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Rough draft notes on opening session of Shepherds ConferenceJohn MacArthur 

Opening Session

[Pastors are discouraged, in part, because they don’t know what they are supposed to do — and are doing the wrong thing. Rather, than being theologians — extracting doctrine from the text — they are managing programs, administrating, glad handing, and then for content are repeating someone else’s undigested ideas. They know more books and blog posts than they know the Bible. Aside, that is one reason so many pastors sound the same generally in terms of their emphasis. They are all busy reading the same books and websites and twitter feeds and repeating the content of their echo chamber. If they were busy with the text, their emphasis would be derived from the particular text which was taking their current time.  Main section of the sermon, MacArthur gives an example of how one extracts theology from the text, using John 17. Doctrine of God, salvation, and ascension.]


He spoke with Joel Beeke recently: Beeke said that everywhere he has seen discouraged pastors. That is what MacArthur would like to address.

No profession in the world suffers from a more basic lack of clarity from their responsibility than pastoral work. There is widespread confusion about what it means to be a pastor. There is also failure of congregations to know what to expect.

There is no desire for most pastors to be theologians: this is pastoral malpractice

No longer is the pastorate an intellectual discipline. Pastors give their energy to managing and administration and give uplifting content. They do not perform intellectual information. For content they broker other people’s ideas and theology. They are not working out doctrine from the text.

The whole purpose of Bible exposition is to draw doctrine from the text and then to show its implication and application. The pastor’s  also have the duty to protect the truth. Pastors rather than being theologians have outsourced theology to the academy. 

The pastors are not doing the work of developing and creating theology. 

Pastors have abandoned their high calling and have relied upon all sorts of other things. Rarely are pastors known for their theological ability. Pastors you must become theologians … the guardians of sound theology. 

The church understands theology from pastors.

Every significant pastor in church history has been a heavy weight in theology.  
The Westminster Confession was written by the theological giants: out of 121 members there were 121 pastors. (Compares that to the Chicago statement committee – Boice and MacArthur were the only pastors, the rest were academic theologians)
We need to take back theology into the church. “The academy is a very unsafe place for the Bible.” We have been working to salvage the Bible from the academy. 
Doctrine is the foundation of absolutely everything (we do as pastors). 
2 Cor. 5: what motivated Paul. “For the love of Christ constrains us”. It is the love of Christ for me which drives me.  What is so special about that? Most people think God loves everyone the same. But Paul makes plain that God loves on their behalf. Particular redemption motivated Paul. 
Does theology matter? Does it change how you view life?
The church has doctrinal anemia.
I want you to think about theology:

Reads John 17
Christ is high priest. He is praying us into heaven. John 17 is the only sample we have of Christ’s present work. In Hebrews we know that he is busy with this work of interceding for us.
I submit that both the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ fall below the reality of John 17. This (his high priestly work) is the greatest ministry of Jesus Christ. 
Turn to Romans 5
v. 9: Much more then (v. 8 the cross) is Christ’s life: 

8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. http://esv.to/Rom5.8-10
The life of Christ is much more than his death.
Heb. 9: his life is much more than his death. He ever lives to make intercession
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)

12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,

14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. http://esv.to/Heb9.11-14

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. http://esv.to/Heb7.25
Back to John 17
The entire prayer of John 17 is theology. 

If you do not have theology, you cannot only not preach, you can’t even pray.

John 17 is prayed theology. 
Jesus prays the theology of the Father back to the Father knowing the Father will answer this. He prays this on behalf of those who believe and will believe.

This is the most comforting chapter in Bible because the security of my salvation is the most comforting truth.
John 17 is the transition of Christ’s work — this is what he has been doing for the past 2,000 years. 
He first prays that the Father will take him through the trouble before him. His desire for glory is that he will be in the place where he can be in the place where he can be interceding for us.
Just see the theology here: 
Salvation with the doctrine of God. 

v. 11: Holy Father

v. 25 Righteous Father — attributes of God

v. 3: there is only one God
God and Allah are not the same.  Allah is a solitary being who by virtue of his singleness cannot love. The God of the Bible is a Trinity who has always been a God of love.
v. 12

The eternal Son

The glory which I had with you before the world was: The Father-Son share eternally (love, person, glory, nature) cf. John 1
This is the very foundation of salvation. By contrast, a single God without capacity to love has no interest in saving any one. But the Father needed many more sons to love.
Jesus is co-existent with the Father and is also self-existent (in him was life).
Salvation exists because of the Trinity and God is love.
v. 10

All things that are mine are yours and yours are mine.

We could all say that mine is yours, but who could say, yours are mine!

No creature could ever say that.
Soteriology begin with the doctrine of God, specifically the doctrine of the Trinity.
Doctrine of Election
The people to whom the eternal Son gives eternal life (v. 2, the Son gives life) are clearly identified. To whom does he give that eternal life? 

v. 9 I do not ask on behalf of the world.

Jesus does not pray for everyone.

v. 2 to all whom you have given me

v. 6 to the men who you given me

v. 9, v. 11 As clearly as the Father has given a name to the Son, he has given people to the Son.

v. 24 whom you have given me

Anybody confused about that? 

He gives eternal life to whom the Father gives him.
All whom the Father gives will come (irresistible grace). No one can come unless the Father draws him.
How did the Father choose?

v. 6, they were yours

v. 9 “for they are yours”

What does that mean? They belonged to God.

How did they become his? By his own uninfluenced choice. 

Eph.1 before the foundation of the world

Rev. written in the book from before the foundation of the world
The Father has identified those from before the foundation who are his. The Father gives them to the Son and the Son insures they will come to glory — and the Son uses the means of prayer.

to do his work

He first had to make an atonement (passive obedience)

He also had to live: I glorified you on the earth.

I sanctified myself: active obedience:

His death and life are imputed to us.
Salvation is to know God, to know Christ.
John 17:3 was the biggest verse for the Puritans