16For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
16And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
What does it mean to be a Christian? In this sermon titled “Graces, not Gifts,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches from John 1:16 to tell his hearers that the Christian is the one who has received the fullness of God. He preaches that the process of sanctification is part of the Christian life, and therefore it must be part of the Christian message. The only reason God can give gracious fullness of salvation is because He Himself is full to the infinite extent. When God gives salvation, He both imputes and imparts the righteousness of Christ to the believer. This does not mean the Christian life will be easy. Dr. Lloyd-Jones illustrates sanctification as a garden. A person can tend to the soil all their life and never produce any fruit, for they have forgotten to plant seeds. In this illustration Dr. Lloyd-Jones also tells his hearers that the vines are produced by God, and the toiling for His glory must be devoted to ridding the garden of weeds. It is a great encouragement that God is the protector. Listen as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches about God’s graces.
- The sermon text is John 1:16 - "And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." This verse summarizes what makes us Christian - receiving the fullness of Christ.
- A Christian is someone who has received the fullness of Christ, not just someone who is good, dutiful or a church member. Receiving Christ's fullness is what accounts for everything else in the Christian life.
- The fullness of Christ is mediated to us by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works indirectly by enlightening our minds, stimulating prayer, leading us, giving us assurance and helping us persevere.
- The Spirit also works directly by sanctifying us and making us more like Christ. This is a vital part of our salvation. Christ came to destroy the works of the devil and restore us to our original state before the Fall.
- The righteousness of Christ is not just imputed to us, it is imparted to us. We are born again and made partakers of the divine nature. The Spirit makes Christ's fullness actual and real in us.
- The Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit in us - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. This fruit is the character of Christ himself being formed in us.
- The fruit of the Spirit refers to graces, not gifts. Gifts are for service, graces are for sanctification. We must not confuse the two.
- The first three fruits - love, joy and peace - describe our essential condition. Love is love for God, others and even enemies. Joy is joy in the Holy Spirit, not happiness. Peace is peace with God, others and within ourselves.
- The next three fruits - longsuffering, gentleness and goodness - describe our relationship with others. Longsuffering means being patient with difficult people. Gentleness is kindness to others. Goodness is concern for the good of others.
- The final three fruits - faith, meekness and temperance - describe our character before God. Faith means faithfulness and loyalty. Meekness is humility. Temperance is self-control and discipline.
- These fruits show that we have received of Christ's fullness. They are the marks of Christ's character in us, produced by the Spirit. We must examine ourselves to see if these fruits are evident in our lives.
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.