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The Furnace of Fire

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
September 16, 2021 4:00 am

The Furnace of Fire

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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September 16, 2021 4:00 am

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We have now swept through the parables that describe the nature of the kingdom, the power of the kingdom, the personal appropriation of the kingdom, and now we come to the climax in the end on the judgment and it is a warning that in the end there will be an eternal separation of the dam being but there's only one source of information on heaven and hell, that's really trustworthy, never changes and that demands your attention today.

Well, in his current study on grace to you. John MacArthur has shown you the description of heaven.

Jesus gave in his parables today. John looks to the other side of eternity you're going to see how Jesus used parables to describe the reality of hell. The contrast between heaven and hell, may help you appreciate God's kingdom now and future like never before. And with that hears John to continue his study titled the parables of the kingdom. And now for the high and sacred privilege of coming to God's precious word and I would encourage you if you will to take your Bible and turn with me to Matthew chapter 13 Matthew chapter 13 verses 47 through 52. Our Lord spoke very much and very often about hell. He said many things about the abode of the damned, the wicked, the Christ projectors but of all of the startling terrifying things that Jesus ever said perhaps the most startling was when he said to the Jewish leaders, how can ye escape the damnation of hell. Matthew 2333. How can ye escape the damnation of hell. It seems strange to us to hear words like that coming from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We don't associate the Lord Jesus Christ with hell as often as we ought. He said more about hell than he did about love. He said more about hell than all the other biblical preachers combined.

But if we are to model our preaching after his then hell is a major theme for us this is a parable in which our Lord warns about hell. Now remember in these parables. The Lord is telling us what it will be like in this period of the world's history. This form of his rule. He is the king, and he rules in the world and he is allowing in this period of time. Good and evil to grow together as we saw in the parable of the wheat and the tear.

He's tolerant of the good and evil through this. But in the end will come. A judgment and that's why this is the last paragraph we have now swept through the parables that describe the nature of the kingdom, the power of the kingdom, the personal appropriation of the kingdom, and now we come to the climax and the end of the judgment and it is a warning. It is a fearful warning that in the end there will be an eternal separation of the damned from the redeemed in the world you see is moving toward this every human life is moving toward that inevitable hour today. At least 5282 people in the United States alone will die and enter eternity. Most of them will go to hell this final parable brings us up short with a sense of severe warning. I want us first of all to look at the picture, the Lord paints the pictures first verse 47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered from every kind and this gives us the imagery that we need to understand the teaching here fishing in our Lord's time was a common enterprise. Fishing was a way of life. Fishing for some of the disciples was their way of life so they would understand very clearly of which he spoke. Basically, there were three ways to fish in these three ways are still being used in that country in the lake of goodness or at the sea of Galilee first was with a line and hook which caught fish is one at a time in Matthew chapter 17 in verse 27 the Lord Jesus said to Peter, put your line in your hook into the sea and catch a fish and open its mouth and find a piece of money and take it and use it for your taxes, and for mine and that was an illustration of the kind of fishing they did, which was done with a line in the heart earlier in the fourth chapter of Matthew, the Lord had come across the disciples.

Peter and Andrew and they were fishing. It says in 418, casting a net into the sea. The second kind of fishing was a casting net and flip blessed strong is the word in the Greek and it was a very special net. It was a net that was like a large circle and on the outer perimeter of the circle were weights it was pulled together in the middle and there was a rope attached to the arm of the fisherman. The nut was draped over the shoulder and as the fisherman came to the shore. He's through the net, and had become of course so deft at it that it would go into its entire circular form, and it would hit the water, is a large circle and is it sunk toward the bottom.

It would capture in it. As the lead weights pull down the edges. All the fish that were in that area so the fisherman would watch until he saw the school of fish and then he would spend that thing and it would open its full circle and capture the fish and then that court attached to his wrist would be pulled tight and it would pull the net together until he had a sack and he would drag the net onto the shore, full of the catch and that is the net that our Lord used to speak of being fishers of men. Throw out the net and catch men for Christ and pull the men but that is not the net that is used here.

