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.
Do You Want To Be Healed?
Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, Jesus preached and taught the gospel. He exposed sin and the need for forgiveness that only He could provide through His death, burial, and resurrection. In this sermon “Do You Want to be Healed?” from John 5:6–9, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones focuses on Jesus illustrating His gospel message through the healing at Bethesda. He begins with the question, “Why did the Lord work miracles and why were they recorded?” The answer is two-fold. The miracles of Jesus were signs that powerfully revealed His identity as God. But second, the miracles were a powerful picture to illustrate the gospel. This healing at Bethesda reveals the nature of sin. The man, crippled and unable to get to the water, demonstrates the hopeless and helpless nature of the sinner and the dark disease of sin. The man had no ability to heal himself or get to the possible remedy. Only Jesus could provide healing both physically and spiritually. Dr. Lloyd-Jones shows that through the picture of this healing, one gains understanding of the gospel and the forgiveness of sin that will make them spiritually whole once again.
To Know Christ
Unbelievers are blinded to the truth by their own prejudices. Jesus had just performed a supernatural miracle by healing the man by the pool of Bethesda. How would the Pharisees respond? In this sermon on John 5:10 titled “To Know Christ,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones teaches that the Pharisees were blinded to the truth by the prejudices that governed their hearts. Confronted with this powerful miracle, the Pharisees were forced to deal with Jesus. They were confronted by the facts of this miracle and ultimately His divine nature. The Old Testament had prophesied of the Jesus of Nazareth and the facts surrounding Jesus clearly fulfilled those prophecies. Instead of embracing and believing the facts, as well as Jesus Himself, they held onto their prejudices. Blinded by the law, they deny Jesus’s identity because He healed on the Sabbath. He had worked on the Sabbath and caused the man to work by carrying his pallet. Certainly no true messiah would break their law. Their reaction provides a stark contrast, a backdrop for true belief. While the miracle pictured spiritual healing in the gospel and was soon to be embraced by the man, the Pharisees could not believe as they were blinded and enslaved by prejudice. To truly know Christ, the prejudice must be removed.
God Manifest in the Flesh
Why is it absolutely essential to believe in Jesus? In this message on John 5:37–39 titled “God Manifest in the Flesh,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones considers the essential question of why one must believe in Jesus for salvation. This seems like an odd question, even one with an obvious answer. Yet the Pharisees, along with many today, zealously believe in God but never mention or acknowledge Jesus Christ. The Pharisees had just witnessed a powerful miracle but they completely overlook it because they did not believe in Jesus. According to them, in performing this miracle, Jesus had broken the Sabbath. He had broken God’s law which the Pharisees were dedicated to protect and confront Jesus about working on the Sabbath. Jesus responds, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” Jesus responds by making himself equal with God, fully divine, fully a part of the triune God. Believing in Jesus and His identity as God in the flesh is essential to salvation and knowing God. The Pharisees ardently profess belief in God, but respond to Jesus with a further desire to kill Him. It is in the midst of this profound rejection of Jesus that Dr. Lloyd-Jones offers reasons why it is essential to believe in Jesus.
Hearing and Perceiving
In this sermon on John 5:24–26 titled “Hearing and Perceiving,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims that how one listens to the word of God determines their eternal destiny. In this passage of Scripture, John records Jesus’s promise that those who hear His word and believe have eternal life. As he expounds this text, Dr. Lloyd-Jones focuses on the word and even more on the necessity of how one listens to the word. One’s eternal destiny hinges on whether they truly listen to the truth of God’s word. They must not be a mere spectator who is impressed with the formality of worship and preaching and even the consideration of a philosophy or teaching. Rather, to truly receive and possess eternal life, one must listen with the intent to meditate and understand the significance and implications of the word. This type of listening not only sees the truth but perceives its implications for the soul. The question then becomes, “What must we see and perceive to gain this eternal life?” In his gospel-saturated message, Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches that all must hear the word that exposes their spiritual condition as dead in trespasses and sins that is under the condemnation of God, awaiting His judgment. However, the beauty of Jesus’s promise is that He was sent to pay the debt of sin, and that in hearing and believing in Him, they pass out of death and into life.
A Life in Christ
Regeneration is not defined by morality, but rather it is defined by new life in Christ. In John 5:24, Jesus summarizes the gospel by focusing on the new life that comes by believing. In this sermon on John 5:25–26 titled “A Life in Christ,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones unpacks the implications of this new life. He states, as Jesus does in the text, that the Father has life in Himself, and He has given this life to Jesus. How does Jesus dispense this new life? New life is realized through the means of regeneration. According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, regeneration is the power of Christ to give new life. Furthermore, he wants there to be no confusion about the results of regeneration. Regeneration does not bring about simply a moral person. On the contrary, regeneration brings new spiritual life to the sinner that radically changes the controlling disposition of his or her soul. Personality, temperament, and cognitive abilities remain the same, but through regeneration, the governing disposition of the regenerate sinner is now changed forever. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones challenges the listener to consider the new life found in Christ and passionately desires that all possess it.
