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The Kingdom of Light Amidst the Kingdom of Darkness

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
September 28, 2022 4:00 am

The Kingdom of Light Amidst the Kingdom of Darkness

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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September 28, 2022 4:00 am

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It's very apparent to us now that we who are in the invisible kingdom are living in the invisible kingdom.

Stay tuned for our next subject, day, and volume, today's topic. brand new study, The World vs. the Kingdom of God. Now first though, Jon, a personal question for you. Has being a pastor brought special challenges in terms of making friendships with unbelievers, and especially in today's adversarial environment that we're looking at in your current series?

I don't think being a Christian necessarily makes you a threat, but I think being a pastor tends to do that, and being a well-known pastor and having everything you've ever said for the last half a century available on the internet. Yeah, that is tough. I've been with you overseas. We got into an elevator and somebody recognized you just from your voice.

Yeah. Yesterday I was walking with Patricia a little bit, and in a very brief walk—and this is the other side of your question—we ran into three people who stopped me and said, Oh, you're Jon MacArthur, I just want to say thank you so much for everything your ministry has meant in my life. That was the first person, and this was a lady, and she said, I can't imagine that you're even real. So I grabbed her hand, I'm real.

And three people in one short hour of time. So for me, the opposite really happens. I'm more likely to be stopped somewhere, to be thanked, than I am to be ridiculed. But I do think you can mitigate that by having a gracious spirit. You don't have to be harsh.

I think you want to speak the truth in love, and I think if you do that, I think you can break down some of those barriers. That's right. Well, thank you, Jon. It's a reminder that we should always be gracious even as we stand firmly for biblical truth in an unbelieving age. And on that note, here is Jon MacArthur again to continue his thought-provoking study, The World versus the Kingdom of God. I want to take you to Luke 17, and I want to say things that will be definitive and helpful to you, because it's very apparent to us now that we who are in the invisible kingdom are living in the middle of another kingdom. When Jesus prayed to the Father, He didn't say, take them out of the world. He said, keep them from the evil one.

We have to be in the world, otherwise we can't preach the gospel. So we are this invisible kingdom in the middle of a visible kingdom that is getting more wicked all the time. In Luke chapter 17, verse 20, Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming. He thought it was still future, and elements of it are, of course. But He answered them and said, the kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, look, here it is, or there it is, for behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst, or among you.

That is an incredible statement. They were looking for a kingdom in the future, and the kingdom was there because the King was there. We don't know a lot about kingdoms and kings, so I want to help you with that. We haven't had a king in our history well until now. America has been gradually becoming a kingdom with a king, an evil kingdom with an evil king and his evil agents.

How did that happen? Turn to Romans chapter 1, and I want to rehearse for you some very important portions of Scripture. Verse 18, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven. Now the wrath of God takes many forms. It could be eternal wrath. It could be eschatological wrath, the wrath that's described in the book of Revelation. It could be the wrath of sowing and reaping built in judgment to certain behaviors.

But this wrath is not any of those, but rather described as follows. It's wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. So it's a kind of wrath that has to unfold on a society that is suppressing truth.

Wherever you have a society suppressing truth, it necessarily then is characterized by ungodliness and unrighteousness. That which is known about God, says verse 19, is evident within them, for God made it evident to them, for since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and His divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. God has revealed Himself to the degree that man is without excuse if he doesn't acknowledge the existence of God. And when men suppress that knowledge in ungodliness and unrighteousness, a kind of wrath comes out of heaven. This wrath is for those, verse 21, who knew God, did not honor Him as God or give thanks. It comes on a society that inexcusably turned against the living God who is the Creator of all, and in the case of our society, turned against the revelation of Scripture which has been available to everyone. Though they knew God, that is, they knew God existed because it was clear in the creation and in the Scripture, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks.

They became empty in their speculations. Their foolish heart was darkened, professing to be wise. They became fools. Those who reject God are fools.

When I talk about an evil kingdom, I'm also talking about an evil kingdom made up of fools. They exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. You might say that's ancient animism.

You might also say it's modern environmentalism. Therefore, here's the judgment, God gave them over, language of turning someone over to prison for incarceration and execution. So how do you know when this wrath is operating? You know when a society turns from God that had the knowledge of God by creation and Scripture when they give up on the truth of God and exchange God for a materialistic secular worldview. That form of social, national, cultural apostasy leads to God giving them up, turning them over.

And what does that look like? The first phase in verse 24, God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever, amen. So the first thing you would see in a culture under judgment is a sexual revolution, immorality. Lust, unbounded, dishonoring their bodies among them, pornography as a norm. The second is in verse 26, God then gave them over to degrading passions for their women exchange the natural function for that which is unnatural. That's lesbianism. And in the same way, also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another. Men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own person the due penalty of their error, and that might be AIDS. So first you'll have a sexual revolution when God's wrath is unleashed on a society that turns against Him.

Secondly, you'll have a homosexual revolution. Sound familiar? Verse 28 says there's a third step. Just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind. There's a certain function. There's a kind of insanity. What does that refer to? Not accepting reality.

