The Cost of Following Christ

A Broadcast with John MacArthur

The gospel is not a message of self-fulfillment, but one of self-denial. Today, John MacArthur challenges us to count the cost of faithfully following after Jesus Christ.

John MacArthur Rebukes Joel Osteen – Ministry Videos

John MacArthur’s 9 Tips on Self-Discipline

Discipline is without a doubt one of the hardest things to master. As a young guy in ministry, I’m always looking for advice from men and women who live very disciplined lives. Recently as I was looking through my seminary papers I found a short article written by John Macarthur in response to this question:

Practically speaking, how can a person develop self-discipline in his or her life?

jmHere is John Macarthur’s response,

John MacArthur Wants Us to Grow Up

The Slavery of Unforgiveness

Unforgiveness imprisons people in their past and makes those they refuse to forgive their jailers. Those who refuse to forgive continually pick at an open wound, never allowing it to heal. Having chosen to embrace hate, they become tortured prisoners of the offense and the offender. Such behavior is foolish, lacks common sense and is self-destructive. It consumes unforgiving people’s lives, robs them of their well-being, and deprives them of happiness and joy.

~ John MacArthur, Luke 11-17, MacArthur New Testament Commentary, p.42

Authentic worship

The psalmist affirms humanity’s ultimate priority with an earnest call to worship our Creator: “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2 KJV). That is our supreme duty for time and eternity—to honor, adore, delight in, glorify, and enjoy God above all His creation, as He is worthy to be worshiped.

My own heart has been relentlessly stalked by the lion of worship over the years as I have traversed the pages of Scripture. My mind has been repeatedly arrested by the awesome majesty of the One we worship; by the ineffable glory of His perfect holiness; and by the pathetic reality of how far short we routinely fall in giving Him the honor He deserves.

One of the first things I discovered is that authentic worship is not a narrowly-defined activity relegated to the Sunday morning church service—or restricted to any single time and place, for that matter. Worship is any essential expression of service rendered unto God by a soul who loves and extols Him for who He is. Real worship therefore should be the full-time, nonstop activity of every believer, and the aim of the exercise ought to be to please God, not merely entertain the worshiper.

…ceaseless worship ought to be every Christian’s highest priority revolutionized and reinvigorated our people.

The typical church today is actually practicing a kind of populist religion that is all about self-love, self-esteem, self-fulfillment, and self-glory. All those things point people in exactly the opposite direction from true worship.

In the minds of many contemporary evangelicals, the word worship signifies the musical portion of the order of service, as opposed to the sermon or the offering. The chief musician is called the “worship leader” to distinguish him from the pastor (whose role apparently is perceived as something other than leading people in worship). Music is, of course, a wonderful medium for worship. But true worship is more than just music, and music—even Christian music—is not necessarily authentic worship.

Music can be an instrument for the expression of worship, but there are other spiritual disciplines that come closer to the essence of pure worship—activities like prayer, giving, thanksgiving, and listening to the Word of god as it is proclaimed and expounded. It is significant that Jesus spoke of truth, not music, as the distinctive mark of true worship (John 4:23–24).

Perhaps even more ominously, the deplorable state of worship in evangelical churches reveals the absence of true reverence and devotion in the private lives of countless church members. Corporate worship, after all, should be the natural overflow of worshiping lives united together in fellowship. This book is therefore a call to personal worship of the thrice-holy God. It is a call to a radically different type of living on the part of the believer: to a way of life that seeks to worship God continually—not just on Sunday. The

~ John MacArthur, Worship: The Ultimate Priority

Hymns are wonderful didactic tools

Hymns are wonderful didactic tools, filled with Scripture and sound doctrine, a medium for teaching and admonishing one another, as we are commanded to do in Colossians 3:16. We are in danger of losing a rich heritage of hymnody as some of the best hymns of our faith fall into neglect. Let’s revive some of the great hymns that have fallen into disuse, and along with the best hymns written today, delve deeply into this rich Christian hymnology.

~ John MacArthur

God will not forgive our sins if we do not confess them

by John MacArthur

And forgive us our debts. (Matthew 6:12)

God will not forgive our sins if we do not confess them. John makes that condition clear when he declares, “If we confess our sins, H eis faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Confession simply means we agree with God that our sins are evil and defiling and we do not want them to taint our walk with Christ. Our sinful pride makes it difficult to confess sin, but it is the only way to the free and joyful Christian life (cf. Proverbs 28:13).

It’s been said, “One of the wrest antidotes to the process of moral hardening is the disciplined practice of uncovering our sins of thought and outlook as well as word and deed and the repentant forsaking of the same.”

We must never take God’s promise of forgiveness as a license for sin or as an excuse to presume on His grace. Instead we must view forgiveness as an aid to our sanctification and be constantly thankful to the Lord for His forgiveness.

Your prayer ought to coincide with the Puritan one: “Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, and the exceeding wonder of grace.

I am guilty but pardoned. I am lost but saved. I am wandering but found. I am sinning but cleansed. Give me perpetual broken-heartedness. Keep me always clinging to Thy cross.

And forgive us our debts

by John MacArthur

And forgive us our debts. (Matthew 6:12)

Sin dominates the hearts and minds of lost men and women, separates them from God, and is therefore their greatest enemy and problem. It is the common denominator for every crime, immorality, pain, and sorrow.

And there is no natural cure: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil?” (Jeremiah 13:23). The natural individual does not even want his or her sin cured (John 3:19).

If sin is our greatest problem, our greatest need is the forgiveness God provides. Though forgiven from sin’s ultimate penalty (cf. Romans 8:1), believers need God’s constant forgiveness for sins they still commit.

The apostle John cautions us, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteousness to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

Jesus’ act of washing the apostles’ feet (John 13:5-11) is more than a picture of humility; it also portrays God’s repeated, cleansing forgiveness to His disciples. The forgiveness that secures our serving position in Christ at regeneration does not need repeating.

But we need God’s practical forgiveness every day to cleanse us from sin’s contamination as we live in this world. Out of God’s vast heart of forgiveness He is ever willing to continually pardon His children (cf. Nehemiah 9:17, Romans 5:20).[1]

Our Mission as Christians Is….?

by Dr. John MacArthur:

Society has taken a nosedive into greater and greater evil, debauchery, violence, and corruption, and outside the church, the landscape seems filled with “modern barbarians.” The temptation is strong for believers to jump into the cultural fray as self-righteous social/political reformers and condescending moralizers… Our duty as we relate to an increasingly secular and ungodly culture is not to lobby for certain rights, the implementation of a Christian agenda, or the reformation of the government. Rather, God would have us continually to remember Paul’s instructions to Titus and live them out as we seek to demonstrate His power and grace that can regenerate sinners. Changing people’s hearts one individual at a time is the only way to bring meaningful, lasting change to our communities, our nation, and even the whole world.
Author John Seel compliments the message that I now proclaim after much study of God’s Word as well as accurate American history that reveals that many of our Founding Fathers were very hostile to the gospel of Jesus Christ including the deity of Jesus Christ:
A politicized faith not only blurs our priorities, but weakens our loyalties. Our primary citizenship is not on earth but in heaven. … Though few evangelicals would deny this truth in theory, the language of our spiritual citizenship frequently gets wrapped in the red, white and blue. Rather than acting as resident aliens of a heavenly kingdom, too often we sound [and act] like resident apologists for a Christian America. … Unless we reject the false reliance on the illusion of Christian America, evangelicalism will continue to distort the gospel and thwart a genuine biblical identity….. American evangelicalism is now covered by layers and layers of historically shaped attitudes that obscure our original biblical core. 
~ The Evangelical Pulpit [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993], 106-7)