12¶A glorious throne on high from the beginning
Is the place of our sanctuary.
12¶ A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.
Where does one find sanctuary? In this sermon on Jeremiah 17:12 titled “God, Our Sanctuary,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones urges the listener to turn away from the idolatrous notion that anyone can create glory for themselves completely separate from God, and to cling to the infinitely glorious reality that God is the sanctuary if anyone turns to Him. In the book of Jeremiah, the people of God find themselves in the pit of trouble and disaster as they sink themselves further into idolatry and away from God. Jeremiah the prophet is calling out to them to return in obedience to God, their sanctuary on high. Dr. Lloyd-Jones likens this to the current situation with people enthroning themselves on the idea and hope that they can seek and ascertain glory in their vain attempts to achieve monetary gain and societal approval. Dr. Lloyd-Jones beseeches the listener to lay down this foolish notion and find refuge instead in the glorious sanctuary on high. Where is this sanctuary and where can it be found? It is found in the cross of Christ where the Prince of Glory died that sins might be forgiven and where God’s holy, righteous justice was satisfied in the death of His Son.
- The prophet Jeremiah is denouncing the sins of Israel and pleading with them to repent.
- Israel has turned away from God and worshipped false idols, adopting the gods of other nations.
- This is a result of ignorance and a failure to realize the privilege of their relationship with God.
- God offered Israel a special relationship, choosing them above other nations to be His people. He showed this by having them build a temple where He would dwell among them.
- But Israel turned away from God and worshipped false gods, forsaking the Lord. This was utter foolishness and ignorance.
- The world today is like Israel, seeking glory, happiness and safety in the wrong places. The real tragedy is turning away from what God offers.
- Sin is turning away from the glory of God. Man was meant to glorify God but seeks glory for himself instead.
- Man also turns from the kingship and lordship of God. God is the eternal king who gives laws, judges and blesses from His throne.
- The throne also represents the power and majesty of God. God is high and lifted up, inhabiting eternity.
- Yet God's throne is also the place of sanctuary for man. This is a paradox. Though God is so holy and glorious, His throne is where we find refuge.
- This was true for Israel in the Old Testament. When they worshipped God, He protected them. Jeremiah calls them to return to God as their sanctuary.
- This truth is most fully shown in the New Testament. The cross of Christ is the throne that is now the place of sanctuary.
- In the cross we see the glory, holiness, righteousness and love of God. We see the law fulfilled and justice satisfied. We see the devil defeated and love guaranteed.
- The cross is our refuge from sin, temptation, doubt and fear. It is the eternal sanctuary that will never fail.
- We must flee to this sanctuary, found in Christ, to find refuge in life and death and for eternity.
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.