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Why We Believe While Others Reject

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
August 26, 2022 4:00 am

Why We Believe While Others Reject

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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August 26, 2022 4:00 am

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So the search for God and the search for Christ and the search for the truth and the search to discern whether the Bible is really true in what it's saying cannot begin and end with human reason. That's why every time you see one of these deals on television, the search for the real Jesus, the search for the truth, it always ends up in error. Perhaps you have a friend or family member you've known for a long time. You have many of the same influences, maybe even attended the same church, but when it comes to Christ, your view is completely different from his.

Why would that happen? What makes the difference? How could two people so similar, with access to the same truth about Jesus, respond to Christ in completely different ways? John MacArthur explains that today on Grace to You, with a message titled Why We Believe While Others Reject. It's part of his current study, a collection of landmark sermons from John's half century of pulpit ministry. John has titled this series, The New Testament Beginning to End. And with that, let's get to the lesson.

Here's John. Let's look, first of all, at why non-Christians do not believe the Bible. You start with the fact that they can't, that they don't have the capability, that they are void of the life of God, they can't escape the natural, they can't escape being in the flesh and one who is in the flesh minds only the things of the flesh and he cannot know the things of the Spirit, they are unknowable to him.

And you add the fact the message itself was offensive, unreasonable, unbelievable, incomprehensible, the people were the lowly and the preachers were the weak and the unimpressive and the fearful and the trembling. And you add the fallen condition, natural darkness, satanic blinding and divine judgment and non-believers cannot on their own believe the truth. So the search for God and the search for Christ and the search for the truth and the search to discern whether the Bible is really true in what it's saying cannot begin and end with human reason. That's why every time you see one of these deals on television, the search for the real Jesus, the search for the truth, it always ends up in error.

Fallen mind can't get there on its own. That's why non-Christians don't believe the Bible. Now let's ask the second question, why do Christians believe the Bible? In spite of all of this, go to verse 6 in chapter 2, yet...that's a key word there, you ought to circle it or underline it...yet, in spite of what the world thinks about this, yet we do speak wisdom among those who are teleois, what is that? Well, who have been made complete.

It's just a way to describe believers. We speak wisdom, understood, comprehended, embraced and believed among those who have been made complete. We have come to Christ. We have come to the one, Paul says, to the Colossians in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. It isn't that we're more intelligent.

It isn't that we have been subjected to greater evidences. It is that we have been made complete in Him. Paul says it, you are complete in Him and being made complete or mature in Him, you have been given with that divine work of regeneration and conversion and transformation not only confidence in Jesus Christ and confidence in the true and living God, but confidence in the Word of God. And so, verse 6 says, we do speak wisdom, Paul saying we in an apostolic plural, we do speak wisdom among those who are mature, a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age. This is a wisdom that I've just been telling you is unknown to the best of this world's minds and the greatest of this world's leaders. We speak, verse 7, God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom.

How in the world did we get to know it? Oh, read the rest of the line, which God...what's that next word?...predestined before the ages to our glory. Why do I understand the Bible? Because God...what?...predestined me to understand it for my own future glory. You say, Oh, do you believe in predestination?

I believe in the Bible and the Bible tells me that the reason I understand the wisdom of God is because God predestined me to eternal glory and through regeneration and conversion gave me faith in His Son in the gospel and in His Word. Does that mean that I'm now in a situation where I believe the Bible even though it's not reasonable? Oh no, everything in it is reasonable. Its prophecies are fulfilled. Its miracles are true and attested to. It is scientifically flawless and accurate.

Its history and archeology is verifiable down to the smallest detail. But it's not that that convinces my natural reason. It is that because God has given me faith in His Word that I now see all that to be true. Another way to view it at this point might be to look at 1 John chapter 2...1 John chapter 2, just to give you a little break from the text we're in. Sometimes people hang around the church for a while, they don't stay. Verse 19 describes them. They went out from us.

That's pretty true in almost everybody's religious experience, Christian experience. They went out from us. Yeah, you know, so and so used to come here, sang in the choir, served here and there and showed up at church, don't see them anymore.

What happened? Well, they went out from us but they were not really of us. For if they had been of us, they would have remained with us. But they went out in order that it might be shown they are all not of us.

They went out, they left and it proves they never really belonged to begin with. But...verse 20, I love have an anointing from the Holy One and you all know. What do you know?

You know what He says in the next verse. I've not written to you because you do not know the truth but because you know it and no lie is of the truth. That means no lie leads you astray. No lie leads you into apostasy.

Why? You know the truth. Why do you know the truth? You have an anointing from God.

What is that anointing or better who is that anointing? The Holy Spirit. I believe the Bible because God gave me confidence in the Word of God as a part of my salvation and regeneration. I stay with the truth. I believe the truth. I embrace the truth. I continue with the truth. I stay involved with the truth because the Spirit of God has shown me what the truth is and I know a lie when I see one. The end of that, or near the end of that same chapter, verse 27, as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you.

