Posted in encouragement, ephesians, martyn lloyd-jones, preaching, predestination

The greatest sentence in the entire Bible?

“It is always a foolish thing to say that anyone thing in scripture that one sentence is greater than anything else. But I think we can safely say this; that this is certainly the greatest sentence in the whole Bible.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that quite possibly the opening sentence of Ephesians 1 is the most important in the entire Bible.

“Once more, we are looking at this great sentence, which starts as you remember, at the beginning of verse 3, and runs right on until the end of verse 14.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:3-14).

Find out why Dr. MLJ believes this, here in his great sermon from Ephesians 1:11-14, “We…Ye Also

Posted in doctrine, martyn lloyd-jones

Is doctrine important? Isn’t OK just to be a simple believer in Jesus?

I’m listening to the great Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones preach through a series called “Great Biblical Doctrines.” I love doctrine. By it, I come to know Christ. Through living it, I manifest a Christlike character. Far from being “head knowledge” only, learning doctrine ignites my heart in love for Christ and to obey Him more fully in all things. One cannot pursue holiness (2 Peter 1:15-16) without knowing what or Whom you pursue.

Dr Lloyd-Jones said way back in 1953 in his sermon as part of the Great Biblical Doctrines series “The Lord Jesus Christ”, the following, which is something people say to me and around me all the time:

“I am anxious that I should deal with the case of anybody night be present and whom may think and say, ‘Well, I don’t have much time to be interested in Doctrine like this. I’m just a simple believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.’ My friend, if you take up that position, you’re utterly unscriptural. It was because such simple Christians were ready to believe false teachers, and DID believe false teachers, that so many of these Epistles had to be written with their stern warnings against the terrible danger to the soul of believing these wrong teachings and false ideas concerning the Person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is not enough to say ‘I believe in Jesus Christ’. The New Testament asks you a question when you say that. It asks, ‘What do you believe about Him? Is He man only or is He God only? Has He come in the flesh or hasn’t He? What is the meaning of His death? What did He do?’ The New Testament is concerned with definitions. I suggest that there is nothing that is further removed from the teaching of the New Testament itself than to say ‘it’s all right as long as you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that it doesn’t matter very much what you say about Him in detail.’ It is the detail that is the most important and vital to our whole position.”

—end Lloyd-Jones.

Please enjoy the series Great Biblical Doctrines here:
http://www.mljtrust.org/collections/great-biblical-doctrines/

Posted in discernment, jesus, martyn lloyd-jones

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on preaching one’s experience as the Gospel

In his sermon on Acts 8:4-5 “Facing the Facts” Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounded on the fact of the Gospel and proclaiming it, refuting the tendency even in his day, the preaching of one’s “experience”. The Gospel is not “your experience” of it. The Gospel message is the Word, and a very particular word at that. It is a set of facts which, as ambassadors commanded to deliver the exact message we are given, is to be proclaimed. It is not how happy we’ve become through it. The message is not how our lives have changed from it. The message is not about how abundant our lives have been since hearing it. It is a message resting on particularly unique historical facts and heavenly bread, given us to speak. We do have experiences from God and through God. However the experiences we have are not the message. We should never preach ourselves, but Jesus only.

Here is Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones refuting experience AS the Gospel.

One’s experience is not a defense of the truth. That is what the cults say. It is what psychology says. Proclaiming the Gospel is answering the questions, Who is Jesus Christ? how have these things happened? What are the historical events? And what is their relationship to me? That is what these men spoke about. 

They certainly had an experience. It was such an experience that they were ready to suffer for it, and be persecuted for and to be driven out of their homes for it rather then deny it. But that wasn’t what they talked about. 

I don’t apologize for the intolerance of the New Testament. Let me put it like this to you, I would not be in this pulpit if I haven’t got an intolerant Gospel. If I were not certain that this and this alone is the word of God, I wouldn’t be in this pulpit. I’m not here to express my hopes, my fears, my anticipations, my thoughts, my desires..no! no! I’m here to proclaim to you, to tell you. It is because I am certain of it, sure of it, not because of my experience, but because of what it IS.