This is a completely different Greek term. This term is a is a unique term.

It is the term sod gain a. And it has to do with what was called a Sain network trawl net is a very distinct term. It speaks of a very very large net. Now I say very large, I mean very large Lenski. The commentator says that some of these nets covered 1/2 mile of area very large net net that could not be worked with the hand of a man how it was used is very simple to understand one end of this large net was attached to the shoreline.

The other end was attached to a boat as the boat left the shore pulled the net in into a form where the net was stretched between the boat out in the lake and the net hook to the shore. Then the boat would begin to move in a circle and as it moved in a circle, it would sweep into this massive net all the life in front of the net it would complete an entire circle come all the way back to where it was attached and would've gathered in that entire net all the life that was in the sea covered by that because the top of the net had floats. It floated on the surface of the water the bottom of the net had weights it sunk to the bottom so that the net moved through the sea like a vertical wall capturing everything know what our Lord wants us to understand in this net is basically two things.

One is the immense size of the net and to is the fact that it brings in everything a conglomerate inclusive catch.

Now once this has happened in the boat has moved through the sea. This great vertical wall is swept up everything living and dead, it sometimes drug the bottom and pulled up all kinds of things seaweed every form of life that would be there would be caught in that net then it comes back to the shore and at that point were introduced to verse 48 and when the net was then full, they drew to shore and sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away the central figure of the parable is a group of fishermen there on the shore.

In verse 48 and lying there at the edge of the water. Is this recently drawn massive net and it is literally soaking and teeming with life filled with a conglomerate of creatures taken from the water and then begins a very slow deliberate careful patient unhurried, accurate, knowledgeable, skillful process of sorting out the good from the bad. They sat down. It was something they did very careful very patiently of the scene would be very common to the people to whom our Lord spoke particularly the disciples they would take the good and put it into some vessels very often water contained vessels to keep the fish alive if they were to be transported if they were immediately to be used in some form they could be put in another vessel. The bad was just thrown away. Now the picture is very clear is let's look secondly at the principal verse 49 and here is our Lord's own interpretation, so shall it be at the end of the age. The angels shall come forth and separate the wicked from among the righteous, we can stop that. There's a lot that you can say about that parable is a lot you can do with there are some interesting possibilities, but the Lord is only interested in one element and that is the separating process that went on on the shore as a picture of the angelic separation and judgment is what is after you see all along.

In this era as we been learning the good and evil go together then God tolerates the evil, but the time is coming when he will make a separation between those who know the king and are subject of the King and know the Lord Jesus Christ and those who do not, and that separation is inevitable and it is ultimate and little by little, imperceptibly and silently that moves through the sea of time drawing all men to the shores of eternity for that inevitable separation that is the principal net draws in all kinds of fish.

It is in discriminating in the sense that it just catches everything in its way. And so what is it says in verse 47 the kingdom of heaven is like that net it moved silently through the sea of life drawing men almost without them knowing it to the shore of eternity and by the time they awaken to what is happening. It is too late. There already there there drawn to the separation of the same truth was taught in this parable of the wheat and the tears as you go back to verse 41 and see the Son of Man shall send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that offend in them who do iniquity, and they shall be cast into a furnace of fire, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Same idea, but the Lord repeats it. The only spiritual thing that the Lord pinpoints in this parable is that last act of the fisherman. Everything else passes without comment and I that we ought to leave the rest without comment, and just take what our Lord meant to teach.

When he spoke of the casting net use that in a positive way to speak to the disciples of catching men for Christ when he speaks of this dragnet as it's called, or this troll met or seen net or Saguenay net. He is talking about gathering men for judgment.

Look at verse 49 so shall it be at the end of the age when man's day is over and Jesus returns to set up his glorious kingdom. Then comes the judgment now this is not a a technical chronological eschatological layout. This is not trying to pinpoint every element of judgment every time and place and are we talking about the great white throne, or the sheep and the goats are the be missing judgment or whatever. This is just a general statement that all in the world are caught ultimately in the net of judgment to be separated in the end, and you notice again, would you please in verse 49 of the angels are the executioners.

