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The Supernatural Power of Biblical Preaching - Shepherds' Conference 2024 Recap

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2024 2:00 am

The Supernatural Power of Biblical Preaching - Shepherds' Conference 2024 Recap

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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March 16, 2024 2:00 am

Shepherds’ Conference is a three-day pastors conference held in early March at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles (this is the church that John MacArthur has pastored for 55 years). What started 40 years or so ago with about 100 pastors has grown into 5000 church leaders and laymen gathering from all corners of the world.

“The mission of Shepherds Conference is to provide the opportunity for men in church leadership to be challenged in their commitment to biblical ministry and to find encouragement together as servants of the Chief Shepherd.”

That’s basically what takes place over those three days. Some of the most notable expository (verse-by-verse) pastors, such as MacArthur, Steve Lawson, HB Charles, Voddie Baucham, John Piper, Paul Washer, Alistair Begg (not this year as you know by now), Conrad Mbewe, Albert Mohler, and more, preach to the pastors who attend to strengthen and model to these pastors how to preach and lead their churches better.

It has been a blessing and time of growth for me to attend the Shepherds’ Conference about 15 times or more over the years. I just returned from the 2024 edition and will share some key takeaways from the conference, along with some man-at-the-conference interviews.

And the main takeaway is this: supernatural transformation takes place in lives when God’s supernatural Word leads the way in preaching.

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The supernatural power of biblical preaching. Today we will recap Shepherd's Conference 2024, right here on the Christian Real View Radio program, where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

I'm David Wheaton, the host. The Christian Real View is a listener-supported radio ministry. You can connect with us by visiting our website, thechristianrealview.org, calling our toll-free number, 1-888-646-2233, or by writing to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Shepherd's Conference is a three-day pastors' conference held in early March at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles.

This is the church that John MacArthur has pastored for 55 years. What started 40 years or more ago, with about 100 pastors coming, has grown into 5,000 church leaders and laymen gathering from all corners of the world. Now, the mission of Shepherd's Conference is this—to provide the opportunity for men in church leadership to be challenged in their commitment to biblical ministry and to find encouragement together as servants of the Chief Shepherd."

And that's basically what takes place over those three days. Some of the most notable expository pastors, as in, they teach verse by verse from Scripture, such as John MacArthur and Steve Lawson, H.B. Charles, Vody Bockham, John Piper, Paul Washer, Alistair Begg, who was not there this year, as you know by now, Conrad Mbewe, Albert Mulder was there in the past, and many, many more. Those preachers preach to the pastors who attend to strengthen and model to these pastors in attendance how to preach and lead their own churches better. It has been a blessing in time of growth for me to attend the Shepherd's Conference about 15 times or more over the years. That being said, I hadn't attended the conference since 2020, but I was able to attend this year, and I'm going to share some of my key takeaways from this year's conference, along with some man-at-the-conference interviews.

This is the first time I've done this, but I'm going to give you my headline takeaway right here up front. Supernatural transformation takes place in lives when God's supernatural word leads the way in preaching. So just a few more details on the conference. It always takes place on a Wednesday through Friday, so three days. There's 12 general sessions, so four per day, which run about an hour and 15 minutes each, typically about 15 to 20 minutes of music to start each session, followed by a sermon by one of the keynote pastors. On Monday and Friday, in addition to those general sessions, there'll be a choice of about 10 different seminars you can attend during one session in the afternoon. On Thursday, the middle day of the conference, there's typically a Q&A.

This year it was with John MacArthur and John Piper. Now the theme of this year's conference was truth triumphs, and so all 12 general sessions, each pastor was assigned a various aspect of that. So for instance, Mike Riccardi, who's the outreach pastor at Grace Community Church, talked about how truth triumphs in culture.

He went to the passage in John 18 and preached on where Pilate said to Jesus, what is truth? This is a very powerful message, and all these messages, by the way, will be available on the Shepherd's Conference website for free within a week or two. Phil Johnson, who's the executive director of Grace To You, preached on truth triumphs in persecution from 1 Peter 4.

H.B. Charles, who's the pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, preached on how truth triumphs in prayer. This was one of my favorite messages of the conference, just a very powerful message on prayer. Abner Cha, who's the president of the Master's University and the Master's Seminary, preached on truth triumphs in perseverance from Daniel chapter 7, about how we look forward to the return of Christ.

