Tag Archives: John

John MacArthur – Knowing God

 

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).

Your desire to know God should motivate you toward fervent prayer.

Man’s highest purpose is to know God. Jesus prayed to the Father, saying, “This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Of us He said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me” (John 10:14). John added that “we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 5:20).

Every Christian knows God through salvation, but beyond that lies an intimate knowledge of God. That should be the quest of every believer. Moses prayed, “Let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight” (Ex. 33:13). David entreated his son Solomon to “know the God of [his] father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind” (1 Chron. 28:9). Even the apostle Paul, who perhaps knew Christ more intimately than any human being thus far, never lost his passion for an even deeper knowledge (Phil. 3:10).

Such passion is the driving force behind powerful prayer. Those who know God best pray most often and most fervently. Their love for Him compels them to know and serve Him better.

How about you? Is your knowledge of God intimate? Does the character of your prayers reveal that you’re in the process of knowing God?

Paul’s admonitions to “pray at all times in the Spirit” and “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18) presuppose that you know God and desire to see His will fulfilled in His people. If not, you’ll never appreciate the importance of interceding on behalf of others.

Suggestions for Prayer

The martyred missionary Jim Elliot once prayed, “Lord, make my life a testimony to the value of knowing you.” Let that be your prayer each day.

For Further Study

Read 1 Chronicles 28.

  • What did God forbid David to do?
  • What would happen to Solomon if he failed to know and serve God?

John MacArthur – Taking Spiritual Inventory

 

“This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father . . . to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27).

God doesn’t tolerate compromise with the world.

Keeping yourself unstained by the world is an important test of your spiritual condition. The apostle John said, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). At first glance that might sound contradictory since God Himself so loved the world that He gave His Son to die for it (John 3:16). But John 3:16 refers to the inhabited earth—the people for whom Christ died. First John 2:15 refers to the evil world system in which we live, which includes the life-styles, philosophies, morality, and ethics of our sinful culture. That world and everything it produces is passing away (1 John 2:16-17).

James 4:4 says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Those are strong words but compromise is intolerable to God. You can’t be His friend and a friend of the world at the same time!

Separation from the world is the final element of true religion mentioned in James chapter one. Before progressing to chapter two, take a final spiritual inventory based on the checklist provided in verses 26-27: (1) Do you control your tongue? Review the quality of your conversation often. What does it reveal about the condition of your heart? Are there speech habits you need to change? (2) Do you demonstrate love for others? Do you have a sincere desire to help those in need? When you do help, are your motives pure, or are you simply trying to sooth your conscience or make others think more highly of you? (3) Do you remain unstained by the world? What is your attitude toward the world? Do you want to win it for Christ and remain unstained by its evil influences, or do you want to get as much out of it as you possibly can?

Suggestions for Prayer

If your spiritual inventory reveals any sinful motives or practices, confess them and begin to change today.

For Further Study

Reread James 1:19-27, reviewing the principles you’ve learned from those verses.

John MacArthur – Speaking the Truth in Love (John)

 

The twelve apostles included “John” (Matt. 10:2).

Seek to maintain a proper balance between truth and love.

Some people picture John as overly sentimental and egotistical, lying with his head on Jesus’ shoulder and constantly referring to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. But that’s not an accurate characterization of one of the “Son of thunder”! He loved Jesus deeply and was amazed that Jesus loved him—especially after he wanted to burn up the Samaritans and then secure a prominent place for himself in Christ’s kingdom. Calling himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (e.g., John 21:20) was simply his way of marvelling over God’s grace in his life.

As much as he loved Jesus, John never allowed his love to deteriorate into mere sentimentalism. In fact, the proper balance between truth and love is the hallmark of his ministry. In his writings we find the word love more than eighty times and witness nearly seventy times. His profound love for Christ compelled him to be a teacher of love and a witness to the truth. To him, obedience to the truth was the highest expression of love. As 1 John 2:5 says, “Whoever keeps [God’s] word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.”

