The Book of Hebrews
The Christian is meant to know that they are the child of God. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones elaborates that there are two types of assurance: the test of faith and the test of the Christian walk. In this sermon on John 1:12–13 and Hebrews 11 called “A More Excellent Sacrifice,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones examines both tests in regard to the example of Cain and Abel. He describes how Cain and Abel relied on two separate sources for authority. While Cain relied on his own merit and reasoning, Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice and relied on faith. This is still true of humanity today. There are two sources of authority in the world: reliance on deeds, rationale, or penitence to appease the wrath of the almighty God or relying by faith on the sacrifice of Christ to appease God and present the Christian as righteous. The Christian can ask themselves if they, by faith, submit themselves to the holy Scriptures, and are perceived by the world to rely on Scripture and are accused of taking religion too seriously. These are very likely signs that the Christian relies on Christ as their Savior and Lord.
In this sermon on Noah from John 1:12-13 and Hebrews 11 titled “Noah Believed God,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives the example of Noah and teaches that the Christian life is supposed to be markedly different than the rest of the world. Noah’s life was marked by faith and radical obedience. The rest of the world was consumed by ungodliness but Noah believed God when God warned him of coming wrath. He obeyed the word of God to build an ark and Noah’s faith contrasted the whole world. The Christian life is meant to be in contrast with the world. If the Christian has faith, they will not look like the world because that faith will change what they do with their speech, body, and mind. The Christian who is out of place because of righteousness is right where they should be. Dr. Lloyd-Jones describes the righteousness of the believer by saying that they are not perfect or sinless, but thoroughly upright and sincere. Even when a Christian sins, they strive toward righteousness. Like Noah, the Christian does not merely hear the warnings of wrath, but heeds them and hides in Christ.
In this sermon from his series on John 1:12–13, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses the richness of assurance of salvation. He highlights the beautiful truth that Christians are not only forgiven of sins when we come to believe in Christ, but they are also born again. They are born not of flesh, but of God and adopted in as His children. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also brings in the illustration of faith and assurance in the life and person of Abraham. He encourages us from Abraham’s example found in Genesis 15, Hebrews 11:8–12, and other Scripture references. The listener hears of Abraham’s deep faith in God, his faith in action, and God’s plan. Despite the fact that God’s promises to Abraham were not immediately fulfilled, and the way of fulfillment was unknown, Abraham still “went out not knowing where he was going” because he believed God and His promises. Dr. Lloyd-Jones urges the listener to consider their faith: do they believe God and His promises? Do they not only intellectually believe, but also live out faith in obedience? Do they live in the blessed joy of assurance?
Can Christians have assurance of their salvation? This is not a merely speculative question, but it is at the heart of much of the Gospel. In this sermon on John 1:12-13, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches the great truth that those who are saved in Christ can and should know that they are redeemed! He looks at the example of Abraham who is told by God to go sacrifice his son, Isaac. Abraham goes because he trusts in God and in His promises. He does not doubt that God can even bring his son back from the dead! While God intervenes at the last moment so that Abraham does not have to sacrifice his son, Abraham’s faith and assurance in God is still displayed. Christians can see their assurance in their external actions, but also by recognizing that they are trusting in Christ. Those that have repented of their sins and rest wholly in Christ’s death can know that they are now safe in the arms of God. They can know that God loves them and has sent His Son to die for them! This is one of the most comforting truths in the Christians life and should be a great source of encouragement for all believers.
How does living in the assurance of God’s love for the Christian change their life? If the life of Moses is considered, a person of faith is one who is confident that they belong not to this world, but to the people of God. In this sermon on John 1:12–13, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains how Moses turned his back on his old life as a prince with all its power and glory to be counted amongst the people of God. He was willing to suffer as an Israelite because he knew who he was. It is no different in the life of New Testament believers. [MOU1] Those who are confident in their place in Christ are willing to suffer for Him, even to the point of death. Those who doubt that they are God’s children will have a hard time suffering for Him and His gospel. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows that the matter of assurance is a profoundly practical question that impacts how the Christian lives in the world and lives for the gospel. The glorious truth of the gospel is that all can know that they are saved. All who believe in Jesus can know that they are resting in God, and that God is wholly for them.
