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Sermon #3319

Worship; the Old and the New

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

Human traditions are often blinded to the clear teaching of Scripture. Traditionalism is a danger Christians must avoid because it is a prejudice they are all subject to. Perhaps no area of the Christian life is more prone to traditionalism than worship. Whether as an individual or entire denomination, one can easily read their prejudices back into Scripture. In this sermon on Romans 12:6–8 titled “Worship, the Old and the New,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones calls Bible-believing Christians to examine their traditions. He asks them to consider the general impression of the New Testament as they read about the early church engaging in worship. Seeking to counter the resurgence among evangelicals towards a liturgical form, Dr. Lloyd-Jones answers the liturgical arguments by drawing attention to passages such as Romans 12:6–8. While there is continuity between Old Testament worship – with its emphasis on prescribed forms – there is discontinuity as well. Of course, this difference is not one in kind but in degree. Moreover, as figures in church history have justified set prayers and liturgical services in order to prevent error from creeping into the church, this should only be a temporary expedience, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones. Nevertheless, Christ is able to gift all to pray, preach, and teach in a biblical manner avoiding doctrinal errors. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges from Scripture prevailing worship traditions and prejudices.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul describes the gifts given by the Holy Spirit to members of the early church.
  2. This passage provides a picture of how the early church functioned and lived.
  3. It is important for Christians today to examine how the early church lived according to Scripture.
  4. The church should always be reforming itself according to Scripture.
  5. There are movements today pushing for church unity and a return to liturgical worship. Christians must understand the nature of the church before discussing unity.
  6. No church today is adequately equipped in theology, worship, or evangelism for the future, according to some. All aspects of church life must be reexamined.
  7. Christians must avoid prejudice and tradition, examining Scripture with humility. Dr. Lloyd-Jones is not attacking any group but calling all to self-examination.
  8. Jesus said John the Baptist was greater than all born of women but that the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John. This shows the difference between the old and new covenants.
  9. The old covenant was external, formal, and ceremonial. The new covenant is internal, spiritual, and living. The new covenant brings a new kind of worship.
  10. The argument that set liturgies and prayers are needed because of the people's inability is only temporary. God can raise up and gift people today like in the early church.
  11. To rely permanently on set forms of worship reflects poorly on God's ability to gift people. The church today should ask why no one can pray publicly instead of providing prayer books.
  12. The New Testament shows a free, spontaneous kind of worship. The disorders in Corinth show their worship was not rigidly liturgical.
  13. The prophecy of Joel, fulfilled at Pentecost, shows the new covenant would bring prophecy, visions, and dreams to all kinds of people. This new outpouring of the Spirit brings a new kind of worship.
  14. The impression from reading the New Testament is of a free, spontaneous worship, not rigid liturgy. The specific commands of Jesus and the apostles do not establish set liturgies.
  15. Jesus' teaching to the Samaritan woman and Stephen's preaching show that new covenant worship is not confined to a particular place or form like the old covenant. New covenant worship is in Spirit and truth.

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.