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Owned by God Forever #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
June 18, 2024 12:00 am

Owned by God Forever #1

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, 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. For our text this evening, I invite you to turn to the book of Ephesians chapter 1. We're going to skip ahead from where we left off last week and go to the final two verses in Paul's extended sentence of praise in verses 3 through 14. We're going to look at verses 13 and 14 tonight in Ephesians chapter 1. I've titled tonight's message, Owned by God Forever, and we'll see this from these two verses, 13 and 14.

In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of His glory. Now, as almost all of you know, for the entirety of this calendar year, we've been doing a series, a mega series that we've called Building a Christian Mind. The predominant theme, if you think about it, of much of what we've covered is dealt with the matter of authority, the authority of God, the fact that He's revealed Himself and made Himself known, the authority of Scripture, the authority of Jesus Christ, and the authority of truth, and the existence of truth, and so on.

We've developed that over, you know, some 40 messages or so. And we have to establish that matter of authority before we can actually move on to anything else. We have to know that there is truth, what the source of truth is, and how we know those things to be. All of those things are certified to us by the authority of no one less than Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God Himself. And more recently, on the past few weeks, on Sunday and Tuesday, we've been considering the matter how to know true salvation. And what I want you tonight to be able to make the connection in your mind is that the security that we have in Christ is tied directly to all of the matters of authority that we've been addressing over the past year or so. You can't really know security in Christ unless you have the matter of authority first settled in your mind.

How are you going to know for certain that your salvation is real? How are you going to know for certain that there even is such a thing as salvation unless you have an authoritative place to look where those questions can be settled? Now, notice what the effect of the way people think about authority, the boomerang effect that they don't intend and recognize of what that has. When you reject authority like our society, our culture has done, like people do because we want to be our own boss and we want to be our own authority and autonomy and all of that, when you reject the principle of authority, you have torn away the foundation upon which any matter of truth and rest for your soul could possibly have. If there's no authority, then there's no way of knowing what the truth is. And if there's no truth, you're left wandering in your sin without any knowledge or any way of knowing whether your sins can be forgiven.

And even more pressingly, you might say, you know, what's going to happen to you when you die? You have to embrace the principle of authority lovingly, gladly, submissively before the blessings that that authority brings to you can be secured to your soul. Now here, we've covered the matter of authority sufficiently that I feel like the principle's established, that there is truth, that there is a God and, you know, that Christianity is true.

We've established all of that. And now what you and I have the privilege of doing tonight is entering into the blessings of what all of that means if indeed the Lord has brought you into his family. He's redeemed you and adopted you because he chose you before the foundation of the world. Now the full momentum of all of these wonderful things comes together and has a gracious, profound impact on your soul in the deepest recesses of your heart. You see, to have a Christian mind, we've been wanting to build a Christian mind. To have a Christian mind, to be a Christian and to have a Christian mind is to recognize that in Christ you are in a position of complete safety, of complete security that can never be taken away. If, as we've taught recently, the Lamb of God gave his life for the sins of the world and that blood has been applied to your soul, if Jesus Christ indeed has lived a perfect life in complete obedience internally and externally to the law of God and that righteousness is applied to your account in salvation and it is, we have a righteousness not of our own, Paul says in Philippians 3 line, but that which is by faith in Christ, a righteousness communicated to us. The delivery mechanism of that righteousness is through faith. Faith itself is not our righteousness. The righteousness of Christ is our righteousness. So if the blood is applied to our soul and his righteousness is imputed to us, then we stand before God complete and accepted in the beloved.

Now those are wonderful, wonderful truths that you can't know unless there's an authority that certifies them to you. But to have a Christian mind is to have Christian affections. And to have Christian affections means that you love the Word of God. You accept and find confidence and security in the authority of God.

We don't resent that. We sit in willing bonds at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ and the word that he's revealed. Now, once your mind is submitted to those things, then you are in a position to receive what the authority of the Word of God delivers to those that are in Christ.

And what it delivers to you is a place of unquestionable safety and security. Let's look at Romans chapter 8 for just a moment. These verses are familiar, but perhaps the Spirit of God will give us a fresh sense of appreciation for what we're reading, realizing that what we are reading is built on Christ, built on the Word of God, built, as we saw through a series of at least four messages, built on what the law and prophets had prepared for 1,500 years before the coming of Christ.

Now we enter into the greatness of the rest that that gives to us. God establishes, beloved, his authority to us not to constrain us and make us miserable and hover over us like a father who can never be pleased. He establishes his authority to us so that we might know for certain the blessings that he gives to us in Christ and that we would have those without any doubt in our minds.

And from that position of security, we could then go on to grow in our love for him, grow in our sanctification, grow in our Christ-likeness and all the other things that come with that. So look at Romans chapter 8 verse 31, and we're coming at this verse with the general sense of what came before in the book of Romans, but approaching it from, you know, approaching the intersection from a different street. Romans chapter 8 verse 31, what then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn?

