MLJ Trust Logo Image
Sermon #5794

What Mean These Stones?

A Sermon on Joshua 4:21


Joshua 4:21 ESV KJV
And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ (ESV)

Sermon Description

In guilt and shame, where is salvation found? The history of the church is a story which reminds the listener that no one is without hope, because salvation is the work of God. In this message on Joshua 4:21 titled “What Means These Stones?” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines the testimony of stones. After four hundred years of enslavement, Israel was being led out of Egypt. The Egyptians believed they were going to conquer Israel, but God was going to conquer the Egyptians. Stones would be set a reminder for generations to come that it is God who saves. God saves through judgement and deliverance. Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues through the biblical narrative and two-thousand years of church history, demonstrating that the Christian’s story is a story of God’s action, not of any human. It is a story of God’s power, not humanity’s. The greatest danger, therefore, is to forget history and turn Christianity into a mere philosophy of teaching. On the contrary, God acts through history and the Christian proclaims and remembers His actions. Nobody is hopeless because God is mighty. He can regenerate the hardest heart. He will save and deliver. As these stones were meant to teach, listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains the meaning of these stones to today’s generation.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The church's primary function is to remind people of history and what God has done. It is not just a place for teaching or philosophy.
  2. The history recorded in the Bible is the history of God's acts of redemption, deliverance and salvation.
  3. God delivered the Israelites from captivity in Egypt through Moses. He enabled them to cross the Red Sea and provided manna in the wilderness.
  4. God enabled the Israelites to cross the Jordan River into the promised land. The 12 stones were set up as a memorial of God's deliverance.
  5. The church's role is to remind the world of God's deliverance through Christ - that people are in bondage to sin but God has provided salvation.
  6. God called Abraham and made a nation from him to proclaim God's message to the world.
  7. God allowed the Israelites to be conquered and taken into captivity in Babylon but then delivered them again through Cyrus.
  8. There was a 400-year period of silence between the testaments but then God spoke again through John the Baptist and sent Jesus.
  9. Jesus came not just to teach but to die on the cross to provide salvation. His death and resurrection were God's acts.
  10. The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, enabling the apostles to preach the gospel. The church began, founded on God's acts.
  11. The church went astray and into darkness but God revived it through the Reformation, through Martin Luther. Revival is God acting again.
  12. God's actions are miraculous and supernatural. Christianity is not just a teaching but God miraculously regenerating people.
  13. The message is of God's power in judgment but also salvation. No one is hopeless because God can save and regenerate.
  14. Despite threats, the church will continue because God will keep acting until his purpose is complete. Nothing can thwart God's plans.

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.