May 13, 2011
CONGRATULATIONS to our two winners, Wayne D. and Teresa S. ! You will both receive a copy of John MacArthur’s book, SLAVE.
This Week The Christian Worldview Radio Program has two extra copies of John MacArthur’s new book, SLAVE. All you need to do to enter this giveaway is provide your name and email address below. Next Friday, May 13th, we will select TWO winners for their FREE copy of the book … and then join us each week for another Great Giveaway!
Giveaway Rules: Only one entry per person. Winners will be notified by email, at which point we will ask for shipping address. This giveaway closes Friday, May 13th at noon. Even though you may have registered for a previous giveaway you must re-register for each new giveaway as the database is cleared after the completion of each week’s prize award.
by John MacArthur
The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ
Throughout the Bible, followers of Jesus are commanded to submit to Him as their King. They are told to obey and follow, faithfully and without hesitation. Every time Christians utter the word Lord, they make a subtle yet profound declaration—that God is their Master and that they belong to Him. In fact, the Bible describes believers as His slaves. They have been bought with a price and now live for Christ as a people for His own possession.
But go into most churches today, even flip through most Bible translations, and you won’t see or hear the word slave anywhere. That’s because it has been lost in translation. In this gripping book, Dr. John MacArthur uses deep Bible teaching and historical evaluation to expertly uncover the one forgotten word that restores the Bible’s definition of true Christian freedom.
“The Christian’s great privilege is to be the slave of Christ. [Our shepherd] makes it clear that this is one of the Bible’s most succinct ways of describing our discipleship. This is a powerful exposition of Scripture, a convincing corrective to shallow Christianity, a masterful work of pastoral encouragement … a devotional classic.
—Dr. Albert Mohler
November 2, 2010
If you follow The Christian Worldview Radio Program, you know that we offer podcasts, click and play archives, blog posts and Twitter updates (@ThChrstnWrldvw). And now we have joined Facebook! You can find us under David Wheaton (via email: feedback@TheChristianWorldview.com) and on our Facebook page for The Christian Worldview.
As part of The Christian Worldview Facebook page, we will be posting articles, videos, comments and starting “discussions”. Yesterday’s discussion question was:
What is the biggest objection to Christianity that you face when you witness to someone?
This past weekend we talked to guest, Alex McFarland, and discussed the top 5 reasons he has found that people object to Christianity. What objections do you face and how do you answer them?
Be the first to post a response.
We look forward to meeting you on Facebook!
September 30, 2010
Expositor’s Conference 2010 was held in Mobile, Alabama at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, September 27th and 28th. It was an excellent conference focused on the Holiness of God in preaching and featured the teaching of R.C. Sproul and Steve Lawson. The audio is now available on SermonAudio.com, simply click on a link below. (For those of you that do not yet follow us on Twitter we have included the live conference Twitter feed just below the audio links.)
- “Human nature has never changed and God has never changed. ” Lawson 7:52 PM Sep 28th
Lawson – “Al Mohler’s library in the basement of his home is the 8th wonder of the world.” 6:57 PM Sep 28th
Last session about to begin – Preaching the Immutability of God by Dr. Steve Lawson. Tune in LIVE on sermonaudio.com. 6:31 PM Sep 28th
We have a tendency to think of God being glorified only in the manifestation of His mercy – He is just as glorified by His justice. Sproul 4:15 PM Sep 28th
RC Sproul – “If you really want to know the will of God it’s your sanctification.” 3:42 PM Sep 28th
Afternoon break now, back at 3:30 for Q&A with RC Sproul and Steve Lawson. Watch on sermonaudio.com Expositors conference. 2:42 PM Sep 28th
“The gravity of our preaching is in the gravity of God.” Lawson 2:41 PM Sep 28th
“Even the smallest sin is an act of cosmic treason… I elevate my will over the will of God.” Sproul 2:39 PM Sep 28th
Regarding church Sproul says “We’ve lost the sense of transition… from the common to the uncommon, between the profane and the holy. 2:37 PM Sep 28th
Starting afternoon session, Sproul on The Wrath of God. Tune in Live on sermonaudio.com 1:29 PM Sep 28th
In true southern hospitality style, we head to lunch here at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church. 12:20 PM Sep 28th
“The one question on the table, ‘What can a dead man do?’…Answer: ‘stink’. We cannot birth ourselves” Lawson 12:18 PM Sep 28th
“How intentional, individual and eternal is His love for us” Lawson 12:16 PM Sep 28th
“The higher we set the holiness of God and the lowness of man’s condition the greater we manifest God’s grace.” Lawson 11:59 AM Sep 28th
“The thunder and lightening of our ministry is ‘Thus says the Lord.’ ” Lawson 11:56 AM Sep 28th
Eph 1, Preaching the grace of God – Lawson. Watch LIVE on sermonaudio.com, search for Expositor’s Conference. 10:48 AM Sep 28th
“The most neglected attribute of God is the simplicity of God. God IS His attributes. You can’t take one attribute against another” Sproul 10:35 AM Sep 28th
- Expositors Conf day 2 – Sproul about to preach on holiness of God. We’ll send u a highlight or two.