I read that this one author wants people to know there are a hundred genders. That's insanity. What comes out of that kind of insanity that we're seeing now where you're not even dealing with reality?

We're making laws to make the insane feel normal. What comes out of that? All kinds of things that are not proper. All unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful. That's what you get in that culture of insanity. Verse 32 says the insanity is so severe that though they know the ordinance of God. How do they know it? Because it's built into the fabric of their humanity. The law of God is written in the heart. And in our case, they've had the Bible. And even though they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but give hearty approval to those who practice them.

They make them legal. Why are we where we are? Because we're under this wrath.

This is not just us. Acts 14 says God has allowed all the nations to go their own way. This is the cycle of human history. We're now in an evil kingdom. The kingdom we're in is so evil that God's wrath has been unleashed.

We've been living in it for a number of decades now, from the sexual revolution through the homosexual revolution to the reprobate mind where you can't even think straight and reality and fantasy are mingled. The evil kingdom holds its power by one thing, lies. And that's what Paul said. They exchanged, verse 25, the truth of God for lie. The evil kingdom gains its power by lies. It holds its power by lies, by suppressing the truth. What the evil kingdom fears most is truth, truth.

Kingdom of darkness is a kingdom of lies. Even humanity recognizes the importance of truth. Plato said, no one is more hated than he who speaks the truth. George Orwell said, the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it. A line that came out of the Nazi German era, those who burn books will soon burn people because they have to stop the truth. The truth is the only power against the lies.

This is not new to us. This is essentially the indictment of Isaiah against Israel back in chapter 5. It says among the indictments, chapter 5 of Isaiah, verse 20, woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. That's what happens. The evil kingdom switches everything.

Everything is inside out and upside down. Now I'm going to give you an axiom that you need to remember. A society is defined by what it will not tolerate.

Did you get that? A society is defined by what it will not tolerate. When God wanted us to know His will, He didn't say, let me give you ten suggestions of what would be good behaviors. He gave us ten commandments because life is always going to be defined by what you tolerate. In the past, even in our country, there was a traditional, Judeo-Christian, biblical, conventional morality, and there were laws against certain kinds of behaviors. And when you violated those traditional laws drawn from Scripture, there was shame.

Those of you who went to college probably read the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a look at 1850 viewpoint from Nathaniel Hawthorne of early America and the sad story of Hester Prine who committed adultery and had to go through the rest of her life with an A stamped on her. That was the old culture where biblical morality still had sway, and shame was connected to the things that the Bible assigns shame. Then came the rejection of God. Then came the rejection of Scripture. And so the transcendent, sacred authority whose law was a standard for everyone gave rise to what Carl Truman calls the modern self, where sovereignty goes from an external sacred standard of God to the individual, and now we have self-styled sovereignty.

Everybody is a sovereign over his own life and can declare himself to be anything he wants to be. God was rejected, the Bible is rejected, and with it, biblical morality. Everything goes to individualism. As a result, what our society will not tolerate is exactly the opposite of what it would not tolerate in the past. So we are now in an overturned morality. This society is making laws to normalize, justify sins, blatant sins. Laws are being made to criminalize righteousness. Laws are being made to silence, terminate truth speakers. Half of the states in America have such laws. An Air Force chaplain was removed from his duty because he gave a message against sexual immorality. He was dismissed.

You either bake the cake or go to jail. The new king can't stop making rules, can he? You say, why are colonists a monarchy? Because of executive orders that are just endless.

That's unilateral rule. The king and the kingdom of lies will not tolerate the truth. To speak the truth is the greatest threat. They define it as hate speech, personal animus, and now, as I said, domestic terrorism. There can be no civil liberties for those who tell the truth. There can be no freedom of speech for those who tell the truth because they invade safe spaces.

They trigger people. So the king and his lying agents must demonize the truth tellers. Then they need to demonize the past. They need to kill history.

They need to go back so past moral standards don't crawl up out of the grave and offend somebody. Strong societies have their foundation in sacred truth. They have a transcendent standard. When that is removed, what you have is barbarism, according to one writer. Barbarism means paganism, lack of civilization. So the trend here is exactly what Romans 1 said.

It's ungodliness and unrighteousness, godless paganism, hating God, hating Christ, hating the Scripture, hating the true church, and fearing the truth. There was a Taiwanese general who was asked a question by a medical doctor about how Taiwan escaped the pandemic initially, and this Taiwanese general said this, we have an entire department in the Taiwanese government that does nothing but monitor Chinese social media. And everything they censor, we know to be the truth. If you're living in a reversed world, you have to think in reverse.

You're being lied to all the time. Here's a testimony from Natalia who came to grace 30 years ago with her five children. They left the USSR because of persecution. She finished high school, of course, at the top of her class as valedictorian because all her kids are smart. She began her university studies on a prestigious, full-funded scholarship. She was being prepped to work as a translator in London in the Soviet Embassy. So she was studying English.

