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Adoring God for Our Eternal Inheritance, Part 2 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
September 28, 2023 4:00 am

Adoring God for Our Eternal Inheritance, Part 2 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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And this inheritance can never perish, never be stained, never fade, and is secured to us and we to it. And Peter says, I don't care what your physical circumstance, I don't care what your earthly condition, you ought to praise God for that. Welcome to Grace To You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. You've probably read news articles about how common it is for Americans to describe themselves as middle income, even though statistically their wealth would actually put them in a higher category. Of course, it doesn't really matter how much you have in the bank. The fact is, you could be broke and yet have riches beyond compare. I'm talking about the treasure that is yours if you're a Christian, the stunning riches available today and for eternity in heaven.

But specifically, what are those riches and how should they affect the way you live even now? Find out with John MacArthur as he continues his study, Our Great Salvation. Turn now to 1 Peter chapter 1 and follow along. Stephen Charnock writing in that great classic on the existence and attributes of God said, regeneration is a universal change of the whole man. It is as large in renewing us as sin was in defacing us. Regeneration.

What's the result of it? The result of it is we are born again to a living hope, a living hope. What does he mean by this? Well, a hope which is perpetually alive, a hope which has a quality of life.

You say, why does he say that? In contrast to the hope of men, which is always a dying or a dead hope. You realize, don't you, that all hope that men and women have in other than Jesus Christ is a dead or dying hope. The world knows only dying hopes. At best, all the hopes and dreams of men will die when they die if they haven't died long before.

That's why the Scripture says, if in this world only we have hope, we are of all men most what? Miserable. You're a miserable person if your only hope is in this world because it will all die.

They all die. Death cuts the nerve of all hope. But we have an undying hope. We have a living hope, a hope that never dies, a hope that comes to complete, total, final, glorious, eternal fulfillment. That is our hope. A hope, as Peter says it in 2 Peter 3.13, for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. That's our hope, an eternal hope. That is the hope that sustains us. That is the hope that God in His wonderful grace and through His marvelous promise will fulfill. And that's what causes Paul to say, for to me to live is Christ and to die is what? Is gain. How can it be gained to die?

How can that possibly be true? Because then your hope becomes reality. To die is gain, to gain the glorious sight of God, to gain the glorified presence of Jesus Christ, to gain the full and uninterrupted and unhindered fellowship and enjoyment of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, angels and saints. Death is gain because we gain a room in heaven's glorious splendor. And death is gain because we gain the unreserved and full fellowship and service that God designed us for. To die is gain because we gain the perfection of eternal holiness, eternal perfection, eternal righteousness, freedom from sin. To die is gain because we gain the royalty, the honor, the glory of heaven. We gain the pleasures that are at Thy right hand forevermore.

And so, William Garnall says that death...death is not something that a Christian fears. In fact, he says, hope is the saint's shroud wherein he wraps himself when he lays his body down to sleep in death. Hope...hope for the resurrection of the Spirit, hope for the resurrection of the body. And what has given us that hope back to verse 3? It's through the resurrection of Jesus Christ out from the dead. The means then of our receiving this inheritance is the new birth which gives us this living hope in the coming of that inheritance and that hope is built on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. John 14, 19, Jesus said, Because I live, you shall live also. You shall live also. Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life.

And what a wonderful thing. He then proved it by raising Lazarus from the dead to demonstrate that indeed he was. And he said, Whosoever believes in me shall never die. In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, the great resurrection chapter, in verse 17 it says, If Christ has not been raised, faith is worthless. You are still in your sins.

That's it. And even if you hoped in Christ in this life and that was it, you're damned. But Christ came through the grave and took the key and unlocked the door of the treasure house of hope. The resurrection of Christ then is the crown of His atoning work. He shows us that He in His death has canceled the sins of the world, satisfied the righteousness of God, conquered death, and thus our hope is a living hope.

He came out from among the dead to give to us the same incorruptible life that we might have a living hope, a hope that never dies. And all of that is ours through the new birth, through regeneration, the transforming power of God. So the inheritance then has as its source God, as its motive mercy, as its means new birth. Let's look at its nature.

This is so wonderful. Verse 4 says, We will through the new birth obtain the inheritance which is three things, imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. This causes us great joy to know that we have an inheritance which, first of all, is imperishable, imperishable. Aftartas means basically not corruptible, not subject to passing away, or not liable to decay or passing away. But beyond that, it has been used in secular language, secular Greek, to speak of a very interesting concept, and that is to refer to something that was unravaged by an invading army, unravaged by an invading army. That's an interesting thought. If you take that thought back to the Old Testament, you will remember that when God gave to Israel their inheritance, their inheritance was the land of Canaan.

