The Witness of History
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:
Continuing his sermon series on the Holy Spirit, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers an important theological question: does the sealing of the Spirit actually exist? The short answer, he says, is yes. In his sermon on Romans 8:16 titled “The Witness of History,” he combs through historical accounts of Christian thinkers, pastors, and theologians who have experienced God’s sealing of the Spirit to give evidence for this Christian phenomenon. Many of the names are recognizable as Dr. Lloyd-Jones quotes these famed Christians through the centuries. He reads the works of George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, D. L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, and many more. He remarks on how astonishingly similar are these accounts of God’s sealing of the Spirit. These theologians write about being overwhelmed by emotions, a profound sense of peacefulness, and a life-changing understanding. Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones explains that the sealing of the Spirit is an emotional understanding of a Christian’s salvation that might occur within a believer’s life. It is not necessary to a person’s salvation but it is a great gift of God’s choosing to give.
- The sermon begins by revisiting the verse being expounded, Romans 8:16. The preacher notes that they have been considering the nature and character of the witness the Holy Spirit bears with our spirits.
- The preacher says it is important to understand what the verse teaches and the character of the witness the Holy Spirit gives. The preacher notes they have considered who this witness is given to.
- The preacher says they want to provide testimonies from prominent Christians from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries on this teaching. The preacher says some think this teaching is new and strange but it has been taught for centuries.
- The preacher quotes from the life of Robert Bruce, a 16th century Scottish theologian. Bruce described receiving a powerful witness of the Spirit that brought him to tears.
- The preacher quotes from John Preston, an English Puritan theologian from the 17th century. Preston said the witness of the Spirit is an inexpressible assurance from God that we are His children. It brings joy unspeakable.
- The preacher quotes from Thomas Horton, another 17th century Puritan who preached 46 sermons on Romans 8. Horton said the witness of the Spirit is secret, inexpressible, certain and infallible.
- The preacher quotes from William Guthrie, a 17th century Scottish theologian. Guthrie said the witness of the Spirit is a glorious divine manifestation of God's love that fills the soul. It is better felt than spoken of.
- The preacher quotes from Richard Sibbes, a 17th century English Puritan known as the "Heavenly Doctor Sibbes." Sibbes said the witness of the Spirit subdues all doubts and brings peace that passes understanding.
- The preacher quotes from Edward Elton, another 17th century English Puritan. Elton said the witness of the Spirit is an inward, secret and unspeakable inspiration from God assuring us we are His children.
- The preacher quotes from Thomas Goodwin, a prominent 17th century English Puritan theologian. Goodwin said the witness of the Spirit is a light beyond ordinary faith that shows us God's electing love.
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.