Face to Face with Christ
An Encounter with God
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" With this question, the notorious persecutor Saul had a face to face encounter with Jesus. Listen as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones recounts this divine confrontation that transformed an enemy of the cross into a child of God. When culture screams for autonomy from God, the grace of God rips away the mask of cultural Christianity. Now, as one who is forgiven and at peace with our Savior, the Christian learns to be silent, to listen and to submit to Christ’s will. No one is saved as a family or a nation, but only an individual can be spared from the wrath of God by the conviction of sin and the forgiveness of the Savior.
Saul on the Road to Damascus
The circumstances of life can turn dire in a matter of moments. The facade of life gets ripped away and in an instant, the saving grace of God stands in clear contrast to the path that leads to destruction. Paul was on that path. As he traveled the road to Damascus, God broke through with a blinding light and dropped the persecutor Saul to his knees. In this sermon about Saul on the road to Damascus from Acts 9:1–5 titled “A Fact of History,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains the inward change that happens when one gains a clear view of the Savior’s face and hears the words of Jesus. The hatred, depravity, and desperation that once filled the heart is replaced by peace, contentment, and faith. Outside circumstances cannot change the heart. That is where the gospel does its work. New life begins when the light of Christ tears away the autonomy of life and reveals the desperate dependency on the Savior. It is then that all can know true victory over sin, death, and the devil.
Saul of Tarsus; Christian
The world today is filled with false conversion: people who know about Jesus, but do not actually know Jesus. In this sermon on Acts 9:6 titled “Saul of Tarsus, Christian,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones brings the listener face to face with the saving power of the gospel. It is the gospel that produces contrition, the sense of fear and trembling that comes when sin is exposed, and the need for forgiveness is made clear. More than a temporary emotional experience, true conversion involves the will, heart, and the mind. True repentance abandons the former life and looks back with gratitude and thankfulness for the patience of Christ in saving sinners. The love of Jesus surrounds His child and brings a peace that surpasses all human understanding. The saved child of God now looks at hell and realizes they have been saved from it, by their gracious and loving Lord.
When First You Believe
The world wants salvation in addition to the current way of life. It wants to remain in sin while enjoying the hope of heaven. In this sermon on Acts 9:6 titled “When First You Believe,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones dispels this myth by confronting the cold heart that hears of Christ’s work on the cross yet remains emotionally unmoved and entrenched in sin. Salvation involves a grief over sin that demands immediate, eternal separation from God in hell. True conversion requires the conviction of the heart and mind over the grief of sin and the guilt that one cannot escape, and results in a triumphant faith that fears sin because of the price paid by the Savior. The saving truth of the gospel changes everything and leaves joyful praise from a new heart overflowing with the love of God. The proof of salvation flows in obedience to His Word and affection from the King.
Face to Face with Christ
“Lord, what will you have me to do?” This reveals the very heart of Paul. In this sermon on Acts 9:6 titled “Face to Face with Christ,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones presses that the beliefs of a Christian’s heart will be proven by what they practice. Before his salvation, Paul, previously known as Saul, went about persecuting Christians. But at salvation, just as every true believer must, he surrendered his will to God instead of arguing against the gospel or searching for loopholes to avoid obedience. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains the powerful peace one receives when they are finally ready to listen and to learn. Just as a child is curious to understand the world around them, so are new believers hungry to understand their Savior. At salvation, Paul saw the utter failure of his efforts. His self-reliance vanished and he turned to God, humbly asking “Lord what wilt thou have me to do?” He surrendered his will to the one glorious Father who died for him and for all. The proof of salvation is in a willing and eager heart to do the will of the Father.
The State of Man
What words and images are adequate to convey the experience of conversion? For the Apostle Paul, nothing other than the biblical imagery of creation satisfied the profound change that took place when he encountered the Lord Jesus Christ on the Damascus road. Listen to this sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:6 as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shares the echoes of the creation story from Genesis. By attributing creation imagery to the experience of conversion, Dr. Lloyd-Jones shows how Paul reveals the profound change that occurs when a person becomes a Christian. Moving from darkness to light and chaos to new creation is no superficial change. He challenges his listeners to consider their own conversion and how Paul’s experience can help listeners understand themselves. Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges the professing Christian to look for a clear move from spiritual blindness and ignorance to knowledge of the true and living God; a life marked by order and discipline rather than disorder and chaos. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds the doctrine of conversion and the beautiful truth that God moves sinners from the domain of darkness to encounter the light in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ.
They Glorified God
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones opens his sermon by reading from Galatians 1:21-24. Within, Paul addresses the early church, giving a brief overstory of his life, explaining how he used to persecute the church. But after his conversion, when Christians saw him preaching the faith he sought to destroy, they glorified God. This personal history Paul gives, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains, is important for many reasons. Firstly, it gives an account of a great historical mover. Even secular thought cannot deny the influence of Paul. But secondly, Paul’s account reveals the power of Christ in a person’s life. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points back to perilous moments in Paul’s life, the times he was incarcerated or beaten. But he did not turn from the faith. He praised God, from whom he drew his strength. This is how the Gospel can change a person’s life, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says. Christianity is more than a religion of morals. True Christianity changes a person. He or she becomes a new creation. The early church saw this within Paul, and they praised God for it. Dr. Lloyd-Jones closes his sermon by offering this life changing Gospel. For it is through the Good News that men and women understand Christ’s love and lasting peace.
