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October 5, 2022 4:00 am
So Paul knew that if he was going to be faithful to the end and he was going to endure. He knew that if he was going to be faithful to shine a light into the darkness.
There had to be some things it anchored in down some certainties was certain regarding the superiority and exclusivity of the new covenant certain ministers of mercy certain that need have a pure heart. I'm your host Phil Johnson for Barnett suggests that mankind needs to adopt a low energy lifestyle listen to a diversity of opinions and put more women in authority. And while some of his ideas might be helpful. None of them would truly fix what's wrong in the world. But what would if you could only do one thing to fix mankind's greatest problems. What would it be John MacArthur tackles that question head-on today as he continues his series called the world versus the kingdom of God and with that, here is John and I want to take you to a passage that has been the treasurer to me for many many years. It's one of those defining portions of Scripture as I look at my life and my ministry in your life and your ministry in the kingdom of light that passages second Corinthians chapter 4 second Corinthians chapter 4 now we been looking at the idea of the fact that there is revealed in Scripture that the world is made up of two kingdoms is the kingdom of light in the kingdom of darkness, and we looked at second Corinthians chapter 6, which says light and darkness are incompatible is incompatible as lawlessness and righteousness as Satan and Christ as unbelievers and believers and so we said that the word of God calls on us to be separate touch not the unclean thing, have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. The kingdom of light is not ever helped or advanced by an alliance in a common cause with the kingdom of darkness. Christ does not need Satan to accomplish his purposes and that breaching that reality is what causes all the compromise that infects and has always infected the church so there are two kingdoms in our calling in our duty as the children of light as Paul calls us is to make sure that we shine the light of the gospel into the darkness.
That's our responsibility will make alliances common cause with the darkness, but we shine the light of the gospel into the darkness we are lights in the world.
We have the same calling the apostle Paul had to shine the gospel light into the darkness. Paul accepted this calling. In Romans chapter 1 he says this chapter 1 verse 14. I am under obligation to the Greeks and barbarians to the wise center the foolish. This is an obligation. So, for my part, I am also eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome, for I am not ashamed of the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as it is written, but the righteous man shall live by faith. I am not ashamed of the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. Paul was not ashamed to bully shine the light of the gospel into the darkness effect in first Corinthians 916 he says woe is me. If I preach not the gospel in first Corinthians 123 he says we preach Christ crucified in chapter 2 of that same book in verse two we preach nothing but Christ and him crucified numerous immediately the boldness of Paul and the fact that he was not ashamed of the gospel put them in a precarious position from the very beginning of his ministry. How did he endure well at the end of verse three since, at the end of chapter 3 it says that the Lord is the spirit where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. We all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just from the Lord, the spirit, the answer is, the Holy Spirit was consistently sanctifying him and making him more like Christ and there was no lack of boldness and the preaching of Christ was is the Holy Spirit sanctified him, he became more like his Savior, and he demonstrated the attributes of the Lord Jesus himself and one of them was certainly preaching the truth boldly as you come into chapter 4 he defines for us some convictions. How did this apostle maintain such endurance when so many people bail out at some point. So how do you endure, you have to have some inviolable commitments, unchangeable beliefs, they can't be. You can't be adjusted from them. And Paul had those he was able to face the hostile darkness take whatever they threw back at them for the following reasons.
Number one. He was certain of the superiority and exclusivity of the new covenant matter was he was certain of his message.
He was certain of the urgency of his message that it was the truth that it was superior to the old covenant that it was the only hope for sinners. What drives us in ministry to be faithful and not defect not give up not become a shame because you can't take the hostility and the rejection what drives us is the certainty that this is the sinners only hope this is the sinners only escape. They're all around us going to hell do you care enough to shine the light into their darkness. Do you understand they have no hope. Without it, Paul understood that and it kept them bold until he was martyred. The second characteristic. Second, certainty is second strong conviction. That's also in verse one it says. Therefore, since we have received this with since we have this ministry, as we receive mercy, and again I have to stop.
He understood that ministries of mercy. This is the second certainty ministry is a mercy. In other words, he never lost the wonder over the fact that he was doing something he didn't deserve to do.
He was not worthy to carry this message not at all. It was always a stunning shock to him. So Paul is saying God is merciful, even allowing me to minister, even allowing me to preach this glorious gospel and God is merciful to surround me with the people that I need. None of us deserve it. No one deserve such privilege.
No one deserves as he says in chapter 5, verse 20 to be an ambassador for God representing the heavenly King, the kingdom of light such ministry always is a mercy, always a mercy. There is 1/3 certainty. He was certain about the need for a pure heart. We pronounce the things hidden because of shame.
We pronounce the things hidden because of shame. What is shaming here anything disgraceful anything dishonorable. Anything that produces shame. Paul says I've ever announced secret shame. We wish sometimes that we knew when we hear people speak or preacher. We know some Christian who is seemingly representing the Lord Jesus Christ. But something seems wrong. There and we wish we knew what really was going on inside that individual sometimes you find out. Sometimes we don't though have a right to expect of those who minister the gospel that there is no secret life of shame when there is, it is devastating. It is devastating.
