A series of 24 sermons preached by Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel during the 100th Anniversary of the 1859 Revival in Wales. He considered the subject so urgent that he interrupted the series of sermons on the Epistle to the Ephesians in order to preach on it.
Revival Sermon: Diagnosing the Need
For anyone burdened by the condition of this world and concerned with the present problems of this age, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones introduces a sermon series on revival where he discusses some common misconceptions about apologetics and evangelism in today’s age. In this sermon on Mark 9:28–29 titled “Revival Sermon: Diagnosing the Need,” he acknowledges that there are indeed different times which require different means of action. The church and its members often rush to fix a problem before properly diagnosing the issue. Just as Jesus did in Mark, Christians need to be reminded that they must have understanding in their approach. When they are confronted by the way certain people live, they should be mindful that each case is different. In speaking about apologetics, Dr. Lloyd-Jones discusses a common error of the church trying to make the faith relevant in today’s culture. Some say that newer Bible translations or better church advertising would cause revival. However, are those targeting the root of the modern problem? Revival comes only by the power from God. Anyone who feels burdened or pressed by the condition of this world needs to be in constant prayer for power and guidance for the Lord.
Revival Sermon: The Power and the Possibilities
What are the needs of the church today? Have the needs of the church changed since early Christianity? Does the church face the same issues as it did since it first began? In this sermon on Genesis 26:17–18 titled “Revival Sermon: The Power and the Possibilities,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers that as Isaac dug again the wells of his father Abraham, the church must also dig again the wells that have been filled by modern Philistines in order to rediscover the history of the church: “There is nothing so foolish as to ignore the past.” It is wise to study the pattern of revivals as they have taken place, so as to expose the one main issue that hinders the growth of the church. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones makes clear, “My dear friends, there is only one explanation of the state of the church today: it is the work of the Philistines.” He explains that the church doesn’t seem to see this, and instead puts the blame on false ideas such as the modern day or “new knowledge.” Christians must recognize that humanity’s problem is still the same, God is the same, and the solution of the problem is the same: Jesus Christ.
Revival Sermon: The Modern Philistine
The condition of the church today suggests that her need is as urgent as it has ever been. In this sermon on Genesis 26:17–18 titled “Revival Sermon: The Modern Philistine,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expands on the great and urgent need for revival and reawakening. To influence this, he says, the church must follow Isaac, who dug again the wells of his father Abraham: “The essence of wisdom for the church at a time like this is to look back into her own history.” When she does this, what will she find? She will find that no revival has ever been known in history that denied the fundamentals of the Christian faith or neglected such vital truths. These truths are constantly buried by “the rubbish of the Philistines.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains the vital truths and doctrines denied by the Philistines: the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Bible, the doctrine of sin, and the wrath of God. Revival cannot happen without the proclamation of these truths. It is with arrogance, pride, and the tendency to glorify oneself rather than God that stands between us and His mighty blessings of revival.
Revival Sermon: The Holy Spirit in Revival
What is a revival? In this sermon on the Holy Spirit in Revival from Genesis 26:17–18, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers that a revival is a work of the Holy Spirit wherein He moves amongst God’s people and unbelievers. The Holy Spirit is the one who works in God’s people to equip them and gift them for the work of spreading the gospel and building up the church. It is the Holy Spirit who gives the church apostles, preachers, and prophets. It is also the Holy Spirit who moves in the world to convict fallen sinners of their wicked ways and of their need of repentance. But one of the church’s greatest dangers is to quench the work of the Holy Spirit by denying His work. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that one of the biggest problems with the church today is false teaching about the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work and ministry amongst the people of God. If the church is to be faithful and equipped to serve God, Christians must return to a doctrine of the Holy Spirit that recognizes His working and power in the world. This sermon has a message for both believers and unbelievers in that it calls all to recognize the grace of God in giving His Spirit to the world.
