Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Slave by John MacArthur: Week Five-Chapter Five

Here we are already at week five of John MacArthur's Slave!

If you'd like to review weeks one through four......

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Weeks one through three took a look at the "slave" side of the relationship, week four and again here in week five, we'll take a look at the "master" side of the relationship.

Thanks for joining me!


In what ways have you seen the gospel of Christ distorted?

Well, I think we’d be here all day discussing the ways the Gospel is distorted. Perhaps an easier answer would be to look at teaching that has not distorted the Gospel, even though distortions have even crept into evangelical churches lately.

How can believers protect themselves against distorted versions of the Gospel?

One of the questions in the last chapter touched on this. I think the one sure way for you to protect yourself is to read the Bible for yourself. Get a trusted translation (NAS proven very trustworthy and a very close word for word translation from the original language) and if what you are hearing doesn’t line up with what you are reading, then what you are hearing may likely be a distortion of the Bible.

Galations 1:6-9 Dangers

Distorters of the Gospel will be accursed. Once you start moving away from truth, the areas become grayer and grayer until you aren’t really sure what truth is any more. Then, people can teach almost anything, and with a good argument, win people over to their way of thinking. This very reason is how the main stream cult religious movements gain so many followers.


When you attend church, are you more interested in a good show or in hearing God’s truth even if it steps on your toes?

Okay. On the soap box.

There are so many seeker churches today that are so focused on getting people through the door, but don’t know what to do with the people once they get them there. It’s “Great! You’re saved! Feel good? Well, see you later then!” and the new Christian just flounders around wondering what to do next. There are no discipleship programs in place. It’s like churches forget that church is actually for believers. Now, don’t get me wrong, we certainly want to bring people to Christ, undoubtedly, but having a system in place that grows the new believer into a mature Christian is vital. Churches get so caught up in numbers, and I mean what pastor wouldn’t want to lead a large “successful” church? Everyone likes to see fruit of their labor, and they think that “success” is reflected in numbers. But, if you have a church that is strong in discipleship, leading and teaching, that church is going to grow exponentially all by itself without focusing on any “seeker” programs. People who have a real interest will show up anyway. When you don’t have churches strong in these things, sure the church may grow some, but many of the attenders will fall away because there is no strong foundation of discipleship, leading and teaching. And, once the entertainment factor is done, they're out of there. This is happening in mainstream evangelical churches all the time. I remember one new church that didn’t have a building decided to meet in a movie theater and offer popcorn for their morning services. Now, I don’t know what the teaching of this church was, but these “gimmicks” are popping up all over. What can we do to get people to think our church is cooler and more fun than that church over there? MacArthur mentioned the “prosperity gospel” and touched on that last chapter as well. Here in Oklahoma, we are in the heart of charismatic country, and I feel like many (most?) charismatic churches and “prosperity gospel” churches are hand in hand walking down the distorted gospel highway. And the distortion is so gradual and subtle, you eventually stray completely from the Bible before you even realize it.

Off the soap box.

Philippians 1:21 “To die is gain.”

Paul knew that in this life he was to wholeheartedly serve Jesus, and even so, this life would be filled with trouble, persecution, sin, and suffering. But. He also knew that this life is a race, and if he ran it to the fullest, when he died, he would be leaving behind all the troubles of this world to enter into eternal life with Jesus, in a perfect environment with all of Christ’s riches and rewards waiting for him. (Much better than the suffering that this world has to offer!)

Colossians 3:17 and 23
What God desires for us and from us, are entirely different than what man wants and desires. If we try to please ourselves or others, we’ll never be happy. There will always be something else that we want or need. “Well, if I just had____ then I would be happy.” That cycle will never end. Committing everything you say and do you to Jesus will lead to true happiness. Verse 24 tells us that by doing this, we’ll receive the reward of the inheritance of the Lord. That is far greater a reward than we could give ourselves or others could give to us.

What are your thoughts?


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Kathleen said...

I'm so sorry I'm so late!! It's so funny how homeschooling lessons always seem to coincide with this study...and with many other studies going on around me. We were talking this week about Buddha in history. Buddha was a man who did not himself declare himself a god, yet he had and still has so many followers. I talked with the kids about why/how this could be. It's so easy to see how it can happen...as we talked about before, subtlety is key. Satan uses many people to subtly make a few changes in interpretation here, make a few more allowances there, etc. and pretty soon, any person or group of people are on the wrong track. It is scary to think of how easily it can happen. As you mentioned, it's important to arm yourself with the truth of the Word of God so that you can hold anything you hear up to that standard of measure.

I hang my head when I admit that I used to be much more attracted to a show than a church service. It was easy to do in the south where there were so many great choices of a show. When we first got up here, I was very disappointed to discover there were NO choices for a show. But you know what? I have since been reminded that it is not all about me. No, it isn't AT ALL about me. Having gone back down south and been reminded of what the showy church is all about, I am grateful that my pastor sticks very closely to the Word of God even if he knows he is likely offending some of the people in the audience. The very important thing is that, while he does not have a powerful delivery of his sermons, his sermons are all about God, all about the Word. I was shocked when we went back to GA and I heard Andy Stanley. I love Andy Stanley...yet his sermon seemed so very shallow and barely referred to the Bible. Was he funny? Was he a GREAT speaker? Did he deliver a valuable message? Yes to all of those, but I was still sad that there wasn't more depth and more of the Word to the message.

Anyway, I probably shouldn't judge him on one message, but it really struck me that it is probably very difficult for some of these pastors not to focus on numbers when they see their flock growing so rapidly and tremendously.

Well, I am rambling as usual. As usual, the chapter was thought provoking. Thanks for sharing your insights! (I hope Anonymous reads it too. Hee hee. I get those funny comments from "Anonymous" too. I never click on their links because I'm afraid, but anyway... :))

Courtney said...

Ugg-anonymous! I got 13 comments on one of the kids birthday posts! May have to break down and turn on the comment codes...

"..a whole group of people on the wrong track." That is so scary- that one person can have so much influence. And I think that especially pastors have so much more accountability because if they are wrong in doctrine (and I mean blatantly, knowingly straying from the Gospel)and influencing so many, well, I don't want to see what will happen to them when they stand before God to give an account, or needless to say if they are really true believers in the first place.

David and I were so incredibly blessed to belong to a very strong church with amazing teaching early on in our Christian walk. Community Bible Church in Beaufort, South Carolina with Pastor Carl Broggi (www.cbcofbeaufort.org) challenged us and taught us so well, that we have never found an equivalent. I still listen to his wife, who teaches women about Biblical womanhood (Mothering from the Heart with Audrey Broggi). We both appreciate them so much. Now,of course, as with any church, they weren't perfect, but the teaching and adherence to the Word was so spot on, that that church has grown enormously and has even started several satellite churches. It isn't (and never was) a seeker friendly church! People came and stayed (and some friends moved away and then moved back just to be able to go back there!)because they taught the true Word of God.
Hard to believe, huh?

Courtney said...

Oh, and Kathleen, don't worry about being late! We homeschool moms have a full schedule! :)

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