- Sproul – “Don’t poison my sheep, feed my sheep. Care about the sheep enough to give them what they need not what they want.” 11:04 PM Sep 27th
RC Sproul was asked what he felt were his most important books – Answer: Holiness of God, Chosen by God, and The Priest with Dirty Clothes 11:00 PM Sep 27th
Q&A with RC Sproul & Steve Lawson. Webcasting available LIVE on sermonaudio.com. Search for Expositor’s Conference. 8:07 PM Sep 27th
“We are but messengers… God is the author.” 8:02 PM Sep 27th
Lawson – 1 Peter 4:10-11; the gift, gravity and goal of preaching. 7:44 PM Sep 27th
We’re at Expositor’s Conference in Mobile, AL featuring RC Sproul & Steve Lawson on the Holiness of God – stay tuned for highlights. 4:28 PM Sep 27th
June 19, 2010
You can follow us here with the username ThChrstnWldvw. Each week we will tweet about the upcoming weekend show topic, link to “must read” articles, and keep you informed on important issues impacting the christian worldview.
June 17, 2010
The Ligonier Ministries National Conference is being held June 17-19, 2010 in Orlando, Florida and you can watch the LIVE webcast here.
The speaker lineup is a veritable who’s who among today’s most influential preachers: R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Alistair Begg, Albert Mohler, Steve Lawson and several others. The theme of the conference is “Tough Questions Christians Face.”
Thursday’s schedule includes:
3:10 pm ET Why Did Jesus Have to Die? – John MacArthur
Many skeptics have argued that the Christian doctrine of the atonement is inherently unjust. How is it just, they say, for an innocent man like Jesus to be punished for the sins of another? Even professing evangelicals have questioned the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, with one going so far as to call it “cosmic child abuse.” In this lecture, Dr. John MacArthur looks at the biblical doctrine of the atonement showing how the righteousness and holiness of God are upheld in it.
5:10 pm ET Is the Doctrine of Inerrancy Defensible? – Michael Horton
For centuries orthodox Christians have taught that the Holy Scriptures are inerrant. Skeptics, on the other hand, claim that this doctrine is meaningless, saying that the doctrine of inerrancy has died the death of a thousand qualifications. How should Christians respond? In this lecture, Dr. Michael Horton explains what the orthodox Christian doctrine of inerrancy means and shows how and why it remains a defensible part of our confession.
8:00 pm ET Does the Doctrine of the Divine Decrees Eliminate Human Will? – John MacArthur
Reformed theology teaches that God has ordained whatsoever comes to pass. Critics of Reformed theology argue that this entails a fatalistic worldview in which only God’s will truly exists. They claim that if God decreed or willed the acts of our will, then our will is not real. In this lecture, Dr. John MacArthur explains why the Biblical doctrine of the divine decrees does not eliminate the reality of the human will and does not entail a fatalistic worldview.
The full conference schedule is available here.
June 17, 2010
For the past four days TheChristianWorldview.com has experienced technical problems with our web hosting and servers. As a result the pages either would not display or would take extremely long to load. We believe the issue has been remedied and the website should now be functioning normally. Thank you for your patience and continued support of The Christian Worldview.
March 5, 2010
John MacArthur closed out the 2010 Shepherds’ Conference on Friday night with a sermon from Mark 5:21. If you would like to download the audio or video from the conference, go here.
The greatest demonstration of the compassion by God was the incarnation of Jesus Christ. He chose to heal sick people, release demon possessed people, raise dead people…along with God’s power came compassion. This is the heart of God manifest in Christ. The theological reason for suffering always go back to divine sovereignty, that God has a purpose in it. But even God’s response to suffering is compassion, mercy and even grief.
There are three things that make a lasting ministry.
Your people need to know you care! God only came into the world one time and it was one massive display of compassion. Even when you can explain that God has a purpose, be there to show sympathy!
Mark has one purpose; to make it obvious that Jesus is God incarnate. No person makes this confession until the 15th chapter and 39th verse, no one, except demons. “We know who you are, the holy one of God”, they couldn’t help saying it because they were terrified. A Gentile Roman solder outside the nation of Israel was the first to say it. after Christ died.
What strikes me about him is this compassion that is demonstrated. He knew the sovereign purpose of God. He, the God who inflicts the pain, is there to catch the sufferer. He didn’t seclude himself, his entire ministry was in public. His entire ministry was in the street, field, other’s homes, on the sea with only occasional rest and time with His disciples.
He is Accessible
The number of followers were so relentless that it was even difficult for him to eat. He never left the crowds. There was always a large crowd waiting for him, bringing all the people that needed to be healed. He is like a hero, celebrity and in all history there has never been anything like this. Out of all the fickle mob numbering in the thousands, there are two whose faith is real; a man and a woman. One was rich the other poor, one respected one rejected, one with a 12-year-old dying, one with a 12-year disease.
