All Uzzah did was what he thought was showing some respect. God doesn't want your respect. He wants your obedience. Don't tell me that you advocate the slaughter of babies in the womb. Don't tell me you want to destroy masculinity, femininity, marriage.
You can make any pledge you want. Don't mock God. The sinfulness of mankind is as ancient as the Garden of Eden. Yet these days, doesn't it seem that the world has crossed into a new dimension of depravity?
One that is marked by social disorder, violent crime, government corruption, the rejection of biblical morality, and the acceptance of those things by many of the loudest and most powerful voices in our society. In the face of such decline, what does God expect from His church? To help you think biblically about the current chaos, follow along now with John MacArthur here on Grace To You, as John continues a brand new study that he calls The World Versus The Kingdom of God.
I'm going to challenge you a little bit. We're going to go into the Word of God, and I'm going to ask that you go with me and stay with me in this, and I can promise you the reward will be just exactly what you would expect when you give attention to the Word of God. I think we need to be reminded that the world, not just in its social perspectives, but even in its political perspectives, is never intended to be a friend of the church or an ally in any way. Listen to the words of our Lord in John 15, 18. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. There's the issue.
If you decide that you love the world, you can wiggle your way into it and draw out some level of affection. In John 16, 33, in the next chapter, He said, in this world, you will have tribulation. We lose, right? Now, for now, in this world, you will have thalipsis, pressure, tribulation.
But, He said, I have overcome the world. The end of the story, Christ wins, and we win in Christ. But losing now and winning then has nothing to do with any political help.
So here's another surprise to add to that one. The Bible doesn't recommend, prefer, or even discuss democracy. The ancient world had kings.
No other form of government appears either in the Old Testament or the New Testament. Kings were a common grace. We talk about God giving common grace, and government is common grace to bring order to society.
We understand that. But do you also understand that the most common, common grace of governmental character is a monarchy? In fact, so common were kings that we find in the Old Testament no nation under any other kind of government. So normal was it to have a king that the epic tragedy of Israel in the Old Testament was that they wanted a king like all other pagan nations. First Samuel chapter 12, verse 12 says, a king shall reign over you, although the Lord your God was your king.
This is the epic apostasy of Israel. Enter, you know who, Saul. Saul is going to be their king.
Go over to chapter 10. They've selected Saul. We won't go through all that story, but Samuel, verse 17 of chapter 10 calls the people together, Mizpah, and he said to the sons of Israel, Thus says the Lord the God of Israel, I brought Israel up from Egypt, I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians, from the power of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you, but you have today rejected your God who delivers you from all your calamities and your distresses, yet you have said no, but set a king over us. Now therefore, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans. Thus Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by Lot. By the way, any king in Israel was supposed to be from the tribe of Judah. Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the Matrite family was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was found. Saul, why him? Well, we already know because verse 23 says he was taller than anybody else and tall, dark, handsome, and cowardly. Verse 22 says, where's Saul? He's hiding in the baggage.
Oh, great. We've got a tall, dark, handsome guy in the baggage, hiding. By the way, what did he do? He looked for lost donkeys. That was his job. Unfortunately, he didn't do it very well, couldn't find them. He went from one end of the land to the other end of the land and couldn't find them.
Somebody said, oh, they're already back home. Tall, dark, handsome, cowardly donkey finder. Sin makes you stupid, and it makes you make stupid choices about leadership. Who trades in the eternal God for a tall, dark, handsome, stupid donkey finder who wants to hide in the baggage?
So why did God allow this? As a judgment. If you understand that, as a judgment. You want a king? I'll give you a king. I'll give you a king that will show you how foolish you are to turn from God. Saul is the anti-king. He's the illustration of the worst kind of ruler.
That's God's whole point. Saul was a complete disaster, and we know the sad story of it. The post-mortem on Saul, just a few verses. Chapter 15, verse 23, rebellion is as the sin of divination.
Insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king. Saul was such a disaster, the people rejected the Lord to get Saul, and then the Lord rejected Saul because Saul rejected him. Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned. I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord in their words, your words, because I feared the people, and listened to your voice. There's the coward hiding in the baggage who fears the people. Tall, dark, handsome, empty-headed, donkey finder.
He was a total disaster. You don't hear this very often in the Bible. Verse 35 of chapter 15, the Lord regretted He had made Saul a king over Israel. Oh, by the way, Samuel said, there's not going to be any future for you.
You're done. The next king won't come from your family. Again, the wisdom from below is demonic, isn't it? Sin makes you stupid.
Is there hope? Look at chapter 14 of Hosea. This is the heart of God through the prophets crying. Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you've stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, take away all iniquity and receive us graciously that we may present the fruit of our lips.
