Great Biblical Doctrines
Great Biblical Doctrines
Desiring that his congregation would be more grounded in core biblical doctrines, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones embarked upon this series of 81 sermons on the great doctrines of the Bible in January 1953, culminating in May …
The Eternal Decrees of God
What are the eternal decrees of God? In this sermon, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines this question by looking at what all of Scripture says concerning God and His works. The Bible teaches that before the world began, God ordained all that would come to pass. The great plan is brought to fulfillment in creation and providence. This decree of God is God’s plan for the world; it encompasses creation, fall, and redemption. Even evil things are under God’s control. But, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones makes clear, evil is never caused by God, but only permitted. It is at this point that one must appeal to as the great mystery of God. Finite creatures can never understand, or absolutely comprehend, all that God is and does. Faith requires resting in the mysteries of God. The great mystery of God’s sovereign and absolute decrees must be held to in faith. People cannot trust in themselves, but in God alone. Christians can do this because God is a good and gracious Father who ordains all things for their good and His glory. This doctrine of God’s decree ought to give great hope because Christians know that He is both a loving God and in control of all things.
The doctrine of good angels is one of the great doctrines of the Christian faith.. Angels were created by God before the creation of man, they appear throughout the Bible, and the good angels serve God in many capacities. Listen to this sermon from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones as he explores Scripture regarding angels and the God who created them. NOTE: There is no recording of the subsequent lecture titled “The Devil and the Fallen Angels.”
Suffering and pain surround humanity. In this sermon on the fall, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains what God’s word says about the fall and sin. Contrary to many erroneous contemporary views, sin and evil are not eternal principles, nor is sin simply the lack of good. Rather, sin and evil are the result of humanity’s willing rebellion against God. This rebellion brought sin into a perfect world. The Bible gives this story in the first chapters of Genesis in which the serpent deceived Adam and Eve and lured them into temptation. This is not simply a myth used to illustrate the human fall into sin, but it is God’s revelation of a true historical event. In their original state, people had no natural desire to sin, but sin entered from outside through the temptation of Satan. This fall did not change the essence of people, but it changed their relationship with God. Now that humanity has fallen and is estranged from the fellowship of God, all have lost their original righteousness, and their nature has been utterly corrupted. This is why humanity and the world are in such a dire need for the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Adam's Posterity and Original Sin
Why is there so much sin in the world? In this sermon titled “Adam’s Posterity and Original Sin,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines the biblical teaching that Adam’s sin affects all. When Adam rebelled against God, he brought the whole human race into sin. Now everyone is born into a state of sin and alienation from God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones examines some different theories of exactly how it is that Adam’s first sin brought all of humankind into sin, but the important thing to remember is that the Bible teaches that all are affected by sin. Paul is clear that all are guilty before God, not only because they have broken the law of God, but also because of Adam’s actions. This doctrine explains why the world is full of sin and evil. But this doctrine is also important to understand in order to have a right view of what Jesus has done. Scripture says that Jesus is the new and better Adam who has come to reverse the evil actions of the first man.
How has the fall of Adam affected all of humankind? In this sermon on original pollution, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones seeks to answer this question as he expounds on humanity’s state after the fall. He speaks of how the sin of Adam has not only rendered all guilty, but it has corrupted their very soul. This pollution does not change the substance of the human soul, but it bends and inclines it to evil continually. This does not mean that people do not conform to any notion of good, but it means that they do no spiritual good. While people have knowledge of God, it is not a saving knowledge and is suppressed in unrighteousness. This sinful nature alienates all from the righteousness of God. The principle of sinful humanity, the flesh, is not something that merely marks the body, but it corrupts both the soul and body. All are born in this darkness and iniquity. Though they are polluted and totally opposed to spiritual good, God promised that He would provide a savior that will redeem His people from sin. Though all are guilty and polluted, God in Christ is reconciling the world to Him in order to bring about a new people and new creation.
