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Sermon #3161

The Witness of the Spirit

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 Satan tempts the Christian to despair or tells them that they are not a child of God, they can turn to the word of God and find an abundance of assurance based upon the promises of the Scriptures. In this sermon on Roman 8:16 titled “The Witness of the Spirit,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones does not discount the amount of assurance found by going to the Bible. He argues, however, that there is an even greater level of assurance that the believer can have. In Romans 8:16, the apostle Paul mentions the witness of the Spirit. This witness of the Spirit, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is the same as the baptism of the Spirit, or the sealing of the Spirit, found elsewhere in Scripture. While every Christian has the Spirit of adoption and is a child of God, not all have the witness of the Spirit. This is a second blessing that comes upon a believer for the purpose of assurance. Moreover, it illumines the believer’s understanding with respect to salvation. In essence, it is a special way the love of God is poured out on a particular believer in the quietness of the heart. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones gives an extended teaching on the witness of the Spirit and breaks down the Scriptures in order to gain insight and understanding to this special work of the Holy Spirit.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The verse being discussed is Romans 8:16 - "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
  2. This verse should not be interpreted as merely an exposition of verse 15. It is saying something much more special and wonderful.
  3. To properly interpret this verse, we must follow two principles:
  4. Interpret scripture with scripture by looking for parallel statements
  5. Consider how church history and the experiences of believers can shed light on the meaning
  6. Parallel statements that help us understand this verse include:
  7. John 7:37-39 - Promise of the Spirit being given and believers having "rivers of living water" flow from them
  8. Romans 5:5 - "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
  9. Acts 2 - The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and the change in the disciples
  10. Revelation 2:17 - Promise of the "hidden manna" and "white stone" with a "new name" given to believers
  11. Revelation 2:28 - Promise of the "morning star" given to believers
  12. Revelation 3:12 - Promise of believers being given the "name of my God" and "my new name"
  13. The experiences of revival and certain believers throughout church history also shed light on this verse. During times of revival, many believers received an assurance of salvation they never had before.
  14. The meaning of this verse is that the Spirit himself bears witness to our spirits in a direct and immediate way that we are children of God. This is the highest form of assurance and is part of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  15. This witness of the Spirit is different from and goes beyond the "spirit of adoption" in verse 15. It is God telling us of his love for us through the Spirit.
  16. Characteristics of this witness of the Spirit:
  17. It gives an absolute certainty of our sonship
  18. It is not merely a heightening of our understanding of the truth or a prompting toward sanctification
  19. It is a secret and personal revelation from God
  20. It is the highest form of assurance and certainty of salvation possible
  21. It is not a deduction or the result of our reasoning but is given directly by the Spirit
  22. Results of this witness of the Spirit:
  23. Greater understanding of the truth
  24. Greater love for God
  25. Desire to please God and obey his commands
  26. Power and boldness to witness for Christ
  27. Possible accompanying gifts of the Spirit (though not always)
  28. How this witness is given:
  29. We cannot predict when or how it will be given as it is under the sovereign control of the Spirit
  30. It does not come through an audible voice but through an inner witness
  31. It often comes through Scripture - either in reading or a verse coming to mind
  32. It can come through preaching as a word is applied directly by the Spirit
  33. It does not always come through the Word but can be an inner consciousness imparted by the Spirit apart from the Word
  34. Examples of it coming apart from the Word can be seen in the early church before the NT was completed and in the experiences of certain believers

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.