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How to Think and Act in Evil Days, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
February 1, 2021 3:00 am

How to Think and Act in Evil Days, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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February 1, 2021 3:00 am

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The word of God opens the school, it penetrates it breaks up the harm in reviewing is sufficient commentator by any measure, the moral values in United dates are changing faster than at any other time in history on biblical lifestyles that were almost universally condemned just a decade or two ago are now celebrated so in today's culture where godly values are mocked and Christians face growing hostility. What does God expect from you. John MacArthur starts answering that question today on grace to you as he launches a study titled how to think and act in the evil days. John these messages on the Christian response to an evil culture and I think it significant that these were recorded during chapel services at the Masters University is that a reflection on where the intensity of the spiritual battle is the greatest in the lives of people on the younger side of their Christian experience. Yeah.

And I think it's a very provocative question to ask, but I think maybe in my lifetime. This generation has more fear, more anxiety, more dread than any previous generation and the reasons for that, of course, have to do with the breakdown of marriage.

The breakdown of the family, the, the literal drowning in a sea of filth and immorality, and garbage being pumped at them in every technical technical form that it can be. So this is a very very disturbed, distressed generation of young people and they don't have a lot of hope for the future they they feel almost overwhelmed by certain issues that they'll never be able to tackle higher rates of suicide as part of the opioid crisis in the drug induced stupor that young people put themselves into.

So yeah, I think young people need help in navigating the days in which we live. The apostle Paul said it is a crooked and perverse generation and that is exactly right.

So were going to do a study on how to think and act in evil days that the title of it, and these messages I gave at the Masters University because I want these young people to know what the word of God says about living in this particular era. While I delivered these messages really to students. They certainly are.

For every believer or any unbeliever to hear what the Bible says about living in the face of what feels like almost terminal wickedness. Christians are accused of being intolerant so they the times soften up their stand against evil and against sin and those kinds of compromises can lead them into making moral judgments and acting in immoral ways because they've softened up their position because it's not popular.

There are so many things that come at believers, particularly young believers in these days they need to know how to think and act in these evil days. So for the next four days. When a look at that in the word of God stay with us.

Yes friend.

This series is filled with bedrock principles for living a life that honors Christ and draws others to him no matter how dark our world gets now with his look at how to think and acting evil days.

Here's John MacArthur I want to talk to you today from the 13th chapter of Luke.

So if you have your Bible handy. You might want open to that chapter.

Been thinking about this always wanting to provide something for you that will be useful something that will help you to not only clarify your Christian worldview.

But will help you to talk to the people that you're going to intersect with as as you go through the world and have the opportunity to honor Christ in every situation. It was 9/11 all the way back when the terrorists flew planes into the twin Towers in New York City that sorta catapulted me into a into a new world. I I had pretty much been confined to the Christian world until 9/11 happened and then through a series of circumstances all of a sudden within couple of days. I wound up in the national media I I want up in the international media and I remember sitting down on CNN for the first time in an international broadcast with the talkshow host Larry King and I really didn't know what the questions were going to be.

I never did for all the many times that that I was with him and the other programs. You never know what they're going to ask the first question out of his mouth was.

What does it mean what is the lesson what we take away from the devastation of of the collapse of the twin towers under the terrorists and 3000 some odd people dying. What's the message and I just said off-the-cuff, not knowing the question before I said well the take away is this you're going to die, not in control of when the river is going to die and was A stunning answer and as a result of that. It launched a lot more opportunities for for me to communicate that conviction. That is the message. In fact, that's the message of life in all the catastrophes and calamities that we see around the world we live in a society unlike any in the past. We live in a world of electronic media and mass communication and relentless visual images and enhancements we see everything we see everything that happens in the world of any significance, and we see it again and again and again and again that were not isolated from anything. Every catastrophe, every calamity, every cataclysm, every disaster, every tragedy, everything is paraded before our eyes, and becomes a vicarious experience for all of us earthquakes in Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, tsunamis, and in Japan salmon in Africa. Volcanic eruptions on various islands. Hurricanes in Asia plagues in India avalanches in Europe wars in Iraq, Sudan, Syria, suicide terrorists wherever they show up in the Middle East or anywhere else.

