A Question of Authority
A Sermon on John 5:31-35
31“If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. 32There is another who testifies about Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true.
Testimony of John the Baptist
33You have sent messengers to John, and he has testified to …
31If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
32¶ There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34But I …
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.
- The sermon begins by introducing the passage from John 5:31-35 which talks about Jesus bearing witness to himself through John the Baptist.
- Jesus says that if he bears witness to himself, his witness is not true. But the witness of John the Baptist about Jesus is true.
- The Jews sent to John the Baptist and he bore witness to the truth about Jesus. Jesus wants them to believe John's witness so that they may be saved.
- John the Baptist was like a burning and shining light, and for a while the Jews rejoiced in his light.
- The sermon then provides context about what Jesus said to the Jews who questioned his authority to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus refers to the witness of John the Baptist and God himself about Jesus.
- The sermon asks how has God borne witness to Jesus. The first answer is through the ministry and testimony of John the Baptist.
- John the Baptist specifically said that Jesus is the Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire, and the one who will judge the world.
- The sermon expresses amazement at how little attention is paid to the doctrine of final judgment today, especially compared to concerns about things like hydrogen bombs. People don't believe in a future life or are spiritually blind.
- The sermon argues there are some general arguments that point to a final judgment, like the moral principle at work in life, our sense of moral responsibility, and the idea of a future life demanding judgment. The ultimate argument is that the Bible teaches it, with Jesus himself teaching about the final judgment.
- The sermon addresses objections to the doctrine of final judgment based on God's love. Jesus, who knows God's love best, taught about the final judgment. The doctrine of judgment only comes after the offer of salvation.
- The sermon describes the final judgment as thorough, with no one slipping through the cracks. The books recording our sins will be opened.
- The sermon asks what determines our eternal fate. It is not our heredity or good works, but our nature. Wheat (the saved) will be gathered, and chaff (the unsaved) will be burned. We must have the new nature given by Christ.
- To receive the new nature, we must repent of our sins and believe in Christ as the Son of God who died to save us from our sins. If we do, we will have nothing to fear in the final judgment.
The Book of John
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.