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October 14, 2022 4:00 am
So we must be truthful at all costs. Knowing that the whole enterprise of salvation is the work of God and God alone is the only way to save is when God doesn't power rides through. I'm your host Bill Johnson a break from the passage of Scripture and instead today he's going to field questions about the Bible and the Christian life questions for people at John's home church in Los Angeles. Maybe some questions you've wondered about. So let's get started you're going to hear from a man named Marshall and then John will respond. Good evening on my name is Marshall. I'm here visiting with my brother Travis who I believe you know he serves here with you.
And I have two quick questions. I want to ask one. I was wondering if you could share this you talk this morning about God's providential work in our lives and how that's a common thing.
I was wondering if you could share an example of God's providence in your own life, and number 21. If there any insights over these decades preaching through the New Testament. The really you'd say alter the trajectory of your own personal life or alter the trajectory of your ministry here at the church thought Marshall start with the first one, my whole life is a providence of God my whole life. I mean every single day of my life is an act of divine providence I am.
I am surprised every day of my life.
I am almost totally a responder to the providences of God which unfold incessantly in my life in ways that I could never ever comprehend.
It might be meeting a person who fits the compelling need in my own life or a compelling need in our ministry or who is the perfect fit for a very important opportunity that we have somewhere in the ministry. It it might be. It might be a what would seem to be a serendipitous meeting of someone somewhere in in a restaurant or a gas station or or wherever it might be my leave and had them in elevators and hotels in foreign countries. In my whole life is just one amazing providence of God after another, but the whole story of coming to Grace Church that was the providence of God, having the board just to get a young pastor they had to widows to pastors who had died of a heart attack and I qualified because I was young, things like that. That's sorta set them up to want somebody young when other churches were saying to me in my late 20s were not interested.
You're too young to have no experience will Grace Church was a growing and effective church that had two very mature and very fine man is pastors.
Why would they take a young man well and the purposes of God in the providence of God when those two men were snatched away into heaven and their widows were left there was some thought about maybe we could turn to young men not from the start in the very beginning. My life has been in on ending process of seeing the hand of God in my life. I can recall when I had blood clots in DVT deep vein thrombosis in the blood clots one in my lungs and I wound up in a hospital in critical condition and I was there for eight days. Send the physician who finally was able to help me. As a result of that meeting set I want to hear you preach when you get out here have been a church since I was 16 and and I so will have to wait a few months right before I can for you just can't get on your feet and whatever the first Sunday I came back after that was Luke at the beginning of Luke and became the first Sunday in my first message was on loop, the beloved physician and a priest to him and it wasn't long after that he came to me professes faith in Christ. Well that that's a rather circuitous way to be used to evangelize and I might suggest to the Lord that Plan B could work just as well I don't know why it takes me eight days in the hospital hanging on the life get through this guy, but my my entire life is like that every week is like that if you just dipped into the mailbag phone calls and ways that God uses the ministry here, you would see it's one long providence.
Now the second question you asked was was there at some point in my teaching a significant turning point that just some insight that you you glean from your studies that was surprising enough that it altered the trajectory of your personal life or your ministry.
I think it was at the very beginning when, for reasons that I don't know personally but I do understand spiritually.
I began to be preoccupied with the experience of Moses in Exodus 33 seeing the glory of God and I began to become curious about what was going on and why God revealed himself in glory and how he manifested himself in light and what did that mean and how God defines that as showing his loving kindness and mercy and all that he describes their net sent me on a trajectory to try to fully understand both the intrinsic glory of God that glory which is true to his character which is central to his nature and that glory of God, which is ascribed to him glorify God on our part and very early in my ministry.
I did a series on glorifying God and I started out with this whole idea of God's intrinsic glory, that which is true of him that the sum of all his attributes which we don't embellish and we don't add to and developed all that in my mind that was critical to me.
So that was the fruit of reading a book by Stephen char not call the existence and attributes of God. I thought I understood God. After I read the knowledge of the holy which is about 75 pages and then I return Aquos about 750 pages talking about God and I saw the glory of God in such grand grand terms.
So then from there I went to that which is the ascribed glory to God and I begin to follow the flow through the Bible, starting with the glory of God revealed in the garden as light when you want to talk with Adam when all the way to the glory of God fully revealed in Matthew 24, 25 when he comes in full blazing glory revelation when the car for the rocks and mountains to fall on them to hide them from his face. The face that Moses couldn't see in Exodus 33, it would've incinerated him instantly and that study more than anything in those very foundational years captured my heart and sent me in the direction of everything being, to the glory of God. How important is that if you look at churches today. You will find that for the most part they are preoccupied with the desires of men they want to design themselves to be attractive to men.
