John MacArthur: Becoming a Better You?

John MacArthur: Becoming a Better You?


That was, as I said, an extremely helpful,
well-crafted, prosaic presentation of the way things really are, very helpful, big picture,
sort of the bird’s eye view. I have been assigned to take the worm’s
eye view. To get down and grovel in the muck a little
bit and sort of nail one person. I’m not sure why I’ve been given this
assignment, but by the time I get through the introduction to this little talk, you
may feel like you need to be washed off with a fire hose because you will no doubt have
had some of the muck splatter on you a little bit. But I hope it will be helpful to do this. I certainly affirm everything that Michael
Horton said. I think it is the absolutely accurate analysis,
and put in historical perspective there isn’t much new. It’s the same old, same old, but we’ve
just turned it into a high art form in America. We all understand that, and we’ve gotten
a general look at the fact that this is part of life in the church. It can be noted in those general observations,
but it can also be noted in much more specific ones. I have actually had people over the last few
years come to me and tell me how greatly and spiritually changed they were by reading a
book called The Secret. You may have seen it in an airport bookstore,
written by Rhonda Byrne. It sold, and it’s still selling, by the
way, in double digit millions. For a while, it was going at a 150,000 books
a month, which is pretty good. The Secret is a book based on Eastern pantheism,
I guess you could say. All things are one. You are one with the universe. We are the light. We are the “I am.” We are the truth. We are God. It’s some of that Eckhart Tolle nonsense. But the appeal of The Secret is that you have
within you the force, the energy, the power to create whatever kind of life you want. Now you can find this book in Christian bookstores,
but if your Christian bookstore doesn’t carry it, they probably would be happy to
order it for you. But they might have another book there that
would serve just as well. It’s called The Shack. Now I have had Christian people, who have
been Christians for a long time, sit down with me – one recently at dinner – and
say, “Did you read The Shack? I thought it was a great Christian book.” And my meal was at that moment totally ruined
because this is a… this is a person who has been a believer for like 40 years. Another multi-million seller written by William
Young, and there are a couple of other sort of ancillary products written by a few other
authors on the subject of finding God in The Shack. The message again is this. You have so much power in you that you literally
can create reality by speaking it. The internal creative power that resides in
you can be released in words, and these words have supernatural energy that literally create
the world the way you want the world to be, that literally give you the circumstances
and the situations and the relationships and the achievements and the accomplishments and
the fulfillments and satisfactions that you want. Now there are some problems with The Shack
that are obvious. God is not an obese African American woman. That would be one problem to consider in the
book. But there are other problems in the book that
I find distressing. One is that the heart of the book is called
the law of attraction, the law of attraction. That is that your thoughts and your words
control the universe by attracting to you the things you speak. The operational principle that makes the universe
that you live in the way you want it operates on the laws of attraction. You speak a certain thing, and by speaking
it, you have the sheer power to attract it and literally make it reality. This is how you do it, in case you were wondering. One, know what you want. I mean, you’ve got to start there. You can’t attract anything until you know
what you want to attract. Number two, believe you will get it. And this is really the important one because
if you just can’t quite believe you’re going to get it, you’re not going to get
it. So faith is the real power, faith in yourself,
in believing you can create your own reality. Know what you want. Believe you will get it. Visualize the very experience of fulfillment
as if you have it. And then speak out loud, and you will then
at that point have released enough power to attract this reality to you. Here’s a line from The Secret. “It works every time and every person…
and in every person. Just place your order, and it is yours.” And you say, “Well, how can anybody believe
that? How can anybody be stupid enough to believe
that?” That your thoughts and your words create the
world to accommodate you, that reality is literally the result of your own decision,
what you think, what you believe, what you visualize, what you speak will actually come
to pass? That’s what it says in The Secret, and that’s
what it says in The Shack. You will rearrange the universe. To put it another way – it may be borrowing
some theological terms – you are in charge of providence. God is not. You have the power. “You have the energy of the universe.” – These are quotes. – “You create your world. You are the designer of your destiny. You are the author of your story,” or your
movie, as well as the star. “The outcome is what you choose.” So faith is this powerful, personal, creative
force, this supernatural energy that overcomes all restraint, objection, and resistance,
and literally gives you exactly what you want, the way you want it. And you can have whatever you desire. And by the way, have you ever checked the
desire list? You know what shows up on that list? I’ve checked it, and I don’t see humility. I don’t see brokenness, penitence, virtue,
holiness, worship, sacrifice, unselfishness, love, heaven – no, not so much. Health, wealth, success, all that stuff that’s
temporal and material and perishing. Now, if all that sounds familiar to you and
you’ve never read The Secret or The Shack, then you’ve been watching TBN. Yes, you have because that’s where you have
become familiar with this. Yes. You have been exposed sadly to this kind of
muck in a vast religious Ponzi scheme that makes the people at the top of the Ponzi pile
filthy rich. It comes in forms like this: the word faith
movement, the prosperity gospel, the name it and claim it movement, and names like Hinn
and Hickey and Price and Meyer and Copeland and Hagee and Tilton and Koontz and Roberts
and Hagin and Crouch and many more lesser lights, if you can be a lesser light. They all claim that every so-called Christian
has the personal power to recreate life’s reality into exactly what he wants. The only thing they add is they throw the
name of Jesus in. And Jesus is just waiting to be activated
