The Danger of The Gospel by Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones
The Gospel makes us see…our real danger. These are the problems — not the Esaus we put up. These are the problems — my relationship to God, my relationship to myself, yes, and my real danger. Now to Jacob of course the danger was this, that Esau might rob him of a certain amount of his goods, or that Esau might kill his wives and children, or indeed that Esau might go so far as to take the life of Jacob — that to Jacob was the danger. As we look and watch him as he paces backwards and forwards, he says, “What is Esau going to do to me? I may lose this wonderful stock, that I bred in the land of Laban, I may lose it, it would be a terrible loss — I may lose my wives and children, I may lose my life, isn’t this terrible.” And he prays to God frantically. But what does God do? “Jacob,” says God, “you haven’t realized your greatest danger — your greatest danger is that you may lose your soul. Jacob,” said God to him, “these things about which you are worrying are things which of necessity sooner or later you are bound to lose. There is a day coming when you are going to die and, then you will have to lose your stock, you will have to leave your wives and children and all your possessions.… But at that moment and hour you will still have your soul and you will have to render up an account to me of that soul. I have given you that soul, Jacob — your greatest danger at this moment is the loss of your soul and not being the man I want you to be, the man with the birthright blessing — that is the danger — the wrong relationship to me that leads to wrath and punishment and hell and destruction.”…
The Gospel, I say, reveals to man that he worries and troubles about the wrong problem, it then goes on to show him the real problem, but thank God it does not stop at that. It then reveals to man the blessings of life, possibilities infinitely greater and transcending everything that man has ever thought of or dreamed of or imagined. Look at it in terms of Jacob. Jacob stands there and he says to himself, “Now what about my future, if only I can appease Esau I will cross the river, I will settle down and be a wealthy and prosperous man — I will have stock and the crop, I will have the wives and the children — that will be a wonderful life.” This is what he coveted. But when God met him there that night Jacob was given such a vision of blessing that he forgot all about Esau and his stock and crop and everything else. He saw God and he met God. God revealed to him the blessing that he had in store for him and Jacob said, “I will not let thee go, I will let my animals go, I will let my wives and children go, I will let everything go, but I will not let thee go and the blessing of God.” He had met the God who was offering him pardon for his failure, who assured him that He would place His hand upon him, who gave him there a vision of his own future as the father of a nation, the father ultimately of the Lord Jesus Christ who was to be the Savior of the world. Jacob, I believe, was given a glimpse of that — out of his seed even the Messiah shall come — and he said, “I will not let thee go. What are earthly honors and goods and possessions when I see that through me and out of this nation will come Shiloh, the Deliverer” — that is the blessing — the new name, no longer Jacob but “Israel.” And that is what the Gospel says to every man who hears it by the power of the Holy Spirit. It offers us, let me say it again, pardon, forgiveness, assurance that God blots out our sins as a thick cloud and casts them behind him. Can you think of anything greater in this world tonight than that, having your conscience cleansed, being able to face and look at God and say, “I am guilty but Christ suffered for my sin and I am free, pardoned and forgiven.” It means a new start in life, a new nature — the nature of God Himself, being made a child of God.… He offers new power and strength and new might; He will enable us to conquer old sins and get rid of the things that have spoilt and ruined our past existence; He gives us righteousness and joy and peace; He removes the fear of death and the grave; He enables you to smile at death and the grave and say, “I have gone from death to life, through judgment to eternity.” And it gives us an everlasting hope that can never fade away. In other words, what the Gospel tells us is something like this: It tells us that this world is ultimately going to be rid of sin. It tells us that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, is coming back into this world; He is going to destroy all His enemies…. It tells us that everything that is sinful and evil is going to be taken out of the world, even out of creation itself — that there is going to be “a new heaven and a new earth in which dwelleth righteousness” and that those who are Christian are going to live in that world with Christ at their head, looking into the face of God and enjoying everlasting and eternal bless. It offers that. That is why I said at the beginning that the Gospel surprises us. It does not mean just pulling yourself together and trying to be a better man — No, no, it means that God will make you a child of His own; it means He will put His own nature into you, He will make you an heir of that bliss which I have tried to describe so inadequately; it means death will have no terror for you; you can look forward to that glorified existence. That is the blessing which He offers us. We have but to realize our need of Him, the failure of our life, the danger to the soul, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and those are the things we receive.
