MLJ Trust Logo Image
Sermon #3163

Nature of the Spirit's Witness

A Sermon on Romans 8:16


Romans 8:16 ESV KJV
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (ESV)

Sermon Description

When is a Christian sealed by the Holy Spirit? Through the teachings of Jesus Christ and the New Testament writers, the Christian knows that salvation comes by trusting in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. But when is a believer confirmed by the Holy Spirit and what is this experience like? In this sermon on Romans 8:16 titled “Nature of the Spirit’s Witness,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones dives into these questions, quoting examples from the Bible and Christian theologians. He says that not all believers undergo the feeling of being sealed by the Spirit. Some believers do not feel that singular moment where they experience a period of spiritual elation or a time of intense connection to God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says these moments are not necessary for a person to be a Christian. After all, the disciples were believers before the Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. In his sermon, Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches that the sealing of the Spirit is a tool used by God to prepare Christians when perhaps a time of temptation or persecution is coming. He concludes by saying that God may send these believers the gifts and empowerment necessary to weather the time ahead.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The witness of the Spirit is experimental and leads to joy and love for God. It is not non-experimental as some claim.
  2. The witness of the Spirit may or may not be accompanied by gifts and phenomena. It is not defined by them.
  3. The intensity of the witness of the Spirit varies but it is always unmistakable and unique. We should not standardize or limit it.
  4. The witness of the Spirit is not permanent or once and for all. It can be lost through sin or neglect and needs to be maintained. But it can also be repeated.
  5. The witness of the Spirit is available to all believers but not given to all. Some conditions that may lead to receiving it include:
  6. Taking action for God’s glory (self-denial, overcoming temptation, etc.)
  7. Seeking and longing for it
  8. Before or after trials or difficulties
  9. Before death
  10. The witness of the Spirit is a direct act of God in addition to His general work of regeneration, conversion and sanctification. It is the highest form of assurance.
  11. The witness of the Spirit confirms what we already know in ourselves – that we are children of God. It does not make us children of God. We must already be believers.
  12. The witness of the Spirit should not be confused with the general work of the Spirit in a believer or with gifts like tongues, healing, etc. It is distinct.
  13. The witness of the Spirit gives great joy, power, and boldness to witness for Christ.

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.