Posted by: Tim | April 22, 2008

Together for the Gospel – John MacArthur

Dr. John MacArthur’s Wednesday morning message was titled “Total Depravity: Unable and Unwilling”. An mp3 of the message can be downloaded here. My summary below will be a little rough as my brief notes and my brief memory aren’t going to be enough to give all the details. There were some great quotes that I did get down in my notes.

The message was a heavy one and a powerful one, looking at our sinfulness and deadness without Christ. Passages quoted included Eph. 2:1-4, 4:17-19, and Col. 2:13, pointing clearly to our deadness apart from Christ. Our sinfulness was underscored through passages such as Mark 7:20-21 and Rom. 3:10-18. MacArthur emphasized how dead we are without Christ and how we have no ability in ourselves to respond to Christ. He pointed out that it is God alone who grants us repentance (2 Tim 2:24-25) and God alone who saves us (Titus 3:3-8). What I have written in this brief paragraph summarizes a deep walk through the Scriptures, laying bare the terrible, sinful state in which we find ourselves without God.

Dr. MacArthur then posed the question: What are the Implications?

Here are the cool quotes as promised, along with one more picture. (quotes are from my notes, should be accurate though a word or two may be off!)

“Never offer Jesus as the one to fulfill the fallen sinner’s desire” (I can’t help but ask myself, How many churches do exactly that?! i.e. “Come to our church and God will make your dreams come true!” Of course that invitation is very loosely based on a Biblical principle – Psalm 37:4, but the advertising will almost certainly mislead unbelievers as they are not likely thinking of the desires of their hearts as those that are aligned with the will of God!)

“Soft preaching makes hard people. Hard preaching makes soft people.” (For me that was the home run line of the message – how true!!!)

“Don’t change your message” (I just started reading David Well’s new book “The Courage to be Protestant” that they gave out at T4G. In the opening chapters he talks about how the ‘marketing’ style churches (ie seeker movement) changed the message through making the desires of the consumer of primary importance.)

“Be meek. Be humble. We are the only profession in the world who can take no credit for anything we do.” (That needs to be a daily reminder for me. How easy it is to take the credit for ourselves when things go right and blame God when things go wrong)

“…not about how cool you are, but about how clear you are.” (that’s good news…never been too cool!…’clear’ I can work on!)

Near the end of the message, MacArthur made reference to the ‘all things to all men’ passage (1 Cor 9:22) so often quoted as justification to use just about any method of evangelism/doing church. He said that it referred to Paul making all the necessary sacrifices.

An excellent, challenging message!


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