We see it all. We've seen it always seen massacres of children in schools in Russia. Massacres of children in school here in the United States. We've seen massacres in theaters and we seen it again and again and again and again. There's a steady parade of these people, their families, their personalities, we see plane crashes train disaster sinking ferry boats and on and on on it goes. What were not isolated from anything. In fact, were overloaded with absolutely everything for the first time in the history of the world. Most of these things have nothing to do with us. Were not there were not involved. We regularly do not experience these cataclysms, and these catastrophes but all of it becomes ours. Vicariously we we end up having to process the emotion of all of these things and I think some of the reality is that after you've seen them over and over and over again, and so many of them against to become kind of the same thing replayed again and again and our emotions are moved at all.

Mass murderers. We sorta take in stride gruesome killings of innocent children gain murders of innocent bystanders, including little babies are so familiar to us catastrophic automobile accidents with families wiping them out house fires that burn up families in the middle of the night.

We would normally never experience in any any of this. Never we we might occasionally experience some tragedy, but we have to bear the weight of the whole world now, and I guess part of the coping mechanism is you you eventually become a little bit insensitive to all of that and we forget that life is dangerous on this planet very, very dangerous and life is very very brief. How do we as Christians absorbed that, take that in turn that into motivation be effective for Christ in the world in which we live.

Now we know.

Everyone dies and supported on the men once to die, and after this the judgment. We know that the Bible says that Hebrews 9 we get that everybody's headed for death and everybody set it for heaven or hell that ought to be enough motive for us to be serious about using the time and opportunity God gives us to bring the gospel to realizing everyone dies everyone lives forever in heaven or hell of the only way to get to heaven is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ should be enough compulsion for us but of course were caught up in a strange kind of paradox where on the one hand, were overexposed to these massive calamities that catapult large groups of people into death and on the other hand, we live in a very self-conscious self satisfying personally fulfilling world of people who were trying to suck everything they can out of this life and live temporal life to its max and elevate themselves to the highest level of comfort prosperity they can estrange paradox, but as believers we we need to understand the world the way the Lord wants us to understand that we need a biblical view so that takes me to the 13th chapter of Luke for just a little while with you and this is a very notable portion of Scripture. Let me read the opening few verses one through five. Now on the same occasion.

There were some present who reported to him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices and Jesus said to them, do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered this fate.

I tell you no, but unless you repent you will all likewise perish, or do you suppose that those 18, on whom the tower in Solomon fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem I tell you no, unless you repent you will all likewise perish that this is a very very important and very foundational way to view the world.

This information, it would've been in the Jerusalem Gazette are the Jerusalem times whatever they called it. Some Galileans were in the temple and they were offering sacrifices and pilot soldiers came in and slaughtered them so that their blood was mingled with the blood of the sacrifice for dramatic scene and some other Jews 18 of them to be exact word minding their own business and walking in a construction zone and a tower fell on them and crush them to death. Now the question that is on the mind of these people who are in the presence of our Lord is did this happen to these people because they were worse sinners than everybody else. That's that's the point. First to do you suppose these Galileans were greater sinners. Verse four. You suppose those 18, on whom the tower fell were worse culprits. That is the question what what why is this the question in their mind because this was Jewish theology go back to the book of Job, Job's friends come to him in the middle of his calamity and a say in the must be sin in your life. Job because the gun God is punishing you.

This is the only way they would've defined that you remember they were silent for a long time and when they open their mouths all wisdom, left, and they gave that same ridiculous viewpoint that when you have a calamity in your life. This is the direct personal judgment of God with the Jews believed in Job's time way back penetrable times you go all the way to the time of Christ. John nine a blind man. And what of the leader say to Jesus who sinned, this man or his parents is blind because somebody sin because it sums wrong with you.

That's a judgment of God on your personal sin that fell on the other hand a year doing fine and you're well and you survive. You must be the good people is that how we are to understand calamity. Let's look a little closer at this passage because it's very very instructive for us. Verse one now on the same occasion. That is the same occasion as a long, long sermon in chapter 12.