Sent From God
In part one of his sermon series on John 5:31–35 titled “Sent From God,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd turns to the message of the gospel and the witness to that message. Why do people need salvation? Since the fall, all are born into sin. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. None are righteous, not even one. All who are in sin are under the judgment of God. However, there was One sent from God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was sent to save and bore the penalty of sin on the cross as a substitute for sinners. He made a sacrifice for sin that if one applies to his or her life by belief and faith, they shall not perish but have everlasting life. This was Jesus’s message of the gospel. Jesus says that this is true because He testifies to it. He also reminds that God sent another to witness and testify that Jesus’s message was true, the great prophet John the Baptist.
Behold the Lamb of God
In this sermon on John 5:31–35 titled “Sent From God,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd turns to the message of the gospel and the witness to that message. Why do people need salvation? Since the fall, all are born into sin. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. None are righteous, not even one. All who are in sin are under the judgment of God. However, there was One sent from God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was sent to save and bore the penalty of sin on the cross as a substitute for sinners. He made a sacrifice for sin that if one applies to his or her life by belief and faith, they shall not perish but have everlasting life. This was Jesus’s message of the gospel. Jesus says that this is true because He testifies to it. He also reminds that God sent another to witness and testify that Jesus’s message was true, the great prophet John the Baptist.
The Meaning of Salvation
Is there convincing proof that Jesus was the Messiah? In part three of his series on John 5:31–35 in a sermon titled “The Meaning of Salvation,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers this question with a firm yes. The proof comes in the form of testimony from John the Baptist. As he testifies of Jesus as the Messiah, the Lamb of God, he offers one final prophetic affirmation that Jesus is indeed the consolation of Israel. Speaking of Jesus, John declares that He is the one who will come and baptize with the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament speaks of the coming outpouring of the Spirit, and John, as the last prophet, proclaims that Jesus will initiate and send that very outpouring. This fact alone demonstrates that Jesus is the Messiah. John the Baptist called the people to repent of their sins, be baptized in water as a sign of that repentance, and directed them to produce the fruit of repentance in their lives. In this message, Dr. Lloyd-Jones considers if John’s baptism was sufficient and how it compared to the baptism of the Spirit, and how they relate to the gospel and salvation.
A Question of Authority
In part four of his series on John 5:31–35 in this sermon titled “A Question of Authority,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones now turns to the certainty of future judgment. Having established that life and judgment were placed firmly into the hands of Jesus by the Father, Jesus has declared that His testimony is true. His testimony was verified by witnesses, beginning with John the Baptist. Dr. Lloyd-Jones has explained the sum and substance of John’s witness concerning Jesus but there is one remaining truth that must not be lost: the clear inevitability of the judgment to come. In the modern age, people have used science, reason, and rationality to suppress the truth of the judgment. They have declared that God is love and therefore could not be a God of judgment. They have forgotten the moral principle that with actions come consequences. Furthermore, they suppress the truth of death and judgment in their unrighteousness. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that all must believe in the coming judgment or they will neglect the salvation provided for them.
Religion or Christianity?
In part five of his series on John 5:31–35 in this sermon titled “Religion or Curiosity?” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones completes his exposition by exposing the wrong response to the truth of the gospel. By focusing on John the Baptist and his ministry, hearers responded to the parts they found favorable but did not listen to the whole truth of the gospel that he presented. As one examines John’s ministry, initially a favorable response to the truth is found. The man, the prophet, and the message tickled ears and fancied the listeners’ curious nature. But the favorable response to John’s light of truth only lasted for a season. The people marveled at him and his words as they longed for a messiah to heal their worldly problems. But John’s message, a preparation for the gospel and Jesus, was a message of repentance and it was not received well. John’s message extinguished the light of their joy. Thus, Dr. Lloyd-Jones asks, “Will your favorable response to the gospel be only for a season?"
What of Miracles?
Who was Jesus of Nazareth? This question, according to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, is the central question of Christianity. The answer to this question becomes the filter for all other questions that surround Jesus. “What do we make of his miracles?” is one such question. In this sermon on John 5:36 titled “What of Miracles?” Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues his series on John 5:36. According to the Old Testament, Jesus’s testimony alone was not enough to verify His claims to His identity. Knowing this, Jesus offers multiple testimonies to His identity as being fully God, the Son of God. One such testimony is that of His works. What does Jesus refer to by claiming that His works testify of Him? Certainly the entire corpus of His work is in view, but in the context of John 5 and the healing He performed at the Pool of Bethesda, the works that He refers to were His miracles. When John the Baptist questioned Jesus’s identity, Jesus answered Him by pointing to His miracles. The miracles testify of His divine nature, but His miracles have been and continue to be a stumbling block to belief in Him.
