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What is the most wonderful thing about our salvation? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones emphatically responds: “That we are the children of God!” Too often we focus on the things that we avoid when we are saved; avoiding God’s righteous judgment, or being saved from eternity in hell. While those things are true and weighty, the Doctor would have us also remember the things that we gain: we gain the privilege to become the children of God, and we gain entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. There are several questions that, depending on our answers, prove that we are indeed God’s children: Are we concerned about the name of God? Do we grieve at sin and blasphemy? Do we enjoy creation in a way that reflects our understanding that the world is God’s? Do we look forward to Christ’s return? Lloyd-Jones examines these questions and more with scrutiny and with the aid of the Scriptures.
The greatest need of the world is to know the message Christians are called to proclaim. But what is that message? Here, in Acts 3:6, Dr. Lloyd-Jones answers this crucial question by walking step by step through the miraculous healing of the paralyzed beggar at Gate Beautiful. This historic miracle paints a beautiful illustration of the human condition. Like the beggar born into this world with crippling paralysis so is everyone born into the world crippled by sin. Just as this man is helpless to find lasting relief and healing from his condition so is the world unable, in all its vast resources, to find healing on its own. And just as this man first looks to Peter and John for the fleeting relief of silver and gold, so does the world eagerly seek a solution in the temporal things of this world, or the handouts from the church. But money and temporary comforts are not the message of salvation from Peter and John here in Acts 3, nor is it the message of the Christian church. Rise and walk in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the message to the beggar at the gate and to the world today! Dr. Lloyd-Jones urges the world to hear the gospel, to repent and believe in Jesus Christ and be saved.
The early church was led by the apostles of Christ. They were normal men, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes, yet they became students of Jesus Christ and God’s Word. We see in this that Christianity was a religion of teaching from the earliest days. It was not, as many erroneously claim, an anti-intellectual and anti-doctrinal movement. But the early church committed itself to the study of the apostles teaching and of Scripture. This concern with doctrine and teaching was not simply academic, but it was done out of hearts and minds that had been transformed by the Gospel and the power of God. And they were beholden with the glory of God as their Savior and Redeemer. This serves as a reminder to many who see doctrine as cold and abstract, and utterly disconnected from the real world. But as Lloyd-Jones demonstrates, we see the apostles committed to the teaching of God, but also boldly proclaiming the Gospel, and caring for the poor and sick. How they thought about God and his power influenced them to act in the world. The church of modern times should take this example to heart. And they should be encouraged to learn what the Bible teaches, and to follow that teaching.
Can natural abilities and good deeds save us? Throughout history, mankind has searched for salvation in any way other than Jesus. No matter what talent or treasure a person may have, sin continues to contaminate all our good efforts. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains in this sermon, the only way of salvation is through Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul knew this great salvation and gave his life to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Church history shows how God prepared his mind and logic to use his natural gifts in a powerful way to tell gentiles about Jesus. If you're curious how God will use your life to advance His kingdom, listen in as the Doctor walks us through this message from Paul.
Do you struggle with waiting on God’s timing? Why does God seem to take so long to fulfill His promises? Considering all of the suffering in the world, why doesn’t God bring ultimate fulfillment now? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones presses us toward the Old Testament where we have to wait on our Lord. Many years had passed from the time that God promised a Messiah to the fulfillment of that promise. Listen as the Doctor examines Romans 1:2 and asks the question: why does Paul reference the Old Testament at all? Is the Old Testament disconnected from the New Testament? No! The Old Testament is part of the authoritative Word of God which shapes our very understanding of the Gospel. The writer of Romans wants us to understand the promise given so long ago is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. While God seems to have been silent for so many years, His purposes were being achieved. Humanity has proven that they cannot save themselves and desperately need a Savior. The sacrifice for sin has come in Christ and the Messiah must die and rise again. While God’s timing may be a mystery, we can trust him. His promises are fulfilled in Christ.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaks with unction as he unpacks the words of Luke in Acts 2:7. In the incarnation, the second person of the Godhead descends and takes up a true human nature for the redemption of all those whom God elected. He did not count equality a thing to be grasped, but he came to earth as a baby born in a manger. Not only this, but he suffered and died upon a cross in the place of sinners. Even in the midst of this suffering Jesus Christ never ceased to be fully divine, but suffered as the God man. It is through his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead that believers receive the blessings of salvation and redemption. This is the new life in Christ where all who are granted faith by the Holy Spirit receive in full all the blessings that God has given in Christ. For as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains, all the good that God gives Christians only comes by and in the work of Christ, for in Him are all the blessings of God. This should bring all believers to worship God for all He has done in Christ. And Christians should be encouraged to take the Gospel to all, knowing that it is only in this Gospel that peace with God and redemption come.
Do you know true peace? In this sermon about Ephesians 2:14-16, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains the main purpose of Paul's letter to the Ephesians: to encourage the church in the peace of Christ. We have been saved and are in the body of Christ. As such, we have been redeemed, and the war with God is over. We now have the peace of Christ that governs us. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that the realization that Christ is the peace of believers is one of the most significant and meaningful encouragements to the soul. Only when people understand the true nature of sin do they understand the true nature of salvation. Additionally, Dr. Lloyd-Jones addresses some who would discount the first few chapters of Genesis. Dr. Lloyd-Jones stresses that without the beginning of the Bible, people will not understand why the world is as corrupt as it is, nor will they witness the roots of the Gospel. Without understanding the sin that originates in Genesis, people will certainly be confused about the lack of peace in the world. Unbelievers will never have peace with each other unless they have peace with God in salvation. Thankfully, Jesus made a way for us to have peace with God through his death on the cross. Through Christ, we can have lasting peace.
Here is a 5-minute introduction to the GEMS from the Legacy Collection; by Tony Ruston; the former director of the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Recordings Trust. It includes some fascinating background to the formation of the Trust.
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.