John’s greatest joy was to know that his spiritual children were walking in the truth (3 John 4). He firmly denounced anyone who attempted to divert them from that goal by denying or distorting God’s Word.

Today, media talk shows and other influences have blurred the lines between opinion and truth. One man’s opinion is purported to be as good as the next, and there’s little talk about what’s right or wrong.

Truth suffers even within the church because many Christians are willing to compromise it to avoid upsetting people. They forget that true love flourishes only in the atmosphere of biblical truth (Phil. 1:9).

Amid such confusion, God calls you to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). The world doesn’t need another opinion—it needs God’s absolute and authoritative Word!

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the gift of His love and the power of His truth. Ask Him to make you a person of ever-increasing biblical integrity.

For Further Study

Read Revelation 2:1-7.

  • What strengths did the church at Ephesus have?
  • What did it lack?
  • What did Jesus require of it?

John MacArthur – Leading Others to Christ (Andrew)

 

The twelve apostles included “Andrew” (Matt. 10:2).

Leading others to Christ should be a top priority in your life.

Andrew was Peter’s brother and a native of Bethsaida of Galilee. From the very start we see him leading people to Christ—beginning with his own brother.

The gospel of John records his first encounter with Jesus: “John [the Baptist] was standing with two of his disciples (Andrew and John), and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. . . . One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus” (John 1:35-37, 40-42). Later Jesus called both Andrew and Peter to become His disciples, and they immediately left their fishing nets to follow Him (Matt. 4:20).

Our next glimpse of Andrew is in John 6:8-9. It was late in the day and thousands of people who were following Jesus were beginning to get hungry, but there wasn’t enough food to feed them. Then Andrew brought to Jesus a young boy with five barley loaves and two fish. From that small lunch Jesus created enough food to feed the entire crowd!

Andrew also appears in John 12:20-22, which tells of some Greeks who were traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast. They came to Philip and requested to see Jesus. Philip took them to Andrew, who apparently took them to Jesus.

Andrew didn’t always know how Jesus would deal with a particular person or situation, but he kept right on bringing them to Him anyway. That’s a characteristic every believer should have. Your spiritual gifts might differ from others, but your common goal is to make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20), and that begins with leading sinners to Christ. Make that your priority today!

Suggestions for Prayer; When was the last time you told an unbeliever about Jesus? Pray for an opportunity to do so soon.

For Further Study; Do you know how to present the gospel clearly and accurately? As a review read Romans 3:19-28, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Ephesians 2:8-10, and Titus 3:4-7.

John MacArthur – The Priority of Spiritual Unity

 

“The names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-gatherer; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:2-4).

Unity in the Spirit is the key to a church’s overall effectiveness.

Unity is a crucial element in the life of the church—especially among its leadership. A unified church can accomplish great things for Christ, but disunity can cripple or destroy it. Even the most orthodox churches aren’t immune to disunity’s subtle attack because it often arises from personality clashes or pride rather than doctrinal issues.

God often brings together in congregations and ministry teams people of vastly different backgrounds and temperaments. That mix produces a variety of skills and ministries but it also produces the potential for disunity and strife. That was certainly true of the disciples, which included an impetuous fisherman like Peter; two passionate and ambitious “sons of thunder” like James and John; an analytical, pragmatic, and pessimistic man like Philip; a racially prejudiced man like Bartholomew; a despised tax collector like Matthew; a political Zealot like Simon; and a traitor like Judas, who was in it only for the money and eventually sold out for thirty pieces of silver.

Imagine the potential for disaster in a group like that! Yet their common purpose transcended their individual differences, and by His grace the Lord accomplished through them what they never could have accomplished on their own. That’s the power of spiritual unity!

As a Christian, you’re part of a select team that is accomplishing the world’s greatest task: finishing the work Jesus began. That requires unity of purpose and effort. Satan will try to sow seeds of discord, but you must do everything possible to heed Paul’s admonition to be “of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, and intent on one purpose” (Phil. 2:2).

