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Sermon #5237

Seeking Certainty

A Sermon on Psalm 63:1-3

Scripture

Psalms 63:1-3 ESV NASB KJV
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you …

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Sermon Description

How can one know that God loves and cares for His children? In this sermon on Psalm 63:1–3 titled “Seeking Certainty,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims that Christians can know this by trusting in God’s revelation of Jesus Christ. A Christian that is maturing in their faith is one who rests on what Christ has done for them. This mature faith produces assurance that is not simply a passing emotion that comes and goes, but it is an abiding and true experience knowing they belong to God. That belonging is proven in a life of humble obedience. However, Dr. Lloyd-Jones also warns against those who teach an assurance of bare intellectual assent. They say that to simply claim that one believes in Christ and His gospel is all that is needed of assurance. This is shown to be inadequate from the many scriptural passages that show the deep and loving trust that the saints of God can have in the gospel. This is an intimate and personal knowledge that God loves them and has sent his Son to die a cruel death on the cross so that they could be saved. This is certainly intellectual assent to the gospel, but it is more. It is the product of the Holy Spirit working in their lives so that they trust God and His promises in true faith. This should be an experience that all Christians seek and obtain.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. David composed Psalm 63 when he was in the wilderness of Judah, likely fleeing from Absalom.
  2. David shows how he reacted to adversity through seeking God.
  3. Moses and David were both men of action who valued their knowledge of God above all else.
  4. Gifts and abilities are meaningless without knowing God. Knowing God's lovingkindness is the most important thing.
  5. Many today do not seek to know God's lovingkindness because they do not believe it is possible or that it was only for biblical times or certain special people.
  6. The Bible offers knowing God to all believers, not just select groups. The epistles exhort all believers to know God.
  7. Examples of those who knew God's lovingkindness include Cotton Mather, a Calvinist; William Parkinson, an Arminian; and hymn writers. They came from diverse backgrounds but shared this experience.
  8. The Bible does not teach a mere intellectual belief but an experience involving the whole person.
  9. People dismiss knowing God as "enthusiasm" or say the Book of Acts was only for that time, but the epistles show the early Christians had a vital experience of God.
  10. Roman Catholicism and some Protestants teach that knowing God in this way is only for special Christians, not ordinary ones. But the Bible offers it to all.
  11. Some evangelicals fall into a kind of Sandemanianism that focuses on the mind and distrusts emotion, quenching the Spirit. But the Bible teaches a whole-person experience of God.
  12. How can we obtain this experience of knowing God's lovingkindness? First, we must believe it is possible for us. Then we must seek it continually, not just sometimes.
  13. We should seek to know God eagerly, like a dog following a scent. This should be our greatest passion and quest.
  14. An important part of seeking God is recollection - remembering what God has done for us, His promises, and His character. This can melt our hard hearts.
  15. Praising and thanking God is also key. We lack this and are quick to complain but slow to praise. Praising God leads to knowing His lovingkindness.

Old Testament

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.