by you, knowing what you want, believing that you’re going to get it, visualizing it and
speaking it. It’s a very successful Ponzi scheme. These people are really, really good at what
they do, and they take most advantage of the desperate and the lonely and the isolated
and the ignorant. And I always think about the Lord Jesus at
the temple in the last week of His life when He sat there, it says, and he watched a widow
come by and put two coins in a temple offering receptacle. Trumpet shaped, there were thirteen of them
in the courtyard. And a woman came up and put her two coins
in the temple, and it was all that she had. Remember that? And we think that’s an illustration of sacrificial
giving. That is not an illustration of sacrificial
giving. It is not a virtue to give everything you
have and go home and die. That is not what God asks from you. But that is what the system asked from her. And the next words out of the mouth of Jesus
were these, “Not one stone in this place will remain on top of another one.” This religion that does this is coming down. God sat in judgment that day as Christ watched
that widow drop her last two coins in a final effort to buy the blessing of God and buy
heaven and buy eternal life, because that was what was proffered by that scheming system,
which was making the people at the top, namely the corrupt Sadducees, filthy rich at the
expense of the people. And it’s little wonder that twice our Lord
cleansed that place. Any religion that takes advantage of the sick
and the poor and the weak comes under divine judgment. Well, all of that leads me to the star of
the day, Joel Osteen. I regret that he has replaced me on Larry
King. It drives me completely nuts. Mike Horton in Christless Christianity, page
68 said, “Osteen has achieved the dubious success of making the name it and claim it
teaching of Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn mainstream.” There’s some truth in that absolutely. Pat Robertson commends Joel Osteen. Of all people Max Lucado, the largest selling
Christian author, commends Joel Osteen. Ed Young, Jr. commends Joel Osteen – a southern
Baptist pastor, Dallas. That’s pretty mainstream. Let me see if I can set the record straight. Joel Osteen is a pagan religionist, a legalist,
and a quasi pantheist. I’m not done. This is my pulpit. I can be here as long as I want. Now, on the other side of that, Jesus Christ
is a footnote to satisfy his critics, thrown in at the end to get people off his back,
who are irritated by the absence of Christ in his ministry. And what is he saying? What is his message? We save ourselves from all the things we don’t
want, all the things that are wrong in our lives by our own internal, divine faith power. That’s his whole operation. In his book, Your Best Life Now, and by the
way I want to hasten to say he’s absolutely right. If you believe in what he says in that book,
this will be your best life. It will be a whole lot better than the next
one. He is absolutely right. But if you want your best life now, go for
his theology. If you want your best life forever, avoid
it. What does he say in Your Best Life Now? He says that we are able to create by our
faith and our words the dreams we dream and the desires we have, health, wealth, happiness,
success, all the same old, same old, temporal things. (quote) “If you develop an image of success,
an image of health and abundance and joy and peace and happiness, nothing on earth will
be able to hold those things from you.” (end quote) Here’s another one, “All of
us are born for earthly greatness. You were born to win. You were born to be a champion.” Tell that to the 20 handicapper. “God wants you to live in abundance. He wants to give you the desires of your heart. Before we were formed, He prepared us to live
abundant lives, to be happy, healthy, and whole. But when our thinking becomes contaminated,
it is no longer in line with God’s word.” By the way, when he says God’s word, he’s
not talking about the Bible. He’s talking about what you believe to be
intuitively the voice of God talking to you, telling you what you ought to be, creating
your wish list. “Get your thinking positive,” he says,
“and He’ll bring your desires to pass. He regards you as a strong, courageous, successful
person. You are on your way to a new level of glory.” Now, how do you do this? Here is his list: believe, visualize, speak
out loud. Same list, you got to know what you want,
believe it, visualize it, speak it out loud. Your words literally release this life giving
power. Here are some more quotes. “Friend, there’s a miracle in your mouth.” Isaiah might have a problem with that, as
I think about it. Here’s Joel Osteen’s prayer, “I thank
You, Father,” this is his own prayer, “I thank You, Father, that I have Your favor.” Does that sound familiar? Luke 18, “I thank You, Father, that I’m
not like other men, even like that publican.” Here’s another quote. “I know these principles are true because
they work for me and my wife.” Of course, you’re at the top of the Ponzi
pile. Everybody is sending you their money. And then he says, “How do I know they work? Because I found a perfect parking spot at
the mall.” That’s deep. What about the poor, little old lady that
was waiting behind you for that parking spot? Now the good news is that all of this has
some theology behind it, some theology proper. He says, “God has already done everything
He’s going to do. The ball is in your court.” This seems to be like hyper-Pelagianism, Pelagianism
on steroids. Well at this point, I think we’ve heard
enough to recognize the real source of his religion. Are you having trouble with that? He is a mouthpiece for Satan. He’s an agent for Satan. How do I know that? Because he offers all the things that the
unregenerate heart already wants. 1 John 2 says, “Love not the world, neither
the things that are in the world. For all that is in the world, the lust of
the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life is of the world and is passing away. That’s Satan’s strategy. Think about it in Matthew 4 and Luke 4 when
our Lord was being tempted by the devil, what did he do? He appealed to the desires of the Lord’s
heart apart… at the moment apart from the will of God for the moment. “You shouldn’t be hungry. You should be full. You shouldn’t be rejected. You should be accepted. You shouldn’t be insignificant. You should rule the kingdoms of the world. I’ll give you everything that you want.” And every time He answered with Scripture,
right? It’s not the first time nor the last time
nor any isolated situation where somebody parades himself as a minister of Jesus Christ
who is in fact a minister of Satan because we know from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians
that the devil himself is an angel of light and his agents are disguised the same way,