I want to design everything I do everything this church does to glorify God. We want to be lost in wonder love and praise when a nonbeliever comes in here.
We want the nonbeliever to feel he is in an alien environment that he can't connect that he doesn't get it.
That is not normal but it's not comfortable. It doesn't seem right. It's not like anything he's ever experienced with the hope that what it says in verse 20 is 14 might happen. He will fall his face and say God is in this place when he sees a true worshiping community so that has been a defining reality for us that what we do is to glorify God.
Worship becomes elevated prayer becomes elevated preaching becomes elevated, it gets above the superficial in the shallow because everything is driving at the glory of God and so thankful that that happened early at that time I wrote that one of the first books I wrote called keys to spiritual growth.
Some of you may have an old copy of that somewhere and honestly wrote that in the whole front of it is all of that that I was thinking through the first part of that book. In the end talked about how to glorify God after talking about is intrinsic glory. How we ascribe glory to him, and I remember saying when I met with the guy to finish the book in the manuscript and it was all done I actually said I could be content now if I never wrote another book I was the hundred 99 books ago I said I could actually be content if I never another book is that what I need to say so if you if you have an old copy of the key spiritual growth or if you don't get a new and I think is still around. That was definitive to me is one of the thing and it's very perceptive question. Marshall there's one other thing was very definitive to me. I knew Christ was head of the church and that he had a rule in his church and that I was only in under shepherd to the great Shepherd and I wanted the church to be what Christ would want his church to be wasn't interested in studying culture and never meeting the man early in my ministry was pastor of a big church in Washington DC and he just read a book by an IBM president said it's revolutionized my approach to the church. I now know how to build a great church using techniques were used to build IBM and I was so shocked by that was first, Sigma supports rocking back and forth, listen and say this in the conversation dissipated fast because I really had no response and want to be on gracious to get thrown off his porch so I just went away thinking what what is she talking about what is Christ wanted his church when I was in seminary I was looking for the answer to that.
What should the church be I grown up in the church. My dad is a pastor my grandfather was a pastor and I knew I didn't want to do church the way I've seen it done.
I had courses in church polity in practical theology and I didn't hear anything that moved me so I was I was just digging around trying to find an answer and I found a very obscure self published little book published by some Plymouth brethren publishers call the order for church and missionary.
That's a really bad titled the order for church and missionaries of the excitement of the 16th century and it was written by man named Alexander Rhett Trey hey and I felt sorry for him immediately. Having to deal with but anyway I found this obscure book.
I started to read this book and all the sky did.
Page after page after page after page was explain everything in the New Testament. Pastoral epistles in the life and ministry the apostles that spoke directly and scripturally to the life of the church and that is what shaped my ecclesiology. That's what shaped my view of the church. That book I just was clear that myself the other day and guess what, there he was. Will Rhett Trey hey, right there on the shelf and it was a wonderful book and I especially love it because when they manufacture the book they completely messed it up and the sections are out of place in upside down so you have to read it and then turn it over and then jump here so if you can get through it.
It's it's the signal of a great effort just to get through the book I loved it for its idiosyncrasies, but so I knew what I came here that the glory of God was the compelling issue and that the church needed to be what the word of God's editors needed to be and that is what has set the course for us all these years affect just one thought for the I said to some other pastors.
I said you know we have to discipline sin in the church. We have to we have to confront people take two or three witnesses confront again if they don't repent till the whole church official repent from out I couldn't find anybody who didn't save me your crazy you can't do that you cannot do that. I sorely mean you have to do that. It's what it says in the Bible he would do it or we don't embrace church became the first and only church I ever heard of that. Did that in those years.
So that helps a little. Thank you. You're welcome my question to you as I was listening to speak about. You notice in a how long to go to the New Testament.
I mean I just came in works like four years to book yourself but I wanted so I was curious to see. Do you do you see this as a blueprint for other churches or pastors aspires how you know how to go you know that they'd go through 40 years and and like just starting to get into discrete good and I and what you thought about that versus I know like you will some church if you know to go to a more topical approach writer each week something that's a very good question.
Excellent excellent question answers yes I know I not only see it as the preferred way I see it as a mandate in second Timothy chapter 4 Paul says to Timothy preach the word preach the word. Be instant in immediate preach the word, keep doing it in season and out of season.
That means all the time. It's either in season are out of season so it's all the time preach the word preach the word there.
There is no other mandate.