Revival Sermon: Defective Orthodoxy
Is revival possible without the teaching and preaching of doctrinal truths? Can there be a revival in the presence of defective orthodoxy? In this sermon on Genesis 26:17–18 titled “Revival Sermon: Defective Orthodoxy,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones denies any possibility of revival without the presence of right doctrine. Listen as he expounds upon the hindrances and obstacles of revival, the failure expected without respect of doctrines such as the Holy Spirit, justification by faith alone, regeneration, the church, and the sovereignty of God. “These doctrines are bare essentials, and without them I see that we have no right at all to pray for or expect the influence and the demonstration of the Holy Spirit of God.” Christians must remember that one can be orthodox but dead if they believe doctrine is an end to itself. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also points out the increase of entertainment, programs, and advertisements among the church that should not be there. He even addresses the overemphasis put on singing that is permeating many churches today. The church must also beware of being right in doctrine and orthodoxy, but wrong in the Spirit. Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches here about the behaviors and actions that must be thrown out in order to avoid this.
Revival Sermon: Dead Orthodoxy
The church has an important duty to fulfill before she can truly benefit the kingdom of God. She must deal with the hindrances that keep away the truths of the gospel. In this sermon on Genesis 26:17–18 titled “Revival Sermon: Dead Orthodoxy,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones presents these dangerous obstacles and asks the listener to consider the lack of balance within the church. It is necessary to consider dead orthodoxy along with defective orthodoxy. He is convinced that out of all dangers threatening revival, this is the greatest danger confronting the church and any individual with an evangelical outlook. In the midst of dead orthodoxy, people are driven to contentment and to practice religion merely for safety and security. Is the Christian just content because they have the right beliefs? Do they come to God’s house just to listen to a sermon? Dr. Lloyd-Jones references 1 Thessalonians 5:19 which tells the Christian not to quench the Holy Spirit. He explains the different ways one can avoid this: recognizing a fear of enthusiasm, confusion, false excitement, emotionalism, and pseudo-intellectualism. He clarifies the difference between emotionalism and emotion. Christians may be so afraid of the false that they quench the true emotion: “We’ve forgotten how to weep my friends,” with joy and with sadness.
Revival Sermon: To Know Him
Christians should pray Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16–19 for themselves and for the church. In this sermon on Genesis 26:17–18 titled “Revival Sermon: To Know Him,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains how today’s church is like the Laodicean church, thinking they are rich when they are poor. All are blind to their true spiritual state. But, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones states, “we must have a true concern for the glory of God.” Preliminary to revival is a thirst for God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reveals the church’s need for vital living water, much like the need of water Isaac had from the wells of Abraham. The church must be careful of serious hindrances to that flow of water such as dead orthodoxy, and the failure to seek God, to know God, and to apply the truth. Christians must also examine themselves in light of Scripture. There is a right and a wrong way of self-examination and one’s orthodoxy determines which way they will go. The Christian should never be depressed or miserable, but some Christians are because of a wrong self-examination. When a person truly knows Christ, their sins will drive them to Him, not further from Him. Dr. Lloyd-Jones concludes that this comes with a desperate need for prayer, for a person who is burdened is one who prays.
Revival Sermon: What is Revival?
It’s disheartening how easily human minds forget important events, even the most important events or happenings in history. With human nature comes human forgetfulness. In this sermon on the question “What is Revival?” from Joshua 4:21–24, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones doesn’t allow that fact to excuse the Christian from reconsidering revivals of the past so that the church may discover how to seek the Lord and pray for revival to happen again. He explains that revival is the greatest need among the body of Christ today, and that the thoughts and prayers of Christians should go toward revival. The problem today is that people are so busy that they do not even think of it. Human absorption with oneself, their own generation, and their own activities dangerously occupy them and cause them to forget this great need. Dr. Lloyd-Jones presents the definition of revival and states the difference between it and an evangelistic campaign. Revival happens to the church; an evangelistic campaign is done by the church and happens to those outside it. When it happens to the church, it is almost like a repetition of the day of Pentecost. People become aware of spiritual things as they never were before. Men and women realize the glory and holiness of God. They feel a terrible sense of sin and guilt and their conviction drives them to repentance.
