Your problem is not what's on the outside of you that you're going to take inside of you. Your problem is the total opposite. The problem is inside of you. The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.
That's the issue. One of the most fundamental questions that we need to answer is, who are we? The world says that we're basically good people that just need to believe in ourselves, and if we set our heart and our mind on something, we can accomplish anything, even change our own identities. But is that what the Bible teaches? Hi, I'm Nathan W. Bingham, and thank you for joining us today for Renewing Your Mind. The Bible's description of men and women is far worse than the world's understanding.
But we need to know the bad news in order to appreciate the good news. Today, Ligonier teaching fellow Stephen Lawson surveys the Gospel of Matthew and the words of Jesus to help us understand who we are in our natural condition. If you have your Bible, I want to invite you to turn to the Gospel of Matthew. And what I want us to look at is Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but in these parallel passages, they are basically from the Gospel of Matthew.
And what we're going to be looking at is the greatest expositor who ever lived, the greatest teacher who ever lived. And I do not mean Matthew. I mean the one of whom Matthew recorded his words, the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Jesus was the greatest teacher of the doctrines of grace who ever lived. He not only is the sum and the substance of the doctrines of grace, but he is the greatest expounder of the doctrines of grace as well. So we want to begin to look in the Gospel of Matthew and see how Jesus addressed all five doctrines of grace. It will build and increase in the Gospel of John. So with the Gospel of Matthew, and the synoptic gospels are known as Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we will begin to wade out into the water, but when we come to the Gospel of John, we will be fully submerged in the doctrines of grace as taught by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But if all we had was just the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we would be totally convinced of the doctrines of grace.
It would be a slam dunk presentation. The discussion would be fully established just from the lips of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We wouldn't even need Romans, we wouldn't need Ephesians, we wouldn't need the other New Testament epistles.
And I think it is only right, because Christ is the head of the church, that He Himself should directly and personally speak to this very important issue. So as we come to the Gospel of Matthew, we want to go through it five times. We want to look at total depravity, unconditional election, definite atonement, irresistible grace, and preserving grace or the perseverance of the saints. So we're going to have to go through it five times. Now, it will not be until we come to the Gospel of John that we will have at our disposal a wealth of passages to work with.
But let's begin now. I want to talk about total depravity and how our Lord addressed the doctrine of total depravity. And in Matthew chapter 5 and verse 3, the very first words that come from the lips of our Lord is the greatest sermon on the mount, the greatest sermon ever preached in the history of the world by the greatest preacher who ever lived, Jesus Christ our Lord. The very first sentence that comes out of His mouth is a statement of total depravity. So in Matthew chapter 5 and verse 3, blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Now let me be quick to say this. Everyone is poor in spirit. It's just there are only a few who will recognize it. Even those who are unconverted, even those who are reprobates, even those who are the non-elect are poor in spirit.
They simply are too haughty and too arrogant and too prideful to ever admit it or to ever see it in themselves. Jesus is announcing the blessing of God and to be blessed is the opposite of being cursed. You're either blessed or you're cursed. And to be blessed is to be in a state of grace. To be blessed is to be in the kingdom of heaven.
That's what He says here. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs. And the idea, theirs and theirs alone is the kingdom of heaven.
No one else is in the kingdom of heaven except those who declare personal spiritual bankruptcy. That's what it is to be poor in spirit. It's not to be poor in pocketbook. It's not to be poor in bank account. It's to be poor in spirit, small s, meaning your entire inner person. And there are many different words that are used in the New Testament for poor.
This is the lowest of the low. It's a Greek word, tokos, which means to be a beggar, that you have absolutely nothing. And in this day and time, a beggar would sit in the corner and have nothing in his pockets, have nothing in his hands, and would just simply hold out an empty hand and be at the total mercy of the goodness of someone else who would come walking by to put something into the beggar's hand.
The beggar had no ability to perform any work or to do anything. Otherwise, he would be doing it and wouldn't be without anything. Many times it would be a leper. Many times it would be a blind person. Many times it would be someone who was paralyzed or lame, and there was absolutely nothing that they could do to earn anything.
And they would be too ashamed to even make eye contact, to even look up. And so they would even turn their head away and just extend an empty hand and be at the total mercy of the one passing by out of their goodness to take from their possessions and just place something in their hand. That is the word that Jesus is using here. Blessed are the poor in spirit, the one who recognizes in my hand no price I bring, simply to thy cross I cling. The one who recognizes that they have absolutely no spiritual capital whatsoever. They have nothing to contribute to their salvation.