Do you remember that? The land of Canaan was the inheritance of Israel. I will give you this land, the land that flows with milk and honey and so forth. They had then an earthly inheritance, but many, many, many times that earthly inheritance Canaan was plundered by invading armies, plundered by enemies, ravaged by enemies. And there may be a sense in which that word is enriched to us if you understand it in that kind of connection, that the Old Testament inheritance, the land of Canaan, an earthly inheritance given to Israel was plundered and ravaged and devastated and destroyed and leveled, but you have an inheritance that will never be ravaged, plundered, devastated.

It's imperishable. A fortune that can't be spent and so it can't be diminished. A treasure that can never be taken, stolen, robbed, plundered. You see, that's exactly what Jesus had in mind in Matthew 6 when He said, �Lay your treasure up in heaven where moth and rust doth not corrupt and thieves do not break through and steal. Put the treasure where it is safe, where it is imperishable.� Listen, there's no place on this world where you can do that.

You think you're covered. You've got your treasure over here and over there and you've got your goods and your bank accounts and your bonds and your stocks and certificates and whatever else you're storing it up. It's all perishable and if it happens to survive this world until you die, it'll all perish when you die because you won't be able to claim any of it. But the treasure that God has given us in the eternal inheritance of salvation yet to be revealed in the last time as our full and final glorious salvation is a treasure that will never be ravaged by an enemy, will never be touched by an invading army, will never be taken by a thief, will never be moth-eaten or rusted.

It can't be touched. Second word is undefiled. Amuntas means unstained, unpolluted, unstained with sin, evil, decay. Everything in this world is defiled. Everything in this world is stained. Everything in this world has been touched by sin. Everything in this world, do you get this, is defective, everything. Everything fails.

That's why the Bible says in Romans 8, the whole creation groans, waiting for its adoption, waiting for the glorious manifestation of the sons of God. The creation is stained. It is defiled. There is moral leprosy that has corrupted everything in this world.

I mean everything. We live in a polluted world. We breathe infested and infected air and we transmit it to everything we touch and the pollution isn't smog and the infection isn't AIDS. It's sin. It's sin. All earthly inheritance is defiled. But there is an inheritance that is not. All the best of this earth is dung, rubbish, manure to Paul, but not that treasure which is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, he says in Philippians 3, 7 to 9. That's an inheritance that is not stained and not defiled in any way.

How wonderful. Everything you have in this life is corrupted. Your new car will rust. Your new house will grow old and decay. Even the money you stash away somewhere will be the victim of a shifting economy.

Or your greatest treasure might be stolen from you. It all winds down. It all decays. It all corrodes.

It all corrupts. But not that which you place in heaven. Where's your focus? Where's your treasure? Are you storing it up there to add to the joy of that eternal salvation?

Or are you so foolish as to be pouring it into that which is defiled? The third term he uses is one word, unfading. The New American translates it, will not fade away. It's the word unfading.

It's basically used of flowers that decay, wither and die. And it suggests to us here that we have an inheritance that will never lose its supernatural beauty. It'll never fade.

It'll never grow old. You see, the kingdom of heaven has no decaying elements. It has no sin. Nothing perishes. Nothing is defiled. And nothing fades away. All the strokes of time can't touch it because it's in a timeless place.

All the taint of sin can't touch it because it's in a sinless place. Peter says that when the chief shepherd shall appear, we will receive a crown of glory that is unfading, unfading. Oh, how wonderful.

How wonderful. Because of our inheritance, which can never be corrupted and never be defiled and never fade away, Peter says we ought to rejoice. We ought to bless God.

We ought to adore God. The last point that Peter makes, and a rich one, is the security of our inheritance. You know, you'd say to yourself, well, it would be wonderful if we could enjoy this inheritance, if we could really rejoice and bless God, but I'm afraid we might lose it. How do we know we won't lose it? How do we know that somebody won't come and take it?

How do we know that it can't be plundered or stolen? Peter wants to answer that. He wants us to enjoy the inheritance without that fear. So in verse 4, at the end of the verse, he says, reserved in heaven for you.