Posted in beth moore, billy graham, charles spurgeon, discernment, I am the door, martyn lloyd-jones, salvation

Jesus is the door: what do these famous testimonies reveal about their understanding of Christ?

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

This is one of the famous I AM statements by Jesus. Here they all are.

1. And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
2. Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
3. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
4. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
5. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
7. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1).

Any study on these statements would be rich and edifying. However let’s just look at the door. The door is narrow. There is only one door. It is an exclusive door. No other door will allow entry to heaven. If anyone tries to come another way, he is a thief and a robber. (John 10:1)

Jesus leads his Jews out of the fold into salvation. He has another fold (John 10:16) where He leads His Gentiles out into salvation and green pastures. No one can go to green pastures another way except through Jesus. His way is exclusive because He is the ONLY way. His way requires repentance, a realization of our utter inability to perform any act He would consider righteous and a realization of His total ability to crush us like a bug if He so desired- and that would be just. We understand His holiness but also His mercy in saving us. One would think that a conversion testimony would include acknowledgement of at least some of those positional truths.

Here are a few conversion testimonies I found online. Compare them. And in the back of your mind, keep thinking about the Door. At the bottom I’ll have the moral of the story.

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Conversion story #1

At the end of the sermon, the preacher had “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but look and live!” I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said—I did not take much notice of it—I was so possessed with that one thought . . . . I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, “Look!” what a charming word it seemed to me. Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away.

There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, “Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.” … I listened to the Word of God and that precious text led me to the cross of Christ. I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribable. I thought I could have sprung from the seat in which I sat, and have called out with the wildest of those Methodist brethren . . . “I am forgiven! I am forgiven! A monument of grace! A sinner saved by blood!” My spirit saw its chains broken to pieces, I felt that I was an emancipated soul, an heir of heaven, a forgiven one, accepted in Jesus Christ, plucked out of the miry clay and out of the horrible pit, with my feet set upon a rock and my goings established … Simply by looking to Jesus I had been delivered from despair…

That young man certainly was aware of his position in Christ prior to salvation. He had been in despair, he heard the Gospel and he was saved by blood.The young man was Charles Spurgeon. His subsequent life certainly reflects the foundational understanding he had of the Gospel.

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Conversion story #2

“I didn’t have a fireworks moment for my salvation, I had a falling in love with Jesus in Sunday school when I was a very young child.” But she did have an altar call moment. In high school, she had planned to become a lawyer, but one summer while leading a group of sixth-grade girls at camp, she received what she considers a call from God. “I had no words, nothing but a sense,” she says. “God took a very troubled young woman and made sure that she understood.” She walked down the aisle of her church, committing herself to ministry.”

So she had a mystical sense to walk down an aisle and commit to the idol of ministry. Not the standard Gospel call of realizing our depravity in brokenness and turning to a resurrected, blood shedding Jesus as the exclusive hope for reconciliation with God… The woman is Beth Moore. Her subsequent life certainly reflects the lack of understanding she should have had of her position in Christ both before and after salvation.

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Conversion story #3

in 1914 at the encouragement of their minister the young man was now beginning to take a hard look at the reality of his spiritual condition. “For many years I thought I was a Christian when in fact I was not. It was only later that I came to see that I had never been a Christian and became one.” As he struggled with his salvation a grace truth came into focus. He said he had not really heard sound preaching of the gospel in his early life. “What I needed was preaching that would convict me of sin and … bring me to repentance and tell me something about regeneration. But I never heard that. The preaching we had was always based on the assumption that we were all Christians …” As the young man read for himself he slowly but surely saw the logic and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Like the waves of the incoming tide, the reality of God’s grace swept over his heart until trusting Christ was all he could do. As surely as that reality overwhelmed him personally it overwhelmed him professionally.