The angels are the separators just as we saw in verse 41, just as we see in Matthew 24 the angels come with the Lord to act out judgment. Just as we see in Matthew 25 just as we see repeatedly in Revelation, particularly chapter 14 the angels are the agents of God's judgment. So while the kingdom may for a while tolerate good and evil. Drawing together the separation is moving closer and closer all the time. Jesus spoke of the same thing in Matthew chapter 25 when he said in verse 31 the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory and what will he do when he comes it says and before him shall he gather all the nations, and he shall separate one from another separation and you say to them on his right hand, come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world and you say to them on the left and apart from the accursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels and Jesus said in John chapter 5 that there's coming a resurrection of all men, some to the resurrection of life, and some to the resurrection of damnation. There will be a final separation and eternal destiny will be determined for every soul that is ever lived in the face of the year. Now some people have asked why this parable is included. If the basic idea of separation is even also included in the parable of the wheat and the tares and the answer to that is several things number one it is repeated because the wheat and the tares emphasize particularly the coexistence. This emphasizes only the separation is repeated.

Also, because the Lord as a compassionate heart and he wants to let to add one more warning. That's typical of our Lord.

He warned about Hill.

Many times many times. So concerned was he that men not go there many times. He said watch watch for you know neither the date of the hour in which the Son of Man comes many times.

He warned the people not to take lightly their sins because there would be the inevitability of the accounting that God would make. He was compassionate enough to see men on the way to damnation and call to them and so that's why this is here.

It emphasizes the separation that is the end of this age and it gives the Lord a chance to release that compassionate heart see the Bible says God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. The Bible says that he is not willing that any should perish. Bible says a God our Savior will have all men to be saved.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem and Soto Jerusalem, Jerusalem. Often I would've gathered the as a hen gathers her brood which you would not, you will not come on to me. He said pensively that you might have eternal life.

His heart of compassion is one that warns because he loves the look again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net and you can see the vividness of this imagery that net moves through the world is invisible to those around you can't yet see it and if perchance it touches the back of the fish. The fish simply foots a little further ahead and enjoys the freedom he thinks is his permanently and men live in this world imagining themselves to be free moving about fulfilling their own desires going here and going there as they will with little knowledge that the net comes closer and closer and closer. People float about in the liberty of the wide and deep sea of life not knowing the invisible lines of judgment move closer and closer and closer, and each time they are touched by it. They move a little further away, and there touched again to move a little further away and finally they moved one time and they've hit on the other side because it's moving toward the shore and then wildly.

The fish make dark for the sea only to be caught again in the same net finally to be dragged in the shore. The last throes of a flailing and flipping enter into silent death and that's how it is.

Men may not perceive the kingdom they may not see God moving in the world but he is moving and men very often when touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ are threatened with the threat of judgment dart into the freedom they think is ahead of them. But sooner or later they run right back into the same net because there's no freedom and they are inexorably moving toward inevitable judgment.

All men are gathered in the net. The kingdom will ultimately engulf the mole in God with his angels will separate. That leads me to 1/3 thought. And that is the peril the peril verse 50 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth on that is a fearful verse and I confess to you that it affects me just as it affects anybody. It is a horrifying fearful verse and if there is any doctrine in the Bible that you wish were not there. It is the doctrine of hell, but that does not eliminate it. Is there and this is the heart of the matter cast into the furnace of fire. Most terrifying words from our Lord. And yet he spoke more of hell than anybody else.

I think there's a reason you and I think I think that if Jesus hadn't taught us about how we would believe whoever did it had to be him is so inconceivable, so causes us to be revolts we cannot conceive of eternal damnation and had to be our Lord, who said this early never would have been able to accept it.

It was his own special emphasis and he was a preacher of hell. More than anything else. He threatened men with no if you don't think he did, then you haven't been carefully noting his ministry don't turn with me, just listen and jot down versus if you care to.

But listen to what he said in Matthew 522, he said, whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. In verse 29 of chapter 5. If your right eye offend you pluck it out and cast it from you, for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not your whole body should be cast into hell. Verse 30. If your right hand offend you cut it off throw it away. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.