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray daily for unity among the leaders and congregation of your church.

For Further Study

Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, noting how Paul addressed the issue of disunity in the Corinthian church.

 

John MacArthur – Avoiding Indiscriminate Love

 

“This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” (Phil. 1:9).

Christian love operates within the parameters of Biblical knowledge and spiritual discernment.

As a Christian, you are a repository of divine love. More than anything else, your love for God and for other believers marks you as a true disciple of Jesus Christ (John 13:35).

In addition to possessing God’s love, you have the privilege and responsibility of expressing it to others on His behalf. That’s a sacred trust. Paul qualifies it in Philippians 1:9, which tells us love is to operate within the sphere of biblical knowledge and spiritual discernment. Those are the parameters that govern God’s love.

No matter how loving an act or word might seem, if it violates knowledge and discernment, it is not true Christian love. Second John 5-11 illustrates that principle. Apparently some believers who lacked discernment were hosting false teachers in the name of Christian love and hospitality. John sternly warned them, saying, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring [sound doctrine], do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds” (vv. 10-11). That might sound extreme or unloving but the purity of God’s people was at stake.

In 2 Thessalonians 3:5-6 after praying for the Thessalonians’ love to increase, Paul then commanded them to keep aloof from so- called Christians who were disregarding sound teaching. That’s not contradictory because Christian love guards sound doctrine and holy living.

Unfortunately, today it is common for Christians to compromise doctrinal purity in the name of love and unity, or to brand as unloving some practices that Scripture clearly commands. Both are wrong and carry serious consequences if not corrected.

Be thoughtful in how you express your love. Abundantly supply it in accord with biblical knowledge and discernment. Excellence and righteousness will result (Phil. 1:10-11).

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the love He has given you through His Spirit (Rom. 5:5).
  • Ask for opportunities to demonstrate Christ’s love to others today.
  • Pray that your love will always be governed by deep convictions grounded in God’s truth.

For Further Study

What do the following passages teach about love? How can you apply them to your life? Romans 12:9-10; 5:5; 1 John 4:7-10; Galatians 5:22; 1 Peter 1:22; 4:8.

 

John MacArthur – God’s Final Revelation

John MacArthur

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2).

Jesus not only brought but in fact was God’s full and final revelation.

A Samaritan woman declared, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us” (John 4:25). The expectation of that day, even among the Samaritans, was that Messiah would unfold the full and final revelation of God. The Holy Spirit, through the writer of Hebrews, affirms that to be true: “God . . . in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2).

The Old Testament had given divine revelation in bits and pieces. Every piece was true, yet incomplete. But When Jesus came, the whole picture became clear, and though rejected by His own people, He was, in fact, the fulfillment of the messianic hope they had cherished for so many centuries.

The Old Testament age of promise ended when Jesus arrived. He is God’s final word: “As many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20).

God fully expressed Himself in His Son. That’s why John said, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:14, 18). Paul added that in Christ “all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).

The practical implications of that truth are staggering. Since Christ is the fullness of divine revelation, you need nothing more. In Him you have been made complete (Col. 2:10), and have been granted everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). His Word is sufficient, needing no additions or amendments.

Suggestion for Prayer; Ask God to teach you how to rely more fully on your resources in Christ.

For Further Study; Read John 1:1-18 as a reminder of the fullness of God’s revelation in His Son.

John MacArthur – Principles for Spiritual Victory

John MacArthur

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10).

You can be victorious!