The young man was Martyn Lloyd Jones, (source) a preacher called “logic on fire” and certainly his long and fruitful life subsequent to his conversion testifies to the grace of Christ in bringing him to regeneration from brokenness in sin.

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Conversion story #4

A certain young man began attending a tent revival.

“And then it happened, sometime around my sixteenth birthday. On that night, [the preacher] finished preaching and gave the Invitation to accept Christ… On the last verse of that second song, I responded. I walked down to the platform, feeling as if I had lead weights attached to my feet, and stood in the space before the platform… My heart sank when I looked over at the lady standing next to me with tears running down her cheeks. I was not crying. I did not feel any special emotion of any kind just then. Maybe, I thought, I was not supposed to be there. Maybe my good intentions to be a real Christian wouldn’t last. Wondering if I was just making a fool of myself, I almost turned around and went back to my seat…” As [the young man] stood at the platform, a friend of the family’s, testified to the young man and guided him to pray.

“He prayed for me and guided me to pray. I had heard the message, and I had felt the inner compulsion to go forward. Now came the moment to commit myself to Christ… I checked ‘Recommitment’ on the card I filled out. No bells went off inside me. No signs flashed across the tabernacle ceiling. No physical palpitations made me tremble. I wondered again if I was a hypocrite, not to be weeping or something. I simply felt at peace.”

The young man was Billy Graham, attending Mordecai Ham’s tent revival. The subsequent life of Graham testifies to his lack of a foundational understanding. Especially when in his mature decades, Graham said things like a person could go to heaven without ever hearing the gospel, knowing Jesus Christ, or having lived a sincere life just knowing he needed something. “They’re going to come another way” Graham said. No. They’re not.

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You see the weakness of Moore’s and Graham’s theology in describing their conversion. Their descriptions posted were not immediately after conversion, either, they were statements made decades later when one presumes some sanctified maturity has set in.

You see the strength of Spurgeon’s and Jones’ conversion stories. They talk os sin, grce, redemption, resurrection, regeneration.

Jesus is the Door. It is a narrow door. It is the only door. It isn’t easy to become a Christian. It involves a deep, soulful agony. Here’s Don Green on how to recognize true repentance,

Look at verse 4, where Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” This word for mourning describes deep, inner agony…agony. Jesus is describing a spiritual mourning here, not an earthly mourning. It’s easy enough to see that. There are a lot of people that suffer earthly loss and mourn that, that don’t receive comfort from Christ. Unbelievers who are mourning their losses don’t receive comfort from Christ. What Jesus is talking about here is spiritual mourning over sin. He had just talked about poverty of spirit. It’s in the context of repentance.

…the tax collector in Luke 18, verse 13…Luke 18, verse 13, you don’t need to turn there. The tax collector standing some distance away was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven but was beating his breasts saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner.” He was beating his breast, his agony, his mourning over sin was so great that he had to release it physically. This was no superficial response. This was no quick nod of the head to the question, “Do you think you’re a sinner?” And then move on to whatever the next topic of discussion was. No, the kind of mourning, the kind of sorrow that repentance expresses is a sorrow that stops you in your tracks, a sorrow that you can’t get over.

Salvation is no easy-breezy nod to the Holy I AM whilst wiping one’s feet on the doormat saying, “Gee, thanks for the ministry.” It isn’t ambling down an aisle, and checking off a ‘recommitment’  box after a quick prayer. Salvation is agony and going through the door means you leave all else behind, enter alone, and worship. Jesus isn’t relieved you have recommitted. He isn’t wringing His hands in hopes that you will fall in love with Him. He doesn’t have an ‘easy button’ you push. He has a narrow way of entry with strict requirements. Jesus is THE DOOR. He is not a doorMAT.

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Further Reading

How easy is salvation?

Posted in holy spirit, martyn lloyd-jones

Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains the Holy Spirit’s work through Common Grace

I listened to a wonderful sermon today. I’ve been enjoying and savoring Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ series called “The Great Biblical Doctrines.” The one from today was called Creation and Common Grace.

