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Testing the Spirits (1)

Collection:
Book of John

A Sermon on John 1:26-33

John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Behold, the Lamb of God

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ (ESV)

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What does one do if confronted with miraculous spiritual events? In this exposition of John 1:26–33 by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones titled “Testing of the Spirits (1),” he begins the discussion of how to process and test the spirits. First, Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that, throughout history, revival (which he deems as “many people being baptized in the Holy Spirit”) may or may not be accompanied by miraculous gifts, and is actually more often than not lacking these miraculous occurrences. However, in light of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes several errors. First, some people say that the baptism always has to be accompanied by the miraculous gifts, but it is arrogant to say the Holy Spirit has to work that way. Next, there are those who deny the miraculous gifts and quench the Spirit. This, too, according to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is unbiblical. Lastly, there are those who accept all things without testing anything, which Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues can be dangerous. The Christian must accept and test. In light of this, Dr. Lloyd-Jones states that they must not rely solely on feelings, nor the credibility of people, but should examine what is being taught. The Christian must not be surprised if Satan attacks those closest to the Lord.


Additional Scripture Translations

John 1:26-33, New American Standard Bible

26John answered them, saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27It is He who comes after me, of whom I am not worthy even to untie the strap of His sandal.” 28These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing people.

29The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him, and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is He in behalf of whom I said, ‘After me is coming a Man who has proved to be my superior, because He existed before me.’ 31And I did not recognize Him, but so that He would be revealed to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” 32And John testified, saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’

John 1:26-33, King James Version

26John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29¶ The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.


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.