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Sermon #1092

Testing the Spirits (2)

A Sermon on John 1:26-33


John 1:26-33 ESV 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

With all the opinions on truth in the world, how is the Christian supposed to determine which ones are correct? In this sermon on John 1:26–33 titled “Testing the Spirits (2),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones provides a helpful framework for thinking through how Christians can be discerning when analyzing different truth claims. First, they must use reason. God does not tell His children to “check their brains at the door” when they are saved. Instead, He calls them to exercise wisdom and discernment. He gave tools to use and that includes reasoning abilities. Next, Christians are to use the Scriptures and compare everything alongside of Scripture. He then provides some general principles that can be applied as they look to identify false truth claims. First, he says, the Christian must be very cautious of any idea claiming to be truth that is relatively new. Second, they must reject teachings that blatantly contradict the teachings of Scripture. Third, they must use their reasoning and be skeptical of anything that appears to be overly spectacular. Dr. Lloyd-Jones elaborates on these points and helps the believer think about how to sift through the countless truth claims being advanced in the culture today.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. We must never abandon our minds, reason or understanding. We must never "let ourselves go".
  2. The Holy Spirit enlightens the understanding, he does not make us Christians apart from the understanding.
  3. Christianity is reasonable and rational. We cannot reason ourselves into Christianity but once in it, we find it reasonable.
  4. The glory of Christianity is that it takes up the whole man - mind, heart and will. Any teaching that tells you to stop thinking is contrary to the Gospel.
  5. We must test the spirits and prove all things. We cannot do this without using our minds and reason.
  6. We must not rely on subjective feelings or the sincerity of those reporting spiritual experiences. Both scripture and history show that sincere Christians can be misled.
  7. We must test all things by scripture. Scripture is all the teaching we need. There is no need for new revelation.
  8. Be suspicious of any claim to fresh revelation of truth. Claims of revelation of the date of Christ's return contradict scripture.
  9. Reject anything claiming to be from the Spirit that contradicts scripture. Examples: needing to touch a man to receive blessing; not needing to prepare sermons.
  10. Be suspicious of anything merely spectacular or foolish. Examples: expecting new teeth to grow; attempting to walk on water.
  11. The counterfeit tends to overreach itself, lead to credulity and press us into foolishness. It brings the work of the Spirit into ridicule.
  12. We need to test the spirits to avoid both quenching the Spirit and exposing ourselves to fanaticism.

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.