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The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith? Kindle Edition
What is authentic faith?
The Gospel According to Jesus challenges Christians to re-evaluate their commitment to Christ by examining their fruits. MacArthur asks, "What does it really mean to be saved?" He urges readers to understand that their conversion was more than a mere point in time, that, by definition, it includes a lifetime of obedience.
John MacArthur tackles the error of "easy-believism" by addressing these questions:
- Is it possible to accept Jesus as Savior while refusing him as Lord?
- Can someone truly believe without actually repenting?
- How do obedience, commitment to Christ, and turning from sin fit together with the truth that we are saved by grace through faith alone?
The Gospel According to Jesus is just as powerful today as it was more than two decades ago. It is a Scripture-based clarion call for a rejection of the watered-down message that has gained popularity in the church and a return to the gospel Jesus preached. This 20th anniversary edition adds a powerful new chapter to the complete text of the original classic, reinforcing the book's timeless message—that Jesus demands to be both Savior and Lord to all who believe. This book is compulsory reading for Christians from all walks of life and will help guide you into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
From the Publisher
Discover What Jesus Meant When He Said "Follow Me."
The Undiluted Gospel
Jesus taught that the cost of following Him is high...Scripture encourages us to examine ourselves to determine if we are in the faith.
Being Born Again
To follow Jesus is to do more than make a profession of faith, but to abandon your former self and have a spiritual rebirth.
Jesus displayed his spiritual authority when He died on a cross. Far from being a tragic end to His earthly ministry, it was the culmination of all He had set out to do.
|The MacArthur Bible Commentary||Only Jesus||The Heart of the Bible||One Perfect Life||One Faithful Life|
|About this MacArthur resource||A Faithful, focused, and passage-by-passage commentary of the whole Bible. Perfect for anyone interested in knowing their Bible better.||A distillation of the most important points MacArthur makes in The Gospel According to Jesus.||John Macarthur’s collection of the Bible verses that every Christian needs to know and understand.||John MacArthur shares with us the complete story of the Eternal Christ from Genesis to Revelation.||Experience Paul's world-changing writings in the full, chronological context of his life story.|
From the Back Cover
About the Author
- ASIN : B0016H97GO
- Publisher : Zondervan; Enlarged edition (May 26, 2009)
- Publication date : May 26, 2009
- Language : English
- File size : 3246 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 443 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,605 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Part one introduces us to the issues at hand and gives a brief overview of both lordship salvation and no-lordship salvation.
Part two is really where the meat begins. This section is called "Jesus heralds His gospel." I was wowed by what I found. I have always believed that I am righteous. At least I put in a better effort than most people when it comes to Christianity. I read a lot of books on the topic of Christianity, and I generally go the extra mile when necessary; but John blew me off my feet by explaining the meat of the gospel. "I have not come to save the righteous, but sinners." Wow. This section lays out the gospel in the way that Jesus really said it! It really set a high pace and tone for the rest of the book.
Part three consists of six chapters which are based on explaining parables and how they fit into the gospel Jesus was teaching. Another fantastic, eye opening section that really helped bring out the truth of the gospel in everything Jesus said.
Part four is about how Jesus explained His gospel. It talks about the true meaning of the word "repentance" and the nature of true faith, as well as the cost of discipleship and a few other things. Once again, another bone chilling section. "The broad way is the natural choice, from a human point of view. People prefer sin to righteousness. Jesus said, 'Men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil' (John 3:19). It is easy to fall in step with the crowd. You can even add Jesus to all your treasured sins and possessions so that you can feel religious. You can go to church and be as active or as passive as you desire. You never have to deny yourself or take up your cross. The only problem is that the natural way ends in disaster." (p. 208 - hardcover anniversary edition)
The last part is only one chapter, and it explains how the death of Jesus was perfectly planned and what effect it has on the gospel.
Overall, this book really cut deep. In my first year of college I went to a Bible college (I am just finishing up my second year), and I did all the things you would expect from a Bible college student. I participated well in the classes, I read my Bible a TON, I was definitely one of the most active Christians at the whole school (by this I mean I read my Bible a lot and such, mostly legalistic practices to make myself a better Christian). But in the end nothing clicked. It was like everything I was learning I was learning up in my head, and none of it was making its way down to my heart.