This month we’ve learned many things about spiritual warfare that I pray will better equip you for victory in your Christian life. In concluding our brief study of Ephesians 6:10-18, here are some key principles I want you to remember:

  1. Remember that Satan is a defeated foe. Jesus came to destroy his works (1 John 3:8) and will someday cast him into eternal hell (Rev. 20:10).
  2. Remember the power of Christ in your life. John said, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The same power that defeated Satan indwells you. Consequently, you are never alone or without divine resources.
  3. Remember to resist Satan. You have the power to resist him, so don’t acquiesce to him by being ignorant of his schemes or deliberately exposing yourself to temptation.
  4. Keep your spiritual armor on at all times. It’s foolish to enter combat without proper protection.
  5. Let Christ control your attitudes and actions. The spiritual battle we’re in calls for spiritual weapons (2 Cor. 10:3-4), so take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (v. 5). Feed on the Word and obey its principles.
  6. Pray, pray, pray! Prayer unleashes the Spirit’s power. Be a person of fervent and faithful prayer (cf. James 5:16).

God never intended for you to live in spiritual defeat. I pray you’ll take advantage of the resources He has supplied that your life might honor Him. Enjoy sweet victory every day!

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His promise of ultimate victory in Christ.

For Further Study

Read Ephesians 6:10-18.

  • Review each piece of armor.
  • Is any piece missing from your personal defense system? If so, determine what you will do to correct the deficiency.

John MacArthur – Knowing God

John MacArthur

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).

Your desire to know God should motivate you toward fervent prayer.

Man’s highest purpose is to know God. Jesus prayed to the Father, saying, “This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Of us He said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me” (John 10:14). John added that “we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 5:20).

Every Christian knows God through salvation, but beyond that lies an intimate knowledge of God. That should be the quest of every believer. Moses prayed, “Let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight” (Ex. 33:13). David entreated his son Solomon to “know the God of [his] father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind” (1 Chron. 28:9). Even the apostle Paul, who perhaps knew Christ more intimately than any human being thus far, never lost his passion for an even deeper knowledge (Phil. 3:10).

Such passion is the driving force behind powerful prayer. Those who know God best pray most often and most fervently. Their love for Him compels them to know and serve Him better.

How about you? Is your knowledge of God intimate? Does the character of your prayers reveal that you’re in the process of knowing God?

Paul’s admonitions to “pray at all times in the Spirit” and “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18) presuppose that you know God and desire to see His will fulfilled in His people. If not, you’ll never appreciate the importance of interceding on behalf of others.

Suggestions for Prayer; The martyred missionary Jim Elliot once prayed, “Lord, make my life a testimony to the value of knowing you.” Let that be your prayer each day.

For Further Study; Read 1 Chronicles 28.

  • What did God forbid David to do?
  • What would happen to Solomon if he failed to know and serve God?

John MacArthur – Taking Spiritual Inventory

John MacArthur

“This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father . . . to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27).

Keeping yourself unstained by the world is an important test of your spiritual condition. The apostle John said, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). At first glance that might sound contradictory since God Himself so loved the world that He gave His Son to die for it (John 3:16). But John 3:16 refers to the inhabited earth–the people for whom Christ died. First John 2:15 refers to the evil world system in which we live, which includes the life-styles, philosophies, morality, and ethics of our sinful culture. That world and everything it produces is passing away (1 John 2:16-17).

James 4:4 says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Those are strong words but compromise is intolerable to God. You can’t be His friend and a friend of the world at the same time!

Separation from the world is the final element of true religion mentioned in James chapter one. Before progressing to chapter two, take a final spiritual inventory based on the checklist provided in verses 26-27: (1) Do you control your tongue? Review the quality of your conversation often. What does it reveal about the condition of your heart? Are there speech habits you need to change? (2) Do you demonstrate love for others? Do you have a sincere desire to help those in need? When you do help, are your motives pure, or are you simply trying to sooth your conscience or make others think more highly of you? (3) Do you remain unstained by the world? What is your attitude toward the world? Do you want to win it for Christ and remain unstained by its evil influences, or do you want to get as much out of it as you possibly can?

Suggestions for Prayer: If your spiritual inventory reveals any sinful motives or practices, confess them and begin to change today.

For Further Study: Reread James 1:19-27, reviewing the principles you’ve learned from those verses.

