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Deliverance: From Error to the Truth, Part 1 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2023 3:00 am

Deliverance: From Error to the Truth, Part 1 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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February 22, 2023 3:00 am

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Being a true Christian is being delivered and it's being delivered from several very important realities.

The first one is true Christians have been delivered from error to truth...from error to truth. Think about your parents, children, even your aunts, uncles, and cousins. No doubt, you have at least a few physical characteristics or personality traits in common with your relatives—attributes that make it clear you are related. Well, can the same be said for those in the Christian family? Are there obvious features that all believers share?

What should you see? What identifies a person as a Christian? Those are challenging and timely questions that John MacArthur's addressing in his current study on Grace To You. It's a look at what it means to be delivered by God.

So follow along now as John begins today's lesson. One of the great words in the Bible is the word deliverance, though it is not commonly used in the Christian vocabulary. There are a number of categories in which we have to understand the nature of deliverance. Being a true Christian is being delivered and it's being delivered from several very important realities.

The first one is the one I want to talk to you about, is true Christians have been delivered from error to truth...from error to truth. You know, there's this the elite academia, you know, the liberals who assault the Bible with their darkened minds have invented a new hermeneutic and it's given a pretty inviting title. It's called The Hermeneutics of Humility. Hermeneutic is an English word that comes from erminuo in the Greek which means to interpret or explain. And hermeneutics is basically a word that refers to explaining the Bible. And there are certain hermeneutical principles, certain principles that help us understand the Bible, the language and the grammar and all of that, the history behind it, the context in which it's sitting. And so we use all those hermeneutics to interpret the Scripture. Well the new hermeneutic is called The Hermeneutic of Humility and this is what it is. Oh, I am too humble to ever think that my interpretation of Scripture is right. And I am too humble to ever think that your interpretation could be wrong.

Isn't that magnanimous? But that is a damning approach. There is a right and a wrong interpretation to Scripture.

But that's the climate, the hermeneutics of humility, it's really the hermeneutics of darkness. Christianity is true and exclusively true. And anything contrary to it is false. And the content of what we believe is the issue.

I know this doesn't fly in the relativistic values of modern culture, I know that. I know pluralism is a big deal and diversity is the issue of today and we have enshrined pluralism and tolerance on a higher throne than truth, haven't we? You know, we don't even care if the candidates battling out for political office lie. Truth doesn't matter to this society anymore. It doesn't matter.

We're so used to lying leaders, we'd feel uncomfortable if they told us the truth and we probably wouldn't believe them anyway. So there are people who think it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you call it Christianity. Just label it Christianity and that's all that's required.

This isn't new, by the way. The church has fought for its own purity for a long time. It's just new to evangelicalism.

Modern evangelicals are eager to downplay doctrine. They say doctrine divides and they want to tolerate everything. And you know that it's so clear in 2 Corinthians 6, what fellowship has light with darkness? What concord has Christ with Satan? How can two walk together except they be agreed?

Come out from among them and be separate and don't touch that unclean lie. The people who have been delivered, true Christians, agree that there is a body of doctrine that is non-negotiable, okay? We might not agree on the mode of baptism. We might not agree on the timing of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ or the Rapture of the church. We might not agree on all of the ways in which God acts in history with regard to the church and Israel. But I'll tell you one thing, there is a body of doctrine that is absolutely non-negotiable that constitutes the necessary faith for salvation. It is the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

There are real fundamentals of the faith that must be believed. And when they're not believed, we are to break fellowship because light and darkness can't walk together, they can't enter in a common ministry together. Nothing is more serious in Scripture than that a boundary exists between the true and the false and that Satan wants to confuse us as to that boundary. That's why Satan and all of his demons appear as angels of what?