Gain to Me ...
Becoming a Christian always involves change. There can be no new life without a putting to death of the old life. There can be no new way of living without a stopping of the old way of living. In this sermon on Philippians 3:7 titled “Gain to Me…,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses the conversion of Paul and particular hindrances that were present for Paul, and can still hinder people from coming to the Lord. He shows that Paul could have boasted in his birth as a Jew, his ability and knowledge as a Pharisee, and his zeal and sincerity as a persecutor of the church. However, none of these things are sufficient to save anyone. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that many think that to be Christian is to be sincere, knowledgeable, and zealous about God and good things. However, none of these address their relationship with God or their sin. In fact, Paul counts all of these things as trash in comparison with knowing Christ. Furthermore, no one can seek out God by the strength of their own mind. If anyone is to know God it will be through God’s self-revelation through His word. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also discusses true fruit of a converted Christian and implores his listeners to examine themselves.
The Loss of All Things
How can Christians say that all loss is gain in Christ? This seems like an odd statement. Why is it good to lose things? In this sermon from Philippians 3:7–8 titled “The Loss of All Things,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones teaches about the new life that comes by believing in Jesus Christ. He says that Christians must count all worldly greatness as nothing because now they have Christ who is infinitely better than everything else. All those who are now in Christ undergo a radical change that reorients their whole life. Believers have new desires and motives; they now love God and His ways. Christianity is not a mere addition to a person’s natural life, but it totally transforms them. It is a new way of living that calls Christians to new standards and values. It is a life of peace because all believers can truly know that they have been saved and are at peace with God in Jesus Christ. This is the most important message that any can hear because it tells that they can be saved and made new. It tells that Jesus offers new life to all who believe in Him. There is peace in the blood of Jesus.
The Resistance of Unbelief
In this sermon on 1 Timothy 1:12–16 titled “The Resistance of Unbelief,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shares about the danger of unbelief. The resistant unbelieving person is one who has made the decision not to believe, not merely one who has not heard the good news of Jesus Christ. Unbelief is not purely intellectual, Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches. A popular assumption among non-Christians is that secularism is an intellectual pursuit and that Christianity is the opposite. This is not helped by Christians who are amazed that other Christians could be intellectuals. When looking to the Scriptures, one sees that many Christians throughout history have proved the intellectualism of Christianity. One must merely look at the letters of Paul to see the greatness and grandeur of Christian doctrine. This doctrine is meant to feed the mind and soul of the believer who humbles themselves and puts their faith in Jesus Christ. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also exhorts his listeners that the reason so many people have not committed to Jesus Christ is because they refuse to admit that they are wrong. It is difficult to humble oneself before God and admit that one is wrong, but this is what repentance and belief requires.
The Ignorance of Man
In this sermon on the ignorance of man, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reads the powerful words of Paul in 1 Timothy 1:13 where Paul confesses that he used to be the vilest of men. He was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an incredibly violent man. Dr. Lloyd-Jones draws attention to something else the apostle mentions: his ignorance. Paul did all that evil because he acted in ignorance, and yet Paul was a learned man, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says. He was among the best educated, but with all his knowledge, Paul was bankrupt without Christ. Paul had placed his own life in the power of his intellect and the Jewish laws. However, when confronted on the road to Damascus, the apostle saw his wrong. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that Paul represents many people today. They place their trust in mortal knowledge, and they call Christians ignorant for believing in something so old. But Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds us that no human knowledge since Christ has solved spiritual problems. What happens after death? How should a person live? These are questions worldly understanding cannot answer. In closing, he invites those who have yet to believe to come into the knowledge of God, and to trust in His everlasting love and grace.
Mercy; Immense and Free
In this sermon on 1 Timothy 1:13 titled “Mercy: Immense and Free,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones focuses on Paul reminding Timothy of the mercy Christ showed him, even while Paul was persecuting the early church. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points to what Paul says earlier in the passage: people will try to distort the gospel. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds Christians to be weary of false teachers who often attempt to add to what Christ has already done. Christ’s death is enough for the payment of sin. No additional laws, rituals, or beliefs are necessary. This is the gospel: that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. But what of the law? Dr. Lloyd-Jones answers as Paul answered: the law could never save anyone. The law only reveals the sin in a person’s life and shows that he or she is in need of a savior. Paul also gives three facts about God’s salvation that tells about Him: that God is merciful, full of grace, and abundant in long-suffering. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that God’s grace and mercy is available to everyone. God sees no difference among sinners. He is patient, withholding His judgment, allowing time for people to come to Him and accept His loving and free salvation.