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Five Rock-Solid Truths for an Uncertain Year

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
December 30, 2022 3:00 am

Five Rock-Solid Truths for an Uncertain Year

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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December 30, 2022 3:00 am

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We know this, of all things that we know, that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding in order that we might know Him who is true and we are in Him who is true in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. Maybe you find it easier to read your Bible and pray when life is going well. But what about when money is tight, when your health fails, or when Satan is attacking?

How can you make sure that under any circumstance you're making the Lord your first priority? Answering that question is the focus of John MacArthur's message today called Five Rock-Solid Truths for a New Year. It's a look at why no matter what comes your way in 2023, you can know true peace and joy. I think you'll see it's a perfect message for this last broadcast of 2022.

And so with that, follow along with John MacArthur. Let's open our Bibles to 1 John...1 John chapter 5. If you just glance at verses 13 to 21, you will recognize the word no is there. Now he's going to close with five things we know. Number one, we know we have eternal life.

We know we have eternal life. Look at verse 13, these things I've written to you. What do you mean, John?

What things? The whole letter...the whole letter. How do I know that? Well, there are a number of indications. One, he shifts from the third person in verse 12, he who has the Son has the life, he who does not have the Son of God, does not have the life, to the first person these things I have written, which indicates that this is not in the flow of thought. He's not simply saying what I've just said in the prior verse, but rather there's a shift all together out of the third person of speaking to them to a self-proclamation of his purpose.

Plus these things I've written to you that you may know introduces all that is about to follow, all of which is the conclusion, all of which is about what we know. So clearly this literally refers to the whole epistle which then launches him into all the things that we who do have the Son know for certain. This is also a good parallel to the gospel of John. When John wrote his gospel, 21 chapters, he came down into chapter 20, the end of the chapter, the last verse of chapter 20 and he said this, these things have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you may have life in His name. That sweeps back over the whole of the gospel of John. Everything from chapter 1 in the beginning was the Word, the Word is with God, the Word was God.

All things were made by Him, without Him was not anything made that was made. All the way down the Word became flesh and then all through those 20 chapters, everything so far has been written that you may believe all the I AM sections, all the miracles of Jesus that are recorded in the gospel of John, all intended that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you may have life, eternal life in His name. The gospel of John was written...follow me...the gospel of John was written so that people might believe and be saved. The epistle of John was written so that the saved might know they're saved. The gospel of John has a message of salvation.

The epistle of John has a message of assurance. And so the parallels as he gets close to the end of the gospel, he says, this has all been written that you might believe. And here as he gets near the end, this has all been written that you who believe might know that you have eternal life. The first one was to bring you to belief and this one is to eliminate any lingering doubt. How wonderful it is to know this. People who have no interest in religion or very minimal interest in religion generally say, well I hope I'm going to heaven, I think I might be good enough. You know, that's a question you really ought to have some certainty on because eternity lasts a long time. I mean, just kind of going around and taking a cavalier approach in life to, well I think I'm going to heaven, I think, you know, when things all sort of wind down, I'll probably be good enough to get there. You know, you need to do a little better than that because of what is at stake.

Can you know? Of course. John says, that's why I wrote this epistle, measure yourself against the tests. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you understand your own sinful condition?

Are you manifesting day in and day out the evidence of a transformed life by virtue of your love for God, your love for others, your hatred toward the world and by manifestation of your obedience? If that's the case, if you pass the test, verse 13 says, you may know that you have eternal life. You may now know that you have eternal life. When I die, I'm going to heaven. If people say to me, when you die, are you sure you're going to heaven?

Absolutely...absolutely. I always think about what Larry King said to me off the air. He said, do you have any fear of death? I said, I have no fear of death. He said, you don't have any fear of death? I said, well, you know, I have a normal antipathy toward pain and so I would like to minimize my pain in dying, that's just kind of a normal thing. But death itself?

No, I don't have any fear of death. And he said, well how is it you have no fear of death? I said, because I know exactly where I'm going to go. I know exactly where I'm going to go. I'm going to go to heaven.