Did you get that? Somebody might say, you know, somebody else might get this. What happens if under this persecution and under this hostility and under this rejection and under the difficulties of the time in which I'm living? What happens if I somehow fall into sin and I forfeit this and somebody else gets it? And so Peter says it is reserved in heaven for you.

Wonderful. The word reserved means to guard. It's guarded in heaven. And the idea of the...it's actually a perfect passive participle here...means the already existing inheritance is presently under guard in heaven, presently being and continually being guarded for you.

Wow. And where is it being guarded in heaven? Is that a safe place? That's the safest place there is. Safest place there is. That's the place where moth and rust does not corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal, Jesus said.

That's the safest place there is. Do you remember in Revelation chapter 21, verse 27, it says about heaven, nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying shall ever come into it but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Ain't nobody's going to go in there and take your treasure.

Not Satan, not demons, not anybody. In chapter 22, verse 14, blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city. That's heaven.

That's the New Jerusalem. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral and the murderers and the idolaters and those who love and practice lying. They're not up there. They're outside of that kingdom, that domain. Heaven will never know any invasion. Heaven will never know any spoiling of its treasure. Heaven will never know any laying waste, any defacing of its beauty. Heaven will never have armies tramping into it to fight against its inhabitants. Heaven will never experience some coming and taking away its glories as booty.

Not heaven. The treasure is secure. Beloved, may I tell you by the mercy of God, God our gracious God who saved you and me when we did not deserve it that He has granted to us by the new birth an eternal salvation which is reserved in heaven and cannot under any conditions ever be plundered. It's secure.

And as you serve the Lord Jesus Christ here and as you live a life of adoring praise and worship, you continue to add to the reality of that treasure and the joy of eternal heaven as you invest in eternity. The treasure is secure. And somebody's going to say, yeah, but I know the treasure is secure, but how secure am I? Maybe I can blow it. There are some, you know, who teach you you can lose your salvation and somebody else gets the whole thing.

Maybe I can lose it. So he says, it's reserved in heaven for you who are protected by the power of God. Not only is the treasure guarded, but you're protected.

Isn't that wonderful? You're protected. I'm protected?

Yeah. What am I protected by? The power of God, the omnipotence of God, the sovereign almighty power of God, continual military divine protection. You are in the process of being protected by the power of God, the text says. Satan can't storm heaven. Satan can't come up there and condemn you. It's God that's declared you righteous. How can Satan condemn you successfully, Romans 8 says? If God is for us, who can successfully be against us? If God, holy, infinitely righteous God says that all is well with us and we belong to Him, who is a higher court than that? He that has begun the good work will perform it till the day of Christ. He is able to keep you from stumbling and present you faultless, Jude 24 says. Supreme power, supreme omniscience, supreme omnipotence, supreme sovereignty not only keeps the treasure, but keeps the believer.

Wonderful thought. You don't have to fear. Beloved, we might as well rejoice.

You understand that? You might as well rejoice. Nobody can steal your treasure and nobody can disqualify you from receiving it. You say, don't I have any part in this at all? What if I just turn my back and curse God and walk away? Well, let's look what the verse says. Who are protected by the power of God through faith.

That's your part. God works that in you. Your continued faith in God and Christ is the evidence of God's keeping work. God didn't save you apart from faith and God doesn't keep you apart from faith. When God saved you, He energized that faith in you and as He keeps you, He energizes that faith. So we are kept by the power of God and the power of God works through our faith.

It's a wonderful thought. Faith is kindled, says Lenski, the Lutheran commentator. Faith is kindled and preserved and made strong by grace alone. Even the faith is by grace. Grace, he says, reaches into the heart and the soul and works spiritual effects.

Boy, that's wonderful. So while you have on the one hand God in His power shutting the lion's mouths and protecting Daniel, you have Daniel's faith at its peak. The two always go together.

They always go together. The protection of omnipotent power and the perseverance of faith. It isn't apart from faith, it's through faith. So that the true believer is not only protected by God but is given a sustaining, persevering faith. As I said before, you weren't saved apart from faith and you aren't kept apart from faith. You were saved through faith and you are kept through faith. That's why it's so ludicrous for people to say you can be a Christian even if you don't believe.

Not so. God doesn't protect you through sovereign act independent of anything that you do. He saves you through sovereign act by activating by grace your faith so that you continue to believe. Beloved, what has God given to us for which we should adore Him? Peter says He's given us an eternal inheritance.

He's given us a salvation ready to be revealed in the last season. What he means by that is we haven't yet entered into the fullness of it. We haven't yet experienced all there is of it.