What role does prayer play in the Christian life? Christians can be surprised by the amount of difficulties and trials they encounter. Perhaps when they trusted in Jesus for their salvation, they were under the impression that all the negative aspects of life would disappear. But there is hope. In this sermon on Hebrews 10:19–22 titled “The Way of Prayer,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims that Jesus promised that along with the increase in trials, His followers will have His power and protection to persevere through difficult times. The power and protection is accessed through prayer. This is found in the letter of Hebrews as an example to encourage believers to pray through trials. Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides three biblical characteristics that should be consistent in how Christians pray. First, they must pray with confidence in God’s ability to handle requests. Second, they must have a clear conscience since prayer is entering into God’s presence. Third, Christians must be sincere with God. It is no use holding back even one percent of themselves since they must be willing to submit all to Him and His sovereign plan. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones helps the believer apply these characteristics of godly prayer to their lives. The only way to stand firm in persecution is to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith.
In this sermon on Hebrews 1:1–3 titled “The Wonder of the Cross,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones exposits the book of Hebrews and carefully explains the great theme of the entire epistle: the glory and preeminence of Jesus Christ. Special attention is given to the latter part of verse three as the author of Hebrew only notes Jesus’s earthly ministry of purification of sin. The purification and cleansing of sin, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains, has to be the center of the focus of Christian faith because it perfectly displays the glory and humility of Christ. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also explains the strangeness and the meaning of the cross: the cross is strange to the world because the glory of God is displayed in one of the most humiliating places and symbols in the world. The cross also means to be the fulfillment of all the Old Testament types. In glory and humility, Jesus Christ came to purify and cleanse sins of the world on the cross, putting an end to the Old Testament rituals and offering the ultimate way of salvation. As a result, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says, Jesus has now “sat down at the right hand of God,” displaying both His glory as the Son and the finished work on the cross.
There is no lack of content in Scripture about the cross of Christ. In this sermon given on Good Friday on Hebrews 2:9 titled “The Cross of Christ,” Dr, Martyn Lloyd-Jones presents various questions about this subject and answers them from the Scripture. Who is this person dying upon a cross? Jesus Christ, the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person, humbling Himself by coming in the likeness of a man, sojourning among humanity, and suffering and dying that He might taste death for everyone. What does it mean that He tasted death? On the cross He experienced – in body and soul – everything that is involved in death as the punishment for sin. Nothing was withheld. Why did He suffer such a death? The answer is given in one word: “for everyone.” He took the place of all, bearing the wrath of God for their sins upon Himself. What’s the result of His coming? The glorious result is two-fold: because Jesus suffered and died, He has been exalted, crowned with all glory and honor and power, and He has taken out the sting of death for all believers. He did it because God’s very nature is one of grace, compassion, and love.
In this sermon on Hebrews 2:11 titled “Not Ashamed to Call Them Brethren,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches on the wonders of Christ and His shared inheritance with the redeemed. The theme of the book of Hebrews is the preeminence of Jesus Christ. The wonder of the gospel is that Jesus is not ashamed to call His people brethren. Though they are but humans, the Lord God calls them brethren because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Dr. Lloyd-Jones proclaims that humans are the sanctified, and Jesus is the sanctifier. Yet He became a little lower than the angels in order to redeem them back to Himself. He became man while not ridding Himself of His Godhood. Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial condescension to humanity, His people can share in His wonderful, eternal, and glorifying inheritance. Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches that although God has made Himself one with His redeemed, He is also entirely separate. Jesus Christ is the bridge of the expansive gap between God and humanity. Jesus made a way for people to come to Him; He made a way for them to be brethren. And Jesus Christ is not ashamed to call them brethren. Dr. Lloyd-Jones wonderfully articulates that when Jesus came, the lawgiver came unto the law. He took upon the form of a servant. Because of this, He can be called Jesus the brother.