Jesus Christ is the one who died. More than that, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Drop down to verse 37. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life nor angels nor rulers nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Full stop, beloved.

Full stop. The Christian mind is to be a mind that understands that it is secure in Christ. God saved you not only to give you an eternal dwelling place in heaven, thank God that he did that, but in the meantime between now and then, between now and arriving at the gates and entering into the fullness of the inheritance that he's prepared for us before the foundation of the world, the intention of God is for you to have settled in your mind and in your heart that you are secure, that you are safe and nothing can take these blessings away from you. To have a Christian mind, the outworking of an advanced Christian mind is to recognize that we're safe and secure. We are reconciled to God in a way that, and we now enjoy a status and position in his family that can never be taken away from us. That is a Christian mind. It's not simply, it's not simply a matter of knowing right doctrine. It's not simply a matter of knowing the right kinds of apologetics to make. The Christian mind yields itself into a settled Christian heart that rests in the truth of God certified by his authority to us.

That's the graduating nature of a Christian mind. I'm secure in Christ. I don't have to be afraid of anything. I don't have to be afraid of life or death. I don't have to be afraid any longer of what happens to my kids. I don't have to be afraid of getting sick. I don't have to be afraid of the cancer that I have. I don't have to be afraid of what happens to my loved ones who do not know Christ.

I don't have to be afraid of what will happen to me or what somebody might say about me or people turning against me. I don't have to worry about any of that. And I realize I slurred every word there.

I did it deliberately. I don't have to be worried about any of that. God has taken care of everything that pertains to me and everything that I need he will supply. That's what Paul says. God's for us who can be against us. Verse 32, he who did not spare his son but gave him up for us all.

If he gave us the greatest gift of Christ, how will he not also give us the lesser things that we need to go along the way? That's the whole point of Jesus' teaching in Matthew chapter 6, which we'll get to on Sundays in 2024. And so the more that you build a Christian mind and the more that you study salvation in Scripture, the more you are humbled by what God has done for you. Do you want to have a test of whether you are operating with a Christian mind?

Look at your heart and ask yourself whether there is a settled sense of peace and tranquility and confidence about what the future holds. The Christian mind informs the Christian heart to respond in that way, and then you live differently as a result. See, the problem in the church is that people want shortcuts to the spiritual blessings that I'm describing. They want to not be anxious. They want to feel secure and all of that, but they don't want to develop the Christian mind that's necessary to truly undergird that. And so instead, they live off artificial emotions, artificially generated by environmental manipulation. They look for quick and easy answers.

Beloved, there is no quick and easy answer. If you went to an expensive restaurant, if you went to an expensive restaurant to celebrate a great family event, would you like it? Would you expect that this expensive restaurant would deliver food that they'd popped into a microwave for 40 seconds, or really the right number is 30 seconds, and then they just bring out microwaved food to you? Is that worth an expensive meal tab? No, it's not.

The product that's delivered through the cheap shortcut is nothing like that. In a like manner, the true profound blessings of a Christian mind, we work for them. We apply ourselves to them. We study the Word of God.

We read it consistently on a day-by-day basis. Look at Proverbs 2, and the attainment of wisdom is compared to the hard work and the deep work of mining. And in like manner, we've spent 40-some messages to get to this point. There's a reason why we did it that way. The foundation has to be laid rightly. And so, having come to these points and now entering into salvation, now that we've been through the prior things, now we're in a position where the fruit is ripe. We're ready to pick it and eat it fresh from the tree and have it nourish our souls. And so we're humbled by what God has done for us.

We're glad for His authority. And you're also just increasingly impressed by the unsearchable wisdom of God in the plan that He works out over the ages. Our passage today in Ephesians chapter 1, you can turn back to that, adds to the praise, adds to the security that we feel in Christ. And so we're going to see three marks of the work of God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which provides kind of a crowning capstone to having a Christian mind, which deepens our assurance of salvation. And we see the outworking of these things all the way back, going stretching back into eternity past where God decreed things in the ministry of Christ when He promised things, our present possession of these things and how we know we have them, and then our enjoyment of them throughout all of eternity.

The whole thing starts to come together in these final messages tonight and in the weeks to come. Let's look at Ephesians chapter 1 verse 13 and first of all see the past promise of God. The past promise of God. Paul had just said in verse 12 that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. And then he goes on and he says, in Him, you also, that is in Christ, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, when you heard the gospel, you believed in it, something happened, it says at the end of verse 13, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. God says you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

Now, before we deal with what it means that we're sealed, I just want to remind you of how, in what sense the Holy Spirit is the promised Holy Spirit. And we remember that God is a God of truth, He's a God of faithfulness. When He promises something, He always keeps His promises. He always keeps His promises. He's a God of loyal love. He could never contradict Himself. He could never break a promise.

