44How can you believe, when you accept glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?
44How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
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.
What makes us Christians is believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. This means believing He is the Son of God, receiving Him, and coming to Him for salvation.
What makes belief in Christ impossible is seeking honor from other people instead of God. This desire for human praise and glory blinds people to the truth.
This desire to receive honor from others manifests itself in many ways: seeking popularity, craving praise, fear of criticism, and intellectual pride. All of these make belief in Christ impossible.
Seeking honor from others puts self at the center instead of God. It elevates human opinion as the supreme standard of truth instead of God's Word. It leads to a superficial, dishonest, and external view of life that ignores the heart. And it is something God hates.
The governing principle of a person's life shows whether they are seeking honor from God or men. If ruled by human opinion, they will never know Christ. But turning to Christ in repentance and faith leads to knowing God's honor.
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.