Why every preacher needs “The Doctor”

Darryl Dash: When I taught preaching, I’d assign Preaching and Preachers by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (“The Doctor”). I also assigned a weekly reading report. The reactions were priceless. What could this opinionated old preacher have to teach us today? As it turns out, a lot. Lloyd-Jones does have his opinionated moments. “I believe in wearing a gown in the pulpit,” he writes — advice I’ve never taken. But he expresses many views that I have adopted, and he expresses them strongly. For instance: The work of preaching is the highest and the greatest and the most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called. If you want something in addition to that I would say without any hesitation that the most urgent need in the Christian Church today is true preaching; and as it is the greatest and the most urgent need in the Church, it is obviously the greatest need of the world also. Every time I pick

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Preach to Yourself

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:11) John Piper: We must learn to fight despondency. The fight is a fight of faith in future grace. It is fought by preaching truth to ourselves about God and his promised future. This is what the psalmist does in Psalm 42. The psalmist preaches to his troubled soul. He scolds himself and argues with himself. And his main argument is future grace: “Hope in God! — Trust in what God will be for you in the future. A day of praise is coming. The presence of the Lord will be all the help you need. And he has promised to be with us forever.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones believes this issue of preaching truth to ourselves about God’s future grace is all-important in overcoming spiritual depression. Have you realized that

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Living Water

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on John 4:56: Possibly one of the most devastating things that can happen to us as Christians is that we cease to expect anything to happen. I am not sure but that this is not one of our greatest troubles today. We come to our services and they are orderly, they are nice ‒ we come, we go ‒ and sometimes they are timed almost to the minute, and there it is. But that is not Christianity, my friend. Where is the Lord of glory? Where is the one sitting by the well? Are we expecting him? Do we anticipate this? Are we open to it? Are we aware that we are ever facing this glorious possibility of having the greatest surprise of our life? Or let me put it like this. You may feel and say ‒ as many do ‒ ‘I was converted and became a Christian. I’ve grown ‒ yes, I’ve grown in knowledge, I’ve

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The chief end of preaching

Steven Lawson: The spiritual power transmitted by Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ preaching grew out of his own transcendent view of God. No man’s preaching can rise any higher than his view of God. The sheer genius of Lloyd-Jones’ preaching was based in the towering knowledge of God he possessed and proclaimed. The more he exalted God in the pulpit, the higher the people rose in their worship of God. He was constantly magnifying the glory of God and leading his listeners to behold His greatness and grace. In 1969, Lloyd-Jones delivered a series of lectures on preaching at Westminster Theological Seminary. There, he asserted: Preaching is first of all a proclamation of the being of God . . .  preaching worthy of the name starts with God and with a declaration concerning His being and power and glory. You find that everywhere in the New Testament. That was precisely what Paul did in Athens—“Him declare I unto you.” “Him”! Preaching about God, and contrasting Him with

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The Priority of Preaching the Word

Steven Lawson: Understanding the fiery preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones requires an apprehension of the exceedingly high view he possessed of preaching. He believed that the chief business of the church is what Paul charged Timothy with his dying words, to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2). Preaching must come first in the life of the church before anything else can find its rightful place. With compelling clarity, he stated, “The primary task of the Church and of the Christian minister is the preaching of the Word of God.” Nothing, he maintained, must ever supplant the primacy of biblical preaching in the pulpit. The Doctor believed everything in the life of the church is defined and directed by the proclamation of the Scripture. Through the many challenges Lloyd-Jones faced, the public exposition of Scripture consistently occupied the central place in his ministry in Wales and London. In his estimation, the pulpit held the chief place in his ministry, and it was here

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A “Dull Preacher” is a Contradiction

  D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The preacher must never be dull, and he must never be boring; he should never be what is called ‘heavy’… Thisi s to me a very serious matter; there is something radically wrong with dull and boring preachers. How can a man be dull when he is handling such themes? I would say that a “dull preacher” is a contradiction in terms; if he is dull he is not a preacher. He may stand in a pulpit and talk, but he is certainly not a preacher. With the grand theme and message of the Bible dullness is impossible. This is the most interesting, the most thrilling, the most absorbing subject in the universe; and the idea that this can be presented in a dull manner makes me seriously doubt whether the men who are guilty of this dullness have ever really understood the doctrine they claim to believe, and which they advocate. We often betray ourselves