An excerpt from a sermon, “The Life-Changing Meeting,” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones from Old Testament Evangelistic Sermons, published by The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1995. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Book Review: Preaching and Preachers (40th Anniversary Edition) by *D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
A Preaching Classic Just Got Even Better
In order to introduce a new generation of preachers to “the Doctor” this book published in 1972 has been reissued. All the material from a series of lectures the Doctor gave in 1969 at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia – and is still very relevant to the times in which we are living in the 21st century. The Doctor was one who knew his cultural climate and ministered in a setting in London, that (especially in comparison with big cities in America) was ahead of its time in terms of a naturalistic worldview and skepticism toward religion and the gospel. However, he never backed down from the primacy and centrality of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ from the Scriptures.
It’s doubtful that very many preachers will agree with everything Lloyd-Jones has to say in this book, but it’s also very probable that you will gain profound insight, wisdom, and be encouraged in your preaching. You will most certainly be convinced of the importance of preaching, the relevance of preaching, and become a better gospel empowered preacher as a result of reading this book.
What’s different about the 40th edition? Well, the 1972 version has been left in tact, but there are several very welcome features:
Several new essays by modern preachers who share what they have learned and applied from the Doctor – Ligon Duncan writes an essay entitled, “Some things to Look For and Wrestle With;” Tim Keller writes an essay called “A Tract for the Times;” John Piper writes on “Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Preacher;” Kevin DeYoung writes an essay on “Preaching for Brand New and Tired Old Preachers;” Mark Dever writes on “What I’ve Learned about Preaching From Martyn Lloyd-Jones;” and lastly Bryan Chapell pens “Martyn Lloyd-Jones: An Uncommon Zeal.”
Another new feature is that each chapter contains several questions for study and discussion that can be useful for students, pastors, or church staffs to use in discussion or small group study. I am so glad that this new edition is finally here, and hope that it will inspire a new generation of preachers to proclaim the gospel from Genesis to Revelation with the unction of the Spirit, knowledge of the Scriptures, love for Christ, and passion of “the Doctor.”
*J.I. Packer first heard Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preach when he was a 22-year-old student in London. Upon hearing Lloyd-Jones, Packer remarked that he had “never heard such preaching…[delivered] with the force of electric shock, bringing to at least one of his listeners more of a sense of God than any other man.” As Packer’s statement suggests, Lloyd-Jones’s life-long ministry had a profound impact not only on lay-people, but on the very leaders of the Christian church as well.
Although Lloyd-Jones was to become one of the great Christian thinkers of the twentieth century, his career began far removed from the Church. Born in Cardiff, Wales in 1899, Lloyd-Jones moved to London with his family at the age of 14. He was driven by a strong desire to be a doctor and attended medical school at St. Bartholomew’s Teaching Hospital in London. A remarkably bright student, Lloyd-Jones earned his M.D. at the age of 22 and immediately began working as the chief clinical assistant to Sir Thomas Horder, who referred to Lloyd-Jones as, “The most accurate thinker that I ever knew.”
However, at beginning his medical career, Lloyd-Jones began reading the Bible and was soon gripped by the logic of the Christian gospel. In his early twenties, he underwent a quiet but profound conversion to Christianity. Feeling propelled by a new desire to share his faith with others, Lloyd-Jones began to think that preaching would provide the best avenue for him to promote the gospel of Christ. But, at the same time, Lloyd-Jones had fallen in love with a young medical student named Bethan Phillips. He felt torn, knowing that if she were to marry him she would need to share his vision of abandoning medicine to pursue the ministry, and he prayed hard for God to work in her heart. Bethan did come to share Martyn’s vision for preaching and she married him in 1927. Together they shocked the press by making a dramatic move from the elite medical community of Harley Street to a small house in Lloyd-Jones’s native country. There, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones began his preaching career at the Bethlehem Forward Movement Mission Church in Aberavon, Wales.
