Book Review Fridays: Truth Endures by Phil Johnson and Mike Taylor (eds.)
It’s been a while since I last reviewed a book. Now, I’m going to do it again (there’s many review waiting on the line). I used to post my reviews in my other blogsite, The Reading Disciple. But since I’m strengthening the reach of Zoy Sauce Etc, I will have to post them here. I will have to figure out what to do with my other blogsite. Anyway…
John MacArthur has been influential to my preaching ministry. He is one of the expository preachers I highly look up to. I’ve read some of his books, including A Tale of Two Sons, The Truth War, and Hard to Believe, and I’m a constant visitor of Grace to You website, where MacArthur’s sermons are archived.
If you haven’t encountered MacArthur yet (I don’t mean face-to-face of course), then Truth Endures (Grace to You, 2009/Crossway, 2011) is a great way to start. This book compiles the best sermons of MacArthur in his forty years of ministry in Grace Community Church. In this review, I’ll be indicating what I liked about the book and will be giving my thoughts (just brief) in 3 selected sermons.
A Biographical Sketch
The copy that I have is the one published by Grace to You (2009). And it includes a short biography of MacArthur written by Iain Murray. The biography takes up more than 60 pages of the book.
Through this biography, I learned about the man behind all those great expository preaching. He came from a lineage of preachers, was sickly as a boy, and was able to overcome his health issues and soon became interested with sports (I was like, for real?).
His turning point in life was a car accident. Obviously, he survived. Here, he realized that he was not in control of his life. God suddenly had his undivided attention. He remembered saying, “Lord, I’ll do anything you want me to do.”
The biography has lots more things to say. But I do like to highlight one more thing. When he left the seminary in 1964, until 1969, he had no clear sense of direction. But at one point during those years, while waiting for a permanent work, he was invited by high school youngsters who wanted him to be their pastor. In his first time to preach for them, he went through Romans 6 and 7…for one and a half hours! His wife, Patricia, thought he won’t get invited back again. But she was wrong. He got invited again, and he preached to those kids all the time. “It was high school kids that started it all,” says MacArthur. The great expositor started with the youth!
Every sermon in the book includes a short introduction from the editors. It usually describes the background (including the events in California [where Grace Church is], across the States, and around the world, on that particular time) in which the sermon was given. Anyway, the following are the 3 sermons I liked the most:
A Jet Tour Through Revelation (December 5, 1982)
This sermon is described as uncharacteristic among all the sermons in the book. This sermon covers the whole book of Revelation. When I read it, it feels like I’m in a jet tour, as the title suggests. Nonetheless, it is very informational.
Jesus’ Death Show Us How to Live: A Look at the Seven Sayings of the Cross (March 26, 1989)
This sermon covers the words of Jesus while he hung on the cross. These words are (all verses are in NASB):
• “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
• “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
• “Women, behold, your son…[Son,] behold, your mother!” (John 19:26-27)
• “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)
• “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)
• “It is finished!” (John 19:30)
• “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
Every saying, MacArthur shows what we can learn from them. These include forgiving others, reaching out to others, committing oneself to God, etc. I never thought that even when Jesus was about to die, he was able to show how one should live. I was amazed!
A Biblical Perspective on Death, Terrorism, and the Middle East (September 16, 2001)
This sermon was given a few days after the 9/11 Terrorist Attack. MacArthur explains the motivations behind this horrible day in the history of the world. First, he deals with the natural motivation, that man is basically evil and is able to do evil things such as the terrorism that occurred. Second, he discusses the historical motivation, recounting the animosity between Israel and its neighboring countries throughout history. Third, the religious motivation, in which he basically deals with Islam. And lastly, the sensual motivation, in which he reveals that terrorists will be rewarded with sex with virgins in the afterlife. Towards the end of the sermon, he gives a theological explanation.
I see Truth Endures as a celebration of a man who toils hard to dig the treasures found in the soils of the Word and scatters them to God’s people. But more than that, I ultimately see this book as a celebration of the enduring truth of the Scripture. John MacArthur is indeed a faithful preacher of the Word. If you haven’t encountered him yet, then grab a copy of this book. I recommend it to you.