Redemption: The Eternal Plan of God
Before the creation of the world, before the beginning of time, God had a plan to redeem the world. In this sermon on God’s plan of redemption, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones boldly proclaims the truth of God’s eternal design for the work of Christ. Before the foundations of the earth, God the Father, in His sovereign plan, chose to predestine a people through the atoning work of his Son, Christ Jesus. Though all are fallen and in sin, God through Christ, works to bring about not only a new people, but a new creation. Where Adam fails to keep the covenant of works with God, Christ the new Adam accomplished redemption for humanity through the incarnation and through His atoning work on the cross. This salvation is planned by the Father, acquired in Christ, and applied by the Spirit. Therefore, salvation is the work of God alone. This is the message of the Old and New Testaments, and it is revealed to God’s people through God’s word. This salvation is not the work of humanity, nor is it an afterthought in the mind of God, but redemption is the plan of history from before the world began. The eternal covenant between the Father and Son is the plan, and by the work of Christ it is brought about for His people.
The Covenant of Grace in the Old Testament
What is a covenant? Generally it can be defined as an agreement or a pact that two parties enter into on the basis of prearranged conditions. What must it mean that God has entered into a covenant with humanity? In this sermon titled “The Covenant of Grace in the Old Testament,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives a brief survey of God’s covenants with humanity throughout history, highlighting God’s covenant of grace as revealed in the Old Testament. God has promised to be a God to people, and this is significant because all have sinned against God, yet He has made a way for them to declare that He is “my God.” God can be known through Jesus Christ, their mediator who is seen in the New Testament. Thus, the covenant of grace has been administered in two parts, the old and the new. Here, Dr. Lloyd-Jones focuses on the covenant of grace administered in the Old Testament. God’s covenant of works with Adam, God’s covenant of common grace with Noah, God’s covenant of justification by faith with Abraham, and God’s covenant of law with His people at Sinai are different yet intertwined. Ultimately, they all culminate in the person and work of Jesus Christ. If one looks for the gospel in the Old Testament, they will most certainly find it in what is known to be the covenant of grace.
The Lord Jesus Christ
What is at the center of the Christian faith? In this sermon on the Lord Jesus Christ, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers this question, preaching that unlike all other religions, Christianity is centered around the one man, Jesus Christ. Jesus is not simply a generic moral teacher or wise man, but He is God incarnate who died for sinners. This is why it is so vital to understand who Jesus is and what He has done. It is not a matter of doctrinal speculation, but the doctrine of Christ at the center of the Christian life and gospel. It must be understood rightly that Jesus is both truly God and truly man without mixture. What does this mean? First, the doctrine of Christ tells that God Himself has come to die and save humanity. God has become man in order to redeem fallen and evil sinners. Furthermore, it tells that Jesus is a perfect high priest because as both God and man, He can intercede on humanity’s behalf. Finally, this sermon calls all to ask the question, “do I believe? Am I trusting in Jesus?” This is the most important question anyone can ask.
What does it mean that the Son of God became a man? This great doctrine is what has traditionally been called the incarnation. It is God taking on a true human nature in order to save His people. In this sermon on the incarnation, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches on the great importance of this doctrine, not only for theology, but also for the Christian life. He warns of two main errors in thinking about the incarnation. The first is the misconception that Jesus merely appeared to be a man. But this is false, because Jesus was both man and God as the savior. The other error is to believe that the second person of the Trinity was changed in the incarnation, that the very nature of God changed. This is false because there was no mixing of the natures, so that the divine nature remains fully divine and distinct from His human nature. God in the incarnation was not only both God and man, but this fact is declared in the virgin birth. There was a miraculous conception in accordance with the miraculous person born. This doctrine of the incarnation as found in the Bible is the teaching that God has come down to humanity as a man to save all those that believe in Him.
The Deity and Humanity of Christ
Who is Jesus Christ? In this sermon on the deity and humanity of Christ, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines this question, looking at what all of Scripture has to say about the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is given many names: Son of God, Messiah, Lord, and others. This points to the great fact that Jesus is truly divine. He is said to be the creator of the world, omnipotent, and omniscient. He is no mere creature, but He is God in the flesh who came to save His people. But He was also truly a man. He was like humans who are tempted, but He never sinned. He was hungry, cold, and He slept. Yet, He was always still truly God and man as He did all these things. Why does this matter? It matters because who Jesus is cannot be separated from the question of what He has done. On the cross, Jesus died so that all who believe in Him might be saved and made children of God. It is only because He is God and man that He is able to save perfectly.