Assyria will not save us. We will not ride on horses, nor will we say again, our God, to the work of our hands. We won't worship idols we make, for in you the orphan finds mercy. Do that and I will heal their apostasy.
I'll love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. I'll be like the dew to Israel, like the blossom on a lily. He'll take root like the cedars of Lebanon. His shoots will sprout, and His beauty will be like the olive tree, and His fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon. And those who live in His shadow will again raise grain, and they will blossom like the vine.
His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon. O Ephraim, O Israel, what more have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you.
I am the luxuriant Cyprus. From me comes your fruit. Whoever is wise, let him understand these things.
Whoever is discerning, let him know them. The ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them. Who is your God? Who is your King? Two hundred years of warning before the captivity came. Israel turned in their King, the true and living God, for a sequence of wicked rulers.
They chose a fake, a fraud. They chose an anti-King, a kind of anti-Christ, over the eternal King of the universe. Oh, by the way, God promised to send a King, and He did. A true King, He told David in 2 Samuel 7, I'm going to send someone out of your loins who will have an everlasting kingdom.
And the gospel of Luke, of course, begins when word comes down from heaven to Mary from an angel. You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. And Isaiah said, that child born to us will be wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the Father of eternity. And He came, the true King again, and it all culminated when they had to make a choice.
Did they want the true King, or did they want a thief and a robber named Barabbas? The same kind of horrendous, sinful stupidity rises in the 18th chapter of John, verse 33. Pilate enters the Praetorium, says to Jesus, "'Are You the King of the Jews?' Jesus answered, "'Are You saying this on Your own initiative, or did others tell You about Me?'" Pilate said, "'I'm not a Jew, am I? Your own nations and chief priests delivered You to me.
What have You done?' Jesus answered, "'My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.' Pilate said to Him, "'So You are a king.' Jesus answered, "'You say correctly that I am a king, for this I have been born, for this I have come into the world to testify to the truth.'" And here's the key, "'Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.'
Pilate said to Him, cynically, "'What is truth?' When He said this, He went out again to the Jews and said to them, "'I find no guilt in Him, but you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?' So they cried out again, saying, "'Not this man, but who?'" Barabbas over Jesus?
That's the folly. Over to verse 15 of chapter 19, "'Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.' Pilate said to them, "'Shall I crucify your king?' The chief priests answered, "'We have no king but Caesar.'" There's only one true king, right? The tragedy of Israel's history, the tragedy of human history is that the world doesn't want to recognize the true King, the true and living God and His Son. God has already determined His Son will be King.
Why are the nations in an uproar and the people devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, "'Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us.' He who sits in the heavens laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, "'But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will give Him the nations as His inheritance and the ends of the earth as His possession.
He will break them with a rod of iron, shatter them like earthenware. Show discernment, O kings. Take warning, O judges. Worship the Lord with reverence. Rejoice with trembling.
Listen to this. Rejoice the Son, that He be not angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled.' Blessed are those who take refuge in Him."
You better take your refuge in the true King, right? So the story of Israel is a story of blasphemy, a story of abomination, a story of apostasy, a story of defection, and conceivably a story of trading in the one true God for the anti-king, the wicked king, the foolish king, Saul, trading in the Lord Jesus Christ ultimately for the Antichrist fool named Caesar. It was during David's time, 2 Samuel, chapter 6, I want to show you something.
Let's close there, 2 Samuel, chapter 6. So they finally want to bring the ark back. There was a prescription for how the ark was to be moved. It had rings, and you put up a long pole so that no one ever touched the ark. No one touched the ark. Took long poles, put them through the rings, carried it that way. They didn't do that. It says they wanted to move the ark, and verse 3, they placed the ark of God on a new cart.
What is that? That's a clear violation of God's order. So they could bring it from the house of Abinadab, which is on the hill. A couple of guys named Uzzah and Ahio were leading the new cart. So they brought it with the ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, and Ahio was walking ahead of the ark. Meanwhile, David and all his house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord with all kinds of instruments made of fir, wood, and with harps, lyres, tambourines, castanets, cymbals.
This is like a coronation now. God's coming back. They're going to re-enthrone God in the place where He belongs. Verse 6, when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God, took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it, started to topple off the ark so Uzzah reached out to steady it. Look at verse 7. The anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence, and he died by the ark of God.
Let me say something. You better be careful when you put your hand on God. You can say whatever you want to say, but when you touch the ark, when you place your hand on the throne of God, because God is enthroned in His Word, and you place your hand on the Word of God and pledge to do the very things that blaspheme His name.
You talk about a high-risk action. All Uzzah did was what he thought was showing some respect. God doesn't want your respect, He wants your obedience. Don't tell me that you advocate the slaughter of babies in the womb.
