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January 14, 2022 3:00 am
So in this brief series that we have been looking at the matter of who is a Christian. By examining this issue of deliverance, and in particular that element of deliverance which relates to the change in our person real change that takes place that it's the right thing to do and you know it's probably true that many false ideas about God and salvation are promoted in the sincere belief that they are right. The thing is, sincerity doesn't save anyone. John MacArthur looks at that principle today as he answers the critical question what you need to believe about God to be a Christian. John's current series is helping you recognize the telltale indicators of genuine salvation core beliefs that anyone who follows Christ will have the title of his study delivered by God and with a lesson. Now here's John, let me say and in a general way. Salvation is a great subject. The subject of God's work in the lives of sinners is the great theme of redemptive history and it is the great theme Scripture is not to be understood anyway you want to understand it is to be understood the way God has revealed. There are so many rich elements to the great truth of salvation, but they are divided. I would send it to categories. There are those non-experiential realities and salvation.
And then there are those experiential ones. There are those realities with regard to salvation that occur on the divine level things like justification, redemption, ransom adoption reconciliation are ways in which God changes his relationship to us by the application of the work of Christ on our behalf through grace. They are not experiential.
They are not manifest as such and accompanying those are some manifest experiential realities and salvation.
They change not our status they change, not just what God thinks about us or how God views us, but they change us, not just legally but actually they make a difference in our lives. They are manifest. They change our nature. They change the way we think they change are will they change our desire they change our speech. They change our behavior of these spiritual realities in that second category are what make up the understanding of the great truth of deliverance and to understand the doctrine of deliverance in its fullness. We need to understand the dramatic change that is manifest in the life of a delivered soul. This is the most critical matter in the life of the church. There isn't anything more important in the life of the church than being able to distinguish between who is true Christian and who is a false one.
So when this brief series that we have been looking at the matter of who is a Christian. By examining this issue of deliverance, and in particular that element of deliverance which relates to the change in our person. The real change that takes place in a believer. We should be able to look at someone and see manifest characteristics of deliverance go back with me to John chapter 8 and I will remind you of a very notable and important chapter John chapter 8, by the way, this matter of who is a Christian and who is not was a very significant and important truth in John's mind and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit plays a great amount of attention to it in his gospel as well as in his epistle, but in John chapter 8 verse 32, says, you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. Back to verse 31 if you abide in my word, which is synonymous with the truth, then you are truly disciples of mine a true, they take Sally those a true disciple of Christ abides in the word because it is the truth that has set him free from error. It is truth that is at the very heart of deliverance. The truth is the dividing line. Nobody is a child of God who doesn't believe the truth about Jesus Christ. That is the initial definitive line to draw between a believer and a nonbeliever is not a matter of sincerity and sincerity. It is a matter of truth was taken a step further, go to John's epistle.
First John chapter 4 in verse five and first John four. John speaking of unbelievers says there from the world. Therefore they speak as from the world and the world listens to them in the world has its own frequency and all of the antenna are set to that frequency in the world understands itself, and it listens to itself.
We verse six are from God. He who knows God listens to us, that's not the end of it. Go to verse seven and we take it to another step. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God wanted doesn't love doesn't know God drop down to chapter 5, verse one. Whoever believes in Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the father loves the child born of him loves the one born of him now follow the thought here. John is saying if you're born of God. First of all you're going to listen to the apostles you going to believe what the apostles have written because the spirit of truth is going to convince you of that and you're going to embrace apostolic teaching and apostolic truth and one step further, you are going to love those that are born of God that would of course include Jesus Christ. But it goes beyond that you're going to love the brethren. You're going to love because you've been taught to love by God. And because you know God you're going to love those who also know God is that manifest love of the brother he's talked about it a number of times back in verse 14 of chapter 3 we know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. And he doesn't love abides in death. I look at it.
First of all, if you've been delivered from error to truth you now believe Jesus Christ to be that truth and you believe in the true Christ is true work in the true salvation he provides. You also believe the truth written in Scripture by the apostles and you also not only embrace Christ and embrace apostolic doctrine.
Listen, you embrace the people of God, you embrace those who love God, you, that's where your home is that's where your heart is. That's where you belong in the spirit of God as wonderfully placed you into the body of Christ, so that you have love for, and a devotion to the church, the true people of God.
People always ask me. You know, can you and you be a true Christian and being a false religion.
