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Who Needs a Savior #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
June 4, 2024 12:00 am

Who Needs a Savior #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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June 4, 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. Turn in your Bibles to Ephesians chapter 2. For the text of this morning's message, Ephesians chapter 2, we have entered into the final stage of a series that we have been preaching since the middle of January, titled Building a Christian Mind. And for those of you that are visiting with us, we have covered how we know the existence of God, the authority of Scripture, the authority of Christ, the sovereign providence of God, the truth of Christianity, indeed the very existence of truth, those six.

And now we're at seven, which in an unrelated note is the biblical number for completeness. We arrive at the matter of how to know true salvation. We've kind of started this the prior two Sundays when we talked about the blood sacrifice of Christ at communion, the obedient life of Christ which fulfills all the law requires on our behalf. And on this past Tuesday, we started teaching from Ephesians 1 and considered the biblical doctrine of election, that God chose before the foundation of the world all those who would ever believe. Apart from any foreseen faith or any foreseen merit in them, based on his sovereign holy pleasure alone, God determined who would be saved before the beginning of time. Now that does not do away with the preaching of the gospel, it is through the preaching of the gospel that God awakens sinners to their sinful condition and leads them to saving faith in Christ. The God who appointed the end of whom would be saved appointed the means by which they would be saved. Scripture says how will they hear unless they have a preacher?

How will they believe unless someone tells them in Romans chapter 10? And that is what we are doing today and in the next few weeks on Sundays and at our midweek service on Tuesday at seven o'clock. Now on Tuesday, and I'll repeat this request here for those of you that identify with our ministry or members of our church, I made a plea, a request that those of you that know Christ and identify with our ministry would make a special effort, a special commitment to pray for the work of the Holy Spirit through these messages that we will be preaching today and in the next few weeks to come. As we speak about salvation that the Lord would be pleased to use this to draw souls to himself, just as we heard in the waters of baptism earlier this morning, it is not enough for us to go through the motions of gathering together Sunday and Tuesday and not wanting anything to change. We need to change as believers and sinners need to change and be converted to Christ. It's not enough for me to just impart information to you through Sunday by Sunday speaking messages and having you go out unchanged.

That's not enough. That's not why we do this. If it's just a matter of going through the motions, we should shut the doors and put the building for sale and disband. If we're not going to earnestly seek the work of God in our midst. And see, we can't do this. The things that we aim at, the sanctification of the saints, true conversion of sinners to Christ in a way that they truly repent and reject the world and repudiate family and friends if that's what it takes in order to have Christ, that's not a human work. That's not something that man can do on his own.

That's not in our power to do. Jesus said that this is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He has sent. It's a work of God. And so if we're going to see a work of God, we need to ask for that work of God. We need to join together corporately as the people of God confess perhaps our prior indifference and lukewarmness, thank Christ that He did not spit us out before now for our lukewarmness as He said He would do to the church of Laodicea in Revelation chapter 3, and to earnestly humbly come before Him and ask for His blessing on the work of the Word in a particular way over these next couple of months. I ask you whether you will join me in asking God for that.

Will you join with me throughout the week and ask God to have the Holy Spirit fall upon us to help us and to strengthen us and to manifest the glory of His might in ways that He's done in days of old. He sent revival in the past. He did it in Wales in 1904. He did it in our country before the Declaration of Independence. He did it through the ministry of Whitfield and others.

There's no reason why He can't do it now. It's the same God. It's the same gospel message. The need is the same. And it's our part, though we can't control the outcome, it's our part to ask. And to know that as we ask our Father to bless the preaching of His Word and to bring in other sheep into the fold, to know that when we ask our Father for good things of the Spirit, that He won't respond by giving us stones and snakes when we've asked for bread and fish, spiritually speaking. I ask you, will you join in praying quietly, privately, as I preach throughout the week as we seek the Lord for these things? But perhaps for some of you it's even a more desperate need than you even realize. Perhaps there will be an awakening in your own heart if you're conscious that you've been spiritually dull, spiritually dead, indifferent, cold, walking in sin, having no desire for the Word of God, the people of God, the Spirit of God, the men who explain the Word of God. You come and go without any real commitment to anything other than your own pleasure. Maybe you should be praying that the Lord would search your heart.

