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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The Apostle Paul is a master at connecting doctrine and practical matters. He seamlessly weaves both together in his apostolic writings. While there is a change in emphasis in Romans 12 – from doctrine to practice – Paul never leaves doctrine behind. As a pastor he is concerned with helping this congregation in Rome and this always includes doctrinal appeals and arguments. Many of us, however, can be tempted to approach this moderate shift to practical matters with disappointment. We lack the necessary unity in our ministries that Paul had. Instead, we sometimes want to stay in the realm of pure doctrine. In this important transitional sermon on Romans 12, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones warns against this. He challenges those in the church who view practical matters as anticlimactic. There is something seriously wrong in our thinking if we only want to remain in pure doctrine. Dr. Lloyd-Jones counters this error by expounding five biblical and theological reasons why we must go on from doctrine. Moreover, he gives a general analysis of the rest of Romans. He then prepares his listeners with a particular outline of Romans 12. Listen to this unique and compelling message by Dr. Lloyd-Jones as he calls us to holistic ministry and a Christian faith that is lived.
What does doctrine and practice have to do with each other? Some Christians doubt the relevance of doctrine to the Christian life at all. For them, it's simply a matter of being ethical and moral. There is no need to understand biblical doctrine for good works. Antinomian's, on the other hand, hold to doctrine but live however they please. Preaching from Romans 12:1-2, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says “no” to both! You may claim doctrine however you wish, but if it does not change your life you have not understood the doctrine. Likewise, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says, doctrine is key to our Christian morals because they provide us with the right motivation and the right power to live the sanctified life in Christ Jesus. He contends in this sermon that Paul shows us that motives are important; we live in view of God’s mercy. Also, the strength to perform good works is not simply my own effort but the power that comes from the Holy Spirit. If the doctrine we proclaim in evangelism does not match our Christian practice, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, we have not understood the doctrine. If our good works are not informed by doctrine we are not truly living the Christian life. Listen as he unpacks the key distinctive of a Christian life.
In matters of Christian conduct, do we appeal to the mind or to the heart? These are often pitted against one another, but Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones does not believe we should approach the Christian life by making an appeal to merely the intellect or simply the emotions. Instead, he says, we begin with doctrine –– who we are in Christ –– and deduce from truth our proper conduct. But true doctrine always appeals to the emotions. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds us, there is no such thing as dry-as-dust theology! Humanism and legalism stand in opposition to the true teaching of Scripture here. Humanism can only appeal to the intellect, whereas legalism appeals directly to the will of the person. But the great motive of the Gospel, which is God’s great mercy in Christ Jesus, lifts the whole problem of conduct to a high spiritual level. No other system of philosophy or religion knows of the two great motives. He then works out the implications of the Apostle Paul’s appeal to the mind and the heart in our Christian conduct. He labors to demonstrate that Paul has in mind here presenting our entire physical body as a sacrifice to God who by His great mercy makes us participators in this glorious and wonderful salvation. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones offers us a challenging message on Romans 12:1-2.
In Romans 12, as the apostle Paul counsels us on how to live the Christian life, he tells us “to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God …” Does God really want our physical bodies? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explores this topic in “Present Your Bodies,” a sermon on Romans 12:1-2. As he explores the scripture, Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches how and why our physical frames are important to our lives as believers in Jesus Christ.
What is “reasonable” service? How are service and worship connected in the Scriptures? What might it practically look like for Christians to present their bodies as living sacrifices? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones tackles these questions and others in his message on Romans 12:1-2. In this immensely practical sermon, he teaches on things like sex, sleep, exercise, our tongues, and eyes. He relates these physical activities to Paul’s teaching on offering our physical bodies to the glory of God. Moreover, he capitalizes on the Apostle’s teaching that our worship should be “reasonable,” that is thoughtful and internal. Many groups, such as Roman Catholics, relish in external rituals, but Dr. Lloyd-Jones says this is mistaken. We must be careful not to externalize worship into pomp or in neglecting or beating the body. This is irrational worship, and not the New Testament teaching. Presenting our bodies is done thoughtfully, always able to justify it according to the Scriptures. What matters most, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is regarding your physical body as a gift for God, not using it for yourself, but offering it to Him to use for His glory and His praise. Listen as he provides guidance for Christian discipleship and maturity.
