Thursday, April 02, 2009

THE MARK OF A MAN OF GOD
...a fitting tribute to the Spurgeon of our time, John MacArthur

As many of you know already, this marks the 40th year of ministry for Dr. John MacArthur. He has been by God's grace a faithful preacher of God's Word and champion for the gospel. To those of us who have been fortunate to know him personally or serve with him, he has been a treasured friend and mentor. Though we thank the Lord for this steadfast servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and the fruit of the spiritual gifts in ministry we have all benefited from, he would be the first to say that it has been all of grace, all of Christ, all of His sovereign consecration. John would most certainly echo these powerful words of puritan divine Richard Baxter, conclude as he reflected on his own life and ministry, "I was but a pen in my Lord's hands, and what praise is due to a pen?" That is genuine biblical humility personified and rightly reflects the heart of Pastor John MacArthur.

I wrote the song featured below, The Mark of a Man of God, for John's 30th anniversary at Grace Community Church ten years ago. The words are a humble attempt to put into song one of his most requested sermons taken from 1 Timothy 6:11-14. The words of this song, though written for John, may remind you of someone in your life that the Lord has used to mentor you in the faith and disciple you in His Word. A father, uncle, dear friend, older brother or sister, mother, or your spouse.

May I encourage you to thank the Lord today for those faithful voices the Lord has used to encourage you to maturity in the faith. By doing so, we are not exalting them, but honoring the Lord on behalf of them as the Scriptures instruct us to do so (cp, Heb. 13:7).

Mark Driscoll has recently posted a heartfelt tribute to John. It was a touching homage from one younger pastor to an established patriarch. Here is a brief excerpt:
"In our own day there are many faithful Reformed Bible teachers carrying on in the legacy of Charles Spurgeon. Among the best known is John MacArthur, a fifth-generation pastor. Like Spurgeon, he has committed his life to Bible preaching and teaching. This commitment extends, as Spurgeon’s did, to leading a school to train people for gospel ministry (The Master's College and The Master’s Seminary, which we have benefited from directly since one of our Mars Hill elders is a graduate)...

If memory serves me correctly, I was first introduced to MacArthur’s teaching ministry when I heard him on the radio as a new Christian. I went on to listen to literally hundreds of his sermons on cassette (yes, I am old enough to remember cassettes). His radio program recently includes what I believe is a new twist—answering questions from the people in his church. In my opinion, this is some of his richest teaching because he blends his knowledge of the Bible with affection for his people and the occasional insight from his own life and childhood, all of which is quite compelling."
So take a few moments, beloved, to listen to this song and/or read the lyrics below. If you would like to, feel free to post a brief tribute in the meta here about one of your heroes in the faith. 

What a joy to serve the Lord with others to whom He has saved and is using for His glory by His outrageous grace... amen?


The Mark of a Man of God


V1-
A godly man is such a rarity today
So many start, strong and true, and quickly fall away
A godly man will take his stand he can't be bought or sold
Hand to the plow, he won't look back though other hearts turn cold

He keeps the faith and keeps his conscience clear
He lives this life of grace through all his years

Chorus
THE MARK OF A MAN OF GOD
IS WHAT HE'S FAITHFUL TO
AND WHAT HE'S FLEEING FROM
AND WHAT HE'S FIGHTING FOR

THE HEART OF A MAN OF GOD
IS WHAT HE DAILY PURSUES
HIS FAMILY, FRIENDS, THE WORD, THE CHURCH
AND WORSHIP OF THE LORD

THE GODLY MAN DAILY TAKES UP THE CROSS OF CHRIST
AND FAITHFULLY FOLLOWS HIM AS A LIVING SACRIFICE

V2 - He’s not ashamed of the gospel, his sufficiency's in Christ
The power of integrity is the passion of his life
Instead of reckless faith, he has proven that his faith works
The ultimate priority, the Master's plan for the church

Saved without a doubt because his first love is the Lord
And the gospel according to Jesus is the truth he would die for

(Chorus)

Bridge
He lives his life to teach the Word, in season and in not
For he fears more than any man, the approval of his God

He lovingly, yet firmly leads those placed under his care

The power of his ministry is that he is a man of prayer


(Chorus)

Tag
THE GODLY MAN TAKES A YOUNG TIMOTHY LIKE ME
AND TEACHES ME TO RUN THE RACE
TO CARRY ON THIS LIFE OF GRACE
HE SETS THE MARK AND WE KEEP THE PACE
WITH THIS MAN OF GOD


Words and Music by Steve Camp
January 30, 1999 - © Nouthetic Music

13 comments:

nextverse said...

I could add an "Amen" to Dr. MacArthur's great encouragement to my ministry for over 15 years. The leadership team at Grace has been a great aid to our fellowship in so many areas - a fitting testimony to John's passion: training up men as if lives depended on it.

Moving outside the box of preaching and jumping into the box of ministry in music... I'd be quick to add a big note of gratitude for the courage that you (Campi) have exhibited for the cross and the message of the gospel. No better example exists for those called and gifted to the church in this vital area of music.