Her path would change when she became a believer. When the authorities found out that she was a believer, they demanded that she and her sister resign from their job. They ended up working as cleaning ladies. She couldn't find a job after graduation. She spent the next 13 years as a cleaning lady, cleaning the offices and emptying the trash bins of Soviet scholars, even though she graduated the top of the class. When her older brother became a believer, he was expelled from the Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering in the final semester of his studies.

Her sister was expelled from another program in architecture after a woman saw her reading the Bible on a train. So Natalia continued to play an important role in the underground church. She had regular meetings with believers from other countries who supported Soviet believers. They had a secret code.

If they said, grandmother isn't feeling well, the meeting was off. If the telegram said grandmother's looking forward to the birthday party, church was on. 1976, when Natalia and her fellow congregants came to church on a winter Sunday, they discovered on the front door of the building a large lock, which had been placed there by the Soviet authorities. For the next two years, the congregants met in the forests of Riga, Latvia during the warm months and in people's homes during the winter. When police discovered the location, they showed up to scatter the meeting and arrest the leadership.

Despite the threat of arrest, the church continued to meet and accept new members, baptizing new converts in local lakes in the middle of the night, sometimes in the middle of the winter. 1981, Natalia's home was raided by 17 KGB agents and police officers who confiscated six large bags of religious material and personal belongings. During those years, Natalia's friends were arrested on various occasions, interrogated by the KGB, and sent to prison for multiple-year sentences. Her best friend, a 19-year-old young woman, was sent to a Siberian labor camp for six years for participating in a children's Christian camp.

And while the Soviet authorities prevented Natalia from working as a translator for the communist regime, she became the church translator for all the missionaries who visited her local church. All of that was a result of Marxism and socialism, words you're hearing all the time, all the time. Satan is the liar king. He's the liar king. He has a massive supernatural force of demons against whom we wrestle.

His children are liars. The kingdom of darkness is known by its lies. This has penetrated the most sacred halls of our government, the Supreme Court.

The United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act to make way for homosexual behavior and marriage, and actually declared in their filing that religious objections to homosexuality come from hate. God is out. Prayer is out. The Ten Commandments are out.

Get those off the wall. The Bible is out. Blasphemy is in. Immorality is to be protected.

In fact, laws are to be made and enforced to normalize perversion. Cancel all dissent. There can't be any dissent. That's why people are getting canceled. That's why their Twitter accounts are being taken down. And big tech is in cahoots with this paganism.

And for the first time in human history, they can shut down anybody they want. This leads me to draw your attention to 2 Corinthians, chapter 10, 2 Corinthians 10, 3. Though we walk in the flesh, and it doesn't mean sin, but humanity, though we're human, we do not war according to the flesh.

We can't fight this spiritual battle with any human strategies. The weapons of our warfare are not human, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We've got to realize that we're assaulting fortresses. That's the word for palaces, forts, prisons, and tombs. We're assaulting massive stone edifices. We have to destroy them, and we don't expect to do that with human ingenuity and human strategy.

What are these fortresses? He says in the next verse. We're destroying logismos, ideas, ideologies, philosophies, speculations. We are destroying lies, because they are defined further as every anti-God idea, every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. We as a church in the world have the responsibility to assault the fortresses of lies while we're here, to smash down every idea raised up against the true knowledge of God. And then on the positive, take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

That's magnificent language, isn't it? We turn people from lies to the truth. That's why we're here. So do you understand what a threat we are? We exist in the world for one purpose, and that is to expose the lies and to bring the truth.

And when lies dominate the kingdom at every point, and when they are basically the foundation of the society's laws, we are not tolerable. But we are the kingdom, and the kingdom is here, because the King is here. We're listening to Grace to You, featuring John MacArthur's brand-new and compelling study called The World vs. the Kingdom of God. Now another compelling study that you're going to want to listen for is Freedom from Sin.

That series will air next month, and it really is going to help you understand the power that you have as a Christian to resist the temptation to sin. To help you get all you can from that series, we have a new 250-page study guide that we'll send to you free of charge if you've never contacted us. So request the Freedom from Sin study guide today. Our phone number here, 855-GRACE, and our website, gty.org. The Freedom from Sin study guide takes you deep into each lesson from the Freedom from Sin audio series, giving you detailed outlines, plus questions that will enrich your personal or group study. And whether a new believer is still learning how to resist sin, or a veteran saint who's been fighting the good fight against sin for years, this study guide can help.

And again, it's our gift to you if you have never contacted us before. Request your free copy at gty.org, or call us at 800-55-GRACE, and to download every message in John's brand new study called The World vs. the Kingdom of God, go to gty.org. While you're there, be sure to browse the thousands of free study tools available to you, including more than 3,500 sermons by John spanning his 53-year pastoral ministry. Again, all of that is free to you at gty.org. Now for John MacArthur, I am Phil Johnson, encouraging you to watch Grace to You television this Sunday. And make sure you're here tomorrow for another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-01 13:42:04 / 2023-01-01 13:51:27 / 9

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