Light. They are darkness, they are all darkness, they are nothing but darkness, they are in the domain of darkness and they want to appear as angels of light, to blur the line. When you blur the line, then Satan sews his people in the church, strips the church of its power, strips the church of the consistency of its testimony because then the world looks at people who are in the church and sees that obviously Christ hasn't transformed them. Even the world can recognize what the church sometimes is unwilling to see and it undercuts our testimony. John the apostle in 1 John 4, 1, Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they're from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

They're everywhere, they're ubiquitous, they're like ants, they're all over the place. That's Satan's strategy. Come out and build the fortresses of lying speculations, lying ideologies, lying belief systems and make the people prisoners in those fortresses and keep them there until they die so they'll go to hell and populate Satan's hell. So you can't just accept everything. This is the strategy of Satan.

We've got to be discerning. And 2 John really says it, 2 John verses 9, 10, and 11, anyone who goes too far and doesn't abide in the teaching of Christ, that is the true doctrine of Christ, the true teaching of Christ in the gospel. If he doesn't, he does not have God.

If a person doesn't have the truth, then he doesn't have God. If anyone comes to you and doesn't bring this truth, don't receive him into your house. Don't put him on your platform. Don't make him a part of your meeting, your conference, your crusade, or whatever. Don't put him on your TV program. Don't receive him into your house. Don't give him a greeting, that's some kind of affirming welcome. If you do that, you are participating in his evil deed. I don't know how you can say it more clearly. If anybody comes along and doesn't have the truth about Jesus Christ, don't let him in your house, don't affirm him, and don't greet him.

If you do, you are a co-conspirator. Now these verses command us to keep spiritually separated from those who corrupt the essential truths of the gospel. This is a very stern language, 2 John, very stern. There's a severe curse there on people who preach a corrupted gospel, or people who believe darkness and propagate it as if it was light.

But there's also a stern and severe warning against those of us who blithely let those people in. False Christianity accepted by true Christians is one of the most heinous sins imaginable, according to that text. You cannot justify any spiritual union with anyone whose belief system and teaching corrupts the New Testament gospel. Now that leads to the final question. What is the body of truth which delivers? What is the body of truth that must be believed? Does the Bible clearly identify specific truths as essential?

The answer is yes, loudly, firmly, yes. And the strongest words of condemnation are reserved for those who corrupt those essential truths. There are truths in the Bible that if you don't believe, you'll go to hell. The gospel of salvation must be believed and embraced and loved and so it, first of all, must be understood. What is essential?

First and fundamental, I'll give you several things. You must believe that all divine truth has its origin in Scripture. Those who have been delivered believe that God's revelation is contained in Scripture, not tradition, not modern visions, not prophecies, not intuition, not any other source of authority. Those that have been delivered believe that the Scripture is able to make you wise unto salvation, that the Scripture is to make you adequate, equipped for every good work. We believe that the Word of God contains all that is fundamental, all that is necessary for salvation.

That's where it starts. So you start with the conviction about the Scripture, that the Spirit of God, I believe, works in the heart of an individual. That is one of the great marvels of the work of the Holy Spirit.

In fact, I think it's a sure test of a true Christian how they react to the Scripture. Do they desire it like the psalmist? Do they love it?

Do they hunger for it? See, unregenerate, undelivered people, they don't have that kind of response to the Bible. They don't have any moral ability to respond to the Bible. They don't have any faculty to love it. And they don't have any capacity to obey it.

In fact, they don't have any interest in it. The natural man understandeth not the things of God, to him they are foolishness, 1 Corinthians 2 verse 14. You see, undelivered people don't respond to the Bible. Jesus said in John 8, because I tell you the truth, you do not believe Me. Isn't that an interesting statement? If I told you a lie, you'd believe it because you're tuned in to lies.

You're in the domain of darkness. You understand lying and deception. It's the truth you can't compute. Sometimes people say to me, you know, I'd really like to go into the university system and teach the truth.

You can't do that. I suppose maybe here and there there's an occasion where you can sort of let it leak in, but you step into that environment and teach the truth and nobody's going to get it. Nobody's going to understand it.

They're going to resent it, resist it, hate it. Because I tell you the truth, you do not believe Me. And then he goes on to say, he who is of God hears God's words, therefore you don't hear because you're not of God. If you're not of God, you're in the dark, you're in error, you can't even understand the truth. On the other hand, that's why in 1 Thessalonians 2 13 Paul said to the Christians at Thessalonica, for this reason we thank God without ceasing because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the Word of men but as it is in truth the Word of God.