In chapter 7 verse 27 he said in the rain to set in.

The flood came, and the wind blew and beat on that house, and it fell and greed was the fall of it. That's an allusion to damnation as well.

Chapter 8 verse 12, the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Chapter 11 in verse 20 he began to abrade the cities in which most of his mighty works were done because they repented not. And he says to them you will be brought down to hell serious serious words from our Lord. Same thing is true in chapter 12 he says in verse 36. Every idle word that men shall speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shall be justified by thy words thou shall be damned or condemn. This was a contrast in part of what our Lord taught chapter 23 talks about hell repeatedly chapter 24 chapter 25 Mark chapter 9 Luke chapter 6 Luke chapter 12 Luke chapter 16. It just goes on and on.

Jesus told the whole story about Amanda died and went to hell being and tormented scream for someone to come with water and cool. His tone now if you then are to evaluate what should be the essence of preaching based on the example of Christ. That should be preaching on hell. Our generation didn't do that. It's convicting that we say so little about hell it's so hard to believe it's so terrifying is so awesome that it had to come from the Lord. We never would have been able to accept this is grace to you with John MacArthur. I'm your host Phil Johnson. John is a pastor, a conference speaker in East Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary. He's titled our current study, the parables of the kingdom of John considering all the parables Jesus told in Scripture records you wrote a book about this subject. The various parables of Jesus, let me simply ask why did he teach in parables and does the fact that he taught so often that way suggest that that's how we should teach as well kill this very popular view. Today we hear people people who are supposed to be preachers and teaching, preaching, say well we need to tell stories Jesus told stories Jesus told stories we we need to tell stories that I've even come across guys who have written and so if you well Jesus tried to just teaching doctrine.

The first part of his ministry didn't go real well so he shifted to stories right and so he may made a midcourse correction like he did know what he was doing to begin with. When he was just talking theology and so shifted into stories. Note made such a huge difference. Nothing could be further from the truth. The shift came because Jesus was going to hide the truth. Parables hide the truth that that's the whole point. Jesus says in Matthew 13.

These things are not revealed to everyone, but only to you to his disciples so the parables are a judgment. I don't think people understand that the parables are a judgment to someone who has no spiritual comprehension to someone to whom Jesus doesn't explain the meaning there nothing but pointless riddles and they are a judgment. Jesus actually says that from now on I am going to speak in parables, so you will not understand you will not understand this was a judgment on those who rejected him.

Understanding this whole reality of why he taught in parables is critical. You mention the book so let me pick up on that. The book is titled parables subtitle the mysteries of God's kingdom revealed through the stories Jesus told parables are just constantly misinterpreted by people have the wrong understanding of them. No reason for that you need to get a copy of the book parables, you need to understand these monumental stories of the kingdom of the book will dig into familiar parables like the good Samaritan the Pharisee and the tax collector, the widow who gave the small coin. The rich man and Lazarus.

Many more 220 pages reasonably priced order a copy of parables. Yes friend, it is vital that you understand what Jesus parables teach about heaven, hell, grace and forgiveness and how those truths apply to your life. John's book titled, parables can help to order a copy get in touch today. The hardcover book costs 1475 and shipping is free to order call our customer service line at 855 grace or visit our website TTY.org. The title of the book again. Parables get your copy when you call 855 grace or visit TTY.org and whether you're looking to study the parables. Or maybe what Scripture teaches about the attributes of God or how you can best serve your church. Let me encourage you to pick up a copy of our flagship resource.

The MacArthur study Bible. It's an all in one spiritual library that has detailed introductions to each book more than 140 charts and maps in nearly 25,000 study notes from John MacArthur, all of it designed to help you understand and apply the life-changing truth of God's word to order the MacArthur study Bible is available in the English standard American Standard and new King James version, you can call us@855orvisittty.org now for John MacArthur and the entire grace to you. Staff by Phil Johnson. Thanks for tuning in today and make sure you're here tomorrow when John looks at how to escape the horrible judgment. Jesus describes in Matthew 13. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you


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