It’s only 27 minutes long, because unfortunately the beginning portion has been lost. Nevertheless, you can easily understand the points this great pastor is making from the jumping off point where the sermon does open.

I was struck by the multi-layered aspect of the sermon. I’ve been studying end time prophecies for a long time, of course; and also on Wednesday nights at church we are going through Acts, and have recently studied both Pentecost and Stephen’s sermon.

The sermon puts so many pieces together. The bible is one great, unified work. It’s the revelation God wants us to know about Him and His work among the people and of earth. It is THE TRUTH, not a truth and not many truths. As you study to understand it precept by precept, a jot here, a tittle there, you begin to see a large picture emerge.

This sermon explains the work of the Holy Spirit through His ministry of common grace, and through understanding common grace, you’ll understand how when the restraining ministry of the Spirit ends this will be a dramatic moment as the Tribulation begins. (2 Thessalonians 2:7). You’ll understand how men could be so sinful that without the common grace of the Holy Spirit’s restraint we’d all kill each other immediately. You’ll understand why Jesus said that unless the days of the Tribulation were cut short, no flesh would survive. (Matthew 24:22). You’ll understand that the Holy Spirit has been working on earth since before earth was created. You’ll understand that it’s the Spirit Who sustains all, Jesus does it through the Spirit. (Colossians 1:17).

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. (Acts 7:51).
The Spirit is the conscience that exists in all men. Though Jones’s sermons sadly are not transcribed on the site, someone took the time to publish long excerpts of this particular sermon here.

Jones said of man’s conscience,

You will remember that we are told in the prologue of John’s Gospel about ‘the true light which lighteth every man’ (John 1:9). It does not matter how you translate that verse – ‘the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world’ says the Authorised Version; ‘the Light that lighteth every man was coming into the world,’ says another. We are not concerned about that. We are interested in the phrase ‘the light which lighteth every man’. And there is such a light. It is a kind of natural light, as we call it, natural understanding. It is the light that is in the conscience and there is that light of conscience in every person born into this world. Now that is one of the operations of the Holy Spirit in what is called common grace.

You will remember that in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 it is written, For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. When the Spirit lifts his retraining hand from man’s conscience, sin will be loosed in such a way that it is today impossible to comprehend. No man will have a conscience. Sin will reach its full expression. The horror of the few believers who come to faith in the Tribulation and live long enough to see these horrors will be permanently scarred by what they see, save the promise that God will not allow them to remember. (Isaiah 65:17).

Dr Lloyd-Jones’ delivered this sermon in 1954, and already back then he could see the decaying effects of a society being given over to its sin. That was 61 years ago, and how much more we see the accelerating effects of societies being given over to sin now. He said,

God, through the Holy Spirit, restrains the foulest manifestations of sin, but there are times when He gives people up to them. Are we, I wonder, living in such an age? Compare the twentieth century with the nineteenth. It is obvious that the moral level is very much lower today. That does not mean that everybody was a Christian in the Victorian era, but it does mean that even people who were not Christians were better men and women, speaking generally, than people now. Why? It was because of the general influence of the Holy Spirit. But it does look as if again, today, God is giving humanity over ‘unto vile affections’ as Paul outlines in Romans 1.

The Holy Spirit’s influence in the world and upon the world is not to be underestimated in light of the more visible qualities of the Messiah Savior and Father God. Please listen to the sermon and its part 2, The Significance of Pentecost, where the Spirit’s ministry dramatically changed when the Church was formed.

EPrata photo

Posted in eternal, God, martyn lloyd-jones, sovereign

The Eternal Decrees of God, by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The best sermon I’ve ever heard on the “Eternal Decrees of God”, and one of the best sermons I’ve heard on any topic, ever. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 50 min. Please take a listen, I know you will be edified.

“Scripture: The character of God’s activities; antinomy explained; the importance of understanding the harmony of the Biblical doctrines; God’s unchanging plan; the decrees of God are unconditional and sovereign; problems in understanding this doctrine; God is not unjust.”

The Eternal Decrees of God