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From Glory to Glory, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
September 21, 2022 4:00 am

From Glory to Glory, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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September 21, 2022 4:00 am

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If you doubt and fear and are anxious and worried, question whether God can perform His Word.

You have denied Him the glory that is due His name. He is worthy to be trusted. He can do what He says. He will do what He promises.

When the phone rings in the middle of the night, when the doctor sees something ominous on your test results, when it looks like you could or when you actually do lose your job, how do you respond in a way that shows you're trusting in the One who is always in control, who always deserves your trust? John MacArthur is helping you think biblically about your trials in his current series here on Grace to You. Stay here for the next installment of his study, How to Live for God's Glory.

And now with a lesson, here is John. We were saved to bring glory to the Lord. There are some very practical ways in which we accomplish that by His power. We glorify the Lord by aiming our life at that purpose. 1 Corinthians 10, 31 says, Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God. The most mundane and simplest thing that we do in life is to be done to God's glory, as well as the most spiritual and the most devout expression of Christian faith and truth. Everything in our lives is to be aimed at the glory of God. And that means we prefer Him and His kingdom above everything else.

We're content to do His will no matter what the price. We suffer when He suffers and we are content to be outdone by others as long as He receives the glory. And then secondly, we glorify God by confessing sin. When we confess our sin, take responsibility for our evil, our wickedness, our violation of God's law, our disobedience, when we take responsibility for that and God chastens us, then He appears rightly to be just and holy and do what is to be done, for a holy God should indeed have a holy reaction against sin. And if He chooses not to chasten but to be gracious, then He receives glory for being gracious to one who is so utterly unworthy. So we glorify God by aiming our life at that focus and we glorify God by confessing.

But let's move to another point. We glorify God by trusting Him. We glorify God by trusting Him. If indeed in our lives we are to glorify God, moving from one level of glory to the next, becoming more and more like the very one we worship, the God we adore, revealed to us in the face of Jesus Christ, then we're going to bring Him glory when we trust Him. We honor Him by trusting Him.

It's a very simple principle. If I say that I respect my Father, if I say that I respect and honor and highly regard my mother and demonstrate in the way I live that I have no regard for their word, that I don't trust what they say, then you can question the legitimacy of my respect. If on the other hand I have tremendous trust in my parents, if I have tremendous trust in their integrity and in their wisdom and their decisions and their leadership in my life and I follow that leadership, then I am affirming my trust without any equivocation.

The same thing is true in the Christian's experience. If we say God is worthy to be believed in, He is worthy to be trusted, and we demonstrate that we don't trust Him, question what He does, doubt and fear and dismay and sometimes sorrow and worry and anxiety characterize our lives, then people should have a right to say, Well, if you trust God so much, why do you live in doubt? Why do you live in fear?

Why do you live in anxiety? If God is who you say He is, shouldn't He be trusted? So again, we will bring honor to God by our trust. We will truly say that we see the glory of God when we trust God. Let me give you an illustration of that as we've done in each case. We turn to Romans chapter 4, and as we've said all along, there are a number of illustrations of each of these points.

I'm trying to pick out one that is some way or other unforgettable. And in Romans chapter 4, we come across the wonderful account reiterated of Abraham and Sarah and the promise and the fulfillment of the birth of Isaac. Now you remember the story, I think, that God had promised to Abraham that he would have a seed. In fact, his progeny would be so prolific that they could be numbered, according to Genesis chapter 12, as the stars of the heavens or the sands of the sea. And we now know that there is probably some equality in those two. Maybe there are as many stellar bodies as there are grains of sand.

It's far more vast than we can ever imagine. The uncountable stars and the uncountable grains of sand on the seas of the world were what the Lord selected to illustrate the vastness of the seed that would come from the loins of Abraham. God made that promise. However, by the time Abraham reached 100 years of age, they had absolutely no children.

Sarah's womb was dead, and they had no fulfillment of the promise. But in spite of that, I want you to look at Romans chapter 4 and verse 18. This is what it says about Abraham. In hope against hope, in hope which made no sense from a human perspective, he believed. He believed in order that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, so shall your descendants be. When it made no sense to believe, he believed.

When it made no sense to hope, he hoped. In fact, in verse 17, he believed even God who gives life to the dead could call into being that which doesn't exist. That God had the power to do what seemed humanly impossible. He believed that if God said you're going to have descendants, that He would have descendants. And verse 19 says, without becoming weak in faith, he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead, since he was about 100 years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb. From a human perspective, it just wasn't going to happen. Yet, with respect to the promise of God, verse 20 says, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, and what did that do?