There's absolutely no other mandate you can do a topical message drawn from the word, but the heart of all faithful ministries to explain the Scripture that comes out of this really got what you know is here right is one source one source the faith once for all delivered to the sandstone at front do it and don't take away from it. It's all here so the responsibility of the faithful Shepherd is to feed the flock of God. What God has how you going to do that you have to do that systematically and methodologically. You have to stay at it. You have to dig down. You also understand that you're commanded to divide it rightly or to interpret it accurately year also told to go beyond the milk to the meat and that doesn't that doesn't mean that some teaching crews are milk and some are immediate means and all teaching there's a milk level in a meet level you can go down I think that's that's what every pastor should do. That's why that's why I've advocated for all these years that this is what's called expository from the English verb X posit which means to explain to explain you explain the meaning of divine revelation. I think that is not only the best way to preach that is the mandated way to preach. You might not survive long enough to go to the whole New Testament. But wherever you are. Whenever you're there, explain the meaning of Scripture's not about tearjerking stories is not about clever illustrations. It's not about cultural sensitivity. It's not about people where they are scratch and where the edge. It's about explaining the meaning of Scripture because the power for salvation is in the word forgotten again by the word.
The power for salvation is in the word was sanctified by the word, the comfort comes from the Scripture and the hope of glory comes from the Scripture. Everything is contained in this immense treasure go back to Charles Simeon who preached in the same church for 50 years systematically to the Scriptures, you can go back to John Gill who preach systematically to the Scriptures.
You can even go back further to John Calvin, who is known for Calvin's institutes theological massive theological treatise, but by those of us are expositors he's known as the one who basically wrote commentaries on the entire Bible everything but the book of Revelation. So the men who have left their mark of long-term mark have been the man who made the truth of God's word accessible to God's people. That's what we do. I think it's the way we are mandated to preach okay on my name is Jennifer and I was earning over the past two years in which she preached in the New Testament on what has been maybe your favorite passage that you study through assuming that you've preach that has been most edifying here on so Jennifer is like asking me which is my favorite grandchild.
I love them all and I love the one I'm with you know but I ministering to my own soul just immediately coming to mind. I can't get away from the person of Christ, any portion of Scripture about Jesus Christ is totally captivating to me I'm I'm literally unrestrained in my joy when I study and preach concerning Christ, so it could be any passage related to him. I have a particular love on a personal level for the book of second Corinthians, and I know that's not kind of high on the. The reading list for most Christians because it's a book in which the apostle Paul agonizes over his relationship to the Corinthian church, but for a pastor. It's where I live in the agonies of disappointment in the agonies of failure and success in the life of the church. I love that book and I've often said, I'm so glad I didn't try to preach it early in my ministry. I never would've understood it. I need to be beaten up. I needed to have 250 people leave Grace Church and mad at me I needed to have the whole staff mutiny and walk out in protest against me I needed to have suffered enough failure and disappointment and pain or I never would've been able to understand but for my own soul personally. Second Corinthians is a is a is a book that I love to live in and dwell in.
I can honestly say that preaching through it was a life transforming experience because I was identifying so much with the pain of Paul and then going back and doing the commentary on it. I I've often said in some ways it's my favorite commentary because it's directly ministering to what I do. John today loved working very high stress jobs even though the work to be very enjoyable. This is the whole lot of the home life can be really stressful. These are very difficult times. A few months ago you talked about in the context of joy. You mentioned that burnout was related to Pro items, winners and rapid yet. I don't think I don't think burnout as such of you talk about that psychological notion is so much the result of hard work, as it is the result of the pressure of expectations.
It might be your expectations for yourself. It might be your self-imposed expectations.
It might be the expectations that are imposed upon you by the people who are in authority and power over you but but will we talk about burnout. That's a popular term that's been used among preachers although I'm worn out all and burned out.
I've been preaching every week for the last six months. I need a break month.
We talk about work is a good thing and I see you can you can push too far and I understand what you're saying you can become weary and you can neglect things that you should not neglect by overworking, but burnout is a term that was used to describe someone who reached a level of discouragement. Weariness is one thing, messing up your priorities is another, but burnout was this idea that that I'm not fulfilled. This is wearing me out and I'm not getting the results that I that I deserve and that's why I say it's related to pride you get pastors complaining about the effort they make when it's really not that the other might be 50% of the men in their congregation making a greater effort than they make at their jobs.
When pastors are punching a clock at seven and work until five and taking work home every day so when I talked about burnout. I was talking about that idea that I'm I'm discouraged and I'm down in and you know I'm not being appreciated and that is related to pride. You know, burnout is tied to the fact that you think you should be treated better than the way you're being treated.