You see, when regeneration takes place, when the life is changed, the Word comes through and you hear it and you understand it and you embrace it and you love it and you long to obey it. 1 John 4 verses 5 and 6, they are of the world, so they speak as those of the world. And the world hears them, we are of God. He who knows God hears us. He who is not of God does not hear us. Then he says, by this we know the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of error. You know how I know who is a true Christian? They hear the Word, they understand the Word, they grasp the Word, they embrace it, they love it, they obey it.

True Christian responds to the Word. I get people and write me letters and vilify me for what I say. I just say, why would I expect someone in the darkness to understand the light? The lady writes me, she's into Zen, she wants her karma smoothed out.

Of course she can't understand me. I speak the words of God, she doesn't understand those. But what is amazing is you have Christianity or evangelicalism sort of sucking in these people who don't commit to the truth, don't understand the truth, don't know the truth. Many of them get put in positions of leadership where they are provided platforms to teach elements of their error that are rebranded with the term Christianity. So it starts with believing Scripture. be a true Christian, you must believe that the Word of God is authoritative and that it speaks the truth of God, sola scriptura. To be a true Christian, you must believe that all that pertains to salvation comes from the Scriptures. Secondly, we not only believe that the Bible is the source of these truths, but secondly, that the truths fundamental to salvation are clearly set forth in the Bible. That is, we're not talking about some secret hidden things, some mystery, some cryptic message somehow written backwards, upside down, or across at angles. Jesus said He didn't...He didn't reveal these things to the wise and prudent, but He hid them from the wise and prudent, Matthew records, and He revealed them to babes.

It's not riddles, it's not cryptic, it's not secret code, it's not backwards writing, it's not something that is hard to understand. The testimony of the Lord is sure and it makes even the simplest wise. So there are very clearly revealed truths in Scripture, some of them with proof texts, some of them just the composite of Scripture, and they are clearly set forth. Anything pertaining to salvation is crystal clear in Scripture.

We may not understand what it means to be baptized for the dead in 1 Corinthians, that's an obscure thing. We may not understand all of the nuances of passages in the Old Testament because we can't reconstruct all of the historical background, but anything pertaining to salvation is crystal clear in the Scripture. So one, we believe the Scripture is the source of salvation truth. Two, we believe it's clear. Three, the doctrines that must be believed are those upon which eternal life depends. So we go to the Scripture...we go to the Scripture and find what's clear and what pertains to eternal life.

And what is it? You must believe, according to Hebrews 11, you must if you come to God believe that He is. What does that mean? You must believe in the God who is God. That means you have to believe in the Trinity. You have to believe in the God who became flesh in Jesus Christ, the incarnate God. So you have to believe that Jesus was God in human flesh, fully human, fully divine, that He lived a sinless life, that He died on the cross, a substitutionary death for sinners, that He arose again physically and bodily the third day, ascended to heaven, sent the Holy Spirit now intercedes for us and will come back in glory.

That's the drive train of salvation truth, that Jesus is the true God revealed incarnate in human flesh, that He is God of very God, a member of the Trinity, that He is to be worshiped and honored and loved and adored equally with God the Father and God the Spirit. You must believe in His substitutionary death on the cross as a perfect sacrifice with no sin in His own life. He was not a sinner and He didn't go to hell to suffer for His sins.

He was a perfect spotless Lamb. He died there though He didn't deserve to die in our place as a perfect substitute. He atoned for our sins which are imputed to Him that His righteous life might be imputed to us. He was raised from the dead to conquer death for us. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, Romans 10, 9, and believe in your heart, God raised Him from the dead, you'll be what?

Saved. You believe that He is God, a member of the Trinity incarnate, virgin born. That's the only way God could come into this world, that He lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death and rose from the dead. If you believe that, you're saved. If you believe it to the point where you assent to it, embrace it and love the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 16, 22 says, if any doesn't love the Lord Jesus, let him be devoted to destruction, anathema. You must also believe that salvation is by faith alone, that justification is by faith. Romans 4, 4 and 5, now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor but what is due. But to the one who doesn't work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.

