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The Love of God, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
September 11, 2020 4:00 am

The Love of God, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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September 11, 2020 4:00 am

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Sodom was destroyed in unredeemed Samaria unredeemed Israel worse than both. And God forgave why is it that God would so forgive because he said his life and made his own mind and a child loves his parents why parents love their children the love you have for your spouse and now you could grow to love a particularly caring friend, but how and why would you love someone who is ungrateful, unruly, and frankly unworthy of your devotion. The truth is you and I would not love like that.

But God would and does so why does he love the very people who openly reject him. Find out as John MacArthur helps you understand God's amazing love for you the love of God.

That's the title of John's current study and with today's lesson.

Here's John to grasp the character of God's love in some manageable ways and to begin to understand it. I have offered you three propositions. First of all God's love is on limited in extent God's love is unlimited in extent. Secondly, God's love is limited in degree and, thirdly, God's love is ultimately directed at his own glory. Let's talk about the second love that love which is unique to believers. Now when you try to grasp the uniqueness of this love you looking for an illustration to grab and I want to share one with you this morning. I'm not gonna go beyond this, but it's going to take some time to develop.

It's worth the time.

The best way to illustrate the difference. The different kinds of different quality to grant different degree of love that those who are his own experience is to go to the Old Testament and look at Israel because Israel was his own people now to see that pattern unfold in the most graphic terms of the whole Old Testament go to Ezekiel 16. This is the longest chapter in Ezekiel's prophecy. There are 48 chapters chapter 16 is the longest is the most vivid is the most dramatic and it is the most forceful chapter in Ezekiel and one of the most dramatic in all of Scripture, and what it does is explain to us this unique love that God has for his own. He lives so he chooses and he will redeem, whom he loves and chooses. It isn't credible. Chapter not to give you some morning. It is very graphic. It is very distressing. It presents the nation Israel in such a loathsome and sordid terms that rabbis within Judaism through the years have not permitted this chapter to be read in any public meeting and you can go all the way back to the mission and Rabbi Eliezer Ben here kindness and you find there a prohibition against reading this chapter publicly. Why because it focuses devastatingly on the iniquitous character of Israel.

Let's start at the beginning and the word of the Lord came to me saying Son of Man. That's the term for Ezekiel make known the Jerusalem her abominations and say, thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem your origin and your birth are from the land of the Canaanite. Your father was an Amorite and your mother Hittite stop at this point in history. Jerusalem is God city, Jerusalem, the beloved belongs to the nation Israel. It is to be a place for the worship of the true God. Worship places their temple is there, but something tragic has happened. He says Jerusalem is full of abominations is referring to idolatry the worship of false gods and idols and he says to the Lord's message to Ezekiel. You've got to tell Jerusalem that I know about her abominations and here is what the Lord wants to say you're going back to your roots because your origin and your birth weren't were were in the land of the Canaanites and your father was an Amorite and your mother Hittite Amorite Hittite or general names for the dwellers of Canaan.

They simply scoop up all the pagan idolatrous tribes that were there when Israel arrived Jerusalem once was in the hands of pagans and he says you've gone back to those pagan abominations you've gone back to being like it used to be.

Later on, the chapter he'll say is a proverb like, like daughter, like mother, you've gone back to the way your mother's behaved the Amorites and the Hittites you filled this city and you filled this land with pagan idolatry and Jerusalem of course is symbol is a symbol for the whole nation. Notice verse four as for your birth. On the day you were born your naval cord was not cut nor were you washed with water for cleansing.

You were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. No, I looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you to have compassion on you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field for you were abhorred on the day you were born talking about Israel on this is that this is the marvelous reality that God decides to set his love on that child dirty outcast left to die in the midst of the pagan world is talking about Israel's time in Egypt they were scum.

They were outcast. They were waste material and then in verse six when I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood. I said to you while you were in your blood live hi said you while you were in your blood live. I came along and I picked you up out of Egypt and I gave you life.

Why, because I determined the love you why because it was something lovable know you were ugly and bloodied in dirty. Nobody wanted you there was nothing about you to Alyssa compassion but I passed by and saw you squirming I gave you life here is talking about the early period of growth is the nation Israel comes out of Egypt and comes into the promised land and starts to form my major verse seven. Like numerous plants of the field and you grew up and you became tall and you reach the age for fine ornaments. Your breasts were formed in your hair had grown yet you were naked and bare. This looks at Israel, they sorta become a nation and they're starting to grow and develop.