It's not even as though someone else buys the meal, okay, I'll do the tip. No, it's you have nothing, nothing to contribute whatsoever. This is the first thing Jesus said describes the one who inherits the kingdom of heaven, that you have come to this point of recognition. It's a statement of total depravity. It's a statement of spiritual bankruptcy, that you have nothing to bring to God. Then in Matthew chapter 5 and in verse 21, Jesus expands this out a bit more. And he says to the Pharisees especially who were a part of this crowd, you have heard that the ancients were told, you shall not commit murder and whoever commits murder shall be guilty before the court. But I say to you, and as Jesus says this now, he gives the true interpretation of this commandment.
This is not a new teaching that he will give. This is the interpretation that should have been given all along, that it begins with the heart. It's not just the outward action, it begins with the heart. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court.
And what Jesus is stressing here is that it begins with the heart. And when there is anger in the heart, you are a murderer before God. You are one who hates your brother or your sister.
You are one who hates your neighbor or even an enemy. He then goes on to say that this person is guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. And then, a few verses later, you have heard that it was said you should not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her, illicit wrong desires, fantasizing in the mind, has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Taking the Ten Commandments begins with the heart, long before the action takes place.
Whether or not the action ever takes place, it's a matter of the heart and what foulness, what depravity, what defilement resides within the heart. And all of this contributes to people being self-deceived about where they stand with God. In Matthew chapter 7 and verse 21, it's also found in Luke 6 verse 46, Jesus said, Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven. Meaning, there are many people who are self-deceived about where they stand with God. There are many people who have prayed a prayer.
There are many people who have been involved in personal ministry. There are many people who have done many wondrous good deeds, and when they die, they are expecting to wake up in heaven and instead will wake up in the flames of hell below, never to escape. It's a part of total depravity that you are so convoluted about even your own relationship with God, that you are so mistaken, sin in an unconverted heart creates self-deception. That's why Jesus says, Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord.
You can say, Lord, Lord, until the cows come home. You can get on your knees and pray and simply be parroting an insincere prayer, but that one will not enter the kingdom of heaven. It's a bogus confession. It is a false testimony. It is a dead testimony that has no validity or any reality whatsoever. It speaks to the depths of total depravity that someone can just go through the religious game of pretending to be a Christian when in reality they are not. He says the acid test is, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Obedience to the will of God from the heart is the acid test of the one who is truly in the kingdom of heaven, at least according to Jesus. And then he goes on to say, Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name cast out demons and in your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you.
Depart from me, you who work iniquity. Now here's what I understand is taking place here. They are so self-deceived about their relationship with God that they are self-deceived even about their own ministry. They actually thought they were casting out demons when in reality it was nothing but a charade. They actually thought that they were performing many wondrous works.
They were not. And they actually thought that they were prophesying when in reality they were not. They were self-deceived even about their own ministry because they were self-deceived about their own relationship with God. It speaks to the blindness of those who are in the grip of total depravity. It speaks to the darkness within one's heart and soul when they are unconverted. In Matthew chapter 9 and verse 12, we see the fatal illness of sin in the life of the one who is unconverted.
In Matthew 9 and verse 12, but when Jesus heard this, He said, it is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. And when He says sick, He is describing the spiritual state and condition of the one who is unconverted. This too is a part of total depravity. Now we know other analogies like Ephesians 2 verse 1 speaks of those who are dead in trespasses and sin. So we know it's far worse than just being sick. But in this case, sick describes the fatal illness of sin, the venom of sin is in the soul and it inflicts a dying state.
This is a part of total depravity. The Pharisees thought they were well and just fine with God, and Jesus is saying here, no, no, no, you're sick, you're just sick. In Matthew chapter 12 verse 34 and 35, which is also mentioned in Luke 6, 43 to 45, Jesus makes quite a strong statement to the Pharisees. And by the way, as He addresses the Pharisees, the same seeds of sin are in every person who is outside of Christ. So the Pharisees are just the tip of the iceberg.
What is true of the Pharisees is true of any other person because the sin of Adam is passed down to the entire human race, not just to the Pharisees. And so in Matthew chapter 12 verse 34, Jesus said, you brood of vipers, now there's some preaching for you, you brood of vipers, how can you being evil speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good, but the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. There's an old saying, what's down in the well comes up in the bucket, and what is down in the heart comes out of the mouth. The mouth is just the window into the soul. The mouth is just the window into the heart. And Jesus is saying the reason that there are evil things coming out of your mouth is because your heart is filthy, rotten, sick.
It's a mark of total depravity. And Jesus did not say to the Pharisees, I'm okay, you're okay. Jesus did not say to the Pharisees, well this is just a matter of semantics, you're actually kind of okay people. No he said, you're just a bunch of vipers, you're unconverted, and there is evil inside of you. There is evil lurking inside of you. There is evil lurking inside every unconverted heart and soul.
It gets worse. In Matthew chapter 15 and beginning in verse 10, Matthew 15 and verse 10, Jesus called the crowd to him and he said to them, so he is saying this to the whole crowd, okay. Hear and understand. In other words, he who has ears to hear, let him hear. It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man. In other words, your problem is not what's on the outside of you that you're going to take inside of you, he's going to say, no your problem is the total opposite.