Nathan Bousness, the executive vice president of the Master's Seminary and pastor of the small church there, Cornerstone Fellowship, preached on the triumph of divine pardon in Mark chapter 2. So again, there's a theme to the conference this year, every year, and each of the main preachers will preach on a specific passage of Scripture related to that. Now this is definitely not a topical preaching conference—how to thrive in your marriage, how to build your youth ministry at your church. Some of the seminar sessions will focus on various aspects of church life or issues going on in society or biographies of great Christians. Pastor Jesse Johnson gave one on Christian nationalism this year. Pastor Harry Walls gave one on how to shepherd and serve your wife. Costi Hinn on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Brad Clausen on discipling and developing men in your church.

James Coates, you remember him from the past, he was arrested in Canada on the biblical blueprint for personal boldness. That's apropos for him. And there's lots of Russian and Spanish sessions as well. So there are helpful seminar sessions on issues that pastors are facing within their own church and within culture as well. So it's an expository conference, not a topical preaching conference, and it's also not a church growth conference, which are so ubiquitous today.

You see an endless number of these advertised in your social media feed—at least I do—how to draw more people to your church, how to do music ministry better, seven ways to increase donations at your church. That's not shepherds conference. And matter of fact, let's get to our first man at the conference interview with Tom Patton, who is actually the host of the conference, so you'll see him come up and introduce the various sessions. He told me what goes into putting on the conference and what he sees as the commonality of the preachers who preach there. Tom, just give us a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the preparation for this conference and then for what you do in getting all the sessions and all the preachers and so forth. Tell us behind the scene what it's like. Wow, there's so much that goes into it. It's almost hard to begin.

There's a team of people. There are many, many people that organize all year long for this. So this isn't something that ramps up like a month before, two months before. So you're thinking of not only the amount of books coming here, the sellers that come here, and the products, but also the preaching, like even I think someone was saying today, I think it was John Piper, about how everything starts with a P and he was so amazed that we had that alliteration.

But that's like just the skimming of the surface. So we have a whole team of men that are committed to it. We have a group of volunteers that are behind it. And even a session like tonight, there's just a massive amount of work that goes into preparation, thinking through it, the flow of it, connection of the material to the music and the music to the material. So it's an orchestration. The whole event is orchestrated from beginning to end, having a beginning, middle, and end.

So it does have that sense of purpose and intention all the way through. What are some of the commonalities or things you notice about these men who are asked to preach here? They just have a love for Christ. Every single one of them. That's really profound and distinct. You have people that are so different in terms of style.

You have H.B. Charles, which was just fantastic today, and how God uses him. And then you have Abner Chow, which comes from a different point of view, maybe more academically, kind of scholarly, but still so wrapped up in the sovereignty of God as he preaches.

It's just a part of his life. You have Pastor John who's been doing it for 55 years, but the sovereignty of God and the love for the text, that is everything. Again, that was Tom Patton, the host of the conference, and he's exactly right. The men who preach at Shepherd's Conference have what's called a high view of Scripture. They trust in what God does when His Word is preached verse by verse. They're not trying to make up human schemes and strategies to be able to get certain points across. Is the conference all about preaching, though?

No, it's not. Remember back when I read the mission of the conference earlier in the program, that the latter part of that mission says, and to find encouragement together as servants of the Chief Shepherd. This is a prominent thing you will hear the various men who come to the conference say, it's getting together of like-minded pastors, and by like-minded, those in a ballpark of theological conservatism. So they believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, the five solas from the Reformation, grace alone, and faith alone, and Christ alone, Scripture alone, for God's glory alone. I would say on the issue of salvation, these are men that believe in lordship salvation, that versus free grace. In other words, lordship salvation, when you become a believer, Christ isn't just a savior.

No, Christ becomes the Lord of your life. Those are some of the distinctives. There are many more.

That's just a nutshell version of it. And so these pastors, these church leaders come together, and they worship together as men. They take in the preaching, and then they have fellowship, and they eat together between the sessions, and they talk ministry with each other.

You often see men praying together about issues going on in their own churches, their own lives. And it's very interesting to see who attends the shepherds conference, even if they're not scheduled to preach at the conference. So this year I saw Costi Hinn and Tom Buck from First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas, recent guest in the program. Owen Strand was there this year. Grant Castleberry, we're actually going to hear from him in a Mantha conference interview later today.