When the church becomes like the world, the gospel message is eclipsed. Today, it seems the church is often bending to the desires and the thoughts of the world. Who determines morality? What is right? Some church leaders argue that we must change our message, or else become irrelevant. In this sermon, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones argues that this very thinking is conforming to the world. The world, according to the Bible, thinks of, organizes, and lives life apart from God. Fallen man is corrupt in his very thinking. They do not know God. They do not understand the depth of the human problem and their proposed solutions lack the answer. Lloyd-Jones argues that Christians are not, therefore, to conform to the world. The means, our understanding of morality comes from the Word of God and nothing else. Christians are a distinct people who have a new mind. We’ve become enlightened to the will of God. The great tragedy today is not that the devil is controlling the world. The great tragedy today is that Christians are looking to the world for answers. Our theology is conforming to the ideas and expectations of sinful man. Listen, as the Dr. explains that this admonition is as much needed today as it ever was: be not conformed to the world.
Avoiding the world is not an option for Christians. But some still try it anyway. Rules and regulations are set up. Fear of conforming to the world drives one’s choices. A great distance is then placed between the Christian and the world. History has shown us the various extremes which men and women will go. And all of it is contrary to the Gospel. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is concerned that Christians who seek to live a life of holiness may fall into this sort of trap. Legalism. Pharisaism. All of it governed by fear. Yet this is not what the Apostle Paul has in mind. Listen in as Lloyd-Jones addresses this grave misstep. The Christian is not to be so focused on the world that their pursuit of holiness becomes driven by it. What God has given us is his Word. We must not be concerned about the additional regulations that some say the Christian should follow. On the contrary, what we must be concerned about is simply the expression of our new character in Christ. And this is what drives the believer: the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Tackling individual sin in your Christian life is typically how evangelicals think of growth or sanctification. We often believe that by approaching our sin in piecemeal manner we will have overall victory in our lives. The trouble, of course, is once we gain victory over an individual sin there is always another temptation lurking. As a result, we fall right back into besetting sin. Rather than dealing with individual sin in this manner, the Apostle Paul calls us to something more profound. The doctrine of sanctification is much more comprehensive than this. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds us in this message that sanctification concerns the whole outlook on life. We view our entire lives differently. We think differently about ourselves and the world and thus we act differently in this world. Instead of adding a list of dos and don’ts, Paul commands believers to be wholly transformed by the renewal of the mind. Dr. Lloyd-Jones belabors this important point because this is essential to Christian teaching; it is the difference between legalism and Christianity. Legalism begins with lists of behavior and calls people to perform the list. Christianity begins with who we are in Christ and then moves to right behavior. The difference is subtle but important for being conformed to the image of the Son and avoiding hypocrisy. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds this vital text in Romans 12:1-2.
The purpose of the incarnation, the cross, and resurrection is not to merely have individuals escape hell. We miss the glory of the person and work of Christ if we reduce salvation to fire insurance. Regeneration, or new birth, says Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, is being transferred out of the kingdom of darkness, and transferred into the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son. This is what it means to be a Christian! God creates a new humanity. We have new thoughts, new attitudes, and a new outlook on life. In short, our minds are changed. As the Apostle Paul says succinctly, we have a renewal of our mind. We miss the message of the entire New Testament if we miss the Apostle Paul’s teaching in Romans 12:1-2. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds us how important Paul’s teaching is to the Christian life. As pilgrims on the journey, we say to ourselves day by day, “I no longer belong to the darkness; I am of the people of God; I am of His Kingdom.” By reminding ourselves of these things, we view God, ourselves, the world, and time itself completely different. Listen as the gifted preacher of the twentieth century applies one of the most profound teachings on the doctrine of sanctification.
We will certainly fail to understand Christianity if we reduce it to morality, escape from hell, or even simply the forgiveness of sins. In this sermon on Romans 12:1-2, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds us that Christianity is concerned with those things, but the Scriptures teach us that the Christian life is so much more. The doctrine of regeneration, he says, tells us that God enables our minds to know and appreciate the will of God. It is surely unnatural for fallen humanity to delight in the Law of the Lord. It is contrary to our sinful nature to confess, no matter the dire circumstances of our life, that God’s ways are always good. Indeed, the pleasure and delight the believer experiences concerning the will of God is the both the result and goal of the renewal of the mind. Dr. Lloyd-Jones contends that the new outlook on life, where the Christian believes God’s will is always good, always acceptable, and always perfect moves Christianity beyond other ethical systems of the world. Listen as he shows how the renewal of our minds leads to the most glorious aspect of the Christian faith –– finding the will of God beautiful and most wonderful no matter what!
About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.