But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Matthew 23:13
John MacArthur Redefines the Narrow Gate and the Narrow Way….
What/WHO is the ONLY ROAD to Heaven?
John MacArthur in his sermon on the “The only road to heaven“, says many things I hope you will consider in light of God’s Word.
I understand many, including many of my friends like MacArthur very much. He has exposed many of the false teachings of Word of Faith, and the false signs and wonders teachers, along with feel good motivational Bible-lite teachers like Joel Osteen.
John MacArthur is a Calvinist, so if you are, you probably will not want to read beyond this point. (Yes I know he calls it ‘doctrines of grace’)
He claims he is a dispensationalist, however his definition is pretty broad as is his gospel (as much as he likes to claim he is “narrow-minded”). He also calls himself a ‘leaky dispensationalist’ stating that the sermon on the mount is ‘mostly’ for the church and Jesus presenting the ‘way of salvation’. Is this true?
MacArthur says, The Sermon on the Mount “amounts to the Savior’s own presentation of the way of salvation.
He continues: “This passage crushes the claim of those who say the Sermon on the Mount is not Gospel but law. In fact this is pure Gospel, with as pointed an invitation as has ever been presented. Here, in the culmination of all He has said in the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord demands that each person choose between following the world on the easy well-traveled road, or following Him on the difficult road. You will not find a plainer statement of the Gospel according to Jesus anywhere in Scripture”. (Page 179, “The Gospel According to Jesus”.)
IS THAT SO? ASK YOURSELF, IS THIS THE PURE GOSPEL? THE GOSPEL DECLARED IN 1 COR 15?
Please put up with me as I outline his sermon the way I do when I take notes, to make sure that what man says lines up with what the Word says. There wouldn’t have been enough room to talk about the whole sermon, so I provided the link for you to do your own proving of all things….
The Narrow Gate
First of all, WHO is the narrow gate?
Open to me the gates of righteousness:
I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:
THIS GATE of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.
I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me,
and art become my salvation.
THE STONE which the builders refused
is become the HEAD STONE of the corner.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it. Ps 118:19-24
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. John 10:7-9
WHO is the narrow way?
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Ps 2:12
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
If you know the answer to those two questions, the following excerpt from John MacArthur’s sermon should trouble you.
(I have screen shots of this sermon from the Grace to You site, this is their transcript, not my words, these these things are known to disappear.)
Also, here is the link to the sermon (which is recycled many times on his site), so you can verify I have correctly conveyed his own words.
MACARTHUR SAYS: “Becoming a Christian is not easy. It’s hard.”
REALLY? Is that correct? What does the Bible say vs. what Pastor MacArthur states.
Once we believe, BEING a Christian is certainly hard, but is BECOMING a Christian hard? Is coming to faith supposed to be HARD?
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. John 6:28-29, 37, 47
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30
So does the Bible say it is easy? Or is it HARD TO BELIEVE as JMac claims? This is the kind of stuff fiction books are made of… or religious books by religious Pharisees, who want to turn grace into works.
Macarthur adds conditions to the Gospel of Grace
PLEASE FRIENDS… Really study what he is saying here…
“Another way to say all that is….
that the Kingdom opens up to those who…
1. seek with all their hearts.
2. You’re not going to sleep your way into the Kingdom.
The Kingdom requires
3. earnest endeavor,
4. untiring energy,
5. utmost exertion because….
a. Satan is mighty and
b. has a vast array of helpers,
c. because he has many false prophets
d. and deceivers all over the world,
e. because he actually receives support from the fifth column established in every man’s heart, the love of sin.
6. To let go of the love of sin,
7. To desire to be forgiven of sin,
8. (to desire to be) delivered from sin,
9. to let go of pride
10. (to let go of) self-will”
(Good things to do with the Lord’s help ONCE we have believed. Impossible for an ungodly sinner without strength. If it were possible, then we wouldn’t need a Savior).
AND ( in order to let go of ALL the above)
a. “demands a vigor,
b. (demands) an eagerness,
c. (demands) a willingness to conquer,
d. (demands we) take possession of the Kingdom with all its blessings of salvation.”
HOWEVER, THE BIBLE SAYS
For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham BELIEVED God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. Rom 4:3-4
And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. Rom 11:6
A few Big Questions here?…
1. WHERE IS THE GOSPEL? (I Cor 15:1-11) – Go look at the entire Sermon on the Mount, do you see Jesus dying for our sins, being buried, and risen again as the Scriptures said, as was witnessed, preached and believed?
2. WHERE IS THE CONDITION “BELIEVE”? (John 3:16, 36; 5:24; 6:28-29,37,40,47; Acts 16:30-31) – Again 98 times the condition is repeated in the Gospel of John, but do you see it in MacArthur’s sermon? Is this about what Jesus Christ has done, or is this man-centered, ‘what WE must do’?
