Item description for The Keys to Spiritual Growth: Unlocking the Riches of God by John MacArthur...
Overview Explores a multitude of biblical passages to reveal the treasures of God in Jesus Christ, and guides believers along the path to spiritual maturity. Original.
Few people were ever more sincere than I in trying--without success--to find meaning, truth and purpose to life.
But at the university I noticed a small group of people--eight students and two faculty members--with something different. They seemed to know what they believed and why. I wanted what I saw.
Two weeks later, while I was sitting with some of them at a table in the student union, the conversation began to center on God. That bothered me, because I thought it was not intellectual. And yet I was curious.
Leaning back in my chair, I said to one of the students, "Tell me, what has made you so different from others?"
She looked me in the eye with a little smile and said: "Jesus Christ "
My response revealed my bias and my ignorance. "Oh, for heaven's sake," I said, "don't give me that garbage about religion "
To which she replied: "I didn't say religion. I said Jesus Christ "
My new friends challenged me to examine the claims of Christ. I thought most Christians were idiots. But these people were persistent. Finally, I accepted their challenge, out of pride, to refute them.
One of the crucial areas of my research to refute Christianity centered around His resurrection. More than 1,000 hours of studying this subject showed me that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was either one of the most wicked, heartless, vicious hoaxes ever foisted upon human minds, or it was the most fantastic fact of history.
Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish prophet, claimed to be the Christ prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures. He was arrested, judged a political criminal, and crucified. Three days after His death and burial, some women went to His tomb and found the body gone. His disciples claimed that God had raised Him from the dead and that He had appeared to them and to many others at various times before ascending into heaven.
In my attempt to refute Christianity, I made some startling observations about the resurrection. The testimony of history, for example. I had no idea there was so much positive historical, literary and legal testimony supporting the factuality of Christ's resurrection. But the more I investigated, the more evidence I found. I came to see why the Apostle Paul had said, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith" (1 Corinthians 15:14).
Jesus' foretelling of His resurrection was another of my startling observations. Prior to Jesus' death, He took His disciples aside and told them that He would be condemned to death and handed over to the Romans who would mock Him and spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. And three days later He would rise from the dead (Mark 10:33-34).
The more I studied the historical-biblical Christian faith the more I realized it is a thinking person's faith. As Jesus said, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
But alongside the scholarly evidence for the resurrection, there is circumstantial evidence--what happened to me.
Having set out to refute the resurrection and Christianity, and then having been compelled by the evidence to believe that Jesus Christ was indeed exactly who He claimed to be--and that He indeed rose from the dead, I faced a new problem. My mind was saying, "Christianity is true," but my will was saying, "Don't admit it "
It came to the point where I'd go to bed at ten and wouldn't fall asleep until four in the morning. I knew I had to get Jesus off my mind or go out of my mind.
Finally on December 19, 1959, at 8:30 p.m., I became a Christian.
I prayed four things that night, to establish a relationship with the resurrected, living Christ who has since transformed my life. First, I said, "Lord Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me." Second, I said, "I confess those things in my life that are not pleasing to You. I ask You to forgive and cleanse me." (The Bible says, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18).) Third, I said, "Right now, in the best way I know how, I open the door of my heart and life, and I trust You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for coming into my life by faith."
After I prayed, nothing happened. There was no bolt of lightning. I even said to myself, "Oh, no What'd I get sucked into now?" I felt I'd gone off the deep end. And some of my friends agreed. But I can tell you now that in six months to a year-and-a-half I found that I had not gone off the deep end.
Later, in a debate with the head of the history department of a midwestern university, I said that my life had been changed. My opponent interrupted me to say, "McDowell, are you trying to tell us that God changed your life in the twentieth century?"
After 45 minutes of my describing changes, he said, "Okay, that's enough."
One area I told him about was the mental peace I had finally found. Another was control of my temper. And old hatreds gradually turning to love.
You can laugh at Christianity; you can mock and ridicule it. But it changes lives.
Christianity is not something that can be forced on anyone. All I can do is tell what I've learned. Beyond that, it's your decision.
