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The Kingdom of Light Amidst the Kingdom of Darkness B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
April 19, 2024 4:00 am

The Kingdom of Light Amidst the Kingdom of Darkness B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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April 19, 2024 4:00 am

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God is our King. Psalm 47, 7, God is the King of all the earth. Psalm 74, 12, God is my King. Psalm 45, 6, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. Psalm 10, 16, The Lord is King forever and ever. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. As a Christian, you expect to be mocked for believing that God created the world in six literal days, and that Christ rose from the dead. But did you ever think that anyone would be ridiculed for believing that only women can give birth and that there are only two genders? And who knows what foundational truths will be turned upside down next? Thankfully, God is still in control of everything that happens, and a day is coming when the world will believe the truth about God and confess His rightful authority and power. And today, John MacArthur looks at the return of Christ and what the church is called to do while we await His coming.

It's part of John's continuing study called The World versus the Kingdom of God, and here's John now with a lesson. We're now in an evil kingdom. The kingdom we're in is so evil that God's wrath has been unleashed.

We've been living in it for a number of decades now, from the sexual revolution through the homosexual revolution to the reprobate mind where you can't even think straight and reality and fantasy are mingled. The evil kingdom holds its power by one thing, lies. The kingdom of darkness is a kingdom of lies. Satan is the liar king. He's the liar king. He has a massive supernatural force of demons against whom we wrestle.

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

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

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

In fact, laws are to be made and enforced to normalize perversion. This leads me to draw your attention to 2 Corinthians, chapter 10. 2 Corinthians 10, 3. Though we walk in the flesh, and it doesn't mean sin, but humanity. Though we're human, we do not war according to the flesh.

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

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

That's magnificent language, isn't it? We turn people from lies to the truth. That's why we're here.

So do you understand what a threat we are? We exist in the world for one purpose, and that is to expose the lies and to bring the truth. And when lies dominate the kingdom at every point, and when they are basically the foundation of the society's laws, we are not tolerable. But we are the kingdom, and the kingdom is here because the King is here. God is our King. Psalm 47, 7, God is the King of all the earth. Psalm 74, 12, God is my King. Psalm 45, 6, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.

A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. Psalm 10, 16, the Lord is King forever and ever. Jeremiah 10, 10, but the Lord is the true God. He is the living God and the everlasting King.

The nations cannot survive His indignation. Isaiah 33, 22 says, the Lord is our Judge. The Lord is our Lawgiver. The Lord is our King. He will save us. He's a King that doesn't need investigating, except to find the truth about Him on the pages of Scripture. He is holy, holy, holy.

In Deuteronomy chapter 10, I want to read just a portion of that chapter, starting maybe at verse 12. Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you? But to fear the Lord your God, or to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep Yahweh's commandments and His statutes, which I'm commanding you today for your good. Behold, to Yahweh your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.

Yet on your fathers did Yahweh set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples as it is this day. So circumcise your heart and stiffen your neck no longer, for Yahweh your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, unlike politicians and doesn't take a bribe. So, wouldn't democracy fix all this? No.

No. When God created man, I want you to follow this. When God created man, I mean a functioning democracy, we had that. Adam was created to be a king, and God's ultimate plan is for a king to reign forever, right? When men fell, when Adam fell, his crown was taken away and Satan became king.

We now live, according to Acts 26, in the dominion of Satan. But God promised that there would come a greater king who would crush Satan's head. But until he came, and even after he came, all human history is the story of the usurper, the evil king Satan, ruling the world through other evil kings, until the coming of the king of righteousness. Even the best of kings is evil.

They're all fakes and frauds in some sense. They're all part of the kingdom of darkness because the system is in the darkness. We're grateful when there are rulers that are Christians, but the reality is that Satan rules the world. The whole world lies in his power, and so it's just a series of evil kingdoms.

They can be influenced by Christianity, but eventually they fall into evil, as we've seen. All these kings are previews of antichrists, all of them. And John says, even now there are many antichrists.

There's an illustration of this, two illustrations of this. The first one comes in the book of Daniel in chapter 2, verse, well, we'll look just at verse 37. This is the dream that the pagan king has, Nebuchadnezzar, he had these dreams. "'You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength, and the glory.'" Really? He was dreaming that about himself.