3. WHY DOES HE ADD TO WHAT YOU NEED TO BELIEVE AND LEAVE OUT BELIEF?
MaCArthur continues his list of conditions to ‘become saved’
ALSO YOU WILL SEE HIS DEFINITION OF “THE NARROW GATE”
He says, “This is not for weaklings.“
MR. MACARTHUR, HAVE YOU NOT HEARD THIS SCRIPTURE?
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. I Cor 1:27-29
MACARTHUR CONTINUES TO QUALIFY THE GOSPEL (of course there always some truth to it, no need to point that out to me)
- This is not for waverers. (Poor Peter and Thomas…were they not saved?)
- This is not for compromisers. (I am afraid someone should have told that to the church at Corinth, for the Hebrews, for the Galatians, those James wrote to, and a number of others I can think of)
- This is not for Baalams. (What did Balaam do? He was going to curse Israel against God’s Word to Him. He led them into worship of false gods. A false Gospel. So I would agree, however… isn’t ANY false gospel doing the same exact thing?)
- This is not for the rich young ruler. (This is a VERY interesting statement by MacArthur, considering in the doctrines of grace, they teach, God does not love ALL, and He did not die for ALL. But the Word clearly states, Jesus looked upon him and loved him, so if so, by the elect standard of God only loving the elect, this young ruler was saved).
- This is not for Pilate. (Interesting he should condemn Pilate, as the others, not knowing who is saved, what he believed in declaring him innocent).
- This is not for Demas. (Demas forsook Paul, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, was identified in Philemon as a fellow laborer in Christ. He ‘loved’ this present world, I am sure that is MacArthur’s foundation to declare him unsaved.)
- This is not won by deferred prayers, (we cannot ‘win’ our salvation in any way, it is received by faith…)
- by unfulfilled promises, (There is only ONE promise whereby we can be saved. It has nothing to do with us not keeping promises. That is the covenant God made with Abraham, the gospel preached to Abraham (ref: Gal 3:8), and sealed by the blood of the everlasting covenant — Matt 26:28, Heb 13:20. The gift of eternal life is nothing we can ‘win’ in any way).
- broken resolutions – (again, our resolutions have nothing to do with being saved.)
- and hesitant commitments. (The gospel is not about ‘commitment’, hesitant or not — Mr. MacArthur, it is about believing the gospel, Isaiah’s report – Rom 10:14-17 — you either are a believer of the gospel, or you are still under condemnation – John 3:18, 36.)
- It’s for the STRONG and the STURDY, like Joseph and Nathan and Elijah and Daniel and Mordecai and Peter and Stephen and Paul and Ruth and Deborah and Esther and Lydia. (What boasting… what focus on men. These men were strong and sturdy, is that what Paul said about himself? Was it Stephen who had the strength, or the Holy Spirit he was full of. Shouldn’t the glory go to God being their strength in weakness? Again I refer you to I Cor 1:27-29 — and if people would just for a moment think again on WHO MacArthur puts the emphasis on… God or man?)
- The conflict is often fierce. (True, it is for a believer who is walking with Him, BUT, remember, MacArthur is speaking of BECOMING SAVED…He says these things are the only road to heaven).
MACARTHUR STILL HAS MORE CONDITIONS TO BE SAVED….
ALL THESE CONDITIONS ARE JUST TO ‘ENTER IN‘ TO THE FREE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE….
- “Let go of self” – If he had said reliance on self to help save us, I would agree. But as he states it, this is not a condition to believing the gospel, this is reliance on the person’s ability to perform (as MacArthur demonstrates above)
“And submit fully to Christ”. (How much is acceptable? He says FULLY. Again, he sees this as a condition for one to BECOME saved. Believers are to submit to God (1 Pet 5), but WHERE, is this a condition — SUBMIT FULLY — in order to even become saved?)
“There’s a battle there, but you must enter, you must enter this narrow gate”, (SO ALL OF THE ABOVE WORKS, HE HAS DESCRIBED AS THE NARROW GATE)
“You must enter alone. (true)
You must enter with difficulty.” (Somebody needs to tell that to the Ethiopian Eunuch and the Jailer in Acts 16 among a whole lot of other people who were never told ENTERING into salvation was HARD….)
“And fifthly, you must enter naked. You can’t go through a turnstile with your baggage. (I just shake my head, and think on Pr. 10:19 and 1 Cor 2:1-5 most especially, such wisdom of his own words, and excellency of his speech — no fear and trembling).
You drop everything.” (Every thing? Do we not all fall short? Did he drop everything? How would he know, he does not remember a time where he was not saved?)
JOHN MACARTHUR DEFINING THE GATE
“It’s the GATE of self-denial. (HE REPEATS) It’s the GATE of self-denial.
(IT? The Gate is an IT? A work? Self-denial? He had better figure out WHO the GATE is, and HOW the righteous will enter THROUGH belief upon Him)
Strip off all the sin and self and self-righteousness. (WHOA…. Now it is MAN who is ‘stripping off all the sin, and self, and self-righteousness? I thought it was JESUS who takes away our sin by what HE did on the cross in our place? The LAMB that TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD…)
It’s the way you unload yourself. (Unload ourselves? I thought we cast our burdens upon HIM?)