Jarius, he was a lay leader, revered, religious and a man the people would follow. He fell at Jesus feet – this is politically incorrect. For a synagogue ruler to do this is putting himself in a difficult position with the “establishment”. He worshipped! You only bow down to a superior. “Please come see my daughter.” he pleaded. There is no doubt in this request. Later we’ll see that she isn’t just at the point of death, but already dead. The father does not budge in his faith. He is a rare man; few believed savingly in Jesus. Jesus went off with him.
Note that these people could get to Jesus. Sometimes we think we are more important than we are.
He is Available
As He goes a large crowd presses in on him. He pitched his tent with people, no hierarchy, no ivory towers. Jarius’ only hope was for Jesus to heal his daughter. What drives Jesus’ availability – the compassion of our Lord. He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities. Mt 12:20 “A bruised reed He will not break…” He doesn’t throw people away. Mt 14:14; Mark 8:2, Mt 9:36 His compassion was indiscriminate.
He is Interruptible
Verse 25 presents a woman with a hemorrhage for 12 years. This is so personal, a woman with a female bleeding problem. She is not just a face in the crowd. Mark describes her with participle phrases; physiological problem and without strength; it was dangerous, she could bleed to death, severe social effects (uncleanness & everyone you touch is unclean); just imagine the courage and desperation. She could not be cured. Then in verse 27 she does something unthinkable, she touches Jesus.
Remember Luke 7 when the prostitute came in and kissed the feet of Jesus. The Pharisees went ballistic and asked if they knew who she was…but nothing stopped Jesus. He was not defiled.
This woman from Mark 5 went to multiple doctors, but every day nothing changed. So you wanted to touch his garments. She touched the fringe; the tassels on their robes (which the Pharisees enlarged to look more holy). If I just touch His garments I’ll get well. This is not pagan superstition about a robe on her part, its about the man who had demonstrated such power.
Verse 29 says immediately she was healed. Being interruptible is a good thing to learn.
He is Intentional
This is not just a woman in the crowd. Verse 30 Jesus perceived that His power had gone out. His power is personal! He experiences every expulsion of power. He is involved. Our God is not detached and unfeeling. He is unaltered by what men do, but He feels everything. No one receives His power without His involvement.
Such a personal God, such a personal work. He is very intentional. He knows where and to whom His power goes. He knows the plan for this woman and that her name is in the lamb’s book of life. This is one of His sheep. He will act in grace and in power…to restore her to her husband, family, town, synagogue and to reconcile her with God. He is about to save this woman.
“Who touched this garment”? You don’t have to be afraid even though you are an outcast. This is a demonstration of the effectual call. This is one who He is seeking and saving. This is irresistible grace; reaching out to one who belongs to Him. He looked around for her because He wasn’t finished with her.
Verse 33 – the woman came in fear and trembling. She wasn’t afraid of the circumstances, she had already overcome that before she touched Him. She was fearful and trembling because she knew she was in the presence of God. She was aware of what happened to her…she came and fell down before him in worship. This was the posture of the undeserved begging for mercy. This is penitence and worship.
Her problem may have been a result of sin (maybe even sexual sin). She collapses and tells Him the whole truth about her. This is a confession of her sin (repentance), a confession of her faith.
He said to her “Daughter”. That word, coming from Christ, is a word to dispel fear. This is the only time it is used in the New Testament. This means, you are in my family. These are words of grace and words of welcome. He addresses her as a child of God.
“Your faith has saved you” – “Go in peace” You can’t have peace without being saved. Some of the most wonderful things happen when you get interrupted. If someone is so concerned with deep pain in their life, take that opportunity to penetrate to the real issues.
Verse 35 Meanwhile…Jarius’ daughter had died.
He is Imperturbable
Calm, tranquil, unflappable. Verse 36 Jesus is unflappable and says “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe (keep on believing)”…”and she will be made well”. There is a wonderful reality in operating unhurried because then you are acting in the sovereign purpose of God.
Peter, James, and John were with him. Verse 38 “a commotion” – very different from a Western world funeral. In Israel the idea was to make a racket, tearing clothes (they had 39 rules for tearing; ie, the tear was to be over the heart if the mourner was the father or mother of the deceased); hired professional screamers; add flute players with loud dissonant music.
“Why make commotion and weep…the child hasn’t died” Jesus uses the word “asleep” – temporary sleep is Jesus description of death here…just as it is temporary for us. He put out all the mourners and then took along the child’s father and mother as well as Peter James and John (to report on it).
He is Charitable
There is a tenderness here. “He takes the child by the hand”. This is tenderness and compassion. “Talitha kum!” = a sweet nickname for a little girl, “little lamb”. This is the God of the universe with great tenderness.
“Immediately the girl got up and began to walk”. There was no need for therapy. John MacArthur has been in therapy for 4 months for knee and back surgery. When Jesus healed someone there was no recovery period.
They were all stunned. Verse 43 – He said, give her something to eat. First he showed tenderness to the father, then the mother and now the girl. So intimate, so tender.
Then we have theological issue: Jesus gave them strict orders that no one should know about this. What? Jesus said this again and again and again. “Don’t tell anyone”. He gave them strict orders (a prohibition).