In fact, not maybe. You should be praying, asking the Lord, Lord, examine my heart, search me and see if there be any wicked way within me. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight. Wash me, cleanse me from my sin, and have a sense of desperation coming upon you. Maybe I've proclaimed Christ, confessed Christ, called myself a Christian, when actually I've been dead in sin all the time along. I was like that 40 years ago to this day. I was like that, claiming to be a Christian, thinking I was someone spiritual. I was a spiritual mess. I didn't love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind. I didn't care about Scripture. I cared about myself. I wasn't wholly like Christ.

I was an angry, lustful man, all the while calling myself a Christian. It happens. We had two testimonies today that were just like that. And that should put us on notice. I'm not pointing fingers at anyone. I'm speaking basic principles and sober words of truth. It should put us on notice that it is entirely possible to be completely, utterly deceived about whether you are in Christ or not. And it's particularly easy to be deceived in an environment where you were raised going to church, just assuming things, never really calling out to Christ under the conviction that you're a sinner in need of salvation. And beloved, the eternal consequences of being wrong, being deceived, are just unthinkable.

It's just unthinkable. Why would we spend weeks considering the topic, the theme from Ephesians 1 and 2, how to know true salvation? In part, we do it because the eternal consequences of dying in sin are just unimaginably bleak. Hell is real. Hell is painful. Hell is eternal. And hell is what every one of us deserve for our transgressions against a holy God.

And Jesus said, you must be born again to enter into the kingdom of heaven. You don't casually walk around indifferently and find yourself in heaven. The way is narrow.

The gate is small. You have to strive to enter the narrow gate, Scripture says. And I want to tell you, that's not the spirit of the evangelical church today. To strive, to plead, to examine self, it's a joke.

It's a clown show. An entertainment-based approach to so-called ministry is no ministry at all. Because we're called to humble ourselves before the Lord. Now with those things in mind, let me just state, let me just state a very basic thing about our Lord Jesus Christ and His ministry here on earth. Jesus Christ did not come as a social reformer.

There was plenty wicked in the first century world into which He stepped. The Roman Empire, I mean, they worshiped their emperors. It was full of degrading idolatry. Even the Jews had turned into superficial hypocrites who did not know the true meaning of the law of God that they taught. And so Christ did not come to fix things in society. And it is not the job of the church today to try to fix things in society.

Let the dead bury the dead. Christ came as a spiritual redeemer. He came as a savior to call individual men by name to Himself, and His call was to follow Me. Take up your cross, die daily, and follow Me. Repent and believe in the kingdom. Believe in the gospel. Mark chapter 1 verse 15.

And so in all of these things, beloved, what I want you to see is that we're not in the mode of business as usual here today or over the next couple of months. We realize we feel our weakness, we see the desperate need of the hour, we see that we have no power to accomplish the things that God would call us to accomplish, and so we cast ourselves upon Him. Corporately, as leaders of the church, we cast ourselves on this savior of ours, and I call on you to do it individually as well, to cast your own life and your own soul afresh on Christ.

And if you've been taking things for granted, and if the things, especially if the things that I'm saying here this morning sound utterly foreign to the way that you have approached life, then it's urgently desperate for you to consider the question that is the title of our message here this morning. Who needs a savior? Who needs a savior?

Why the fuss? Why this introduction? Who needs a savior?

We want to throw that question on the table and deal with it earnestly. Who needs a savior? And why do we need this study in this period of time in the church in order to have a Christian mind? Ephesians chapter 2 verses 1 through 5 will be our text for today and for next two or three Sundays as the Lord leads. Ephesians chapter 2 verses 1 through 5. The Apostle Paul says, And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind. 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. Those are the words that will occupy us for today and a few Sundays to come. I want to start by laying out to you the answer to the question, Who needs a savior?

And the answer is framed by this first reality. It's the universality of sin. The universality of sin. Before you can rightly understand the urgency of answering the question, Who needs a savior, we first must see the problem of sin, and that problem encompasses and infects everyone everywhere for all time.