Mike Gendron was there. Tom Pennington, pastor of Countryside Church in Dallas, was there as well. So these pastors are seeking nourishment for themselves and refreshment from this conference.

And by the way, they're served by 1000 volunteers that come from Grace Community Church, who provide meals and snacks and shoeshines and you name it all week for these pastors. And I asked Tom Buck at the conference, why does a pastor who is busy with all sorts of things, why does he set aside time to come to a conference to take it in? How does this affect you as a pastor?

Well, for one way it affects me is that it feeds me. And so as a pastor, I'm always feeding other people, but I not only need to feed, I need to be fed. And it allows me to sit under the Word and live preaching the Word because listening to it on the internet or listening to a podcast or whatsoever, although podcasts are wonderful, I'm on it.

This is one that you have. There is a difference between being in a live preaching event and just listening to it. And I think that pastors need to remember that. I don't get the same effect, if you will, spiritually when I'm just listening to it on an audio recording, as I do being there in that moment where the Spirit is working in that room in a very significant way, in my opinion, under the preaching the Word. What from the messages this year, what has really most struck you?

What are you taking away? Well, the theme of the week is truth triumphs. And I love the themes of, you know, triumphing and suffering, truth triumphing and how we in the biblical worldview that we need to have, like Phil Johnson presented from 1 Peter understanding suffering as a whole in our life and its purpose that God has for us. Just hearing the Word of God speak directly to us of how truth needs to not just be in our head, but how it needs to be impacting our lives and our ministry.

And so that's been probably one of the most encouraging things to me. The preaching has been fantastic. Okay, that was Tom Buck, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Lindale, Texas. And you remember he was recently on the program to talk about the He Gets Us campaign, the ads that took place during the Super Bowl.

And he summarized it well. He's a busy pastor, but he needs to come and be fed himself. He needs to be filled up so that he can go back and give it out to his own church as well. Now, I just want to mention one more thing before we get to the key takeaways of the conference, because there is one more notable part of the conference beyond the preaching itself and the fellowship these guys have together is the music. And the music falls into two categories during the conference. Some of the evening general sessions are led by Bill Brandenstein, who is the music minister at Grace Church, and where he'll have a choir and orchestra and solos, more formal music during the evening sessions.

Phil Webb, incredible vocalist, will sing on occasion. And then during the daytime sessions, Bob Coughlin, who you probably know of as the director of Sovereign Grace Ministries, has written all sorts of hymns that are sung in your church on Sundays. He leads the daytime sessions, usually just playing on piano and speaking and reading scripture before those preaching sessions begin. One of the most notable things about the conference to me is to hear 5,000 pastors loudly singing, because pastors sing and praise God with one another.

As a matter of fact, the closing minutes of this year's conference was a, I would just call it a tingling moment. Worship Center holds about 3,000 men, and the overflow of the other 2,000 are in other buildings watching on video around the church campus. Well, John MacArthur invited those 2,000 men to come and stand in the aisles of the Worship Center for the last, let's say, 10 minutes of the final session on Friday night. And everyone was crammed in there, and the choir and the orchestra and a vocalist did the song, Is He Worthy, with all these men singing.

And it really had goosebumps going up and down your arms and the back of your neck. It felt like something that would be worthy of worshiping Christ in heaven someday when believers do that. We put the video of this on our website, thechristianrealview.org, if you'd like to see it. But I actually was able to talk to Bill Brandenstein, the minister of music at Grace Church, about how they tie the music in to the preaching sessions of the conference. Let's talk about the theology, what you're trying to get at with the music. I know you work with Bob Kaufmann, of course, but you also do separate music with Grace Church.

Tell us about the music at this conference. Whether it's a Sunday service or at the Shepherds Conference, when we are singing music either with a choir or a soloist or the whole congregation together, I'm always looking to accomplish one of a few different things. We're bringing people in at the beginning of a service, like a normal Sunday morning service. We might just start with some praise and adoration just to get people's hearts and minds really in gear, thinking biblical thoughts, thinking about the God who were here to celebrate worship and proclaim. But the thing that you're seeing a lot with Bob's involvement here is something I also love to do with our Sunday services, and that is feast on the riches of God's Word in the songs as directed to what we're going to hear in the sermon. And so tomorrow night, for example, we're going to sing It Is Well With My Soul again, and we're going to sing How Firm a Foundation and On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.

