The True and the False
A Sermon on Romans 8:16
16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
What does one do with excesses related to the Holy Spirit? Many Christians are wary of any emphasis on the experience of the Spirit. In this sermon on Romans 8:16 titled “The True and the False,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has been working out the doctrine of Spirit baptism and recognizes many will be fearful of such talk. He warns his listeners, however, that they must not fall prey to quenching the Spirit simply because there are potential excesses. Doubling down, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that those who minimize the experience of the Spirit’s work are perhaps guilty of quenching both revival and evangelism. What is his alternative? He acknowledges that any time there is an outpouring of the Spirit, counterfeits will follow. Satan will take advantage of this opportunity and convince Christians to focus on the experience rather than God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s solution is not to deny the Spirit’s work, but to discern the true from the false. Christians should watch for holiness to follow those who claim a special work of the Spirit. He encourages being wary if awe and glory of God do not follow the particular experience of the Spirit. Listen to this sermon on Romans 8:16 as Dr. Lloyd-Jones seeks a balanced approach to the witness of the Spirit in the experience of believers.
The witness of the Spirit is an experience taught throughout Protestant history by men of different schools of theology and temperaments. There is a strange unanimity regarding the character of this experience.
One further piece of evidence is the teaching of early Plymouth Brethren leaders like J.N. Darby, C.H. Mackintosh, and William Kelly who agree with other authorities that there is a distinction between becoming a Christian and receiving the Spirit.
We must be able to differentiate between this experience and counterfeit experiences. We are exhorted in Scripture to test the spirits.
We can examine the antecedents (what went before the experience) and accompaniments (what goes with the experience) to determine if an experience is true or false.
True antecedents include a sense of sin, failure, and need. There is a longing for assurance and power. There is diligent seeking and holy living.
False experiences claim to come independently of the Word of God. There is an emphasis on visions, ecstasies, and signs. There is excitement over the phenomena. The experience is overdone and exaggerated.
True experiences come with or through the Word of God. There is a sense of awe, unworthiness, and thankfulness. Jesus Christ is glorified. There is a sense of God's love and the glory that awaits us.
The consequences of a false experience are pride, glibness, hardness, and self-satisfaction. The consequences of a true experience are humility, carefulness in life, love of God, hatred of sin, and desire to serve. There is freedom in prayer, spiritual power, boldness, and an increasing desire to know Christ.
The supreme desire of one who has known the witness of the Spirit is to know Christ more intimately.
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.