There are some possible reasons why He gave this instruction: 1) The house might be overrun by people. 2)The crowd, with Messianic expectations, would make the crowd aggressive and would try to force Him to be king (this view is not likely because he often gave this instruction) 3) He didn’t want to escalate the fear and intentions of his enemies.
John MacArthur doesn’t think any of these are the reason – he think the issue was this wasn’t the time to go, to spread the message, and it wouldn’t be the time until the cross and the resurrection. Only then would He send them with the full message. Until the cross the full understanding was not available. After that, go tell everybody!
March 5, 2010
Steve Lawson was the speaker this morning. He started with a tribute to John MacArthur:
There is not a day in my life when John MacArthur is not sitting on my shoulder, guiding me through his notes, tapes, and ministry. For most all of us John’s influence is used by the Lord to shape our ministries.
The Invisible War
Job 1:6-12 It has been well said that before God uses a man greatly, he must first break him greatly. God works best through broken vessels, crushed by the hammer blows of the devil. The more we desire to be used by God the greater our willingness to suffer for him. There is no easy pass in ministry. Every assignment is a killing place. Everyone is involved in spiritual warfare. The more we are at the frontline, the more we are caught in the crossfire between God & Satan. The taller we stand for the Lord, the more we will draw the fire of the devil.
Eleven of the twelve apostles died a martyrs death. The greatest preacher who ever walked this earth, the Lord Jesus Christ was despised and rejected…publicly crucified, a horrific death by public execution. “In this world you shall have tribulation”. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church and they became famous for what they said when tied to a stake.
Everyone of us finds ourselves in the midst of spiritual warfare. It is not a visible war, but invisible. It involves unseen conflict between God and Satan, heaven and hell, good and evil with no middle ground. There are no fence sitters, no draft dodgers, no neutrality. The taller we stand the more we will draw the enemy’s fire.
Job is presented as the epitome of godliness. Uz is in northern Arabia, this was a real man in a real place. His name was Job and he was blameless. Blameless means without moral blemish, beyond reproach in his character and conduct. Job was marked by character and integrity and no one could bring a charge against this man’s life. He is upright which means straight, without deviation from God’s holy standard, set apart to God; a straight arrow morally. He “feared” God which means reverence for the Lord; he took God seriously. He turned away from evil, not getting as close to evil as possible. He knew what it was to resist temptation. He guarded his heart and shielded his eyes. He was abundantly blessed and was a very successful businessman. This is a rare combination — a fear of God and eminently successful without selling out his soul to this world. This was the greatest of all the men of the earth; greatest in wealth, reputation, influence, and godliness.
Verse 4 is a picture of a family in complete harmony, love and camaraderie with each other, and the blessing of God is being poured out on Job. The goodness of God is dripping out of heaven on Job’s life.
Verse 5 shows he is the spiritual leader of his home. Job is the least likely candidate for a disaster that we could possibly find in the record of Scripture. Blameless, upright, fearing God, turning away from evil, spiritual leader, business leader, the mightiest of the men of the east. Job is marked out to suffer, not because of anything wrong in his life (no disciplinary action). He is singled out by the sovereignty of God because God deems him worthy of suffering for God’s sake. He is the example of the tallest tree in the forest that when the electrical storm gathers it will strike the tallest tree.
Job is the fulfillment of Jonathan Edward’s 63rd Resolution: that he would be the most godly man in his day. We would want this to be said of any one of us here today. But with great godliness comes great exposure to the enemy.
Verse 6 The veil is pulled back and heaven is made transparent before our eyes and we are allowed to hear God and Satan speak. Job has no idea that this is transpiring. It is a rare insight into the unseen world above. “Now there was a day” – this is a day like any day, a routine day in heaven. “When the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord” – these are the angelic hosts of heaven reporting to the throne of God, having been discharged with divine assignments to carry out the work of God and are seen as coming back with accountability and to receive more orders.
“Satan also came among them” – I know what you are thinking – You tell me God is holy, and no sin can dwell in the presence of a holy God. You say that there is no way that an unholy man can access a holy God that the only way is by the sacrifice and atonement prescribed by God and yet here we see Satan coming before God in the courts of heaven – How? I do not know. But here is Satan – once the highest of the angelic order, the one with closest access to God in heaven and the one who lead a coup against God to manipulate a third of the angels to turn to him while standing in the presence of God. That is how cunning the devil is…this is something that he does again and again and again. Some today deny the existence of Satan. The existence of a real personal devil is taught seven times in the Old Testament, by every New Testament writer and by Christ himself. He is quite simply, the evil one!
What is Satan here to do? The answer is found in his name, derived from a word = to attack, to accuse, an opponent in court, a prosecuting attorney bringing criminal accusation against a plaintiff. This is the purpose of the devil, to indict the people of God before the Holy One. C.S. Lewis says, “He is a grave digger”. We need someone to take up our case in heaven, an advocate who has never lost a case.