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It’s revelation

  “‘But wait a minute,’ says somebody.  ‘Are you saying that the passage of the years makes no difference?  Are you asking me to believe that I have got to go back nearly two thousand years, and that the truth is what these men taught then?’ . . . Yes, I am, and this is why.  There can be no development in this truth, and there has not been, because this is not truth that man works out for himself, but is truth which God reveals.  Not one of the apostles was a discoverer of truth.  The mighty apostle Paul never discovered the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. . . . It is a revelation; it is something that is given by God, something that has been revealed by him supremely in the person of his only-begotten Son.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Love So Amazing: Expositions of Colossians 1 (Grand Rapids, 1995), pages 63-64. (HT: Ray Ortlund)

Christ, not feelings

  Do you want to know supreme joy, do you want to experience a happiness that eludes description? There is only one thing to do, really seek Him, seek Him Himself, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If you find that your feelings are depressed do not sit down and commiserate with yourself, do not try to work something up but go directly to Him and seek His face, as the little child who is miserable and unhappy because somebody else has taken or broken his toy, runs to its father or its mother. So if you and I find ourselves afflicted by this condition, there is only one thing to do, it is to go to Him. If you seek the Lord Jesus Christ and find him there is no need to worry about your happiness and your joy. He is our joy and our happiness, even as He is our peace. He is life, He is everything.

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What the cross says

“To whom does the invitation of this cross come? It comes to the failures, the people who know they have gone wrong, the people who are filled with a sense of shame, the people who are weary and tired and forlorn in the struggle. . . . Do you despise yourself, kick yourself metaphorically, and feel you are no good? Weary, forlorn, tired, and on top of it all, sad and miserable? Nothing can comfort you. The pleasures of the world mock you. They do not give you anything. Life has disappointed you, and you are sad, miserable and unhappy, and on top if it all, you have a sense of guilt within you. Your conscience nags at you, condemns, raises up your past and puts it before you, and you know that you are unworthy, you know that you are a failure, you know that there is no excuse, you are guilty. . . . And then on top

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Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Advice on What to Read

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: My advice to you is: Read Jonathan Edwards. Stop going to so many meetings; stop craving for the various forms of entertainment which are so popular in evangelical circles at the present time. Learn to stay at home. Learn to read again, and do not merely read the exciting stories of certain modern people. Go back to something solid and deep and real. Are we losing the art of reading? Revivals have often started as the result of people reading volumes such as these two volumes of Edwards’ works. So read this man. Decide to do so. Read his sermons; read his practical treatises, and then go on to the great discourses on theological subjects. —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Jonathan Edwards and the Crucial Importance of Revival,”Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1987), 369-370. Lloyd-Jones elsewhere explained the importance of this practice in his own ministry: In my early days in the ministry there were no books

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Only the Gospel

Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “When the church preaches the gospel as the power of God, as spiritual dynamic that can operate in men and change them, it is THEN that she deals with the social problem; not when she is talking about the social problem, and giving statistics and making moral appeals. That is a waste of time, and we must reject it as atemptation from the devil! I do not hesitate to say so. The devil is perfectly satisfied as long as the church is just reading, Sunday by Sunday, little moral essays, trying to give a little moral uplift, and making an appeal to people to be decent. I am certain that at such times the devil rejoices, because he knows that his kingdom will not be affected.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones, (Ephesians – Darkness And Light)

Christianity or morality?

“Christianity is confused with morality.  It has been very common in this country in all ranks of society.  It is what is sometimes called ‘public school religion,’ which was started by Dr Thomas Arnold of Rugby.  His idea of Christianity was that ‘it is morality touched with emotion,’ nothing more!  The Christian is the perfect little gentleman, the man who does not do certain things! But that is not Christianity; that is not the kingdom of God.  You can do that yourself.  Yet that is what Dr Arnold taught; it is nothing but ethics and morality, a negative, cold, miserable religion, something that was always prohibiting everything and never giving anything at all. Now it is a part of the preaching of the gospel to say things like that.  I do not defend the Victorians; I think they did great harm to the kingdom of God.  They really did bring it down, most of them, to the level of morality

