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Sermon #3318

Worship. Ancient and Modern

A Sermon on Romans 12:6-8


Romans 12:6-8 ESV KJV
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who …

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Sermon Description

Liturgical forms of worship in free churches were on the rise during the ministry of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This tendency hasn’t slowed and continues to this day as evangelicals have a renewed interest in read prayers, prayer books, responsive readings, and vestments. In this sermon on Romans 12:6–8 titled “Worship, Ancient and Modern,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones asks pressing questions of this movement. When one reads the descriptions of early church life, do they see themselves? Do they find these liturgical elements in Scripture and in what sense is the New Testament teaching binding on worship forms? While the liturgical practice of a prayer book and prescribed prayers each week is often argued on the basis of the Lord’s Prayer, Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges this interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer. But Dr. Lloyd-Jones’s critique of the liturgical movement also takes the listener through church history in order to give a historical context for its development. While Dr. Lloyd-Jones acknowledges that both Martin Luther and John Calvin affirmed the authority of Scripture, it was Calvin who carried that belief beyond the realm of salvation and into church governance and worship. The goal in worship, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, should be to correspond as closely to the picture given in Scripture. Listen to this intriguing and informative message on the history and development of church worship practices.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon begins by introducing Romans 12:6-8 which describes spiritual gifts in the early church.
  2. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says we must examine whether our churches today match the New Testament model. If not, we must determine why and how we have deviated.
  3. The early church differed greatly from today in church government and worship. We must measure ourselves against the New Testament.
  4. Jesus did not prescribe set liturgical prayers. The Lord's Prayer was a model, not meant to be repeated verbatim. It was for private worship. Jesus spoke under the Old Testament law.
  5. The apostles did not instruct set prayers or liturgies. There is no evidence they believed in them.
  6. There is no evidence of set liturgies for the first 3 centuries of church history. Prayers were extemporaneous. Set liturgies began in the 4th century, first in Antioch, then spread. They were meant to combat heresy and aid illiterate priests.
  7. The Roman Catholic church standardized set liturgies and made them compulsory, in Latin. They also adopted pagan practices like vestments.
  8. At the Reformation, Luther retained set liturgies but reformed them. Calvin allowed more freedom but still used set liturgies. Cranmer reformed the Anglican liturgy but retained set prayers, meant as a temporary measure due to ignorant clergy and entrenched laity.
  9. The Puritans objected to set liturgies, wanting to reform worship according to Scripture. The Westminster Assembly produced a Directory for Worship giving guidelines but not set words.
  10. In 1662, ministers were ejected for refusing to use the set Anglican liturgy. The main issue was compulsion, not liturgy itself.
  11. We must consider this issue based on biblical principle, not prejudice or tradition. There are vital principles at stake.

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.