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Who Needs a Savior #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
June 5, 2024 12:00 am

Who Needs a Savior #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. Let's go to point number two and just expand on this reality of sin. This reality of sin. What can we say about the nature of sin from this passage that we're looking at in Ephesians chapter two? Well, let's go back to verse one again.

We kind of circle around the airfield before we come in for a landing, so we see the lay of the land. We take in what the context has to say about it. Now we look at it in a closer sense. Paul says you were dead in your trespasses and sins there in verse one. He's using death, obviously, in a spiritual sense. His readers were not physically dead, otherwise it'd be kind of foolish to write a letter to them, right?

Just kind of drop it down on their grave, I guess, and hope that it sinks through. No, no. They were physically alive but spiritually dead, so there's a bifurcation. You can be alive in the body but dead in the spirit, and these readers and every sinner who has not repented and put his faith in Christ is separated from God.

We saw that earlier. Verse 12, you were separated from Christ. Chapter four, verse 18, they were alienated from the life of God. That's the sense of death that he speaks of. Separation, alienation, no communication with the living God whatsoever. You know, let's just think through the picture of death a little bit. It's very helpful spiritually to get comfortable with the idea of death and not just resist it and deny it and avoid it, because death pictures spiritual reality for us, and death is the ultimate end that each one of us will face unless the Lord comes back first. So let's just think a little bit about what it means to be dead. One thing that we can say for sure is that the physically dead do not share life with the living. The physically dead do not share life with the living. Every one of us has had a loved one that's died, and we no longer can converse with them. There's no connection.

There's no existing connection between us and them now. We can't go to a cemetery and communicate with people. There is a gulf, there is a chasm that cannot be bridged between the dead and the living. Well, in like manner, the spiritually dead do not share life with a holy God. God is the living, holy, uncreated creator and sustainer of the universe and of our life.

It is from him that we get our breath, but we have no communion with him if we are not in Christ. The spiritually dead do not share life with a holy God. They are dead in their trespasses and sins. That word trespass, think about a no trespass sign on a piece of private property. You cross a boundary. You step into a realm where you're not supposed to be.

You deviate from the path. That's a sense of trespasses. There is a line of righteousness that God has said shall not be crossed, and every one of us have crossed it.

God has established boundaries for righteous attitudes and conduct, and each one of you, you and I, we have all violated them repeatedly before we even take into account that we've inherited corruption from our ancestors going all the way back to Adam. It's a false step. It's a crossing of a boundary. Sin trespasses and sin. Sin has the idea of missing a mark or falling short of a goal. You know, you aim an arrow at a target and it goes off course, and it doesn't go where it's supposed to.

It doesn't land where it's supposed to. That's the idea. Straying, crossing boundaries. You see, and what he's saying with the reality that he's speaking to is that God has established and revealed his moral law, which is a reflection of his character. And to share life with God, you must not be pretty good. You must be perfect without sin, without any moral corruption. And the testimony of Scripture and the sad reality of all of our lives is this. Every one of us falls short of what he requires. Now, let's come to a really important point of pivoting in the message, parking the car here and getting out and exploring what's around us.

Because it's one thing to say all of sin and fall short of the glory of God, and a lot of you would just impatiently nod your head in agreement with that. Yeah, I know that. Get on with it. Get on with what you have to say. Beloved, this is what I have to say. This is why you need a Savior. And it's critical for your soul, and I'm speaking to you individually, privately here, even though I'm speaking publicly. I'm speaking to every one of you. It's critical for your soul to work out in detail what Scripture means when it says that you have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

It is not hard at all. It is not difficult to show you your guilt before God, even if you resist it, even if you put your fingers in here and say, I'm not listening. It's not difficult to show your guilt before God. Ten Commandments, Exodus 20.

We taught through those a while back, didn't we? Just picking up the elements of the second table, dealing with human relationships and bypassing the first table with our responsibilities before God, just starting there. God's law says you shall not murder.

He said, no problem. I haven't done that. Jesus says what that means in spirit is that you should not even get angry. Have you ever gotten angry?

Lost your temper with someone? You're guilty before God. God's law says do not commit adultery. Well, now people, some of you kind of shift uncomfortably in your seats. Others say, I haven't done that.