You gotta be dealing with your heart. Matthew 15 Jesus. It is not what goes into you. The defiled youth.
What comes out of you. So Paul knew that if he was going on. Be faithful to the end and he was going to endure. He knew that if he was going to be faithful to shine the dark and the light into the darkness. There had to be some things that anchored them down some certainties. He was certain regarding the superiority and exclusivity of the new covenant. He was certain minister was a mercy. He was certain that he needed to have a pure heart.
There's 1/4 and very important conviction. He was certain of the duty to preach accurately the word of God. Look at verse two.
Again he was certain of the duty to preach accurately the word of God not walking in craftiness, or adulterating the word of God conviction about handling the word of God accurately. This opens up for me. Pandora's box. Nothing is more disappointing to me than somebody misinterpreting Scripture and speaking as if it's the truth when it's a misrepresentation that's why Paul says to Timothy in second Timothy 215. Be diligent to be a workman needing not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. You gotta get it right.
You gotta get it right you get it right and all Scripture is profitable. He says to Timothy, then you preach it so first you have to interpret it correctly and then you have to understand that every single thing it says is profitable, and then you preach it conviction conviction of handling the word of God accurately and he uses the word craftiness, not walking in craft pond or gear. Literally if you take the word apart. It's the word for all in the word for energy. All work what what this all work mean that there are people who will do anything to accomplish their ends. They'll be shrewd with the Scripture.
They'll be unscrupulous with the Scripture bill twisted and perverted. They'll deceive people with it a synonym for this word is the cochlear gear which is an evildoer or criminal. I don't think there's much difference between a criminal and someone who twists the Scripture that is a crime against God. New Testament uses Phenergan craftiness, always in a negative sense is being willing to do anything to gain your end anything with the Scripture, and he describes what he means adulterating the word of God adulterating it using it in an illegitimate way. Adultery is a sin it's a violation of a covenant. It's having sexual relations outside your marriage covenant that is violating that covenant and you have a covenant with the word of God to teach it faithfully and if you do not you have violated that covenant adulterating due on tests only here in the New Testament the snare, it's a trap it's a fishhook it's something deceptive to hook people using the word of God as a way to deceive them look over chapter 2 verse 17. It's very much like pedaling the word of God pedaling the word of God S that's a con man that's a crook. False teachers always twist always pervert the word of God in a deceptive way, corrupting it, diluting it, twisting it to make their lies look scriptural to make the. The people who follow them think they speak for God over in first Thessalonians 2, Paul defends himself again and says our exhortation does not come from error or impurity, or by way of deceit. But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. So we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our heart we never came with flattering speeches. You know know the pretext for greed. God is witness. We don't use the Scripture we teach it faithfully and accurately. This leads to a really amazing point here.
The apostle was truly faithful to the Scripture and notice what this verse says it accomplished but by the manifestation of truth that was because he was faithful in interpreting the Scripture.
He was manifesting the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God by the manifestation of the truth that can't be overemphasized that the duty of every preacher, the duty of every witness is to proclaim the truth to manifest the truth and accuracy of interpretation demands a clear careful exposition of Scripture.
So Paul says not in craftiness, not adulterating the word, but rather by the manifestation of the truth of God's revelation. What happens, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. This is a most unexpected promise, faithful, accurate, clear exposition of God's word will do exactly what we would want it to do. It will command ourselves, meaning the message that we have brought to every man's conscience in the sight of God is one of the greatest promises in the Bible that this is the best possible truth for all Christians to hear. If you proclaim the truth, it will commend itself to the heart of the here no craftiness is necessary. No deceptiveness no alteration, no adulteration, just declare the truth. The truth of sin and condemnation, and forgiveness and justification through Christ and you have this promise that it will commend us to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
So certainties drove call the captain faithful certainty of the superiority of the new covenant ministry is a mercy, a pure heart and certainty about being accurate with the word of God and expecting hostility and then this fifth one.
Okay verse three.
He is certain that salvation is the sovereign work of God, ready for that. He is certain that salvation is the sovereign work of God, and even if our gospel is veiled is veiled to those who are perishing in this case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, so they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God he is certain about this, that if the gospel is veiled if it's covered over. If it's not received is veiled to those who are in a category the perishing and also the blinded by Satan, the God of this world has blinded their minds, we do not have the power to overcome the sinners resistance. There's no amount of cleverness is no amount of manipulation there's no amount of oratory that can cause repentance and salvation.
We can fight this battle with human weapons. Why is this true, let's go to back to verse three for a moment number one. They are the perishing.
These people are the perishing strong verb.
Those are those devoted to destruction. That's a category of people.
Paul refers to that in first Corinthians 1. Second Corinthians 2.
