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Sermon #1015

Walk in the Spirit

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

Practice is needed to be good at sports, work, and family. Likewise, if to succeed against the flesh and pursue righteousness, one must put walking in the Spirit into practice. In John 1:12–13, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows that the Christian must not sit passively by and “let go and let God.” Instead, the Christian has a distinct responsibility to work out their faith and Dr. Lloyd-Jones entreats Christians to break free from the flesh. He warns that a Christian can be lulled into leading a barren life, bearing no fruit for the kingdom of God. Therefore, the Christian must train themselves to walk according to the Spirit. Children of God must not merely sit passively, but instead actively pursue a life marked by the Spirit. God has forgiven, justified, and adopted the Christian, and yet they are often tempted to make little use of this newfound state of being. Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches that the Spirit and the flesh are not merely opposed, but that they war against each other. Dr. Lloyd-Jones offers hope to the Christian who has not gained success in fighting the flesh: walk by the Spirit and they will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Christians are meant to know and believe that they are children of God.
  2. Christians should express their belief through their words and actions. If they truly know they are children of God, their lives should reflect joy and excitement.
  3. The church should not appear uncertain or burdened. Christians have received eternal life and sonship with God.
  4. Dr. Lloyd-Jones is trying to help the congregation truly realize and understand what it means to be children of God. Mere statements are not enough.
  5. Christians have been delivered from a "miry pit" and "horrible pit." They should express gratitude and share this with others.
  6. Dr. Lloyd-Jones is concerned that Christians enter into the blessings and riches God has provided, and also that the church impacts the world. The state of the world is grievous and evil.
  7. To determine if someone is led by the Spirit, examine if they are mortifying the deeds of the body. The Spirit leads in this.
  8. Those led by the Spirit are sons of God. Examining if you are led by the Spirit is a good way to examine yourself.
  9. The Spirit leads in mortifying the deeds of the body. The apostle Paul calls this "the mortification of the deeds of the body."
  10. Christians should realize they have died with Christ. They do not need to crucify the old self. The old self has already been crucified with Christ. Christians simply need to realize this truth.
  11. Christians should apply the truth that they have died to sin in practical, detailed ways. They should present their bodies as living sacrifices to God.
  12. An important principle in mortifying the deeds of the body is constantly practicing these things. It requires diligence and attention.
  13. Peter and Paul present similar arguments, though in different language. Peter's argument is simpler while Paul's is more complex, but the core message is the same.
  14. Peter calls Christians to supplement their faith with virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. If these qualities are present and increasing, Christians will be effective and productive in the knowledge of Christ.
  15. If these qualities are lacking, Christians are blind, forget they have been cleansed from their old sins, and do not see where they are going. They live right outside of corruption but do not enter into the fullness of what Christ has provided.
  16. Christians must make every effort to add these qualities to their faith. They must work out and apply their faith. Preaching stimulates this but does not do it for them. Christians must do it themselves.
  17. If Christians lack these qualities, they are unfruitful and ineffective. The only explanation is they are not making every effort to supplement their faith.
  18. If Christians possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will have an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom of Christ. They will die with assurance and confidence, not doubts, fears or uncertainty.
  19. Peter argues these things are reasonable. Christians have received faith and everything needed for life and godliness. They have escaped corruption and participate in the divine nature. Now they must supplement their faith with diligence.
  20. Paul starts with a general exhortation to walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. This is the key. Walking by the Spirit leads to not fulfilling fleshly desires.
  21. The flesh and the Spirit are opposed to each other. They war against each other. Whichever one is given in to will be prominent while the other recedes.
  22. An example is a weather vane with two figures who cannot be out at the same time. When one is out, the other must be in. The flesh and Spirit work in opposition this way.
  23. If Christians walk by the Spirit, they will not gratify the flesh. If they gratify the flesh, the Spirit will recede. This is simply experience.
  24. Waiting for an experience to remove the flesh is futile. The body will not be redeemed until the resurrection. While on earth, the struggle with the flesh remains. The way to overcome is walking by the Spirit.
  25. Those led by the Spirit are not under the law. To be under the law is to be in the flesh. To be in the Spirit means no longer being under the law. This is a profound truth.
  26. Under the law, the flesh dominates and the law actually stimulates sinful desires. Victory over the flesh is not possible under the law. Under grace and led by the Spirit, victory is possible because the power of the Spirit is given.
  27. If the previous argument about flesh and Spirit is too complex, consider the obvious works of the flesh versus the fruit of the Spirit. The works of the flesh are sinful while the fruit of the Spirit pleases God.
  28. Those who practice the works of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God. Heresy is included among these sinful works.
  29. In summary, if Christians live by the Spirit, they must also keep in step with the Spirit. They must walk in an orderly, disciplined fashion. They must pay attention to those around them and not break rank. They must march steadily toward Zion.

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.