Revival Sermon: Variations Between Revivals
What are the characteristics of a revival? How do they start and what are the results? In this sermon on Joshua 4:21–24 titled “Revival Sermon: Variations Between Revivals,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones unpacks the powerful ways revival has affected the church and why the church must plead and pray for revival today. He relates revivals to the stones that were questioned by the children of the Israelites. The stones were a memorial there to remind the people and all the nations that the hand of the Lord is mighty. God has done great things and is still doing great things. A revival causes the people to be humbled by the glory and majesty of the Lord. It always results in praise and worship to God. Men and women who are converted during a revival become members of a church and abide in the faith. They become concerned for the lives of others who do not know God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that there are many ways a revival starts, but only after first recognizing that it is an act of God, not a production of humanity. It may start suddenly or gradually, or it may start in a small group or a great crowd. There are many ways it can start and there are variations in the ways it can end. But the reason for revival never changes. It is so that the people will know the mighty hand of the Lord.
Revival Sermon: The Power of the Living God
Why does the church need revival? Is it merely for the experiences it brings or perhaps for evangelistic purposes? It seems that the reason for revivals has been forgotten by many today, and the desire for them to happen has gone with it. In this sermon on the power of God in revival from Joshua 4:21–24, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out the “meaning of these stones” in regards to revival. Like the stones that were placed by the Lord along the Jordan to serve as a reminder of His mighty hand, so revivals are an act of God placed among His people to display His glory, and that all peoples and nations may know Him. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reveals the supreme need of the church today, and that is a reminder that the living God is present and active among them. He explains that revival does this. It also encourages the church to pray for their preachers, delivering them from self-reliance, and causing them to rely on the Holy Spirit. In conclusion, Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches that God allows revival in order to lead His people into the “land of blessing.” Men and women affected by it overflow with praise, adoration, and full enjoyment in knowing the living God. Christians must remember to pray and plead with God for revival so that He may be truly glorified.
Revival Sermon: The Phenomena of Revival
Great awakenings by God are often accompanied by great physical and mental phenomena. During revivals, men and women are described as being “struck”—falling to the ground and fainting. Supernatural knowledge about the future is given to ordinary people. What is to be made of these revival testimonies about prophesy and physical phenomena? Should such things as hysteria or brain washing be dismissed? In this sermon on Acts 2:12–13 titled “Revival Sermon: The Phenomena of Revival,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones pushes back against the Western tendency to describe these kinds of things in naturalistic terms. While acknowledging there can be mixture of false phenomena with the true, he cautions Christians not to merely dismiss these physical phenomena based upon a dry intellectualism. Such reasoning could result in Christians quenching the Holy Spirit. Instead, Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that these kinds of phenomena are always accompanied by a response from bystanders. It is either a response of doubt, amazement, or mockery. This was the experience of the early Christians in Acts 2:12–13 and it has held true throughout the history of revivals as well. The Christian response, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, must test such things. Nevertheless the whole person can be impacted by a great movement from the sovereign Spirit. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones seeks a balanced approach in this controversial topic.
Revival Sermon: Towards Revival
Revival begins when one realizes that they may gain the whole world and lose their soul. Every good thing of this earth is nothing if God is not with them. In this sermon on Exodus 33:1–11 titled “Revival Sermon: Toward Revival,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines the steps toward revival. How does revival come? What sparks it? Whether revival is individual and personal or corporate, Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that it begins the same way. First, one faces the facts and becomes deeply aware of sin and idolatry. Second, one repents. As he presents the story of Israel’s revival upon the building of a golden calf, he highlights a number of issues involved: the need for separation, a mediator, realizing they are poor and wretched, and God’s displeasure upon the church. Why is the church so ineffective? Why is it going from bad to worse? The need is not met with better events, campaigns, or programs; the presence of God must be in the midst. God must be with them. This is the thing that so horrified the people of Israel and it must haunt Christians today. Revival begins as men and women realize nothing is so serious as being without the presence of God.