Don't tell me you want to destroy masculinity, femininity, marriage. You can make any pledge you want. Don't mock God. A final word, just a reminder. The deeds of the flesh are evident, immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. The message has to end here, seek the kingdom, right? Seek the kingdom by seeking the King. Repent, the King is here. Repent and receive the gospel.
Let's bow in prayer. Father, we certainly are reminded of an Old Testament king by the name of Nebuchadnezzar who ended up mocking You, was driven away from humanity, for seven years lived in the field. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven. His hair grew like eagle's feathers and his nails like bird's claws, and he was there until he learned that You rule over the realm of mankind. At the end of that period, he said, I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever, for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth, and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, What have You done? At that time, My reason returned to Me, and My majesty and splendor were restored to Me for the glory of My kingdom. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways are just, and He's able to humble those who walk in pride. Lord, we're going to see Nebuchadnezzar in heaven.
How wonderful is that! As wicked as he was, there was grace where there was repentance. Our desire, of course, is not judgment.
That's why we live in this world shining as lights in this perverse generation, so that people can see the light and turn from the darkness. There's another king that Daniel wrote about. This is our king.
He says, I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man was coming, and he came up to the ancient of days and was presented before him. To him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away, and his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. The Son of Man is our King, none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
All other kings will be crushed by Him. All those who worship any other God face only eternal judgment. May the light of the church shine brightly. May the gospel be clear. May we proclaim it with urgency and love, for your glory we pray, amen. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur.
Thanks for being with us. John's current study, brand new and airing for the first time ever, is called The World Versus the Kingdom of God. Well today we saw how rejecting the Lord led to the downfall of Old Testament Israel, and how the United States right now seems to be headed down that same broad way that leads to destruction. And John, that's a distressing thought, so let me ask, is there anything we can do to stop the slide? What can Christians do? Is there anything we can do to change the course of things?
You know, in one sense, no. The Bible says evil men will get worse and worse, and the trajectory of biblical history and the trajectory of redemptive history is headed toward judgment. There are cycles of judgment all through human history, and we see those played out even in Scripture, and we've seen them played out since the Scripture was completed. So there is constant sin and judgment going on all the time as the law of sowing and reaping operates in the world, and God does what he does. You know, I mean, the most devastating judgment in the history of the world happened at the beginning of the world in the flood. So there's always judgment going on all the time. God has allowed all the nations to go their own way, so judgment is cycling all the time. But the large trajectory is toward epic, final, eschatological judgment.
So I don't think there's any way to assume that we're going to turn the course of history. But what stands out through the history of redemption is that God always has a remnant. God always has a people. And you find in Isaiah, chapter 6, where when God says to Isaiah, go and preach, and Isaiah says, well, how long shall I do that? And God says, well, nobody's going to listen to you, but you do it until there's no one left to talk to because I have a remnant.
I have a holy seed, Isaiah 6, 13. The church is a remnant. I mean, when Christ came into the world, the whole nation of Israel rejected him, but there was a remnant that believed. The church is a remnant. So I think we have to think like that about what the role of the church is. But what makes us impactful to reach the remnant is really important, and it's this, let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who's in heaven. So what God uses is not only the gospel, but he uses the virtue, the holiness of life. So we need to be examples of the power of transformation, the power of personal transformation from sin to holiness, as well as preach the gospel. Personal holiness is at the heart of evangelism.
And with that in mind, I want to remind you that we have a study guide available. We're relaunching it titled Freedom from Sin. It'll teach you what you need to know about personal holiness and make your life effective in evangelism. It's free to anyone who's never contacted us before. The rest of you can order a copy Freedom from Sin based on Romans 6 and 7.
That's right, friend. We want you to have this new study guide on hand when the Freedom from Sin series airs on this broadcast in a few weeks. Again, the study guide is our gift to you if you have never contacted us before.
So request your copy today. You can call us at 855-GRACE or go to our website, gty.org. The Freedom from Sin study guide has practical wisdom for your personal battle with sin.
It can also equip you to counsel others in their struggles. The Freedom from Sin study guide is our gift to you if you have never contacted us before. Just call us at 855-GRACE or go to the website, gty.org. And let me mention a key way that you can support Grace to You. Call this radio station and let them know you appreciate their commitment to biblical truth, and to airing programs like Grace to You. As sound Bible teaching becomes harder to find on the radio, stations like this one play a vital role in taking the gospel to communities across the United States. So as you're able, encourage them in their vital work and thank them for carrying grace to you. Now for John MacArthur and the entire Grace to You staff, I'm Phil Johnson inviting you back when John considers a strategy that can protect Christians and churches from the world's influence. Don't miss the next half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-03 01:32:24 / 2023-01-03 01:42:16 / 10