Why? Because nothing can separate us from the love of God. The purpose of music as defined in the New Testament is just definitively set forth for us in Ephesians and Colossians when we're to speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Those aren't musical genres. Those are textual genres. It doesn't say, you know, sonatas, ballads, and symphonies.

And well, what does that mean? Well, the content of the song is very utilitarian. It's artistic, but it's even more utilitarian. God wants us to marry truth to the music. So when we gather here as a body, we want to sing truth to one another and fulfill that verse. And so, yeah, it's just such a rich privilege, an unspeakable privilege to take God's people through truth and to his throne in praise. And Bob and I are just really trying to accent the biblical truths being preached on when we're doing that. Is this, would you say, sort of a highlight of the year when you actually have four or five thousand men here leading music, hearing them sing, and you're in front?

What is that like? There are many times where I feel completely unworthy and even irresponsible to be where I am because you're eavesdropping on what is being offered to the Lord. And this is one of those times. Yes, it is a highlight because there is nothing like a room full of pastors who fervently live and struggle and breathe and proclaim with this truth. And then we're singing this together. And even today, earlier, hearing about that brotherhood, shoulder to shoulder, standing shoulder to shoulder, well, we're kind of doing that in song. And so our congregation sings well at Grace. I'm thankful for that. But they pale in comparison to the thickness of sound that happens with all these men in here. It's very, very special.

And so, yes, it's always a highlight to do this because there's just nothing like it. A lot of the men come for the preaching, but the music and the congregational singing just takes you to a completely different place that not many people experience. So thank you for all you do at the conference. It is a privilege to serve and to God be all the glory.

Thank you. All right, that was Bill Brandenstein, the minister of music from Grace Community Church, talking about what it's like to lead the Music at Shepherds Conference. All right, we'll take our first break for some ministry announcements, but we have much more coming up on this topic today. The biggest takeaways of the conference, including more Man at the Conference interviews. You are listening to the Christian Worldview radio program.

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I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianworldview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Today we are talking about the supernatural power of biblical preaching as we do a recap of Shepherds Conference 2024. And in the first segment, we went over some of the background on the conference and what it's like to be there. But in this segment, we'd like to get into some of the biggest takeaways of this conference. And the first takeaway is really the title of the program today, that supernatural transformation takes place in lives when God's supernatural word leads the way in preaching.

And we're going to give an example of that at the end of today's program with Steve Lawson, who gave a second-to-the-last message at the conference to give an example of what that sounds like. But basically, an expository preacher preaches this way. Early in their sermon, they'll read the text that they're going to explain from Scripture. And so they lead with God's Word.

This is the truth that will be brought to bear on you, the listener, today. So they read the text, number one. Number two, then they explain the text as accurately as they can, going through verse by verse and cross-referencing and so forth, giving examples from here and there, other places in Scripture. So once they've read it and they've explained it, and then they always will have some kind of application from this text for those listening to follow.

Maybe it's something you do examine yourself on, or often it ends with a call to believe the gospel for unbelievers, or to be further solidified in the gospel for believers. Every message in the conference, maybe with the exception of John Piper, who didn't preach in exactly that type of way, is framed around expository preaching, where you lead with God's Word. God's Word determines the truth that's going to be brought to bear. So why is that the most impactful way to preach? Well, because when you put God's Word front and center, everything then revolves around what God has said, revolves around God's inspired words, rather than revolving around some preconceived idea or strategy or reasoning that the pastor had that he thinks is going to work well with this audience. In expository preaching, you go where the text goes, where God inspired it to go. And this is so opposite of most preaching today. Sermons are on topics and there'll be some Bible verses, but they'll just be plucked from here and there. It's called proof texting.

You find text to prove your point. And so this results, at least in my opinion, in a very fragmented view of Scripture. And it often leaves out the hard passages, because after all, you just have the pastor selecting what he wants to preach on every week, not the next passage of Scripture.

And this becomes, I think, very man-centered. And this stems from a lower view of Scripture, where a pastor doesn't trust that just preaching the Word of God will lead to results that God has ordained. And then ultimately down the road, this leads to weaker and shallower congregants.

And I think this explains why we are where we are in the Church in America today. Now, I had a chance to speak with Mike Gendron at the conference of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries and a frequent guest on this program. He talked about what it's like to sit under this kind of expository preaching.