Revival Sermon: Preparatory Stages in Revival
Revival is conceived through the prayers of one who is burdened. Continuing the examination of where revival comes from, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that there are intermediate steps that are common before a revival begins. This begins with prayer. In this sermon on Exodus 33:12–17 titled “Revival Sermon: Preparatory Stages of Revival,” he explains three stages of prayer. This prayer toward revival begins with a longing for separation. As God used the intercession of Moses on behalf of rebellious Israel, it is explained that revival is initiated with the prayers of just one person. This one person feels a great burden for the people of God and wants to do something about it. He prays for holiness and separation from the ways of the world. There is a concern to be holy. This leads to an incredible assurance of God. Prayer turns from dread to delight as God promises His presence among the people. The praying church and individual then grow in expectancy, looking for and expecting change that only the Holy Spirit can bring. This change is not managed by people but by the sovereign Spirit of God. If the listener is burdened for the church in this world, Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages that revival begins with the prayers of one.
Revival Sermon: Prayer for Revival
The church today focuses too much on doing what other religions can do. Other religions can teach a person to be moral and just. Other religions can create a sense of community and friendship. Other religions can do good things in the community. Christians tend to be content with these small things; content with the unexceptional and ordinary condition of the church. They must pray for revival. In this sermon on prayer for revival from Exodus 33:12–17 titled “Revival Sermon: Prayer for Revival,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones looks at the prayer of Moses where he prays for more. God had returned to Israel and Moses is grateful for this, but he wants more. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that praying for revival is praying for something extra, something more. Revival is not ordinary. It is a special, unusual, and exceptional move of God. The Christian praying for revival is no longer satisfied with the ordinary condition of the church. They pray for God’s glory to be shown, and cries from the “depths” that God may be known. True revival cannot be manipulated. The moment one believes this can be organized, they are in great danger. Listen in as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that church needs the power of God. The Holy Spirit must fall upon His people, and they must be revived.
Revival Sermon: Why We Should Pray for Revival
In this sermon on Exodus 33:12–17 titled “Why We Should Pray for Revival,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaks about the vital matter of revival among God’s people and how it must be brought to the Lord in prayer. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out the powerful example in the way Moses prayed to God in Exodus 33:12–17. Moses’s motives were clear when he approached the Lord: a concern for the glory of God and His honor, his concern for the children of Israel, and his agony of their sin. All God’s servants pray, and should pray, with these motives. There is no hope for revival until Christians forget themselves and begin to be concerned with the church. How often do Christians pray for the church? Their main concern should be God and His glory. They must stop thinking of the church as a gathering of institutions and organizations, and get back to thinking they are the people of God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also shares the way in which Moses boldly prayed. He prayed with confidence, no hesitation in sight, and was assured of God’s nearness. He was direct and orderly in what He was asking the Lord to do, reasoning and pleading, and reminding Him of His promises. The Christian must be like a child speaking to their Father, pleading with Him because of His own name’s sake.
Revival Sermon: The Power of Pentecost
The Christian can be encouraged by God’s response to Moses’s prayer in Exodus 33:17 and knowing that He gives an answer. He has mercy upon Moses and His people, and sends His blessing. In this sermon on Exodus 33:17 titled “Revival Sermon: The Power of Pentecost,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones assures the listener that the Lord has mercy upon His people, the church today, and sends His blessing. He claims that revival, above everything else, is what is needed today and therefore Christians must pray for it. For the world has always been the same, and people in sin do not change. Every revival, in a sense, has been a repetition of the day of Pentecost. There are certain occurrences that happen in revival today that happened at Pentecost. The church becomes aware of the Spirit and His presence. They are given great assurance when given the truth, and are filled with great joy and a sense of praise. That is how the church is meant to be. It is the same power today that is given in the proclamation of the truth. Another occurrence that can be related to Pentecost today is the response of the people in joining the church. Many continue steadfastly in activities of the church: membership, communion, worship, and prayer. Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages leaving time to pray for revival among God’s people today.