Giving what? Glory to God. And being fully assured, verse 21 says, that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Therefore, that faith was reckoned to him as righteousness. It was that very faith in God that saved him, as faith always saves, it saved Abraham. He believed God for that which was humanly impossible.

He was strong in faith and gave glory to God. You see, unbelief is an affront to God. For God to make a promise and you not to believe it is to question his character. If the Bible says, for example, as it does in Philippians 4, my God shall supply all your need, do you believe it or do you worry about your need? If Jesus said, take no thought for what you shall eat or drink, because the Father in heaven who takes care of the birds of the field and clothes...the birds of the air, rather, and clothes the lilies of the field and the grass promises to take care of you, don't you think he'll do it? And if the Scripture says, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that there never will come a trial into your life that is more than you can bear, do you believe it?

And the Scripture says that in the midst of that seemingly unbearable trial, there will always be a way of escape, do you believe it? Because if you don't and if you doubt and fear and are anxious and worried, question whether God can perform His Word, you have denied Him the glory that is due His name. He is worthy to be trusted. He can do what He says.

He will do what He promises. And unbelief questions His integrity, and that doesn't bring Him honor any more than questioning somebody's integrity brings them honor. It brings them dishonor to question anyone's integrity, and how foolish to question the integrity, the ability, the power, and the honesty of God. Listen to 1 John 5, 10, middle of the verse. The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar.

The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar. You are treating God as if He lied. The Lord says He's going to meet your needs. He's going to lead you through all the trials and temptations of life, all the tribulations, and bring you to glory. He says there's never going to be anything that's more than you can bear, and there'll always be a path through to triumph and victory.

He promised He's going to be there as a friend sticking closer than a brother. He's going to supply all your need. Every resource of heaven is at your disposal, including the angels which are sent to minister to the saints, as Hebrews 1.14 says. All the promises of God are ours because they're all yes in Jesus Christ who is ours, and we greatly dishonor God when we claim to believe in Him, and yet we can't cope with life, and we can't solve our problems, and we can't rest confidently and assuredly in His wisdom and His power. In fact, we're stealing His glory. Sure, life is full of troubles, but our God is beyond all of those.

There's no sense in fearing. Daniel 3, chapter 3 and verse 13, it's back to this experience with the three young men who were thrown in the fiery furnace known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. That, of course, was their Chaldean names. Their Hebrew names were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, but the Chaldeans, part of the brainwashing process, gave them names that were Chaldean names which bore, as a part of the name, the name of the Chaldean gods, false gods, to try to lure them into idolatry. But you remember the story of these three young men because you remember that everybody was required to bow down to the king, and anybody who didn't bow down to the king was going to have to pay with his life, and that is precisely what happened.

You remember these men are mentioned there in chapter 2, verse 17, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, but by the time you get into chapter 3, they are called in verse 16, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And when they are told to bow down to the king, they refuse to do that, and verse 15 says, If you don't worship, you're going to be immediately cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. And then, he says, does Nebuchadnezzar, what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands? He thought himself to be more powerful than the Hebrew god, and it's understandable since the Babylonians had managed to conquer the Hebrews. They ascribed their conquering powers to their own deity and assumed that if the Hebrew's god couldn't defend them against the gods of the Babylonians, that therefore the gods of the Babylonians were more powerful, and that he, Nebuchadnezzar, was perhaps the most powerful of all.

Even though he was a man, he saw himself as some kind of deity. Well, he said, You either bow down to me or I'll throw you in the fire. Verse 16, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this.

We don't have to say anything to you. If so be our god, verse 17, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. Now that is tremendous faith. If somebody asks you in a simple question in the normal course of life if you believe God could deliver you out of any situation, you'd probably say yes, but it might be a little different if you were standing on the edge of a fiery furnace, feeling the heat and breathing the smoke and the flames as they were, but it never caused their faith to waver one bit. Verse 18, they added, Even if he doesn't, let it be known to you, O king, we're not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you've set up.

What did they mean? I think that's an evidence that they believed in the power of God to raise the dead. Even if God doesn't protect us from the fire, He'll take us out the other side. I believe they were so confident in God's power and God's promise that whether it was in life or death, they knew God would deliver them. Well Nebuchadnezzar was so enraged by that in verse 19, he was filled with wrath, his facial expression was altered. He screwed up his face in fury and he answered by giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain valiant warriors who were in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

I guess he expected a fight. He didn't get one in order to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire. Then these men were tied up in their garments, their coats, their caps, and their other clothes and cast into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. They're just bundled up and just heaved into this fire for this reason because the king's command was urgent and the furnace had been extremely hot. The flame of the fire slew those men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

It was so hot that it burned the guys who got near enough to throw them in. But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire, still tied up. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste. He responded and said to his high officials, Was it not three men we cast into the midst of the fire? They answered and said to the king, Certainly, O king. He answered and said, Look, I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods. Most Bible commentators would believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the second member of the Trinity in a pre-incarnate appearance, came and attended to these three wonderfully faithful men. Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire, responded and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here. And they came out of the fire. Their faith was vindicated.

