Godly and Worldly Wisdom
Many pastors can preach a sermon by the rules of formal oratory and thereby keep their hearers interested. However, there are precious few men that can move others by the power of God.
Is it a coincidence that two of the most fruitful preachers in the last two centuries were not seminary trained, Charles Haddan Spurgeon and Dr. (of medicine) Martin Lloyd Jones?
When only twenty-five, Lloyd Jones, only partly awake concerning the scriptures, spoke about 'The tragedy of Modern Wales,' as a member of The Royal College of Physicians at the literary debating society. These facts I have gathered from The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Iain H. Murray.
The young Martin saw six principal signs of his countries degeneration. The first was "The tendency to judge a man by his degrees and diplomas rather than by his character. After naming godly men, he said, "...Is it not pathetic that the nation which produced such men should be found today worshipping at the altar of degrees? That it should have crept into our chapels is still worse.'" Education in Wales had replaced real Christianity, said Iain Murray. God endowed the young Martin with integrity, and thereby, the wisdom that comes from above.
Failure in the Church
My dear readers, the character of the Church, like America, is the reflection of its people. Do evangelical Churches today take the command seriously to be holy, or are we more likely to do the unspeakable according to the Apostle Paul and sin that grace may abound? Do we treat our forgiveness so cheap that the world is correct when it announces the Church, as Jesus once did, as religious hypocrites?
Forgiveness is a beautiful thing, as is the love of God. Nevertheless, the proper response from those who receive the grace of God is undeniably gratitude. Gratitude toward God makes people obedient from the heart, and such people do not abuse God's kindness.
For more than forty years, I have listened to Christians belittle John MacArthur and take the work done at Grace Church lightly at best. He is said to be harsh, legalistic, and dogmatic when in reality, he takes the Bible as seriously as every forgiven soul should.
Compare John's preaching to that of C. H. Spurgeon, and you will find them on common ground. Christianity on the downgrade by Spurgeon is mirrored by John MacArthur and his predecessor Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Compared to the uncompromising stands of Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, and Macarthur, today's Church is little better than a lukewarm, Laodicean church that is no church at all.
Furthermore, those who stop their criticism of John long enough to research what Grace Church stands for will find the following, as an example.
The Principles of Grace
A High View of God
Self-denial as God's calling for His people
Pre-eminence of the Bible
A Large Plurality of Elders and shepherds
Loving Accountability and Church Discipline
Love without Compromise
A Unanimity of Decision-making and not majority rule
All three men have been brilliant, but they were also humbled far too much by God to take themselves too seriously. They have gone where few go - to a place of separation from the World.
Godly Preaching Turns Members into Ministers
In the book of Acts, we read about the acts of the APOSTLES. The eleven started as self-seeking opportunists who needed a lesson in self-abasement. God properly educated them about the Greatness of Jesus and the lowliness of themselves at the cross. Judas is a warning to the Church and the world about the dangers of a false profession.
Paul was an ordinary man who needed constant comfort from God and to hear Him say, fear not. Hence, he went headlong into danger, persecution, and rejection as a way of life. In the early Church, the Apostles reproduced themselves because they did what good leaders do.
"And on that day, a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles ...Therefore, those who had been scattered went through places preaching the word" (Acts 8:1, 4).
The men who reproduce themselves are not concerned about their position, nor worried about job security, neither making a name for themselves. Only such men possess God's presence and, as a result, His power for holiness and fruit-bearing for themselves and others.
Without a doubt, God gives a few men to the Church who bring a word of truth, warning, and comfort to each generation. The vast majority, however, are multitudes meant to be scattered abroad. They are no less endowed with the presence of the Holy Spirit by God's grace. The average Church member receives newness of life, the forgiveness of sins, and the same benefits of Christ's sufferings as a few specially gifted Preachers in every generation.