundamental nature of human knowledge and human existence. We asked the question at the beginning, how do we know that God exists? How do we know that God exists? There has to be a better answer than what the hymn writer used to say, you ask me how I know He lives. He lives within my heart, a completely subjective, sentimental approach to things that does absolutely no good to anybody except to make us feel good and sugary for a little bit while we're singing a song like that. That does nothing to satisfy the human mind. I ask you how you know God lives, how Christ lives, and you say, oh, I know He lives in my heart. Well, what am I supposed to do when I'm living after you're dead? Then what is my hope and my assurance?

It's quickly exposed at how superficial those emotional things are. How do we know that God exists? And beloved, this is a review, this is all completely reviewed here. We know that God exists because God has made Himself known. We know God exists because God has made Himself known, which is independent of what you and I think about it, how we feel about it, or what anybody else says about it. God has made Himself known, and He has done so in several overlapping and complementary ways, overlapping and complementary ways. And this is the foundation of human knowledge with what we're saying right here.

The foundation of knowing that truth exists. Turn in your Bibles, please, to Psalm 19 with me. Psalm 19, and because we have covered these things in the past, I'm just going to allude to them ever so quickly, but we need to remember and recall these things as we move into the consequences of them. God has revealed Himself and made Himself known in creation. First of all, in Psalm 19, verse 1, we read that the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.

Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. Every time that we walk under the umbrella of the sky, every time that we breathe in the air, we are living and we are seeing the revelation and the manifestation of God. Scripture says that He has made Himself known in the heavens. And as a result of that, we know that God exists by the imprint that He has left on His creation that testify to the reality of His eternal power and divine nature. We know God exists because of creation. Now secondly, how else do we know that God exists?

We know that God exists through the canon of Scripture. The canon of Scripture, drop down to Psalm 19, verse 7. Psalm 19, verse 7, in a verse that literally invites every person to come into a deep knowledge of God. We read in Psalm 19, the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. That even simple, uneducated men can know the God of the universe through what He has revealed in His written law, in His written testimony to Himself. And so Scripture speaks that God exists and God has made Himself known through the Word.

Through the 66 books and no more of the Bible, in the Old and New Testaments, 39 books in the Old, 27 in the New, God has manifested Himself and made Himself known. Now everyone in this room either has a Bible or could easily have access to a Bible. There are Bibles under the seat in front of you.

You're free to take one home with you as a gift from our church. Now there's no reason for anyone in a position of having a Bible in their own language of saying to claim ignorance of God, to say that I don't know where to find God, that God has made Himself known in the creation in which you live and in a Bible which you can easily have in your own hands and read for yourself. The fact that most people don't take the time to read the Bible at all, the fact that even many professing Christians have never taken the time to simply one time read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation end to end and to read everything that God has to say, that's not an indictment against God for hiding Himself and making it difficult. It's an indictment on the indifference of man to the revelation of God. If we think we have something more important to do than to know God's revelation, then that's on us. It's not God's fault that our priorities are so out of skew. God's revealed Himself in creation and in the canon of Scripture.

Let's go further. Turn to the book of Romans chapter 2. Again, this is all review, hasty review.

We've done individual messages on all of these points. In Romans chapter 2, Romans chapter 2 in verses 15 and 16 for now, the apostle Paul is writing to the effect that God has made Himself known and that in Romans 1, 18 through chapter 3 verse 20, he's showing that all men are without excuse. Sometimes the question comes up and people think it's a really difficult question and how are you going to get out of this one, pastor? The question will come up, well, what about those that have never heard the gospel?

How is it fair for them to be judged? How can God be righteous and judge those that have never had a Bible and all of that? The people who asked that question almost exclusively all have a Bible of their own, so it's a red herring from the beginning, but even to their red herring, there is a clear answer from the Word of God about that. He says in verse 14, let's start there, Romans 2 verse 14, when Gentiles who do not have the law, even if they don't have the scripture, when they by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. In other words, what Paul is saying here is that even if someone does not possess the written word itself, there is another principle of law that is operative in their minds and in their hearts. They know basic moral principles from God because he wrote it on their hearts.

We see that in verse 15. By the way that they live, avoiding some behaviors and conducting others, verse 15, they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. You don't have to have a Bible to be under the judgment of God. God will judge those who have never had the law by the operations of their own conscience. By their operation of their own conscience, which is a law unto that person itself, people don't even keep the abide by their own conscience. That's why people have guilty consciences when they do that which they perceive to be wrong. And God will just judge by on that basis.

Without regard to the gospel, you're still guilty because God imprinted on the human heart a sense of his moral law of what he requires, and that principle is operating throughout all of humanity. God has revealed himself by that unifying principle of conscience that is present in all. Now, yes, people suppress their conscience. They sear their conscience. They violate their conscience.