I haven't physically done that. Jesus says that that means in spirit that you do not even lust in your heart. And certainly between the physical act of adultery and the private lust of the heart, you'll find within that the whole matter of pornography and computer sins and things like that, being convicted and condemned by the law of God. God's law says do not lie. Jesus says you shouldn't even make vows.

Just be true in your conversation. Let your yes be yes, your no be no. God's law says do not steal. And in the tenth commandment it goes even further, and this is what convicted the apostle Paul. The tenth commandment says you should not even covet.

You should not have a longing desire for that which does not belong to you. And so let me ask you a question. Again, I'm speaking to you personally here.

This is like we're sitting down and you're giving me the opportunity to monologue to you over the table at Panera Bread or whatever. My friend, have you ever used the Lord's name in vain? Carelessly said, oh my God.

Scripture says you're guilty. Have you ever been angry? Cursed out someone?

Spouse, family member, road rage, boss, employee? My friend, have you ever lusted at all? Just once? Longed and set your affections after someone that did not belong to you? Have you ever lied at all? Told an untruth?

Knowingly deceived someone by misrepresenting the facts? Have you ever coveted that which was not yours? It's pretty convicting, isn't it?

I was going through my notes yesterday. Came to that part. I was just reminded afresh. Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. That's me on every one of them.

That's me. That's enough to ruin us and to shatter any sense of self-righteousness and show you without any doubt that you need a savior. But then you go to that which is even loftier and of even greater significance. What about your love for God? Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind. Do you live for His glory? Does every act that, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, are you conscious of living that out for His glory?

Have you always loved God with your entire being? None of us can say yes to that. Don't even pretend to say, I've done that. Let's not play the game. None of us have kept the first table of the law related to our duties to God. None of us have kept the duties of the law with relationship to man.

In fact, we've violated them in what we've done, in what we have not done, in what we've thought, in what we've said. We are thoroughly sinful, thoroughly lost, and there is nothing that we can do about it. Now look, beloved, and as we are conscious of asking the Spirit of God to come upon us, as we consider these things from His Word, we're not playing games. We're not going through motions.

We're declaring the sober truth of God and dependence of the work of the unseen Holy Spirit in every heart that comes under the sound of my voice. You must understand, beloved, that the point of comparison is not whether you're a little bit better than someone else. That's not the point of comparison.

You cannot get off, you cannot avoid this by saying you're not as bad as someone else. Imagine someone being on trial for murder, and they did it. They committed the crime. Imagine that they made this kind of foolish defense before the jury or before the judge who holds their fate in their hands. They said, yeah, I stabbed him to death.

That's true. But you know, I didn't stab him nearly as many times as the other guy did. The other guy did it 30 times.

I only did it 15. I'm not that guilty. Actually, I'm righteous because I'm not as bad as that guy.

I was restrained as I plunged the knife into him again and again. You don't like the vividness of the illustration, do you? Good.

Good. I'm glad you don't like it because it's only a picture of our guilt before God. You see, the issue is not whether you're a little bit better in your judgment in comparison to another sinner that you know. The issue is whether you have loved God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind. Whether you have loved your neighbor as yourself, and you can't get off by saying you're not as bad as someone else. Jesus said, you are to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.

The point of comparison is the holiness of God, not another sinner. You say, this is hopeless. There's no way out from this kind of condemnation that you're describing. To which I say, yes, that's entirely the point. James said, if you've broken one law, you've broken them all. You're a transgressor of the law. The law of God, the holiness of God, the righteousness of God, beloved, it's like a seamless fabric.

A perfect, expensive piece of cloth. And you can't puncture that anywhere without disfiguring the whole. This is the righteousness God calls us to. One sin punctures it. And here we've seen clearly that we've multiplied guilt in ways that we can't even begin to number. David says in the Psalms that my sins are more numerous than the hairs on my head.

They've gone over me. One sin makes you guilty, my friend, and you have committed many. Turn to the book of James, just past the book of Hebrews. By the way, if you're visiting and you perhaps don't have a Bible, you don't own a Bible, you really need one.

You do need to be reading your Bible. There are Bibles under the seats here throughout the congregation. We invite you to take one, take two, as our gift to you if you don't have a Bible. If you just want to take a Bible to remember this day because the Lord's done a work in your heart today, and you want to take something as a tangible token of remembrance of this day of the work of God in your heart, take a Bible.