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Effectual Calling and Regeneration

“So, then, what is this effectual, internal call that we are speaking about? Well, the most we can say about it is — and this must of necessity be true in the light of these scriptures — that it is the exercise of the power of the Holy Spirit in the soul. It is a direct operation of the Holy Spirit within us. It is immediate, it is spiritual, it is supernatural, miraculous. And what it does is to make a new mode of spiritual activity possible within us. Without this operation we are incapable of any true spiritual activity but as the result of this operation of the Holy Spirit upon us, we are rendered capable, for the first time, of spiritual activity and that is how this call now becomes effectual, that is what enables us to receive it. “Now this is very important and I want to emphasise the immediacy, the direct action. You see, what happens

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What preaching is meant to do

Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.  1 Thessalonians 1:5 “Paul knew he was clothed with power and authority.  How does one know it?  It gives clarity of thought, clarity of speech, ease of utterance, a great sense of authority and confidence as you are preaching, an awareness of a power not your own thrilling through the whole of your being, and an indescribable sense of joy. . . . What about the people?  They sense it at once; they can tell the difference immediately.  They are gripped, they become serious, they are convicted, they are moved, they are humbled.  Some are convicted of sin, others are lifted up to the heavens, anything may happen to any one of them.  They know at once that something quite unusual and exceptional is happening. . . . What then are we to do about this?  There is only

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Justification

Martyn Lloyd-Jones in The Assurance of Our Salvation: . But this is the amazing message, and this is what is meant by justification – that God tells us that, as the result of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, because of his life, his death and his resurrection, if we believe on him and trust ourselves solely and entirely to him, God pardons and forgives our sins. Not only that, he declares that we are free from guilt: more than that, justification includes this. He not only declares that we are pardoned and forgiven and that we are guiltless, he also declares that we are positively righteous. He imputes to us, that is, he puts to our account, the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who was entirely without sin, who never failed his Father in any way, and who never broke a Commandment or transgressed any law. God gives to us – puts upon us – the righteousness

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The Essense of the Christian Faith

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “The determining factor in our relationship with God is not our past or present, but Christ’s past and present.” ‘How then does it work?’ It works like this. God accepts this righteousness of Christ, this perfect righteousness face to face with the Law, which He honored in every respect. He has kept it and given obedience to it [through his perfect life], and he has borne its penalty [through his death]. The Law is fully satisfied. God’s way of salvation, says Paul, is that. He gives to us the righteousness of Christ. If we have seen our need and go to God and confess it, God will give us his own Son’s righteousness. He imputes Christ’s righteousness to us, who believe in Him, and regards us as righteous, and declares and pronounces us to be righteous in Him. That is the way of salvation, the Christian way of salvation… To make it quite practical let me say that

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J I Packer on the Doctor

  Carl Trueman posts: From JIP’s Collected Shorter Writings 4, pp. 84 and 87: “In some way there was in the Doctor’s preaching thunder and lightning that no tape or transcription ever did or could capture — power, I mean, to mediate a realisation of God’s presence…. Nearly forty years on, it still seems to me that all I have ever known about preaching was given me in the winter of 1948-49, when I worshipped at Westminster Chapel with some regularity.  Through the thunder and lightning, I felt and saw as never before the glory of Christ and of his gospel as modern man’s only lifeline and learned by experience why historic Protestantism looks on preaching as the supreme means of grace and of communion with God.  Preaching, thus viewed and valued, was the centre of the Doctor’s life: into it he poured himself unstintingly; for it he pleaded untiringly…. Pulpit dramatics and rhetorical rhapsodies the Doctor despised and never indulged in;

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Boasting in the Cross

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.-Galatians 6:14 Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Christian not only glories in the cross, he glories in the cross alone. He glories in nothing else. . . . There is an exclusiveness about it, which means that to the Christian this is the chief thing in history, the most important event that has ever taken place. It means that to him there is nothing which comes anywhere near it in significance. It means that he rests everything upon this, that this means all to him, that he is what he is because of this. He glories in it. I want to ask a question to all Christian believers. Are you glorying in the cross? Or are you just saying, Of course, I always believe, I always have believed, I was brought up to. Can you speak like that about the cross? The test of the Christian is that he glories

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