Testing the Spirits (3)
A Sermon on John 1:26-33
26John answered them, saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27It is He who comes after me, of whom I am not worthy even to untie the strap of His sandal.” 28These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing people.
29The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him, and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is He in behalf of whom I said, ‘After me is coming a Man who has proved to be my superior, because He existed before me.’ 31And I did not recognize Him, but so that He would be revealed to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” 32And John testified, saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’
26John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29¶ The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
Various predictions on the future have been made over the last several years regarding the end times, the rapture of the global church, or some other event in the future. How should Christians respond to these claims? Are there questions or criteria that can help as they analyze such truth claims? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones provides some of those in this sermon on John 1:26–33 titled “Testing the Spirits (3).” Christians must be very cautious when evaluating such claims and must measure a “prophet’s” word against Scripture. How do they know if someone is a true prophet? The Bible says they know someone to be a true prophet if what they predict comes to pass. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds his listeners that regular mental faculties that God has given the Christian, coming alongside the Scriptures, provide enough to “discern the spirits” as Scripture instructs. What are some other helpful criteria? First, be wary of any idea that exalts the self to a place of prominence. Second, when the physical aspect of a spiritual experience is emphasized, be cautious. Third, be careful of those things that only happen after they are mentioned— the danger of what Dr. Lloyd-Jones refers to as the “power of suggestion” is very real, and must be avoided. He closes with a reminder to discern the spirits and to embrace and hold to the simplicity that is in Christ.
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.