That's a problem. By chapter 4, he's spending seven years out in the field like a beast until he learns that the true God reigns. "'You may think you reign as some king, but only God reigns.'" The New Testament counterpart to that is in the 12th chapter of Acts. One of the most serious warnings to evil rulers is the account of Herod, who is impressed with himself as Nebuchadnezzar was. And so, in verse 20 of Acts 12, we are introduced to this event. On an appointed day, verse 21, Herod put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum, or the judgment seat, and began delivering an address to the people. The people kept crying out, "'The voice of a god, and not of a man!' And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he didn't give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died."

You know what I love about this? The next verse, let the Word of God continue to grow and to be multiplied. The king will die, the Word will live. No matter what the king does, he will die and the Word will live. When we come to the New Testament, we come to the introduction of the perfect King, our Lord Jesus Christ. Let me sum it up the way Mark sums it up in Mark chapter 1, verse 15.

Jesus came, verse 14, into Galilee preaching the gospel of God and saying, this is so important, the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come. The kingdom has come. The invisible kingdom, the spiritual kingdom. Repent and believe in the gospel. So how do you get out of the kingdom of darkness that will be destroyed and is being destroyed into the kingdom of light? What do you do to be delivered from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son?

You must be regenerate, that's a work from heaven. You must repent, that's a work that the Spirit does to convict you of sin and righteousness and judgment. You must recognize your spiritual bankruptcy and poverty, and that there is no righteousness which can at all satisfy God's requirement for a kingdom citizen.

You must understand that you are utterly dependent. You have nothing to offer God. You come like a child with no accomplishments. But summing it all up, as Mark does, you have to believe the gospel. You have to believe the gospel. The kingdom is here. The King is here.

He lives in His people, Christ in you, the hope of glory. But the day is coming when He will come to establish His kingdom on earth. Listen to Revelation 11, 15, the seventh angel sounded and there were voices, loud voices in heaven saying, the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.

Stop right there. Right now, the kingdom of the world is not His, right? It's ruled by wicked kings.

It's under the rule of Satan. But the day is coming when the kingdom of the world, not just the invisible kingdom, but the visible kingdom, the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever. And verse 18 says, there'll be wrath when He comes, and He will destroy those who rejected Him. In the 19th chapter of Revelation, verse 11, the scene is even more dramatic. I saw heaven open and behold a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and what?

True. And in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He's clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword so that with it He may strike down the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron, and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh, He has a name written, say it with me, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and every eye will see Him, will they not? Right now the King is invisible.

The true King is here. He lives in His people, lives in you and me. Now not everybody who claims to be in the kingdom is in the kingdom.

I hear very wicked people say they're religious, they're spiritual, they go to a certain church. Listen to the words of our Lord in Matthew 7. Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven.

Really? Not everyone who makes laws that blaspheme God should expect to be going to heaven. Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven. But he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name in Your name, cast out demons, Your name, perform many miracles? That's very religious. I'll declare to them, I never knew you, depart from Me. Why did He not know them?

Because they were practicing what? Yes, the character of their lives that is the acid test of whether they are kingdom citizens or not. We know the kingdom is mixed. Matthew 13 says the wheat and tares go together, only the angels can separate.

So how do we respond? If you're a non-Christian, let me say this to you, repent and believe in the gospel. The King is here, the kingdom is here. Or Matthew 6, 33, if you will, seek His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. All things, the things that you will ever need in time and eternity. What is the reward of coming into the kingdom?

Well, the truth will make you free. Luke 22, 29, and 30, and just as My Father granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in the kingdom. You get to be at the head table in the eternal kingdom, sit forever with Christ.

Oh, not just at the table. Revelation 3, 21, and sit down with Me on My throne as I sat on My Father's throne. So if you are non-Christian, the kingdom is here, the King is here, repent and believe the gospel.

Now what about a Christian? Well, you could take a cue from the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul in his calling from God showed us essentially what we all should be doing. He says to King Agrippa, giving his testimony in Acts 26, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision. The Lord gave me a vision, a call, and I was obedient.

So what was that obedience? I kept declaring both to those of Damascus first and also at Jerusalem, and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles. From where I started in Damascus to the whole Gentile world, I declared the message. And what was the message? That they should repent and turn to God.

So you're a believer. What's your responsibility? Same thing, go into all the world and preach the gospel. There's one other thing I want you to do, and I want to show it to you from 1 and 2 Timothy, 1 Timothy chapter 2.

This is very straightforward now. First of all then, priority, I urge that in treaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men. Are you ready for this? For kings and for all who are in authority. So what are you supposed to be doing for the evil king and the evil empire and all his evil agents?

What's your responsibility? Proclaim the truth and do what? Pray. What are you praying for? You're praying for their salvation.

