The Book of John
MLJ's main series of 185 sermons on John's Gospel; plus his early series of 64 sermons, and a small collection of 13 other sermons preached at Westminster Chapel that were not part of either series.
Dying to Self
All are in in need of the forgiveness and redemption of God yet so many go through their life alienated from God and His Son. They live as fallen human beings devoid of the joy of the Lord. Working with John 3:30 in this sermon titled “Dying to Self,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that those who have trusted in the gospel of God are forgiven of all sins and made inheritors with Christ. One of the signs of transformation is seeking to exult Christ and diminishing the self. It is as John the Baptist says, “I must decrease but He must increase.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains how there are signs to tell if one is truly turning away from themselves and looking to glorify Christ. They will seek their own glory less and think of themselves less. They will think of others as worthier than themselves. God uses the law to show the Christian their sin and their need for Christ. This law convicts of sin and causes the Christian to look not to themselves, but to Christ and His grace. In the law they see that only Christ can make them whole and that they are not worthy in themselves.
Complete in Him
What is the center of all human life? Men and women center their lives around things like wealth, power, religion, and more. They look to these things to give them meaning and joy but Scripture has a very different answer to this question. God’s word shows that it is the person of Jesus Christ who is essential and foundational to all human existence. His coming to earth and dying for sinners is the most important fact because it is only through Him that anyone can be saved. There are even those who claim to be Christian, yet replace Jesus with their own works, the church, or something else. This is a fatal error because it takes the focus off of Jesus Christ and turns it to a secondary thing. The only truly happy and blessed life is that which is focused and centered on the true Jesus Christ who has died in order to save sinners. This sermon from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on John 3:30 titled “Complete in Him” forces all to ask themselves: “is Jesus the center of my life or am I trusting in something lesser?” All must begin with the glory and weightiness of God as He has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and center their life on this Christ.
Look Unto Jesus
In this sermon titled “Look Unto Jesus,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses that one of the main traps for humanity is self-righteousness and self-absorption. He spends the majority of this sermon on John 3:30 presenting the glories of Christ in His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. He holds out these truths about Christ and His redemption for sinners as an antidote to self-sufficiency, self-absorption, and self-righteousness. Throughout this sermon, Dr. Lloyd-Jones discusses hard topics including the temptation of Jesus and why He had to be baptized by John. Moreover, Dr. Lloyd-Jones discusses the priesthood of Christ. Jesus was tempted and without sin so that He can sympathize with human weaknesses. The Christian facing suffering, persecution, and temptation will be encouraged that Jesus faced these as well. He is the perfect example to follow and the perfect sacrifice for failures. Take comfort that the Savior knows the Christian’s weaknesses and suffered and died in their place so that they would not have to face the wrath of God. Listen and hear of the glories of Christ and His salvific work. Hear how the Savior loves the sinner and look at Christ and see how His deity and humility go together to spell out salvation for His people.
Prophet. Priest and King
The Christian is called to meditate on the Lord Jesus and consider Him coming from eternity to pay their dues and return again to the right hand of God. These things should fill the Christian’s heart and are marks of God’s increasing in the soul, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones argues. The three wonderful offices that Jesus Christ fulfills are prophet, priest, and king. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, and He holds the key to happiness and life. One of the true marks of maturity as a Christian, Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches, is that God grows bigger in the mind and heart as the Christian grows. Without this, it cannot be said that He is increasing and the Christian is decreasing. Dr. Lloyd-Jones exhorts that the way to cause an increase in the hearts is to ponder Christ often. He fulfills all the wonderful offices and roles of God. In one single offering, Jesus Christ made atonement for sins. There is no need for more offerings, Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns, and those who teach this doctrine are severely mistaken. Christ’s offering transcends and rises higher than any other offering before or after Him. His intercession on the believer’s behalf is continual. His Kingdom cannot fail. Listen in as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims this truth from John 3:30 in this sermon titled “Prophet, Priest, and King.”