They harden their conscience. But that's only to prove the point that you have to actively suppress that which God put in you in order to live in such abandoned sin. And so we see that God has made himself known in the farthest reaches of heavens in creation. He's made himself known in the 1,189 chapters of the English Bible. He's made himself known in the principle of human conscience.

And when you start to add these things up and we're not done yet, you start to realize, wow, there's no excuse. There's no excuse for living as though there were no God, for denying his existence. There's no excuse for not seeking to know him because he's made it so abundantly clear.

Now, you go further. You go further, and God has made himself known in Christ. Look at Hebrews chapter one with me. Hebrews chapter one, Hebrews chapter one, in the words of Francis Schaeffer, there is a God, and he is not silent. There is a God who is there. There is a God who is here, and he has spoken.

He is not silent. So in Hebrews chapter one, beginning in verse one, we read this, long ago at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets. Notice God spoke.

He has made himself known. He has declared himself, and he did so as the writer of Hebrews was writing. He had done it in the completed Old Testament canon, done it through signs performed by the prophets, as well as their spoken word in ministry.

But God went further than that. Verse two, in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom he created the world. Speaking of the Son, in verse three it says, he is the radiance of the glory of God, and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. God has spoken in Christ. God himself has entered into this world.

He walked in human flesh on the very globe upon which we ourselves walk, and for over 30 years he walked and manifested the character and the presence and the nature of God. And we have all that we need to know about that recorded for us in the Holy Scriptures, inspired by the Holy Spirit himself. God has spoken in Christ. You want to know God? Read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and see Christ, and realize that as you see Christ in the four gospels declared to you, you are reading about what God is like, and God in human flesh.

He's spoken. Twenty-eight chapters in Matthew, sixteen in Mark, twenty-four in Luke, twenty-one in John. There's plenty of revelation from God about Christ, and in Christ, revealing who God is through what you find written there.

John 20, verse 31, you know, these things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing in him you may have life in his name. God has spoken. Whatever else we do today as we cover these principles here, let's exonerate God. If we do nothing else, let's exonerate God from the blasphemous claim that he cannot be known and he hasn't, you know, he hasn't revealed himself in any way that people can find out. That's total bunk, it's total satanic deception, and it's something that no reasonable person should buy into. God has spoken.

He's made himself known in several overlapping and complementary ways. Now you're in the New Testament. Let's turn for a fifth and final point about the reality of revelation. God has made himself known in the conversion of sinners to Christ. Look at 2 Corinthians, chapter 4, 2 Corinthians, chapter 4.

And to set the context, we will read, beginning in verse 1, 2 Corinthians, chapter 4, verse 1. The apostle Paul says, 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. There you go, the conscience, the Word of God manifested to the conscience in the sight of God, that's what true biblical ministry is. Not all the programs, not the entertainment, not the personal stories, simply manifesting the Word of God clearly and appealing to the conscience of men to respond to it.

Ministry is not complicated in that way. Verse 3, and 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.

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. Now watch what we see in verse 6 as we talk about God having made himself known, God having revealed himself, God having spoken, this verse is key to the personal appropriation of it, you might say. Verse 6, for God, who said, let light shine out of darkness, has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. God through a work of the Holy Spirit and believers has shined the light of his knowledge, the knowledge of God into the previously darkened hearts and through the process of conversion has made himself known to those who believe in Christ.

The Spirit through the act of regeneration, the act of new birth, the act of the new creation, those are all synonyms, God makes himself known by saving sinners and making himself known to them in their hearts as the Spirit produces a response to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He's made himself known in conversion. You could, you know, if you viewed it collectively, you could say he's made himself known in the true church of Jesus Christ. But for our purposes today, creation, canon, conscience, Christ, conversion, many overlapping ways, many complementary ways that God has made himself known in a way that just testifies to the abundance of his grace of revealing himself to men who left to their own desires would not even want that revelation.

And so from the beginning of time to the farthest star, from the farthest star to the innermost recesses of the human heart in the conscience and in conversion, and then surpassing all of that in the incarnation, the coming in human flesh of God himself in the person of the lovely Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, who supremely revealed the justice and mercy of God as he suffered hanging on that cursed cross some 2,000 years ago. God is known. He's made himself known. From the beginning of time to the farthest star to the inner reaches of the heart to the person of Christ to the conversion of sinners, God is known. God is known. God is known. God is known. God is known. Now listen, as we're about to see in the second point here, it does not matter for the purpose of building and having a Christian mind, it does not matter that men stiffen their hearts against that. It does not matter that men stick their spiritual fingers into their spiritual ears and say, blah, blah, blah, I'm not going to listen.

That doesn't matter. The reality of revelation is that God has made himself known. He's made himself known abundantly, continuously, since the beginning of time, and in every moment of our existence, we are surrounded by the revelation of God making himself known.