“The Lord said to Satan” – note the initiative is from God, “from where do you come?”. God knows everything there is to know, but the purpose of the question is for the devil to enter into the court of heaven his evidence regarding his sinister nature. “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” Notice the devil is not in hell, the devil is on the earth creating destruction and appearing before the throne to bring accusation before the throne of God. Remember: “Be of sober spirit, your adversary the devil roams around like roaring lion…” He is stalking your path. He is the god of this age, the prince of the power of the air. Some say he is presently bound and chained…if so, he is on a mighty long chain!
Luther said, “I believe in the devil because I did battle with him this morning”. What does Satan do? He is blinding minds, stealing God’s word, opposing God’s work, tempting, sowing tares, attacking God’s word, spreading false doctrine. He never takes a day off, he is busy. Verses 8 “Have you considered my servant Job?” It is God who initiates the involvement of Job and Job is drawn into this by divine appointment. God issues this challenge. The devil is God’s devil and uses him for his own holy purposes – He draws a straight line with a crooked stick. “There is no one like him” God says, Job is in a class by himself. He has distinguished himself in this generation. Would you not want God to say that about your life? Job is the most righteous man on the face of the earth and he will suffer not because of anything wrong in his life but because of everything right in his life. There are times we suffer because of our sin, other people’s sin, a fallen world, but there are times we suffer for the glory of God because God has appointed it for us as a challenge between God and Satan.
Does God think highly enough of your spiritual walk to say to the devil, “Have you considered _(insert your name)___”? Does God see you as blameless, upright, turning away from evil. It is a badge of honor that God pins on a man faithful to the Word of God. “Blessed are you when men persecute you…rejoice for great is your reward is in heaven.”
Satan counters this. Satan is stunningly brilliant. The Lord’s words are in the air, Satan immediately answers “Does Job fear God for nothing?” This is sinister and is a frontal attack on the glory of God and the integrity of Job. He accuses Job of serving God for what he has received. It is an indictment against Job and God (as if God had to “buy” worshippers), it is by your blessing that you seduce them into worshiping you.
Job does not fear God for nothing, he has every reason to fear God. “Have you not built a hedge around him…?” God in His goodness (the invisible hand of God’s providence) was protecting Job. Job has been trying to crack the code to get at Job to ruin and destroy Job, but the providential hand of God has thwarted Satan. The devil had considered Job for some time, he is well known by the devil. Luther – “Would to God that I would be as well known in hell as I am in heaven”. “You have blessed the work of his hand” – the devil is pointing a finger at God. This is the charge “and his possessions have increased in the land”. Satan is saying, God you’ve been too good to Job.
There are only 3 places in the Bible where we hear Satan’s voice. 1) Genesis 3 when Satan tempts Eve. Eve lives in paradise, she actually has a perfect husband, she had everything, but one tree from which she could not eat because of the goodness of God He was preserving them from it. But the devil said God was withholding it from them. “God is not good enough to you” 2) Job 1 Here the devil is talking to God about Job. In this the devil says “God you are too good to them. 3) Devil’s temptation of Christ – if you worship me I’ll be better to you than God was to you. He is shrewd and scheming.
Verse 11 “But put forth your hand now and touch all that he has and he will surely curse you to your face.” Satan challenges God to strike everything Job had – he is diabolical. Will we worship God in tough times? Will we bless the name of the Lord when we enter the fire of affliction? Are we going to curse God or will we say I will worship the Lord? This is the challenge.
Verse 12 God is totally sovereign in this entire encounter. “Then the Lord said to Satan“ God is totally and completely in control, sovereign over the devil. Spiritual warfare is not a tug of war between two equals. Everything is top down to Satan. God is using the devil for the higher purposes of His own name. This is what He is doing with the devil even right now. He is using Satan as an instrument of His hand even as he comes against us to bring about his purposes.
The hedge is then removed…but there is no panic in heaven, only plans for the glory of God’s name. Verse 13 We see catastrophe unleashed; here is hell breaking loose. Round one in vs 13-15. Do you think this all just “happened”? Round two vs. 16 Round three vs 17 Round four vs 18
Luther – “For still our ancient foe does seek to work us woe, his craft and power are great and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.” We are in this same warfare.
Verse 30 Job stands over fresh graves, his world has come to a halt, imagine the shock, the grief, the pain. “Then Job arose” – he had been crushed under the weight of this report. This is a sign of deep grief and sorrow. “He fell to the ground”. At this point the devil strains his ear to hear what he always hears – the curse of God, the blaspheming of God’s name, the shrieks and cries of one without desire for life. Instead he hears this “and worshipped” – which means to prostrate oneself before a superior. Job’s first response was to humble himself and lower himself before the throne of God, to ascribe honor and glory to God, whose ways are perfect and right. He worships God and makes this statement in vs 12 “naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job recognizes the sovereignty of God’s Word over his life.