When the truth is everything we have is by grace anyway and I just try to help pastors get past the point where they feed off their own expectations as churches can be pretty tough okay hey my name is Roman and got a quick question for sure what is personally your biggest weakness and how do you battle that biblically you not just my biggest weaknesses.
The combination of it all. All that I am no, I am my own biggest weakness. You know, I think patients sometimes because I have so much to do and so aggressive time for prayer I should spend much more time to give much more attention than tyrannized by the high level of demands that are placed on my time. Not always a good listener because I am a professional talker. I'm a good reader because I'm desperate to know what I want to know that I'm not nearly so desperate to know what you want to tell me. Not all the time. The merely unfair to be honest in this tiny what my wife says she should answer the test, only you don't have enough time to hear the answer on know I'm just what you are.
I am a man who has been given a ministry by grace, and worthy of the salvation I have on one worthy of the calling I have and I give God the glory for everything that he's accomplished in my life in spite of my many many weaknesses I have learned that by following my hero.
The apostle Paul that if you are going to overcome your weaknesses. There are several things you must do one is you must have a pure heart. Paul says my conscience is clear. I have lived with a clear conscience. My conscience is not accusing me that means you win the spiritual battle in the heart so that you don't live in an accusing conscience that will suck the sap right out of you, turn you into hypocrite. The second thing is and there's really no alternative to this is to live a life of discipline of discipline to be able to come every Sunday for all these years Sunday morning, Sunday night, and then preach wherever else I preached during the week and around the world and whatever else I do and all the books I write demands and immense amount of time ordering and personal discipline. I don't know where all that came from think I learned some of it and in athletics when I was young to achieve certain goals.
You make certain sacrifices. I learned some of it in seminary is student but it's the tyranny of sundaes that has forced this discipline on me, and I think that the Lord has used that demanding discipline of studying the word of God to get ready for every Sunday to make the Scripture the purifying agent in my life so that was the way to deal with weakness and I and I say look at. I don't want to be if I was in the pastor, but I'm so glad I am because exposing my life to Scripture all the time and being forced to this discipline accomplishes the two things that are most necessary in overcoming your week. That's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary answering questions from the congregation.
He leads. It's part of today's special Q and a addition of grace to you.
John of course when you have time to cover every question that you were originally asked by grace churches congregation. In fact, I remember the night. You did this Q&A. We ran out of time and there were still people lined up with questions and that's how it always is. There's more questions than we have time to answer and so I want you to recommend a resource if you could give just one resource that you recommend for people who still have lingering questions.
Where would you send them.
First of all to find answers well from our ministry to the MacArthur study Bible verse 25,000 footnotes and their laid out at the bottom of every page of the Scripture and the explain each passage and the questions are answered there. If you pick the right passage and the question is raised, you go to the footnote and it's available the bottom of each page of the MacArthur study Bible will explain the Bible it's it's the library in one volume effect. I got a call from a nationally known pastor the other day on that was Saturday night and he was preparing for Sunday, and he had a problem with the verse and he said I couldn't figure out the problem. For this, and I knew had to preach in the morning I'm in a grab my MacArthur study Bible and that one note was the clarifying inside I needed and so he called me on the phone to say thank you for Enough. My sermon last night. Yeah, you know I have that experience all the time if I called you every time it happened, I'd be on the phone when you have a study Bible. It's all up there for you. You can get a MacArthur study Bible and the new American Standard which is the transition that I preached from through the years.
New King James and ESV available in numerous kinds of covers and format so get your MacArthur study Bible shipping is free on orders placed in the United States. That's). This resource has been a tremendous help to me.
Many other pastors and it will be for you as well to take advantage of those 25,000 footnotes that explain nearly every verse. Contact us today and order your copy of the MacArthur study Bible, you can call us anytime at 855 grace. You can also order the MacArthur study Bible at our website that's TTY.org MacArthur study Bible comes in multiple English translations. The new American Standard version. The new King James version. The English standard version that it also comes in many non-English translations so call us at 855 grace or review all the firstname.lastname@example.org and one of John's books that you already own has taught you how to live boldly for Christ. If your family has been strengthened spiritually by this broadcast or if someone you know has come to faith after hearing John's teaching. We would love to hear your story. Email your feedback to email@example.com that's our email address firstname.lastname@example.org or you can send a note to Grace to you. Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 now for John MacArthur and the entire grace to you. Staff I'm Phil Johnson encouraging you to watch grace to you television this Sunday and be here next week when John helps you follow the path to victory over temptation is launching a study from Romans six and seven, titled freedom from sin, with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Mondays, grace to you