But there's no wealth and civilization is very limited. It's a pretty wild group nomadic in verse eight.

Then I passed by you and saw you. And behold, you were at the time for love. What is that mean marriage time Israel had reached maturity and he said so. I spread my skirt over you and covered your nakedness. It wasn't. It wasn't proper anymore to to be naked you you want a child anymore. You were an adult and and you had reached the time of love and you couldn't be naked and so I covered you. I spread my skirt that was accustomed by the way, which signified a spousal to a marriage you can read about it in Ruth chapter 3 verse nine. I not only picked you up out of the field when you were bloodied, dirty, infant, but I'd like carried you until you grew.

And then when you became mature enough I deemed it proper to marry you, and I swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became mine, declares the Lord God. This is the marriage of God to Israel.

He just determined in his sovereign will to love Israel. That's all there is to nothing lovable about her and then he says in verse nine look at this I and this all describes what the wealthiest king would do for his bride.

I bathe you with water washed off your blood from you and anointed you with a little like it's like picking up a wild woman out of the most uncivilized kind of culture and I anointed you with oil and then verse 10 I clothed you with embroidered cloth and I put sandal support.

The skin on your feet and I wrap you with fine linen and cover you with silk and I adorned you with ornaments. I put bracelets on your hands, and a necklace around your neck. I also put a ring in your nostril. I know some of you don't like that but it's biblical. I don't think it went in the middle with a rope around it is on the side. I put earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your fifth.

The love here is incredible as it this is just lavish, absolutely lavish and that you are adorned with gold and silver.

Verse 13 says your dress was a fine linen, soaking, embroidered cloth, you ate fine flour, honey and oil so you are exceedingly beautiful and you advanced the royalty is what we would call today a makeover of major proportions.

This is what God did when he brought Israel to full bloom and there came David in the kingdom.

Floris it was magnificent and it was powerful and it was revered and then came Solomon and it was the greatest kingdom in the world and the Queen of Sheba came because of the wonder of it just to see it all in the beauty and the royalty of it was all because of the goodness of God and then verse 15 but you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame you got widely known and you started having all kinds of opportunities to interface with all kinds of nations and people. And you became enamored with your beauty and how great you were and you started to have relationships with all these others and you poured out your harlotries on every passerby who might be willing. Shameless. This wife been picked up as a baby nurtured until she was marriageable and then espoused to God and then wed to God and then adorned with royalty, and now all of a sudden she's out of the street and she will commit adultery with any person who passes by. This of course is reference to her harlotries. Her spiritual harlotries in the worship of idols. Israel embraced all kinds of idols. Verse 16. You took some of your close made for yourself high places of various colors. In other words, you took your own clothes and turn them into shrines to the false gods and you played the harlot on them, which should never come about, nor happen. You also took your beautiful jewels made of my gold and of my silver which I had given you, and you made for yourself male images that you might play the harlot with them and you know when they were wealthy and got a given them silver and given them gold. They used it to buy idols. The form idols to build alliances with pagan nations. Verse 18. You took your embroidered cloth and covered them in, offered my oil in my incense before those idols in my bread. Notice how many times he says my it always from him my bread which I gave you fine flour, oil and honey, with which I fed you. You would offer before them for a soothing aroma so happened it declares the Lord God. Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had borne to me, and you sacrificed them to idols to be devoured.

In other words, they took their little babies and they put them on a fire to the God Moloch and let the fire burn. The little baby to appease the deity were your harlotries so small a matter verse 21 you slaughtered my children and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire and besides all your abominations in harlotries you didn't remember the days of your youth when you were naked barons squirming in your blood you forgot what I had taken you from and it came about after all, your wickedness will load you, declares the Lord God that you bill yourself a shrine and made yourself a high place in every square you built yourself a high place at the top of every street major beauty, abominable, and you spread your legs to every passerby to multiply your harlotries literally the whole land was completely engulfed in idols. You also play the harlot with the Egyptians. Your lustful neighbors and multiply your harlotry make me angry, behold now, I stretched out my hand against you, and diminished your net, your rations, and indeed there days of greatness descended. I delivered you up to the desire of those who hate you, the daughters of the Philistines were ashamed of your lewd conduct. Even the pagans can't believe how lewd you are.

