Knowing The Times by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
The selected excerpt below is a portion of the larger address entitled “The Weapons of Our Warfare,” given by Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel on June 10, 1964. The highly recommended book is available HERE.
“Confidence In The Word”
by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
We must have confidence and assurance! In what? In the Bible as the Word of God. Why? Because it is God’s Word, because it is God’s revelation; because it is not the theories and the ideas of men with respect to the truth; because it is not what men have discovered and arrived at as the result of their great study and scholarship and meditation. It is what the living God has revealed to men, has shown them, and has commanded them to preach. Let us remember Martin Luther’s contrast between philosophy and revelation. He puts it like this: “Philosophy has to do with what can be known by human reason. Theology has to do with that which is ‘believed,’ with that which is apprehended by faith.”
This is God’s Word, this is God’s truth. This is from heaven, not from men and it is therefore invincible. We must learn to say what this great apostle said in his Epistle to the Galatians in the first chapter: “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed’ (verse 8). “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of God unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (verse 6). ‘I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ’ (verses 11-12). “A dispensation of the gospel,’ he says to the Corinthians and to others, has been ‘committed unto me’ (1 Corinthians 9:17). This was his whole position and it must be ours. This is the Word of God! This is revelation! This is infallible because it is God’s. This is the first weapon of our warfare. This is something which is to be proclaimed; not to be defended, but to be proclaimed; to be spoken with a holy boldness; to be ‘declared’ unto men. We do not need ‘dialogues,’ we need declaration.
And what is its message? Well, what I would emphasize particularly is that we must have the full message. We must, like this great apostle, deliver the whole counsel of God. I believe that much of our present position is due to the fact that we have not done that. We have only preached parts of it. We have been afraid of offending. We have been superficial. We have been so interested in getting visible results that we have kept back certain vital aspect of the truth. It must be the whole counsel, the full gospel.
What is that? It starts with the law. The law of God. Preaching starts with the law; it must start with the holiness of God, the law of God, the demands of a righteous God, the wrath of God. That is the way to bring men and women to conviction; not by modifying the truth, not by presenting it with an apparent learning which dilutes it. We must confront them with the fact that they are men, and that they are fallible men, that they are dying men, that they are sinful men, and that they will all have to stand before God at the bar of eternal judgment and give an account of the deeds done in the body, and with the fact of the wrath of God, which has already been revealed ‘against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men’ (Romans 1:18). We must preach it without fear or favor, with the holy boldness that characterized the first apostles.
And then we must present to them the full-orbed doctrine of the grace of God in salvation in Jesus Christ. We must show that no man is saved by deeds of the law, by his own goodness or righteousness, or church membership, or anything else, but solely, utterly, entirely by the free gift of God in Jesus Christ His Son. We must tell them that the eternal Son of God came from heaven into this world, was born miraculously and uniquely of the virgin, was born under the law, and gave a perfect obedience to that law, that He took upon Him the guilt of our sins, and received our punishment, and that thereby alone we are saved. We must tell them that He died, that He was buried in a grave, that He literally rose in the body, manifested Himself to chosen witnesses, ascended into heaven, sat down at the right hand of God, and that He is waiting until His enemies shall be made His footstool; that He will come again, riding the clouds of heaven, surrounded by the holy angels, that He will destroy all His enemies, and set up His glorious and eternal kingdom. We must preach the full-orbed doctrine leaving nothing out; conviction of sin, the reality of judgment and hell, free grace, justification, sanctification, glorification.
We must also show that there is a world-view in the Bible. We must demonstrate that here alone can you understand history; past history, present history, future history. Let us show this great world-view, and God’s eternal purpose. Let us preach it to the people. Let us forget about their science and learning and scholarship. Let us say to them, This is history, this is what has happened, and this is what must happen; God has said so. Let us give them the full-orbed gospel and its message.
Let us at the same time be very careful that we are giving it to the whole man. What do I mean? I mean that the gospel is not only for a man’s heart, but that you start with his head and present truth to it. Truth comes first to the mind and to the understanding. Let us expound the truth. Let us not imagine that to evangelize is just to tell stories, to amuse people, and to use certain psychological techniques. Let us show that it is a great message given by God which we in turn pass on to the mind, to the heart, to the will. There is ever this danger of leaving out some part or other of man’s personality. Some are purely intellectual in their approach, some are entirely emotional or sentimental, some are always urging people to decide or surrender – all emphasis on the will. They are all wrong. “God be thanked,” says this great apostle in Romans 6:17, “that ye were servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of sound words which was delivered unto you.” Let us be certain that we address the whole man: his mind, his emotions, his will.
[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]