They're there for you. But in James chapter 3, verse 2, we read, For we all stumble in many ways. We all stumble. And we all stumble in many, many ways, it says.

Chapter 4, verses 1 and 2. What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Do you have a lot of conflict in your life?

Do you cause a lot of conflict? Why does that happen? It's because of what's in you. It's because of sin within you. The Bible says, Is it not this that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You don't get what you want, so you lash out. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.

James pointing to the inner reality of sin, only the symptom of which is these outward conflicts and quarrels that come along. The problem is your heart. The problem is your heart. You've got a dirty, sinful heart and you can't do anything to change it any more than a tiger could wake up and say, I think I'll change my stripes today. I think I'll go out polka dot today.

That's ridiculous. In the same way, only far more serious and far more impossible for a sinner to change his nature. It's easier for a tiger to change into a polka dot than it is for you to save your own soul. You see, beloved, we're talking about this in human terms and at a human level.

Anger, lust, covetousness, love of pleasure, love of the world. That's all of us. And you're in trouble.

You're in trouble. And then infinitely more when you calculate in the reality of your insincere worship, your cold heart toward God, your indifference to the closed Bible on your shelf week after week, month after month, the cold formality of what you call prayer without any regard to worship and thanksgiving, just God gimme, gimme, gimme. Even your prayers are sinful. And I'm confident enough in the truth of God's word, the universality of sin and the help of the Holy Spirit as I speak to say that your conscience tells you in this moment that you're no exception to anything that I've said.

I'm confident of that. None of us have any excuse. And so we're left with this sad reality. Who needs a savior? You do, because you have no spiritual merit before God. Indeed, you are guilty before him. You have no power to change your own nature. You have no power to get out from under the devil.

You cannot do any spiritual good to earn the favor of God. Who needs a savior? My friend, you do. You do.

You do. Now, only with that settled firmly in our minds can we truly enter into the glory of knowing true salvation. You see, you don't get to the glory of true salvation by evading the issue of sin. Jesus said he did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. The people who think they are self-righteous exclude themselves from the gospel itself. Jesus said, I didn't come to call people like you. And yet, he's the only way to heaven. What are you going to have? You going to have your pride, your independence, your autonomy? Or would you have Christ and eternal life in heaven?

Those two things are mutually exclusive. Now, the good news, which we'll talk about more in days and weeks to come. Beloved, it's because you are so sinful that the gospel is such good news. The gospel tells us that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. 1 Timothy 1.15, the apostle Paul said, let's look at it. 1 Timothy 1.15.

We'll start in verse 12. And I'll ask you, my friends, whether you can echo the testimony of the apostle Paul in your own experience by what we read, or if this is something foreign, alien to you that you need for yourself. 1 Timothy 1.12, the apostle Paul says, I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly, there's that word again, past tense, this is what I used to be. Formerly, the reality about me was that I was a blasphemer, persecutor and insolent opponent.

That's what I used to be, but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. Christ came to save sinners.

Do you see the connection? Jesus didn't just come for some vague purpose that no one can understand. He came because men and women, boys and girls are lost in sin and they need a savior. And because he is full of mercy, full of grace, full of love to sinners, he came in order to redeem them. He gave his perfect life on the cross, stood in the place of sinners like you, and God looked at him and said, that adulterer, that liar, that covetous person, Christ, I'm going to treat you like him, and punished him. David the adulterer, David the murderer, Christ, I'm going to treat you like I would have treated David. Suffer now.

Put in your own name. Jim, Sandra, he looks at Christ, and he said, Christ, I'm going to treat you like you lived that life of sin, that you lived that life of sin, and I'm going to punish you for it. And Christ, as it were, said, I accept that.

I accept that because I want to save a people for myself. Because he's full of mercy and grace and love and patience and goodness, Christ took punishment that he did not deserve. For all of these sins that we've discussed here today, Christ bore the price of it so that you could be forgiven. But it requires, it's not automatic, you must be converted to Christ. You must be born again. You must own it all and say, yes, I accept the judgment of the word of God against my guilty soul.

