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The Love of God in Christ

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2020 12:01 am

The Love of God in Christ

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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February 22, 2020 12:01 am

Because Jesus is the Good Shepherd, not one of the sheep will perish for whom He laid down His life. Today, Steven Lawson shows how the gospel of John displays the love of God in Christ’s work of definite atonement.

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John 316 is perhaps the most movers in the Bible for God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Does that mean that everyone in the world will be saved is a question that is caused no little dispute in the body of Christ we discover the answer.

When we consider the three most important aspects of biblical interpretation context context and context. In this session we find ourselves in the Gospel of John and we want to dig down into the doctrines of grace. Last time we looked at the doctrines of total depravity and sovereign election we come now to that somewhat controversial doctrine definite atonement, sometimes called particular redemption in the Gospel of John, as you are very well aware the word world is used multiple times because Moss and John 316 for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life.

And so we see the word world used multiple times in the Gospel of John, and many immediately assume, well, that means every person in the entire world that Jesus came to to give himself or every person whether there are a believer or die an unbeliever will in order to untie that not a skilled interpreter must first understand the word world because Moss you need to know that it is used 10 different ways in the Gospel of John alone.

Only one of those 10 ways refers to every person in the human race. The other nine do not. And so it would be very nave of any interpreter to come to a passage in the Gospel of John and automatically assume his head.

It means every person in the human race. When that's not the predominant use in the Gospel of John. If I could take just a moment to walk us through the 10 uses of the word world in the Gospel of John.

I think it will be somewhat eye-opening.

The word world means. First, the entire universe.

John 110 says the world was made through him, and everything that is has been made. This includes that the birds and the bees in the mountains and the water and the trees and and everything that there is. We certainly don't want to argue for a case that Jesus laid down his life for Roxanne and Finnair.

A second use is the physical earth which is somewhat over lapping with what I just said but in John 13 verse one Jesus, knowing that his hour had come that he would depart out of this world. He would leave this world and go to the other world to return back to the father and it refers to just this particular planet within the entire universe.

The word world also refers to the world system that world system that is anti-God anti-Christ anti-truth is, Satan is the god of this age and the prince of this world and it refers to the this system that is overseen by Satan and is resistant against God and the world of entertainment. The world of media, the world of music, the world of education and the word is also used of humanity minus believers in other words, all unbelievers in John seven verse seven says the world cannot hate you, but it hates me well believers do not hate the Lord Jesus Christ. Only unbelievers hate and the Lord Jesus Christ and their world clearly issues, not of believers but of unbelievers.

The word is also used of just a large group. It says in John 12 verse 19 the whole world has gone after him a really did the Eskimos go after him did the Aztec Indians go after him as he answer is no. The whole world has gone after him, not just simply means a large group and its use in hyperbolic cents.

The word also refers to just the general public.

In John seven and verse for his brothers told him, show yourself to the world. Well, they were wanting him to go to Jerusalem to the religious hub of Israel and show himself well they were not wanting him to go to Hawaii and to China into Japan. No go show yourself to a large crowd to a large number of people at other times, it refers to the human realm just the realm of humanity as a collective group of the word also is used of Jews and Gentiles as the two different groups and I think that's the idea.

John 129 Jesus is the Lamb of God, it takes away the sin of the world, meaning not just Jews but also Gentiles. The word is used of all the non-elect in John 17 verse nine, Jesus said, I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom you have given me. So here's a clear distinction those whom you have given me which are the elect and the only other category is the world referring to those whom you have not given to me referring to the non-elect, at other times, it refers to the elect only and in for example John 633 for the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world that life is only given to believers, that life is only given to the elect that life is not given to unbelievers and so their world can only mean the world of believers the world of the elect. So as you can see there are many different ways that the word world is used in the gospel of John.

To add to the challenge for the interpreter. There is the word all AL L is sometimes it means all without exception, and other times it means all without distinction, all without exception means every single person or thing within a category.

John 13. All things came into being through him, and apart from him nothing has come into being. So that means all without exception, but it other times it means all without distinction, meaning all different categories of people choose Gentiles male-female educated uneducated those near those far away I give you good example. John 12 verse 32 and I if I am lifted up, will draw all men to myself by the death of Christ. Does he draw all men to himself that would be blatant universalism. The tell is empty and that no one escapes being drawn into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ that is interpreter's dilemma that must be acknowledged that there are times when all does not refer to every single person instead, it refers to all without distinction, all different categories or it could possibly be argued that all they are all men refer to all within a certain category, meaning all the elect who are all the believers but they are all does not mean all people.

