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Sermon #3233

True and False Zeal

A Sermon on Romans 10:1-2


Romans 10:1-2 ESV KJV
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (ESV)

Sermon Description

Is the Christian zealous for God? If so, is it a true or false sense of zeal? Paul points out that the church does have a zeal for God, but that it is not based on knowledge. In a sermon on Romans 10:1–2 titled “Trust and Zeal,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones outlines the differences between true and false zeal in the Christian life. First, he outlines several tests that can apply to a person’s zeal to determine if it is a false sense of zeal. A few of these arguments include a zeal that has been imposed rather than genuine; a focus on actions rather than just being oneself; a likeness to frivolity and the flesh; and a focus on self and one’s own power rather than the Lord’s. On the other hand, a few arguments for true zeal include a zeal that is put on by the Lord; a result of true knowledge; zeal that is not showy but deep; and a result of genuine behavior. At the end, Dr. Lloyd-Jones charges believers to ensure they have true zeal for the sake of those who are lost. He challenges those who have heard the gospel and know the truth to be zealous and concerned for those who have not heard.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Zeal and sincerity are neutral qualities that must be examined. They can be wrongly directed.
  2. It is wrong to say if someone is sincere or zealous they must be right. Zeal is a form of energy or power that must be properly directed.
  3. Examples of wrongly directed zeal: the blacksmith hitting the pillars, cult members, communists, Japanese pilots in WW2.
  4. You can have a zeal for God but be wrong according to Paul (Romans 10:2). The Jews and Paul himself before conversion are examples.
  5. Zeal must be tested and examined. You cannot assume someone is right just because they are zealous.
  6. Characteristics of false zeal:
  7. Imposed by others or pattern of conformity. Cult-like.
  8. Has to be whipped up and organized by others. Not internal.
  9. Puts emphasis on doing over being. Activity over truth.
  10. Prominent machinery and organization. Methods over message.
  11. Carnal - lightness, frivolity, excitement, self-confidence, pride.
  12. Impatient of examination or teaching. Just wants to do.
  13. Phoneticism - concerned with success over truth.
  14. Lack of balance. Only one aspect of truth. Not whole counsel of God.
  15. Restless - living on own zeal and activity, not God. Depressed when can't do.
  16. Characteristics of true zeal:
  17. Not put on. Result of growth in grace and knowledge.
  18. According to knowledge. Mind, then heart, then will. Not will first.
  19. Deep, not superficial. Controlled fire, not wildfire.
  20. Not self-confident. Reverent, humble.
  21. For God's glory and love of Christ. Concern for lost.
  22. Wants people to know truth, not just decide.
  23. Not elated by own success. Rejoices in heaven, not results.
  24. Like Paul, wants to know Christ, be like Him, go to heaven.

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.