Great statement. You don't get saved by works, not of works that any man should boast. You're saved by grace through faith. And what happens, this great statement, you believe in Him who justifies the ungodly. It isn't that He justifies the good and justifies the godly who have the good works, He justifies the ungodly. He justifies the wicked and the evil and the sinner who believes in Him, who comes and says, I have no good of my own, I have no godliness of my own and casts himself on the mercy of a God who justifies the ungodly. That is one of the great phrases in the entire New Testament, Romans 4, 5, He justifies the ungodly.

That takes works out of it. You don't have to be good to get justified. You just have to recognize you're bad and cry out to God. An error in understanding justification is the very reason that Israel was set aside, the very reason Israel was apostate for not knowing about God's righteousness. They went about to establish their own righteousness and were not subject to the righteousness of God, Romans 10 3. You must believe in the doctrine of sin. You must believe that man is a sinner. If we say we have no sin, we make God what?

A liar and His truth is not in us. If you say you're not a sinner, you're not a Christian because if you say you're not a sinner, then God's Word isn't in you. 1 John 1 8, verse 10 as well, if you say you haven't sinned, you make Him a liar, His Word isn't in you. Verse 8 says, if you say you have no sin, you deceive yourself, His truth isn't in you. So we affirm our sinfulness and we affirm our ungodliness, and then we affirm that we can't do anything to be saved, and we affirm that Jesus Christ paid the price for our salvation, and we desperately cry out as the ungodly to have God put the righteousness of Christ to our account.

You see, that's the body of truth that must be believed. And if you believe somehow that all you have to do is say, I believe in Jesus, and you're going to go to heaven, and you don't know the Jesus you're talking about, who He is, what He did, and by what accomplishment on the cross He purchased your salvation, and you don't embrace that as it's revealed in Scripture, you don't have to understand the fullness of it, but you have to understand the clarity of it. You may not understand all the implications of the doctrine of justification, but you must understand this, you're a sinner, you're unworthy, you can't do anything, He did everything. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, every spirit that doesn't confess Jesus is not from God, it's the spirit of Antichrist.

If you're wrong about who Jesus is and why He came, then you're a spirit of Antichrist. See, really everything that we need to believe to be saved is summed up in Christ, right? We see in Him the Trinity because He's a member of the Trinity incarnate in Him in flesh. We see in Him the perfect righteous standard of God lived out.

We see in Him the substitutionary death on the cross, the power of resurrection over death. Everything is summed up in Christ. That's why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3, for you can't lay any other foundation than the foundation which is Jesus Christ. So, we believe in the Bible. True Christians believe in the Word of God.

You know what happens when you're delivered? God plants in you a love for His truth. We also believe in the great doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone. We believe in Jehovah Tzidkenu in Hebrew, the Lord is our righteousness because we have none of our own.

We believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. We believe in His perfect deity. We believe in His sinless humanity. We believe in His atoning death. We believe in His resurrection. We believe in the truth of every word He spoke and the reality of every miracle He did. And then go back to 2 John 9, anybody who doesn't abide in these teachings about Christ does not have God. Anybody who does abide in these has both the Father and the Son. Isn't that great? Well, summing it up, there are non-negotiable truths, the absolute authority of Scripture, sola scriptura, justification by faith alone, sola fide, in Christ alone the perfect God-man, sola Christus. The Reformers had it all right.

Those were the issues. And true Christians, beloved, have been delivered out of error into this truth. And whoever does believe a lie is not of God. And here's the church, back to where we started, blurring the line between the true Christian and the non-Christian, we have no business receiving into the communion of the church, the fellowship of the church, forging spiritual bonds with people who are in the darkness and are guilty. By doing that, we become guilty of a heinous sin. We become partakers of their evil deeds. It's like the arrogant Corinthians, you know, who had embraced a man who was living in the grossest kind of sin, having a sexual relationship with his father's wife. And Paul said, I'm going to have to turn that man over to Satan. If it pollutes the church for somebody to be having a sexual relationship inside the church, what does it do to the church to embrace those who bring in lies?