While I suppose it's possible to be a true Christian and attend events or services. There, but if you're in a false system. You can't be a true Christian. If you believe what they believe, and you certainly can't be a true Christian. If that's the fellowship that you cherish. If that's the fellowship you seek.
If you're comfortable and that fellowship. The people who love Christ and love the truth in Christ.
The people who love sound doctrine also love the people who love Christ and love sound or that's their people. That's the work of the spirit to build the body together not look at second John Katze again everything I want to say but I think you're starting to get the picture here in second John verse nine. This is very important as a perspective and I made a few comments but I need to make a few more anyone who goes too far. Who actually goes beyond is the idea gets outside the fence. There's a certain fence around the truth is a certain body of truth, there is a there's a certain commandment from God, the true commandment, that is the revelation of God, the truth about Jesus Christ.
Anybody who goes beyond that and doesn't abide in the teaching of Christ, the doesn't mean in the teaching that Christ taught what the teaching about Christ okay anybody who gets outside the truth about Christ that is taught in Scripture. Anybody who gets outside of that doesn't have God was at straight and have got one because it was anything the Holy Spirit does is that the Holy Spirit leads us into all what truth and you will have the truth about Christ. That's the work of the Holy Spirit of God.
So if you don't abide in the true teaching about Christ. If you have a skewed view of Christ.
You don't have God if you don't believe that Jesus is God. If you don't believe Jesus is the second member of the Trinity, virgin born, lived a perfect sinless life if you don't believe the facts about Jesus death and resurrection and exaltation that you don't believe the truth about Christ. So the question is are you being taught by the Spirit of truth or you being taught by the spirit of error. John makes this very understandable for us now. He says if anyone doesn't abide verse nine in the teaching about Jesus Christ, the true biblical teaching about Jesus Christ, which was of course laid out in the New Testament by the apostles and those associated with them, who wrote under the inspiration of the spirit. If he doesn't believe doesn't believe that that he does not have God on the other hand, the one who abides a love that word. This is in the fringe thing us in somebody marginal. This is somebody who settled down in the true teaching he has both the father and the son. You have the fullness of God in Christ when you settle down to the truth and then comes a warning in verse 10. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching that is something that's not biblical something. It's not true about Christ something that's beyond outside the fence outside the pale of orthodoxy. If somebody comes and brings you this teaching, do not receive them into your house. What that means is don't strike up any association whatsoever without individual and don't put yourself in a position to accommodate that person as they go on their way. You know, traveling teachers and traveling speakers would seek to stay with people and and by accepting those people and they would be affirming their ministry. This is a separation issue here.
Don't let them in your house and I'll give them a greeting. It doesn't mean don't say hi to them. It means don't wish him well you certainly don't invite them in and give them a platform and say, aren't they wonderful. I don't have a problem with them just want to embrace him and love him and you know I'm sure they'll all end up in heaven with us if you do receive them and wish them well.
Verse 11 says then you have participated in their evil deeds you have aided and abetted the spirit of error.
You have aided and abetted the deception. So when a person is delivered, they are delivered from error to truth. That means that the spirit of God has gone inside and the natural man to understand not the things of God.
Their foolishness to him because her spiritual eternity. Spiritually dead. The natural man who is dead in trespasses and sin and hopeless without God in the world. The natural man is literally transformed by the Holy Spirit to awaken to truth and all of a sudden the person believes the Scripture and the spirit of God quickens the heart of that they believe the Scripture to be true and they believe that the Scripture gives the way of salvation.
They believe the Scriptures able to make them wise under salvation. This is essential to saving truth. You have to believe the Scripture you have to believe the gospel recorded in Scripture. Then when the spirit of truth is working to deliver a person from darkness to light, the person believes themselves to be a help. Less sinner you believe that you are helpless, lost, hopeless, boom dam, and there's a certain distress about that but you are under a divine person judgment and then the person believes that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh, a member of the Trinity, the eternal Trinity, the Godhead, who came into the world, virgin born, becoming the eternal God, man, believing that Christ is come in the flesh. He believes that Jesus lived a sinless, perfect holy life never committed a sin never was guilty of any sin ever. The Jesus spoke only the true words of God, the Jesus had all of the attributes of God. The Jesus did miracles and demonstrated his creative power over the material world that he did miracles with regard to demons and demonstrated his tremendous authority and omnipotence over the spiritual world of demons as well as holy angels, which he could've called legions of heady wanted.
