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Sermon #1166

The Age of the Clinical

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

In this sermon on John 4:13–14 titled “The Age of the Clinical,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses two common extremes where people tend to fall: pure emotionalism and pure intellectualism. He points out that the world swings like a pendulum between relying solely on emotions and relying solely on intellect. Both of these extremes are excluded in Christianity; instead it embraces emotions that are grounded in truth. He shows that the world often excludes emotion to protect itself from pain. To illustrate this, he uses the philosophy of stoicism. This philosophy attempts to cut out all emotion in order to be unaffected and safe. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that this kind of false protection is only a partial solution. It merely ignores suffering rather than providing a solution. He describes Christianity as a balanced view of intellect and emotion. God created people as creatures that are made to do more than understand truth; they are made to feel truth. Moreover, their Savior wept over sin and suffering. Whereas the world would rob all of either knowing truth or feeling and experiencing it, but God would have His people weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon examines Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman about living water that satisfies and never fails.
  2. Jesus’ words show the fullness, sufficiency and permanence of the Christian salvation and life.
  3. Many today see Christianity as outdated, but we must show them they are wrong and share the blessing.
  4. We must understand and experience this ourselves to be good witnesses. Christianity spreads through personal witness.
  5. The world’s need is greater than ever, though times are discouraging. But opportunity is also greater. Are we ready?
  6. We must go beyond receiving for ourselves to helping others in need around us.
  7. We’ve seen Jesus’ claim is intellectually satisfying, answering questions and resolving problems. But we want more.
  8. We want to know this is true for us personally. It’s not enough to know God forgives sin generally. We want to know our sins are forgiven.
  9. Christianity is about relationship, not just accepting truth. Luther knew righteousness came through relationship, not just belief.
  10. We all want assurance, certainty, safety, peace and rest. The heart cries out for satisfaction as much as the mind.
  11. So we must consider whether Jesus satisfies the heart as well as the mind.
  12. It’s hard to define exactly where the mind ends and the heart begins. They influence each other but we must distinguish them.
  13. Scripture shows Jesus deals directly with the heart, though usually through the mind. Sometimes the heart is first.
  14. So we must consider the place of feeling and emotion, especially in the Christian life. This causes much confusion today.
  15. Some make too much of feeling, living by instinct and emotion rather than reason and judgment. This can show lack of intelligence, laziness or an anti-intellectual philosophy that says we should live by sensation and impulse.
  16. But others make too little of feeling, despising emotion. This can be a reaction to sentimentality, a result of emotional assaults from events like war, or a stoic philosophy that says we should control feelings to avoid being hurt.
  17. The “clinical” attitude of detachment and objectivity is popular but goes against human nature. We need a balance of mind and heart.
  18. The world can’t satisfy the heart. Its offerings are temporary at best and ultimately aggravating. Whosoever drinks of this water will thirst again.
  19. The confusion and contradictions of modern life show its failure to satisfy the heart. Intellectualism and emotionalism coexist. People crave primitive music, violence, frenzy. This shows the lack of heart satisfaction and the need to knock out the mind.
  20. Drugs, alcohol, immorality show the craving for heart satisfaction and the world’s inability to provide it. They create more problems than they solve.
  21. Aldous Huxley’s life shows the bankruptcy of intellect alone. His turn to mysticism showed his need for heart satisfaction beyond intellect.
  22. We have the answer the world needs in Christ, who alone satisfies the heart forever. Do we have this living water to offer the world?

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.