Why do you come to this conference over and over again? Sure, this is my 25th year of coming, and I come to get spiritually recharged. You know, the Word of God is living and active, and when you hear messages just filled with God's truth, it's really an encouragement for me to keep on keeping on. So I just, more than ever, just love the fellowship of the saints, the worship. It's heavenly. In fact, I've often said this is the closest thing to heaven on earth.

Yeah, I agree with you. We're standing outside the Master's Seminary building right here, and we were having lunch yesterday. You brought up something interesting to me is that you're such an evangelist, and I love that. You're always trying to help people understand the Gospel, particularly Roman Catholics. That's what you came out of. But talk about what you mentioned to me about you're starting to use questions more in the way you interact with people.

Tell us more about that. Well, I came to realize, of course, that Jesus is the most effective evangelist the world has ever known, and when he walked the earth, he asked over 300 questions to engage people to get them to consider things that are eternal. And so as I studied the questions that questions that Jesus asked, I realized it's important that we not dump on people all of our theology, especially unbelievers. They don't want to be preached at, but we ask them questions because an unbeliever doesn't care how much you know until you know they know how much you care.

And so by asking questions, we can show that we really care for them. And one of my favorite questions is, why did Jesus have to die? Most people say because he loved us. Well, that was his motivation.

But hardly anyone will answer the question correctly. He had to die to satisfy divine justice because the wages of sin is death. Someone has to die for divine justice to be satisfied. So Jesus went to the cross to die as a substitute for those who would trust in him. And David is a Roman Catholic. I never knew about the substitutionary atonement of Christ.

That's why it's so near and dear to me. 2 Corinthians 5 21, the great exchange. He took my sin and he gave me his righteousness. Just love Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries. Such a faithful man, loves the expository preaching of the Word and loves evangelism as well. We'll try to get him on the program to talk more about how Christ used questions in his evangelism.

That sounds like a very interesting thing to learn. Okay, let's get to takeaway number two at the conference. Again, takeaway number one is how supernatural transformation takes place in lives when God's supernatural word leads the way in preaching. Takeaway number two is the importance of being engaged in a local church and sitting under this kind of sound preaching week after week.

That is what deepens believers and transforms their lives for God's glory. Now, Shepherd's Conference, or as some people call it, ShepCon, is just a once a year event, and it moves you along. I can think of the ways over the years that I've just been moved along in my Christian walk by attending the conference.

But it's not the be-all and end-all of anything. You can't just go to Shepherd's Conference and that's like your power drink and you're revved up for the next year. God designed the local church to be the primary source for a believer's growth and his or her sanctification. It's the week by week coming together and fellowshipping and singing together, sacrificing together, remembering the death and resurrection of the Lord together, sitting under the preaching of the word together. It's those ordinary means of grace in the context of a local church that God has designed to almost be like a nest for the believer. And the Bible models no such thing as a believer not engaged in a local church. So if you're not in a local church, you need to work hard and be diligent to find a local church within driving distance of where you are so you can have those things that are intended by scripture that move you along in your faith. And I spoke to one of the pastors at Grace Community Church, one of the main preachers of the conference, Mike Riccardi, and he talked about not only the source of the message that he gave on truth, which was just a strong message, talked about the the absurdity of the way our culture has discarded truth, but what it's been like for him to be at Grace Community Church for 14 years.

Here's Mike Riccardi. Mike, your message yesterday is just on truth. What was the genesis of it?

Because I know you've been preaching about that last couple Sunday nights here. So originally it was the thought of Nathan Boozness who was editing a book called Right Thinking for a Culture in Chaos, and he assigned me that title, What is Truth, Reason, Relativity, and I forget what the rest of the subtitle is, Teaching Apologetics at the Seminary for, I don't know, eight years or so now. I've been in that world of, you know, just the attacks upon the truth itself, like, you know, the concept of truth. That undoes all of your entire worldview.

It undoes knowledge if you indeed say that the truth is not absolute or not knowable or anything like that, because the moment you say anything after you deny the existence of truth, you open yourself to the to the retort. Well, is that true? Is what you just said true?

And if you can't say yes, then you've made every thought you have entirely obsolete and irrelevant. So trying to gauge that and trying to lead people through the chaos of the failed worldview of secularism and relativism and subjectivism. Then early, I think it was last year, early in 2023, I wanted to start a series where we were confronting the lies of the culture, just trying to equip my people here in Grace Life, my adult fellowship group here at Grace Church, to just be faithful witnesses, salt and light in the workplace, in the neighborhood, you know, wherever it is that God had them.