Revival Sermon: The Glory of God
Christians long to see the glory of God as Moses did when he approached the Lord and interceded for the Israelites in Exodus 33:18–23. It is essential that Christians know his increasing boldness, and plead with God to “show me your glory”. Sadly, there are many today who cannot truly say they have a longing to know God more deeply. Many either never knew Him in the first place, or have the feeling that they have “arrived,” and look down upon others who have not. The church today must long for personal and direct knowledge of God. In this sermon on Exodus 33:18–23 titled “Revival Sermon: The Glory of God,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out how often the Psalmist expresses this exact longing when he calls upon the Lord. His satisfaction is found solely in the Lord. Christian prayers should be motivated by a concern for the manifestation of the glory of God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also points out an example found in the New Testament in the life of Paul. Paul was never satisfied in his personal relationship with Christ, but longed to know Him more. The more he knew about Christ, the more he loved Him and desired to spend his life for the gospel.
Revival Sermon: Sovereignty of God in Revival
Revivals are exceptional and unusual. They are rare moments in which God’s glory passes by in an especially sensible way. In this sermon on the sovereignty of God in revival from Exodus 33:18–23, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out that Moses experienced a moment like this on the top of Mt. Sinai where he was able to know the character of God. There may be times when Christians are drawn towards the spectacular—this is innate in human beings. Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges the listener not to seek the spectacle that comes with revival, but rather to seek to know the character of God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones gives a helpful overview of the various names of God in order to show how they inform who God is. For instance, when God calls Himself “I AM,” He declares Himself as the self-existent, everlasting One. God establishes a covenant with His people, and it is based completely upon who He is. He is the righteous redeemer who loves His own. By His grace and in His sovereignty, God chooses when revival comes, where it comes, and to whom it comes. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches on the sovereignty of God in revival.
Revival Sermon: Glory Concealed
In this sermon on Exodus 33:18–23 titled “Revival Sermon: Glory Concealed,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds the listener of what the ultimate motivation should be for revival as Christians. It should never be for the sake of a large number of converts, or fame and glory, but for the glory of God. Moses asked the Lord to reveal His glory to him and in response, God revealed Himself in His own way. As Moses is hid within the cleft of the rock, God both reveals and conceals, blesses and protects. He is always doing these four things when He reveals Himself to His people. In Christianity, God reveals His glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Therefore, a Christian is someone who grasps the fact that God has revealed His glory in the face of Jesus Christ and all those who are called by God have beheld His glory. When Christ came to earth, He was concealed in the flesh, and yet He did not leave any of His glory behind. He was not any less God. Believers can be encouraged and filled with great hope in remembering that like Moses, they are in the cleft of the rock, which is in Christ Jesus.
Revival Sermon: Praying for the Power
In his book, the prophet Isaiah demonstrates deep concern for the City of God. In this sermon on Isaiah 62:6–7 titled “Revival Sermon: Praying for the Power,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones stresses that today Christians should be just as concerned for the church and God’s people. The church is the bride of Christ, the City of God, and His dwelling place. He suggests that if Christians don’t have the same concern Isaiah had, perhaps it is because they don’t possess the right conception of the church. And if they don’t, they cannot love it the way Christ does. Isaiah has a burdened heart; a heart broken over the state of the remnant of God’s people. He prays to the Lord and pleads with the people to remember His goodness and mercy. When the church seems to be only a remnant, weak and small, Christians must remember that she is a holy people; the place where God dwells. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out a few areas where Christians must act upon their concern for the church such as doctrine, prayer, and evangelism. He reminds to pray for revival and encourage others to do the same. In doing so, Christians are to remind God of His own promises and what He has said about Zion, the City of David, and His church.