Moreover, you play the harlot with the Assyrians because you are not satisfied, you can play the harlot with them and still were not satisfied.

You also multiply your harlotry with the land of merchants Chaldea it even with this, you are not satisfied. It's an insatiable lust for spiritual adultery.

How languishing is your heart declares the Lord God while you do all these things, the actions of a boldfaced harlot and then he says something is just amazing when you built your shrine at the beginning of every street and major high place in every square into staining money. You are not like the harlot in other words, you didn't even want money for our let's do it for money, you name what money you just wanted the harlotry you adulterous wife who took strangers instead of her husband. Many give gifts to all harlots. But you give your gifts to all your lovers to bribe them to come to you from every direction for your harlotry here.

The harlot is paying the person seeking harlotry. Thus, verse 34 says you're different from those women in your harlotries and that no one plays the harlot as you do because you give money and no money is given you.

Thus you are different you see the degree to which they've gone. Therefore, all harlot hear the word of the Lord comes judgment, thus says the Lord God because your lewdness was poured out your nakedness uncovered through your harlotries with your lovers and all your detestable idols and because of the blood of your sons which you gave to idols. Therefore, behold, I shall gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, even all those whom you loved and all those whom you hated so I shall gather them against you from every direction and exposure nakedness to them that they may see all your nakedness. Thus, I shall judge you like women who commit adultery or shed blood or judge's and I shall bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy.

I shall also give you into the hands of your lovers and they will tear down your shrines demolish her high places strip you of your clothing take away your jewels leave you naked and bare they will incite a crowd against you they will stone you cut you to pieces with their swords. They will burn your house with fire execute judgments on you and the site of many women I shall stop you from playing the harlot and you will no longer pay your lovers. I shall calm my fury against you, my jealousy will depart from you.

I shall be pacified and angry no more because you have not remember the days of your youth, but of enraged me by all these things, behold, I intern will bring your conduct down on your head, declares the Lord God so that you will not commit this lewdness on top of all your other abominations. What's it.

The Babylonian captivity that is a direct prophecy of 586 BC started actually a few years before that when Israel was destroyed by the Babylonians.

They were massacred they were slaughtered their cities and towns were plundered and burned, and God says I want to bring this about in your to be hauled off into captivity and that is exactly what happened in the Babylonian captivity Ezekiel is predicting 586 BC when Israel was destroyed in the whole nation massacred in the remaining living people carried off in the Babylonian culture to be refined then notice what comes next. Verse 44 everyone who quotes Proverbs will quote this proverb concerning you saying like mother like daughter was at her mother was the Hittite and the Amorite, and she's acting like her mother.

You are the daughter of your mother. Verse 45 who loads her husband and children. You are the sister of your sisters who load their husbands and children, your mother was a Hittite. Your father wasn't Amorite. In other words, you're just living out what you were you've gone back in spite of my love in spite of my love I will take time to read all of but in verse 4659 is incredible section. He says your older sister in verse 46 is Samaria was north of you. Your younger sister, who south of you is Sodom. You're acting like Samaria and Sodom. Sodom, which was consumed once by fire and brimstone, and now has come back and been repopulated with paganism, Samaria, judged by God now is come back in paganism.

Verse 47 yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations, but as if that were to little you acted more corruptly in all your conduct and they you are worse than Samaria. You are worse than Sodom. Your you're obviously the daughter of your mother and father, the Amorites and Hittites you are pagan and to a degree beyond Sodom and beyond Samaria.

Your abominations are worse and you're going to be more humiliated than Samaria and Sodom who are your sisters for they too were born of the Amorites and the Hittite.

In fact, verse 57 says you have become the reproach of the daughters of Edom and of all who were around her of the daughters of the Philistines. Those surrounding you who despise you.

Everybody sees how corrupt you are. Even the pagans. Verse 59.

Thus says the Lord God.