John MacArthur – Friendship Evangelism

John MacArthur

The twelve apostles included “Philip” (Matt. 10:3).

Philip was probably a fisherman and acquainted with Peter, Andrew, James, John, Nathanael, and Thomas prior to their all becoming disciples. We first meet him in John 1:43-46, which says, “The next day [after Jesus encountered Peter and Andrew], He purposed to go forth into Galilee, and He found Philip, and Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. . . . Come and see.'”

Those brief verses reveal two things about Philip. First, he had a seeking heart. Apparently he and Nathanael had studied the Scriptures in anticipation of the Messiah’s coming. When Jesus said, “Follow Me,” Philip was ready. Jeremiah 29:13 describes such a person: “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Second, he had the heart of an evangelist. The first thing he did after his own conversion was to lead Nathanael to Christ. Imagine his joy as he told his friend about the One for whom they had searched so long!

I believe friendships usually provide the best context for evangelism because you’re introducing Christ into an already established relationship of love, trust, and mutual respect. After all, it’s only natural to share the joy of your salvation with someone you love.

I pray that your joy overflows to those around you and that they are drawn to Christ because of your testimony.

Suggestions for Prayer: Do you have unsaved friends? If so, be faithful in praying for their salvation and asking the Lord to use you as an instrument of His grace. If not, ask the Lord to bring unsaved people into your life so you can tell them about Christ.

For Further Study: The Samaritan woman Jesus met at Jacob’s well spoke of Him not only to her friends, but also to the entire city. Read John 4:1-42.

•             What analogy did Jesus use in presenting the gospel to her?

•             How did Jesus describe true worshipers?

•             What was the reaction of the city people to the woman’s testimony?

John MacArthur – Speaking the Truth in Love

John MacArthur

The twelve apostles included “John” (Matt. 10:2).

Some people picture John as overly sentimental and egotistical, lying with his head on Jesus’ shoulder and constantly referring to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. But that’s not an accurate characterization of one of the “Son of thunder”! He loved Jesus deeply and was amazed that Jesus loved him–especially after he wanted to burn up the Samaritans and then secure a prominent place for himself in Christ’s kingdom. Calling himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (e.g., John 21:20) was simply his way of marvelling over God’s grace in his life.

As much as he loved Jesus, John never allowed his love to deteriorate into mere sentimentalism. In fact, the proper balance between truth and love is the hallmark of his ministry. In his writings we find the word love more than eighty times and witness nearly seventy times. His profound love for Christ compelled him to be a teacher of love and a witness to the truth. To him, obedience to the truth was the highest expression of love. As 1 John 2:5 says, “Whoever keeps [God’s] word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.”

John’s greatest joy was to know that his spiritual children were walking in the truth (3 John 4). He firmly denounced anyone who attempted to divert them from that goal by denying or distorting God’s Word.

Today, media talk shows and other influences have blurred the lines between opinion and truth. One man’s opinion is purported to be as good as the next, and there’s little talk about what’s right or wrong.

Truth suffers even within the church because many Christians are willing to compromise it to avoid upsetting people. They forget that true love flourishes only in the atmosphere of biblical truth (Phil. 1:9).

Amid such confusion, God calls you to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). The world doesn’t need another opinion–it needs God’s absolute and authoritative Word!

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for the gift of His love and the power of His truth. Ask Him to make you a person of ever-increasing biblical integrity.

For Further Study: Read Revelation 2:1-7.

•             What strengths did the church at Ephesus have?

•             What did it lack?

•             What did Jesus require of it?

John MacArthur – Being Zealous for the Lord

John MacArthur

The twelve apostles included “James the son of Zebedee” (Matt. 10:2).

Like Peter and Andrew, James and John were fishermen. One day as Jesus walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee, He saw them in a boat with their father Zebedee and some hired servants. When Jesus called them to follow Him, they immediately left the boat and went with Him (Mark 1:19- 20).