There the perishing. In other words, there a category of people who can't respond. They have no mechanism like they don't understand the things of God the foolishness to them. Secondly, there blinded by Satan. So you have this category of people who are the perishing is contrasted in first Corinthians 1. From those who are being saved and then additionally, the God of this world has blinded their minds so they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ is the image of God, the God of this world, the god of this age may be a better way to say it is Satan.
Satan has blinded them. Satan has deceived them. Chapter 10 Paul says there there fortified and ideologies of doom and death. They need to be led captive out of those.
John ate their of their father, the devil is a liar and they believe his lies. They loved darkness rather than light there under the wrath of God.
Their minds are corrupted by their perishing status and the double blinding of Satan so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
The can't can't see it so that's the level of consumer resistance that we have to attack essay will what we do in a situation like that you recognize this, we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus sake we preach Christ because we know this God who said light shall shine out of darkness, is the one who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
So this is Paul's certainty that salvation is a sovereign work of God is a sovereign work of God.
So what does Paul say in verse five we then do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus sake, we just preach Christ reproach preach Christ Jesus is Lord were just slaves to us spiritual results will come from us know we preach Christ that's sufficient that's our calling. We preach Christ as the only hope for the sinner to escape judgment and hell in John 718, Jesus said he who speaks from himself seeks his own glory.
Just note that he was speaks from himself. When you hear a preacher who is a hero who all his own stories he seeking his own glory.
He was seeking the glory of the one who sent him. He is true and there is no unrighteousness in him. Listen for the preacher who gives all the glory to Christ. We preach Christ as Lord. Father, thank you for your time this morning the best of all possible experiences to be in your presence in the presence of your people worshiping you, hearing you speak through your word. May sinners repent right in this very service and beyond where this message is heard.
May they turn from their sin may they feel the fear weight dread Gill with their sin and flee only to Christ who offers complete forgiveness, our Lord. We love you we desire to be faithful to serve you as Paul did to the end of our days. May we never lose heart.
Whenever defect and we always be bold and unashamed and may you be glorified in our lives faithful to the very end reach Christ. The only hope of salvation. That is how you can help the world. The most John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary drove that point home today on Grace to you and his new series titled the world versus the kingdom of God. John, today you talked about Paul's conviction to proclaim the gospel with boldness, no matter what. And frankly, we all need to cultivate that same conviction. I've often heard you say is only one aspect of worshiping God that we as Christians can actually do better here on earth. Then we will in heaven and that is evangelizing the lost proclaiming the gospel. Now that's the reason we're here. If all we were to do is glorify God and worship him forever.
He would've taken us to heaven where we will do that, but he left us here to proclaim the gospel and that is the reason we're here, I mean I want you to get that. Did you hear what I said the reason you as a believer are still in this world is not so you can see your kids graduate from high school. The reason you're still in this world is not so that you can find the girl of your dreams and get married if you're a believer.
The reason you're in the world is not so you can reach the next plateau in your business achievement. The reason you're in the world and not in heaven as a believer is because the Lord wants you to evangelize the lost both by what you say and how you live that is your raison d'Ítre as the French would say so. I want to mention a resource that would help you with that.
It's a book called nothing but the truth nothing but the truth that I know you know saying that you're here for the sake of the gospel can be daunting because it's a tough world and it's a doubting world you feel like it's a hard world. It's an indifferent world is becoming more more agnostic and even atheistic, but this book will be a great help to the title. Nothing but the truth. The subtitle upholding the gospel in a doubting age. This was my first book devoted solely to the issue of evangelism is had a great response through the years. It will give you some building blocks some chapters like who is God, the reliability of Scripture, the reality of sin, the virgin birth deity of Christ death and resurrection of Christ.
All things that make up the gospel chapter by chapter.
Discussion questions applications, even prayer requests. Good for personal use, good for a group as well.
The title again nothing but the truth will equip you to be an effective evangel. That's right, friend.
This thoroughly documented book can help you know right where to turn in Scripture for the truth you need to share with unbelievers the title again nothing but the truth to order yours contact us today our number here 855 Grace and our website TTY.org. This book nothing but the truth will show you why there is only one road to heaven. It will equip you to tell others about that narrow path with love, yet without compromise again to order a copy of nothing but the truth.
Call 855 Grace or go to our website TTY.org when you visit the website TTY.org check out and take advantage of the thousands of free resources available including gray stream. That's a continuous loop of John MacArthur sermons starting in Matthew going all the way through the end of the book of Revelation.
It takes a couple of months to get through all of them and then the sermons repeat so what you have just a few minutes or a couple of hours to listen jump into the gray stream today and anytime for verse by verse encouragement from the New Testament to find gray email@example.com now for John MacArthur. I'm Phil Johnson inviting you to watch Grace to you television this Sunday and make sure you're here tomorrow when John helped you see how the power of God's word cuts through even the deepest darkness.
It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth in one verse at a time on Grace to you