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Sermon #RV06

Revival Sermon: Dead Orthodoxy

A Sermon on the Danger of Dead Orthodoxy


Genesis 26:17-18 ESV KJV
So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names …

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Sermon Description

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.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The church today is in a similar position as Isaac when he searched for water in the wells dug by Abraham but found them stopped up by the Philistines. There are hindrances and obstacles to revival that must be cleared away.
  2. The first hindrance is error and apostasy, or a lack of orthodoxy. There can be no revival without belief in certain central doctrines of redemption and salvation.
  3. The second hindrance is defective orthodoxy, or an unbalanced orthodoxy. An orthodoxy that lacks balance and conformity to the Scriptural pattern can be useless.
  4. The third hindrance is dead orthodoxy, which is characterized by:
  5. Contentment and smugness: Satisfaction with correct beliefs without life or power. Main concern is defending one's position.
  6. Being at ease in Zion: Wanting only enough religion to feel safe, with no interest in God himself.
  7. Dislike of being searched or disturbed: Wanting smooth, uplifting messages that do not convict of sin.
  8. Nothing vital in religion or worship: No expectation of meeting with or experiencing God. Mere formality.
  9. A second characteristic of dead orthodoxy is a dislike of enthusiasm, which quenches the Spirit. Charges of "enthusiasm" have always been leveled against revival. We must hold to "let all things be done decently and in order" but also "do not quench the Spirit."
  10. "Let all things be done decently and in order" condemns:
  11. Confusion: All speaking or prophesying at once. God is not the author of confusion.
  12. Excitement or false joy: Animal excitement or emotion not based on truth.
  13. Emotionalism: Emotions out of control or deliberately worked up. Direct appeals to emotion are false. Emotion should flow from the mind's apprehension of truth.
  14. "Do not quench the Spirit" means we can go to the opposite extreme of suppressing the Spirit's work in our reaction against excess. We fear:
  15. Confusion, so we have overly rigid control, formality, and programs that leave no room for the Spirit.
  16. False joy, so we have no joy or emotion at all. We need to have truth and avoid falsehood, not suppress both.
  17. Emotionalism, so we have banished emotion and passion altogether. We need emotion in balance, not sentimentality. Lack of emotion is a hindrance to revival.
  18. We pride ourselves on intellect and respectability, thinking that is why we lack revival, unlike our "primitive" forebears. But men like Paul and Luther showed great intellect and passion. We need to recover a balance of mind and heart.

Revival Sermons

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.