That still waits. The revelation, the revelation obviously of Christ in all His glory that comes in the last time. We have a taste of it now but not the fullness. But God has granted it to us. It is now an inheritance. It is an inheritance which we possess in some measure but not yet in all its fullness, but which is guaranteed to us.

God is the source. Mercy was the motive and that's so wonderful because He gave it to us not because we deserved it so we don't have to keep deserving it to keep it. He gave it to us because we were so miserable He had compassion on us.

And no matter how miserable we'll be after that, we'll never be as miserable as we were before that. And so He will continue to have that same compassion and His mercy will be new every morning. And the means by which the inheritance came to us, the new birth which has given us this living hope based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ out from the dead. And this inheritance can never perish, never be stained, never fade and is secured to us and we to it. And Peter says, I don't care what your physical circumstance, I don't care what your earthly condition, you ought to praise God for that. You ought to bless God for that. May our hearts do that very thing. Let's pray together. Forgive us, Lord, for taking for granted that reality for which we will spend eternity in constant praise. Lord God, how this shows us the sinfulness of our own hearts.

Thank you for unmasking that. Give us a new compulsion to live in the heavenlies, to invest in eternity, to long to be with you and to endure anything in this life for the sufferings here are certainly not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be ours in that day when we see Christ face to face. In Jesus' name, amen.

You're listening to Grace to You with John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, the title of his current study, Our Great Salvation. Well, John, you made it clear today, a believer's inheritance is secure. Obviously, it's comforting to know that an inheritance is waiting and it can't be taken away. But John, I can imagine some people wishing that they knew more specifics about their heavenly inheritance, as well as what to expect at the moment of their death.

It's reasonable to wonder about that, right? Yeah, I think it was Woody Allen who said, I don't mind dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens.

You will be there when it happens. So yeah, you'll have an eyewitness account to give for all eternity on your death. I think that part of the lack of interest in heaven is the ignorance on heaven. I don't hear this much. I don't know when the last time I heard a preacher preach on heaven. There are a few books that have been around over the last years. Yeah, you have one.

Yeah, but you don't hear much about it. And look, this is where we're all headed. Look, I can go back to the days when Patricia and I were going to take a long-awaited vacation and we'd stack up brochures just to look at what the brochures said and photographs to fill our hearts with anticipation for wherever we're going to go. The Bible will do that for you with regard to heaven. If you don't have the enthusiasm that Paul had when he said far better to depart and be with Christ, then you don't understand heaven. So to help you with that, we have developed a booklet titled The Truth About Heaven.

It's free to anyone who would like a copy. No need to settle for fictional accounts of heaven supposedly from people who went there and came back. No need to be ignorant. The Bible says a lot more than you might think. If you're a Christian, you need to know what is being prepared for you in the presence of the Lord. The title of the book, again, The Truth About Heaven. It will take you all the way from the apocalyptic visions of heaven in the book of Ezekiel to those in the book of Revelation, giving you the composite clear picture, one that you probably have never had of the glorious realities of our future home. Along the way, this booklet dispels popular myths about heaven and clearly spells out the only way that you can get there through faith in the saving work of Christ. If you want a copy, just ask us.

This is a gift to you. The truth about heaven, let us know you want one. We'll send it to you today.

That's right. And friend, you shouldn't be ignorant about the glorious future for you if you're a believer. To be encouraged by what is waiting for you if you're in Christ, request your free copy of The Truth About Heaven when you contact us today. Call us at 855-GRACE, and again, the title of the booklet to ask for The Truth About Heaven.

We'll send it to you free of charge. Our number one more time, 855-GRACE, or you can request the booklet at our website, GTY.org. And in addition to requesting your booklet, be sure to download our two free apps. There's the Grace To You Sermons app and the Study Bible app. The Sermons app gives you access to all of John's teaching, that's 3500 messages wherever you go. You can also watch the Grace To You television broadcast or read the blog or much more. Then the Study Bible app gives you the full text of Scripture plus instant access to thousands of online resources related to whatever passage you're studying. And for a reasonable price, you can add the notes from the MacArthur Study Bible. These apps, again, the Study Bible app and the Sermons app are free to download.

Just go to GTY.org. Now for John MacArthur and our entire staff, I'm Phil Johnson. Be here tomorrow for a message that may make you shout, that is, shout for joy. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, on Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-28 07:30:37 / 2023-09-28 07:40:28 / 10

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