This is a problem that we all have. Now, just to set the context, and by way of reminder, Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians, what we call the letter to the Ephesians, he wrote this letter to Christians. Look at chapter 1 verse 1.

Chapter 1 verse 1. He's writing to Christians. He's writing to the church, those that have been redeemed already in what he says here. In chapter 1 verse 1 we read, Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus. To be a saint is to be set apart in Christ. It's not someone who had attained a rare degree of holiness.

Every Christian is a saint, because every Christian has been set apart by faith in Christ and is separate from the world and now belongs to Him. And so he's writing to the saints when he says this, and he, as we saw on this past Tuesday, he opens with a long word of praise and blessing to the name of God for the generous way that He has saved believers in chapter 1 verses 3 through 14. Look at verse 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. See, those first verse and plurals, our Lord Jesus Christ, He's blessed us, He's writing to Christians. Paul is writing to the body of believers, the circle of the redeemed, and talking about the spiritual realities that belong to those that are in Christ Jesus.

That's who he's talking to. Now as we come to our text in chapter 2 verse 1, he looks back, he looks to the past, and he reminds us as Christians, he reminded his readers in the day, of what was true of them before Christ saved them. See, we're saved out of something. We don't obey our way into heaven because we're totally, completely lost, depraved, and sinful, and we cannot fix ourselves to make ourselves acceptable to God. That's fundamental to true Christianity.

A true Christian is someone who is poor in spirit, not boasting in His goodness. Rachel mentioned that in her testimony, didn't she? She said, I thought I was good, but did you hear what she said?

I was not. I had a black heart. That's the true testimony of everyone who has ever been redeemed because of the reality that everyone is joined together in the universality of sin. Look at chapter 2 verse 1 with me. Paul says, and you were dead in the trespasses and sins. He says, you're Christians now, but you used to be dead in trespasses and sins and dead men can't do anything.

Dead men have no spiritual life. And so he's telling them what they were before their conversion, here in these first three verses, he's telling them what they were before their conversion for a purpose, so that they would understand something critical to the nature of Christian life. He wants them to see the contrast between their former death, spiritual death and sin, and the life that they now have as Christians in Christ. And so he says, he addresses them as saints, and then he does a flashback, you might say, and says, let's go back to where you were before you were in Christ.

You were dead in your trespasses and sins, every one of you. He kind of expands on that theme in Ephesians chapter 4, if you'll turn to chapter 4 and verse 17. And actually before we get to chapter 4 verse 17, take a stop at chapter 2 verse 12 and verse 11. In verse 11, he says, therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision which is made in the flesh by hands. He says, remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

He's writing to people who were Gentiles that were now Christians, and he says, you've got to remember the way things used to be. Before you came to Christ, you were separated from Him. You were lost. You had no hope whatsoever.

The promises that God made to the Jews in the Old Testament had no bearing on you. You were cast adrift on the sea in the beating sun of judgment coming down upon you with nothing to drink to slake your thirst. That's what you were like. You were dead in trespasses and sin, separated from God, alienated, and without hope in the world.

Every person in the world is born into that condition. He goes on in chapter 4 verse 17, and he reminds them again. He kind of circles back to this theme again and again. And in chapter 4 verse 17, he says, now this I say and testify in the Lord that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of heart.

They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. This is the condition of mankind lost in sin. And so in chapter 2 verse 1, when he says you were dead in your trespasses and sins, he's reminding them of the past reality of their spiritual lives. Now beloved, listen to me.

This is really important. It is important for you to have one of two things really clear in your mind. Either that, it is clear to you that you are in Christ, and that condition of spiritual death is a past tense situation for you, and that it's clear to you that you've been born again, or to realize that if you are walking in darkness and that you are really indifferent to Christ and have no desire for the things of God, that the realities that he speaks of a past tense for Christians is the present tense reality for you. You're dead in trespasses and sins. You're alienated from God.

You have no hope. You're callous and facing eternal judgment. Now, as you read on in chapter 2 verse 1, he goes on and expands the nature of that spiritual death, the trespasses and sins.

We'll talk about that in a moment. But he says you were dead in verse 2, in which you once walked, the trespasses and sins in which you once walked. You followed the course of this world, following the prince of the power of air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.