right? Why are these people so successful? Because Satan is behind the enterprise, and
he is appealing to that which is the natural desire of the unregenerate heart. Everything the unconverted sinner wants is
what these people are offering in the name of Jesus Christ. This is a false Christianity from hell. All of Satan’s temptations are driven at
fallen corruption, selfishness, pride, indulgence. In this system, there is no Biblical understanding
of God, there is no Biblical understanding of man, and certainly there’s no Biblical
understanding of sin. If we were to talk about the doctrine of total
depravity for a moment, you could understand it simply as man’s universal inability and
unwillingness to come to God. He is both unable and unwilling. No man seeks after God, nor does any man have
any capacity to come to God. He is both unable and unwilling. He has no interest in God. He is far more interested in what Satan can
give him in this life, right? That’s why all of this appeals. All men are both unwilling and unable to offer
anything worthy to God that could in any sense please God or cause God to bless them. This notion that you have so much goodness
in yourself that you can literally speak your desires out, and God somehow jumps out of
the little Genie lamp and gives you everything that you desire because you’re such a noble
person, created to be a winner and a champion, is a lie right out of hell. And the movement doesn’t understand depravity,
and that’s where all understanding of the doctrines of grace have to start. The doctrine of total depravity, the inability
and unwillingness of anyone to come to God, is the most attacked doctrine, either on purpose
or ignorantly. The most attacked doctrine is the doctrine
that says man can do nothing, because every other religion in the world except true Christianity
says man can and must do something. There are only two religions in the world
– divine accomplishment and human achievement. Divine accomplishment is true Biblical Christianity. Every other religion is some form of human
achievement. The most attacked doctrine, and we heard it
was attacked and continues to be attacked by those people who are in the progeny of
Finney and others. The idea that man is dead, blind, helpless,
hopeless, that he’s an eternal loser is something that men don’t want to acknowledge. It is however the most distinctively Christian
doctrine because if it is true that only the gospel is the truth, this is foundational
to the gospel. It is the one area where you’re going to
find a truly distinctive view of man as totally depraved. It is the most contrary Christian doctrine
as well because it goes against the grain of the dominant, human, internal feature,
and that is self-justification, self-defense, and pride. Men do not want to recognize they are bad
to the bone, that they are corrupt to the bottom, that they are incurably hostile to
God and good, that they are self-centered fatally, that they are self-deceived. They are superficially willing to acknowledge
their sins. They are sinners in their sins. They will admit that. But they will not see themselves as sinners
in their goodness, and they will not see themselves as sinners in their religion. Their thoughts about God, they don’t believe
to be sinful but noble. False religion then becomes the most deceiving
and the most heinous of all sins and is of course a violation of the first and great
commandment. Religion doesn’t cancel out the doctrine
of total depravity. It proves it. Preachers like Joel Osteen and others must,
I think, hate the true God. They wouldn’t say that. I think they hate the true God. I think they hate the true Christ. That’s why they mask the true God. That’s why they hide the true Christ from
the eyes of their followers, and they put in His place an idol of their own making. I can’t think of anything worse than that. According to Scripture, the Lord does not
offer sinners what already enslaves them, their own lusts and desires. The Lord offers the sinner the gospel, and
with it the hope of being rescued from what enslaves them. The gospel calls the sinner to flee, deny
self, run from judgment, die to all that is in the world, escape hell, and gain heaven. In the self God movement, you change your
own life. You don’t need God. You don’t need Christ. You don’t need the cross. You’ve got the power in you to do it all. In the book Your Best Life Now, Osteen says,
“God wants this to be the best time of your life. Happy, successful, fulfilled individuals have
learned how to live their best life now. As you put the principles found in these pages
to work today, you will begin living your best life now.” If that doesn’t sound like Satan, I don’t
know what does. That’s what the devil would say. This is your best life now. Does that sound like, “Eat, drink,” and
what? “Be merry.” This is it. By the way, there’s no mention of Christ
in that book. It’s not part of that. Satan offers sin’s pleasures for a season. But if you’re a child of God, forgiven and
headed for heaven, this life is not your best. This is good. This is not our best. In fact, I don’t even want to invest too
much hope in what this life can be. Do you? It is pretty disappointing. And I’ve experienced the best of it, but
the older I get, the larger the accumulation of disappointments becomes. People say to me sometimes, “You’re not
as funny as you used to be.” And my answer is, “Life isn’t as funny
as it used to be.” Of course, I was funny when I was 18. Everything was funny when I was 18. And it was pretty funny when I was 25. It’s not so funny now. And it’s not because of what goes on at
a distance. It’s what… It’s because of what I’ve experienced
in my life. This is not my best life now. My best life is to come. And I want to take you to a text of Scripture. I really do, and I’m going to do it right
now, 1 Peter 1, and of course, I had the resurrection on my mind preparing for next week. This passage is such a wonderful passage,
1 Peter 1, 3 through 5. I want to turn the corner, forget what we’ve
heard up to this point, and look at a text of Scripture that puts our focus where it
needs to be. For those who are truly the children of God
in Christ, this is the worst we will ever know, this is the worst we will ever experience. Our best life is to come when this life is
over. And whatever this life is, it’s not worthy
to be compared, right? That’s why the Apostle Paul says, “We
look for that which is to come.” I love that whole section in 2 Corinthians,
chapter 4 and on into chapter 5 where he celebrates the life to come, but so does Peter. Let me read these verses. This is… This is essentially a doxology at the outset
of his epistle. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living
hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which
is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who
are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed
in the last time. Now you know where we’re going, right? Peter is writing to some scattered believers. They are aliens, and they are identified as
aliens in the very outset of this chapter, “To those who reside as aliens scattered,
who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God.” So they are the elect, who are scattered. They are strangers in the world. They are clearly under persecution. That comes out all through the epistle. Chapter 2, verse 20. “What credit is there if, when you sin and
are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer
for it, you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose,”
called to suffer for righteousness’ sake. And that becomes a theme throughout this epistle. Chapter 3, verse 13, “Who is there to harm
you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake
of righteousness, you are blessed.” And he repeats the same thing in chapter 4,
and then he culminates his look at that in 5:10, “After you have suffered a while,
the Lord make you perfect.” So he’s writing to some harassed, hated,
abused, intimidated, troubled elect, who are out of their normal environment, living in
very grave difficulty and having their lives on the line. He doesn’t say to them, “By the way, if
you can just somehow find the inner power in you to visualize a better life, you can
create your world the way you want it to be.” That is ludicrous. He calls rather for a doxology. He calls on them to lift up their hearts in
praise, jubilant praise, jubilant worship of God, who has promised them eternal joy,
eternal blessing. He is calling on them and calling on us to
adore God now for the life to come. Now the doxology centers on one great reality,
and it’s in the beginning of verse 4. Let’s just notice the phrase, “to obtain
an inheritance,” and in the original the verb isn’t there. He is focusing on our inheritance. The word means essentially “a fully realized
and possessed gift.” It doesn’t refer to the title to something
but the actuality of it. You have an inheritance. It is an already possessed inheritance. He is calling on these troubled believers,
living their worst life now to suffer patiently, to suffer unto maturity or perfection, to
wait with hearts full of exuberant praise for the eternal inheritance that the Lord
has promised them, the inheritance that Christ has purchased for them. And this is a call for exuberant joy, songs
of joy in the night of despair. In this our worse life, we are the children
of God, heirs of God, joint heirs of Christ, and we live in hope of an unimaginable and
eternal inheritance. We’re like a – I don’t know – like
a childish prince, who is the possessor of the kingdom because the king has died, but
until he becomes mature, he will not be able to grasp the enormity of his inheritance. We have only a little understanding. Like children of the great eternal king, we
have no real, full comprehension of what we will receive in God’s time. Too much expectation in the present will steal
that joy. Sometimes when we’re talking to pastors,
we talk about ministerial burnout. And some people have suggested that this is
a problem of disappointment with people. This is a problem because some pastors are
beleaguered because of the way they are treated. In my assessment of ministerial burnout, weariness
in well doing, is not so much related to what people do to you, as it is related to what
you expect them to do to you. And the lower your expectations the less likely
you are to be disappointed. And if you understand at the very beginning
that you are a clay pot, that helps. 2 Corinthians 4, “We are an earthen vessel.” And in case you were wondering about that,
to compare that with what Paul wrote to Timothy. He said, “In a house there are vessels of
gold and silver, valuable, and then there are those of wood and clay.” And the gold and silver are vessels unto honor. That’s what you serve the food with. And the ones of wood and clay are unto dishonor. It isn’t that they are just limited in their
use. They are used for dishonorable purposes. The good stuff puts the food in. The bad stuff takes the results out. You understand? This is a pre-plumbing world. I want to help you with this. And when the Apostle Paul is trying to identify
what he is, he doesn’t say, “I am gold plate or a silver plate,” he says, “I’m
a garbage bucket.” Now with that kind of expectation, you are
very unlikely to be severely disappointed if things don’t go well. By the way, that’s what was said of Luther. He was a privy pot. And he probably would have agreed. You just don’t want to invest too much into
this life of expectation. This is not your best life now, but if you
want to make the most out of it, understand that, and don’t fool yourself into some
idiocy of thinking that by visualization and some faith energy in you, you can recreate
your world, or you’re going to crash and burn seriously. And please stop sending money to the people
at the top of that scheme if you’re doing that. Paul says in Ephesians 1:18, “I pray that
the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of
His calling, and what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance….” Paul says, “I’m not telling you, you should
look for anything here. You need to look for everything in the life
to come. I want you to get a grip on what is waiting
you.” What is this inheritance tied to? It is an inheritance – if you’ll jump
down to verse 5 – that is described as a “salvation ready to be revealed in the last
time.” I think we all understand there are three
dimensions to salvation, right? We have been saved from the penalty of sin
by the work of justification at the point of faith and regeneration. We are being saved from the power of sin through
the process of sanctification by the Spirit of God through the Word. We will one day be saved from the presence
of sin through glorification. We understand the full range of salvation,
so that we understand what it means when it says it’s a salvation ready to be revealed,
fully disclosed only at the last time, right? We haven’t yet entered into the fullness. “We are nearer,” Paul says, “than when
we first believed,” but we haven’t arrived yet. Nonetheless what we want to do is keep our
focus, our eyes, the eyes of our hearts on that final glory, the riches of the glory
of His inheritance. What will that mean? You hear all kinds of things when you talk
to people about heaven. Some people say, “I don’t know what heaven
will be like. I’d get kind of bored after a while. I don’t know what we’ll do up there. If we play a game, everyone will win. Everyone knows… I can’t show up at a party and tell something
