Assurance: To Those Who are Slow to Believe
A Sermon on Luke 24:13-35
The Road to Emmaus
13And behold, on that very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, which was sixty stadia from Jerusalem. 14And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. 15While they were talking and discussing, …
13¶ And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself …
This sermon speaks to those who rush to treat their own condition and problems before even knowing the cause of them. In this sermon on Luke 24:13–35 titled “Assurance: To Those Who are Slow to Believe,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones teaches that the Bible contains such answers. Listeners are encouraged to look at the two men who lacked assurance, see a picture of discouragement, and be amazed at the visible transformation that can occur. One cannot feel sad without looking sad; everything about these men revealed their sadness, but they were missing the truth. Initial human diagnosis leaves people stuck in the depths of despair and discussing the past; observe Christ’s expert analysis and illumination of reality. People are fools because they don’t know how to think in a spiritual manner. See the example of Edwards and others. Realize the story of Christ doesn’t end at His death, but continues to His resurrection. No one’s story has to end in despair. Tradition is a wonderful thing, but traditionalism paralyzes. One cannot only believe some of Scripture without taking all of it. Christ is the conqueror, but He is also the sufferer. Embrace His promises of deliverance alongside His commands of obedience. The human heart burns for God, and all need Him.
The sermon begins by highlighting the importance of assurance and joy in the Christian life. The preacher notes that Christians should attract others to faith through living assured and joyful lives.
The preacher then introduces the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus as an example of Christians lacking assurance and joy. He notes that they were sad, disappointed, and discouraged despite Jesus having risen from the dead.
The preacher points out that the disciples proclaimed their sadness through their demeanor and conversation. They were focused on Jesus' death and unable to believe in his resurrection.
The preacher argues that the disciples were like many modern Christians who lack assurance and are focused on the past rather than the present reality of Jesus. They were also trying in vain to understand Jesus' death through human reasoning rather than faith.
Jesus rebukes the disciples as "fools" for failing to believe all that the prophets spoke about the Messiah suffering and being glorified. Their lack of faith in the scriptures led to their lack of assurance and joy.
The preacher notes that the disciples, like many Jews, only believed selective parts of the scriptures that matched their preconceptions. They ignored prophecies of the Messiah's suffering and only focused on prophecies of his glory.
The preacher argues that many modern Christians also lack assurance because they only believe selective parts of the scriptures and Jesus' teachings that match their preconceptions. They ignore parts that do not match what they want to believe.
The preacher points out that the disciples' hearts "burned within them" as Jesus explained the scriptures, not just when they recognized him breaking bread. Understanding the scriptures leads to assurance and joy.
The preacher argues that Christians today have even more reason for assurance and joy in understanding the scriptures because we have the New Testament and indwelling of the Holy Spirit to enlighten us. We need not seek special revelations or visions.
The preacher concludes by encouraging Christians struggling with a lack of assurance and joy to ask God to open their understanding of the scriptures through the Holy Spirit. Understanding more of Jesus through the word leads to assurance and a burning heart.
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.