This book sparked something in me. This really IS the gospel according to Jesus. If this is not the gospel according to Jesus then I want no part in Christianity any more, for all the months and years that I have believed that my righteousness was so important and that God was on a leash to grab whoever wanted a free ticket out of hell simply because they "believed (if you can really call it belief)" in a list historical of facts. For the first time ever, as I have read this book and begun to really understand the gospel, I have really felt God chipping away the scab on my heart and speaking to me in a heartfelt way, and for this I will be eternally grateful, first to God and then to John.
I heartily recommend it!
Now that I have reviewed the book, I feel that I should post some quotes to counter these silly claims that people are making about how John is saying that works save and so forth.
"IMO, MacArthur does not condition salvation on the performance of the "good works" (Eph. 2:10) expected of a disciple. He does, however, require an upfront commitment to the "good works" of discipleship in "exchange" for salvation." - Lou Martuneac
"No one questions that there must be a sincere change of mind, a turning of one's self to the Saviour; but lordship advocates attempt to make behavior and fruit essential ingredients of, rather than evidence of, saving faith." - Miles Stanford
"Salvation is by grace through faith. It has nothing to do with the meritorious human works. But the only possible response to God's grace is a broken humility that causes the sinner to turn from his old life to Christ. The evidence of such a turning is the willingness to submit and obey. If coldhearted disobedience and deliberate rebellion continue unabated, there is good reason to doubt the reality of a person's faith." p. 122
"Clearly, the biblical concept of faith is inseparable from obedience. 'Believe' is treated as if it were synonymous with 'obey' in John 3:36: 'He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life.' Acts 6:7 shows how salvation was understood in the early church: 'A great many...were becoming obedient to the faith.' Obedience is so closely related to saving faith that Hebrews 5:9 uses it as a synonym: 'Having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.'" p. 190
This book has 24 chapters, and every one of them hammers the point that Christians must be obedient to Jesus. There are some people who claim that one can become a Christian and still make no effort to be obedient. Some call these “carnal Christians.” MacArthur says that “carnal Christians” are not Christians at all. Merely acknowledging the truth of the Gospel is not enough to make one a Christian. There is quite a big debate about what MacArthur says here. Those who oppose MacArthur say that he is rejecting “justification by grace alone through faith alone.” He explicitly denies this and says that obedience is not a precondition to conversion but it always follows conversion, if the conversion is real. Yet people say that he is adding works (obedience) to justification, because of the weight of everything else he says.
MacArthur only briefly mentions the fact that he is Reformed. That is, he agrees with the reformers like Luther and Calvin on how we are saved. He believes that the work of the Holy Spirit is necessary for one to come to saving faith, as explained in John 3:1-15. Consistent with that, he believes that when the Holy Spirit brings one to faith, He also brings one to repentance. If the Holy Spirit brings one to repentance, then one becomes obedient to some degree. I think this is key to the issue that MacArthur is addressing and he should have made it more central to the book.
MacArthur admits that even the best Christians continue to have some sin in their lives. I wish he had explored this idea more. It is one of the most perplexing truths of our lives.
I wonder who the target audience for the book is. I suppose MacArthur would say “everyone” but it is just way to repetitive for most people to be willing to read it. I think the target audience is the preachers who preach “easy believe-ism”, the idea that one can be a Christian by only believing the facts of the Gospel and never attempting to be obedient to Jesus.
I wonder what sins MacArthur is really concerned about. He mentions Paul’s lists of sins, but I wonder which sins really motivate MacArthur to write this book. Playing cards? Dancing? Drinking alcohol? Cheating on income taxes? Premarital sex? Homosexual life style? I don’t mean to be flip. I wonder what sins got MacArthur going. It would help if he had given some examples.
I would rather that it would be a more general discussion of the gospel, rather than returning continually to this one topic. I have been looking for such a book, so that I could recommend it to friends, and this is not it.
