When God put Christ on the cross, penalty was paid, and God had paid the price to redeem us back.
And because of that, He could give us an inheritance, deliverance, transfer us into His kingdom. And I hope that you might just get a couple of things out of this. Dominantly, one would be to thank God for what He's done. So, this Thursday, Thanksgiving Day here in the United States, provides a perfect opportunity for you to pause and reflect on the things you're thankful for. But have you ever wondered what should make Christians most thankful? John MacArthur tackles that crucial question today here on Grace to You.
It's a practical lesson that you'll hear in a few moments. But first, John, before you look at some of the profound reasons that we as Christians have for being thankful, you have a letter there that is really a wonderful example of gratefulness and praise, despite some extremely difficult circumstances. And it's an appropriate letter for this Thanksgiving week, so please share that with us.
Yeah, Phil. Well, this letter was emailed to us on August 24th of this year at 5 14 in the morning. And the woman who wrote it is named Donna.
And that's an important little note. So here's the letter. Donna told us this, In mid-July my husband and I read John MacArthur's book, Safe in the Arms of God. I'm not sure what had prompted me to get a copy from the library. I was surprised and happy that the public library had the ability to get it. A week or so after reading the book, we had the unexpected, happy surprise to learn that our daughter and her husband were expecting their second baby.
But yesterday, that is August 23rd, we found out that the baby had no fetal heartbeat. At the end of today's Grace to You radio broadcast, now this is early in the morning on August 24, John MacArthur and Phil Johnson talked about the book, Safe in the Arms of God. Oh, what a comfort to be reminded of how God loves us and has provided scripture and words of comfort for us to share with our daughter and son-in-law.
God has provided what we need before we knew that we needed it. This morning, still August 24, I'll be going to my daughter and son-in-law's home and accompanying my daughter to the hospital. They both were raised in church and know the scriptures, yet they do not walk with the Lord or go to church. Please pray for them and their five-year-old daughter, our precious granddaughter. I ordered copies of Safe in the Arms of God from your website, one for them and one to share with others. Thank you and please thank Pastor John for his faithfulness to our Lord and his faithfulness to write this book. Praise God. Signed, Donna. The Lord's timing is perfect, right?
He knows. Just a reminder that as we teach the Bible on radio and produce books like Safe in the Arms of God, which deals with the issue of the death of an infant, the death of a baby, we are providing resources to connect people with biblical truth. We're making investments in the future spiritual stability and health of God's children. Biblical truth is the anchor that holds us. It's the compass that guides our thinking. It's the lamp that illuminates the darkness.
It's the lens that allows us to see our circumstances in the context of God, his power, his love, and his purpose. So we're here working in unison with our radio partners and with friends like you to keep verse-by-verse teaching coming to communities like this one day by day. Thank you for faithfully upholding our work, especially in these last weeks of the year. That's right, and thank you, friend. We could not do this without you, and we hope to be encouraging Donna and her family and believers around the world for years to come.
If you'd like to support that effort, go to gty.org after the lesson. But right now, stay here as John shows you what makes Christians most thankful. Now in Colossians 1, look at it with me. Paul expresses thanks for salvation. His idea here is to thank God for the salvation that has been provided in Christ. Let's read 12 to 14.
You watch. Giving thanks unto the Father who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son in whom we have redemption even the forgiveness of sins. Partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. The only people who get in on the inheritance are whom? The saints. And who are the saints? The people what? Walking in the light.
That's just to qualify everything. God has qualified certain people to be partakers of the inheritance. The people are always the saints and the saints are always the people walking in the light. What does it mean to walk in the light? Well, light represents two things I think biblically. One is intellectual and the other is moral. Intellectually, light represents truth.
Morally, light represents purity. And the saints are characterized by a knowledge of truth and of moral behavior, of pure behavior. And it is the people who walk in the truth and walk in purity who are the saints and who are the ones who are receiving the inheritance. In Acts 26 verse 18, this is what Paul said. He was commissioned by God to preach to the Gentiles to open their eyes to turn them from darkness to light. Listen, and from the power of Satan unto God that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them who are sanctified by faith that is in me. Now when you look at Colossians 1 12 to 14, you got to know that Paul was thinking about that very statement from the Lord when he wrote this because it's all the same almost. To open their eyes, to give them light, to turn them from Satan to God, to give them forgiveness and an inheritance by faith that is in me.
And there's the key. When a man or a woman puts his faith in Christ, then he receives the inheritance, becomes a saint. What is a saint? Somebody who's been made holy. Somebody who's been separated unto God.
Somebody who's been set apart by faith. So, the inheritance belongs to the saints. The saints are the people who know the truth and who live it, right? Those are the saints and they're the ones who get the inheritance.
Thank you God, Paul says. And you know what's kind of sad about it is that anybody else does not get the inheritance. No. Just the people who walk in the truth. Just the people who walk in the light, intellectual light, they know God and moral light, they behave as godly people. Not perfect. But there certainly should be indication of their life. James says faith without works is what?
Is dead. In 1 Corinthians, the tragic comparison would be the sixth chapter in the sixth chapter in the ninth verse. Don't you know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Neither fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God. They do not inherit. There is no inheritance for those kind of people.
None at all. In Galatians chapter 5 verse 21, he has listed all these terrible sins and he says of which I tell you, as I have told you in time past, they who do such things shall not inherit. It is the people in the light who receive the inheritance.
Now let me go a step further. And this is a lot of theology, so I hope you can get some of it. Now what is the inheritance? You ever think about that?
That's the first thing that came into my mind. What is this thing that I'm going to inherit? Well, let me give it to you in broad terms because we don't want to get specific or we'll take too long, but broadly. Number one, the inheritance is eternal life. The first thing we inherit is eternal life and that is not a length of life. That is a kind of life. It is not a quantity of life. It is a quality of life.
It is a kind of living. And in Matthew chapter 19 verse 29, everyone that has forsaken houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my name's sake shall receive and hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life. The people who step away from society and identify with me, they will inherit eternal life. The first thing that I see in our inheritance is the first thing that I see in our inheritance is eternal life, a kind of existence.
You say, what is it, John? It's God in me. It's God living in me, God moving in me, God breathing in me, God living his life in me. That is eternal life.
In case you have a problem with that definition, 1 John 5 20 lays it out very clear. His son, Jesus Christ, listen, this is the true God and eternal life. Eternal life is Christ in me. It is a quality of existence. It is God's life in me. It is the divine life in me.
Christ in me. Now that's the first thing that I inherited when I was made worthy, when I was qualified by the Father. Even the rich young ruler came to Jesus and knew the right question. What must I do to inherit what? Eternal life. That's the inheritance. There's an interesting passage in Luke 10 25. It says, and behold, a certain lawyer stood up, same thing, tested him saying, master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
And what was wrong with that question was you can't do anything to inherit something. That's a gift. That's a gift. God chooses to make you worthy. You receive the gift. So our inheritance is eternal life, God living in us.
What a super thought. And in Matthew chapter 19 verse 29, everyone that has forsaken houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my name's sake shall receive and hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life. The people who step away from society and identify with me, they will inherit eternal life. The first thing that I see in our inheritance is eternal life.
A kind of existence. Second thing, our inheritance very broadly speaking includes, this is kind of amazing, the whole earth. The whole earth. Look at Matthew 5 5.
This is just really exciting. This is beatitude. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Another thing that is in our inheritance is the whole earth. You say, well John, the whole earth, what do you mean?
That certainly isn't present. Oh yeah. It's got a future aspect. Someday Jesus is going to return and we're going to return with him in glory, Paul says in Colossians 3. And someday when Jesus returns, we're going to reign with him and he's going to take over the earth. And that's going to be kind of exciting.
I like to think about that. He says, you're going to inherit my kingdom in Luke 22 29 and 30. And you're going to eat and drink at my table in the kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel and so forth to his disciples. And later on, the promise is extended to the whole church in revelation that we're going to sit with him in his throne and rule over the earth. And so we have this concept of the future. We're going to rule the earth. But have you ever thought about in relation to the present aspect? There's a sense in which we already rule the earth right now. A sense in which we possess the earth.
You say, in what sense? Well, in the sense that, now that I'm a Christian and I know that someday it's all going to be mine anyway, I'm not too concerned about getting it now. You ever think about that? Some people are in a mad dash to gain all the material things they can. I'm just waiting for the kingdom and it's all going to be given to me.
What's the hurry? It takes the pressure off, folks. They don't have to worry so much about trying to obtain everything in this world, because someday it's going to be all mine anyway. And yours. So the inheritance includes in a very broad, broad way eternal life, the whole earth, and then just let me add one thing that'll sum it up. All the promises. That's so monstrous that Hebrews 6 12 says, that you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Now think about it. The writer of Hebrews says, you will inherit the promises. What promises? All of them. All of them. All of them.
When you come to Christ, you immediately inherit eternal life, the whole earth, and all the promises. I mean, it's incredible. Say, what's left? Nothing.
I mean, it's incredible. Say, what's left? Nothing. Nothing left.
That's it. Now you say, but I'm not too sure I have all that now. Oh yeah, it's all yours in a limited sense. But it's going to be yours in a fuller sense in the future. I read in Revelation 21, John's word, he says, I saw a new heaven.