And you're sure you're going to go to absolutely sure? And, of course, he said to me, I wish I had that faith. Well that faith comes by hearing the message of Jesus Christ. These Christians to whom John wrote had been shaken by false teachers, they had been shaken by Antichrists, they were insecure, they had therefore lost their confidence in ongoing forgiveness, they had lost their joy. And so John has gone back and said, look, examine yourself. If you're walking in the light as He is in the light, then you're in the fellowship. If you're confessing your sin, then you're the one whom He's forgiving.

Look at your life. If you're obeying the commands of Christ, if you're loving God, loving others and not loving the world, if you're confessing Jesus as God, if you're practicing righteousness, if you're experiencing the internal confident witness of the Holy Spirit, then you can be can be sure. And so the first certainty is that we have eternal life. This is not about a duration of life, it is about a quality of life, a kind of life. We have now and will forever have the life of God in us, holy and pure and righteous and good and content and satisfied and fulfilled. Eternal life is a life that lacks nothing, wants nothing, seeks nothing, misses nothing, desires nothing other than what it has. God's life in us, we already have it.

It's what He says. Verse 13 says, these things are written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God in order that you may know that you have eternal life. The Lord wants us to be certain about that. Secondly, we not only know we have eternal life, that is a certainty, we know we have our prayers answered so that until we get to eternal glory, in the meantime we have direct access to the throne of God. Verse 14 says, this is the confidence which we have before Him that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the request which we have asked from Him. We are certain that we possess eternal life if we pass the tests.

We are certain that we have the resources of God at our disposal by merely asking. And then in verse 16 He says, of course, if anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death. I do not say that he should make requests for this, all unrighteousness is sin and there is a sin not leading to death.

And John gives this little caveat. Yes, you have an access to all of God's resources through prayer. Yes, God will hear your prayer and answer your prayer unless you're praying for someone to be restored or to be healed and it is a sin that they have committed unto death and God will not answer that prayer. It just illustrates that when you pray according to God's will and if He hears you, and He does, you know that He'll answer and give you what you request if it's consistent with His will unless it falls into the category of divine judgment where God really is unable to answer. But that's just the exception. That's not the main point.

That's the subpoint. The main point is He hears, He answers and we have what we ask in His will. And here's an illustration of something that's not in His will and that is it's not in His will to deliver someone from death who has committed a sin that in God's judgment leads to death.

And only God knows what that sin is, it's not a specific sin, it could be different in any case, in every case. It could be the straw that broke the camel's back and the continuingly disobedient believer. Certainly would...or could be applied to a non-believer who commits a sin of apostasy and you're praying for their salvation, it's too late. But apart from that extremity, apart from that thing which is outside His will, such as illustrated here, we know for certain that we have eternal life and that we have answered prayer.

Then we come to the last three certainties...the last three certainties. We know, we know, we know, verses 18 through 20. And the first one, verse 18, we know that no one who is born of God sins but He who is born of God keeps Him and the evil one does not touch Him.

What does this mean? It means we know we have eternal life, we know we have answered prayer and here we know we have victory over sin. We know we have victory over sin. No one who is born of God sins. No one born again, no one given a new nature, no one transformed, regenerated, goes on in the same unbroken pattern of sin, the unconverted do nothing but sin. They are dead, Ephesians 2, 1 says, in trespasses and sins.

They walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the Spirit now working in the sons of disobedience. They walk in the lusts of their flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind and are by nature children of wrath even as all the rest, everybody. There is nothing good in them. They can't do anything good. They are of their father the devil.

Not one of them is profitable. Not one of them is righteous, not even one, Romans 3 says. They are the servants of unrighteousness. They incessantly trample God's Law, trample God's love, trample Christ's gospel. They are defiant, haters of God. And we know, verse 18, that no one who is born of God sins.

Oh, we come back to the same issue. How do you tell if someone's a believer? You look at their life and if there is in their life constant pattern of sin, virtually unbroken, you know that that slavery has not been eliminated. The one born of God does not continue in that same pattern. He's not saying you never sin. He's talking here about the pattern. Little children, let no one deceive you. The one who practices righteousness is righteous just as he is righteous.

