On Sunday, September 16, 2001, all of America was in mourning over the devastating terrorist attacks just five days prior. That day, exactly fifteen years ago, saw the campus of Grace Community Church inundated with crowds as people tried to make sense of it all. John MacArthur delivered a landmark sermon—“A Biblical Perspective on Death, Terrorism, and the Middle East”—that garnered an unprecedented response.
Phil Johnson described the scene this way:
It is the longest single message ever preached at Grace Community Church, and it was heard by the largest crowd ever to attend a regular service at the church—perhaps more than 5,000 people in one solemn, unforgettable evening service. Every available overflow room was packed. The service went at least forty-five minutes beyond normal, and no one left early or complained. Within weeks, CDs of this sermon far outsold every other message in the Grace to You catalogue, including messages that had been selling strong for three decades.  Eds. Phil Johnson and Mike Taylor, Truth Endures (Panorama City, CA: Grace to You, 2009), 231–32.
The sermon actually ran so long that Grace to You had to split the message into two parts because it couldn’t fit on one CD (which explains why there are two links to the sermon below).
Part of what makes this sermon so compelling is that it’s very rare for John MacArthur to break from verse-by-verse exposition and deliver commentary on current events. But that’s not to say it’s a museum piece with limited relevance beyond historical curiosity. While it was a response to the 9/11 terror attacks, its implications extend far beyond those events.
John MacArthur’s historic sermon explains why 9/11 happened, but also ultimately why all disasters happen. And we need to know the answers because today we struggle to keep up with a seemingly endless sequence of disasters. Not only terrorist attacks, but floods, disease, famines, genocide, and every other conceivable kind of disaster dominate the news cycle. The world is effectively on fire.
The truth John MacArthur lays out in this sermon is both critical and comprehensive, providing a valuable examination of the Islamic religion and its connection with global terrorism. Moreover, John equips believers to face any disaster with confidence in our sovereign God, and with clear answers to offer the unbelieving world.
We don’t need to be overwhelmed and overtaken by calamitous events. But we do need to be armed with answers. And in this epic sermon, John MacArthur provides those answers from Scripture, along with a powerful, divine warning to everyone about the ultimate disaster—falling victim to God’s eternal wrath.
Click here to listen to “A Biblical Perspective on Death, Terrorism, and the Middle East (Part 1).”
Click here to listen to “A Biblical Perspective on Death, Terrorism, and the Middle East (Part 2).”