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The Exclusiveness of the Gospel, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2022 3:00 am

The Exclusiveness of the Gospel, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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January 27, 2022 3:00 am

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Is only one place to go, to answer the question can even be saved without the gospel next to the Bible right. Let's hear what God has to say we don't know anything in the spiritual realm in the area of salvation unless we go to the supernatural revelation of God in Scripture it's not available to us through our intuition or reason we can know some things about God, and know enough to be damp and not enough to say their own thinking, not the Bible about whom God saves and who's going to heaven.

What the requirements are for salvation. What is behind this trend towards spiritual malpractice. Are there elements of the gospel that are open to interpretation parts that need improvement. Well on this edition of grace to you.

John MacArthur's going to explain the reasons people try unsuccessfully to improve on the gospel.

John will spell out exactly what God says about salvation and the kind of people he delivers from sin to eternal life.

This study is called delivered by God. And here's the lesson the subject at hand is, can the heathen be saved without the gospel. If Satan wants to do the greatest damage to the church that needs to confuse the church about the gospel as we don't know what the gospel is, then we are really ineffective in the world and he has done a very good job of doing that through the years.

The confusion about the gospel rains not only in liberalism and in false forms of Christianity, but confusion about the gospel exist within the quote unquote evangelical world today. In fact, evangelicalism has leapt its its traditional boundaries and it has become so amorphous as to need a new definition within the larger framework of the amorphous term evangelical there is very great confusion about the gospel as if that's not bad enough, Satan has at another level of confusion. Not only do we not really understand what the gospel is, but we're not now sure that we need to even preach the gospel because we are being told today that people can be saved without the gospel without the knowledge of Jesus Christ without the Bible and so not only confused about the gospel but now confused about the great commission. The church is having its great power eliminated the really isn't any other thing is important as preaching the gospel. It's not something trivial. It's not something that can be reduced to quibbling. Whether or not we preach the gospel is a very critical matter and if Satan can trivialize a clear understanding of the theology of the gospel and trivialize our understanding of the necessity to preach the gospel and he has achieved an immense victory is something to fight back.

In this series and will make it very clear from the Scripture as to whether or not heathen people can be saved without the gospel.

Jesus himself said that the door into the eternal kingdom is narrow, narrow Matthew seven and few there be that find it. Those who advocate this sort of universal salvation through many means in many religions are hard-pressed to fit that into Matthew seven where Jesus clearly says that the door is very very obscure.

It's hard to find and it's very narrow so that few find it and few enter it, of course, the New Testament goes on to say the only people who do enter it, do so because they believe in and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. They must know about God. They must know about Christ.

They must know what he did and must believe that and embrace that since this is true.

Clearly, the Scripture and the Lord himself has commanded us in the great commission to take the gospel to every creature to take the gospel to every person on earth in every generation and that great commission has been the Church's mandate. The churches duty and the church's passion since Pentecost, but there is this a new wave of theology today or I guess the resuscitation of an old wave of theology that wants to remove this duty to remove the necessity for the great commission by stating the people don't need the Bible and it may not even need to know about Jesus Christ or the gospel to be saved. This ideology some of label. It is natural theology that man by natural means. That is, human intuition, human reason can ascend to the knowledge of God doesn't need this supernatural revelation coming down natural reason going up is enough and he can with his natural reason in his natural religious inclination ascend to a saving knowledge of God, even without the Bible and without the gospel and without any knowledge of Jesus Christ. He will experience some kind of faith in some kind of behavior that God will accept as a good enough effort given the fact that he doesn't know the gospel. It says people can be saved in many contexts of religion, or in no religion at all. If they will just do the best they can with the information they have and with their natural inclination. This is also labeled by some evangelicals as the wider mercy view that says that mercy is wider than we think we think God's mercy may be confined to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

But there is a wider mercy that includes those who don't know anything about the Bible or Jesus Christ if they just do the best they can with what they've got. They'll be all right now. This not only attacks the uniqueness of the triune God, since only in the Bible do you find God is a Trinity. This not only attacks the virgin birth, the incarnation, the sinlessness of Christ is substitutionary death and atonement, resurrection and ascension, intercession, and second coming as if they are just one among many ways to God, destroys the uniqueness therefore of Scripture that makes the Bible just one among many, but does the Bible allow for that. That's the question you can get there rationally. You can get there. Philosophically you can get there emotionally by feeling like it's not fair.