The Necessity of the Atonement
What does the Bible mean when it calls God both just and the justifier? Moreover, was the atonement really necessary? Were there any other ways? In this sermon on the atonement, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explores these questions in his ongoing series of the Doctrine of the Atonement. After he reviews his previous seven arguments for the Protestant view of the atonement, he gives his final and last reason: the Bible emphasizes the death on the cross as an absolute necessity. By exploring Jesus’s words in the Garden of Gethsemane and epistles of Paul, Dr. Lloyd-Jones gives a clear picture for the biblical and Protestant view of the atonement. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also navigates through some objections against both the general doctrine of the atonement and the specific doctrine of the penal substitutionary atonement. This sermon by Dr. Lloyd-Jones is helpful as he gives arguments for and against this glorious doctrine of the atonement and offers robust understanding of salvation and justification by Christ alone.
Christ the Victor
In addition to taking the punishment for sin on the cross, what else did Jesus’s death accomplish? In this sermon on Christ's victory on the cross, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that Jesus’s death was not only a passive act of receiving God’s wrath, but also an active sign of victory. Dr. Lloyd-Jones emphasizes that this victorious nature of the atonement is not a denial of penal substitution. Jesus first and foremost came to bear the punishment for sin. This doctrine doesn't remove it; it adds to it. Jesus went beyond passive sin-bearing, and actively defeated all enemies on the cross. Dr. Lloyd-Jones highlights three enemies Jesus destroyed. First, Jesus defeated Satan. He put him to shame on the cross. Second, Jesus defeated death. No longer does death reign over the children of God. And third, Jesus defeated sin. While Christians still sin, they are no longer under the power of sin. As a result, the whole universe is affected by Jesus’s death. Jesus dealt with and removed all enemies against His people.
The Blessings of the New Covenant
What are the results and consequences of the atonement? In this sermon on covenant blessings, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explores the new covenant made on Calvary by the blood of Jesus Christ. Dr. Lloyd-Jones returns back to the Old Testament laws and sacrifices that give the context for the New Testament’s teaching on this saving decree and the significance of Jesus Christ as the Savior and High Priest. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also deals with the issue of antinomianism and how the everlasting covenant under Jesus dispels wrong thinking. Clear thinking on the new covenant fills the believer with boldness, assurance, and confidence in their access to God. When God’s children are unified with Christ, His forgiveness of sins is applied to their account and they live in ongoing joy and peace before Him.
Christ the King
Christians tend to only think of the atonement of Christ’s death for sin. In this sermon on the Rule and Reign of Christ, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones teaches that there are many aspects of God’s creation which are affected by the death of Christ. One must not think forgiveness of sin is the only benefit from the atonement. Even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has been affected by His work on the cross. What is the listener to make of these things? Dr. Lloyd-Jones surveys the Scripture in order to show how common benefits or common grace comes to humanity as a consequence of the Lord Jesus Christ’s death. Listen as he preaches on the blessings unbelievers and angels receive as a result of the atoning work of Christ. Hear as Dr, Lloyd-Jones considers the special and new glory the Lord Jesus Christ receives in the incarnation. It is only as a result of His obedient death on the cross that He receives this peculiar glory. Finally, as one witnesses the crucifixion, they learn about Christ’s mediatorial kingship and what it means for the church as He rules and reigns over it.
Creation and Common Grace
When did the Holy Spirit begin His work? Was it only after Pentecost or was He active and present before that important day? In this sermon on the Holy Spirit’s role in creation and common grace, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explain his method of approach when coming to difficult doctrines or statements in Scripture, including the topic of the Holy Spirit. Unpacking the biblical evidence, one can say with confidence that the Holy Spirit was manifest before the day of Pentecost. He was manifest in the creation of the world; that is, He operated in creation by sustaining it. The Holy Spirit is also manifest through common grace. Common grace, Dr. Lloyd-Jones tells the listener, is the general blessings applied to all according to the pleasure and will of God. Common grace is seen everywhere. The culture is filled with common grace and aids in understanding of how God works to maintain order by government rule and restraining sin, as well as the joy and pleasure experienced through art, music, and science. The conscience found in everyone is manifest in morality and religion that pervades the cultures. But the morality, politics, religions, and beauty are not the main point. All of these things, these marks of common grace, glorify God because it is only through the Spirit that the gifts are distributed to humankind.