A sermon that our Lord is preaching and evangelistic sermon. To be sure which ends in verses 58 and 59 while you're going with your opponent appear before the magistrate on your way there make an effort to settle with him so that he may not drag you before the judge and the judge turned you over to the officer and the officer throw you in prison. I say to you, you will not get out of there until you've paid the very last sentence is an analogy and at the end of our Lord sermon he saying you better make your peace with the judge before you show up in court. That's an analogy with the spiritual point, you better get right with God before you show up in his courtroom before you show up in his presence so he has to preach this long evangelistic sermon. It has been interrupted a couple of times it was interrupted in the verse 13 someone in the crowd interrupted him and then it was interrupted again in verse 41, when Peter interrupted him and I love that fact that Jesus is so intimate in his preaching that people feel like they can stop him in the middle of his message and talk back to them and even strangers did that as well as Peter and then down in chapter 13 verse one. He's interrupted again. There were some present who report to him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate shed he's talking about judgment. He's talking about being ready to meet God and that introduces into the minds of these people. The question about death and judgment. And what happens what is God doing in the midst of a calamity so they tell Jesus about this incident where the Galileans will were offering sacrifices pilots men came in and massacred them. Obviously a very fresh event that surfaced and it brought up their traditional idea that God punishes bad people and if you escape the punishment or the calamity, then you're the good people we give you a little background. This is a mass execution. We don't know how many people but this is a slaughter of Jews at worship a blood he slaughter in the most protected and sacred place in the temple. The temple is the only place where sacrifices are offered in Israel. So this is in the temple. The gory details say that the blood flowing down the offer from the sacrifices mingled with the blood of the offerors. That means that it probably happened at Passover because Passover is the only time people actually participated in the slaughter of their own sacrifices so there they are. These people from Galilee offering their sacrifice at Passover a surprise attack by pilots, men slaughters them there had been other slaughters. There was a slaughter by Archelaus, killing 3000 Judean Jews in four BC. According to Josephus, there been these kinds of slaughters before many Pharisees had been crucified on an earlier occasion.

Historically, some have even suggested that these Galileans were thought of as insurrectionist's that they had somehow done some rebellious acts and had irritated the Romans, and this was retaliation. And when they knew the Romans were coming after them.

They ran to the altar and they grabbed the horns of the altar. You remember that's what Adonijah did back in first Kings chapter 1 he said you know this is like King Zacks I'm hanging onto the horns of the altar. You can't hurt me and Solomon did not kill him on that occasion. Pilate was not so gracious. However, in did not spare them.

He was a brutal man. He was a man marked by bribery atrocity. He was implacable and inflexible self-willed wicked man, and it was this kind of conflict that eventually led the Jews to rebel and brought the Romans down in 70 A.D. to destroy them. So this is an incident that would've touched everybody's life. They all would've known about it. Pilate would've been in Jerusalem at the Passover over from His Pl. in Caesarea, where usually was they they mentioned this, and Jesus presumes to know the question that's on their minds they just make a report that they just report to him about this recent incident and he says do you suppose that means he's going into their minds and according to John two 2325. He knew what people thought nominees to tell them what was in the heart of man he knew what was there.

He reads thoughts he read Nicodemus thoughts in John three he knows so he knows the question and he answers the question.

It's a question that's in their minds, and the question is that simple question. What about calamity is not about death in general.

What about calamity, is this singled out for the worst of people is God doing something that we could actually call judgment actually call judgment only back off of that question for a minute and just say God would have a right to kill us any time any of us at any time right. The wages of sin is what death the soul that sins, it shall die. Certainly God would have the right to kill every sinner any time he wanted and that would be adjust act on God's part that would be a just act. That's why the way back in the Joshua where and when Aiken was told to confess his sin and give glory to God. He was setting himself up for the judgment that would fall being a just judgment by by God, not on just one God is just to judge sinners, we are worthy of that judgment, but God is merciful God extends grace to us in sinners live and they get used to living in they get used to not being judged.

So when something happens like some calamity, then the question arises why is this happening why is this happening is that the better question is why is this not happening. Why, why is there not more of this because God is patient and kind and gracious and merciful.