Show Us the Father
No one can honor the Father unless they honor the Son. From the time of Jesus’s birth until now, people try to honor God the Father without acknowledging, believing in, or honoring the Son. In this sermon on John 5:37–38 titled “Show Us the Father,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones challenges the listener to ask any pagan today how they will get to heaven. Their response may be “I believe in God” or “God is love and all good people go to heaven.” They assume a knowledge of and a relationship with the Father while ignoring Jesus. This has always been the case. However, in the Gospel of John, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that Jesus taught that no one can know, honor, or see the Father without believing in the Son. In the context of John 5:37–38, Jesus had just performed a miracle. But the Jews denied it, denied him, and denied His claim to be the Son of God, equal in divinity to the Father. However, as John the Baptist testified to this truth, Jesus now declares that the Father also testified of the identity of the Son, affirming the claims of Jesus. The Father, in the Old Testament, New Testament, baptism of Jesus, and the transfiguration of Jesus all affirmed Jesus’s claims to be His Son and fully equal with Him. Both in written form and audibly, the Father testified as such. Therefore, believing in and honoring Jesus is absolutely essential to knowing God.
Search for Scripture
In his sermon on John 5:39 titled “Search for Scripture,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones unfolds the fourth witness to Jesus: the Scripture. The Jews thoroughly searched the Scripture and claimed to know the Scripture, and the leaders of the Jews thought themselves to be the teachers of the Scripture. In the Scripture, they thought they possessed eternal life. They even believed that just because they possessed the Scriptures, as opposed to the Gentiles, they were set apart to eternal life. The prejudice and misinterpretation of the Scripture by the Jews dripped with hypocrisy. In providing more testimony to validate His claims, Jesus stated that the Scriptures testified about Him. The entire Old Testament pointed to Jesus through either direct prediction or preparation. Scripture validated His person, work, and identity. The Jews possessed a knowledge of Scripture, but one that led ultimately to self-deception. They held the Scripture at arms-length and imported their own ideas into Scripture instead of studying to determine what was really proclaimed, namely Jesus. The listener is encouraged to ask themselves: “Is this you? Have you engaged Scripture and think you know it all, yet you are deceived? Has the Scripture led you to Jesus and His redeeming work on the cross for your sins?” If not, they may well be self-deceived which will lead to eternal destruction.
Come Unto Me
What does it mean to “come to Jesus”? In this sermon on John 5:40 titled “Come Unto Me,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones now considers the command of Jesus, “come unto me.” This wonderful and compassionate command of Jesus comes in the context of the healing at Bethesda. Jesus has powerfully healed an invalid who has been in that condition for nearly four decades. This powerful healing gave Jesus the opportunity to declare His true identity as the Son of God, fully divine, fully equal with the Father. Having validated these claims by confronting the Jews with the testimony of multiple witnesses, Jesus now turns to the application of the entire scene. The Jewish people, as well as all sinners, are to come to him. The Son of God, the Sovereign Creator of all things who is equal with the Father, has come into the world to invite sinners to come to Him. At its core, the command is an invitation to believe in Jesus. In this message, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones confronts sinners with this powerful invitation to come, but he does more. As he offers this wonderful invitation, he defines what it truly means to come to Jesus and what it truly means to believe.
Why Is Christianity Rejected?
In this sermon on John 5:40 titled “Why Is Christianity Rejected?” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones focuses on Jesus now offering the practical application. He provides the invitation for the Jews and for all sinners to come to Him. Ultimately, the invitation to come is an invitation to believe in Him for salvation. Having defined what it means to truly believe in Jesus, now Dr. Lloyd-Jones considers why sinners do not come to Jesus and believe. In the context, Jesus invites the Jews to come, but they refuse to come. Many who reject Christ argue that their intellect moves them to reject Christianity. They are educated and imply that those who accept Christianity lack a mind, intelligence, and rationality. But intellect does not cause one to reject Christ. Looking again at the text, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that their will does not let them come. The Jews, and all sinners who reject Christianity, are unable to come because of their will. The wills and the minds of people are corrupt and in bondage to the disease of sin. What does this mean that the will is bondage and corrupt? What will the result of this bondage be? How can the will be set free? The answers to these questions unlock the key to why Christianity is rejected.
