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 aim of the new section; the immutability of God's purpose; the apostolic method; theodicy; six subsidiary themes; detailed analysis of chapters 9 to 11.
What is the purpose of the conscience? How does it function? Can it be wrong? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones begins to discuss Romans 9:1-3, dissecting the phrases that Paul uses to show how his conscience testifies to the truth of Scripture. This, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, must first be considered, both the statement and the terms in which he says them. Then the reader can go on to consider the lessons and conclusions. Paul is attesting that his own conscience is a witness that what he is saying is true. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that a person’s conscience is independent of the person. The extent to which our conscience is saturated with Scripture determines the extent to which we can depend on our conscience. Additionally, Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns never to speak against it or condemn it on the basis of personal opinion. The conscience is enlightened by the Holy Spirit in us, and it is used by the Holy Spirit to convict us. Paul then says how grieved he is over the Jews and their condition, wishing he himself could take their place. Dr. Lloyd-Jones begins to ask why Paul is making these types of statements. He says that Paul is doing this because he is eager to clear the charges that were against him.
There is much to learn from the apostle Paul. In this sermon on Romans 9:1-3, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines Paul’s attitude towards his fellow Jews, most of them still unbelieving. Paul does not have an attitude of anger or antipathy towards them, but rather he shows love and compassion. He mourns that they have rejected the very Messiah that their Scriptures speak of and that they remain blinded in their sin. How often do we become frustrated with those that do not believe? However, this is not how Paul responds at all. His love for Christ informs his faith and missionary zeal for his lost kinsmen. He is motivated not towards anger, but rather to love and seek to evangelize his fellow Jewish brethren. Often times, intellectualism in the Church gets in the way of evangelism, but this is not the case with the apostle Paul. Though he was well-educated and brilliant, this did not hinder him from being concerned with the souls of the lost, nor did it make him arrogant toward unbelievers. The Church has much to learn Paul, not only in his teaching, but also his way of living. In the apostle Paul we find a heart that is truly dedicated to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Who are the Israelites and why does Paul feel this continual sadness and heaviness for his kinsmen? In Romans 9:4-5, Paul is showing the unique privileges that the Jewish people had as God’s chosen people. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains the three terms which are often used to describe this people group: Jews, Hebrews, and Israelites. Each of these terms have a different meaning when used in Scripture, and he details what those three meanings are. The term Jews is used to show the opposite of Gentile, which is the whole other entirety of the world. Hebrews describes a time in Jewish history for which they spoke Hebrew. Israelites is used for the whole of the people, God’s chosen people group that descended directly from Jacob. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then goes on to detail the other terms that Paul uses in this passage. The term ‘adoption’ is used in a general sense, but means that God has placed this people group in a whole new position as his sons. The term ‘glory’ means how God presented himself to his people, proving his faithfulness to them. All Gentiles have been brought into a share of this, becoming sons and daughters of Christ through adoption.
What is a covenant? In this sermon on Romans 9:4-5, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that it is vital that we come to a right understanding of the nature of biblical covenants in order to understand the Gospel. He says that a covenant in the Bible is not an ordinary agreement between two people, but it is first and foremost something God does. It is not a crass bargain between man and God, but it is something instituted by God. This is seen in the case of Abraham when it is God who makes the terms of the covenant, and it is God who upholds the covenant. What does this mean for our understanding of Jesus? Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all of God’s covenantal promises, and He is the one who establishes the New Covenant on His last night with His disciples. It is this New Covenant that brings salvation because it is established by Christ Jesus shedding His blood upon the cross for all who are His. Those who believe in the message of Jesus are made members of the New Covenant and inheritors of eternal life and the Hingdom of God, for all blessings come through Jesus Christ.
The true method of worship; detailed promises of the age of the Messiah; the unusual experiences of the fathers; Christ's coming; the basis for all the other privileges; modern translations and the glory of Christ.
Grammar; manuscripts and the deity of Christ; Christ as head over all things; direct references to Christ's deity; doxologies addressed to Christ; history and theological prejudice.
Paul begins to deal with the objection; God's declared purpose has not been ineffective; the key phrase; the principle seen in the Gospels and Acts; relevance to today; the two meanings of 'Israel'.
Proofs from the history of Abraham; Isaac and Ishmael; 'seed'; 'children' and 'called'; Isaac's miraculous birth 'after the Spirit'.
Although everyone is under God's sovereign control, his special purpose and promises are only for his children, those who are born of the Spirit. As Paul argues this case in Romans 9:10-13, he gives examples in the Old Testament. A previous example included Isaac and Ishmael. Because Paul understands that there may be some arguments or disputes against this example, he then goes on to give the example of Esau and Jacob. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out that Paul always refutes any arguments with facts first, and later provides doctrine to prove his point. The example of Esau and Jacob proves that God intervened in their situation because Rebecca was barren. Before the twins were even born, God said that he would choose Jacob to fulfill his promise and not Esau. This shows that the Lord draws distinctions among people, proving the doctrine of election. God did this because it was part of his holy plan. God’s purpose is always worked out by means of election. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds us that God’s plan is never based on works, it is all through those whom he calls. Therefore, only those who are born of the Spirit are truly part of God’s plan.
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.