And so it was just a desire to equip the people of God. And then when they told me that the theme was truth triumphs, I thought, well, this could be good for this setting. It was so apropos for what's going on, not only within the church, but broader culture. And you brought that up, how absurd our culture is now with rejection of truth.

You talk about the Supreme Court, Justice Katanji Brown won't define what a woman is, and men can get pregnant. All these are great points. You've been here at Grace Church, I think now for 14 years, actually, didn't know it was that long. If you had to say one or two things that has really impacted you, let's say first from Pastor John MacArthur, and maybe just being within this church itself.

Yeah, those are very good questions. I mean, the first thing to say is that I've been impacted by the faithful preaching of the Word of God week in and week out, just the ordinary means of grace, do their work in my soul, without me really noticing it, right? I eat a meal, and I don't feel like I'm getting nourished. It's just that I don't feel hungry anymore, right?

I don't know what the food is doing in my body at the molecular level. And, you know, in the same way, I come and I enjoy the preaching. I attend to the preaching of the Word, sing, pray, give, watch baptisms, partake in the Lord's Supper. And as all that happens, you know, the grace of God does its work in the soul. And so just making the Word of God central to all of life, number one. Number two is, you know, being on the same pastoral staff as Pastor John, I get to know him personally.

I get to see him as a shepherd and as my shepherd. And the kindness and the graciousness and the humility of a guy, you know what I mean, who could walk into any room and command any room. Every room he walks into, the person he's talking to is the most important in the room.

And that has always stayed with me. I mean, he really is, like, he's not faking it. He's not putting on any kind of show.

He's not doing what he thinks he ought to do. That's just what he would do, because the Word of God, frankly, has had the effect on his life. He loves Christ and he's just living like Christ. So being the recipient of his pastoral ministry beyond the feeding has been the most impactful. And I recognize that that kind of thing is not just something for me to benefit from, but that it's a stewardship, right? That I could live in front of that, that that could be lived in front of me, requires something of me. And I hope that I can be faithful to it. Okay, that was Mike Riccardi, one of the pastors at Grace Church and one of the general session preachers at Shepherds Conference.

And he's in his mid to late 30s, and he's been there for 14 years. And the two main things he said there, that week by week involvement in Grace Community Church, being in a local church like that, to sing and pray and give and the baptisms, remembering the Lord's Supper, the preaching of the Word, what he called the ordinary means of grace that God uses to grow us. And that's why there's such an importance of being involved in a good local church. And frankly, the Christian Worldview Radio program, although we are a parachurch ministry, one of the main thrusts of what we try to do is not just sharpen your biblical worldview, but we want to encourage you to be part of a good local church as well. So that was our second big takeaway of the conference, the importance of being involved in a sound local church.

And if you are in a weak or compromised or worldly local church, contact us, and we'll try to help you find another church, an area we know a few networks and associations where you can at least visit some different churches that might be better for your spiritual growth. Now there's something else that Mike Riccardi said in that interview that leads to our third takeaway from Shepherd's Conference, and it has to do with John MacArthur. He mentioned how impactful it's been for him to be on the pastoral staff under John MacArthur. And so here's my third takeaway, that John MacArthur has labored diligently to be faithful to the position God put him in, and there's been immense impact from that. You can just tell by how the other notable pastors and preachers at the conference treat him, and the way they speak about him is how much they revere him.

No, he's not perfect and shouldn't be idolized, but who he is and what he has done leading his people for 55 years, trying to accurately handle the word of truth is incredibly significant. That being said, he has declined in health quite a bit since the last time I saw him in 2020. His energy level, even his balance, he's had some heart interventions. He's 84 years old after all. This is to be expected, and he has enormous responsibility underneath him. He did two preaching sessions at the conference in addition to the Q&A, so he's been very faithful in his roles.

The output he's been able to generate over the years has been amazing, but I don't know how much longer he's going to be able to go at this pace. But I know that his heart is that he wants to die after giving his final sermon just as his dad died as well. I believe he's a third generation now of pastors in his family. So you can pray for him and his health and his faithfulness in these waning years of his life. Now, in a car ride at the conference, I spoke to Jay Flowers, who is the chief operating officer of Grace to You, which is the radio ministry that airs John MacArthur's sermons, and asked Jay about the impact that he encounters as he talks to people who are listeners around the country.