And the question always comes up or what about the people who don't have the message. What about the people who don't have the gospel answer number one, you better get to them with it because that's what we been commanded to do number two if God is sovereign, eternal, elective purpose has determined to bring people to salvation, then he will be sure that they receive the gospel and we are to be instruments by which that gospel is proclaimed. We can also conclude from Romans chapter 1 that if people take the light of creation, the light of the knowledge of God in creation. If they take what has been given them. As indicated in Romans one in acts 17 that God is is very near to them, and God is manifest in his creation, and if they acknowledge that and if they recognized by the conscience God has given them in the law written in their hearts that they are sinful and if they have a true desire to know the true God, and to have him deal with their sins. The promise of Scripture is that God will bring the light to that seeking heart.

The Old Testament prophets that if you seek me with all your heart you what find me. Jesus said it in the sermon on the mount, seek and you shall find that there are people who are purveying this heresy within the amorphous boundaries of evangelicalism that though Jesus is the only Savior they will say that and he is the only sacrifice for sin. People will be saved without ever knowing about him or knowing about his sacrifice or even knowing that he existed where you go to get an answer to this, not to your emotions not to your theology, self invented not to your philosophy not to your reasoning is only one place to go, to answer the question can even be saved without the gospel next to the Bible right. Let's hear what God has to say we don't know anything in the spiritual realm in this in the area of salvation unless we go to the supernatural revelation of God in Scripture it's not available to us through our intuition or our reason.

We can know some things about God.

We can know enough to be damned, but not enough to be safe. We can know enough to be inexcusable. We can know enough to grope but we can't know enough to know the truth that has to come through Scripture and will see that in a moment now to look at the Scripture.

Last we look at Genesis 3, Romans 118 and following in first Corinthians 118 to 21. What we saw.

There was that man unaided by revelation, unaided by supernatural revelation from God can't know God's will can't get to God.

In fact, in Romans one, though he knows God to some degree through his reason. He knows there is a creator that there is us because to the effect in which he all of universe exists he can reason that he can reason something about God's power. Something about his godhood.

Something about his morality because of conscience is Romans two says, but he can't get to God, he can only know enough to be without excuse he can't know enough to be saved because to know the way of salvation requires the revelation of the record of salvation in Jesus Christ and so we saw that all that ends up or the man in Romans one is that he takes the knowledge of God rejects the knowledge of God becomes a fool and turns the truth about God into an idol in an image so he perverts it and he ends up as a night all of her who feels the fury in the wrath of God for strength is one tells us the same thing. The most erudite, the most educated the most literate. The most delete the wisest of the wise. When they reach the epitome of their human reasoning.

The human rationalizing the human religion end up as fools. First Corinthians 1 says the wisdom of man is what foolishness with God. They don't get to God. It's folly it's empty, it's useless. Enforcement is one says man by wisdom knew not God, you don't get there through natural theology don't get there through any process of human reason, intuition, or religion. We dealt with those passages. Now I want take you to some other texts. Let's turn to first Corinthians chapter 2, and again this is more of a Bible study than a sermon, and I'm I'm really just kind of hitting the Scriptures and and grabbing some salient elements. II can't go into detail. I don't have time for that. You can read the commentaries I've written on first Corinthians, Romans, the book of acts we get there and get the more detail but I want to look at first Corinthians chapter 2 because there's plenty of of insight here to answer our question 10 the heathen be saved without the gospel the end of verse 10 first Corinthians 2 starting at the last half of verse 10 says the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. Here's a simple principle. If we want to know what God thinks. If we want to know the deep things of God. If we want to know the things that are not accessible to us. We can know some things about God. He's powerful that he's a God of order. He's complex. He's a god of beauty. He's a God of life. We can see a lot in the creation we can conclude a lot, but if we want to know what's not on the surface, what's not sort of empirically visible. If we want to know the spiritual side of God.

Want to know about the law of God. We want to know about the salvation of God want know about the righteousness of God, the redemption of God the things that are below the surface, the Spirit searches those things we have to do we have to know that the spirit of God knows the deep things. Why because the spirit is God right the spirit of God is God, one with God. And so we don't have access to the deep things we have access only to that which is visible to us that which is empirical that which is on the surface, that which is manifest to the human senses.

We don't know spiritual things about God, the nature of God. The essence of God, the will of God.

The salvation of God, those things we don't know the spirit does know them. Verse 11.

He's sort of an analogy. Who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him. I don't know your thoughts. You don't know my thoughts. We don't know each other's thoughts. We can be close to each other can be married. We can be in the same family we can be engage in a common enterprise. We we still have access to each other's thoughts. All we know is is what is manifest. The only one who knows the thought is the spirit of the man who has the thought in a just an analogy.

