John MacArthur: Precisely because it is so powerful, the Bible has always had its enemies. Unbelievers challenge its credibility. Skeptics question its accuracy. Moral revisionists depreciate its precepts. Religious liberals dispute its supernatural character. Cultists twist its meaning. The most … Continue reading
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Spiritual leaders must once again embrace the sufficiency of Scripture and call their people back to it. Individual Christians must covenant with God to be men and women of the Word, finding their resources there and applying them to every aspect of their lives. You’ll never know what the Word can do if you don’t study and apply it. It isn’t enough to simply say you believe it. It must occupy an exalted place in your life. Since God Himself exalts it and magnifies it (Ps. 138:2), how much more should we?
…Counseling and encouraging one another with the Bible has always played an important role in the church. That role wasn’t given to Christian psychologists or secular psychoanalysts. It was given to pastors and teachers, and through their careful proclamation and instruction, to spiritually gifted Christians whose lives are pure, whose knowledge of God’s Word is mature, and who are available channels of the Word, the Spirit and divine wisdom. Paul said to the Roman believers, “You…are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish one another” (Rom. 15:14).
Each Christian is called to help, stimulate, and encourage one another within the body of Christ (Heb. 10:24-25). We must not allow neo-gnostic error to steal that ministry from those proficient in the Word and give it instead to professionals who adulterate it by mixing it with human wisdom and psychological theory.
~John MacArthur in Our Sufficiency in Christ
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
2 Timothy 2:22
As I began a new biblical counseling class today, I had the opportunity to share with the professor my reasons for choosing to study at the Master’s College. It didn’t take me long to summarize my response in two basic points:
- The school’s stand on the sufficiency of Scripture
- John MacArthur
For those who know me well, it’s no secret that John MacArthur occupies a place of high esteem in my life. In Heaven, I have great plans to hang out with the prophet Elijah, John MacArthur, and Keith Green, but I suppose I’ll have to wait to see exactly how that turns out. Known for his careful exposition of the Scriptures, Dr. MacArthur has been faithfully “unleashing the truth one verse at a time” for over forty years as pastor of Grace Community Church in southern California. As president of the Master’s College, he has ensured that the academics are centered around the authority and supremacy of God’s Word, and it was through his leadership that the school’s psychology program was replaced by the biblical counseling program of which I am now a part.
This past Sunday, as a visitor at Dr. MacArthur’s church, I was given a copy of one of his beautiful devotional books Daily Readings from the Life of Christ. In the book, he includes the following reflection on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which challenges us to keep our lives pure from the inside out:
Desire, The Root Sin of Adultery
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery”; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
The Seventh Commandment protects the sanctity of marriage, and anyone who relies on external righteousness to keep it is prone to break it. Just as anger equals murder, lustful desire equals adultery.
In Jesus’ admonition, “looks” indicates intentional and repeated gazing. Therefore He means purposeful looking that arouses lust. In contemporary terms, it condemns a man who sees an X-rated movie, watches a salacious television show, or visits pornographic websites. It encompasses any thought or action done to arouse sexual desire.
Jesus is not referring to accidental exposure to sexual temptation. It is no sin if a man looks away from a provocative scene. It is the continued look that Christ condemns, because that demonstrates an adulterous heart. And by inference this prohibition would apply to women also, who must not gaze at men or dress in seductive ways to elicit stares.
In earliest redemptive history, Job understood these principles: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?…If my step has turned from the way, or my heart followed my eyes, or if any spot has stuck to my hands, let me sow and another eat, and let my crops be uprooted” (Job 31:1, 7-8).
If the adulterous heart gives in to temptation, the godly heart will protect itself, praying, “Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Your ways. Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You” (Ps. 119:37-38; cf. 2 Tim. 2:22).
What could replace your next lustful thought or glance? Instead of focusing on what God has graciously restricted, what blessings, privileges, and freedoms can capture your attention instead?
Illustration: Asif Akbar
The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean,
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
I’m trying something just a bit different today that I hope you’ll enjoy. Click the play button below to hear a little audio update from yours truly. :)
Read “The Sufficiency of Scripture” by John MacArthur