The New Covenant
Jesus Christ is the means by which His people become a new creation. Where Adam fell and brought condemnation and sin into the whole world, Christ Jesus came to not only reverse the effects of the fall, but to make a new and better creation. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains in the sermon “The New Covenant,” the new creation is better than the one that Adam inhabited; it is more glorious and complete. Central to the new creation is the renewal of humanity. This renewal is accomplished by Christ as the head of the new covenant, and this new covenant is brought about by His atoning work on the cross. Those whom are redeemed become the first born of the new creation and become a part of Christ’s body, the church. This creates a new community of believers who have partaken of the new covenant and are united to Christ by the grace of God. As believers in Christ, the church has freedom to pursue a life of righteousness and holiness. It is this great truth of the new covenant that grounds the Christian life. Jesus as the mediator of the new covenant provides a new way to live and because of this, the church and Christians have a new way of relating to the world, fellow believers, and God.
Characteristics of the Kingdom
What changes when someone is saved? In this sermon on John 3:1–7 titled “Characteristics of the Kingdom,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones unfolds the difference between those who know Christ and those who merely know about Him. True salvation is a change from death to life, darkness to light. It is to come out of the kingdom of darkness and to enter the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God cannot even be seen by those who are in sin and have a darkened mind. Only a supernatural act of divine grace applied by the Holy Spirit can possibly overcome the fallen nature of humanity and allow them to see God and Christ Jesus. This new orientation causes people to seek the kingdom of God and to continually battle against sin and unrighteousness. This is the truth of the gospel, that those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ are made inheritors of all the blessings of God. They are transferred from the kingdom of the devil into the kingdom of God, but those who reject this message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ remain in sin and condemnation.
Except a Man be Born Again
In this sermon on John 3:3 titled “Except a Man be Born Again,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones draws attention to an incredibly common Christian phrase: born again. What does it mean? In order to answer such an important question, he turns to Christ’s encounter with Nicodemus. Nicodemus comes to Christ at night, enquiring about the source of His power and how a person can be saved. However, before Nicodemus can ask his question, Christ confronts him. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains why Jesus confronted the Pharisee in such a way. Christ did so because He cannot be approached as an intellectual equal. This is why Nicodemus is confused when Jesus says a person must be born again. Nicodemus cannot understand this spiritual birth Christ is speaking of because he is of the flesh. The flesh, fundamentally, cannot understand the Spirit. Here, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains the meaning of being born again. It’s when a believer confesses their sin and their need for Christ. It is an impossible act through the flesh, and only made possible through God. In closing, Dr. Lloyd-Jones extends the offer of salvation to those who have yet to believe, and reminds Christians of the great love they have in Him.
What is Christianity interested in? In this sermon on John 3:5–9 titled “Beyond Understanding,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers that Christianity isn't interested in a person’s actions but instead is interested in a person’s individual relationship with God. That relationship secures eternal life. People come and leave this world individually, he states. And when they depart from this world, they are in two camps. They can be in the world’s, or they can be in God’s. There is only one way to enter God’s camp, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says. A person must be born again to receive eternal life. The New Testament has different names for this: regeneration, made anew, or God’s workmanship. However, the result is still eternal life with God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that this being born again is not of a person’s doing. This spiritual birth is made possible entirely through God. It is a miracle, purely unexplainable and beyond a person’s understanding. In closing, Dr. Lloyd-Jones points to the incredible power of the gospel in the life of Paul; no person is beyond God’s merciful and perfect love.
Understanding the Spiritual
In this sermon on John 3:9–13 titled “Understanding the Spiritual,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones focuses on Christ’s late-night conversation with Nicodemus, a Pharisee and religious teacher. Dr. Lloyd-Jones poses a question: What are the reasons to study the character of Christ? The answer, he says, is simple. First, a Christian needs to see how the Lord dealt with another soul. Secondly, a believer needs to read of Christ speaking of eternal destination. What does the Lord reveal about humanity’s eternal destination? A person cannot receive eternal life by themselves. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that only God can accomplish this. This is why Nicodemus could not understand what Christ said to him. He was of his own flesh. Nicodemus tried to meet the Lord as an equal, but no one can. There can be no philosophical debate with Christ, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says. For who has really seen the heavenly things Christ spoke about? No one except the Son. This is where other religions fail, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says. Other religions seek to understand God through human eyes. In Christianity, God reaches down to the sinner, offers His own Son for atonement, and gives whoever believes eternal life.
