During his fifty-one years of ministry at Grace Community Church, it has been Pastor MacArthur’s practice to preach consecutively through books of the New Testament, verse by verse. During that time, however, there have been seasons and events that so gripped the nation that they were impossible to ignore. Our pastor has always provided a biblical perspective on these events, and we have collected those sermons here for you. We trust that they will encourage you during the current crisis and provide you an example of shepherding from the pulpit in troubling times.
Lessons from the Fall of Jimmy Swaggart (3/2/88)
In 1988, Jimmy Swaggart was the preeminent televangelist in America—famous the world over for his charismatic preaching. Thus, when it was revealed that he had been having immoral relationships with prostitutes, the credibility of evangelicalism was seriously damaged. In fact, the damage was so profound that Pastor John called it, “the most far reaching scandal in the history of the church.” In that sobering moment, Pastor John exhorted the students of the Master’s College to learn from that scandalous fall. Those powerful lessons can be listened to here.
War in the Gulf: A Biblical Perspective, Part 1 (1/20/91)
The US Gulf War is known today as one of the most successful and prudent wars in US history, yet the mood of the US people did not reflect these sentiments when the UN deployed forces into the Middle East in order to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The deployment of military force brought many questions to Americans about not only that particular conflict, but about war and the use of force in general. To this uncertain and unsettled country, Pastor John, over the course of three sermons, set out to give biblical answers to those questions. In part 1, he assures the congregation of God’s purposes in all world events—assurances that are particularly comforting in our own times of turmoil.
War in the Gulf: A Biblical Perspective, Part 2 (1/27/91)
Some of the most pressing issues the Coronavirus has raised are those relating to government—what are its responsibilities? What is the extent of its powers? How should the church relate to it? Similar questions arise in the face of war, as well. In part 2 of Pastor John’s series on the Gulf War, he answers these very questions, giving us biblical clarity as we face a government whose powers and jurisdiction is changing before our very eyes.
War in the Gulf: A Biblical Perspective, Part 3 (2/10/91)
Our society has had a preoccupation with the end of the world for some time now, and with this great turmoil, fear and uncertainty regarding the end has been heightened; even Christians ponder what all of this means for the continuation of the Western world. While we all have uncertainty about the consequences of this epidemic on our civilization, Christians can and ought to have certainty on the ultimate destination of human civilization. And we don’t only have certainty about the end of history, but about the precursors to the end as well. Dr. MacArthur explains these details of the end in part 3 of his series on the Gulf War.
The Los Angeles Riots: A Biblical Perspective (5/3/92)
Following the controversial acquittal of four police officers who had beaten an unarmed black man, named Rodney King, the city of Los Angeles erupted into anarchy. That following Sunday, Dr. MacArthur offered to a disturbed society penetrating insight into the sinful heart of man and the depraved society it had created in late 20th century America. These insights are relevant today as the weakness of our society is again revealed in the face of turmoil.
Lessons from the Northridge Earthquake (1/23/94)
“An earthquake is a great teacher. it is not making suggestions; it is making commands. It doesn’t ask for our attention; it demands it. It doesn’t just hope we will contemplate and act; it brings about almost instant obedience. This is a profound teacher, an earthquake like this.” These words—and the rest of this sermon—apply with immense relevance and poignancy to our own time. If you are going to listen to any of these sermons, listen to this one: it will encourage and equip you to shepherd your flock.
A First Response to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks (9/11/01)
On the very night of September 11, 2001, Pastor John was able to sit down and answer a few questions about how Christians should respond to such a disaster. Above all, Pastor John viewed the event as a wake-up call to the world about the reality of death and the urgent need to prepare for its inevitable arrival.
Homosexuality and the Campaign for Immorality (9/23/12)
Just as the winds and flood reveal the foundation of a house, so this virus is sure to reveal the foundation of our society. In a different manner, the soul and foundation of our society was revealed in the 2012 Democratic party platform which promoted homosexual “marriage” and abortion and was the first major US party platform to not invoke the name of God. That Sunday, Pastor John turned to Romans 1 explain God’s indictment on such a society.
We Will Not Bow (7/19/15)
The 2015 Obergefell decision which declared that homosexual “marriage” was a civil right protected by the constitution, was frightening for Christians: not only because it signaled our society had degenerated to such depravity, but also because it seemed a portent of persecution to come for those who would not bow to the decision. Today, the cause for fear is different, yet its temptation remains: to sacrifice our integrity for security. This sermon, therefore, is a timely reminder to dedicate ourselves to the work of the Kingdom of God, trusting that God will work the circumstances for our good and His glory.
The Promise of Peace in a Worried World (3/15/20)
In the first Sunday of the stay at home order, Pastor John preached to Grace Community Church from Matthew 6, giving a reminder that there is no place for anxiety and worry for the Christian who is being cared for by their heavenly Father, no matter the circumstances.
Finding Security in a Troubled World (3/22/20)
In the second week of church being suspended, Pastor John encouraged the congregation of Grace Community Church by surveying the various purposes God sovereignly works in a troubled world.
Dear Shepherds’ Conference 2020 Attendees,
We trust you had a blessed Sunday worshiping with your local church and trusting God in these uncertain times. Pastor John MacArthur recently encouraged our church to respond with trust in God’s providential care from Matthew 6:25–34.
Our pastor and the conference team is committed to your health and safety at all the conferences we host; consequently, we want to update you concerning the 90-year-old Shepherds’ Conference guest who recently passed away. The doctors confirmed that he passed away from COVID-19. At this time, there have been no other conference guests, Grace Church staff, or volunteers who have reported a positive diagnosis of the coronavirus. We are now outside the incubation period for the virus set by the CDC, but we encourage you to continue to take the necessary steps to ensure your personal health in this season.
During these times, it is easy to lose sight of the sovereignty of God, so we encourage you to meditate on the promise from Psalm 46:1–2, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.”
The Shepherds’ Conference Team
Dear Shepherds' Conference 2020 Attendees,
We trust you were blessed during your visit as well as encouraged by the fellowship you have encountered. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the wonderful opportunity we had to serve all of you during our recent Shepherds’ Conference. Thank you all for the encouraging feedback we have received that made us more aware of the great things our God has done at the conference. To God be the glory!
If any of you would like to access the Shepherds’ Conference 2020 audio and video, you can go to shepherdsconference.org/media at your convenience. Our church is praying that your commitment to biblical ministry will be fruitful at your local church as you and all church leaders shepherd God’s flock through every season in life with joy. May the Word of God be magnified for His glory through your service.
In addition to this update, we wanted to bring to your attention that a 90-year-old man who attended our conference recently passed away. There are posts online that he passed away from the coronavirus, but the physicians who treated him have not confirmed that information at this time. We encourage you to pray for the family of the deceased as this is a trying time for all of them.
Other than the potential situation above, we have had no confirmation of COVID-19 cases associated with anyone who attended the 2020 Shepherds’ Conference.
The safety and well-being of our guests during Shepherds’ Conference has always been our highest priority, and we continue to monitor reports from the medical professionals, government and local authorities.
We encourage you as shepherds of God’s people to remind them that God is in control and sovereign over all things. In the spirit of Psalm 18:2, let us live out the absolute truth that “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Shepherds’ Conference Team