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Sermon #1010

The Spirit; Leading and Love

A Sermon on John 1:12-13


John 1:12-13 ESV KJV
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (ESV)

Sermon Description

What does it mean to be led by the spirit? In this sermon on John 1: 12-13, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones emphasizes the important balance between the Spirit and the Scripture. He goes on to assess the Quakers beliefs and explains how although they may have started off as Christians, because they forgot Scripture and chose to purely be led by their “inner spirit”, they went astray and openly said that the Bible isn’t really necessary. They denied Christ and the teachings of Christ due to their inner spirit leading their beliefs and neglecting to correct their beliefs with Scripture. Dr. Lloyd-Jones states that the moment you separate the Spirit from the Word, you are creating disaster. In this sermon on the Spirit leading and love, he also states that you cannot separate doctrine and practice and assesses the differences in godly love, friendship love, physical love, and pure sinful lust. Homosexual and adulterous people arrive in their position because they are putting emphasis on inner light and inner spirit instead of having a balance. Dr. Lloyd-Jones tells us that love is the fulfillment of the law, so if love does not fulfill the law then it is lust. Overall, the Word of God comes from the Spirit and God gave us Scripture that we may be safeguarded against evil spirits and our own evil thoughts so we should balance the Spirit and Scripture.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon begins by introducing John 1:12-13 which states that those who receive Jesus and believe in his name are given the power to become children of God.
  2. The sermon then states that these verses remind us that Jesus came into the world so that those who believe in him can become children of God through spiritual rebirth.
  3. The sermon emphasizes that the most important thing about Christians is that they are new creations, children of God who have been spiritually reborn.
  4. The sermon then states that it's important for Christians to be certain that they have been spiritually reborn and have become children of God.
  5. The sermon then begins applying "tests" to determine if someone has been spiritually reborn, beginning with examining one's relationship to Jesus, the Son of God. If you are a child of God, you belong to the same family as Jesus.
  6. The sermon then examines one's relationship to God the Father. If you are a child of God, you have a close relationship with God the Father.
  7. The sermon then begins examining one's relationship to the Holy Spirit. If you are a child of God, you have a relationship with all three Persons of the Trinity - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  8. The sermon states that the Holy Spirit gives Christians an awareness of His presence within them, which can even be felt during times of "desertion." The Holy Spirit also gives Christians spiritual discernment and the ability to detect false teaching.
  9. The sermon then focuses on how the Holy Spirit leads Christians, both in a general sense and in specific ways. Specifically, the Holy Spirit leads Christians to read and value Scripture, to pray, and to live moral and upright lives.
  10. The sermon warns against only emphasizing either the Spirit or the Word (the Bible). Both are needed. An overemphasis on the Spirit alone leads to doctrinal error and moral failure.
  11. The sermon uses the modern example of the Quakers to illustrate this point. Early Quakers overemphasized the "inner light" of the Spirit while downplaying the authority of Scripture. This led them into doctrinal error and moral failure.
  12. The sermon explains that while Quakers are moral people, they are not actually Christians because they deny core Christian doctrines like the deity of Christ, the atonement, and the new birth. They believe the "inner light" is in all people, so no atonement is needed.
  13. The sermon shows how over time, the Quakers' overemphasis on the Spirit and underemphasis on Scripture led to a denial of biblical morality. They now condone things like premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality, even though Scripture clearly condemns these things.
  14. The sermon argues that it is unsurprising that the Quakers have ended up in this position, given their flawed theological foundation. Their position is the inevitable result of dividing the Spirit from the Word.
  15. The sermon concludes by warning against making a dichotomy between the Spirit and the Word. Both are needed. Scripture was inspired by the Spirit, so we must test all spiritual leadings and experiences by Scripture. We must have the balance of Spirit and Word.

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.