The Message of Salvation
In this sermon on the message of salvation from John 3:14–15, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches on Christ’s late-night conversation with Nicodemus. Within that conversation, Jesus refers to a symbol of the coming salvation within the Old Testament. Dr. Lloyd-Jones breaks down this powerful example of biblical foreshadowing. When the people of Israel committed a sin against God, He sent venomous snakes among them in the wilderness. When the people cried out to Him, He told Moses to raise up a bronze serpent on a pole, so that whoever should look to the serpent would be saved from the venom. This, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says, is a clear parallel to Christ’s redeeming death on the cross. For like the venom of the snakes, the only remedy for sin is to look upward at Jesus crucified, because the judgement of God is coming. And although it is difficult to talk about the wrath of God, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that he cannot soften the truth of the Bible. God is holy, and who can judge His actions? People only have a finite understanding. But through His great love, God offered a way back to Him through His Son, providing those who believe with everlasting life.
Must the Son of Man be Lifted Up?
In this sermon on John 3:14–15 titled “Must the Son of Man be Lifted Up?” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones focuses on a key word from the passage: “must.” Jesus is having a conversation with a religious leader named Nicodemus, and Jesus retells an account from the Old Testament to show Nicodemus what he came to do— to be lifted up. According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, the word “must” tells that the Lord’s death upon the cross was no accident. He asserts that it is in the teaching throughout Scripture that what happened on Calvary’s hill was predetermined and foreordained before a single person breathed in this world, before there ever was a world. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues further that “must” tells that the forgiveness of sin cannot occur apart from Christ’s death upon the cross. It must take place because God in His holiness hates sin and must punish it by way of His wrath. The perfect Son of Man, Jesus Christ took the punishment for sin upon Himself by being lifted up on the cross. There was no other way. God’s justice must be satisfied and His wrath appeased. That is why the Son of Man must be lifted up. He must.
God So Loved ...
Martin Luther famously said of John 3:16, “it is the Bible in miniature.” In this sermon on John 3:16 titled “God So Loved…,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones adds, “John 3:16 is a synopsis of theology.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones combats a number of ways this verse has been misused by both Christians and non-Christians. The latter often cite it to argue for universalism, while the former uncritically repeat the verse without ever considering the truth. While these errors are folly according to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, he takes aim especially at Christians who use this verse in order to pit the “plain” gospel message against theology and doctrine. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues in this sermon, one cannot do justice to this verse by neglecting doctrine because the entire verse is packed with theology. Moreover, Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds the great doctrine of the love of God from this particular verse. He corrects misconceptions of God the Father’s attitude toward the world. In addition, he argues, one cannot understand the greatness of the love of God as shown in salvation until they know the utter sinfulness of fallen humanity and the great glory of God giving His only begotten Son.
In this sermon on John 3:16 titled “Eternal Life,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones breaks down the verse in its context within John, while also calling attention to its profound meaning. The verse itself is spoken by Christ in reply to Nicodemus, a Pharisee who came to Him at night. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says the verse places an incredible focus on God’s love for humanity. God did not abandon His creation to suffer within their own sin but instead gave His Son as payment for those sins. Now, Dr. Lloyd-Jones expands upon the new life found within those who believe. This new life is different than those who do not believe. Unbelievers place too much stock within their body and forget about the soul. Without Christ, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says, it becomes easy to live for worldly pleasures. However, the Christian’s assurance is a source of great joy. In closing, Dr. Lloyd-Jones extends the prospect of eternal life to those who have not believed, reminding that God does not care about past wrongdoings, but instead offers the same salvation to every soul.
Man and His Need of Salvation
In this sermon on John 3:17 titled “Man and His Need of Salvation,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches how the Bible not only tells what the gospel is, but it also tells why the gospel is needed. Often times people jump straight to the message of the gospel without looking at why people need the gospel. God’s word is clear on why Jesus had to come and Scripture tells that humankind loves darkness rather than light, and for this reason the whole world already lies under the judgment of God. But the light of the gospel pierces even the darkest cloud because it tells that despite humanity’s sin, rebellion, and evil, God sent His Son into the world. God so loved the world that He came and died in the place of sinners and rose from the dead so that they might have new life. God has overcome the power of sin and the devil so that all who believe in Jesus are not only restored to their original state of righteousness, but they are made even higher. This sermon calls all to believe in Jesus, repent of sins, and trust Him in order to become children of God, pure and holy. This gospel is truly good news.