False teachers never wear a sign declaring themselves as false teachers. And they always come, according to 2 Corinthians 11, 13, disguised as an angel of what? Well, they always tell you they have the truth. We have to keep our church pure and we have to keep people alerted to the reality of what it is to be a true Christian. Nothing is more desperately needed in the church right now than to restore biblical discernment and to restore it at the level it starts at, and that is who is a Christian and who is not. The first realm of deliverance then is to be delivered from error to truth.

Let's pray. Lord, Your Word is light and it has shown brightly on us. And we remember the words of Jeremiah who said, I didn't send these prophets, but they ran. I didn't speak to them, but they prophesied. And Lord, the world is so full of those You didn't send and those to whom You never gave a message. And they are disguised as angels of light and the church is so gullible for this. Father, we pray that You'll protect Your people and that You'll give them a passion for the light, for the truth. And help us to know the true Christians because they're the ones who've come out of the lies, out of the deceptions, out of the darkness into the clear, shining, brilliant, bright light of truth. Thank You for that deliverance. And You did it. We could never have done it because in our darkness and in our deadness, we couldn't see the light.

We couldn't perceive the light. We were blind to it, deaf to it, dead to it, but You gave us life and light. We thank You for that deliverance. Amen. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur.

Thanks for being with us. John's current study is taking a closer look at what you are saved from and what you are saved to when you become a Christian. It's titled Delivered by God. John, you started today by talking about what's called the hermeneutics of humility, the idea that it's arrogant to claim to understand the Bible because scripture is not necessarily clear and so we should not be dogmatic in what we teach. Talk about that notion and explain why you find that a troubling idea. Yeah, that's the trend in a group of so-called churches that really have taken the position that the Bible is not clear and they want to make that noble. So they say we're too humble to say we know what the Bible means. I remember being on an airplane one time flying from Chicago to Los Angeles and a well-known pastor of a liberal church saw me, walked up to me, and made a very unkind statement to me and then said, you think you know what the Bible means and you don't have the guts, he said, to admit that we don't really know what it means at all. Wow, pretty shocking introduction to this guy.

Had the opportunity on the flight to talk a little more with him about that. It is to say that the Bible is not clear and I'm too humble to be dogmatic. Why would people come to that conclusion? Is the Bible not clear? The Bible is crystal clear. Why would they come to such a conclusion then? Because they don't want it to be clear. Because if it's clear then it exposes their error, bad theology, and more importantly their sin.

They want to take a soft position on adultery, homosexuality, abortion, you name it, and conveniently they say, well the Bible is not clear. I answered all of this and much more in a very poignant bestseller book called The Truth War. The Truth War is a book you need to have, you need to read, Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception. 240 pages available from Grace to You. This will change the way you view the church. It'll give you discernment to understand what's going on in your church. Get a copy of The Truth War.

You can order it today. That's right, this book will help you recognize attacks on the truth that come from within the church and show you how to respond to those attacks. The Truth War is timely strategic reading for every believer showing you both from scripture and from church history what happens when Christians refuse to distinguish truth from error. To order a copy of The Truth War, contact us today. Go to our website,, to place your order, or you can call our toll-free number anytime. That's 800-55-GRACE, and the number translates to 800-55-47223.

The Truth War costs $11 and shipping is free. Again, to pick up a copy for yourself or a couple to give away, go to or call us at 800-55-GRACE. And at our website, take advantage of a popular free Bible study tool called GraceStream. It's a unique way to listen to John MacArthur's teaching straight through the New Testament. It starts in Matthew, it goes through Revelation, and then starts all over again. You just hop in wherever John's teaching at the moment, and you will hear sermon after sermon. It gets you into God's Word fast and holds your attention book after book. Listen to GraceStream now at And now for John MacArthur. I'm Phil Johnson, encouraging you to take some time with your family and watch Grace To You television. It airs Sunday on DirecTV channel 378, or check your local listings. And be here tomorrow when John looks again at what it means to be delivered by God with another half hour of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-22 04:57:13 / 2023-02-22 05:08:26 / 11

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