Abraham; Faith in Action
A Sermon on John 1:12-13
12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.
12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Can Christians have assurance of their salvation? This is not a merely speculative question, but it is at the heart of much of the Gospel. In this sermon on assurance from John 1:12-13 and Hebrews 11:17-19, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches the great truth that those who are saved in Christ can and should know that they are redeemed. Dr. Lloyd-Jones first looks at how Abraham displayed his faith and assurance. Not only did he believe God when he was told that Sarah would bear a son but he even obeyed God when told to sacrifice his only son. To do such an act, Abraham must have had an absolute assurance in his faith, but what can provoke such assurance? Dr. Lloyd- Jones states that such assurance can only come about when someone directly knows that he is a child of God. Abraham knew that God had promised to make a nation through him and so, even if Isaac was killed, God could raise him from the dead if he willed it. When Abraham was tempted to disobey God, he remembered that he knew God and that God would never break a promise. This knowledge of God gave Abraham the strength to follow through on God’s commandment. However, is it possible to know God in the same way that Abraham did? Dr. Lloyd-Jones replies that it most certainly is. We can have an intimate knowledge of God so that we may know when he is speaking to us. This way, in hard times we can have an answer to the devil’s temptations. We are all children of God just like Abraham; however, even with assurance of our faith, this does not mean that as long as we follow God’s will everything will go swimmingly for us. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones puts it, “God tests us so that we may know him better.” God wants us to better know ourselves as well as himself, and the only way to do this is by stripping us of things that we might put our faith in. God is always testing us so that eventually we may get in a position where we trust him blindly in the dark. We must remember that we have the same God that Abraham had, and if Abraham was willing to kill his son for such a God, then likewise we should put our faith in him.
- There are two elements to assurance: a direct witness of the Spirit and reasoning from Scripture.
- Assurance can be extremely strong, giving confidence even when circumstances seem to contradict God's promises. Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac because he knew with certainty that God had commanded it.
- God tests our assurance in order to strengthen our faith, teach us more about ourselves and our weaknesses, give us a greater knowledge of Him, and show the world what He can make of those who trust in Him.
- God tested Abraham so that He could point to him as an example of faith and say "I am the God of Abraham." We should live so that God can point to us as examples in the same way.
- The story of Abraham and Isaac prefigures God sacrificing His own Son for us.
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.