Chapters three and four are expositions of the stories of Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night, and Jesus asking the Samaritan woman for a drink at Jacob’s Well. These are given as contrasting examples of how Jesus explained the gospel to different people. There are writers who use the story of the Samaritan woman to claim that a person can have saving faith with no intention of being obedient to Jesus, so MacArthur counters those arguments. A small point – I have always been taught that when the text said that Jesus came to the well at the six hour, it meant noon. MacArthur says that the Roman way of telling time was to start at noon, so the sixth hour is six o’clock.
Chapter six is based on John 9, where Jesus healed a man who had been blind since birth. It shows that not every bad thing (like blindness) is caused by a particular sin. It also shows the sin and ignorance of the Jewish leaders.
Chapter seven is based on Matthew 19, where Jesus first tells the rich young ruler to obey the commandments, including love your neighbor, then tells him to sell all he has and give to the poor. The requirement to obey the commandments is evidence that obedience is part of salvation.
Chapter eleven is about the parable of the soils. First MacArthur describes each soil in detail. Then he goes back and explains what kind of people are represented by each soil. Only the people represented by good soil ever have saving faith. The others reject the gospel outright, lose interest quickly, or are led away by Satan.
Chapter 12 is about the parable of the wheat and tares. The tares are a rye weed that is actually poisonous. MacArthur says this parable is not mainly about unconverted church members, it is about the world of unbelievers outside the church. I am not convinced.
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If you are someone who is worried about the lack of authentic Christianity around and feel there is a dissonance between the Christ of the Gospels and the Christ presented by certain preachers, teachers and lay people then you probably need to read this.
I wouldn't suggest it for newbies because unless they already have a good grounding it's probably a bit too academic for them.
That's another point to make - the author is an academic so don't buy it if you just want an easy read. This is challenging and may even help you deepen you understanding of the true nature of Christ and Salvation.
But I haven't reached the end of the book yet so I hope it doesn't make me want to eat my words! And I will not cheat by reading the last page, even for an Amazon review:)
For the Christian it give very good teaching on something which has crept into the evangelical church causing many false conversions and many only knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour but not Lord which has lead to all sorts of problems, the worst being someone not being a truly saved Christian. One of the best books I have read and will be getting more copies to give to others.
In Decisional Salvation, a person is considered saved at the moment they publically confess the belief
that Jesus died for their sins. The person does not have to do anything beyond this to be saved. The person's lifestyle beyong this is not considered critical. If the professing Christian brings forth little or no fruit, this is considered unimportant so long as they still believe in Jesus.
In Lordship Salvation, merely confessing Christ is Lord is not enough. The person has to walk their talk as well, as James 2:17 underlines. MacArthur uses James 2:19 to show that merely believing the correct things doesn't make a person saved, as even the devil believes the core truths of the gospel, but isn't saved! Furthermore, the Bible states even a professing Christian can still end up in Hell (Matthew 7:23), so merely believing Jesus is Lord and calling Him so isn't enough. These passages present what MacArthur concludes is a rebuttal of Decisional Salvation.
At this point MacArthur clarifies that he is NOT teaching works salvation, which would be heresy. He states that works do not save us. However, works ARE a good indicator of whether or not a person's profession of faith in Christ is genuine. MacArthur frequently distinguishes between mere professions of faith, where a person believes themself saved but isn't, and 'saving faith', which is the genuine article. Works are therefore visible evidence, the 'fruit' a genuinely saved person would bring forth (Galatians 5:22-23). MacArthur argues that if a person who calls themself a Christian but does not produce fruit, it is fair to assume they are not truly Christian. He invokes passages (e.g. Matthew 7:17, Luke 6:43) to show that fruitless 'Christians' will suffer damnation.
MacArthur believes several things distinguish genuine Christian living from the counterfeit: obedience (John 14:15, John 15:10), self-denial (Mark 8:34), growing in holiness (Hebrews 12:14) and perseverance (1 Corinthians 9:24). Living your life devoid of these symptoms should act as a warning sign to any professing Christian that they may not possess genuine 'saving faith'.
The book is incredibly challenging, and well worth a read to anyone who takes their faith seriously.