that nobody has heard. I can’t explain something that nobody knows. What are we going to do? It sounds boring.” And I’ve heard people say, “Well, I… I think when we get there we’re going to
be surprised who’s not there and who’s there.” And my response to that is, I don’t think
that’s going to be the issue. I think when we get there, we’re going to
be surprised that we’re there. I’m going to be shocked. How did this happen? Grace beyond comprehension. But what does it mean to go to heaven? When people ask me, what is attractive about
heaven? I’m okay with the pearls for gates and,
you know, cubed city of the New Jerusalem, layers of transparent gold, and all of those
kinds of things. But what appeals to me about heaven most is
the absence of the curse, the absence of sin, the absence of decay, – all the effects
of fallenness and corruption – the absence of conflict, pain, suffering, sorrow, tears,
discipline, hatred, misunderstanding, weakness, failure, all of that. I can only describe heaven in terms of negatives
because I don’t know what the positive description of the absence of those things would be, except
perfect holiness and perfect joy, limitless joy, limitless holiness, unbounded peace ready
to be revealed in the last time. Paul comes to the end of his life in 2 Timothy
4, and, you know, he’s had a really difficult time. People have been abandoning him, right? He says there, “At my first defense no one
stood with me.” That’s kind of hard to believe, isn’t
it? Everybody who was converted, you know in the
Gentile world, was somehow related back to Paul. And he actually says to Timothy, “All who
are in Asia Minor have forsaken me, except the house of Onesiphorus.” And then he says, “No one stood by me at
my first defense.” But in 2 Timothy 4:18, he says, “The Lord
will rescue me from evil and bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom.” That has to be our perspective. Our inheritance is a salvation ready to be
revealed at the last time, the final epic. For us it’s death or the triumphant glorious
return of Christ. This is cause for praise. And so we go back to the beginning of verse
3, “Blessed be…,” and on he goes in this wonderful doxology. Let’s look at it a little more closely. “Blessed be God.” That’s a very Jewish expression – blessed
be God. I think of Psalm 103, “Bless the Lord, O,
my soul.” Or Psalm 34, “I will bless the Lord at all
times.” This was a very common expression the Jews
gave in introducing their worship. But there are some components that then break
out of that beginning. “Blessed be…,” and now I want to show
you a handful of points here, just so you can hang your thoughts on these hooks. We read about the source of our inheritance. We offer this praise because of our inheritance. Let’s break it down to the source, the motive,
the means, the nature, the duration, and even the guarantee of our inheritance. The source of our inheritance, “Blessed
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, God is known as the
Creator. God is known as the Redeemer of Israel. He is known as the God and Father of Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob. But now God is to be known as the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is a repeated designation of God through
the New Testament epistles, in particular Ephesians, Corinthians, and even in Hebrews,
“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” What it’s saying is, God is the God who
is one with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is essentially an expression that follows
up John 10:29, “I and the Father are one.” The God we worship is the God who is the Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, you do not worship the true
and living God unless you identify Him as one with Christ. This is the true God who is one with Christ. Some of the students from the Master’s College
went on a spring break trip to Salt Lake City to do some witnessing to Mormons, and they
were at the Mormon Temple. And the counter… the counter to these witnessing
young people were some agents of Mormonism who came out, and they were distributing papers
on their supposed theology. And there were papers exalting Christ as Savior. Frighteningly, our students took a look at
these papers a couple of weeks ago, and they had quotes by John MacArthur laid out on the
front. Now what you have to know is that they didn’t
know they were students from our college. This is the standard issue material that they
distribute in front of the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. Now, I met in this church with the leaders. The main writer, Robert Millet, who writes
their theology, which you don’t have a lot of opinions in their theology because you
have these nine guys that decide everything that’s true, but he writes it all. And we sat for hours, and the conclusion we
came to is, you have a different God, you have a different Christ, you have a different
gospel, but other than that. The God of the Bible is a created being. The Christ of the Bible is a created being. The Spirit of the Bible is a created being. And Jesus is not the same as the ultimate
God. He’s a created being. Well, the source of our inheritance, by the
way, is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be that God who has provided this
inheritance. That again talks about source. It’s not the result of our desire. We didn’t activate it. We didn’t generate it. We didn’t make it happen. It came from God. We understand that as sovereign salvation. Why did He do it? What’s the motive? “Who according to His rich mercy” – eleos
– “according to His rich mercy,” this is such a wonderful word. This word refers to someone who is so pitiful
and so helpless, in such horrible condition that he has no hope. Matthew 17:15, “Lord, have mercy on my son,”
said the man. Blind Bartimaeus, “Jesus, Son of David,
have mercy on me.” What could a father do about a lunatic son,
who kept throwing himself into a fire? What could Bartimaeus do about his blindness? What can the sinner do about his sin? The other one in Luke 18 is pounding his chest,
the publican saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” And that’s the one that went home justified. And of course, Micah 7:18 says, “God delights
in mercy.” “His mercy,” Psalm 108 says, “is far
above the heavens.” He is called the Father of mercies. “And His mercies,” says Jeremiah, “are
new every morning.” In that great second chapter of Ephesians,
“Being rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, He made us alive
in Christ, with Christ.” The source then of our eternal inheritance
is God Himself. The motive is mercy. And the only response we can have to mercy
is to give Him glory, right? To give Him praise. We make no contribution to the extension of
