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Sermon #1118

The Question of Signs

A Sermon on John 2:18-22


John 2:18-22 ESV KJV
So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up …

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Sermon Description

Throughout Jesus’s ministry on earth, people marveled at his many signs and miracles. Performing signs and miracles is something Jesus does often in the New Testament; however, there always seem to be people who were never satisfied with the signs of Jesus. In this sermon on John 2:18–22 titled “The Question of Signs,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaks on this topic as he warns against the wrong way of asking Jesus for signs. He begins by pointing out how the people of Jesus’s time continually asked for signs but asked them for the wrong reasons. These people were asking for signs outside of a relationship with Jesus and were never satisfied with the signs they were given. They were more focused on seeing signs in the physical and visible sense rather than being transformed in the spiritual sense. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then challenges Christians to reflect upon their own lives today by asking themselves: “am I also guilty of asking for signs for the wrong reason? Am I not content with what the Lord has already given me?” Dr. Lloyd-Jones concludes by encouraging reflection upon these questions and taking hold of the signs God has already given, rather than to continuously ask for more.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The context of the passage is Jesus cleansing the temple in Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders confront Jesus and ask him for a sign to prove his authority.
  2. Jesus replies indirectly by saying "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews misunderstand and think Jesus is referring to the physical temple.
  3. Jesus is actually referring to his own body and predicting his resurrection. The disciples later understand this after Jesus rises from the dead.
  4. The sermon examines why Jesus refuses to give the Jews a sign and condemns those who seek signs in the wrong way. Jesus calls them an "evil and adulterous generation."
  5. An "evil" generation lacks spiritual understanding and fails to see the signs already given. They crave the visible and tangible due to a lack of spiritual insight.
  6. An "adulterous" generation is not content with God and his ways. They are ruled by curiosity, lust for excitement, and impatience. They want to take matters into their own hands.
  7. Jesus never grants signs to those with this wrong attitude and mentality. He refused signs to the devil, Herod, and Pilate. God's blessings are only given to those who seek him in spirit and truth.
  8. We must examine ourselves to avoid spiritual adultery. Signs of this include dissatisfaction with God, restlessness, craving excitement, and allowing anything to come before Christ.
  9. To avoid this, we must believe what God has already given us in Scripture, seek to know Christ above all else, submit fully to him, and patiently wait on his timing. He will give signs to those who truly seek 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.