Period, full stop, end of story. That's the reality of revelation. Now second point here, the reality of judgment. Now we start to get to where you and I have to think very carefully about the nature of humanity, the nature of human philosophy, the contradictions that men would quickly raise up against everything that I say here and have said here, more importantly, everything that God has revealed. Before we can adequately deal with the theme how to know truth exists, beloved, we have to think through what it means that God has made himself known in creation, in the canon, in conscience, in Christ, and in conversion. What are the implications of that? Let's put it this way, from God's perspective. The God who has made himself known and has gone to such great lengths in this revelation, what's the consequence, the implication of that from God's perspective?

Well, let's put it this way. Point number two, the reality of judgment, and let me kind of build up to this in my ongoing plotting way here this morning. I don't mind plotting at all if it's for your benefit, if a slow approach would help you absorb these things and have your mind anchored in truth so that you could teach your children and your grandchildren truth and that we could stand as a church against the tides and assaults of Satan against us. If the price to gain that gold, that wonderful goal is to plot a little bit from time to time, man, sign me up for plotting. That's worth it.

That's a goal worth attaining. So we go slowly as we say, well, what does all of this mean and what does the outworking of this mean? Remember, we're asking the question here, how do we know that truth exists, all right? How do we know that truth exists?

In light of everything that I've just said about the revelation of God, if you're going to write down, if you only want to take one or two pieces of notes here, this would be a place to take a good note. The pursuit of truth does not begin in the human mind. The pursuit of truth does not begin in the human mind. It does not begin in the heart of an intelligent by human standards philosopher. It does not begin in the heart and in the feelings of what you and I may think about it or what we may feel as we, you know, as you sit in a deer stand or as you walk on a beach or as you're communing with nature and you're thinking about whatever you think about. It doesn't begin, the pursuit of truth doesn't begin inside the heart and mind of man. It begins someplace else.

Follow me here. When you were born in the day of your mother's travail, to use a term I like to think, I like that term. In the day of your mother's travail, you entered into the world, right? Understand this, when you entered into the world, this is so basic, you entered into the world and you entered into a realm where God had already made himself known.

When you were born, all of this was already in place. And so you were, as it were, you were ushered in as a guest to the realm that God owns over which Christ is Lord. And so we start with understanding the realm into which we were injected, if I can put it that way, you start there and that has an immediate impact on the way that the Christian mind properly thinks. It means that you and I don't get to create our own reality.

The determination and establishment of truth is not a gift that was given to us for us to decide what we are going to do with it. You have to start with the fact that you entered into a realm where there was a pre-existing authority into which you were born into subjection, whether you liked that or not. You were not given a choice to be born under the subjection of this realm.

That's just the way it was. And God had every right to do it that way. If God creates, he gets to do it any way he wants to. And we enter into that realm. We enter into his realm, not our own. Now stay with me here.

Take another plodding step forward. Going back to other things that we've said in the past, God decreed our realm before the beginning of time. He established what the realm of creation, the realm of revelation would be before the beginning of time. And then he created the realm right at the starting point of Genesis 1-1. And since Genesis 1-1 and Genesis chapter 1, God has sustained the realm that he created based on the purpose that he determined before the foundation of the world. We've covered all of this.

This is nothing new. God decreed it before the beginning of time. He created it.

Now he sustains it. And one day, still future to us, God will consummate it. God will finish it. God will bring it to a conclusion according to what pleases him and what he has revealed and told us in advance would occur. From beginning to end, from eternity to eternity, God is over all.

Now, beloved, stay with me here. That is the non-negotiable starting point for answering the question, how do we know that truth exists? You and I have to understand that we cannot know truth or understand our existence whatsoever apart from the God who made us and made everything around us. You can't begin to know truth if you cut God out of the equation of his own creation and of the realm in which you exist. If you start apart from him, you're already in the realm of demonic deception. Now, with that said, you could picture a rebel, you could picture a state university professor of philosophy puffing on his pipe and looking condescendingly down on us rubes who would believe such things or even worse, teach such things, is what I'm saying here today. Here's what you and I need to understand as we consider the reality of judgment.

The reality, and here's the point, you get there eventually when you plod along. God who has revealed all of this has not revealed it in a way that leaves it free for us to decide as free agents whether we're going to take it or leave it. We don't have that freedom, not really, when you think about it in the context of everything because Scripture warns us repeatedly, warns us again and again and again that we have no excuse if we do not receive the revelation of God. And this is where it gets rather frightening. This is where the fear of God enters in. You see, in creation, in the canon, in Christ, in the conscience, in conversion, God isn't simply doing these things without any moral consequence attached to them. We will be held, you and I will be held strictly accountable for how we respond to all of this revelation. What we do with it, God will judge us for.

And Scripture could not be more clear about this than it is. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. 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 / 2024-05-23 04:59:03 / 2024-05-23 05:11:11 / 12

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