Understanding the Spiritual
A Sermon on John 3:9-13
9Nicodemus responded and said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you people do not accept our testimony. 12If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven, except He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.
9Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
In this sermon on John 3:9–13 titled “Understanding the Spiritual,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones focuses on Christ’s late-night conversation with Nicodemus, a Pharisee and religious teacher. Dr. Lloyd-Jones poses a question: What are the reasons to study the character of Christ? The answer, he says, is simple. First, a Christian needs to see how the Lord dealt with another soul. Secondly, a believer needs to read of Christ speaking of eternal destination. What does the Lord reveal about humanity’s eternal destination? A person cannot receive eternal life by themselves. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that only God can accomplish this. This is why Nicodemus could not understand what Christ said to him. He was of his own flesh. Nicodemus tried to meet the Lord as an equal, but no one can. There can be no philosophical debate with Christ, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says. For who has really seen the heavenly things Christ spoke about? No one except the Son. This is where other religions fail, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says. Other religions seek to understand God through human eyes. In Christianity, God reaches down to the sinner, offers His own Son for atonement, and gives whoever believes eternal life.
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.