Truth divides, the more fundamental it is the greater the division.(John MacArthur)
The inscrutable mystery of innocent suffering:
Sometimes God order his children to walk in sorrow and pain.
Sometimes because of Sin.
Sometimes for chastening (so to create an humble spirit).
Sometimes for strengthening.
Sometimes to give an opportunity to reveal his comfort and grace.
Sometimes is for them to Glorified God through their disability. (m.a.)
but the are times when the compelling issues in the suffering of the Saints
is unknowable because is for a heavenly purpose that those on earth cant discern. (ex: Job) (John MacArthur)
Compelling Reasons for Biblical Preaching, Part 1
2Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
They are lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant revilers, they are unloving, irreconcilable, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God who have a form of godliness but no power. They oppose the truth. And if you love the truth and the truth is precious, then you understand what you’re called to do.
The church can never be the friend of the world because friendship with the world is becoming an enemy of God. There has been, there always will be a fundamental, irreconcilable incompatibility between the church and the world, between the truth and the lie, between God and Satan.
Characteristics of a True Church, Part 1
Biblical Christianity says there is truth and the truth is in the Word of God and all necessary spiritual truth is contained here and nowhere else. Postmodernism says there is no absolute truth. Moral relativism says there is no authority. Personal freedom says there are no rules. And humanistic, practical atheism says there is no judge. The Bible doesn’t agree. The Bible says there is truth, there is an absolute authority. There are rules and there is a judge. And this is contrary to the world. That’s where we are; that’s where we’re going to increasingly be.
So point number one is objectivity. So much of religion today is subjective. It’s about feelings. It’s about emotions. It’s about experiences. And, of course, this is all led by the charismatic movement, which falls into bizarre kinds of manipulation and mysticism. But we start with objectivity; that’s where we start our understanding of truth.
What do I mean by that? I mean that the source of truth is outside of us, not inside of us. If you talk about something being subjective, you mean that you’re the source of it. It’s intuitive. It’s experiential. We don’t accept the fact that truth is intuitive. We don’t accept the fact that truth comes from you, your intuition, your insight, or your experience, or mine. It is objective; that is, it is outside of us. Martin Luther called it the “external word,” as opposed to the internal. It is outside of us. It is fixed. This fact is profoundly essential.
The truth does not come from man. It does not come from the insight of man. It does not come from the understanding of man, and the Bible says “Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those that love Him.” They’re not discernible by empiricism. They’re not discernible by intuition. They’re not discernible by experience. We are not the source of any truth, and yet we live in a world where people say, “I have my truth, you have your truth,” and those are the people who have no truth, none.
Authentic Christianity understands that the truth is outside of us. It is inscripturated. This is the objective truth, the absolute divine truth, the mind of God, the mind of Christ. No person has ever had in himself any idea–listen–no person has ever had in himself any idea or any experience that determined truth. It comes from God. It can be discovered. It cannot be determined. No human is ever a source of truth, for establishing truth, nor is any angel a source of establishing truth.
Paul makes that clear in Galatians 1 when he says, “If I or an angel from heaven preaches anything else, let him be cursed.” What someone thinks is true doesn’t make it true. There is no individual truth, there is no intuitive truth. Truth is objective that comes from God. It is outside of us. Second Peter tells us that no interpretation comes by the will of man, but holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit and they wrote Scripture. Scripture is God-breathed. It is God’s truth–listen–whether it affects somebody or doesn’t. It is not existentially determined. Authentic Christianity has always held that the Scripture is absolute, objective truth. It is as true for one person as it is for another person. It is irrelevant what the person’s opinion about it is, or experience with it. The meaning is determined by God and not by any human being.
In no way is the truth of Scripture decided by any humans. Even the truth of Scripture is not determined or decided by men. Just saying that deals a massive blow to a very large segment of professing Christianity where people say I’m listening for the voice of God, and God is speaking to me, and the Lord showed me this, and the Lord told me that, and some kind of an intuitive epiphany which is really ruminating in error and fabrication. Biblical truth is objective, it is true by itself, of itself, in itself, whether you exist or not. That is the very starting point of our understanding of truth.