So here we are with God where like we are with each other. We can know what we see, we can see a certain amount of conduct. We can draw some conclusions but we don't know the deep things we don't know the thought what's going on in the mind and the heart of an individual and the same is true with God. We can see what is manifest by what he has made, but we cannot know the deep things of God any more than I can know what's in you the spirit of the man knows what's in him, and the spirit of God, knows the deep things of God. So if were going to know the saving truths if were going to know the deep truths of God. The spiritual truths then were going to have to have them revealed to us in so verse 11 says the thoughts of God are not known to anybody except the spirit of God and then he goes on to say. Now we this is the apostles this is Paul and the other apostles who wrote the Scripture we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things freely given to us by God and what is freely given to us by God. Forgiveness of sin, salvation, the hope of eternal life. All of the blessings of sub- justification and sanctification glorification. You can't know those by human reason you can't find those by test tube experiment you can't know that my rationalization that is only known by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. You can't know about heaven except the Bible reveals it right you can't go there and know about it. You can't know about salvation unless the Bible tells you can't know the means of forgiveness.

The plan of God in redemption and so Paul says we have received this information. Paul obviously had who wrote at least 13 epistles in the New Testament. Collectively, himself and the others who wrote Scripture are included in the we we have received this from the spirit so that all of us might know what has been freely given to us by God. And then he says we we speak these things.

Verse 13 not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words a great statement. He not only gave us the thoughts. The Holy Spirit not only gives the thought, but he gave us what the words and we wrote the words down. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, right in first Peter says that the Dave they were moved by the Holy Spirit and they wrote that's the only way we can know about redemption. That's the only way we can know about salvation that that is the only way we can know the things that are below the surface, the deep things of God to get down into the spiritual well and that that's only available to us because it was given by the Holy Spirit to apostles who wrote it down and they took spiritual thoughts and put them in spiritual words now look at verse 14 and we could take this verse and the and drop it right before the eyes of anybody advocating natural theology. Listen to this, but a natural man does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised or understood or evaluated or examined. Here's the problem.

A natural man that is unaided by supernatural revelation, unaided by Scripture. Unnatural man cannot know the things that only the spirit of God knows he can't know the deep things day to him. They are foolishness. They are completely nonsense is what he saying that he can't comprehend them. He can't understand them.

He can't grasp them because they are spiritually appraised. They are not rationally appraise the can't be examined by a rational mind that can't be examined by any empirical study that can't be attained by any human intuition is not available. So where does natural theology lead you here is the is the natural theologians verse natural theology gets you nowhere. You can't accept the things of the spirit of God. They are absolute folly.

They there there just nonsense. You can understand them because they can only be appraised through the power and the revelation of the Holy Spirit very important verse. But for those of us who know the Scripture, who have been taught by the Holy Spirit through the Scripture the end of verse 16 says we have the mind of Christ and that really is critical because that completes the Trinity, the father is God, the Spirit of God knows exactly the deep things of God the things that are not visible on the surface by the senses. The five senses and by our human reason he the spirit knows the full depth of the spiritual truths which constitute the mind of Christ. What is a minor crisis. The way he thinks we know how Christ thinks say how do we know how Christ thinks because it's revealed here, right we know how he thinks we know God's thoughts on salvation. We know Christ thoughts on salvation because the Holy Spirit has revealed them to us here in Scripture. Natural man unaided by the mind of Christ revealed through the spirit gets nowhere.

He ends up with no understanding. He ends up a fool just like Romans one said just like first Corinthians 1 said it just keeps repeating the same thing over and over. Whether you're in Romans one, first Corinthians 1.

First Corinthians to get the same effect man on his own ends up a fool and he ends up in judgment. The only way you can know the mind of God. With regard to the deep things the things that relate to salvation is through the revelation of Scripture. That's why it says we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Matthew 44 why Jesus in John 1426, said to the disciples and the Holy Spirit's gonna come upon you and is going to do this, he's going to teach you all things and is going to bring all things to your remembrance, he's going to instruct you so you can write down the deep things that are not discernible to the human senses or human intuition. You have to have revelation from the spirit to know the deep things the things that regard salvation which constitute the mind of Christ we the apostle Paul says we have that mind of Christ we know exactly how Christ thinks we know exactly how God thinks about these matters because it's been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

You'll come to the true knowledge of God without the Bible you don't come to the true knowledge of God without the gospel of Jesus Christ is the opposite is true.

You end up a fool, you end up not understanding you end up in ignorance and the bass that human wisdom can produce is sophisticated ignorance, sophisticated folly. Now let's go to 17 chapter of acts because either there's more to say but I need to keep moving to get to the remaining texts in acts 17 now I've had a couple of times the privilege of preaching the Areopagus, and Mars Hill in Athens.

It's so where the philosophers always gathered in and in ancient times you have television and radio didn't have the print the way we know it today so everything was verbal and you we went to school, as it were, by going up there in various delete the literate, the philosophers, the orators were all or all up there and they had their little rubies and they were giving their philosophies and so Paul went up there and did essentially what was very normal thing to do in verse 22 and that they were into this verse.