mercy. What is the means of this inheritance? The means is given here as well. He caused us to be born again to a living
hope – literally in the Greek, anagennesas, “having regenerated us.” Again, this is a divine work. We were regenerated by the power of God. God regenerates the dead soul. Back to Ephesians, “You were dead in trespasses
and sins.” I love the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus
because Nicodemus says, “What do I need to do to be born again?” Now, he understands that this is an analogical
discussion with spiritual realities in view. He’s not stupid. He knows he’s talking to the teacher in
Israel. And when Jesus says to him, “You need to
be born again,” he knows He’s not talking about going back and being reborn. But he speaks back in analogies. How do I do this? How can I be born again? That is such a basic question. How do I do that? And Jesus says this, “Well, that which is
born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t be amazed that I said to you, ‘You
must be born again.’” But as far as how you do that, “The wind
blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, don’t know where it comes from, where
it’s going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” What? What is His answer? His answer is, you can’t do anything any
more than you can control the wind. You can’t control the Holy Spirit. But you have been, if you are born again,
regenerated by the power of God and the will of God and the purpose of God. How does it happen though? Isn’t there a context in which it happens? Yes, 1 Peter 1:20 to 23, you’re begotten
again by the Word of truth, the hearing of the gospel as we heard from Mike earlier. Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ,
the hearing of the gospel. And at that moment, the marvelous regenerating
power of the Spirit of God, because He wills to do it, gives us life. And this is the means that produces in us
the living hope – that is a hope that never dies. We’re not like all men most miserable because
we have a hope that dies. Look, all the hope you have in this world
will die. All the people who follow Joel Osteen, either
they never get what they wish, which is 99% of the time, and if they happen to be high
enough up the pile that they do get what they wish, eventually it is gone. If it’s all in this world, if all your hope
is here, it will die. If it hasn’t died, it will die. But we have a hope that will not die, a living
hope given to us because we have been given life, regenerated, we now have eternal life. And for us to die is merely gain to enter
into the fullness of that life. The source is God. The motive is mercy. The means is regeneration. And then just a word about the nature of our
inheritance, the nature of it, look at verse 4, it is imperishable, undefiled, and will
not fade away. I, if I had time, could go through those words. It’s enough to say imperishable means exactly
what it says. Undefiled means exactly what it says – unpolluted,
unstained, will not fade away. That is it’s not subject to decay. That word would be used to describe flowers
that fade and decay. This inheritance that we’re waiting for
never dies. We have a living hope in a living inheritance. It never diminishes, never loses its supernatural
glory. For how long? The duration of it, the fifth thought – well,
the duration of it is forever. It is reserved in heaven for you. It’s reserved for you in heaven, safely
in the eternal place. Heaven will never be invaded. Its treasure will never be plundered, laid
waste, defaced, or stolen. Jesus said it this way, if you lay up your
treasure in heaven, it will never what? Rust. Thieves will never steal it. And you will, by the way, never be disqualified
because your inheritance, verse 5, and you along with it are protected by the power of
God through faith. The faith that He gives you to believe is
a permanent faith, not a temporary faith. This is the perseverance of the saints, the
security of the believer. The doctrines of grace just pour through this
wonderful, wonderful text. Well, we have all of that – this glorious
inheritance with all of these components laid out for us in this doxology. What is the guarantee? The guarantee at the end of verse 3, “through
the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” The cross is validated in the resurrection. The stupendous historical event opens heaven
to all the elect, fixes their inheritance and their eternal joy. This is provided for us through the cross
and validated in the resurrection. The Scripture repeatedly says, “God raised
Jesus from the dead,” and in raising Him up secured the inheritance of all who died
in Him and rose in Him. The lie is that this is your best life now. This isn’t it. We just saw what it is, and it’s the life
to come. And the longer I live and the older I get,
the sweeter this becomes to me. My faith gets stronger as the years go by
because as he says it a little later in that same section, every time faith is tested and
survived you know you have a supernatural faith. That’s what testing your faith does. Somebody said to me today, “You know, so
and so is struggling with assurance of salvation.” And I said, “Well, that’s probably because
that person hasn’t had enough tests.” Why? “Rejoice,” verse 6 says, “for a little
while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your
faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire,
may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” You know what you want out of this life? You want trials and you want suffering because
when you come through the other side and you know your faith is in tact, the gift of God
to you is assurance that your faith is the real thing. Father, we thank You for the time that we’ve
been able to spend together in this passage and just lightly touch the surface of this. We don’t hesitate to name names and speak
of those who are a danger to the cause of Christ and to the reception of the kingdom
in this time and place. We know that Scripture warns against false
teachers and names them as well, and Lord, we just… we ask You to exalt those that
are faithful. Exalt the truth, Lord, and bring down error. Make it clear. We thank You for the gift that You’ve given
to us in giving us the Holy Spirit, and with the Holy Spirit comes discernment. We have been delivered from error to the truth,
as Paul put it in Romans. Thank you for these days of fellowship and
learning and days of enhanced and enriched worship and praise. For that comes out of deeper knowledge of
the truth. We want to worship you in spirit and in truth. So fill us with the truth that our worship
may be informed. The more we know about You, the more praise
will rise from our hearts to your glory. That’s our prayer. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

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  1. Why are there so few teachers of such clarity of God's truth and God's word like John MacArthur? The man has blessed me in his teaching for years because he continually points to Christ, not himself. And believe me, I'm extremely careful of creating a personality cult around any teaches and preacher.

  2. I am totally blessed by Pastor John MacArthur, and I thank God for his mighty, uncompromising, authoritative and knowledgeable preaching of the Word of God. He has opened my eyes to the doctrinal error being taught in the world today. His passion, commitment and leadership in training the next generation of young preaching men is truly a work of God. I pray that God would send one of those young Pastors to my neck of the woods, so I can attend a Church that is built on the Word of God, and where I can grow in the TRUTH! I pray that same prayer for every true believer, so God's Will be done.

  3. Ron L Hubbard religion of Scientology ''be your own god'',He died having 650 million bucks,his game was if you want to get rich invent a religion.

  4. Those who vote thumbs down I believe they have NO clue who Christ /God. Is.. They follow what is popular with the world.

  5. There is no other Pastor like John MacArthur. This world is getting to be an awful place. I never have to worry about what he preaches being anything but the truth. Thank you Lord God for sending such a teacher to Glorify you in all the right ways. 🙌

  6. The Secret is actually Law of Attraction and the Prosperity Gospel together. There is a whole movie cslled The Secret.
    I watched it and told my daughter who is into this garbage how very false this was. I had to completely disassociate myself from her.
    It is totally Satanic. It is actually putting YOU as God and NOT letting God be God in your life.
    Run for the hills from this

  7. I just came across some one warning about John mcarthur dr gene Kim or something I just got back into the word after walking away from people like him and almost fell into it again thank God for John mcarthur

  8. John Mac appears to relish his role as a star boundary marker, but he doesn't lift a finger to try to understand the hearts and minds of those he throws under the bus. He has a zero core value for Christian unity, and this is a part of the Bible he would rather not work to honor. John is the master of foolish presumption, both in theological premise and in his routine, casual labeling of false teachers.

  9. I can’t understand why he spends so much time describing, this evil."…I say let’s continually keep her eyes on Christ and we know we don’t have to be worried or concerned about stuff like this

  10. BOY YALL HERE DONT REALIZE HOW MUCH JHON MACARTHUR IS FAKE HE IS A CALVINIST LIKE A CULT HE THINK ALL CALVINIST GOING TO HE AS HEAVEN THATS NUTS

  11. Praise the Lord for the Truth brought to us as Children of God by Dr. John MacArthur. Thank you Jesus! Thank you Holy Spirit and God our Father in Heaven! Thank you for our eternal inheritance and forever security through Your Grace through our faith in Jesus Christ!

  12. He has just named the false teachers, he is not afraid of them, Past MacArthur is a big force in my relationship with the lord.

  13. This guy has got the secret all wrong and I feel sorry he wasted his time trying to prove ONE perspective wrong.

    Whose to say his is right?…

  14. JM…heard him on a past recording the other day saying he doesn’t recall when he was born again. Wow is all I can say. His works-based gospel is causing an enormous amount of people to be lost. Believe and trust in Jesus alone for your salvation.

    “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”
    ‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:30-34‬ ‭KJV‬‬
    https://www.bible.com/1/act.16.30-34.kjv

    “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
    ‭‭Titus‬ ‭3:5-7‬ ‭KJV‬‬
    https://www.bible.com/1/tit.3.5-7.kjv

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭5:24‬ ‭KJV‬‬
    https://www.bible.com/1/jhn.5.24.kjv

    “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭6:29‬ ‭KJV‬‬
    https://www.bible.com/1/jhn.6.29.kjv

    “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭6:35-37‬ ‭KJV‬‬
    https://www.bible.com/1/jhn.6.35-37.kjv

    Praise Jesus Christ, my Lord, my God, my Savior!! He did it all! I don’t “clean up my life” in order to get ready to believe and accept Him. I come as I am…warts and all, to the throne of His Grace and Majesty…wherever I am, in my car, living room, gym….and tell the Lord Jesus Christ that I am a sinner needing Him to save me…that I BELIEVE in Him AS GOD IN THE FLESH, that I trust that He will accomplish everything He said He would and that I am fully persuaded He is God and the only way to Heaven where He is.
    That’s it folks. You are saved by a simple child-like faith in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
    If you believe Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, and asked Him to save you…THEN YOU ALREADY REPENTED.
    REPENT is not “repenting of your sins” like you hear the Churches say today…Repent is simply turning from what you believed in, to Christ. It’s a change of mind.

