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Sermon #5513

Modern Pharisees

A Sermon on Romans 8:3-4


Romans 8:3-4 ESV KJV
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk …

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Sermon Description

In this sermon on Romans 8:3–4 titled “Modern Pharisees,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows how Jesus came in order to fulfill the law that no one could. Modern day Pharisees are those who reject Christ’s sacrifice and try to justify themselves by their own works. Regardless of how carefully one tries to uphold the law, they cannot obey the First Commandment to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. The beauty of the gospel is that Christ came to redeem the wicked, not the self-righteous. Anyone who is burdened with the guilt of sin and feels unworthy can find peace in Christ’s blessing of those who are poor in spirit and avoid the folly of the modern Pharisees.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon focuses on Romans 8:3-4 which sums up the central message of the Christian gospel.
  2. Verses 3-4 are packed with gospel truth and force us to focus on the core of the gospel.
  3. The apostle Paul had to spend much time arguing against those who rejected the gospel. Similarly, Jesus spent much time arguing against the Pharisees who were his bitter enemies.
  4. The Pharisees were extremely self-righteous, trusted in their own good works, and looked down on others. They are a symbol of legalistic self-righteousness.
  5. The modern Pharisees are those outside the church who believe in Christian ethics but reject Christian doctrines. They believe they can live good lives through their own effort and don't need Christ.
  6. The Pharisees completely underestimate the demands of the law and overestimate their own ability. They don't realize the law requires perfection and they are powerless to fulfill it.
  7. The law itself has no power to enable us to fulfill its demands. It shows us God's standard but cannot empower us to meet it. We are too weak in the flesh.
  8. The greatest saints confess they cannot fulfill the law's demands through their own efforts. They recognize their own sinfulness and need for grace.
  9. The Pharisees fail to see their desperate position before God and their need for forgiveness. They don't love God fully or their neighbor as themselves.
  10. The Pharisees reject the gospel which alone can empower them to live as God requires. They reject Christ's atoning work which is the supreme demonstration of God's love.
  11. There is no greater insult to God than rejecting his offer of mercy and grace in Christ. The Pharisees cut themselves off from the only means of salvation.
  12. We must see our need for the gospel, acknowledge our sin and weakness, and cry out for God's mercy. Only then can we begin to truly live out Christian ethics through the power of Christ in us.

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.