The entire human race and because all are not brought to face in Jesus Christ. Now, at other times the word all is clearly used to refer to only all the elect not all humanity, but only all the elect. In John six and verse 45 is a clear example of this. It is written in the prophets, they shall all be taught of God.

Everyone who has heard and learned from the father comes to me to come to Christ is to believe in Jesus Christ. It is to be drawn to faith in Jesus Christ and here all they shall all be taught of God can only refer to all that the father has given to me that John 637. I just quoted all that the father gives me shall come to me there all refers only to all the elect. So I think you see, would be rather nave to go into any passage in the gospel of John and automatically assume that the word world and the word all always refer to the entire human race as we continue to study the gospel of John we see some qualifiers in John chapter 10 and in verse 11 is the account in which Jesus gives the fullest exposition of his own death.

This is Jesus on Jesus this is Jesus preaching Christ and him crucified and in John chapter 10 and verse 11 we have Jesus expounding his own death and what is interesting is he's not preaching to the choir here he is preaching to the Pharisees who in chapter 9.

The previous chapter have arisen in an uproar in Jesus is a bolded and courageous creature and he even preaches definite atonement to reprobates. He teaches definite atonement to those who are the non-elect so in John 10 and verse 11. He says I am the good shepherd. Now what is one of the marks of the good Shepherd will the good Shepherd when he sees danger coming chooses to lay down his life for the sheep.

And so Jesus says at the end of verse 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep five times in this passage, he will say lays down it's a metaphorical term referring to his intentional, purposeful, choosing to die in the place of and for the benefit of his own shape that we need understand that not everyone is one of the sheep. We talked about earlier in this series that in the community she fall there would be 10 different flocks are eight different blocks in one large community sheep follow in the good Shepherd would come and call his sheep by name and lead them out.

Those are his sheep.

But there would be other sheep of other shepherds that would be left behind.

But his sheep are very precious because they have been given to him by the father before he ever came into this world and what you need to know in verse 26 is not everyone is want to his sheep.

The whole world is not his flock, and so in verse 20 6G so you do not believe because you are not one of my sheep know why you're an unbeliever, and not one of my sheep because my sheep hear my voice, and they know me and I given to them eternal life, and they follow me and I will never perish, but you're not one of my sheep.

So in verse 11 when he says the good Shepherd lays down his life for whom three sheep for those in the father is given him for those who are the elect of God, and Jesus presses down on this and he repeats it in verse 14 he says I am the good shepherd and I know my own and my own know me and is speaks of the saving relationship. The intimate personal relationship that exists between Jesus and his sheep. Now he knows about every person that he only knows his sheep and on the last day. Jesus said in John seven and verse 23 depart from me, you who work iniquity.

I never knew you.

But he knows his sheep. The same word to refer to the intimate personal physical relationship between a husband and wife. In Genesis 4 verse one it says Adam knew his wife and she conceived and gave birth to a son when he says I know my own and my own know me. He is referring to this relationship that he has with his sheep and the order is important. Also, by the way, in verse 14. First, he knows us, then we know him first. He loves us, then we love him first. He calls us by name. Then we call upon his name. The order is very important in any says verse 16.

I have other sheep, which are not of this fold referring to Gentiles.

I must bring them and they will hear my voice, and they will become one flock with one shepherd. I love this in verse 16. I must they will, I must bring them and they will come. That is a statement of divine certainty, divine necessity and divine sovereignty. I must they will then in verse 17. For this reason, the father loves me, he continues his main focus on his death, his atoning death and at the end of verse 17.

Here's why.

The father loves him is because the father loves obedience in the father loves obedience in his own son any says because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again.

Verse 18 no one has taken it away from me. Jesus's life was not taken. He gave it his blood was not spilt it was poured out know it is taken away from me, but I lay it down on my own initiative.

I have authority to lay down and I have authority to take it up again.

This commandment I received from my father.

It was the father who commanded him to lay down his life for the sheep and Jesus came in obedience to the commandment of the father to die for his sheep to die for those whom the father had given to him to die for those whom he not only knew but for new and there is the meaning of the word for knowledge and has nothing to do with foresight. It has everything to do with those whom I previously love with distinguishing redeeming love Jesus in obedience to the father came to die for those in the father chose and gave to the son to be his chosen bride to be his own possession and it would have been disobedience on the part of Jesus if he had, and died for every member of Adams fallen race.