What is the most common things you hear people say? Probably the most common response we hear is that people people hunger to know God's Word, and God's Word is not always taught faithfully. There are a lot of people who come from backgrounds like mine where raised in a Christian home and raised in a church that affirms the truth of Scripture, but it's never really been taught clearly. And I can kind of picture the first time I heard John teach, I can picture the moment where suddenly I realized that there's so much more to this book than I ever realized, and ultimately I realized that I had a very low view of God and a very high view of myself, and God's Word being taught is actually what revealed that to me. That's what God used to open my eyes to that. And so we hear from people all the time who are in those same kinds of situations where they've never really heard it taught, and once they get a taste of it, rather than satisfying their appetite, it creates a greater appetite. So to be able to take John's material from 55 years of faithful ministry at Grace Church and to see that spread around the globe, it's always relevant.

It transcends any one culture. All you have to do is get it into people's hands, and then the Lord is the one who brings the fruit. Again that was Jay Flowers, the COO of Grace to You, which features the preaching and teaching of John MacArthur. We're going to take a short break for some ministry announcements, but stay tuned. In the final segment, you're going to hear a sample of what a sermon sounds like at the Shepherd's Conference from Steve Lawson when he preached a powerful message on Revelation 19. So stay tuned. Much more coming up on the Christian worldview.

I'm David Wheaton. The heart of God-rejecting man yearns to get back to Babel, creating a world where man rules apart from God. Evidence for this is all around us, and Revelation says this is where the world will end up. On Friday, April 12, Christian journalist Alex Newman will join us for a Christian worldview speaker series event at Beacon of Hope Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, to speak on the topic of how the push for global governance utilizes environmentalism, the educational system, economic policy, and more. You can come for a donation of any amount, but seating is limited, so you need to register in advance at thechristianworldview.org or by calling 1-888-646-2233. Doors open at 6 p.m. Alex Newman speaks at 7 with Q&A to follow. Be informed to think biblically and live accordingly. Hope to see you Friday, April 12, at Beacon of Hope Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. David Wheaton here, host of The Christian Worldview, to tell you about the Overcomer Course for Young Adults, held June 21 and 22 at beautiful Stonehouse Farm in Jordan, Minnesota.

Age 18 to 25 is a highly transitional time. The convictions developed and the decisions made during this crucial stage sets one's course for years to come. In eight sessions over two days addressing life's most important issues, such as God and the Gospel, right thinking and living, relationships and marriage, vocation, the local church, and more, the Overcomer Course is designed to help young adults gain clarity and conviction on God's plan and their purpose in it.

There will be plenty of time for interaction and discussion as well. You can find out more and register by calling 1-888-646-2233 or by visiting thechristianworldview.org. Welcome back to The Christian Worldview.

I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianworldview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Our topic today is the supernatural power of biblical preaching. We're doing a recap of Shepherds Conference 2024. Well, here in the last segment, I want to play a sample of just one of the sermons that took place at the conference by Steve Lawson, the pastor of Trinity Bible Church in Dallas, Texas, also with One Passion Ministries.

And I'm going to play the opening of his message and then the closing of his message. Now, just listen how at the beginning of his message, the first thing he gets into directly is putting the Word of God as he reads Revelation 19 in front of those who are listening. There's really nothing else to say except take your Bible and turn with me to the book of Revelation, Revelation chapter 19.

I want to speak to you on the triumph of the King. I want to begin reading in verse 11. And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful and True. And in righteousness, he judges and makes war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written on him which no one knows except himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in white linen, fine linen, white and clean, are following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it he may strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. And he treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

And on his robe, and on his robe, and on his thigh, he has a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In these verses, we see the return of Jesus Christ, and the cataclysmic judgment he will unleash upon this world with all the fury that belongs to him. This day of devastation is looming on the horizon, and we have never been so close to this final day.

It is fast approaching. Jesus is returning to take back the planet. He is coming back to take back that which is rightfully His. And He will not be a meek and lowly Jesus who is coming. Instead, it will be an angry and avenging Jesus coming to wage war with those who have lived in open rebellion against Him. And none will escape the devastation of His judgment in that day.

