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Sermon #3180

A Further Work of the Spirit

A Sermon on Romans 8:26-27


Romans 8:26-27 ESV KJV
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes …

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Sermon Description

Often when Christians are confronted with problems in the lives of their fellow believers, they glibly offer the common counsel to “pray about it.” But this often misses the point, says Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his sermon on Romans 8:18–25 titled “A Further Work of the Spirit.” It is not that Christians do not know they can pray in times of suffering. Many happily affirm they have full access to God through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The problem, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is that they do not know what to pray for. Suffering often blinds the Christian to the right perspective and subsequent groaning can have a detrimental effect upon the Christian prayer life. The Christian does not know what their prayer should be as a result of suffering, nor do they understand what would actually be a blessed outcome from the trial. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones relates Paul’s teaching on the intercession of the Spirit to the larger context of future hope, assurance, and the doctrine of glorification, listen and be challenged as he discusses the exact nature and characteristic of weaknesses that can hinder prayers.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is addressing the topic of prayer in Romans 8:26-27.
  2. He begins by stating that the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. Our weaknesses refer to the limitations we have as a result of the Fall. These include ignorance, inability to understand, and other disabilities.
  3. Paul then specifies that one particular weakness is that we do not know what to pray for as we ought. This does not mean we do not know how to pray, but rather we do not know what specific things we should pray for in certain circumstances.
  4. This is difficult because we may pray for the wrong things out of ignorance. Examples include Moses praying to enter the Promised Land and Paul praying for his thorn in the flesh to be removed.
  5. It is better to recognize our weakness, talk to ourselves, and acknowledge our perplexity to God rather than rushing into prayer. Even Jesus expressed perplexity in John 12 and the garden of Gethsemane.
  6. Though Jesus was the Son of God, He learned obedience through suffering. Because of this, He is able to help us in our times of perplexity.
  7. We can go to God with confidence in Jesus’ blood, but we do not always know what blessings to ask for. This is the problem Paul is addressing.

The Book of Romans

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.