Now if you believe then you believe what the Spirit prompts you to believe that Jesus died on the cross as an innocent substitute as a as a spotless lamb, one who never did any evil at all, but only please God. He died there as a substitute in your place, and that he rose again from the dead the third day he ascended to heaven where God seated him at his right hand that he sent the Holy Spirit to establish the church and indwell it that he is now interceding for us. And someday will return to establish his eternal kingdom and glory. We also believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone that justification is by faith that we have no righteousness of our own but God's perfect righteousness is imputed to us by faith in Christ, so that the Lord Jesus is our righteousness us or we believe those who come to understand that believe that embrace that singularly commit to that and love the Lord Jesus Christ willingly, eagerly calling him Lord, they submit and obey to obey him.
Those are the delivered. Those are the delivered and we are the ones who obey him. In chapter 4 verse 15 he writes, whoever confesses that Jesus is the son of God, God abides in him you have to confess the fullness of who Jesus is, what he did and how it is that salvation in him is applied to us back in chapter 3 verse 23. This is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ, and love one another. So what is a true Christian. He believes in the truth about Christ which Christ himself spoke in which the apostles as well. Wrote about, and he also loves those who love Christ.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit to exalt the word of God and in that the son of God being delivered from darkness to light is synonymous with being delivered from the domain of Satan into the kingdom of God's beloved son, light, truth, synonymous with Christ, if you're in the light in the truth. If you have had the mighty work of the spirit of truth within you. You believe the truth you love the truth and you love the people of the truth. Close with some comments from the masterful work by Jonathan Edwards called the distinguishing marks of the work of the Spirit of God. Edwards. It was a monumental mind had a grasp on what it meant to be a true believer and he understood the matter of truth. You wrote with the spirit of error. In order to deceive men produce in them a high opinion of the infallible rule that is Scripture and incline him to think highly of it and be very familiar with it. Question obviously implies a no answer.
So wherever you go.
The people are questioning the Bible manipulating the Bible. Adding to the Bible subtracting from the Bible. That's not the spirit of truth. That's the spirit of error. Further, Edwards writes with the Prince of darkness, to promote his kingdom of darkness lead men to the sun. The devil has always shown a deadly spite and hatred toward that holy book, the Bible, he has done all in his power to extinguish that light and draw men away from it. He knows it to be that light by which his kingdom of darkness will be overthrown, he has for many ages experienced its power to defeat his purposes, and baffle his design is his constant plague rights. Edwards is the main weapon that Michael uses in his war with him is the sword of the spirit that pierces him and conquers him is that sharp sword, that proceeds out of the mouth of him who sat on the horse with which he smites his enemies. Every text is a dark to torment the old serpent. He has felt the stinging smart thousands of times. Therefore, he is engaged against the Bible and hates every word in it. We may be sure that he never will attempt to raise person's esteem of it, or their affections for it. If you see people who are committed only to the word of God solely to the word of God holy to the word of God. That's the work of the spirit of when they take from the word add to the word elevate themselves higher than the word they say will lose this revelation.
That revelation this counsel that edict. This document others. This vision, this revelation this intuition that elevates itself above the word whenever they say there is light somewhere else.
They are demonstrating the spirit of dark and then Edwards wrote the true spirit confirms people in things that are agreeable to sound doctrine spirit who works thus operates is the spirit of truth. He represents things as they truly are. He brings men to the light for whatever makes truth manifest is light.
As the apostle Paul observes, but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is the light that makes everything visible and then says Edwards. The devils kingdom is a kingdom of darkness. His kingdom is upheld and promoted only by darkness and error. Satan has always power and dominion by darkness. Thus, we read of the power of darkness and demons are called the rulers of the darkness of this world. Whatever spirit removes our darkness, and brings us to the light and deceives us the spirit of convinces us of the truth does us this great kindness.
If I am brought to a site of truth in them, made aware of things as they really are.
My duty is immediately to thank God for it. I like this without standing first to inquire.
By what means I have such a benefit."
You know why you should stand in inquire because there isn't any answer to the question as to why you have such a benefit other than God's grace and Edwards then closes this little section by saying when this when the operation any spiritual operation raises people's esteem of Jesus.
