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Sermon #5469

The Right Approach

A Sermon on John 12:21


John 12:21 ESV KJV
So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (ESV)

Sermon Description

Why do some people never seem to find fulfillment when they come to Jesus? Why do they never find rest, peace, and satisfaction in Him? In this sermon on John 12:21 titled “The Right Approach,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones demonstrates from the account of the Greeks and their discourse with Jesus that many seek Him with the wrong approach. Jesus regularly and willingly granted access to Himself to all types of people. But in the account of the Greeks, Jesus denies their request. This denial falls outside of the boundaries of Jesus’s normal response because the approach and the request of the Greeks illustrates many worldly people who seek Jesus only when everything in their world falls apart. They do not want forgiveness of sin; they want a more serene life in sin. They come for wrong reasons and with wrong motives and when Jesus does not pluck them from the floodwaters of their broken life, they find nothing in Him and leave. In this account from John’s Gospel, Dr. Lloyd-Jones demonstrates how the Greeks come with the wrong approach and challenges the listener to take the right approach in coming to Christ. The right approach takes the road of humility and repentance, believing in the saving work of His death, burial, and resurrection.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The Greeks came to Philip desiring to see Jesus. Their request was not granted.
  2. Jesus' readiness to receive people and talk to them was characteristic of him. He received publicans, sinners, centurions, and others.
  3. The Greeks' request to see Jesus was strange and surprising given Jesus' openness. Why did Jesus refuse to see the Greeks?
  4. The Greeks were intelligent, philosophical people who worshipped many gods. They came to the Jewish festival, heard of Jesus, and wanted to see him.
  5. The Greeks' desire to see Jesus showed their dissatisfaction with philosophy and polytheism. But even belief in the one true God did not satisfy them.
  6. Many today become interested in Jesus but never find peace or answers. Why don't they get what they seek?
  7. The Greeks were polite and respectful but approached Jesus as a great man to be examined. They wanted to assess his teaching. This was the wrong approach.
  8. The right approach is to come with a broken, contrite heart, realizing you need Jesus as the only Savior. The Greeks were standing on their dignity; others clung to Jesus as the only hope.
  9. Jesus answered that the hour had come for the Son of Man to be glorified - to be shown as the Son of God. Jesus was not just a man or teacher but the Son of Man.
  10. Jesus said he would not be glorified or draw all nations to himself until he was "lifted up" - crucified. His crucifixion was necessary to save people.
  11. Jesus' life, teaching, and miracles alone could not save. Like a seed, he had to die to bear fruit. His death was why he came.
  12. Jesus' death meant judgment on the world's sin. His death defeated Satan, who held the world in blindness. By dying, Jesus purchased God's blessing and freedom from Satan.
  13. Jesus' death reconciled us to God and delivered us from Satan's power. Jesus took our sin and guilt on himself, suffering separation from the Father. He defeated death and the devil.
  14. To know Jesus as Savior, we must realize we are sinners under God's judgment and Satan's power, value our souls, trust in Jesus' death, follow and serve him.
  15. The Greeks did not meet these conditions. Do we? Come to Jesus helpless, clinging to him as the only hope, surrendering and following him.

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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.