I agree. I am guilty. I deserve judgment. And if I don't, this is what was going through my mind almost 40 years ago to the day, if I don't receive Christ right now, I'm going to go to hell forever, and that's what I deserve.

It's that urgent, beloved. We must flee to Christ and ask him in the goodness of his saving intentions toward mankind that he would save us and come with personal repentance, personal faith, taking up our cross to follow him. Now, I've spoken today largely assuming people that are self-righteous and needing to puncture that.

Let me just say a passing word to those of you that are weighed down with guilt, your introspective, you know that you're sinful and it overwhelms you. Everything that we've said here today is a message of hope to you. There is hope.

You're not going to find hope inside. Look outside of yourself to this Christ who loved sinners just like you, came to save sinners just like you, and calls sinners just like you. You can go to him for salvation based on what he promises.

He says, I promise you I will receive you. I will give you eternal life. I will cleanse you. I will wash away all of your sins. Just come to me. You don't have to say, oh, but look at me and how bad I am, and I'm not sure I'm worth it.

You're not worthy of it. But that, but looking for something inside yourself is not the basis on which you come to Christ. You come to Christ because he's a gracious Savior and he tells you to come. And on the basis of his word alone, you can come to Christ today and be saved. For those of you that are Christians, including Tommy and Rachel in that blessed time of baptism we had earlier, I'm so grateful for that. For those of you that are Christians, you know the gospel.

You know Christ. You have been born again. Understand that Paul's point in Ephesians, he intends to bring you joy. There you were, lost in trespasses and sins, separated from God and utterly unable to change your condition.

And we'll see this more in days to come. But understand that it was when you were like that that Christ died for you. It was when you were like that that the Spirit of God worked in your heart and drew you to Christ.

It was when you were like that that Christ received you as his own. Christ delights in receiving sinners. Christ delights in keeping sinners. Christ delights in taking sinners to heaven. And if God has done that work in you, you can be filled with joy as you walk out, realizing that God has exercised his power to save you. He has shown his grace and mercy to you, despite all of your sin. You say, well, if that's true, then this is really great. God must really be good.

Precisely. That's why we sing, Hallelujah. What a Savior. He cleansed your past so that you don't have to dwell on it.

His love never changes, so fear is taken away in the presence and on the eve of death. And his mercy endures forever, my Christian brother, my Christian sister, so your future is secure. But the pivot point is not to be in your own righteousness, of which you have none. The pivot point is to be in the Savior. You need a Savior like that. And my friend, don't you want a Savior like that? Let's pray together.

Spirit of God, the hours passed so quickly. Would you seal and confirm to the hearts of those who truly believe the reality of salvation that they might find joy in Christ as they leave today? May you pursue, like a hound dog, those that are not in Christ, pursue them with your convicting work, with your converting power, that everyone under the sound of my voice, O God, would share in Christ together. Lord, we would not have one walk out unforgiven.

We'd not have one walk out hardened in sin, but for all to come to saving faith in Christ. But Lord, it's impossible to us. We don't have the power. We can't reach into hearts and change them.

Only you have that power. So Father, we've preached your word to the best of our limited ability. Now we look to you to bring forth the fruit that belongs to you and to you alone. In Jesus' name we pray.

Amen. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, my friend, thank you for joining us for yet another podcast from The Truth Pulpit. And we wanted to let you know that in addition to these audio resources that you are enjoying, that there are also written resources from my ministry. The Lord has given us opportunity to put some of the things that I've taught over the years in print.

And I have one book in particular that I would want to call your attention to. It's the most popular book that I've published so far called Trusting God in Trying Times. It's a book born out of deep personal sorrow and is brought into context, you might say, through the word of God. How to trust God when you are going through the deepest valleys and the most sorrowful things in life. How do you trust God through those times when you can't see your way forward?

I've been there, my friend. And the book Trusting God in Trying Times speaks to that spiritual experience in the life of the believer. You can find all of my books at thetruthpulpit.com. That's thetruthpulpit.com. Just click on the link there.

You'll find links to different books and you will find that they take you to an easy place to purchase them for your reading enjoyment. So thank you once again for joining us on The Truth Pulpit. We'll see you next time as we continue to study God's Word together. 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 / 2024-06-05 04:56:05 / 2024-06-05 05:06:55 / 11

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