It's what's already on the inside of you that will be coming out of you when you open your mouth or carry out your actions. The problem is inside of you. The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. That's the issue. And that's what Jesus is addressing here.
So look at it again. It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth. This defiles the man. And then he goes on to say, but the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart.
Ah, there's the problem. Jeremiah would say, the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can understand it? He says, but the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and those defile the man. It's not what comes into you, it's what's coming out of you. It's what's already in you. It's in your character. It's in your being. It's in your very personage. He says, for out of the heart come, now what on earth could be inside that heart?
This is quite a laundry list. Social thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. Jesus said this to the whole crowd because what is true of one is true of the whole. These are the things which defile the man, to eat with unwashed hands, that does not defile the man. What defiles the man and the woman, the boy and the girl, is what was inherited at the moment of conception. It is the sin nature.
That's what defiles the man. In Matthew chapter 19, beginning in verse 23 is the account of the rich young ruler, and after Jesus has addressed him, the disciples say, you know, who can be saved? And Jesus said, truly I say to you it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. So we would ask, okay, so how hard is it for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven? Jesus said, again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
You know how hard that is? That's impossible. It's impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. It's impossible for a poor man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is only by the grace of God that anyone can enter into the kingdom of heaven. And he goes on to say, when the disciples heard this, they were astonished and said, who then can be saved? They understood how narrow the narrow gate was. And looking at them, Jesus said, this is impossible.
It's impossible for rich men, impossible for a poor man, impossible for someone in middle class society, but with God all things are possible. In Matthew 23 and verse 25, Jesus digs down a little bit deeper with the Pharisees and he says, woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish so that the outside of it may become clean also. Can you imagine if I came over to your house tonight and you said, come on over, we're going to have a meal tonight. So I sit down at your table and you come bringing out your very best china. You know, you haven't used it since you were married and you bring it out of the china closet and it's going to be a special evening and you set it down right in front of me and it just looks so beautiful.
It's this, you know, wedge wood pattern or whatever. It's just beautiful. And you're in the kitchen getting ready to bring the food out and I look inside the cup and there is just a chunk of dried meat that's just stuck to the inside and then there is something green. I don't even want to know what that is. I mean, it looks like monkey brains or something that's just stuck inside of there. And I realize this foul odor is coming out of the inside of the cup.
It doesn't matter how attractive the outside is, I mean, there is no way that I can eat or drink out of this. That's the point Jesus is making. I mean, you look so religious on the outside.
You've got this down to an art form. But on the inside of your heart and on the inside of your soul, there is that which is odious and loathsome on the inside. That's the doctrine of total depravity. And He goes on to say in Matthew 23 and verse 27, and yes, it actually gets worse, He says, "'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you are like whitewashed tombs.'"
Now, whitewashed tombs, they look brand new. They're so clean, they are so beautiful in appearance on the outside, which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside, meaning inside the tomb, they are full of dead men's bones. There's foul corruption on the inside and all uncleanness, referring to moral impurity.
And now, great preaching gets to the you. So listen to the next verse, Jesus says, "'So you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.'" That's the result of total depravity. That's what total depravity looks like. Total depravity is extraordinary at putting up a facade, a religious facade, and giving the appearance of, at times, even being right with God, but on the inside, there is wickedness. On the inside, there is an unconverted heart.
There is dead men's bones. On the inside, this is the doctrine of total depravity. And this coming from the lips of the great physician who alone can make the accurate diagnosis of the human heart. Well, Jesus will have more to say as we address the other doctrines of grace, but this is Jesus on total depravity from the gospel of Matthew. Jesus didn't mince His words, and He was very clear about man's fallen condition, which is why we need a Savior.
And we too need to be clear in our understanding of man, sin, and salvation. What we heard today, this message from Stephen Lawson, is just one from a series surveying the New Testament to help us understand the glorious gospel and the work of Christ in redeeming a people for Himself. So if you'd like to continue studying this with Dr. Lawson, I encourage you to give your gift today, because for your donation of any amount, we'll send you the complete New Testament volume of Foundations of Grace. You can give your gift at renewingyourmind.org, or by calling us at 800-435-4343. When you give your gift today at renewingyourmind.org, we'll send you this three-DVD set, as well as give you digital access to the study guide, which will help you if you use this series with your church's small group, or perhaps use it as part of your homeschool curriculum. So give your gift today at renewingyourmind.org. Today we heard the bad news. Well, tomorrow Stephen Lawson will stay in Matthew's gospel, but he'll consider the good news of God's grace towards sinners. So join us tomorrow here on Renewing Your Mind. Amen. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-17 08:45:36 / 2023-05-17 08:54:50 / 9