Salvation Belongs to the Lord
Updated: Jul 17, 2021
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:2
John MacArthur on Sharing the Gospel
My favorite pastor is John MacArthur, and I have learned so much from him. He is a faithful pastor and true to God's Word. He tells us the parts of the Truth that are sometimes hard to hear, but absolutely necessary for us to know. Even when it offends, the Truth is the most loving thing there is. Here is John MacArthur on sharing the gospel from his sermon, "Bold Proclaimers of Gospel Truth - 2 Corinthians 4:1-6" (Check out the link below for the full sermon).
“Paul knew the truth had such a self-evidencing power that even where it was rejected and hated, it commended itself to the conscience as true. And those who are sincere and declare the truth simply as how God has revealed it, commend themselves as truth tellers when they speak to the consciences of men.
I’m not missional because I preach on sin. Look, people aren’t going to get saved unless you talk about sin. That’s why Paul said I’m not ashamed of the gospel. If you’re not willing to take the assaults you’re going to fail, and you’re going to lose heart. You can’t overcome consumer resistance. This is not a marketing exercise. People think it’s a marketing exercise because they have the product, the gospel, and you have to figure out how to sell the product to the consumers; how to overcome consumer resistance. You can’t do that. Consumer resistance is too profound, too deep. They’re blinded by Satan. You don’t save anybody. You can’t save anybody. Preaching is the sacrament of salvation, but only God does the saving.
Certainty about the gospel is what drove Paul that kept him faithful. Certainty of the superiority of the new covenant. Ministry is a mercy of a pure heart. Have certainty about being accurate with the word of God, and expect hostility. Paul is certain that salvation is the sovereign work of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it’s veiled to only those who are perishing. The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel, which is the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4). We do not have the power to overcome the sinner’s resistance. There’s no amount of cleverness, no amount of manipulation, there’s no amount of oratory that can cause repentance and salvation. We can’t fight this battle with human weapons. Why is this true? Because they are the perishing. That’s a category of people. In other words, they’re in a category of people who can’t respond. They have no mechanism. They don’t understand the things of God because they are foolishness to them. Secondly, they’re blinded by Satan. They have been deceived by Satan. They’re of the father the devil who believes his lies. They love darkness rather than light, they’re under the wrath of God, and their minds are corrupted by their perishing status and the double blinding of Satan so that they cannot see the light of the gospel.
So that’s the level of consumer resistance we have to attack. So what do we do? We do not preach ourselves, but we preach Christ Jesus as Lord and ourselves as our slaves for Jesus Christ. We preach Christ crucified. Because we know this; the same God who spoke in Genesis 1:3 - the light of world into existence - is the same God who has to speak spiritual light into the heart of a perishing satanically blinded person. Salvation is the sovereign work of God. We then do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord. We just preach Him. We’re not looking for gimmicks to overcome consumer resistance. The only way that you can commend yourself to the sinner is to hit his conscience and activate the law of God that strikes his conscience and makes him feel guilt. And that guilt validates the truth about what you’re saying about his sinfulness. And then you come to the saving good news of the gospel. But even with that, you have no ability to save the sinner. The sinner is too profoundly locked down by being in that category of a perishing person, one already being devoted to destruction and being blinded by Satan. Salvation is a creative miracle of God, just like the light He spoke into existence in Genesis.
Don’t preach yourselves, don’t preach your ideas, don’t preach your insights, but preach Christ Jesus as Lord. Spiritual results don’t come from us. We preach Christ. That’s sufficient. That’s our calling. We preach Christ as the only hope for the sinner to escape judgment and hell. He who speaks from himself speaks his own glory. Listen to the preacher who gives all the glory to Christ.” - John MacArthur
Check out the full sermon here: