Book of John
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A picture is worth a thousand words. Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, Jesus preached and taught the gospel. He exposed sin and one’s need for forgiveness that only he could provide through his death burial and resurrection. As any great preacher would employ, Jesus powerfully illustrated his gospel message. How did he do this? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains from John and the healing at Bethesda. He begins with the question, “Why did the Lord work miracles and why were they recorded?” The answer is two-fold. The miracles of Jesus were signs that powerfully revealed his identity as God. But second, the miracles were a powerful picture to illustrate the gospel. This healing at Bethesda reveals the nature of sin. The man, crippled and unable to get to the water, demonstrates the hopeless and helpless nature of the sinner and the dark disease of sin. The man had no ability to heal himself or even get to the possible remedy. Only Jesus could provide healing physically and spiritually. The Doctor, in this message, causes us to see, that through the picture of this healing, we gain understanding of the gospel and the forgiveness of sin that will make us spiritually whole once again.
Unbelievers are blinded to the truth by their own prejudices. Jesus had just performed a supernatural miracle healing the man by the pool of Bethesda. How would the Pharisees respond? In this message on John 5:10, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones teaches that the Pharisees were blinded to the truth by the prejudices that governed their hearts. Confronted with this powerful miracle, the Pharisees were forced to deal with Jesus. They were confronted by the facts of this miracle and ultimately his divine nature. The Old Testament had prophesied of the Jesus of Nazareth and the facts surrounding Jesus clearly fulfilled those prophecies. However, instead of embracing and believing the facts, and Jesus Himself, they held onto their prejudices. Blinded by the Law, they deny Jesus identity because he healed on the Sabbath. He had worked on the Sabbath and caused the man to work by carrying his pallet. Certainly, no Messiah would break their law. Their reaction provides a stark contrast, a backdrop for true belief. While the miracle pictured spiritual healing in the gospel, soon to be embraced by the man, the Pharisees could not believe, blinded and enslaved by prejudice. To truly know Christ, the prejudice must be removed.
Why is it absolutely essential to believe in Jesus? In this message on John 5:37-39, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones considers the essential question of why one must believe in Jesus for salvation. This seems like an odd question, even one with an obvious answer. Yet, the Pharisees, along with many today, zealously believe in God but never mention or acknowledge Jesus Christ. The Pharisees had just witnessed a powerful miracle, however, they completely overlook it because they believed in God! In performing this miracle, Jesus had broken the Sabbath. He had broken God’s law which the Pharisees were dedicated to protect. Therefore, they confront Jesus about his working on the Sabbath. How does he respond? Jesus says, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” Jesus responds by making himself equal with God, fully divine, fully a part of the triune God. Believing in Jesus and his identity as God in the flesh is essential to salvation and knowing God. The Pharisees ardently profess belief in God, but respond to Jesus with further desire to kill him. It is in the midst of this profound rejection of Jesus that The Doctor offers reasons for why it is essential to believe in Jesus.
Where will you spend eternity? How can anyone be certain of salvation? As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims, how we listen to the Word of God determines our eternal destiny. In John 5:24, John records Jesus’ promise that those who hear his Word and believe have eternal life. As he expounds this text, The Doctor focuses our attention on the Word, yes, but even more the necessity of how we listen to the Word. Our eternal destiny hinges on whether one truly listens to the truth of God’s word. One must not be a mere spectator who comes and is impressed with the formality of worship and preaching and even the consideration of a philosophy or teaching. Rather, to truly receive and possess eternal life, one must listen with the intent to meditate and understand the significance and implications of the Word. This type of listening not only sees the truth but perceives its implications for the soul. The question then becomes, “What must we see and perceive to gain this eternal life?” In his gospel saturated message, Lloyd-Jones teaches that we must hear the Word expose our spiritual condition as dead in trespasses and sins and under the condemnation of God awaiting his judgment. However, the beauty of Jesus’ promise is that he was sent to pay the debt of our sin, and that hearing and believing in him, we pass out of death and into life.
Regeneration is not defined by morality, rather it is defined by new life in Christ. In John 5:24, Jesus summarizes the gospel by focusing on the new life that comes by believing upon it. Now in John 5:25-26, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones unpacks the implications of this new life. He states, as Jesus does in the text, that the Father has life in himself, and He has given this life to Jesus. How does Jesus dispense this new life? New life is realized through the means of regeneration. According to Lloyd-Jones, regeneration is the power of Christ to give new life. Furthermore, he wants there to be no confusion about the results of regeneration. Regeneration does not bring about simply a moral man. On the contrary, regeneration brings new spiritual life to the sinner that radically changes the controlling disposition of his or her soul. Personality, temperament and cognitive abilities remain the same, but through regeneration, the governing disposition of the regenerate sinner is now changed forever. Are you assured that you possess this new life? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones challenges us to consider the new life found in Christ and passionately desires that we possess it. “Have you got this life?” "Do you display a new disposition in your soul?"