James and John were zealous and ambitious men–so much so that Jesus nicknamed them “Boanerges,” which means, “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). At times their great zeal got the better of them. In Luke 9:54 for example, after a Samaritan village had rejected some of the disciples, James and John asked Jesus for permission to call down fire from heaven to incinerate the whole village! On another occasion they sent their mother to ask Jesus to give them the most prominent places in His kingdom (Matt. 20:20-28). They wanted power, prestige, and honor, but Jesus promised them suffering and, in James’s case, a martyr’s grave.

James was probably the eldest of the two brothers. His name is listed first whenever their names appear together in Scripture. Perhaps he was also the most zealous and passionate of the two since that he was the first apostle to be martyred. When King Herod decided to persecute the early church, he had James put to death with a sword (Acts 12:2). When he saw how much that pleased the Jewish people, he had Peter arrested but didn’t kill him. Apparently James was a bigger threat than Peter. That tells us something about the powerful ministry he must have had.

Like James and John, some Christians have a zeal that prompts them to run ahead of the Holy Spirit. If that’s true of you, be thankful for your zeal but also be careful to allow the Spirit to govern what you do and say. However, if you’ve slipped into spiritual complacency and your life isn’t much of a threat to Satan’s kingdom, you need to repent and become more zealous for the Lord!

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to give you a holy zeal that’s motivated by love and governed by His Spirit.

For Further Study: Read John 2:12-22.

•             How did Jesus demonstrate His zeal for God’s house?

•             Why were His actions necessary?

John MacArthur – Leading Others to Christ

John MacArthur

The twelve apostles included “Andrew” (Matt. 10:2).

Andrew was Peter’s brother and a native of Bethsaida of Galilee. From the very start we see him leading people to Christ–beginning with his own brother.

The gospel of John records his first encounter with Jesus: “John [the Baptist] was standing with two of his disciples (Andrew and John), and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. . . . One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus” (John 1:35-37, 40-42). Later Jesus called both Andrew and Peter to become His disciples, and they immediately left their fishing nets to follow Him (Matt. 4:20).

Our next glimpse of Andrew is in John 6:8-9. It was late in the day and thousands of people who were following Jesus were beginning to get hungry, but there wasn’t enough food to feed them. Then Andrew brought to Jesus a young boy with five barley loaves and two fish. From that small lunch Jesus created enough food to feed the entire crowd!

Andrew also appears in John 12:20-22, which tells of some Greeks who were traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast. They came to Philip and requested to see Jesus. Philip took them to Andrew, who apparently took them to Jesus.

Andrew didn’t always know how Jesus would deal with a particular person or situation, but he kept right on bringing them to Him anyway. That’s a characteristic every believer should have. Your spiritual gifts might differ from others, but your common goal is to make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20), and that begins with leading sinners to Christ. Make that your priority today!

Suggestions for Prayer: When was the last time you told an unbeliever about Jesus? Pray for an opportunity to do so soon.

For Further Study: Do you know how to present the gospel clearly and accurately? As a review read Romans 3:19-28, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Ephesians 2:8-10, and Titus 3:4-7.

John MacArthur – Exemplary Living

John MacArthur

“Having summoned His twelve disciples” (Matt. 10:1).

Matthew 10:1 is Christ’s official commissioning of the twelve men He hand-picked to serve beside Him during His earthly ministry. Mark 3:13 says He “summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him.” In John 15:16 He tells them, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit.” This is not their call to salvation, but to service. With the exception of Judas, they were already saved. Before the foundation of the world God chose them to be redeemed in Christ, and they had responded accordingly. Now Jesus was calling them to a specific ministry.

God always chooses those who will be saved and serve within His church. But between salvation and service there must be a time of training. For the disciples it was a period of three years in which Jesus Himself trained them as they experienced life together from day to day. That’s the best form of discipleship. Classrooms and lectures are helpful, but there’s no substitute for having a living pattern to follow–someone who models Christian virtue and shows you how to apply biblical principles to your life.