Wow! This is our security, the ever-present indwelling resident Holy Spirit who is our anchor to the truth. He abides in you and you have no need for anyone to teach you but as His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. That is just a profound subject to understand. When you were saved, you came to confidence in the Word of God and that's where you stay.

That's where you stay. And the people who hang around a while and go away give evidence of the fact that they never really belonged and they never had the Spirit of God. I believe the Bible because God gave me the gift of faith in His Son and faith in His gospel and faith in His Word. I continue that for my justification.

I believe the Bible for my sanctification because the Spirit of God who abides in me continues to lead me into truth and away from error. That's why I believe the Bible. Now I understand, as verse 6 says, that this is different than the wisdom of this age, the wisdom of the rulers of this age, the top minds. All of that stuff is katargeo, all of it is being rendered ineffective.

All of it is impotent. All of it leads nowhere. All of it is really foolish...really foolish. But I believe and you believe because God predestined before the ages that we would believe unto glory. And we believe a wisdom, verse 8 says, which none of the rulers of this age has understood, none of them.

If they had, they wouldn't have crucified the Lord of glory and they wouldn't continue to reject the Lord of glory who was crucified. Sums it up in verse 9 by saying this, a very familiar verse, by the way, drawn out of a couple of passages that are being alluded to here in Isaiah, things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him. We know all that God has for us. We know that. We know it by divine revelation. It can't be known any other way.

Eye can't see it and ear can't hear it. And the mind which is in view in the heart can't conceive of it. God's truth regarding salvation, God's truth regarding spiritual and eternal life is unheard, unseen, unthought. It cannot be known by empiricism. It cannot be known by rationalism.

It can only be known by divine revelation. In John 8, Jesus said this, and He's talking to the recalcitrant Pharisees. Jesus said to them in verse 42, John 8, if God were your Father, you would love Me.

Wow. But since God's not your Father, you don't love Me. For I proceeded forth and have come from God. I'm not even come on My own initiative but He has sent Me. Listen to this, why do you not understand what I'm saying?

Why don't people understand? It's because you cannot hear My Word because you are of your Father, the devil. And you want to do the desires of your Father. He was a murderer from the beginning, does not stand in the truth because there's no truth in Him. Whenever He speaks a lie, He speaks from His own nature for He's a liar and the father of lies, but because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.

You can't. And He sums it up in verse 46, if I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? Why don't people believe the truth? He who is of God hears the words of God. For this reason you do not hear them because you are not of God.

Pretty clear, isn't it? Who believes the Bible? Those who are God's. It is a divine work. Go back to 1 Corinthians chapter 2 and we'll just wrap it up at verse 10 with a few comments thrown in, 1 Corinthians 2, 10, for to us. Oh, this is such a great point of summary. For to us, God revealed them.

Them, what do you mean? The things God has prepared for those that love Him, the things concerning salvation, spiritual and eternal life, the wisdom, that is to say all of the wisdom of God, all of the word of the cross, all of the word of God's testimony, all that truth that is inscripturated. To us, God revealed them through the Spirit.

That is the critical thing to understand. We believe because God chose, God predestined us to know so that one day we would come to eternal glory. In drawing this to some kind of conclusion that will grip your soul, let's just take that idea that we know because God chose to show us, to reveal to us, to regenerate us, to give us life, to take the scales of blindness off, to awaken our hearts, to unfold the mystery, to bring the truth that was hidden out and reveal it to us. Take that as the background and reread, starting in verse 24, to those who are the called. Any time you ever see that term, the called, or calling in the epistles of the New Testament is the effectual call to salvation. We are the called, that is called out of darkness into light, called out of death into life. In verse 26 He says it again, consider your calling, the divine call, the vivification, the life-giving call, regeneration.

And why us? Verse 27, God has chosen, God has chosen. Verse 28, God has chosen. Verse 30, but by His doing you are in Christ Jesus. Why are you in Christ Jesus?

Because you saw how clearly it should be apprehended and believed because you went through the evidences because your mind ascended to it, you are in Christ Jesus by His doing. He predestined, He revealed because He chose and whom He chose He called and as Paul says in Romans 8, whom He called He justified and whom He justifies He glorifies. So back to verse 30, by His doing you are in Christ Jesus. By His doing you believe. By His doing you embrace the Word of God in your justification and your sanctification. By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, listen, who became to us wisdom from God. By His doing we are in Christ and then Christ became to us by His presence and His power and His Spirit and His Word wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Why did God do it this way?

Why did God do it this way? Verse 29, that no man should what? Boast before God. Verse 31, that just as it is written, let him who boasts boast in the Lord. And so we are stunned by the confidence that we have in the Word of God.