I will also do with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath by breaking the covenant. Is it any wonder that the rabbis don't like to have it read all that unbelievable indictment ending in the Babylonian captivity, ending in the pagan world. Looking at the lewdness of Israel and thinking them to be worse than they were when in fact that is exactly the case. Listen, they were less lovable.

In the beginning, and they were more wretched after God made them his bride than any of the people around. They started out being the least. They ended up being the worst. And that's why the end of the chapter is so utterly shocking. Verse 60. Never the less God doesn't say I will hate you with a holy hatred. I will despise you.

He says nevertheless I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.

Verse 62. Thus, I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord in order here comes in order that you may remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation.

When I have what forgiven you for all that you have done. The Lord God declares is that overwhelming.

I'm going to silence you. I'm going to reduce you to humiliation by forgiving you by forgiving you.

Why didn't he forgive Sodom didn't choose. Why didn't he forgive Samaria never made a covenant with you see, God loves whom he chooses to love, determines to make a covenant with those people. That covenant is the everlasting covenant made in eternity past within the Trinity, which works its way out in a redeeming purpose on behalf of those chosen people which redemption cannot be gainsaid, nor can it be withheld. Sodom was destroyed and unredeemed Samaria unredeemed Israel worse than both and God forgave why is it that God would so forgive because he said his love on Israel was in the this and made Israel his own possession there mind. He said in his love for them is very different in degree than that compassionate warning. Love that he has for the whole world. This love is perfect. This love is comprehensive. This love is complete. This love is saving this love is eternal.

It is this love that caused him to lay down his life for his own God's incomparable love.

John MacArthur's focus again today on grace to you as he continued his practical study titled simply the love of God, along with teaching each day on the radio.

John also serves as Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary. John, you made the point today that God maintain his love for Israel, no matter how grossly they send no matter how frequently they apostatized his love is eternal but let me ask what are we supposed to do with that. Practically, is there an application somewhere in there for us in terms of how we should express our loving human relationships. I don't think there's any greater way to express love than forgiveness. Essentially, that's the most godlike being a human being can do your never more like God than when you forgive when you love your enemies and you by loving them provide forgiveness for no matter what they've done to you. Can you imagine how this society would be dramatically changed if people loved enough to forgive anything and everything. This comes down to the parable that our Lord told about the people who owed the king great debts and you remember he called the men to pay their debts in the first guy comes and says you know I can't pay. I don't have enough to pay the king says, okay, I'll forgive a forgive you, and forgives him an unpayable debt. Maybe it was impossible for him to pay. Then he goes out the guy who was forgiven and find somebody who owes him a pittance and puts him in the debtor's jail because he won't pay the pittance that he owes the Lord is furious the Lord and in the story that Lichter's you know the, the punishers, the guys with the whips and scourges came out and went after the guy how could you ever accept forgiveness for unpayable debt and then go beat somebody or imprison somebody who owed you a minor debt that is a crushing demonstration of how ludicrous it is to receive the forgiveness of God having sinned against God glass famously continuously against God, but you won't forgive somebody who sinned against you.

Who do you think you are. All relationships break down at the point where there's not forgiveness. All social relationships break down at the point where there's not forgiveness. All marriages break down at the point where there's not forgiveness because we are not perfect.

We desperately need forgiveness by the booklet and here's the good news. It's free to anyone who asks the booklet title is answering the hard questions about forgiving this. It's a brief booklet, but it's full of really important truth from Scripture.

So get a copy today free to anyone who asks. That's right, friend. This booklet is our gift to you. All you have to do is call or go to our website and requested to get your free copy of answering the hard questions about forgiveness. Contact us today our number here 855 grace or go to our website Jide This booklet answers questions like does forgiveness require forgetting the offense, how should you handle forgiving a repeat offender, and what's the difference between true repentance and merely apologizing again will send answering the hard questions about forgiveness to anyone who wants a copy just call our toll-free number 855 grace or visit our website Jide and while you're online.

Be sure to download John's current study love of God.

All six messages are available free of charge.

In fact, you could download any of John's sermons. That's 3500 of them that will help you dig deeper into God's word. I website one more time. Jide now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson look for Grace to you television this Sunday on DirecTV channel 378 or check your local listings for channel and times and then join us next week when John looks at the parable of the prodigal son and what it reveals about God's love for his children be here want you for another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Mondays, grace to you

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