Paul understood the importance of such an example. In Philippians 4:9 he says, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things.” He said to Timothy, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” (1 Tim. 4:12). Peter followed suit, admonishing the church elders not to lord their authority over those in their charge, but to be godly examples (1 Pet. 5:3).

Whether you’ve been a Christian for many years or just a short time, you are an example to someone. People hear what you say and observe how you live. They look for a glimpse of Christ in your life. What do they see? How would they do spiritually if they followed your example perfectly?

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord for those who are examples of godliness to you.

For Further Study:

•             What do these verses indicate about your salvation: John 15:16, Romans 8:28, Ephesians 1:4, and 2 Thessalonians 2:13?

•             According to Ephesians 2:10, why were you saved?

 

John MacArthur – Avoiding Indiscriminate Love

John MacArthur

I pray “that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” (Phil. 1:9).

As a Christian, you are a repository of divine love. More than anything else, your love for God and for other believers marks you as a true disciple of Jesus Christ (John 13:35).

In addition to possessing God’s love, you have the privilege and responsibility of expressing it to others on His behalf. That’s a sacred trust. Paul qualifies it in Philippians 1:9, which tells us love is to operate within the sphere of biblical knowledge and spiritual discernment. Those are the parameters that govern God’s love.

No matter how loving an act or word might seem, if it violates knowledge and discernment, it is not true Christian love. Second John 5-11 illustrates that principle. Apparently some believers who lacked discernment were hosting false teachers in the name of Christian love and hospitality. John sternly warned them, saying, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring [sound doctrine], do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds” (vv. 10-11). That might sound extreme or unloving but the purity of God’s people was at stake.

In 2 Thessalonians 3:5-6 after praying for the Thessalonians’ love to increase, Paul then commanded them to keep aloof from so- called Christians who were disregarding sound teaching. That’s not contradictory because Christian love guards sound doctrine and holy living.

Unfortunately, today it is common for Christians to compromise doctrinal purity in the name of love and unity, or to brand as unloving some practices that Scripture clearly commands. Both are wrong and carry serious consequences if not corrected.

Be thoughtful in how you express your love. Abundantly supply it in accord with biblical knowledge and discernment. Excellence and righteousness will result (Phil. 1:10-11).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the love He has given you through His Spirit (Rom. 5:5).

Ask for opportunities to demonstrate Christ’s love to others today.

Pray that your love will always be governed by deep convictions grounded in God’s truth.

For Further Study:

What do the following passages teach about love? How might you apply them to your life?

Romans 12:8-10

Romans 5:5

1 John 4:7-10

Galatians 5:22

1 Peter 1:22; 4:8

John MacArthur – Embracing the Truth

John MacArthur

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed” (Eph. 1:13).

After stating salvation from God’s perspective in verse 12, Paul here states it from man’s perspective. Faith in Christ is your response to God’s elective purpose in your life. Those two truths–God’s initiative and man’s response–co-exist throughout Scripture.

Paul rightly called the gospel “the message of truth” because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17).

Yet as profound and powerful as God’s truth is, people have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed it for centuries. Some, like Pilate, cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away.

Perhaps you’ve heard someone say, “Jesus may be true for you but that doesn’t mean He has to be true for me.” That view assumes that belief somehow determines truth. But just the opposite is the case. Truth determines the validity of one’s belief. Believing a lie doesn’t make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn’t make it a lie.

The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3).

You enter this day armed with the message of truth and empowered by the Spirit of truth. Truth is your protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Lost souls desperately need to hear that truth. Represent it well and proclaim it with boldness.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank the Lord that by His Spirit He has enabled you to understand His truth (1 Cor. 2:14-16).

Ask for wisdom and boldness to speak His truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

For Further Study:

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 and Acts 17:30-31.

What key elements of the gospel does Paul list?