He that Believeth Not
What is the great need of humanity? It is nothing less than salvation from sin. In this sermon on John 3:18 titled “He That Believeth Not,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that the only hope is proclaimed by the accomplished work of Jesus Christ who came into this world by being born under the law in the likeness of sinful flesh in order to redeem those who were slaves of sin. Jesus is God’s appointed means of salvation for all who believe. God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but in order that sinners would be saved and brought to a knowledge of the truth. Many people misunderstand this, supposing that God is only a cruel judge who takes delight in destroying the wicked for their sins. Others make the opposite mistake and think He is so loving that He will not require any recompense for evil deeds. So, they suppose that there is no need to be saved and no need for a Savior. These are both terrible misunderstandings of the gospel that is given in Holy Scripture. In Scripture is found God who sent His Son to die in the place of sinners so that all who believe would be inheritors of eternal life and all blessings in Christ.
The Nature of Belief
What does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ? In this sermon on John 3:18 titled “The Nature of Belief,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that it is far more than mere intellectual assent. True belief requires trust in God and His promises. It means trusting that Jesus has died for sins and that His called have been set free from the bondage and dominion of evil. This is the most important truth in the world because it affects not only life in this world, but also in the next. Those who know God will live with Him for eternity in the new heavens and the new earth, but those who reject the message of salvation are guilty of the vilest sin as they have rejected the very Son of God and are already condemned. All who reject God are cast out of His presence because they have broken His law and rejected His salvation. Those who do not believe in the gospel have no hope because God has provided no other way of salvation. It is only by believing upon Jesus Christ that they can be saved and made right with God. This is the gospel that must be proclaimed to a fallen world.
Governed By Darkness
What is the source of humanity’s objections to Christianity? Many in modern times claim that Christianity has been refuted by modern science and learning. They believe that while it may have been acceptable to believe in things such as miracles, the deity of Christ, and the bodily resurrection in more ignorant times, people are now enlightened. In this sermon on John 3:19 titled “Governed by Darkness,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows that the word of God gives a different answer. According to Scripture, people reject Christianity not because of intellectual objections, but because of their sinful nature. Scripture teaches that all are fallen and blinded by sinful desires. What is the answer to this great dilemma? People can only see the world, themselves, and God when God reveals Himself to them in His grace. There is no other way to know God truly. This act of grace is not based on human intellectual capabilities, but on God’s grace. In the gospel Jesus is the answer to humanity’s fallen and sinful state. Only Christ can heal the spiritual blindness and give true life.
Sin and the Modern Man
What is the source of humanity’s hostility to the gospel? Many are offended at the message of Jesus and claim they have no need to be saved. In this sermon on John 3:19–21 titled “Sin and the Modern Man,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preached that the rejection of the gospel is because people have an unbelieving nature. Jesus came into the world to save sinners and set them free because humankind is fallen and in sin they stumble over this message and reject it. This message of salvation can become a message of condemnation when people reject it. Humankind is hostile to those who call them to forsake their sins and turn to Christ in order to be saved. They are openly hostile to those who preach that Christ Jesus is the light of the world. Only the message of Christ that sinners reject and despise can save them. This is why God must show the light of Christ by opening the darkened hearts and minds of fallen men and women so that they can see and love Christ for who He is. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but in order to save it through His Son Jesus Christ.
The Light Has Come
In this sermon on John 3:19 titled “The Light Has Come,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that this is the most tragic verse in all of Scripture. This is because though God has provided a way of salvation in His Son Jesus Christ, in sinful blindness people reject Jesus. They stumble over the message of God’s free grace in Christ because they seek to establish their own righteousness apart from God. Why do they oppose the gospel message? The answer is because they do not believe that they are in need. They do not see that they are sinners in need of redemption and God’s mercy. They do not come to grips with the clear facts of their own sin and brokenness; they seek to explain away sin, guilt, and death. The answer to humanity’s hopeless condition is Jesus, who is able to save even the worst sinners. Because they are unable to believe the message of the gospel on their own, it is only God who can grant the gift of belief and repentance. Even though humanity is lost in darkness and alienated from God, God in His power is able to give sight to the blind and restore the hearing of the deafest sinner. This is because God is the author of all salvation and blessing.