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Sermon #1150

Spiritual Dullness

A Sermon on John 4:13-14


John 4:13-14 ESV KJV
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” …

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Sermon Description

The Samaritan woman that Jesus encounters in John 4:13–14 is a good example of someone who is unable to see things spiritually. Throughout this encounter, Jesus mentions spiritual things, such as the nature of salvation and redemption, but this woman understands Him only as speaking of worldly things. Unfortunately, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains in this sermon titled “Spiritual Dullness,” this is the state of all people who live in sin and darkness. Those who do not have a renewed mind do not have the ability to understand gospel truths, for these are spiritually discerned by the aid of the Holy Spirit. Even Christians are often blind to spiritual truths. This can result from a lack of a proper understanding of God’s word or from sin in the life of believers. Many Christians try to rationalize their sins instead of confronting them and this can lead to spiritual blindness and a life of alienation from God and neighbor. This is why the church must proclaim the gospel that continually transforms and renews believers. Every day Christians are in need of God’s great grace again, and God is faithful to give His grace in Christ to believers. This should encourage all Christians to rely on God for all things and to faithfully and joyfully proclaim the great truth of the gospel of salvation by grace alone.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon focuses on John 4:13-14 which talks about the living water that Jesus gives which springs up into eternal life. This is the essence of Christianity.
  2. The sermon examines how we can attain this living water by looking at the story of the Samaritan woman.
  3. The story is often taken in an evangelistic sense but it has deeper teachings. It shows how Jesus persists with us until we see the truth.
  4. We must examine if we have this living water and how we stand up to difficulties in life. Christianity is practical, not theoretical.
  5. The sermon looks at the hindrances that prevent us from attaining the living water. The first is general prejudices like those the Samaritan woman had.
  6. The second hindrance is spiritual dullness and slowness. The woman materialized all of Jesus' spiritual statements. We can be intelligent but spiritually dull.
  7. Spiritual understanding is not based on natural ability or learning. Nicodemus and the Corinthians also materialized spiritual truths.
  8. The natural man cannot understand spiritual things. Christians need to be renewed in their minds to think spiritually.
  9. Habit, custom, stopping at conversion, laziness, a magical view of faith, and an inadequate view of the gospel are reasons for spiritual dullness.
  10. The gospel is reduced to conversion rather than the unsearchable riches of Christ. We need to study the depths of the gospel.
  11. Superficial Bible study is another hindrance. We need to study the Bible deeply, not just skim or take broad strides through it.
  12. Evasiveness is another hindrance shown by the Samaritan woman shifting the topic from her sin to where to worship. We evade by discussing other issues or attacking others.
  13. We explain away our sins and faults to be happy and on good terms with ourselves. We don't like the pain of conviction.
  14. Balancing theoretical knowledge against failure in practice is a subtle hindrance. Knowledge without experience is useless.
  15. True balance involves the whole person - mind, heart, and will. We shouldn't dichotomize or play these against each other.

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.