I would lay it down as a basic proposition that the primary task of the Church is not to educate man, is not to heal him physically or psychologically, it is not to make him happy. I will go further; it is not even to make him good. These are things that accompany salvation; and when the Church performs her true task she does incidentally educate men and give them knowledge and information, she does bring them happiness, she does make them good and better than they were. But my point is that those are not her primary objectives. Her primary purpose is not any of these; it is rather to put man into the right relationship with God, to reconcile man to God. This really does need to be emphasised at the present time, because this, it seems to me, is the essence of the modern fallacy. It has come into the Church and it is influencing the thinking of many in the Church—this notion that the business of the Church is to make people happy, or to integrate their lives, or to relieve their circumstances and improve their conditions.
– Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers
The greatest natural intellect cannot receive this, he is ‘a natural man’. And you need a spiritual faculty to receive the wonderful truth about the two natures in the one Person; the outstanding doctrine about the Trinity; the whole doctrine of the incarnation and the atonement, and so on. This is spiritual truth and to the natural person it is utter folly, it is foolishness, as Paul says. So when the Holy Spirit does enable us to believe it, it must be something beyond the heightening of our natural faculties. It is not simply that He brings the truth of His great moral suasion to us. No, no. We need some new faculty, some new principle, and that is the very work that He does. He implants within us this new spiritual principle, this principle of spiritual vitality and activity, and it is as the result of this that the general call of the gospel comes to us in an effectual manner.
– From the chapter on Effectual Calling in God the Holy Spirit
We have to start with this realization, that the whole organization of the world is against us as Christians. The newspapers are a perfect representation of the mind of the world. Look at what they say, what they teach, what they insinuate. Look at their representation of life, and look at what they are advocating. The same is true of the other instruments – television, radio, and the rest – all belong to the world. The power controlling them is what the Bible call ‘the world’. They do not urge us to think about the soul and our relationship to God and eternity. They are all earth-bound, all within the temporal, the material, the physical. And the world hates the Bible; it is anti-God. You need not go to Russia to get evidence of it; you can find it in the newspapers – the blatant, open, criticizing and ridiculing of the Bible and its teaching. The world is doing that constantly. Most of the great men of the world today are doing this very thing. Such is ‘the world’!
If we fail to realize these things, we are already defeated. The Christian has to realize that the world is against him, that the devil is using the visible, the seen to defeat God’s people, to bring them into confusion, to entangle them, to ensnare the, and thus to stand between them and the blessings that God is ready to give them. How slow we are to realize this! Our Lord says, ‘If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.’ Do not be surprised, He says. It hated the Lord, and He says, ‘The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have hated me they will hate you’. And God’s people have always been hated. One main point of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews is to show how the world treated them. The world was ‘not worthy of them’; it persecuted them, it maligned them, it hated them. And ‘the world’, let us remember, can come into the Church; which explains why Christian people often receive persecution from merely nominal Christians. They have always had it, they are still getting it. The mind of the world says, ‘Religion is all right, but you must not go too far, you must not take it too seriously’. There is always hatred on the part of the world for true Christianity.
…We are surrounded by that which is utterly opposed to us and trying to get us down. I am not thinking of open sin only. Worldliness is not confined to flagrant sinning. There are many highly respectable people who are utterly worldy. To be worldy means that God is shut out, Christ is shut out, the holy life is shut off. Very respectable perhaps, but not Christian; that is the essence of worldliness.
– from The Christian Soldier, pages 261-262
by Christopher Catherwood
Martyn Lloyd-Jones—often known as “the Doctor” from his medical degree—was one of the greatest preachers of the twentieth century, if not one of the most distinguished since his hero Jonathan Edwards in the eighteenth century.
I must of course admit to a prejudice as I write that; I am his eldest grandchild! But I am not alone in my high regard for him personally and for his many decades of ministry, which spanned the years 1927, when he started to preach, until his death in 1981. I am also the author of a new biography entitled, Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Relevance for the 21st Century.
I am not exaggerating at all when I say that the chief characteristic of the religious outlook of today is vagueness. And what is still worse is that it is claimed that this very element of vagueness is that quality which is most peculiarly and characteristically Christian…
Vague general hopes and aspirations after a higher and better life are regarded as quite sufficient. There is no clarity of view, no definitions of position – everything is vague, fluid, and constantly changing. And, as I have pointed out, they regard any attempt at definition or clarity as being peculiarly anti-Christian and lacking in charity. Any examination of the roots, any insistence upon certain fundamental principles as being absolutely vital and essential to true faith in God, is regarded as being wholly inconsistent with the gospel. Generalizations and nebulous phrases about truth, beauty, and love are the order of the day; they find a little bit of good and of God in everybody and everything, and therefore, whether you believe in Christ as the only begotten of God or not, really does not matter very much and Gandhi is spoken of with the same reverence as our Lord Himself.
From the sermon The Thoroughness of the Gospel, preached September 20, 1931, found in Evangelistic Sermons at Aberavon.
Filed under Quotes, Sermons