This planet is spinning through space and is on a collision course with judgment from this Christ. And it is inescapable how different it will be in that day when compared to the first time He came. This time, He will not be riding a lowly donkey, but He will be riding a white stallion. This time, He will not be wearing a crown of thorns, but He will be wearing many diadems. And this time, He will not lay down His life for many.

Instead, He will take the lives of many. That was the opening of Steve Lawson's sermon at Shepherd's Conference. And sitting near me was Grant Castleberry, pastor of Capital Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, a recent guest on this program. Here's what he had to say after hearing that message.

Just the power and the unction and the authority. And it's such a blessing for me to be in the presence of real preaching, not just teaching, which obviously Stephen Lawson does, teaching the Word, which is so important, but commanding souls to look to Christ and to fear the coming Christ. I mean, there's a real sense where we need to have a holy trepidation before the Lord. And I think he captured that in this sermon.

He really did. He said, this is Jesus Christ. This is not a different Jesus. This is not that He gets us Jesus. Why isn't this preached more? And why does it need to be preached more? I think people are afraid to preach it, but it needs to be preached because we need the whole counsel of God. You know, Jesus says, my yoke is light.

You know, take my yoke upon you. We need that Jesus who's meek and lowly and is coming riding on a donkey. That's the Jesus who invites us to repent and believe in Him. But we also need to understand the Jesus who is coming in judgment at the end. And as Stephen Lawson said, the real Jesus, the true Jesus, they're both the true Jesus. Jesus is merciful and Jesus is just. Jesus is wrathful. But the first coming is the offer of mercy. The second coming is the coming in wrath. And we have to have that full picture in order to understand the real Jesus. Now that interview with Grant Castleberry was done after Steve Lawson's message, but I haven't played the conclusion of Lawson's message yet. Yes, Jesus Christ is coming to conquer and to judge, but He's also offering us a lifeline as the Savior.

I must ask you, do you know this king? Have you come to see that your only hope of escaping the eternal wrath of God is to flee to Christ who came into this world on a mission of salvation, to live a sinless and perfect life, to fulfill all righteousness and to go to a cross to be lifted up and to bear the sins of His people and there upon the cross that Jesus Christ would make the only atonement for sin? That through the shedding of His blood, there is forgiveness of sin, and it is being freely offered to you this very moment.

And if you reject it, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you were to die today and you stood before God, where would you be? Where would you end up? Either heaven or hell. And the only way to be in heaven and to escape all that we see here, and this is only the warm-up for eternal hell.

Eternal hell will go on throughout all the ages to come, the lake of fire and brimstone, the place where the worm never dies, where there is the weeping and the gnashing of teeth, that place of outer darkness, that place of torment, where there is no relief for the soul ever. Come to Christ. He's the friend of sinners today.

He will receive sinners today. Do not wait till the last day and face this Christ, who is the angry Christ. Believe in Christ today. Repent of your sin. Take that step of faith and entrust your soul to Him, and you will find mercy. You will find forgiveness for all of your sins, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. If we confess our sins, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, lest any man should boast. Today is a day of opportunity for you. It is a day of mercy for you.

It is being extended to you from the King. Humble yourself. Deny yourself.

Take up a cross and become a follower of Jesus Christ. Enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who find it. The gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it. Jesus says, He who hears these words of mine and acts upon them is like a very wise man who built his house upon the rock. And when the rains came and the winds blew and beat against the house, it did not fall, because it was built on the rock. He who hears these words of mine and does not act upon them is like a very foolish man who built his house upon the sand.

And when the rains came and the winds blew and beat against the house, great was its fall, because it was built upon the sand. That storm of which Jesus spoke in those verses, it's a gathering storm tonight on the horizon, and you have opportunity this day to escape that storm and build upon the rock of Jesus Christ. There is no other place to stand to escape His wrath. Escape the wrath to come by putting your faith in the person and the work of Jesus Christ on your behalf. Thank you for listening to the Christian Worldview Radio program.

Until next time, think biblically, live accordingly, and stand firm. 646-2233. The Christian Worldview is a listener-supported non-profit radio ministry furnished by the Overcomer Foundation. To make a donation, become a Christian Worldview partner, order resources, subscribe to our free newsletter, or contact us, visit thechristianworldview.org, call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Thanks for listening to the Christian Worldview.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-16 04:29:44 / 2024-03-16 04:49:12 / 19

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