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Sermon #5748

By This Shall All Men Know ...



Sermon Description

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preached this sermon titled “By This Shall All Men Know…” at the Evangelical Alliance Ministers’ Conference in 1969, stressing the importance of supplementing the reading of theology with that of history. He encouraged avoiding being abstractly academic without applying theological truths to daily life and to look at the “generals” in history to keep the “particulars” of theology realistic. Listen to what the Roman Catholics said about Protestantism. Who do the facts support? Learn about the denominational divisions of Christianity. If many are based merely on comprehension, are they justified or sinful? Learn of the factors that caused such divisions. Hear of the national churches that hindered the Protestant union and how spiritual elements were overwritten by political ones. Hear of the history of Calvin, Luther, Anabaptists, Presbyterians, and many others. Dr. Lloyd-Jones discusses episcopacy and tradition, essentials and non-essentials, and striving for Protestant union. He shares the significance of the Westminster Confession and other confessions of faith. Avoid the extremes of unrestrained laxity and egotistical rigor, define the differences between error and heresy, and heed the call to be charitable.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The difficulty in choosing a title for this sermon. Dr. Lloyd-Jones struggles with choosing an appropriate title that encompasses the broad scope of church history that will be covered.
  2. An opening prayer acknowledging God's glory and the church's failures. Dr. Lloyd-Jones opens with a prayer confessing the church's unprofitability and failures to live for God's glory.
  3. A quote from Hegel: "We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." Dr. Lloyd-Jones introduces this quote to argue that Christians should learn from history.
  4. The Bible teaches we should learn from history. Dr. Lloyd-Jones cites examples from Psalms and Acts demonstrating that we should learn from history.
  5. The church was united until the Reformation. Dr. Lloyd-Jones gives an overview of how the church in the West was united under the Roman Catholic church until the Protestant Reformation.
  6. The Reformation led to many divisions. Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes how the Reformation led to many divisions between groups like Lutherans, Reformed, and Anabaptists as well as divisions within those groups.
  7. Protestants were charged with schism. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says Protestants were charged with schism by Roman Catholics due to these divisions.
  8. The facts seem to support the charge of schism. Dr. Lloyd-Jones admits the divisions seem to support the charge of schism against Protestants.
  9. The Roman Catholic church also had divisions. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues the Roman Catholic church cannot make this charge given their own history of divisions and schisms.
  10. The division from Rome was justified but other divisions were sinful. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says the Reformation split from Rome was justified but the subsequent divisions were sinful and guilty.
  11. All groups sought unity but still divided. Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes the irony that despite seeking unity, the groups still divided from each other.
  12. National churches were a cause of division. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues national churches led groups to think locally instead of seeking wider unity.
  13. National characteristics were a cause of division. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says differences in national characteristics and temperaments contributed to divisions.
  14. Politics was a major cause of division. Dr. Lloyd-Jones identifies politics as a primary driver of divisions, especially the relationship between church and state.
  15. Defining fundamentals caused division. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says difficulty determining what beliefs were essential or nonessential led to divisions.
  16. Tradition and confessions caused division. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues strict adherence to tradition and historic confessions contributed to divisions.
  17. We have an opportunity for unity today. Dr. Lloyd-Jones believes today's Christians have an opportunity for unity that past generations did not.
  18. We must reject national churches. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues national churches should be rejected in favor of churches within a nation cooperating.
  19. We must determine essential and nonessential beliefs. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says determining a balance between laxity and rigorism in defining essential and nonessential beliefs is needed for unity.
  20. There remains a broad division between Protestant/evangelical and Catholic views. Dr. Lloyd-Jones sees a broad division between inclusive Catholic views of the church and exclusive evangelical views.
  21. We must not be bound to tradition or historic confessions. Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns against strictly adhering to tradition and historic confessions, arguing they must be reexamined.
  22. The American Presbyterians modified the Westminster Confession. Dr. Lloyd-Jones cites the American Presbyterians modifying the Westminster Confession as an example to follow.
  23. Quotes arguing for unity despite differences. Dr. Lloyd-Jones shares quotes from Puritans arguing for unity despite differences on nonessentials.
  24. A proposal for unity from 1654. Dr. Lloyd-Jones shares a proposal from 1654 outlining 16 fundamentals for unity between Protestants. He argues this could still provide a basis for unity today.
  25. A closing prayer for God's guidance, forgiveness, and unity. Dr. Lloyd-Jones closes with a prayer asking God for guidance, forgiveness, and eventual unity of His people.

Itinerant Preaching

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.