Verse 4, God, it is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior to do that because God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of what? The truth. So we have to proclaim the truth. We can't hide the hedge. We can't compromise. We can't hide it.

We can't soften it. We proclaim the truth, and we pray for the salvation of those in leadership. From the present on down, 2 Timothy 2, 26, I'm sorry, 22 to 26, plea youthful lusts, pursue righteousness with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Be a part of the family of God, the fellowship of those who are calling on the Lord from a pure heart. Refuse foolish and ignorant speculations. Don't get caught up in stupid arguments like evangelicalism is right now.

Refuse foolish and ignorant speculations. They just produce quarrels. The Lord's slave must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach patient when wronged with gentleness, correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. So there we are again. We're going after people who are caught in the snare of the devil. That requires obedience to the commission, prayer, and the truth, because we're leading them to the truth. We're bringing every thought captive to Christ.

Let's pray. Think of the words of Isaac Watts, who wrote the hymn that touches on this text in Revelation, "'Now to the Lord that makes us know the wonders of His dying love, be humble honors paid below and strains of nobler praise above. It was He that cleansed our foulest sins and washed us in His richest blood, to see that makes us priests and kings and brings us rebels near to God. To Jesus our atoning priest, to Jesus our superior King, be everlasting power confessed, and every tongue His glory sung. Behold on flying clouds He comes, and every eye shall see Him move, though with our sins we pierced Him once, then He displays His pardoning love. The unbelieving world shall wail while we rejoice to see the day. Come Lord Jesus, nor let Thy promise fail, nor let Thy chariots long delay.'" And so come Lord Jesus, amen.

This is Grace to You with John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church, chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, and John's current series here on Grace to You is titled The World vs. the Kingdom of God. Well, John, our world, the kingdom of darkness, may be accelerating away from God at a faster and faster pace, but we know that God's purposes are being accomplished, and His purposes and plans cannot be thwarted. In the end, God and all who follow Him will triumph, right? The Bible says that evil men will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Things aren't going to get better, they're going to get worse, and that is the promise of Scripture.

But the kingdom also advances. Jesus said, I'll build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. So you have society getting worse, and at the same time, God calling out His people and making His kingdom grow and expand to His own glory, according to His purpose. And what that tells us is, in the end, believers triumph.

In fact, the truth triumphs. Has there ever been a time when hostility for biblical truth has been more blatant? Society at large rejects Scripture as never before. We're living in a Romans 1 world. And yet as bleak as the situation is, and as much as we all want Christ to return, putting an end to the spiritual rebellion, it's important to remember this. Every Christian in this era of church history is right where God wants him to be.

We've been chosen to work for the kingdom in this dark age. And whether it's at this time or any time in the church era, the source of the believer's strength is the same that is biblical truth. To commemorate Grace T's 55th anniversary, our editorial team has put together a new volume titled Truth Triumphs. Each chapter features a sermon that gives clear biblical instruction on how God's people are to live and serve in this present age.

For that matter in every age. Fourteen chapters in all, including Calling Rulers to Repent, Living in a Perverse World, We Must Obey God Rather Than Men, and The Promise of Peace in a Worried World. Two hundred and ninety pages, hardcover, reasonably priced, available right now from Grace to You.

Truth triumphs. Thanks, John, and friend, John's brand new book shows you that no matter how hopeless things may seem, God's truth will triumph. To order this new book called Truth Triumphs, a collection of some of John's most encouraging messages, contact us today. You can call us weekdays from 730 to 4 o'clock Pacific time at 800-55-GRACE, or you can go to our website anytime, GTY.org.

Truth triumphs costs $19 and shipping is free. To order a copy for yourself and maybe one or two extra copies for friends, call 800-55-GRACE or go to our website, GTY.org. And while you're online, make sure you download the Study Bible app. It's a free app that gives you the full text of Scripture in the English Standard, King James, and New American Standard versions, along with instant access to thousands of online resources, including our blog and devotionals and John's entire sermon archive, 3,600 messages from more than 55 years of John MacArthur's pulpit ministry. The app, again it's called simply the Study Bible, is free to download.

Just go to GTY.org. Now for John MacArthur and the entire Grace to You staff, I'm Phil Johnson. Remember to watch Grace to You television this Sunday on DirecTV channel 378, or you can watch anytime at GTY.org, and then be here next week when John looks at how you can help your church make a real difference in this chaotic, upside-down world. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Monday's Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-19 05:22:17 / 2024-04-19 05:31:42 / 9

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