Job cannot see into heaven and know of this challenge, he just knows that above it all God rules and reigns in the heavens and does whatever He pleases. Job doesn’t have to understand why, all he needs to understand is who – He just needs to know God. “Blessed be the name of the Lord”. Job blessed the name of the Lord, not to malign it by magnify it, not to blast but bless, not revolt but reverence God. This is the choice we must make as we are slammed to the canvas in the contest of this world in spiritual warfare. There are times when we are over our head and the affliction is painful – we must make the choice to say “Blessed be the name of the Lord”.
Verse 22 “through all of this” – all personal loss and painful ordeal…Job did not sin nor did he blame God. Job is held before us as a positive example of how a man or woman should live in the midst of difficulty and respond to the trials of life. Calvin said “I kiss the rod that smites me.”
God 1, Devil 0
How do you respond? When we find ourselves in a difficult part of the Lord’s vineyard. We are plowing rocky soil, or the storm is gathering and the difficulty has come, when there is a sweat on the brow…in our ministries and our lives. We must worship. The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord. Recognize the sovereignty of God. Romans 8:28. What others mean for evil, God intends for our God. He has a perfect plan for our lives. There are no maverick molecules in the universe. Spurgeon said “Make the sovereignty of God the pillow upon which I rest my head at night.”
John Bunyan author of Pilgrim’s Progress (with the smell of the prison is on every page). He would not be turned away from preaching the free grace of God and as a result was thrown into a prison cell. His wife had died and he had remarried a second time. His second wife was pregnant and suffered miscarriage. They never locked the door of Bunyan, he could walk out any time if he would just say he would not preach the grace of God. He remained 12 years. Had a blind daughter named Mary and could have said his family needed him and sought “common ground”, but he would not back down and remained in prison. When he was released he sat down and wrote “Advice To Sufferers”. No enemy can bring suffering upon man when the will of God is otherwise. This must be our bedrock confidence as we face the devil head on. God is God, He is sovereign, He has appointed and ordained my trials, it is God who will preserve me.
Steve Lawson then gave his own personal story. He was asked to write a commentary on the book of Job. So we decided he would preach through Job to his own congregation. He preached through Job 1 and Job 2, but when he reached Job 3 “all hell broke loose”. Someone broke into the church office, took the membership mailing list and sent a letter to members of his church indicting him with believing in the sovereignty of God in salvation and asking them to vote on whether they were a Calvinist.
By the time he got to Job 5, he felt it would honor God to resign. He stepped down and spent the rest of the year writing the commentary alone in the office over his garage, unable to preach the series. He then said, “How wise of God — if I am to write the commentary on Job that I must sit in the ashes of Job…to hurt with Job, to cry with Job. How wise of God it is to bring adversity into your life, trials and storms and dark nights of the soul, difficulty in ministry and antagonistic elders and rebellious deacons, or a shrinking church budget…to bring all of these storms of affliction so that you and I would be broken vessels, walk with a limp, identify with the hurting people we serve. His ways are not our ways. His ways are beyond our ways.
George Whitefield – “Happy you when we can look back and say thus I have been enabled to glorify God in the fire”.
March 5, 2010
Phil Johnson was the morning speaker for the Shepherds’ Conference. If you would like to watch live streaming, go here.
Turn to I Corinthians 16:13
The contemporary Evangelical movement is exactly like the Corinthian culture. It is comforting that everything we are dealing with Paul dealt with in Corinth. Our whole current culture is confused by spiritual things. If you want to have a valid and God-blessed ministry you need to avoid the current trends.
Look at the passage, I Corinthians 16:13. All the commands are military orders:
Be on the alert
Stand firm in the faith
Act like men
This is the summation of what Corinth needed to do. The Christian’s existence in this world is a battle not a banquet. Most Evangelicals don’t get this.
Do a google search on “Holy Ghost, Hokey Pokey” and tearful testimonies. This represents a sizable growing district in the current Evangelical zoo. Evangelicals don’t think we are at war. Read blogs who talk most about being missional and you might get the idea that being a friend of the world is a gift. “Friendship with the world is enmity with God”.
What is at stake in this world is eternal. Souls are perishing in this conflict. It is an ideological battle. Our weapon is the truth, the Word of God, the Sword of the spirit. Our triumph won’t be final until Christ returns.
Does your preaching reflect this? Are you conscious of the battle? You are not called to be an entertainer. You are not merely an educator, counselor or coach, you are to be a shepherd in a war zone. You must have courage, faith, vigilance to go against the wolves, lions and bears. The weapons you have are sufficient for the task.
Don’t relish conflict for the sake of conflict. Don’t have anything to do with ignorant controversies. Titus 1 “many mouths must be stopped”. We live in a culture that has lowered the tolerance for phony gentleness. “Let’s just agree to disagree”. The refusal to fight for truth has done much damage. Lets agree to argue until one of us refutes the others and we come to the correct conclusion. We have a lot of housecleaning that needs to be done. Throwing truth under the bus is not charitable and does not promote unity.
Paul was a determined warrior. An example for us to follow.