Remember that? And a new earth. And the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and there was no more sea. And he goes on, I, John, saw the holy city of new Jerusalem coming out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. And he goes through that tremendous description of the final state, and all the saints are there. And then it says in verse 7, he that overcomes. And who is he that overcomes? But he that believeth Jesus is the Christ. 1 John.
All right. The believers shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. You're going to inherit what things? All things. Fantastic.
You say, yeah, that sounds exciting, but I wonder how long it'll last. Well, I'll tell you, Hebrews 9 15. Listen to this.
This is good. For this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, that they who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. That's how long this inheritance is eternal.
You say, well, it sounds pretty exciting, John. No wonder Paul's given God thanks. Well, that's right. Can you be sure about that? Can you be sure about that? Well, you got a guarantee right here in the Bible, don't you? It says so. And God signed his name to this Bible.
Did you know that? God wrote this whole thing and then signed his name. It's all true. You say, but I'm kind of skeptical. I'd like a guarantee. You think if I prayed, God would drop me down a special guarantee?
This is a guarantee that so and so will receive everything I promised. Did he do that? Oh, he already did that. Oh, he did? Oh, yes. Yeah, Ephesians 1. Oh, he already did that.
What do you mean? Well, look at it. Ephesians 1, 13. You see that verse 13 ends with this, the Holy Spirit of what? Promise.
All right. God's promise and inheritance. 13th verse ends, the Holy Spirit of promise, who is, now mark that word, the guarantee of our what? Inheritance. What is the guarantee of our inheritance? Oh, it's the guarantee of the Holy Spirit. The word guarantee, araban, interesting word, means down payment guarantee. It also means engagement ring.
And I love that meaning. And somebody says, how do you know that God's going to take you to be with himself? And how do you know you're going to get all that inheritance that he promised you? And I simply say, because I have an engagement ring.
You do? Who is it? It's the Holy Spirit. The day I was redeemed, God put his Holy Spirit in me and said, there's my engagement ring. The wedding's going to come up. There's my down payment. There's my guarantee. So God, beloved, has apportioned to us an inheritance, an incorruptible, undefiled, never fading away inheritance. And he has guaranteed to us that inheritance by the indwelling Holy Spirit who is sealed to us as the Spirit of promise. And that inheritance encompasses eternal life.
It encompasses the whole earth and everything that is in it. And it encompasses all the promises of God, both now and forever. And the inheritance is going to last forever and ever.
What an inheritance. Colossians 1 again, Paul says, thank you, God, for your inheritance. Point two, I thank you, God, for your deliverance. Verse 13.
This is good. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness? The word deliver literally means to draw to oneself. The idea is that God actually took us from Satan to himself.
Eris tense means point action, one event, pastime. He did it at one moment in time. You say, when was that moment, John? At the new birth? Do you know there's no progress in our deliverance?
The moment I put my faith in Christ, instantly I was delivered. I hear Christians talking a lot about deliverance. Oh, they want to have deliverance from this and deliverance.
That's a bad word. We're delivered. We've already been. Really, what you need to do is claim your deliverance.
Just move on. What have we been delivered from? The word could be well-translated and you might write this in your margin, rescued. Who has rescued us from the power of darkness. Literally, the word power, the jurisdiction, the power of darkness, the power jurisdiction of darkness, the jurisdiction of darkness, or the authority of darkness. In Luke 22, there's an excellent illustration of this.
It uses the same term. Jesus is betrayed by Judas and they all come to get Jesus, the captains, the chief priests, and so forth. And Jesus says, are you come as against a thief with swords and clubs? What do you do with all the weapons, people? He says to the people coming to capture him, when I was daily with you in the temple, you stretched forth no hands against me.
Why are you doing this now? Listen, but this is your hour and the jurisdiction of darkness. And he used the very same term that Paul used in Colossians 1.
What does that term mean? Jesus used the term in Luke 22 to refer to the supernatural forces marshaled by Satan against him. The jurisdiction of darkness is the dominion of Satan. And in Luke 22 and at the capture and death of Christ, that dark power had its brief moment, but it was a very brief moment and it ended in total defeat. And not only did the power of darkness find itself unable to capture Jesus, but in his death, he rescued out of the clutches of the power of darkness, all that were his. And once rescued beloved, we need not fear that power. Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. And Paul at the end of Romans 16 tells us Satan is under our feet.
Tremendous reality. At the cross, Satan was crushed and we were rescued from the power of darkness. Thank God for that. What hope did we have? What hope did you have locked into the system of Satan on your way to hell?
No hope. Thank you, Father, for my inheritance and my deliverance. There's a third thing, transference. That's the positive side of deliverance. Verse 13 in the middle, and has translated us or transferred us into the kingdom of his dear son, in whom, and here's a modifier of the son, we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins. Through his blood seems to have been added into this passage and doesn't appear in the older manuscript, although it's true and it is recorded in other places in the epistles. But the point that he makes here is that you've not just been taken out of something, but you've been put into something else.