And when somebody says, Where in the world does it come from? You can say it is by His doing because He placed us in Christ and Christ became to us the wisdom of God and it is our love for God through Christ that gives us confidence in His Word and we believe the truth because we are of God. Martin Luther put it this way, man is like a pillar of salt, like Lot's wife, yea like a log or a stone, like a lifeless statue which uses neither eyes nor mouth, neither sense nor heart until he is enlightened, converted and regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

So I didn't invent this. They are reading the same Bible I'm reading and the same one you're reading. You believe the Bible, dear one, and you live in the light of its glorious truths. Your life is enraptured by its wonders because God for His own glory was well pleased to predestine you and to choose you and to justify you and to sanctify you through His Word and when He gave you Christ, He gave you in Christ His wisdom for in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I cannot separate my love for Christ from my love for the Word. At the end, skipping down to verse 16, the last statement, we have the mind of Christ. What a statement...what a statement. In having confidence in the Word of God, we have access to the mind of Christ.

Grab that? It's no mystery to me how God thinks or what He desires. All that God wants me to know, He's put here. I have here the mind of Christ and I know how Christ thinks and what He wills and what pleases Him and what He loves and what He hates and what He commands and what He forbids.

I understand it all because He has enabled me to understand it and I live my life embracing the wonder of such profound inexplicable grace on my behalf as this is. Let's bow in prayer. Our Father, we know that the power of evangelism for justification is not found in clever methods, or music, or culturally crafted entertainment, but in the Bible. The power for edification in sanctification is also found in the Bible. We are to preach the Scripture, the Word of the cross, the wisdom of God, the testimony of God. We are to present it, proclaim it, defend it, for this is the only hope and the only means by which you will justify and sanctify your people.

Always we must use the Scripture, not so that the non-Christian can see the reasonableness of it, but so that you may awaken the heart of your own by the divine miracle of grace through the Word. We thank You, Father, that a lifetime of study will prove the Scripture is reasonable, it is attainable, understandable, believable, stands every test. We know that because You have given us life and understanding. We thank You that You heard the prayer of Psalm 119 18, opened my eyes that I may see wondrous things out of Thy law. Lord, that prayer has been answered for us and we praise You and the wonders never cease. Use us, Lord, as instruments in the proclamation of Your truth to awaken sinners and to sanctify saints. Thank You for the privilege of being so used in Christ's name. Amen. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur.

Thanks for being with us. John is pastor of Grace Community Church, he's chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, and our current series is going through the New Testament beginning to end. Well, John, as you talked about spiritual blindness today, you pointed out that nonbelievers often mock the gospel and call the cross of Christ foolishness. So in light of that, should we as Christians change the way we evangelize? Should we modify our approach to engage with nonbelievers?

You're asking that question, and we have discussed that so many times, because pragmatism says you have to do that. The gospel is offensive, you've got to get past the offense of confronting people about their sin and about judgment, and you've got to find a positive approach like anything from God has a wonderful plan for your life and He wants to make you happy to God wants to make you rich and the prosperity gospel and everything in between. So much supposed evangelism and so much supposed gospel preaching hides the truth.

It hides the truth. And I was commenting to somebody the other day and reading Acts 24 where Paul is before Felix, the Roman governor. That's a powerful, powerful man who had control over Paul's life, life or death. And Paul spoke to him about righteousness, self-control, and judgment. I mean, this is a guy who could literally take his life and he's going to give him the gospel and what does he do? Say, hey, Felix, God has a wonderful plan for your life. He'd like to make you prosperous. No, he speaks to him about righteousness.

And Felix, he was a wicked evil man. What does Paul do? He says, you need to understand righteousness.

You lack self-control and you're headed for judgment. And he said that to somebody who could have created the greatest amount of harm on him of anybody in the Roman world. So you have to follow the pattern of a bold, faithful Paul. And you remember the response was that Felix was terrified.

He was terrified. I think we don't want to terrify the ungodly, but we need to. The terror of the Lord persuades people. So that and some other things are included in a book that I wrote some years ago called Why One Way, the message of the exclusive truth of the gospel, Why One Way. It's a small little gift book, really ideal to give to someone who doesn't understand there's only one way of salvation.

Sincerity isn't the issue. Truth is. The title again, Why One Way, affordably priced. You can order it today.

That's right. John's book, Why One Way, gives you the tools you need to proclaim the gospel message. To pick up this book for yourself or to get several copies to give to the non-believers you know, get in touch today. You can call us toll-free at 855-GRACE or go to our website This book, Why One Way, is a compelling wake-up call to the power of God's truth. It will equip you to boldly proclaim that Christ, and He alone, is the only hope for this world.

To order, call 800-55-GRACE or go online to And if you're listening to us in your car, remember, that's happening in almost every major city around the nation today. People are tuning in to Grace To You on the road and at home and even in prisons.

They're listening, learning, growing. That's the very personal ministry you help sustain when you give. You also help us take God's word to people around the world through this broadcast.

Thousands of free resources online, as well as books and CDs. You can donate online at or when you call us at 800-55-GRACE. And most of all, thank you for your prayers. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson, encouraging you to watch Grace To You television this Sunday, check your local listings for Channel and Times, and then be here next week when John continues his series on the New Testament beginning to end, with another thirty minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-05 20:05:21 / 2023-03-05 20:14:17 / 9

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