It's impossible for Him to do that. It's impossible for God to lie. And so we go back and we remember some of the things that Christ said to His disciples while He was still with us on earth. Go to the gospel of John chapter 14. John chapter 14. In verses 16 and 17, Jesus made a promise to His disciples. He promised them in verses 16 and 17 of John chapter 14, He said, I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper to be with you forever.

Promise, promise, promise. I promise you that I'll ask the Father. I promise you that He will give you another Helper.

I promise you that that Helper will be with you forever. Verse 17, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. Jesus is speaking about how He would send the Holy Spirit after His ascension. And the Spirit would come to live inside His hearts, to dwell within them. And the Spirit would take up the role in the hearts of believers that Christ had physically with His disciples while He was on earth. He was able to be with the disciples.

He instructed them. They saw Him with their eyes while Christ was with the Twelve on the earth. Well, what Jesus is saying is, I'm going to send you the Holy Spirit who will perform similar functions for the disciples, for you, but He'll be with you in a different way.

It'll be a spiritual indwelling rather than a physical presence with you. I promise you, Jesus says, that that will take place, and He will be with you forever. Now with that in mind, go to the book of Acts chapter 1. Acts chapter 1, speaking of the resurrection of Christ in verse 3, Luke tells us that Jesus presented Himself alive to them after His sufferings by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them, He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which He said, you heard from Me, for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Jesus, during His earthly ministry, before the crucifixion He said, I promise you that I'm going to send you a Helper. After He was resurrected, after the crucifixion, before His ascension, He says, I want you to wait in Jerusalem until you've received the Holy Spirit.

I promise you that I'm going to send Him to you. Well, it's those promises that the Apostle Paul is calling back to mind when he calls the Holy Spirit in Ephesians chapter 1 verse 13, the promised Holy Spirit. And this has a wonderful effect on us when we realize, when we think about Him in these terms. You know, the life of the Spirit of God in our souls reminds us how Christ had planned our salvation from the beginning, how Christ made promises to His disciples while He was with us on earth. And now, as we have the Holy Spirit within us, we are reminded that Christ kept His promise, that Christ did what He said He was going to do. And when we believed in the Gospel, the fullness of the promise was delivered to our souls. And as we grew in grace, as we read Scripture and were taught Scripture, we started to see the fullness of what had happened. The Spirit of God came and dwelt within us, made us someone new.

The old man is gone. You know, those of you that are in Christ, the old Jeff, the old Robin, the old Cades, gone. Done away, the old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new because our heart, which was dead in trespasses and sins, dominated by Satan, doomed to suffer the wrath of God. We've been delivered from all of that, transferred into the kingdom of God, and now the Spirit of God Himself indwells us and unites us with Christ with an eternal bond that can never be broken. That life of the Spirit, beloved, is manifested in spiritual ways, new spiritual desires, new affections, new ways of thinking.

You know, we've had a number of baptisms, praise God, in recent past few months. The baptism testimonies speak to these kinds of spiritual realities and how God has sent the promised Holy Spirit to us. We hear in the testimonies, and our own testimonies as Christians should bear something of this reality inside us, we hear the candidates tell about their desires to read and obey scripture, how they have rejected the old religion that they knew and have embraced the things of scripture, and those things of scripture are now dearer and closer to their heart than their closest loved ones. To love Christ more than the praise of family, the acceptance of family, to be willing to endure rejection from family for the sake of Christ is a mark of the Spirit of God within a heart, because that's not natural.

Who sacrifices family relationships for the sake of something they can't see? We hear of a love for Christ, an appreciation for His atoning work on the cross. We hear testimony of changed hearts and the fruit of the Spirit coming out naturally from the life. All of those things reflect what scripture tells us to expect from true salvation. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And when we hear the testimony of new believers speaking to these things, we are seeing the Spirit of God manifesting Himself in them. The promised Holy Spirit dwells within them.

The change has taken place. Now look, beloved, when we talk about loving scripture, loving obedience, embracing the authority of Christ, wanting Him more than life itself, isn't it true that affections like that mean nothing to the world? They mean nothing to the unsaved man. Nobody cares about that. That's why you don't see it discussed.

That's why media wants nothing to do with it. It's because those affections mean nothing to the unsaved man whatsoever. But those affections in the heart of the redeemed, which are watered and fed when we gather together as believers in meetings like this week by week, those affections illustrate that there is a spiritual reality taking place inside. And that spiritual reality, here's the point. It's taken a long time to get to the point, I guess. The spiritual reality, we see the fruit of it with these new affections.