The Significance of Pentecost
What is so unique about Pentecost? Certainly, it was not the first time the Holy Spirit had come upon a believer. Yet, there must be something special about this occurrence. What is the significance of the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 at Pentecost? In this sermon on the significance of Pentecost, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explores the operation of the Spirit throughout the Old Testament, contrasting the Spirit’s work among the Old Testament saints with the Spirit’s work in the New Testament. In Acts, the Spirit is poured out upon all believers in a way which unites the diverse people of God into one body. Listen as he examines this Jerusalem event, followed by similar outpourings in Samaria and Ephesus. What one discovers is that the result of Pentecost is the formation of the church of Christ. The body of Christ is welded together into one. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that this event happened once, never again to be repeated. The church has been established and from that point on, every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit in His fullness. The listener is led to praise God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who dwells with them and is in them.
The gospel call goes to all, but only some are saved. Some are not saved. What’s the difference? In this sermon titled “Effectual Call,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines that while the gospel call goes to all, this effectual calling goes to those who will be saved. On its own, humanity is incapable of any true spiritual activity. No one can know the things of God. How, then, does one ever come to the point of discerning and delighting in the truth of God? Dr. Lloyd-Jones traces the theology of this effectual calling through the Scriptures. In it, he demonstrates that this effectual call is what enables Christians to receive the gospel. It is the internal operation of the Holy Spirit upon the souls of humanity. It produces change. And since this calling is the work of the Spirit, it is absolutely certain. The called person will now desire the truth of God. They are able to know the things of God. This is not something they have done for themselves, but it is the work of God. They are, therefore, debtors to mercy alone. Listen, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones declares, “I am what I am by the grace of God.”
Regeneration - a New Disposition
How does God remove sin and make a person new? In this sermon on regeneration, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that it is the result of the work of God’s Holy Spirit applying the work of Christ to the hearts and minds of those that are called according to His will. When people are granted the gift of God’s grace by the work of the Spirit, they are transformed and renewed. They are new creatures and part of the new creation that Christ has brought and will bring. The transformation that is brought about by regeneration does not change the substance of people, but it renews their minds and gives them new desires. These new Spirit-gifted dispositions result in a new life. This is the life of the Christian who seeks to love God and their neighbor. It causes them to love new things that they once despised, and it causes them to hate old things that they once loved. This is brought about by the sovereign work of God in the life of sinners that He chooses to renew and adopt into His family. This work cannot be directly perceived, nor can it be understood fully, but it is the beginning of the new life. It is a rebirth that wholly and completely reorients the will and desires of a once sinful people. It is the fountainhead of the new life in Christ.
The New Birth
Why do some believe in Christ’s message while others do not? In this sermon titled on the new birth, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers this by appealing to the biblical doctrine of the new birth. This new birth is an act of God by which He regenerates the hearts and minds of fallen people. From this act of regeneration comes the new life with new desires and dispositions. This new person lives a Spirit-empowered life that evidences the supernatural work of Christ. In this it is seen that regeneration does not merely change one’s standing with God, but it transforms their very hearts and minds. Because this new life is brought about by the work of the Spirit, it is kept by the work of the Spirit so that once a person has been born again they cannot lose this new nature. The new person cannot become old again, for it is the Spirit that forms and keeps them. Once the Spirit transforms the believer, they will seek a life that honors Christ. This seeking of Christ and His kingdom do not make a person new, but it is the result of the Spirit regenerating them and making them a new creation in Christ Jesus the Savior.
A Child of God in Christ
What is regeneration, and how can one know if it has taken place in their life? In this sermon on regeneration titled “A Child of God in Christ,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones tackles these questions as he leads through key passages in 1 John and Galatians. Dr. Lloyd-Jones systematically shows how salvation is proven in the life of a believer. Regeneration occurs when God implants spiritual life into people. Authentic regeneration proves itself in those who are living under the lordship of Jesus Christ as they outwardly demonstrate His holiness. But what does it look like? A genuine believer will show this regeneration in their love of other believers, conviction over sin, and desire for spiritual things. No one can produce this on their own. Regeneration means union with Christ. As Jesus taught in the gospels, a believer’s relationship with Him is similar to the interaction of a vine and its branches—just as a branch cannot thrive or survive without the support from the vine, change in the life of a believer cannot take place apart from that person’s union with Christ.