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Sermon #1077

Second-hand Religion

A Sermon on John 1:26-33

Scripture

John 1:26-33 ESV NASB KJV
John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he …

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Sermon Description

In this sermon “Second-hand Religion,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches from John 1:26–33. He tells his audience that no one can merely receive the fullness of Christ from the tradition of religion. According to John the Baptist, passive participation in Christian tradition gets the soul nowhere. Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches that following practical religious steps are not enough for salvation. This can include baptism, church attendance, prayer, and even preaching. Dr. Lloyd-Jones communicates that without a true, heartfelt, and deep acceptance of the gospel in one’s soul, one gets no closer to heaven. He also condemns the idea that intellectual appreciation or acceptance are enough to be filled with Christ’s fullness. One who appreciates the Christian for his deep faith is not credited Christ’s righteousness for doing so. One who accepts the existence of God and the truth of the doctrines of the Christian faith is not a believer unless they have repented of their sins and turned to Christ to be filled. In this sermon, listeners are encouraged to be filled with the fullness of Christ by repenting of sins and obeying God’s decrees.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. A traditional religion or birthright is not enough. We cannot rely on the fact that we have always been brought up in the faith or that we were born into a Christian family.
  2. We must examine ourselves to see if we have a "secondhand faith" that is merely inherited or intellectual rather than a personal, living faith.
  3. John the Baptist's message was searching, challenging, and convicting. It called people to honesty, repentance, and action.
  4. If we have never been deeply troubled about whether or not we are truly Christians, we likely are not Christians. Christianity is not meant to be superficial or complacent.
  5. We must allow God's word to search us, try us, and expose us instead of making excuses or hiding from the truth. God desires "truth in the inward parts."
  6. When the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin, we will cry out "What shall we do?" in recognition of our helplessness and need for salvation.
  7. Repentance involves action, not just feelings. We must "bring forth fruits worthy of repentance." It is not enough to feel stirred in a meeting but then do nothing.
  8. We must look into the "mirror" of God's word and see ourselves as we really are, then continue looking until we are utterly humbled and ready to receive the fullness of Christ.
  9. The message of John the Baptist exposes us to ourselves, delivers us from hiding, and prepares us to receive Christ. We must listen to his message to experience God's fullness.

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.