He was commanded to die for his sheep. The very important text that gives the clarification that we need concerning the extent of the atonement you tell me what his intent was and I will tell you what the extent was you tell me what his purpose was and his mission was incoming and I will tell you those for whom Christ died was commanded by the father to come in to die for his sheep. So that is a very important text now in John 12.

In verse 32 attacks that have already read but I want to read it. Just one more time because it is so critically important. John 12 verse 3210 die if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to my self in the next verse is very important, but he was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which he was to die when he's talking about.

If Jesus be lifted up is not talking at the preaching of the gospel. I always hear preachers.

I will live if we just lift up Jesus. He will draw all men to himself. Know this is talking about his death that he be lifted up upon Calvary's cross. They would be lifted up from the earth and be hanging suspended in midair as though between heaven and earth, between God and man, if he be lifted up. He will draw all men to himself. Obviously, this does not refer to all human beings. It does not refer to all who would ever live in Adams human race because those for whom he died, will be drawn in saving face to him to back into this.

He died for all those whom the father had given to him and who would be believers is one more text, which I want to take you to John 17 hand. Beginning in verse one lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said father, the hour has come. Glorify your son that the son may glorify use for this hour that Jesus came into this world.

It was for this moment that would be the ultimate purpose of his mission and coming into this world and now he clarifies what is the intent of this mission and this hour, and coming into the world. He says even as you gave him authority over know what's this all flesh meeting. Every member of Adams human race.

He has authority over everyone that to all whom you have given him. He may give eternal life, that the second group, a smaller concentric circle within the larger group. Please note the two different groups in John 17 two there's all flesh. And then there is all those whom you have given me the flesh refers to all mankind, but all whom you have given me refers to the elect. All the elect. Jesus has come, that he might give life to those whom the father has given to him. We repeat that he will come to give life to those whom the father has given to him. Then we read in verse nine. I asked on their behalf. Referring to those whom you have given me. I do not ask on behalf of the world. Shocking. I am not making intercession for a group outside of those whom you have given me notice he says, but of those whom you have given me, for they are yours. They belong to the father because the father chose him in eternity past in the father then gave them to the sun and the sun has come into this world, not for the world.

But for those whom the father has given to him and then in verse 19 he says, for their sake I sanctify myself, is their sake. It's obvious if refers to all those in the father is given him his for their sake and their sake alone that I sanctify myself, meaning set myself apart to the cross set myself apart to this death upon Calvary's cross for their sake I sanctify myself, that they themselves may be sanctified in truth it's a very tight circle between the father and the son, and those whom the father chose. He has given to the sun and the sun has now been commanded by the father to come into this world and to lay down his life for this very same group so in obedience. Jesus went to the cross and laid down his life for his sheep. None for whom he died, will ever perish, one upon the good Shepherd. He would be a bad Shepherd if he died for some sheep that they would perish in the flames of hell. All who are in hell are there because they did not have Christ as their shepherd. All who have Christ as their shepherd never. This is the efficacy of the death of Christ on the cross is Dr. Steven Morrison helping us understand the doctrine of definite atonement you may have heard it referred to as limited atonement or particular redemption listening to Renewing Your Mind. But we well thank you for being with us every Saturday we returned to Dr. Lawson series. It's titled foundations of grace. New Testament week by week. Hope to see how God's sovereignty and salvation is woven throughout all of the New Testament books you're welcome to contact us today and request this complete series. It's 24 lectures on two DVDs. This call should give a donation of any amount to look at her ministries and we will send it your way. Art number is 800-435-4343 but you could also make a request to give your gift online when you go to Renewing Your Mind.org definite atonement can be a sticking point for many believers. Maybe it is for you. If so, we want you to know that we get her ministries has produced many resources on this topic to help you sort through important doctrine which we believe will give you a better appreciation for the redemptive work the Christ accomplished on the cross table talk magazine is one of those resources. Subscribers can search of a large archive of articles and devotionals@tabletalkmagazine.com. If you're not a current subscriber, you'll find all the information you need to get on the list enter website. It did its table talk.com. Dr. Lawson calls the gospel of John towering testimony to God's sovereign grace to go more than a few verses without seeing a reference to God's sovereignty and salvation.

To hear more about that next Saturday we hope you'll join us here for Renewing Your Mind


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