Be on the alert
Stay awake, be attentive, alert. This is used 22 times often referring to being ready for the coming of Christ. It is used three times in Matthew 26 meaning practical, prayerful watchfulness for a day that is coming. The mass of Evangelicals ignore this command, or ignore it. Many are too arrogant to think they need a warning like this. Evangelical shave no stomach for this duty. The need for vigilance today is more needed than ever. I Tim 3:1-5 – Paul says to avoid such people. Be on guard against false teachers and be ready for Christ’s return. Be watchful over your words, your life, and on guard against Satan. Above all watch onto prayer. “Watch” Live as if you believe the Lord could return at any moment. The Lord AND the enemy are at hand.
Stand firm in the faith
This is an echo of the closing verse of I Corinthians 15:58 – “be steadfast, immovable…” This virtue has lost its luster in this time. We are suppose to refuse to be dogmatic or have conviction. Dogmatism is to be avoided, diversity to be cultivated and tolerance is never having to say you are wrong. It is our duty to be precise, see Colossians 1:23 “stable and stedfast, not shifting” We are not to be like children, Ephesians 4:14 . Stabilty is a good and precious virtue, especially for leaders. In 2 Peter 3:17 double-minded men are unstable. The worst kind of stubbornness is not being steadfast. Psalm 78:8 and 37.
Is Jesus really the only way to heaven? You need to be ready to answer this question from the world. Many have flubbed this on Larry King – if you go on his show be prepared for that question! If you are the type of pastor that changes his opinions with every wind, get out of the ministry. The goal of our study should not be constant shifting of our belief, but our steadfastness in Christ. Paul doesn’t want to zeal and vigor in arguing a point of view, but rather firm belief and settled assurance, in short, spiritual maturity.
Act like men
Be manly. The TIV translation says simply “be courageous”, which is only an aspect of this word. The Greek word is saying you be yourselves manly, play the man, in modern terminology – man up. Masculinity as opposed to femininity. This was a challenge to Corinth and fits a large segment of the Evangelical world today. Courage, strength, boldness, daring, gallantry, machismo, or to work. Adam was to work, tend the garden even before the fall, he had to work hard. We are to redeem the time, you can’t exclude that from this. A call to arms, a summon to battle, defend the faith in a manly way. This is written to the whole church, not just the leaders. There is a sense that even the women needed to develop this strength. It is of particular duty for the leader to develop this. Act like men! “Quit you like men”, some Evangelicals mistook this message as “quit being men”.
The typical Evangelical church is weak and womanly, and demand that preachers be soft and dainty, tone down severe texts or the tone police will be after you. Evangelicals favor feminine themes, personal relationships, our “felt” needs, we are hurting people…they are a bunch of fops and milksops…we are suppose to be soldiers! They want you to always be agreeable, delicate in everything we say and do. This sounds like rules for figure skaters not warriors.
Paul tells Corinth to man-up, be straight forward, bold. He is talking about character and conduct.
To withstand opposition and persecution. You will need to be able to endure controversy and contempt, abuse of every kind from the intelligencia and the dregs of the world alike. They will try to oppose you just like they did Christ. If they hated Christ they will hate you. Things will go from bad to worse. You need strength to stand in the battle. Our weapons are not of the flesh, it requires character and integrity. Christ supplies this strength. Colossians 1:11 and Philippians 4:13;
Verse 14 Let all that you do be done in love. Read The Jesus You Can’t Ignore for how Christ dealt with the Pharisees. What should our motives be in the fight? The purpose is to free those held in bondage to the wrong ideas. The love of Christ sought us and compelled us to go into battle with Him.
March 4, 2010
Al Mohler was the speaker on Thursday evening at the 2010 Shepherds’ Conference. If you would like to watch these sessions via live streaming, go here or download the videos of previous sessions here.
Al Mohler began by commenting on John MacArthur’s reading of Colossians 1:24 saying that he, Al Mohler, hears this Scripture with special attentiveness when it is read by a man who has live it. He said he feels elevated by being here. He preaches in a special sense, in a special spirit, and with a special energy because of all the pastors in attendance. He is looking forward to heaven and that “Shepherds’ Conference” as there are a lot of men he wants to meet.
Francis Schaeffer wrote a book No Little People regarding the importance of the ministry. There are no little people and no little places and there better not be little sermons, that will not do.
Turn to John 9:1-41
When Jesus passed by He saw a man blind from birth. The disciple saw a question but Jesus saw a man (there are no little people). The disciple’s questions was about who the man’s parents were that he was born blind. In other words, there must be a reason (sin) for this blindness. Since he was born blind, it must be his parents that are being judged. So they ask Jesus was it this man’s sin or his parents?
Theologically the answer is not sin. Every single thing that goes wrong, all evil (including natural evil or moral evil) traces back to the fall; earthquakes, tsunamis, an adders venom, etc. Sin is the right answer, but not sufficient.
Jesus gives a rebuke before healing the blind man; neither the man nor his parents are responsible for his blindness. The question was not about “who” is to blame, the man was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him. Jesus then spits on the ground, makes clay and applies it to the man’s eyes and tells him to go wash. The blind man does what he is told. John 9:7 “so he went away and washed and came back seeing”. This is an incredible picture – the incarnate son of God spit in to the earth that he had made, applied it to his eyes.