Number two word–the first word objectivity–second word rationality, rationality. God has given us minds. We are the only creatures that God has made in the physical world that have the power to reason. Animals have instinct, and they can be trained to certain behaviors because of instinct related either to fear or satisfaction. We have rationality. We can reason. That’s why we’re without excuse because when you look at the created world and know something about the Creator, that’s reason. We have the law of God written in our hearts. We have reason. The objective revelation of God then in Scripture is to be understood rationally.
Now you say, “Well, isn’t that obvious?” Not to some people, not to some people. There are those people who look at Scripture and think it is to be understood mystically. Again, intuitively. But Scripture is logical, historical, non-contradictory and it is subject to reason. It is subject to reason–real events happening in real time with real people, to be understood by other people through the normal process of reason. Real language with real meaning that can be grasped. There are no fantasies in the Bible. There are no absurdities in the Bible. There are no inconsistencies in the Bible. There are no allegories in the Bible. It is an infallible, inerrant revelation of God to be understood by normal human reasoning.
Scripture is understood by the process of reason in exactly the same way you solve a math problem, in the exact same way you analyze a historical event, in the exact same way you diagnose an illness or solve a dilemma on a legal level–by the power of reason.
The Bible is to be understood the same way an engineer would take apart some machinery to understand it, and then to improve upon it, and put it back together again. The truth is in the meaning and the meaning is available to the human mind, to the human mind.
Ignorance, as Puritan Cotton Mather proclaimed, is the mother not of devotion but of heresy. Just get a whole lot of ignorant people together and tell them to stand there and wait until they grasp some great spiritual reality from God and you will not come up with truth, you will come up with heresy. It is not mindless, emotional, uninhibited pandemonium that results in a grasp of truth. We live in a pretty much anti-intellectual pop culture. The heroes of our culture are not the brilliant minds, they’re the celebrities whose behavior is inexplicable from the standpoint of reason, sanity. We have elevated emotion and feeling to a point where it has become our God. Look at the fantasy books, the fantasy novels, the fantasy movies, the fantasy television programs. This spills over into life in professing Christianity where it’s not enough to go and sit down and have someone explain the Bible; there needs to be some transcendental conversation with Jesus. And what comes out of it is ignorance, more ignorance, error, deception and heresy.
And how bad has preaching become? How far from Scripture has it drifted when this is the only way we can come to the knowledge of the truth?The purpose of Scripture is not to increase the quality of your life. The purpose of Scripture is not about relationships; it’s not about success; it’s not about feelings. It’s about truth; it’s about truth that the man of God or the woman of God may be perfect, mature, complete, thoroughly furnished to all good works. We want the truth. (John MacArthur)
Now the other thing to say is this, that even if you believe in Christ, even if you believe in Christ as God and Christ dying on the cross and Christ being raised from the dead and Christ being Lord, and all those things, that may not be enough to get you into heaven either because in Matthew 7 it says, “Many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, we did this in Your name and that in Your name.’ And He’ll say, ‘Depart from Me, I never knew you.’” So you can know about Christ and you can know that He lived a holy life and was born of a virgin and that He died on the cross and He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven and reigns and is returning and not go to heaven.
But here’s the key. You must trust Christ for your salvation alone and reject any works of your own as having any contribution to your salvation.
It doesn’t matter how many times you went to church, it doesn’t matter how many humanly good deeds you did, it doesn’t matter how many times you took the Mass, for example, in a Catholic situation, it doesn’t matter how many times you went to Confession, it doesn’t matter how bad you felt about the sins that you did, it doesn’t matter how many rosaries you said, it doesn’t matter any of those things…none of those things individually and all of those things collectively cannot save a person. A person will be saved by faith in Christ alone, recognizing that in my flesh dwells no good thing, by the deeds of the Law will not flesh be justified. You can’t earn your way in by being good. You can only receive salvation when you know you’re not good enough and you cry out to be forgiven of your sin by the sheer grace of God based upon the death and provision of Christ on the cross. Okay?