Stay the course ... we're watching and learning along the way.

Maranatha!
Steve Wilson

SJ Camp said...

nextverse
Thank you my brother for your encouraging words.

The leadership team at GCC does so much trench work behind the scene that is valuable and necessary for ministry to really impact and flourish.

That is something that John has stood for for many years; that churches should be led, not by one man in a dictatorial style, but by a plurality of godly servant-leaders who together shepherd God's people.

You are a faithful soldier for the gospel. Thank you for your example to me...

Yours for the Master's use,
Steve

Bob said...

My hero in the faith is Peter because he gives me great hope.

I open my mouth too quickly, I rely on my own strength too often and I insist that I won't disappoint God.

Then, God used Peter, in spite of Peter's weakness.

Coram Deo said...

The Lord, in His providence, used John MacArthur's book, The Gospel According to Jesus to open my eyes to the glorious doctrines of grace.

Our God is Amazing.

'Til He returns or calls me home.
CD

SJ Camp said...

Bob
I think many of us can relate to Peter. A good one to learn from as well.

SJ Camp said...

CD
That book also was tremendously impacting in my life. I wrote the record "Consider the Cost" completely about that them.

I praise the Lord for men like Mac.
Campi

Carla said...

Having been converted to Christ in 1994 and then spending the next few years in very difficult circumstances, I never even heard of pastor John until one day in 1998 when I heard him on the daily radio broadcast. He was teaching on Christian parenting, and what he was saying was so good it caused me to pull into a hardward store parking lot, park and listen to the rest of the show.

I was immediately and forever blessed and encouraged by his wisdom on this subject, and he's been a favorite teacher of mine ever since. We use his study Bible for nightly family devotion and it's always a blessing to read his notes on sections of passages or verses that are sometimes complicated to explain to kids, or tough to understand for adults.

I am so thankful for pastor John and his ministry, he's been a great influence on me over the years.

Michele Rayburn said...

John MacArthur was one of the first Bible teachers I began listening to on the radio every day shortly after I was saved. And he was the main one. But I never even imagined that I would ever meet him someday.

But I just got to see him twice within nine months this past year right here where I live.

The first time I didn't get to meet him. But the second time, he came to our church to do a conference. So I, along with my husband and son, finally got to meet him, say a few words, take a family picture with him, and have him sign several of his books.

I got to tell him that I began listening to him almost 30 years ago shortly after I was
saved. That meant a lot to him. He said that was "the highest compliment", that I hadn't stopped listening. He is a truly nice man.

I didn't get to tell him that back in 2000 I wrote Larry King, and asked him to put people on his show like John MacArthur, and within a year of that letter, John was on his program and has been a regular ever since ;)

I really enjoyed hearing him teach on his book "A Tale Of Two Sons". It was a beautiful sermon on God's unconditional love and grace toward His children. One of the best sermons I ever heard.

I hope that I will get to see him again. To think that I've been following his ministry for almost 30 of his 40 years. It's amazing to look at it that way. He was just getting started. Time goes by so quickly.

Congratulations on your 40th year, Dr. MacArthur. And may the Lord bless you as you continue to serve Him.

Michele Rayburn said...

On a separate note, I do believe that MD's linked article misrepresents John MacArthur's position on cessationism. To say that John has "mellowed out a bit on the cessationist position that some spiritual gifts in the Bible are not for today" suggests that John now believes that some or all of the sign gifts are for today. I certainly hope that John hasn't changed his position.

SJ Camp said...

Michele
I think his refernce to the spiritual gift issue was in regards to having allowed some continuationists like CJ Mahaney, John Piper, and Wayne Grudem speak at GCC, TMC, and TSC the last few years.

IMHO...

Michele Rayburn said...

Steve,

When I look at what it says in context, it really does seem to suggest both what you said and what I said.

MD starts out by saying that:

1) John has "mellowed out a bit on the cessationist position...", which implies that he has either changed his position somewhat, or that he is open to other positions.

But then MD goes one step further and says that:

2) Not only that, but John "has gone so far as to welcome C.J. Mahaney who is both a devoted Calvinist and charismatic—to preach at Grace Community Church and other events."

So, whether John has "mellowed out" so that he's open to other positions, or that he's changed his position somewhat, in either case, MD does seem to suggest that John is softening, and that it is MD's hope that it could be a matter of time before John changes.

If that's not what MD meant to say, then he should be really careful not to make it look like John has changed his position if he hasn't.

Maybe you could give them each a call and find out what they really mean!

By the way, I am going to send you a link to a promotional video for an upcoming conference that Mahaney, and others will be in, and would like your opinion on it. The soundbites were disturbing to say the least.

jennifer said...

Further to Michele's comment, I had the same impression. It did sound to me as though Dr Macarthur would no longer affirm all that he wrote in "Charismatic Chaos", that in some ways he has changed his position.

As someone who has found that book very helpful and given it to friends to read, I was wondering how to contact someone who would know and ask for clarification. If Dr Macarthur has "mellowed out" in this area, then is there anywhere specific where he documents the changes in his position?

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