Watch this. Those affections we trace all the way back to the promises that Jesus made when he told the disciples, I'm going to send my spirit to you. And so as we see the fruit of the spirit coming up naturally in our lives, we see it manifested in each other's lives as we go around, we are reminded. We are shown. God testifies to us through these spiritual realities that are certified to us by the word of God, that God has kept his promise to his people.

He has sent the spirit. And as we see these affections working themselves out, we are to trace it back and say, this is exactly what Jesus Christ promised. And here we are enjoying it, seeing it lived out inside our hearts and in the lives of fellow Christians. And we realize how good Christ is, how he kept his promise, and how that testifies to eternal realities that transcend everything in this world. Now, let me encourage you in what I'm about to say, and also to help inform and undergird the significance of a gathering like this. Scripture talks about people like us, talks about Christians, says there aren't many noble, there aren't many wise.

No, it's not the places of power that you normally find flourishing Christians. It's in simple, humble lives like yours and mine. Following Christ in the midst of domestic sorrow, following Christ in the midst of affliction and rejection, following Christ in the midst of disappointed hopes and expectations and continuing on and continuing to pray for people we love when the prayers just seem to go unanswered and nothing changes month by month, year by year. And yet you persevere, you gather together like this, and we share these things together.

Here's what I want you to see, beloved. Here's what Scripture teaches us. You and I should be astonished at how what seems to be such simple, unremarkable faith actually is testifying to the glories of Christ and his faithfulness to keep his promises.

Because people live that way. Christians live this way because the Spirit of God is producing it within them, renewing them day by day. As the Word of God is fed into our minds and fed into our hearts, the Spirit takes that and helps us to continue and to persevere.

Philippians 1.6, we may look at it next Tuesday. God completes the work that he begins in us. I'm confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Well, what I want you to see is that these simple things that I've been talking about, what seem to be so simple and unremarkable and not at all treasured by the world, these are actually the marks of the power of God within you, the Spirit of God within you, and corporately we see the Spirit of God at work in our midst.

This is no small matter. This is exactly what God planned when he decreed before the beginning of time how salvation would work, how it would work out in the course of human history, how it would work out in your individual life. It would work out in these seemingly unremarkable ways that the world cares nothing about, but things which are precious in the sight of God. And so, as we see the promise of Christ, we learn from Scripture what the fruit and the marks of a true Christian is, and we see it among us, we stop treating the gathering of the people of God so superficially and so lightly, which is what you've done here in the room.

It matters enough to you to come out on a cold night and be here, right? We don't treat these things superficially. We realize that there is a precious deposit that has been given to us, that has been put in us, and we look beyond the external. We see things by faith, and we recognize that these wonderful things are the mark, the evidence, the fruit of an even greater reality of the truthfulness of everything we've been talking about for the past 12 months, that God exists, that Scripture is true, that Jesus is Lord, that God rules over all, that Christianity is true, that truth exists, and we know true salvation in the flow of all of those things. You see, these are the things that Jesus described as the pearl of great price. These are the things that are so precious as Jesus is using the parable of that pearl of great price.

These are the things that you go and you sell everything in order to get that one thing, in order to possess that one great treasure. Well, what God does in our hearts through the gospel is the Spirit of God opens our eyes to the loveliness of Christ and the lowliness of our sin, and we embrace these things. We gladly forsake the world, reject and repudiate ourselves, repent of sin, so that we could have all of the loveliness of Christ in the promise of the gospel. And then the fruit starts to show, and the fruit is visible evidence that everything we've been talking about is true, as affections that are unnatural and opposed by the world grow and flourish in our hearts, enough that many of you have wanted to step forward and make public testimony to it in the waters of baptism, enough that you've been content to have family turn against you.

All of these things are not inconsequential. These are things of great eternal value, and we are blessed to share in them together. We are greatly privileged to be Christians.

It is the most noble thing in the world to be a believer in Jesus Christ, because it is to recognize in the course of everything that we've been talking about is that we have been the object of God's special, electing, adopting, redeeming, sanctifying love, and that He's going to keep that in us forever. Well, my friend, just before we close today's broadcast, I just wanted to give a special word of greeting and thanks to the many people that listen to our podcast internationally. It's remarkable to me, the last report that I saw listed 83 different countries that in one way or another are listening to us, and I just want to send a special word of greeting to those of you that are in lands that are distant from my own home here in the United States.

We've seen people from every continent except maybe Antarctica, and people from countries like Ireland and Australia and Singapore, Canada, the UK, India. I have friends in all of those countries, and whether you've met me face to face or whether you only know me as a voice through your favorite device, I just want to say God bless you. Thank you for your interest in the Word of God, and may the Spirit of God work deeply in your heart as you continue to study God's Word. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for your prayers. God bless you. My prayers and love are with you as well, and we'll see you next time 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 / 2024-06-18 05:00:16 / 2024-06-18 05:12:01 / 12

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