Well, it tells us in verse 27 that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men, nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them. I remember one time as a kid when I was in college, I was on a very strict budget. I was a long way away from home, and a department store in the area of the college burned down. And it was a perfect opportunity for some of us to go buy clothes cheap.

And I remember buying a sport coat for about eight dollars or something, and I thought it was really a great looking sport coat. It smelled, to be sure, of smoke, but I thought it would dissipate. And I remember when the year was over and I came home and my mother first opened my suitcase, the whole thing smelled and it was months after. There wasn't even the singeing of hair. There wasn't even the... and I get that every time I try to barbecue chicken or something, don't you? It burns all the hair off my fingers. My wife is in the background saying, heat the fire hotter.

And I'm always trying to get it up to the perfect place, but not a thing, not even the smell of smoke. Just this, their faith was vindicated. They believed God on the edge of the fiery furnace, and that's the kind of faith that honors God.

That is a tremendous honor to Him. When you can stand on the edge of the fiery furnace and say, I trust God. When you can face a tragedy in your family, whatever it might be, and say, I trust God. God is too wise to make a mistake, too loving to be unnecessarily unkind, and too powerful to have anything beyond His control. Faith glorifies God.

Let me give you a fourth principle. We glorify God by fruitfulness. We glorify God by fruitfulness.

This is a very important truth. In John 15, 8, it is stated just as point blank as it can be stated. John 15, 8, by this is my Father glorified that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciple. God is glorified when you bear much fruit. It dishonors God to have little fruit. I don't think there's any such thing as a no-fruit Christian.

By their fruits you shall know them. I mean, I think we have to have some manifestation of the life of God in us, but it dishonors God when we have little fruit. You know, when you have to look a long time to find a few shriveled grapes, there should be a bounty, an abundance of fruitfulness in the life of a Christian. That's what Paul was pleading for in Philippians 1.11 when his prayer was that you would be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.

God is glorified and God is praised when you are filled with the fruit of righteousness, not when it's a now and then, here and there kind of thing, but when your life is just filled with righteousness. I mean, as an illustration of that, Romans chapter 2 and verse 24 provides a very graphic insight. Here came the people of Israel, right? The Jews of the time of Jesus, the time of Paul. And who did they claim was their God? Jehovah God, and they claimed it loud and far. Everybody in that part of the world knew that they served the one true God, Jehovah God, that they believed in God. But there was no fruit in their lives.

There was no fruit. Verse 21 of Romans 2, You therefore who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal?

You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law through your breaking the law, do you dishonor God?

And then verse 24, what an incredible indictment. For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. You are not a source of glorifying God. You are a source of blaspheming God. You are a discredit to God. You say you belong to God, but look at your life. Thievery, adultery, idolatry, transgression of the law, it's all there. And so you blaspheme the name of God. When Jesus addressed this in the Sermon on the Mount, He said in contrast to that kind of living, here's how I want you to live. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, your fruitfulness, and do what?

Glorify your Father who is in heaven. That's not the way the Jews were living. They were claiming to belong to God. They were claiming to believe in God. They were claiming that God was their God, that they had a relationship and a connection with God, and they were experiencing God's power.

And the fact was the name of God was being laughed at, mocked, and blasphemed among the Gentiles because of the absence of any real spiritual fruit, any real good works, any true righteousness. In 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 and verse 11, Paul says, To this end we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and this, that He would fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power. Why? We want goodness in your life and power in your life.

Why? In order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you. That's the whole point, so that God can receive honor and glory because of the way you live. You say, Yes, Christ lives in me, and people look at your life and say, Well, it doesn't look like it. You say Christ lives in you.

It doesn't seem to me that He's very powerful. I don't see anything in your life that's particularly transcendent or divine. However, on the other hand, when people can look at your life and see the demonstration of true righteousness, that brings glory to the one who you claim as your Savior. Now, when we talk about this fruit, just briefly, I don't want to go into this because we've taught this before, but just very briefly, what are we talking about? What do you mean fruit? Two kinds of fruit, action fruit and attitude fruit. Action fruit is what you do, righteous deeds. It could be anything from leading someone to Christ, like in Romans 1, 13, where Paul says, I want to obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.