First, the disciples had a question, now that the blind man is healed the neighbors have a question – Is this not the one that used to sit and beg? Before he was healed they noticed him, they had him pegged, they ignored him, they thought themselves superior to him, they may even have felt pity for him. But no one celebrated that this man now sees! – His neighbors do not, and his parents do not. In fact some are wondering whether he is even the same man. Some are saying “he is like him”…”they all look alike”. He kept saying I am the one. Of all people, who knows who he is…the blind man “I was blind, but now I see”.
They then took him to the “experts”, the Pharisees. It was the Sabbath on the day Jesus healed him (Jesus seems to have a habit of healing on the Sabbath and the Pharisees can’t stand this. The Pharisees asked him who healed him. The blind man doesn’t identify Jesus but the Pharisees already know. “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs”. So they ask the blind man again. What do you say about him since he healed you? The Pharisees are the ones that can’t see. Even in their questions they display their blindness. The blind man answers, He is a prophet. Here is a man ignored by everyone, and now they are asking him how he was blind and sees; he becomes the theologian. The blind man has an answer “Prophet” — He is right, Jesus is prophet, priest and king!
Vs. 18 The Pharisees then called his parents. When you don’t get the answer you want, assume he isn’t who he says he is. So they call in his parents who must have had the same questions in the past – why is our son like this, what have we done? In response they say Yes, he is our son and he was born blind. So they are then asked “How does he now see?” The parents didn’t know. They know its their son and that he was blind…but now that he sees and who opened his eyes they don’t know. They say, “ask him, he is of age, he will speak for himself”. They didn’t want the judgement of the Pharisees.
Now a second time they called the blind man. [Be careful when you hear “Give glory to God”. There are a lot of people that will use glorified language to subvert the gospel. ] Verse 25 “though I was blind, now I see”. He was not going to be entrapped by the Pharisees. This story isn’t what we thought it was about. This is not about a man born blind and now seeing but a story of the glory of God in the man receiving sight.
The people (Pharisees) that think they see are blind. When asked how he was healed the blind man answers again, bravely, why do you want to hear it again – you don’t want to become his disciples too do you? The blind man knew who Jesus was and that he had disciples. The Pharisees then reviled him. “You are his disciple, but we are the disciples of Moses” Here is an amazing thing, now that the blind man sees he finds that the world was not what he thought it was…everyone is blind. He was blind and thought all were seeing, but now that he sees he realizes he was surrounded by blind people.
Notice what this man now knows, he sees not just with his eyes. “We know that God does not hear sinners….” If this man was not from God He could do nothing. You don’t know who He is, but He opened my eyes. The Pharisees then rebuke him, “You were born entirely in sin and you are teaching us? They still think God’s judgement was on the man and he fit into their theology as long as he was blind…but now he sees. What do you do with this theological problem – the only result is a sovereign saving God.
Jesus hears that the Pharisees put him out and so He finds him and asks if he believes in the Son of Man? This man answers as a man that has been touched by the Savior. “Who is he Lord” (he will believe anything that this man tells him). Jesus answers – “You have both seen Him and He is the one talking with you”. The resulting profession from the blind man is simple, “Lord, I believe”. Salvation has come not only to his eyes but to his soul.
Jesus comes into the world in its blindness. The Pharisees ask “We are not blind too are we?” If you have to ask if you are blind, you just might be blind! It is a pathetic question. Jesus tells them their problem is not blindness like this man, its a different kind with a different end. If you have to ask if you are blind you are. Jesus was referring, not to a genetic blindness, but rather spiritual blindness. Jesus came to illuminate the world. Isaiah 29:18; 35:5-6; 42:6-7 The light of the world brings light, and is light.
What do you do with this story, preach a little message? The hinge of it all is found in verse 3 – “it was neither that this man sinned nor his parents, but so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” This is an earth-shaking reality here. This man was born blind, so that the works of God might be displayed in him. This blows theological fuses everywhere!
If that is true, than it is not just true about this man, it is true about each one of us and true of every person that ever lived. Why does anything exist? That the works of God might be displayed. This means that before there was time, God determine that in this day God planned that this man was blind and would be touched by Jesus and begin seeing. There are not just a couple principles here – there is an entire universe of meaning here!
We are blind from birth. This means just what the man came to see. He thought he was the blind among the seeing, but he was the blind among the blind. This means God had a particular purpose, a particular plan to display in a particular way. How can you say that and not come to the conclusion of other particulars?
Do we trust God to be God or not? How many people do we pass every day that need the gospel. May we see that there are no little people. There must be no little sermons. There are no little texts, every word is fully inspired.
The entire cosmos is the theatre of God’s hand at work for His glory. We know the secret to the universe, so we should not be in the position of the Pharisees. If you don’t know, don’t preach. Never see little people, a little God, a little gospel, a little message, with little conviction, with little passion or a with little sermon. If don’t believe this, if it isn’t life to us to the glory of God than “any little old sermon will do”.