The sinner may be storing up wrath against the day of wrath, but he has the opportunity during that time to come to God and be forgiven. So here is the simple principle God has a right to kill every sinner instantaneously and it's adjust act.

He doesn't do that so sinners get use to being favored by God in the sense of common grace in the Old Testament. Occasionally, when God opened up the ground and swallowed somebody or sent bears out of the woods to tear up young men for saying bald head bald head mocking the prophet people say why would God do that that's not the question. The question is why did God let people live.

Why does he allow the sinner to live. Why does he extend common grace. The just falls the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Why is God so patient and so gracious, and will see in particular the answer that the end of our discussion. The real punishment for sin comes in the next life, God giving sinners gospel opportunity. We can say in this life. So the question then go to verse two. Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered this fate and the Lord says in verse three I tell you know I tell you know they're not greater sinners than anybody else or everybody else go to verse four now Jesus introduces another incident. Do you suppose that those 18, on whom the tower in sidelong fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who lived in Jerusalem. We don't have any other details on this that this is the only place that this is ever referred to silo is an area of Jerusalem, where the southern and eastern wall of the lower city come together. A pool is there referred to in John nine fed by the de-spring outside the wall in the area of Hezekiah's tunnel.

Apparently this disaster happened in that area and we know that Pilate build an aqueduct in that area and either the tower was perhaps part of the construction scaffolding for the aqueduct or some kind of a permanent tower maybe as a guard station or whatever, but it collapsed and it collapsed and snuffed out the life of 18 people that also would be headline stuff in the Jerusalem Gazette in the first case, what's interesting is they were worshipers doing what the Old Testament prescribed for them to do. They work they were doing righteous deeds they were acting obediently in the second they were just innocent bystanders there. They weren't doing anything in particular but walking down the way when it crushed them, and again Jesus understands the conventional wisdom and so he says do you suppose those who were worse culprits hopefully tastes worse debtors to God worst violators of God's law than any other people, and he says I tell you know know which is to say, the fact that you are alive, and you're wondering this in your posing this question in your mind does not mean that you're better doesn't mean that you're any better at all. This is eliminating this long-standing wrong idea that bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people.

Calamity happens to good and bad people. Calamity happens to people doing the right thing happens to people doing nothing in particular. It happens and that's why in verses three and five. The answer to the question, do bad things happen only to bad people is no no emphatic who key know I tell you just because you're alive doesn't mean that you escape judgment doesn't mean that you are good.

The truth calamity is that you will die and you will experience the terrible judgment of God as you better going back to verse 58, 59 of previous chapter, you better get before the judge and make a right relationship with the judge.

Find out what the judge were wires for forgiveness and deliverance and salvation. The issue is not how you die. The issue is not from what you die. Real calamity is the you die without repenting, then you will face divine judgment and parish in hell so that simple statement that I made on CNN that day. What is the lesson of the terrorist flying of the towers and 3000 people dying. The lesson is this your gonna die, you better be ready because you're not in control of when that's the lesson and again I go back to what I said earlier look like an and in this world is a very dangerous thing is only one group of people who have any truth that can deliver people from the danger of being alive and that's Christians.

There is no other message. There is no other truth this is grace to you with John MacArthur thanks for tuning in today. John's current study, how to think and acting evil days looks at how God can use you to honor Christ and draw people to him in a world that seems to grow more wicked every day. Keep in mind you can own this series in a two CD album or downloaded for free at our website. The title again how to think and act in evil days get your copy today.

Call our toll-free number 855 grace or go to GT if you like the CD album. It costs $12 and shipping is free again to order, call 855 grace or visit our website. GT you can also download both messages from how to think and acting evil days, free of now let me mention a letter we recently received from Jacob in Singapore. He told us that since 2013.

He has listened to Grace to you every day and that John's teaching has been pivotal to his spiritual growth. So now he uses grace to use material to lead Bible studies at his own church and in prisons and print that is the kind personal ministry. You helped make possible. When you support grace to you through your prayers and by your giving to let us know that you're praying to make a donation you can write to us at Grace to you. Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson encouraging you to be here when John continues to show you how to think and acting evil days. Don't miss the next 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on tomorrow's race team

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