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Sermon #5342

Woe Unto Thee

A Sermon on Matthew 11:21-28


Matthew 11:21-28 ESV KJV
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and …

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Sermon Description

What did Jesus mean when He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened”? What is the burden? In this sermon on Matthew 11:21–28 titled “Woe Unto Thee,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches on the necessity of seeing Christ’s gentleness as well as His severeness. Many today preach only on God’s love, believing that a loving God cannot possibly condemn anyone. If that were the case, what was the point of Jesus’s death on the cross? Dr. Lloyd-Jones dispels the false idea that God cannot punish sinners, and instead shows that God must punish sin, whether that is through Jesus or through the sinner. It is the gospel that determines who takes the wrath of God. The most important question a person can ask themselves is where they stand before God, and their eternal soul depends on the correct answer. God has promised that He will give salvation and rest to those who humble themselves and believe God is who He says He is. However, for those who try to shape God into their own being, Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches that there is no salvation or rest.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Dr. Lloyd-Jones introduces two phrases from Matthew 11: “Woe unto thee” and “Come unto me” to summarize the Christian message.
  2. The phrases represent judgment and invitation, reflecting God’s holiness and love. Both are essential to understand the gospel.
  3. Dr. Lloyd-Jones asks which message the audience has heard from Jesus: judgment or invitation. Our response determines our eternal destiny.
  4. Jesus’ identity as the Son of God gives his words authority and makes listening to him more important than any human leader.
  5. Jesus described himself as having sole knowledge of and access to the Father. His claims force us to conclude he is either a lunatic, liar, or the Son of God.
  6. Jesus’ message has two parts: judgment on sin and invitation to salvation. Both are necessary to understand his purpose in coming to earth and dying on the cross.
  7. The Old Testament shows God’s judgment on sin, while the New Testament shows the invitation to salvation through Jesus. Both testaments must be accepted.
  8. John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles all preached repentance from sin before invitation to new life. The gospel starts with humanity’s need for forgiveness.
  9. Jesus came to save us from the wrath of God incurred by our sin. His death was necessary to reconcile God’s judgment and love.
  10. We must accept both Jesus’ warnings of judgment and offers of salvation. Rejecting either distorts the gospel. There is no contradiction between God’s wrath and love.
  11. Jesus illustrates this in John 3: those who believe in him escape condemnation, while those who do not remain under God’s wrath. There are only two possibilities.
  12. Jesus first did good works and spoke gracious words, but people’s response to him determined whether they received judgment or invitation.
  13. Pride, self-sufficiency, and unwillingness to acknowledge sin led people to reject Jesus. They thought they did not need him and were fit to judge him.
  14. Those who recognize their need for Jesus, like children, and come to him for salvation and rest receive his invitation. Our attitude, not our deeds, determines how Jesus responds to us.
  15. We must choose between rejecting Jesus in our pride and receiving judgment, or humbling ourselves, acknowledging our sin, and accepting his invitation to salvation. His offer of rest is open to all.

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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.