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Sermon #1110

The Christian Life

A Sermon on John 1:49-51


John 1:49-51 ESV KJV
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say …

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Sermon Description

How are Christians to live life in the hope of greater things to come? Listen to “The Christian Life” as Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones explains this through the life of Nathaniel in John 1:48–51. After Nathaniel recognized Jesus as the Son of God, Jesus responded by saying that greater things would be revealed to him. At that moment, Nathaniel did not see the whole picture and did not understand everything about Jesus but he chose to believe. Many people today do not believe simply because they do not understand everything. Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages the listeners through this passage by employing them to not live in unbelief simply because of the things they do not understand now, but to take hold of the truths that are evident and displayed in the Word of God. The result of this, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones shows us in Nathaniel’s life, is that the Holy Spirit will reveal greater things in the Christian journey. So while a Christian may not understand it all now, may they live in hope knowing that the present time is only a glimpse into the greater things to be revealed.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Dr. Lloyd-Jones begins by reminding the congregation of the passage of Scripture he has been preaching through for the last two years - John 1:16: "Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." He says a Christian is someone who can say they have received grace upon grace from Jesus.

  2. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says John the Baptist's testimony in this passage shows what a Christian is. John says Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit, which they have been considering for months.

  3. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says some may feel discouraged thinking such profound theology and spirituality is only for notable Christians, not ordinary people. But the stories of the disciples in this passage show how Jesus takes ordinary people and leads them to great heights.

  4. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says the story of Nathanael shows the importance of religious instruction and Bible knowledge. While not essential, it provides helpful background and context. He encourages parents and Sunday school teachers in their work.

  5. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says the main lesson from Nathanael's story is the importance of accepting and confessing what truth you do understand, even if you don't understand everything. When Nathanael believed based on Jesus telling him He saw him under the fig tree, Jesus promised He would show him greater things.

  6. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says Jesus commends Nathanael's confession and promises that if we are open and willing to accept what we can understand, He will lead us on to greater understanding. The Christian life is a journey of continually seeing greater things.

  7. The greater things Jesus promises include: greater knowledge of Him, greater understanding of the plan of salvation, deeper experiences of His grace, and greater manifestations of His presence.

  8. These greater things are possible because of who Jesus is - the infinite, inexhaustible Son of God - and the exceeding riches of His grace. There is no end to knowing Him.

  9. Growth in the Christian life is also possible because of the life Jesus gives us. We can go from being children to young men to fathers in the faith. We are being changed from glory to glory.

  10. Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges us to examine our Christian lives. Are we advancing and increasing in our knowledge and experience of Jesus? We should forget what lies behind and press on to what lies ahead.

  11. We should face the future by gazing upon and beholding Jesus, through His Word and in prayer. As we behold Him, He will change us from glory to glory. Greater things await us if we continue to follow Him.

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.