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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A new subsection in the Epistle; connection with what comes before and after; the function of the state; analysis of the chapter.
Theology based on accurate exposition; what is meant by 'the higher powers'; reasons for being subject; fearing God and honouring the king.
Christianity does not cancel the natural order; the world not abandoned by God; Pridham on Romans; negative and positive roles of government.
The Christian's relationship to the state; two extreme views; limits on liberty; the citizen's rights; no form of government to be idolised; capital punishment.
The sword; pacifism; war and revolution; just wars; conscientious objectors; rebellions must be justified.
In this first part of his series on the Church and the State, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones lays a historical foundation for understanding the development of the relationship between Church and State. Beginning with a look at Romans 13:1-7, he affirms the importance of Christians thinking carefully about their responsibility and attitude towards government and authority. Scripture teaches that the Church and government structures are both ordained by God, therefore we must maintain a God-honoring posture towards both. Critical to this is having an understanding of how Church and State relations developed. In the first three centuries of the early church, believers were living in a pagan world controlled by the Roman Empire. No one was under the illusion that the Church and State were one entity. They were at odds towards one another. This changed, Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches, when Constantine came to power and instated Christianity as the official religion of the State. What follows is a power struggle between Church and State. Listen to this compelling sermon by Dr. Lloyd-Jones as he equips his listeners to understand the historical struggle for authority and power that shapes our current understanding of the relationship of Christianity and government.
Does Church history hold any importance for believers today? Why should we look to the past for insight into doctrine instead of looking to Scripture alone? In the second part of his series on the Church and the State, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones chastises the arrogance of believers who say church history is not important. Looking at Romans 13:1-7, he argues for the wisdom of modern believers' consideration of men and women of history handling difficult questions of their faith. This is particularly enlightening as we consider the relations of Church and State. Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues his historical look at these particular relations through consideration of the view that the Church and the State are essentially different and distinct. He provides us with four distinctions to consider: their difference in origin, the object from which they were instituted, the power given to them by God, and the way their functions are carried out. The teachings of Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin are given special attention by Dr. Lloyd-Jones as their beliefs are foundational to the development of the influential Belgic Confession and Westminster Confession. These confessions have direct implications for Puritan and Presbyterian congregations today. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds on the value of learning from church history as he continues discussing the relations of the Church and the State.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues his historical review of the relationship between Church and State. Building on his previous sermon, he presses us to consider Church history in this sermon on Romans 13:1-7. It is important, he argues, because there is no neutral ground. It is all relevant to our life as followers of Christ and how we live out those lives. So to claim disinterest and avoidance is a great sin! As Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds on the lives of the Puritans and Separatists, both groups having deep-rooted interest in this topic, he reminds us that these two were completely different in their approach towards Church and State. Though the Puritans went to America to find relief from religious tyranny, they themselves became the religious and ecclesial tyrants who were intolerant. At the same time we have the second group, the Separatists. The Separatists argued for complete freedom between Church and State, wanting the religious freedom to worship as they chose. As we consider these groups, Dr. Lloyd-Jones cautions us to refrain from severe judgment because they were outworking new ideas and beliefs in a difficult political atmosphere. Listen to his compelling review on Church history and be encouraged to think anew on your own responsibilities regarding religious freedom.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones taught extensively on church history, specifically on the relationship between Church and State. In this sermon on Romans 13:1-7, Dr. Lloyd-Jones turns his attention to the underlying foundation of the view proposing an alliance between Church and State. How do they biblically defend their position? What biblical evidence do they portray to say this alliance is biblically sound and wise? He enters this controversial topic by looking at two specific confessions of faith, the Belgic Confession and the Westminster Confession. In these Confessions we see the bulk of their defense is taken from the Old Testament, with only one direct passage from the New Testament. Pointing to the position of Israel as a nation and as a religion, proponents of the alliance position maintain no distinction between Israel and the Church in this way. Deviating from this position, Dr. Lloyd-Jones advocates for the separation of the Church and State based on the New Testament’s teaching on the Kingdom of God. As he handles this delicate discussion, he reminds his listeners of the importance of this new identity of believers: the reality that we are now citizens of the Kingdom through rebirth and this Kingdom consists of citizens from every nation and tongue.
How does the Church and ruling government interact? Are they co-equals working together for the greater good? Do they share the same end goal? As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones tackles the issue of Church and State relations in this sermon on Romans 13:1-7, he first examines the historical context of church and government traditions that attempt to work together. Many church leaders have fallen under the tyranny of traditionalism in various ways, one such way being acceptance of the Roman Catholic position of the Church and State relationship as one of mutual exchange, power, and respect. Dr. Lloyd-Jones urges us to evaluate this relationship in light of Scripture, not in light of tradition. Scripture, according to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, shows a negative position regarding the power and authority of the State, not a partnership. The biblical evidence clearly points us to an understanding of two distinct kingdoms: the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. These two kingdoms are eternally different, and we must be wary of trying to join the two, especially when it involves the power of leaders. Heed Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ warning to take seriously Jesus’ words that His return will establish a reign and rule that is entirely different from the worldly rule of man.
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.