John Mac Arthur on the idea of Unction (Buzz)

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The other thing just in closing…I don’t know if any of you were here couple a Sunday nights ago when I talked on 1 John 2? But let me just kinda close by having you look at that…1 John 2 Because, I mean this is nothing new, you can find writers and Bible teachers in the past who felt that they were in need of some divine unction. You know that old word? Some diving unction.

This pops up in a lot of even good literature in the past. Of course our dear beloved  David Martin Lloyd-Jones who was always chasing after some unction, chasing after some feeling that…or some impulse and you find that coming in a words of John Piper as he is talking about praying that God would give him something that would make make him powerful and effective and longing for this and desiring this.

That’s been a part of this kinda mystical approach to ministry and I think 1 John is very helpful with regard to that. The way I… we just quickly have you understand this passage in chapter 2…is look at verse 18 and realize that he is talking about… the fact that it’s the last hour the Messianic times since Christ has come and Antichrist is coming and now there are many Antichrists who have appeared. Now, they don’t say they are Antichrist, they are false prophets, false preachers, false teachers. And we know from the background of sort of incipient Gnosticism which doesn’t develop till a little bit later, that these were the people that always offered themselves as possessing the secret knowledge, right? That they had a gnosis. They had the elevated knowledge. They had the transcendent knowledge. They were above the hoi polloi. They actually used the word according to some commentators, they used the word “the anointing”. Kryma, the idea of… Charisma rather…The idea of something coming down from Heaven and being placed upon them. They were the anointed ones. That was one of the labels that they bore. And it’s in that context that they intimidate people who don’t have the anointing. By the way that’s part of the parcel in the Charismatic movement. That use of the term anointing. And so in verse 20 John writes: “you have an anointing from the Holy One” The Holy One is the term used to refer to the Jesus Christ several times in the New Testament. “You have an anointing.” This is talking to people who have been intimidated by false teachers who say: “We don’t expect you to know this, because you don’t have the anointing. We have this elevated anointing.” And so John just says: “You have an anointing…” and it’s an anointing given to you from the Holy One and as the result “you all know”. Wow. Nobody has some secret knowledge that you don’t have. You all know. Because you have the anointing.

“I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” (1Jn2:21)

Here is the bottom line — all you want in your preaching and your ministry is the truth. It’s all you want. You don’t need to be looking for feeling or an experience, or some kind of “wow” factor. There’s nothing missing. I told the people a few Sundays ago the fact of the matter is when you study the Bible as a lay person or you as a seminary student and I study the Bible to prepare to preach you have the same spiritual equipment that I have. I don’t have any more equipment. Nothing comes down to me from Heaven except the Scripture. We are working at the same level. We might have different mental capabilities, but the truth of the matter is many of you are the whole lot smarter than I am.

You don’t need to be fishing for some dramatic esoteric non-quantifiable experience that’s gonna catapult you to another level. It’s about the truth and it’s about knowing the truth, understanding the truth and proclaiming the truth and you know everything because you have the truth teacher. The anointing. And you can go down to verse 27:

“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you…”

You don’t need any human teacher…you have the anointing…and “His anointing teaches you about all things,” — this is the Spirit working in you with the Word “and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” (1Jn2:27)

The whole point of this is don’t chase some anointing. You have the anointing. And the whole purpose of your study is to know the truth and the whole purpose of your preaching is to preach the truth. And when you preach the truth you can sit down and say: “That’s the maximum capability that can happen in the use of my gift.” You don’t wanna go back and say: “I didn’t feel anointed.” Like that was Lloyd-Jones he said, he only preached 3 sermons in his whole life when he felt the anointing. Well I don’t know what was going on in his brain those three times. But I’d never heard the man when I wasn’t overwhelmed with the power of the truth. It’s not about the magic in the man, it’s about the power in truth.

So I think there’s some of this mysticism that lends itself to being open to Charismatic gifts when it’s unnecessary. It’s unnecessary.

Verse 24:

“As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning.”

Wow. What a statement. It’s enough for you to hold on to what you heard from the beginning. You don’t need any more revelation. You don’t need a higher anointing. Stick with what’s been revealed, you heard from the beginning, don’t be looking for new revelation or some kind of new emotional buzz. I’ve been doing this for long time. And I…I don’t even know what that is. In fact I am the worst person to evaluate a sermon. And I’m certainly am not gonna stand up there kinda playing my psychological naval trying to find a buzz somewhere. I’m just working to help you understand the truth as I’ve come to understand the truth and that’s sufficient.

Here Mark Dever says about the presence of God during the D.M. Lloyd-Jones meetings in the 50-ies. John Mac Arthur says about hymns that Lloyd-Jones selected about the nature of God attributing that beginning of powerful messages accompanied by the strong presence of God.

Be it as it may I found another Irish Presbyterian preacher who does believe that there is unction form God for preaching, yet he maybe defines it in different terms.

Here are some of his messages:

E.M. Bounds also says a few words about unction.

All right I have to finish this later.