What is it? The kingdom of his dear son. The word translate or transfer means to totally remove or change. We've been taken out of the power of darkness and placed in the kingdom of his dear son. And literally, I love what the Greek says. It says, we have been, notice it, translated unto the kingdom of the son of his love. Unto the kingdom of the son of his love. The father gives his kingdom to the son of his love, and then he gives his kingdom to everybody that loves his son. Now what is this kingdom? You ever think about that? Well, some people say it refers to the future earth.
And there is an aspect of that, isn't there? That there's coming to be a future for this world when Jesus shall reign. We believe in the literal thousand year millennial reign of Jesus Christ on the earth and the throne of David established in the city of Jerusalem. There is coming a kingdom on earth, a restored earth that will extend into a forever new heaven and new earth.
But there's more than that. The kingdom of God, the kingdom of the son of his love is more than just the future. And it's more than just the general rule of God in the universe. It is a very spiritual reality right now. In fact, in Romans 14 and verse 17, it gives us a beautiful definition of it. It says, for the kingdom of God is not food and drink, not physical, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Yes, there is a future thousand year reign of Christ on earth. Yes, there is a general category of God's rule in the universe, sovereignly and eternally.
But also there is a special relationship that men in this age have with a living God when they come to Jesus Christ. And what is a kingdom? A kingdom is a group of people ruled by a king, right?
And when you became a Christian, you crowned Jesus Christ what? King and you became a subject in his kingdom. And though he does not yet rule on earth, he is no less a king. David was still the king even when he was chased out of his kingdom by Absalom who was cowering in the wilderness. He was no less a king. And even though the world has chased Jesus Christ and tried to dethrone Christ and rebel against him as Absalom did against David, he is no less a king. And even though he is absent from the earth and in the heavens, he is still the ruler of our hearts and someday will come to rule this earth. Beloved, we are subjects in his kingdom. And it's exciting to realize that we've been taken out of the jurisdiction of darkness and placed into the kingdom of the son of his love. There's some tremendous responsibility connected with that, I think. As children of the kingdom, we should rightly represent the king, don't you think?
I think we should. And so Paul says thank you. Thank you, Father. Thank you for inheritance. Thank you for deliverance.
Thank you for transference. And I would close by simply drawing you to verse 14, which sums it up. How was all of this possible?
Only one way. We had to be redeemed and have our sins forgiven. The thing that stands between us and God is sin. Redemption is the forgiveness of sin and the drawing us to himself. When God put Christ on the cross and He bore your sin and He bore my sin, the penalty was paid and God had paid the price to redeem us back. And because of that, He could give us an inheritance, deliverance, transfer us into His kingdom. This is a model prayer.
And I hope that you might just get a couple of things out of this. Dominantly, one would be to thank God for what He's done, the epitome of what He's done in Christ. Two, to learn how to pray, to ask and to thank. Beloved, let me sum up this whole prayer from verses 9 to 14 in these words. When you look and see what God has done, when you acknowledge what He has done, when you acknowledge what He has done, when I do, how can we do less than be filled with the knowledge of His Word? As Paul prays, in all wisdom, verse 9, and spiritual understanding, that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing. When we see what He has done, He has done.
How can we do less? This is Grace to You with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John is a pastor, author, chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, and his lesson today showed you what makes Christians most thankful. And friend, as John said before the lesson, we are so grateful for our partnership with people like you who believe in the power of verse-by-verse Bible teaching. Through your support, you help Grace to You have a strong voice that enables men and women throughout the world to grow. If you'd like to partner with us, make a donation today. You can mail your tax-deductible gift to Grace to You, Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412. You can also express your support when you call us, toll-free at 800-55-GRACE or donate online at GTY.org. Thank you for remembering what a crucial time the end of the year is for us.
It's about a quarter of our budget that is met by gifts we receive in just the last few weeks of the year. Again, to make a donation, call 800-55-GRACE or go to GTY.org. That's our website, GTY.org. When you visit there, take advantage of the multiple ways to listen to John's verse-by-verse teaching. You can download more than 3,500 sermons free of charge in audio and transcript format. Just search by topic or specific verse or book of the Bible to find what you want. And if you're not sure where to start, log on to Grace Stream. It's a continual broadcast of John's teaching, beginning in Matthew, taking you through the book of Revelation all the way through the New Testament verse-by-verse. And all of that, and much more, is available at GTY.org. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson, encouraging you to be here tomorrow when John helps you prepare for Thanksgiving Day by showing you why you can really give thanks in every circumstance. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace To You.
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