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Sermon #5784

The Acid Test of the Christian Profession

A Sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:17


2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV KJV
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, (ESV)

Sermon Description

These light and momentary afflictions that are creating an eternal weight of glory—what is this hope Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaks of in such trying times? Listen to this sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:17 and examine oneself in light of such truth. What is the attitude in facing present difficulties and the unknowns of the future? In this commentary on the passage, the listener will discover what Dr. Lloyd-Jones calls the “acid test.” This test combines one’s total reaction to life and that everything in it is not merely optimism or stoicism. Paul is an example of a man who easily despaired. How could Paul talk like this? Learn what true positivity is in light of knowing that everyone is born to die. The history of the great song, “It Is Well With My Soul,” shows us that there is hope in the midst of trial because of Christianity's message, not simply the call to toughen up. Dr. Lloyd-Jones calls the listener to gain a new capacity to see life and eternity as a whole, and to not be distracted by the immersions of the world, such as orthodoxy, intellectual ascent, morality, experience, and crises.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul wrote 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 during a time of immense suffering and difficulty.
  2. There is a danger of being carried away by the eloquence and beauty of Scripture rather than grasping the message. We must focus on the message of this passage.
  3. The "acid test" of one's Christian faith is how they view and respond to suffering and trials. This passage provides the acid test.
  4. Three potential "acid tests" of faith are:
  5. Orthodoxy (right belief): Necessary but not enough. One can believe right but lack life and power.
  6. Morality (right conduct): Also necessary but not enough. There are moral unbelievers and moral failures in the church.
  7. Experience (right feeling): Important but not enough. Cults also provide experiences. The test is one's total reaction to life.
  8. This passage covers all three tests. One must have right belief to speak like this, right conduct is assumed, and one must have life and experience of the Spirit. The test is one's total view of life in light of the glory of Christ.
  9. One's view of life comes from being "in Christ" - having a new relationship to God, new life, and seeing everything through Christ.
  10. Two ways this new view changes one's perspective:
  11. View of time: Sees present sufferings as "momentary" in light of eternity. Puts time in context of God's eternity.
  12. View of suffering: Sees sufferings as "light" and "trivial" in comparison to the "weight of glory." Contrasts present with future glory.
  13. The secret is "looking not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen." Having a glimpse of the glory to come enables one to view present sufferings properly.
  14. This has been the secret of saints in all ages - setting their minds on the glory to come. This is the only way to face life's trials with joy and hope.

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.