Are you saved from the guilt of your sin? As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones exposits John 5:31-35, his message drips with the life-giving dew of the Gospel. After setting the text in the context of Jesus’ healing and declaring his divinity, he now turns to the message of the gospel and the witness to that message. Why does man need salvation? All men from birth from the beginning of time are born into sin. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. None are righteous, not even one. All who are in sin are under the judgment of God. However, there was One sent from God, the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Why was he sent? He was sent to save. He bore the penalty of sin on the cross as a substitute for sinners. He made a sacrifice for sin that if one applies to his or her life by belief and faith, he shall not perish but have everlasting life. This was Jesus’ message of the Gospel. But, was it true? Jesus says that it is because he testifies to it and God sent another to witness and testify that Jesus’ message was true, the great prophet John the Baptist.
Repentance is the door to salvation. In part 1 of his message on John 5:31-35, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones delivers a Gospel saturated message, a Gospel provided by the Lamb of God. Now, in part 2, he begins to consider the witnesses to Jesus' message and ministry. The truthfulness of Jesus message cannot be established on its own. God’s law requires two or more witnesses. Jesus knows this and ensures that his message has corroborating testimony. Who is the initial witness to Jesus? The forerunner, John the Baptist testified of Jesus. John testified of Jesus, both his message and ministry and his testimony was true. But more importantly, what was the content of John’s testimony? The Doctor reveals that yes, John’s testimony was needed and important to validate the Lord. More importantly, John’s message was preparatory for the people. The King was coming. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world was on the scene. How must he be received? The people must receive him and his message through hearts prepared in repentance of sin. Repentance was the door that led to salvation, a salvation that would be purchased by the Lamb of God.
Is there convincing proof that Jesus was the Messiah? In part 3 of his series on John 5:31-35, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers this question with a firm, yes. What is this convincing proof? The proof comes in the form of testimony from John the Baptist. As he testifies of Jesus as the Messiah, the Lamb of God, he offers one final prophetic affirmation that Jesus is indeed the Consolation of Israel. Speaking of Jesus, John declares that he is the one who will come and baptize with the Holy Spirit! The Old Testament speaks of the coming outpouring of the Spirit and John, as the last prophet, proclaims that Jesus will initiate and send that very outpouring. This fact alone demonstrates in convincing fashion that Jesus is the Messiah. But, how are we to understand this baptism of the Spirit? John the Baptist called the people to repent of their sins, be baptized in water as a sign of that repentance and directed them to produce the fruit of repentance in their lives. Was John’s baptism sufficient for salvation? How does it compare to the baptism of the Spirit? In this message, The Doctor answers these questions and how they relate to the Gospel and salvation.
Do you believe in the coming judgment? In part 4 of his series on John 5:31-35, Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones now turns to the certainty of future judgment. Having established that life and judgment were placed firmly in to the hands of Jesus by the Father, Jesus has declared that his testimony is true. His testimony was verified by witnesses, beginning with John the Baptist. The Doctor has explained the sum and substance of John’s witness concerning Jesus and salvation. However, there is one remaining truth that must not be lost, that truth is the clear inevitability of the judgment to come. Man, in the modern age, using science, reason and rationality have suppressed the truth of the judgment. Men have declared that God is love and being love he could not be a God of judgment. Has man in this modern day truly discovered that there will be no judgment? The answer is no. Man has forgotten the moral principle that with actions come consequences. Furthermore, man is suppressing the truth of death and judgment in his unrighteousness. Do you believe in the coming judgment? The Doctor says that you must or you will neglect the salvation so previously provided for you.
Will your response to the Gospel be only for a season? In part 5 of his series on John 5:31-35, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones completes his exposition by exposing the wrong response to the truth of the Gospel. Focusing on the person and ministry of John the Baptist, we find a faulty belief in the Gospel and in Jesus. As one examines John’s ministry, initially a favorable response to the truth is found. Like the lights of the Christmas season, the light of the truth concerning Jesus brought great joy to the hearts of his people. What drove this response? To be certain, the man, the prophet and the message tickled their ears and fancied their curious nature. But, the favorable response to John’s light of truth only lasted for a season. The people marveled at him and his words as they longed for a Messiah to heal their worldly problems. But, his message, a preparation for the Gospel and Jesus, was a message of repentance. They must repent of sin, a repentance marked by the fruit of justice toward others. John’s message extinguished the light of their joy. Thus, The Doctor asks, “Will your favorable response to the Gospel, be only for a season?"