What Makes a Christian?
A Sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:1-6
Paul’s Apostolic Ministry
1Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in trickery nor distorting the word of God, but by the open proclamation of the truth commending ourselves …
1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight …
What does it mean to be a Christian? Many believe that being a Christian is about the family of origin, or the church of one’s baptism. But in the sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:1–6, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows why this is wholly opposed to what Scripture says about the nature of Christianity. To be a Christian is to be born again; it is to receive a new nature through faith in Jesus Christ. Just as God spoke in the beginning and there was light, it is also with salvation, God speaks through His Spirit to make dead sinners new. Christianity is not about social change, but it is about the miracle of the salvation of souls. The Church must proclaim the gospel to all so that they might know Jesus as their Savior. Only Jesus can free humanity from their sin and immorality, and only Jesus can free sinners from their ignorance and make them children of God. This message asks the question: Do you know Jesus? Have you received new life in the gospel or are you still in sin and death? This sermon is a call to believe in the only savior, Jesus Christ.
- The apostle Paul is concerned about how people become Christians and wants them to understand what really makes someone a Christian.
- Becoming a Christian is the result of a creative act of God, not something we can do ourselves through good works or morality.
- Becoming a Christian is a great mystery and miracle. We can't fully understand how it happens.
- What God does in us when we become Christians is a profound change. It is not just a small modification or improvement. It is a radical transformation.
- When God makes us Christians, order is produced out of the chaos of our lives. Our lives become balanced rather than governed by desires and lusts.
- When God makes us Christians, our minds are enlightened and we gain true understanding. We see ourselves, God, and the purpose of life accurately.
- When God makes us Christians, we gain the ability to live as we were meant to - as children of God, in righteousness and holiness. This is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
- The Christian life is a process of being transformed from glory to glory into the image of Christ. God begins a good work in us and continues it until we stand perfect in his presence.
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.