What is the relationship between Christ’s resurrection and God’s judgment on sinners?

 

 

John MacArthur – God’s Final Revelation

John MacArthur

God’s Final Revelation

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2).

A Samaritan woman declared, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us” (John 4:25). The expectation of that day, even among the Samaritans, was that Messiah would unfold the full and final revelation of God. The Holy Spirit, through the writer of Hebrews, affirms that to be true: “God . . . in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2).

The Old Testament had given divine revelation in bits and pieces. Every piece was true, yet incomplete. But When Jesus came, the whole picture became clear, and though rejected by His own people, He was, in fact, the fulfillment of the messianic hope they had cherished for so many centuries.

The Old Testament age of promise ended when Jesus arrived. He is God’s final word: “As many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20).

God fully expressed Himself in His Son. That’s why John said, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:14, 18). Paul added that in Christ “all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).

The practical implications of that truth are staggering. Since Christ is the fullness of divine revelation, you need nothing more. In Him you have been made complete (Col. 2:10), and have been granted everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). His Word is sufficient, needing no additions or amendments.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Ask God to teach you how to rely more fully on your resources in Christ.

For Further Study:

Read John 1:1-18 as a reminder of the fullness of God’s revelation in His Son.

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Real Love

Our Daily Bread

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. —1 Corinthians 13:7-8

A few years ago, my friend’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, Beth has been forced to make tough decisions about her mom’s care, and her heart has often been broken as she watched her vibrant and fun-loving mom slowly slipping away. In the process, my friend has learned that real love is not always easy or convenient.

After her mom was hospitalized for a couple of days last year, Beth wrote these words to some of her friends: “As backwards as it may seem, I’m very thankful for the journey I am on with my mom. Behind the memory loss, confusion, and utter helplessness is a beautiful person who loves life and is at complete peace. I am learning so much about what real love is, and even though I probably wouldn’t have asked for this journey and the tears and heartache that go with it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

The Bible reminds us that love is patient and kind. It is not self-seeking or easily angered. It “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

Real love originated with our Father, who gave us the gift of His Son. As we seek to show His love to others, we can follow the example of Christ, who laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16-18). —Cindy Hess Kasper

Teach me to love, this is my prayer—

May the compassion of Thy heart I share;

Ready a cup of water to give,

May I unselfishly for others live. —Peterson

Real love is helping others for Jesus’ sake even if they can never return the favor.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 27-29; 1 Peter 3

Joyce Meyer – Open the Door to Christ

Joyce meyer

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.—Revelation 3:20

Jesus is knocking at the door of many hearts right now, but we must remember that the doorknob is on our side. The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman; He will not force His way into our lives. We must welcome Him.

Open the door of your heart to Him by stretching your faith a little. Be like Peter—the one person in the group who got out of the boat and walked on the water. Peter probably had butterflies in his stomach when he got out of that boat, but as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he did all right (see Matt.14:23–30).

God has a great, big, wonderful life planned for you and me, but if we are stiff-necked, as God called the Israelites (see Exod. 33:3), or hardheaded (as we say today), then we will miss what God has for us. Stubbornness sets us in our ways, and we never stop to ask ourselves if our ways are really God’s ways or not.

In the Old Testament book of Haggai, the people were living in lack and experiencing many problems, so God told them to consider their ways (see Hag. 1:5). Many times when people are not fulfilled in life, they look for the reason in everything and everyone except themselves. If you are not satisfied with your life, do as God told the people of Judah: “Consider your ways.” Like me, you may find that you need to make some changes.

I was stubborn, opinionated, hardheaded, proud, and everything else that kept me from making progress. But, thank God, He has changed me! I pray that He continues to change me until I am just like Him—and that will be a lifelong journey.

Answer that knock at your heart’s door and allow the Holy Spirit to come into your life in all His fullness.

Trust in Him: God will not force His way into your life—you must open the door for Him. Step out in faith and put your trust in Him, so that He can do great things through you and for you.