This is the very nature. This is exactly the essence of someone who is not a Christian. And then he expands it to include, he goes beyond the, he goes beyond and he just expands it to the entire human race. It's not just the Christians at Ephesus that he's addressing. He's describing universal spiritual realities that apply to all of mankind. Verse 3, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath.

Here it is like the rest of mankind. Gentiles and Jews alike were dead in sin. All had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. You can read in Romans 1 and in Romans chapter 2 how Paul brings out this point that even though the Jews had a particular benefit of being the recipients of the promises of God and the temple worship and all of those things and the revelation was given to them, they were still dead in sin and they still needed new life. They needed forgiveness. They were lost in sin just as much as the Gentiles. Now the Jews hated to hear stuff like that. Just like people today hate hearing anything that tells them anything other than they're the finest thing that's ever walked on the face of the earth. The spirit of the world caters to our pride.

It caters and it flatters us and tells us that not only are we not so bad, we're actually pretty good and God's going to be really happy to have us with him in heaven and, you know, you just need a little bit of instruction to bump you up and be a little bit better than you were yesterday. None of that's true. None of that's true. You must be born again. You're dead in trespasses and sins and as, you know, you can summarize these three verses in Ephesians with a label from each verse. The reality of those that are not in Christ is this. You are dead in sin. Verse two, you are dominated by the devil following the prince of the power of the air and thirdly, you are doomed, doomed I say, to suffer the wrath of God. Dead in sin, dominated by the devil, doomed to suffer the wrath of God. That's true of all unsaved mankind. Romans chapter three verse 23, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So who needs a savior?

What a quaint 17th century question to ask in our modern sophisticated world here in the 21st century. Who needs a savior? I do not care that asking that question would get us laughed out of most places where polite society gather around. I don't care. Who needs a savior?

Let's put it this way. If you are a member of the human race, you do. Every person that you have ever met, that you know now and ever will meet, needs a savior. Because sin is real, God is real, his judgment is real, and hell is real.

These are the spiritual realities unseen admittedly, but clearly revealed to us by the authoritative word of God. Everybody needs a savior. You need a savior because you are not good enough for a holy God on your own.

So I ask a subsidiary question. Say everybody needs a savior. Are you, my friend, convinced of that deep in your own soul? That you need a savior. Are you convinced of that?

Do you believe that? Do you freely testify that to whoever will listen to you? Or are you like I used to be, and secretly proud, secretly self-righteous, secretly... I don't even want to think about it.

It was 40 years ago. Naming the name of Christ, but secretly rejecting, despising him, and blaspheming his name through your words, through your actions, through your deepest heart thoughts. Are you convinced that you need a savior? If there's anything in you that resists and push backs against that statement, the first thing that you need to repent of is that. The first thing that you need to repent of is resisting the Word of God, resisting the gospel, resisting the testimony that Scripture plainly states that all men are lost and dead in trespasses and sins.

You need to repent of the most fundamental way that you think about yourself in relationship to God. And come as a little child. Like a little child coming to its mama. Mama, I need help. I'm hurt.

Cut myself. And to come to God with that simplicity and implicit confession of helplessness, God, I can't help myself here. I'm a sinner. I deserve your judgment, and I can't deliver myself from it. Satan has held me.

I am a liar, and therefore the son of the father of lies, Satan himself. You see, friends, I dwell on this because nothing in the natural man wants to embrace that. And so we have to bring it up and expose it in light of the clear teaching of the Word of God and grind out the pride in your heart so that you would have a sense of humility in approaching God and asking Him for grace that you do not deserve.

We've got to do away with our sense of entitlement. We've got to do away with our sense of self-righteousness if we're going to know anything about grace, forgiveness and eternal life and forgiveness of our sins. And until we deal with these things earnestly from God's Word, we haven't really even started to do the work. That's why it takes a few weeks to cover this, not just a little 15-minute devotional wrapped around jokes and personal stories. It's not a serious approach to Scripture or to the needs of sinful men.

I hope you understand that. Sin is universal. Everyone needs a Savior. 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. 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 / 2024-06-04 04:55:44 / 2024-06-04 05:06:16 / 11

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