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The Book of Romans

Series Summary

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s sermon series on the book of Romans were preached to the congregation at Westminster Chapel in the heart of central London on Friday evenings between October 1955 to March 1968. These sermons …



Sermon Series

Food and Drink

Volume 14 Romans 14:1-4

It is common for the Christian to have a disagreement with someone else about what they think the Bible teaches to be wrong or right on an issue that is not particularly clear. This is the topic at hand for this sermon on Romans 14:1–4 titled “Food and Drink” and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones guides the listener through how to interact with this issue that is becoming more prominent in the church today. There are things in Scripture about which there is not a clear command. In this passage, it had to do with food sacrificed to idols. Because idols are not real, the food sacrificed to them means nothing. However, Paul encourages believers to watch out for their brothers and sisters in Christ and to avoid doing things that would make it easier to stumble because of the way they were raised. The immature Christian, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is characterized by making secondary issues primary ones. Yet, as he points out, one should not sit back and judge other Christians— it is the weak Christian who is most likely to do this. Why do they have this tendency? He says that it is due to the spirit of fear and he explains his reasoning behind this. He encourages avoiding falling into legalism and determining if or not people are Christians based off of their judgments— ultimately, that is up to the Lord and it allows living in a way that pleases the Lord and leaving the consequences up to Him.

God Has Received Him

Volume 14 Romans 14:1-4

What really is legalism? In this sermon on Romans 14:1–4 titled “God Has Received Him,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones tackles this important subject by asking what it is, how it can be fought, and the consequences that it carries within the church. Legalism is what happens when people take principles in Scripture, interpret them wrongly, and make them absolute rules that everyone is required to follow. Legalists tend to make indifferent things central. Mainly it means that issues not core to Christianity are elevated to make-or-break issues that are used as standards for measuring the depth of someone’s relationship with Christ. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds, what matters is that people have been received by God— it is not up to others to determine this. People frequently set up their own standards for determining if people are Christians, but from where do they derive their authority? Dr. Lloyd-Jones also addresses if Paul was contradicting his stance against legalism when he said that he acts certain ways around certain people. Ultimately, this was to keep them from stumbling and as Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds, Paul did not see these issues as central doctrines of Christianity. He closes with a charge— Christians are not to reject someone whom God has received, and ultimately, only God can make the call on whether or not this is the case. They are to trust Him with this and simply be obedient.

Jesus Christ; the Judge

Volume 14 Romans 14:10-12

As the lordship of Christ is universal, so also is the judgment of Christ. Evangelical Protestants rightly champion Scripture’s teaching on the assurance believers have as they face the final judgment seat of God. The Christian rejoices in the assurance that there is no condemnation from God the Father for those in Christ Jesus. However, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds in this sermon on Romans 14:10–12 titled “Jesus Christ, the Judge,” Christians often neglect the truth that believers will face another judgment. This is not a final judgment but a judgment of rewards. By bringing out the distinction between Christ’s final judgment and rewards judgment, Dr. Lloyd-Jones protects the church against antinomianism, loose living, and quarreling in the church. As the church at Rome had become factious by judging each other over indifferent matters, the apostle Paul appeals to Christ’s judgment. In doing so, he reminds them who is the true and final judge in all matters. Christians should temper these types of judgments as they are brothers and sisters in Christ. The family of God – those born again by the Holy Spirit and adopted as His children – are not ultimately concerned about proving each other wrong on matters of indifference. Certainly family members are not to denounce and be angry toward a sibling but instead they are called to love, express concern, and help.

A Sense of Balance (1)

Volume 14 Romans 14:17

Lopsided Christianity is an unappealing religion. Divisions and fracturing over minutia have severely harmed evangelism and the church’s witness to the world. The apostle Paul’s battle cry in Romans 14:17 is that the kingdom of God is not about minutia such as meat and drink. Following Paul’s teaching in this sermon on Romans 14:17 titled “A Sense of Balance (1),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones applies this point to the contemporary church. Today’s Christians are just as guilty of making the kingdom of God about minutia – subsidiary doctrines, church government, particular church leaders. It is vitally important, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, to preserve a sense of balance in all areas of the Christian life. While not advocating unity at all cost, Dr. Lloyd-Jones does challenge the contemporary church over unnecessary denominational divisions. He is not merely concerned in this message of affirming church unity, but seeks a diagnosis of church division instead. Beyond denominations, Dr. Lloyd-Jones scrutinizes the usefulness of “movements” within evangelical Christianity which isolate a particular part of the faith (i.e. evangelism) from the whole. This can equally lead Christians to lose their sense of balance. Finally, Dr. Lloyd-Jones remarks about the nature and character of theological education and the propensity of institutions to isolate the study of Scripture away from its intended context of worship. In all this, trouble arises when Christians forget what the kingdom of God is about.

The Kingdom of God

Volume 14 Romans 14:17

The church at Rome was guilty of making the kingdom of God small. Walking into their church, one would have thought the kingdom was about eating and drinking. The apostle Paul forcefully corrects this misunderstanding. But if the kingdom is not of meat and drink, what is it about? In this sermon on Romans 14:17 titled “The Kingdom of God,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones enters into a great debate among commentators on this passage. While some preeminent theologians say righteousness refers to the righteousness written about earlier in Romans 1–3, others suggest Paul has changed the meaning to an ethical righteousness. Dr. Lloyd-Jones seeks to adjudicate the alternative positions and ultimately comes to a mediating position. He follows the immediate context, noting Paul’s deliberate challenge to the Romans preoccupation with minutiae and attitudes towards conduct. Paul’s argument, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, has been that the kingdom of God is much bigger than moral conduct. Righteousness is clearly much more than ethics in Romans. It refers to our standing before God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that Paul is interested in holiness, not morality. Holiness affects the whole person as they are declared righteous by faith. The truly righteous person is no longer preoccupied with minutiae as the Romans were, but is far more concerned with a life pleasing to God. Follow Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones as he wrestles through this passage in Paul’s letter to the Romans.