The fatal blow for the soul is to divide one’s belief in God and Jesus. In this sermon on John 5:42 titled “Love God,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones now sets the stage to consider once again the Jews and their rejection of Jesus. A glorious miracle is the backdrop for the narrative of John 5. This miracle allows Jesus to come to the front of the scene and declare His equality with God. His opening lines in the story include the invitation to come to Him and believe in Him, because to know Him is to know God. The crowd of Jews scoff at His words. Dr. Lloyd-Jones offers reasons for the Jews’ rejection, and ultimately the sinners’ rejection of Christianity. He shows how the rejection goes deeper into the heart and soul. The Jews were entrenched in their belief only in God to the destruction of their own soul. Why were they, along with all sinners, so bound in rejection? Rejection of Jesus stems from a lack of love for God. The tender affections of the heart are cold towards Him. In this sermon, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones provides tests to measure one’s love for God and warns that the soul cannot be divided.
A Right Approach
Jesus does not want the praise of people. He makes this very statement in John 5:41 where he states, “I do not receive glory from people.” What are we to make of this statement of Jesus? In this sermon on John 5:41 titled “A Right Approach,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones carefully answers this question. This statement, set in the context of John 5 where Jesus had performed a powerful miracle, made powerful claims about His identity and proclaimed a powerful truth to confront the Jews’ unbelief. Now, in verse 41, Dr. Lloyd-Jones unpacks this statement of Jesus’s teaching: the Jews took the wrong approach to Jesus. The Jews only offered honor to a well-known teacher or political leader in an earthly sense. Jesus does not want this type honor from people as this is the wrong approach. Jesus desires the honor, worship, and praise that is compelled by His true identity as the Son of God, sent from the Father, fully God and fully divine. How can anyone give Him this praise? How can anyone take the right approach to worshiping Jesus? In this sermon on John 5:41, Dr. Lloyd-Jones answers these questions, teaching the right approach to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blinded by Sin
Sin blinds the unbeliever from believing in Jesus. In this sermon on John 5:43 titled “Blinded by Sin,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues his exposition of this chapter that is nestled in the context of divine healing and divine declarations made by Jesus. However, the Jews outright dismissed Jesus’s claims, refuse to receive Him as Lord and Savior, and ultimately begin plotting to kill Him. In their rejection, Jesus condemns them, saying they praise people for earthly glory and have no love of God. In this Scripture, Dr. Lloyd-Jones unfolds Jesus’s next condemning truth: they are blinded by sin. Jesus tells them that they will receive someone who arrogantly comes in their own name, but refuse to receive Him who comes in the name of the Father. The Jews, along with all unbelievers, are blinded by sin. Sin blinds the unbelieving, causing them to lose rationality and become a fool. Sin blinds. Unbelievers lose all sense of proper judgment because sin clouds judgment and restricts it to prejudice, subjectivity, and arrogance. Like the physically blind who cannot see their path, sin blinds unbelievers to any moral judgment. Dangerously, sin blinds one to receive Jesus, repenting of sin and trusting Him by faith to be forgiven and avoid the horrors of hell. How can one be saved from this blindness? In this sermon, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines the disease of sin and how one can be cured.
How Can You Believe?
Continuing his exposition of John 5 with this sermon on John 5:44 titled “How Can You Believe?” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones now considers verse 44 and this question. This question was posed by Jesus as He again confronts the Jews and their rejection of Him. Belief in Him is the means of salvation and the path to truly knowing the Father. However, Jesus now presents a great theological difficulty. His question implies that belief in Him is impossible. In fact, belief exercised by the unbeliever is completely out of his or her control. As one famous preacher said, “You had nothing to do with your natural birth and you had nothing to do with your spiritual birth.” Belief in Jesus to receive salvation is impossible without the work of God in the life of the unbeliever. In John 5:44, Jesus confronts the Jews with this reality. Furthermore, His question points to the prior verses referring to their desire for honor among people. How does this desire relate to the inability to believe? In this sermon, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains how believing in Jesus is impossible by virtue of the sinful human desire to be supreme above all things.
Seek Honour from God
Salvation comes only through belief activated by seeking honor that comes from God. In this first sermon on John 5:44, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that true saving belief is impossible when humankind seeks its own honor. Though they professed to know God, the Jews were far from Him because they sought their own honor from people. The honor of people is ultimately the seeking of the same supreme position Satan offered Eve in the garden. Now, in this second installment titled “Seek Honour From God,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that the belief that saves comes from seeking honor from God. The honor that comes from God is an honor that begins by giving Him the supreme position in the heart, mind, and life. This honor, in reality, is the essence of belief that humbles oneself to a lowly position and God to the supreme position. Possessing this saving belief means that one knows that God exists, accepts that God is holy, receives God’s word as the truth, and is convicted of his or her own sin and need for forgiveness. Belief that seeks honor from God includes these actions and leads one to accept their utter hopeless estate without Him as a desperate sinner before God. When belief is marked by these qualities, it leads one to God and to receive honor from Him. The listener is encouraged to consider this message from Dr. Lloyd-Jones and ensure that the honor sought is honor from Him, an honor that leads to salvation and His glory.