You look at the life. Again, this isn't saying you never sin. Back in chapter 1 he said, verse 8, if we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. Verse 10, if we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us. It isn't that we never sin, it is that the unbroken pattern of sin no longer exists. And so verse 1 of chapter 2, my little children, I'm writing these things to you that you may not sin. If anyone sins, if the pattern of righteousness now established in the new birth is broken by sin, we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, the sins of believers, not for ours only but also for those of the whole world.

So it isn't perfection we're talking about, it's direction. It's not the complete absence of sin we're talking about, it's the pattern of righteousness that replaces the unbroken pattern of sin. The one who practices sin, verse 8 says, is of the devil. And the Son of God appeared for this purpose to destroy the works of the devil. So both ways, verse 5, He appeared to take away sin. Verse 8, He appeared to destroy the works of the devil which is sin.

With that thought, go back to 1 John where we left in the fifth chapter there. We know, verse 18, that no one who is born of God sins in the sense of the continual pattern so described. But he who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him. It might help if we translated verse 18, he who was begotten of God keeps him, that's whom? Who is the only begotten of God?

Christ. We don't sin because we've been born again and given new life that is characterized by righteousness. Furthermore, we are kept from that old pattern by the very one born of God so that the evil one does not touch us, fasten on to us, lay hold of us, stronger than touch. Satan has no grip, no hold on us. So we are certain, not only certain that we have eternal life, not only certain that we have answered prayer, we are certain that we have victory over sin. Satan can't hold us. We have died to that former bondage. We now live with a new master and new life principle and the one born of God keeps us and the evil one does not touch us.

So this we're certain. We are certain we have eternal life. We are certain we have answered prayer and we are certain that we have victory over sin. Fourthly in the list of five, second in the list of three, we know we belong to God. We know we belong to God.

And this really says the same thing another way. Verse 19, we know that we are of God and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. There are two realms. There is the world and there are the people of God. We are gods. The whole world belongs to Satan. We belong to God. He bought us with a price. We are His.

We've really been His since He purposed to redeem us before the foundations of the world. On the other hand, the whole world belongs to the evil one, hapana rah, Satan. The world lies in the lap of the evil one, like a baby cradled asleep in the arms of Satan.

This is a very traumatic picture. We're not in the embrace of Satan. We're in the embrace of God, two distinct realms and only two. The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

By that he means the whole human system. There's nothing in it, there's nothing about it that is not under Satan's control. It's economics, it's politics, it's religion, it's education, it's everything.

It's entertainment, it's athletics, it's everything...everything...everything. There are elements of the world that we can enjoy because of God's creation and we can see the image of God and we can see the creative glory of God manifest in the world. But the system that functions within His creation is a system that is completely contaminated. That's why in chapter 2 verses 15 to 17, again remember we're reviewing, John says, Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the boastful pride of life is not from the Father but is of the world.

The world is passing away, also its lusts. On the other hand, the one who does the will of God abides forever. We have eternal life. We have divine access to the throne of God. We have triumph over sin. We belong to God.

That's opposite everything in the world around us. They do not have eternal life. They have no access to God through any prayer. God is not bound to hear a thing they ask for. They are dominated by evil and they belong to Satan.

Clear distinctions. Be certain of this. You are God's. You are His beloved child to whom He has given life. John 1, 12, as many as received Him, Christ. To them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Well, so much more to say on that. We know we have eternal life. We know we have answered prayer. We know we have victory over sin. We know we belong to God, one final thought, and we know that Christ is the true God. We know that Christ is the true God. And he ends where he began. He began what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled concerning the Word of life and the life was manifest and we've seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us. What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also that you may have fellowship with us and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. He starts by introducing Christ.

That's chapter 1 verses 1 to 3. We saw Him. We heard Him.

We touched Him. We saw the living eternal life. We saw God the Father manifest in the Son. That's where He begins. That's the first and great certainty that makes all other certainties possible. And so He ends where He began. We know this, of all things that we know, that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding in order that we might know Him who is true and we are in Him who is true in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. And there's a great Christological statement there.