It is sure sign that is from the spirit of God when they get it right about Jesus, who is why came what he did and how we trust him for salvation. That's of God, the absolute truth about Jesus is the only thing the Holy Spirit ever promotes understand so anything other than that is from the spirit of error.
True believers then believe all the claims of Jesus. They believe all the writings of the apostles.
They love the truth in Jesus. They love the truth in Scripture and they love the people who love the truth because the truth is our domain. The light is where we live people who are content to sit in a system of darkness they don't know the truth or they don't love the truth and they don't love the people of the truth. That's the first area of deliverance. Pray with me. What can we say father is Jonathan Edwards put it, we can't just stand around and try to figure out how it was that we came to the knowledge of the truth. All we can do is fall on her face, and thank you thank you that once we were darkness. And now we are light but once we knew only error.
Now we know truth. The truth about Christ. The truth of apostolic doctrine and we love the people of the truth because we are's subjects of the King of truth, who dwell in the kingdom of light all how glorious it is father. If there are people here who are in error. People who are in association with their MIDI understand the serious serious plight being captive to the devil being children of the devil is a liar from the beginning and the deceiver sends out lies and deceptions through all of his team will bring us to the truth. Truth of Scripture as made clear to our hearts by the spirit of truth we see we glorify the Holy Spirit in his mighty work of transforming us of delivering us from darkness to light, that is his true work and we praise him for and we thank you and that's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary showing you what it means to be delivered by God. That's the title of his current study on grace to you and John as you been talking about the work of Christ in a believer's life. I imagine there are listeners out there who wonder about how God took hold of your life and how you came to Christ, so let me ask you a question that I rarely ask you just give us your testimony. Well, I was raised in the pastor's home. My mom and dad love the Lord. There's no question about that. My dad had integrity in the ministry. He was the he was a godly, good and faithful pastor of my whole life I never saw anything in his life, but consistency what he preached is what he lived in the same with my mom and so I saw a model of Christianity. I would add to that I was I was loved. I was, I was deeply loved. I was loved. I suppose as well as any parent could love a kid and so I felt like everything that I received from my parents in terms of modeling Christianity and loving me the way they did validated the work of the gospel in their lives. So I never resisted the gospel. I never fought against that I never had a time of unbelief, but there was a time when I needed to come personally to Christ. And so, remember I was about nine or 10 and I had I had done something that was wrong and I knew it was wrong with some other kids send it just struck me that with all the influence with all the love that I'd received from my my parents and how much I love them. Something was wrong in my life that I would do what I did and so I I went to my dad, at one point and I said II really need to be saved, and I see the sin in my life and the at that point, I believe the Lord save me nine or 10 something like that and I felt like my teenage years I was being blessed by the Lord. I was experiencing the Lord in my life. I love the preaching of the word, but there were lots of battles in my life because my faith was still weak and because of there were temptations that I was struggling with later on after my freshman year in the University had a car accident that almost took my life and that was that catapulted me to a level of commitment to Christ that the was really life-changing.
II realize that II will I was in control of my life and I need to make sure that I was living it to his glory. So I don't have a testimony about some dramatic change, but that's okay I don't I don't need that kind of testimony the Lord protect me from that because I often think that in the ministry that I'm in now.
I wouldn't want to have some kind of pastor could be dragged up and discredited me.
So the Lord was in some ways seven faithfully protecting me for what he would want me to do, and that protection even extends into my life now because people can't say well I knew him when this and this happened in this the Lord was very protective in my life right that's encouraging. I love the way God drew you to himself. So thank you John for your testimony and speaking of how God draws people to himself friend.
If God has used grace to you to bring you into his kingdom. Would you let us know tell us your story when you contact us today right to grace to you, PO Box 4000, panorama city, CA 91412 or email us at email@example.com again if John's Bible teaching help point you to Christ, let us know.
It's a great encouragement for us. Our address again. Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 in our email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, let me take some time to highlight one of our free Bible study called the study Bible.
It's a free app that gives you the text of Scripture in the new American Standard king James and English standard version along with instant access to thousands of free study aids that includes blog articles, devotionals, and more than 3500 John sermons and for a nominal price. You can add the notes from our flagship resource MacArthur study Bible to download the app again. It's called the study Bible. Visit our website TTY.org now for John MacArthur.
I'm Phil Johnson be watching for grace to you television this Sunday and then join us Monday when John looks at how you both enjoy the blessings the world offers and keep yourself free from the world's corruption. Don't miss another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you