    Anyway, I went long on this.
    God bless you and your family and I hope you made the most important decision you’ll ever make…TODAY!

    Leave you with this concerning works and how works and being good doesn’t save you!

    “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:1-8‬ ‭KJV‬‬
    https://www.bible.com/1/rom.4.1-8.kjv

  15. It is not my intention to slander anyone or be hateful, but as someone who used to listen to J.Mac I would advise those who take whatever he says as 100% truth, WITHOUT reading the Bible and asking the Holy spirit for understanding for themselves, to please start doing so. My reason for this is the fact that I was led to find out (surely by the grace of God) that his doctrine contains leaven. See the links below:

    http://www.standingthegap.org/McArthur.htm

    https://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/johnmacarthur.htm

    May the Lord bless you whosoever sees this.

  16. The Lord saved me out of the same “personal development” path I was on. Then I’ve read the Bible and the Holy Spirit made it clear that it is the truth. That was 2017. But when I saw the same influences in mainstream Christianity I started wondering what Bible (if any) they are reading and of what spirit they are that promote the prosperity gospel. Jesus promised us persecution, because the world will hate us as we are not of the world. Things aren’t gonna get better only worse, until His glorious coming.

  17. This message is a great one….
    However, with all due respect, the message of the shack is actually that God will help us through the ugly things we must go through in this life….
    I haven't read the other book mentioned, but I have read the shack, and it has NOTHING to do with getting what you want….unless anyone wants their little daughter to be kidnapped, raped, and brutally murdered….and then having to live with that harsh reality….having to deal with the anger and sadness of a life lost so tragically…..but, you would know that if you had read it….

  18. I dont live in California, so I have to watch Pastor MacArthur here, I have a question though, whats the view on John the Baptist being born with out original sin? The book of Luke leads me to believe it is possible. Any thoughts?

  19. Brother John has been a faithful pastor for many years . chalenging the Body of Christ. confront error. keeping us on course. has done a great job praise the LORD.

  20. I can personally testify that the Secret is satanism 101. The reason that it was so easy to slip into was because of my charismatic background and the similarities therein. Yet word faith, the Law of Attraction and satanism all share the same basic tenets………putting “I” / “me” first!!!!!!!
    This book, video and belief system leads straight to the occult.

  21. Does he still believe that you need to be baptized in order to be saved? If so he's preaching FALSE Doctrine and is no better than any of these other people he's talking about.

  22. I understand what you are speaking of. It also has to do with the circles you hang around in. Its easy to point fingers at others and naming them than pointing fingers at ourselves and naming ourselves. And its easier to laugh at someone else. Where are you falling short?
    There are many Christians that are looking for purpose because of the person that God created them to be. I know many who are humble and have a deep faith.
    Many people watch TV and play games on their phone rather than using that time for others.

  23. This confess and possess doctrine is very popular. You can't express how you're feeling if you're sick because that would be unbelief; ask once but then just praise God for the answer. Forget about what your body or brain are telling you, don't agree with the Devil. This kind of teaching makes the Christian life a nightmare.

  24. I've been to Lakewood and it's a show for sure. It's all about the money to the Osteens. He has bodyguards that carry him away right after his sermon so he doesnt have to mingle with his parishioners. Haha

  25. Love me some MacArthur. I have listened to this sermon more than a few times. Came from a charismatic background and everything he says about it is spot on. Had an Assembly preacher say the denomination had done a study and that over 75% of the church members wanted power over a personal relationship with God

  26. I love how you exalt yourself by putting down others.
    Rather than preaching love and taking the good/truth from it , sifting out the misconceptions and the fallacies, and putting it in all context, you use judgement and fear. Great tactic by you!

  27. Jean lui dit : Maître, nous avons vu un homme qui chasse des démons en ton nom; et nous l'en avons empêché, parce qu'il ne nous suit pas. 39 Ne l'en empêchez pas, répondit Jésus, car il n'est personne qui, faisant un miracle en mon nom, puisse aussitôt après parler mal de moi. 40 Qui n'est pas contre nous est pour nous. Come on, John, don't talk against your Brother in Christ. It's a sin my brother. You think Joël is rich ? How about Salomon ?

  28. Repentance is the translation of a Greek word 'metanoia,' meaning 'to have another mind,' 'to change the mind,' and is used in the New Testament to indicate a change of mind in respect of sin, self, and of God. Every person has sinned and come short of God's glory. (Romans 3:23) The Gospel: Christ died for our sins and rose again. (1 Corinthians 15:2-4) Upon trusting the Gospel a person is sealed by the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13)

  29. I have not listened to sermon yet but laughed when I read becoming a better you. It sounds like a Joel Osteen sermon. I read title again to make sure I read it correctly.

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