This is the final certainty. And because of that, verse 21, little children, guard yourselves from idols, don't allow anything apart from Christ to influence you since you know the true God. Stay away from idols. Paul told the Corinthians the same thing in 1 Corinthians 10, he said, you cannot come to the table of the Lord and then go to the table of idols, the table of demons.

You can't do that. John's ministry was associated with Ephesus. Ephesus was the center of idolatry, massive amounts of idolatry occurred there. Temple of Artemis, Diana, 420 feet by 250 feet, hundreds of people lived off the temple trade, priests, eunuchs, temple wardens, prostitutes, etc., etc., etc. You remember the guild of the silversmiths who made the idols?

Book of Acts gives the story in chapter 19. You remember how rampant idolatry was in that ancient world? And sometimes Christians could drift off into those kinds of things. So he ends by saying, little children, guard yourselves from idols.

You're not going to fall back into that because you're being kept by the One who is born of God, but don't tamper with that. And so John's summary ends, we know we have eternal life. We know along the way to get to our eternal life we have answered prayer. We know we have victory over sin. We know we belong to God and we know Jesus Christ is the one true God and eternal life.

And if we know those things to be true, it's evidence that we belong to God. You're listening to Grace to You, featuring the Bible teaching of John MacArthur. John is also Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary. He titled today's message, Five Rock-Solid Truths for a New Year. Well, this is the last broadcast of 2022, and while that only means, really, that we've hit the next month on the calendar, we all associate the new year with a time to make new goals and set new directions and make new year's resolutions. But John, as you anticipate a new year for Grace to You, do you think in terms of new approaches, significant changes, big improvements? Will anything about this ministry change?

Not likely. Obviously, we want to improve anything we can improve. We want to preach better and write better and provide all these opportunities and all these resources in the best way possible. And there could be some technological advances that come along. I would say there may be in the future new ways we deliver this content, but the content will not change. The content cannot change because it is the eternal, unchanging Word of God.

So we're not going to do anything differently in 2023 than we've been doing in any other year in this ministry's history. As I said, we will grasp any new media technology to get the Bible out. We'll continue to look for ways to make our teaching accessible to a greater number of people. Anyway, we can use the media to let folks who don't know we're here that we are here.

But the core of who we are will always stay the same. We're here to help you understand what God's Word means by what it says, to develop your own healthy Bible study skills, to grow in discernment, and to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, and to be able to teach others what you're learning so that you can pass on the truth. In all of this, we need your prayers, and here are just a few prayer suggestions as we launch into the next year. Pray for our staff here in the United States who create these programs and help make our resources available across the world. Pray for the encouragement of the faithful believers who operate our offices in Canada, the UK, and even in India. And pray for God's provision for our financial needs as they continue to grow. Pray also for the people we have the privilege of ministering to each day through radio books, television, podcasts, blogs, and more. And I would say join us in praying for our government rulers and leaders.

The only thing that's going to turn things around is the salvation of those leaders. That should be on your prayer list. And from all of us at Grace to You, thank you for your prayers. We anticipate a great 2023.

Yes, we do. And thank you for your prayers and for your generosity in 2022. Know that your support will help us take biblical teaching to spiritually hungry people every day of the new year.

If you'd like to partner with us before 2022 comes to a close, get in touch today. You can mail your donation by check to this address, Grace to You, Box 4000, Panorama City, California, 91412. Or you can donate at our website, Pastors and laypeople alike, people from all walks of life, even men and women in prison, are taking the biblical principles they learn from these broadcasts and using them as they serve the body of Christ and minister to their families and evangelize the people they know.

That's the kind of personal and powerful ministry you make possible when you give. Again, to make a tax-deductible donation for 2022, simply mail a check postmarked by December 31st, or go online and make a credit card donation before midnight on December 31st. Our address again, Box 4000, Panorama City, California, 91412. And our web address, That's

That's the website. And a special thanks if you're one of our Grace partners. Thank you for your faithfulness in 2022.

Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Be sure to watch Grace To You television this Sunday on DirecTV channel 378. And then be here Monday when John considers seven steps to spiritual stability. That's the title of the study that comes your way with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time. On the next Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-30 15:28:14 / 2022-12-30 15:38:22 / 10

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