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Sermon #5754

The Nature of the Christian Ministry

A Sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:5


2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV KJV
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. (ESV)

Sermon Description

In this sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:5 titled “The Nature of the Christian Ministry,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones passionately proclaims the real character of the Christian preacher and the true Christian message. Look at the example of Paul. Why did Paul not preach himself? What makes someone or something a fit subject for preaching about? The task of the gospel is not easy, but it is clear. The Christian is preaching to a world that is outside. Learn about earthen vessels and the state of the condition of the natural person. The gospel of Christ is not only preaching on morality and conduct; the natural person is ignorant of the issue of their own soul. People were meant to be companions of God who communed with Him. Why is this not seen? The world is under the control of the devil. Learn how to fight the spiritual forces of evil in this world. Glory in the Trinity, in God through His creation, and in the Son who died and rose again. The Christian preacher ought to be one who is prepared to be nothing so that God can be everything.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Dr. Lloyd-Jones expresses gratitude for the opportunity to preach and for the two ministers being honored. He has known them for many years, even before they entered the ministry.
  2. Dr. Lloyd-Jones wants to focus on the nature of the Christian ministry by looking at 2 Corinthians 4:5.
  3. In this passage, Paul says "we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." This means Paul did not preach himself like the false apostles, but preached the gospel.
  4. There are many ways ministers can preach themselves, like focusing on their appearance, personality, ideas, learning, or results. But Paul did not do this.
  5. Paul did not preach himself because he was not worth preaching. He never forgot he was once Saul, a blasphemer and persecutor. He received mercy and his ministry by grace. He was an "earthen vessel."
  6. Paul did not preach himself because he was inadequate for the task. The task is to enlighten people's darkness, free them from Satan, show them they are sinners facing judgment, and save them from hell. No man can do this.
  7. The problem is not just people's behavior but their spiritual deadness and slavery to Satan. The world is under Satan's control, not just men's. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but spiritual forces.
  8. If the gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, lost in darkness and facing eternal doom. The pulpit has an enormous responsibility.
  9. Paul did not preach himself because of the glory of the message committed to him. The terms used are "glorious gospel," "treasure," "excellency of the power."
  10. The glory is first the glory of the Trinity - the Father, Son, and Spirit planned salvation. The glory of the Father is seen in creation but supremely in the gospel. The glory of the Son is seen in the Incarnation, cross, resurrection, and return. The glory of the Spirit is seen in empowering the message.
  11. The glory is also the salvation we receive - pardon, new birth, adoption, assurance, inheritance. This gives joy and hope despite circumstances.
  12. The ministry and all Christians are to make known this glory. We must realize people's condition and need the Spirit's power. We must pray for revival.

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.