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Sermon #1062

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A Sermon on John 1:16


John 1:16 ESV KJV
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (ESV)

Sermon Description

What does it mean to receive Christ’s fullness? What sort of ambition is proper? In this sermon on John 1:16 titled “Our Ambition,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones exhorts his listeners that it is proper for a Christian to have ambition for knowing and loving the Lord. Nothing is greater than knowing the surpassing glory of Jesus Christ and sharing in His suffering. The difference between one who has not received God’s fullness versus one who has received God’s fullness should be night and day. He preaches that one who has indeed received God’s fullness will pursue knowledge of Christ each and every day. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also speaks of the emptiness of mere intellectual assent. One cannot only know the truths of God; one must worship and love the Lord to truly know Him. This, Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues, is the difference between “head knowledge” and “heart knowledge.” He also addresses a misinterpretation of the passage in which Jesus says “take up your cross and follow me.” This, Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches, is not merely in the small hardships in life. To follow Christ, the Christian must accept mockery, revilement, physical suffering, and intense persecution. They must die daily for the sake of Christ in order to be raised with Him.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul's supreme desire was to know Christ more intimately. He already knew Christ, but longed to know him better through deeper fellowship and communion.
  2. The word "know" refers to heart knowledge and experience, not just intellectual knowledge. It is the knowledge of relationship and fellowship.
  3. Paul's desire to know Christ better arose from already knowing him. The more you know someone, the more you want to know them.
  4. Paul's desire was for the normal Christian experience of fellowship with Christ described in John 14, not visions or trances. He wanted Christ to be a living reality to him.
  5. Many hymns express this desire to know Christ in a deeper, experiential way, not just know about him. For example, "Jesus, these eyes have never seen" and "More and more I lift my heart to thee."
  6. Paul also desired to know "the power of his resurrection" - the power of Christ's resurrected life working in him to overcome sin. Christ lives in believers by the Spirit.
  7. Paul desired "the fellowship of his sufferings" - to share in Christ's sufferings by identifying with Christ's hatred of sin and willingness to endure hardship to defeat it. This is not a desire for suffering itself.
  8. Being "made conformable unto his death" means being so submitted to God's will that we are willing even to face death, as Christ did. It means "dying daily" to self and sin.
  9. Paul strove to "attain unto the resurrection from the dead" - complete freedom from sin and glorification. Though certain of the resurrection, Paul had not yet attained sinless perfection and glorification. He pressed on toward this goal.
  10. Paul did not count himself to have "apprehended" the ultimate prize, but still pursued it wholeheartedly, "forgetting what lies behind." His chief ambition was complete Christlikeness.

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.