It’s where you say, “I no longer want to be the person I have been.”
Dropping all the baggage isn’t easy.”
BUT CONTRARY TO MACARTHUR, JESUS SAYS:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-30
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Pet 5:6-7
BUT MACARTHUR CONTINUES: The rich young ruler wouldn’t do it. He was very rich. He wasn’t about to let go of his money. He was very much in control, he wasn’t about to do what Jesus told him to do. He wasn’t going to let somebody else be sovereign over his life, hung on to his baggage.
IS THIS RIGHTLY DIVIDING GOD’S WORD MR. MACARTHUR?
WAS IT ABOUT DIVESTING HIMSELF OF HIS RICHES, OR HIS TRUST IN THEM? “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:24b)
SO HAVE YOU DIVESTED YOURSELF OF YOUR RICHES JOHN? HOW MUCH HAVE YOU GIVEN UP? His listed salary for Grace to You and Master’s Seminary in 2011 was over half a million dollars. And that has nothing to do with book sales.
DID THE RICH YOUNG RULER HAVE TO LET GO OF MONEY TO BE SAVED? IS THAT WHAT THE PARABLE IS SHOWING US?
OR WAS IT THE FACT HE DID NOT EVEN ADMIT THAT HE BROKE THE LAW (SINNED)? (“All these things I have kept from my youth”… And again, that his TRUST was in his riches? — Mk 10:24; Ps 49:6-9; Prov. 11:28)
NOW MACARTHUR CONTINUES WITH THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER….
“When Jesus told the story about the soils in Matthew 13, the different soils, in some of the soils the weeds were never cultivated out. Some of the soil, the stony ground, was still remaining hard. Superficial response initially, but no real life, no real fruit.
HIS RESPONSE TO WHY THESE WERE NOT SAVED? If you’re holding on to ANYTHING that you’re not willing to let go of, you can’t get through this.
>>> It’s where you abandon yourself TOTALLY.
IT’S ABOUT WHAT WE DO AND HOW TOTALLY WE DO IT?
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 1 Cor 1:30-31
DID YOU ABANDON YOURSELF TOTALLY BEFORE YOU CAME TO CHRIST (IF YOU HAVE) MR. MACARTHUR? (Because anything less than totally is failure correct?)
HAS ANYONE HERE KNOWN SOMEONE WHO HAS ABANDONED THEMSELVES TOTALLY TO CHRIST?
(If someone answered yes, then I refer you to the story of the rich young ruler, the Pharisees who were not in need of a physician).
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF ABANDONMENT IS ACCEPTABLE IN GOD’S SIGHT?
I am pretty sure it’s 100%. MacArthur says TOTALLY. Have you accomplished that?
WHAT IS HIS STANDARD ALWAYS? ISN’T IT PERFECTION???
Yep! Of course it is…
What happens by the Word when we believe?
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Rom 10:17
….having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever. I Pet 1:23
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. I Thess 2:13
WHO is the gate, WHO is the way? WHO is the door?
From a prior blog of mine I said,
“Jesus is the gate/door/way. He is the truth and the life. There is no other way. Not works, not a certain religion, not being good, not being baptized, but JESUS! Believe on Him, and you shall be saved (Acts 16:31)”. If you want to read that, you can find it here.
WHERE AND HOW DO WE ENTER????
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:7,9
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved…
In the Bible, the gate was the place where people entered the temple or the city. It was where people went to receive justice.
It’s where Jesus suffered in order to sanctify us.
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Heb 13:12
John MacArthur does NOT preach about the FREE GIFT, but works…
Jesus suffered and died for us, and offers us a free gift, without works….
*The free gift, is defined in this passage as coming BY the grace of God, and IS justification and righteousness by One who is Jesus Christ and His work (obedience to die on the cross for us)
What will it be for you, trust in yourself or Him?
The Pharisees trusted in their works…. Jesus told them, And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:40)
This time, be a Martha… (In the case of Luke 10:38-42, be a Mary) 🙂
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. John 11:25-27
Is John MacArthur a Freemason? I do not know the reliability of the site here, so I cannot recommend. I did check the links for reliability to information, and there is verification of all who MacArthur claims to be his family members and relatives and ‘clan’ being all the way up to 33rd degree Mason. See all about his freemasonry history here.
Some other articles to consider:
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MACARTHUR PT. 1 (Review on ‘The Gospel According to Jesus’ by Jim Floyd of Stand for the Faith).
MACARTHUR – THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS (QUOTES) – This site I do not recommend for all of it’s doctrine, as it seems right now to lean a little Lordship. With that disclaimer, you will find quotes from the book and page numbers.
OTHER JOHN MACARTHUR ARTICLES