Christ was raised from the dead. He lives. He has the infinite capacity to enter your life, forgive you, and change you from the inside out.
Excerpted from "The Resurrection Factor," published by Here's Life Publishers, San Bernardino, California. Reprinted by permission of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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Studio: Crossway Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.54" Width: 5.59" Height: 0.65" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date May 24, 2001
Publisher GOOD NEWS PUBLISHING #65
ISBN 1581342691 ISBN13 9781581342697
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More About John MacArthur
John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California; president of The Master s University & Seminary; and featured teacher for the Grace to You media ministry, which reaches millions worldwide. John has also written many bestselling books, including The Gospel According to Jesus. He and his wife, Patricia, have 4 married children and 15 grandchildren.
John MacArthur has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Keys to Spiritual Growth: Unlocking the Riches of God?
Solid fundamentals May 1, 2008
Over the years I have read several of MacArthur's books, referenced his Bible commentary, listened to his CDs and seen him on video; and have come to trust his knowlege and judgment on Biblical subjects. He has written an excellent book here on the essentials of Christian spiritual growth.
This book is only 178 pages, but touches on all aspects of the Christian life: consistent Bible reading, frequent prayer, frequent confession and repentence of sin, service to others, fruit of the spirit, witnessing, fellowship with believers, hope and assurance, faith, etc. All these behaviors we understand in the Biblical term sanctification, and MacArthur uses an abundent use of scripture to illustrate what is underway in our lives as new creatures in Christ. While our salvation is entirely a gift of God's grace,we are made to understand that we can, and should, participate in our sanctification.
This book is solid on the fundamentals of an authentic Christian life. At the core of this life is the Holy Spirit living in us and through us. Over time this Spirit conforms us into the image of Jesus. This book is a real practical guide with info you can immediately apply to your life no matter where you are in your walk with Christ.
Good to give to a new believer... Apr 26, 2006
I would definitely urge those who are new in the faith to pick up this book as it will guide you into a right understanding of what faith that isn't dead is really about. As the others pointed out good for discipling and great teaching from one the country's great expositors of Scripture.
Good insight and has some good reminders for those who are more mature in their faith.
MacArthur, as usual, draws most of his conclusions straight from the word of God so not to get off track.
MacArthur at His Best May 13, 2004
John MacArthur does one thing best: in-depth, expositional Bible teaching. This book puts his primary strength on display for all to see.
This book is generally intended for new believers, but long-time Christians will reap much benefit as well. MacArthur covers most of the major elements of the Christian life in rich depth. Best of all, after an introductory chapter on Scripture, he starts out with two chapters on glorifying God. This focus keeps the book from solely focusing on the spiritual disciplines.
Granted, MacArthur's expositional skills do present a drawback. MacArthur so thickly packs his teaching with Scripture verses that he seems uncomfortable if he doesn't give you every last Scripture he can find to back up his point. Sometimes it seems like his teaching would be more powerful with a few less verses to back up each point.
There are some other weak points. After Chapter 3, chapters are presented in an order seemingly without rhyme or reason; the book doesn't build in its approach to its subject matter, but merely shifts from topic to topic. It's also a bit strange that the book contains chapters on hope and love but lacks one on faith. The chapter on fellowship does not deliver what it seems to promise; instead of focusing on the role of the church in the believer's life, MacArthur develops his theme around salvation and how to become a member of Christ's body. (It's still a good chapter -- just misnamed. It would probably best fit early in the book.)
But these are minor quarrels for a book that kept me occupied in Scripture readings for roughly six months! The Keys to Spiritual Growth is not one of MacArthur's better-known books, but it's an excellent one nonetheless.
Good book on discipleship and Christian growth Apr 10, 2004
This small, but very valuable book is a goldmine. If no other book, I believe this one would make an excellent book for discipleship/new member classes at a church. It's very concise (178 pgs) and each chapter can be read in a day (13 chapters) or over the course of a week, giving the reader time to mediate on and put into practice what's read in the book. This is one you'll want to lend out to your friends whose spiritual growth you care about.... so buy two copies!