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A Ministry of Reconciliation

From the editor:

In this week's featured sermon, John MacArthur says, "Never has the world seen a God who by nature is a lover. Never has the world seen a God who weeps over the plight of those who are under his sovereign rule. This was new in the pagan world. We have a God who is by nature a Savior." In this message John identifies other core truths of the gospel of grace.


I was flying to El Paso to do a men's conference for Calvary Chapel, and I was seated in that dreaded middle seat. I was working on some thoughts with my Bible open. An Arab was sitting next to me. I could sense his curiosity. He kept glancing over from the window seat and looking at what I was doing. Finally, maybe thirty minutes into the flight, he said, "Excuse me, sir. May I ask you a question?" I said, "Sure." He said, "I'm from Iran, and I am new in America. I see you have a Bible. I don't understand American religion. Maybe you could answer a question for me. What is the difference between a Catholic, a Protestant, and a Baptist?"

That was his question. I don't know how it got framed up like that, but that was it. When you're from Iran, everybody's a Muslim. It's not hard to sort it out, but over here in America, it is a bit confusing, to put it mildly. There are twenty-eight thousand denominations.

I said to the man, "I can answer that." So I gave him a little explanation of Catholicism and how the Reformation came along and elevated justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. I made it as simple as I could. Then I talked about Baptists being the largest Protestant denomination in America—again, as simply as I could. I then said, "Could I ask you a question?" He said, "Of course." I asked, "Do Muslims have ...

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John MacArthur is pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, chancellor of The Master's University and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry.

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Sermon Outline:


I. It's about reconciliation.

II. Reconciliation is by the will of God.

III. Reconciliation is by the act of forgiveness.

IV. Reconciliation is by the obedience of faith.

V. The doctrine of substitution