The 21 says they love to get up there and hear new things. So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus, and said, men of Athens. I observed that you're very religious in all respects well to some people today that might sound like enough.

You know just be very religious in all respects, and that's all it's really required of your very religious in all respects and all God's gonna count data as fair enough deal in your rent. Even if you don't know anything else but he says to them you're very religious in all respects and for while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship.

I also found an altar with this inscription to an unknown God, how interesting they got lots of altars up there and lots of gods that they worship but they had this feeling that there might be one left out and they don't want to offend him. They don't know who he is but just to remove any unnecessary offense. They make a concession and put up an altar to the unknown God. He says to them. This is a very religious thing to do. This is a noble thing to do. You don't know God, you have in his revelation, you don't have the Old Testament you don't know about that God is the creator of the God who is the sustainer of the universe.

The God who is the God of Isaac and a ram Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel, the living and true God, the only true that you don't know about this God but you're very religious and you've made a noble effort folks you really have you.

You've done as much you could do without having a supernatural revelation and you got this thing to the unknown God says to them in verse 23 what therefore you worship in ignorance.

This I proclaimed you only tell you ignorant people who this really is.

So here they were having achieved their their enemy of religion and they were as ignorant as ignorant could be so. He says I want to tell you who this God is that you don't know they didn't know God and God knew they didn't know God. Paul knew they didn't know God and Paul wants them to know they don't know God.

He says let me introduce him to you. He's gotta made their world and all things in it since he is the Lord or sovereign of heaven and earth doesn't dwell in temples made with hands, neither is he served by human hand, you don't walked up to him with a plate full of stuff you don't put a wreath around his neck. You don't make some kind of offering to him. It's not the kind of God. He is, he doesn't need anything, you don't have to feed him you not to put flowers on them. He doesn't need anything he himself gives to all life and breath and all things. Verse 26 and he made from one he made from one every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth haven't determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, some God this is the God of God's this is the creator. This is the one who made everything and earth and everything in heaven.

This is a spirit being who can't be confined to any kind of temple they had all these temples were all the deities of their contriving's that he is not a God who needs these these of trivial little things handed to him.

He himself is the one who gives life and breath to all things he created everything and he sustains everything and perpetuates everything in the power that he has to give life. He is the God he determines what nations exist and where they exist, and when they exist. The point of their origin.

The point of their termination. He is in charge of history. This is the God you don't know this is the God you are ignorant of you can't worship some deity and say all well that's the best shot.

They can make the really worshiping the true God.

No, they're not as you're not not worth that's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary continuing his study here on grace to you called delivered by God.

John, I'm sure you've noticed that every time you bring up the doctrine of election as you did in today's lesson it prompts questions along that line, we received a question from one of our listeners is name is John like yours and I'll play his question for you now and will get your response. My name is John McCall, Mississippi and my question had to do with the doctrine of election changes pretty clear that what you say you understand that you are one of the late question is will you know that you're not one of love know you won't know that you're not among the elect, because the only way you could know you're among the elect is to be elected and come to faith in Christ. I think it could be reduced to what Paul said in second Corinthians 214 the natural man understand is not the things of God. They are foolishness to him and they are spiritually discerned and he is spiritually dead.

So no, I remember a very famous preacher saying to me one day who my son is not elect and I said what were you saying your son is not elect. You don't know that you don't know the secret decree of God.

Well, you know, he hasn't come to faith in the Lord will use. If you still don't know that. Is he alive disease is he still living and breathing. Yes, he is, and as I recall.

Sometime later, his son did come to faith in Christ and so know a person, you can't know that a person is not elect.

You can never know that because this as long as the are alive, there still an opportunity for God to activate that election. If that's the case you can know you are elect, but not before your save you only know your elect after you've come to faith in Christ. Thanks John and thanks to the John who asked the question now friend if you still have questions about a passage of Scripture or a theological issue. I would encourage you to call our Q and a line you can leave your question and you might hear John answer it on a future broadcast so contact us today. The Q&A number 661-295-6288 just call that number and follow the prompts and record your question for John and again he may respond to it on a future broadcast the Q&A number one more time. 661-295-6288. You can also find that Also, if you are encouraged by John's verse by verse teaching know that many people across the globe are experiencing the same benefit we are able to reach Pastor Sunday school teachers stay at home moms and their kids, businesspeople, college students and many others because people like you give if you'd like to help us strengthen believers around the world with biblical truth, you can mail your donation to grace to you.

Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 or you can call us at 855 or go to our website TTY.that website one more time. now for John MacArthur in the entire grace to you staff on Phil Johnson inviting you back tomorrow with John looks at how Satan will try to distract you from truly knowing God, and what you can do about it. John will continue his series delivered by God with another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you

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