In other words, I want to lead some people to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. It could be what Paul calls fruit in Philippians 4, 17, which is fruit which increases to your account when you give. In other words, it's giving. Giving is a fruit of the work of God in your life, being generous, giving to those in need. It could be what Paul has in mind in Colossians 1, 10, bearing fruit in every good work, every kind of righteous deed. It could be what the writer of Hebrews has in mind in Hebrews 13, 15, the fruit of your lips, even praise to God. Any kind of righteous good deed, any kind of righteous gift, any kind of righteous praise to God, any leading of someone to Christ, any of those things are action fruit, any righteous deed that you do, any manifestation of God in your life.

But behind that action fruit, there is attitude fruit, and what is that? Fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. Where you see a life filled with love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control, there is evidence that God is there. If I say Christ lives in me and my life is without love, without joy, without tranquility, then who's going to believe that my God is a transforming God, right? God doesn't need that kind of press. That's what He got from Israel, and the result was they blasphemed His name. What God wants, first of all, is attitude fruit and then action fruit.

Listen to this little thought. If you have action fruit in your life without attitude fruit, that's hypocrisy. You're just doing things on the outside that don't come from the heart. What God wants is that you walk in the Spirit. The Spirit produces attitude fruit.

Attitude fruit results in action fruit. And when your life is characterized with much fruit, then God is glorified. Let's close with a couple of Scriptures. Ephesians 3.21, a benediction. To Him be the glory in the church.

Boy, what a mandate. He wants glory from His church. To Him be the glory in the church, even in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever, and we all ought to say amen to that in Philippians 4.20. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Well, one of the main and most important ways that Christians glorify God is to put off sin in our lives, to mortify sin.

And of course, that's a struggle. The apostle Paul, who recorded that command in Scripture, described his own struggle to do the things that he should do and not do the things that he shouldn't. And Romans chapter 7 is full of that. There's some encouragement in that for us. Is that right, John? Yeah, I think the encouragement is that here you have the most mature, the most outstanding, the most devout Christian in the New Testament, and he's struggling with sin.

But again, it's what I said the other day. It's not that he sinned the way he did before he was converted. It is that any sin offends him more than all that sin ever did. The unconverted person is not so much offended by his sin as he is disturbed by it and by its consequences. He actually cherishes it.

He actually loves the darkness rather than the light. So he's not offended by his sin. But when a person is regenerated and becomes a new creation and old things pass away and new things come, it isn't that sin is never there. It is that for the first time you hate that sin. You love the things you ought to love, and you hate the things that you ought to hate. In fact, you love what God loves and hate what God hates, and that is the total reversal. So the Apostle Paul is simply in Romans 7 when he says, I don't do what I want to do, and I do what I don't want to do. He's saying, for the first time in my life, I hate all that is representative of my fallen flesh, and I love all that is a manifestation of my new creation. Now, struggling with sin is where you have to live your Christian life.

It's in the sanctification zone between justification and glorification. And to get a grip on that and to be effective and to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, you need to know how not only to embrace the Word of God, imbibe the Word of God, become biblical in your thinking, but you need to know how to eliminate sin, how to free yourself from the strength of sin. So we want to mention a book called Freedom from Sin. It is the newest study guide. I'm looking at it today for the first time.

And here's the good news. We'll send this full study guide, Freedom from Sin, to anyone who's never contacted us before. This is 250 pages of Bible teaching and practical instruction in the subject of freeing yourself from sin.

This is a special offer. If you've never been in touch with our ministry before, we'll send you a free copy of the study guide, Freedom from Sin. We're going to be airing the study itself in a few weeks, so request the study guide now, and you can receive it in time to use it with the material as you follow the broadcast. For the rest of you who are part of our family, of course, they're available as well.

That's right. And if you're frustrated by the day-to-day struggle with sin, and if so, you're not alone, this brand new study guide will be a big help in encouraging you to deal with the temptation that is sure to come to you. We'll send you the Freedom from Sin study guide for free if you've never contacted us before.

Get in touch today. Our number here, 855grace, and our website, gty.org. The Freedom from Sin study guide includes a question-and-answer session in each chapter, and it's great material to go through with someone you're discipling or with your Bible study group. Remember, the study guide is our gift to you if you have never contacted us before.

If you've already gotten in touch, it's available for a reasonable price. To pick up your copy of the Freedom from Sin study guide, call 800-55-GRACE or go to gty.org. And when you visit the website gty.org, make sure you take advantage of the thousands of free resources you'll find there. That includes daily devotionals written by John and 3500 sermons that cover crucial topics like how to pray, the Lord's Supper, serving your church, evangelism, and so many others. Again, go to gty.org. 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 make sure you're here tomorrow when John continues his series on How to Live for God's Glory, with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-17 10:58:13 / 2023-01-17 11:09:52 / 12

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