16For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
16And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
In this sermon on John 1:16 titled “Married to Christ,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses the dividing the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. He shows the distinction between the carnal person and the spiritual person. He identifies the former as an unbeliever, and the latter as the state of the Christian. He shows that the carnal person chases after worldly and fleshly things, while the spiritual person pursues spiritual pursuits. The carnal person is shortsighted and blind and their eyes are only on the things of this life that will perish, fade or be destroyed. The Christian is bent on eternal realities and drawing near to the Lord. Dr. Lloyd-Jones asks the listener if their eyes have been opened to value eternal realities. He questions if the forgiveness of sin is a warmth to the soul or does money, fame, and power hold sway as the only authority. Moreover, Dr. Lloyd-Jones discusses the beautiful reality that the old master, the law, has perished and now Christians are wed to Christ and His grace. The Spirit works about this unity that believers have with Christ. Listen and hear what realities the Spirit of God instills into the hearts of believers.
- The sermon focuses on John 1:16 which states "And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." This verse summarizes the Christian gospel.
- To receive from Christ's fullness and grace upon grace is the test of whether one is truly a Christian. If one cannot say this with confidence, one cannot be sure they are a Christian.
- The sermon considers how Christ's fullness becomes ours and how we receive grace upon grace. 1 Corinthians 1:30 states that Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.
- The sermon focuses on sanctification - the process of being made holy. Sanctification is a process of God's free grace by which we are renewed in God's image and enabled to die to sin and live to righteousness.
- Negatively, sanctification means we are dead to sin and the law. Positively, sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit who mediates Christ to us.
- The Holy Spirit separates us from the world and regenerates us, giving us new life. The Holy Spirit also baptizes us into the body of Christ, the church.
- The Christian life is life in the Spirit. It is only possible because of Christ and his work. Having been born again by the Spirit, the Christian lives a new kind of life.
- The apostle Paul describes this new life in Romans 7 and 8. In Romans 7:4, Christians have died to the law and are married to Christ to bear fruit for God.
- There are only two possibilities: life in the flesh or life in the Spirit. There is no middle ground. Non-Christians live according to the flesh while Christians live according to the Spirit.
- Those in the flesh are interested in fleshly things but those in the Spirit are interested in spiritual things. The fleshly mind is death but the spiritual mind is life and peace. The fleshly mind is hostile to God but the spiritual mind can please God.
- This understanding of life in the Spirit is key to understanding New Testament sanctification. Sanctification is not a formula but understanding doctrine and being united to Christ by the Spirit.
- The test of whether one is a Christian is whether one can say they were once in the flesh but now live in the Spirit, however imperfectly. Christians have new life in Christ and bear fruit for him, not themselves.
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.