Book of Romans
Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s sermons on the book of Romans were preached to the congregation at Westminster Chapel in the heart of central London on Friday evenings between October 1955 to March 1968. These sermons were preached from the beginning of October until the end of May each year, with breaks being taken for Christmas and Easter. Dr Lloyd-Jones began his ministry at Westminster Chapel in 1938, and his ministry there lasted for thirty years until his retirement in 1968. As such, his Romans series came at the end of his preaching career. Spanning 366 sermons over twelve years, his series on the book of Romans is the longest expositional series Dr Lloyd-Jones ever did.
Dr Lloyd-Jones regarded the book of Romans as the ‘first in importance’ among the New Testament epistles. Indeed, it is likely that Dr Lloyd-Jones saw his exposition of the book of Romans as his most important work, as evidenced by the fact that he chose his Romans sermons as the first of his many sermons to be published following his retirement. His official biographer Iain Murray writes;
Many hundreds of unrevised manuscript copies of sermons thus existed by 1968, of which, for reasons already noted, comparatively few had appeared in print. He did not hesitate in choosing to put his Romans sermons first for publication in book form, to be followed by those on Ephesians.
Dr Lloyd-Jones’s hope for these sermons on the book of Romans was that they will ‘not only help Christian people to understand more clearly the great doctrines of our Faith, but that they will also fill them with a joy “unspeakable and full of glory” and bring them into a condition in which they will be “Lost in wonder, love, and praise”’.
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Approaching Romans 11 in spirit and in its setting; its new emphasis; major divisions and lessons.
Has God cast away the Jewish people? After several passages concerning the fate of the Jewish nation, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones unfolds how Paul asks this question in Romans 11:1-4, and then follows his answers with several pieces of evidence. Paul says that there is no way the Lord has cast out his chosen people, because Paul himself is an Israelite. Paul is saying this not just as a nationalist or proselyte, but he shows his historical lineage which proves he is of Jewish descent. It is possible that some Jews will be saved, because Paul was saved! There are a large majority of Jews that do not believe the true Gospel. God did not cast them all away because he foreknew them. This means that God foreordained them and knew that they would be believing Christians. The Jews were a group of people that God took special interest in and had a special affection for. Israel was set apart by God for a purpose. So if God cast them out, this would mean that God changed his mind and we know that the Lord does not change his mind; it is not part of his character.
The second argument; the existence of a remnant; the example of Elijah and lessons; the election of grace; the battle not ours but God's numbers not decisive; God's purposes sure.
How can something that the Lord created as a blessing become a curse? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers this question by preaching from the words of Paul in Romans 11:7-10 when he refers to the Law and the people of Israel. Paul acknowledges that the Jews were earnest and genuine in their search for salvation, but they went about it in all the wrong ways. The passage says that those who were elect did in fact obtain it, but that the Lord hardened the others. Israel was blinded and God gave them the spirit of slumber regarding the true message of the Gospel. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains the passage by saying that the very blessing of the word of God, the Law, was once a blessing but became a curse to the Jews. They had the wrong thinking about so many things and, despite their best efforts, they still did not truly know Christ and did not receive salvation. The only way to receive this blessing is by faith. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also explains in great detail several other Old Testament passages which show the ignorance of the Jewish people and how they did not understand the Gospel.
What is meant by judicial blindness or hardening; how it is accomplished; the example of Pharaoh; lessons for today; revival.
The lesson of the imprecatory psalms; objections to them stated; the place of the Old Testament; the inspiration of the Scriptures; David's character vindicated; punishment; the justice of God.
The second major division of the chapter; analysis of verses 11-32; the Jews' stumbling not a final fall; salvation has come to the Gentiles; to provoke the Jews to emulation.
Reasons why the Jews were permitted to stumble at the Gospel; the enrichment of the Gentiles; the meaning of 'diminishing' and 'fulness'.
Paul is writing as a prophet; verse 11 and 12 a great seminal statement; lessons from this; persistence of the Jews as a nation; the ways of God with individuals and nations; provoking others to emulation; nothing too hard for God.
Reasons for focusing on the Jews; ways in which Paul magnified his ministry; his concern for both Jews and Gentiles; lessons for preachers.