In 1938, G. Campbell Morgan, the Minister of Westminster Chapel, heard Lloyd-Jones preach and decided that he wanted to have him as his successor in London. In the following year, Lloyd-Jones, his wife, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Ann, moved to London. Although Lloyd-Jones began his ministry at Westminster on a temporary basis, his stay there would be anything but temporary. His preaching drew in thousands of people and the congregation responded enthusiastically to his sharp, analytical presentation of the Christian faith. He remained at Westminster for thirty years, faithfully preaching through even the bomb raids of the World War II, and retired from there in 1968. While in London, Lloyd-Jones also had a formative influence on the InterVarsity Fellowship of Evangelical Unions by serving as its President for many years. Even today InterVarsity is a thriving world-wide ministry and it owes a large portion of its success to the influential work of Lloyd-Jones.
After leaving the church at the age of 69, Lloyd-Jones was unwilling to simply relax in retirement and he continued to work as hard as he had while he was at Westminster. He published some of his best work during that time and he continued to travel and preach at various engagements. Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones worked until in 1981, weakened by illness, he died quietly in his sleep at the age of 82.
Book Review: Preaching Christ in All of Scripture By Edmund P. Clowney
How To Preach Sermons Leading You to Worship Jesus
I was trained in an Evangelical University and Seminary where I had an excellent Biblical education and training in Systematic Theology. After being a preaching pastor for about five years I realized that the best preachers I was admiring had been trained in Biblical Theology and so I enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry preaching program at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California.
I vividly remember one of my professors talking about how the story of David and Goliath wasn’t just about “David and Goliath” but pointed to the greater David – Jesus. It’s taken me years to learn how to preach Christ and not just moralistic sermons. However, one of the masters of preaching Christ from all of the Bible is Edmund P. Clowney. As a matter of fact a lot of preachers today are excited about the teaching ministry of Tim Keller in New York – who really learned most of what he knows (that’s what he will tell you) from the author of the sermons of this book – Dr. Edmund Clowney.
One of the first things I learned about at WTS was Redemptive Historical Preaching – which essentially follows the “big story line” of the Bible with an eye on Jesus and His Person and redemptive work in history. In my opinion, what Clowney does teaches and models in this book is the greatest need of the 21st century – getting back to preaching Christ from all of Scripture.
If you are a pastor who like me – has had trouble with “getting to Christ” from the passage – especially in the Old Testament – you will find some great examples of how to do this from the various genres in the Old and New Testaments from a brilliant and humble preacher who knew the Bible and the “big story” well.
Edmund Clowney’s book is an outstanding contribution in helping preachers do what the prophets and the apostles did – preach Christ. Clowney begins with a chapter demonstrating how all of the Scriptures point to Christ – and he makes a wonderful case for this reality. In the second chapter he gives his methodology for “preparing a sermon that presents Christ.”
The remaining chapters are sample sermons from different genres in the Old and New Testaments showing the application of the principles articulated in the first two chapters. The sermons are as follows:
“Sharing the Father’s Welcome” based on Luke 15:11-32
“See What It Costs” based on Genesis 22:1-19
“When God Came Down” based on Genesis 28:10-22
“The Champion’s Strange Victory” based on Genesis 32
“Can God Be Among Us?” based on Exodus 34:1-9
“Meet the Captain” based on Joshua 5:13-15
“Surprised by Devotion” based on 2 Samuel 23:13-17
“The Lord of the Manger”
“Jesus Preaches Liberty” based on Luke 4:16-22
“The Cry of the God-Forsaken Savior” based on Psalm 22:1
“Our International Anthem” based on Psalm 936:3
“Jesus Christ and the Lostness of Man”
“Hearing Is Believing: The Lord of the Word”
As of the writing of this review you can still hear Edmund P. Clowney and Tim Keller co- teach a class for free called “Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World.” It has 37 lectures and question and answers sessions from RTS and covers the full gamut of issues related to Christ–centered preaching. I highly recommend that you download this course and listen to it until you get it. It will make a huge difference in your teaching and preaching – and you will see real life change in yourself and your hearers as a result.
If you are a preacher, or teacher of the Bible you will definitely benefit from this book. More importantly, I hope that you will be influenced and impacted by this book so that your sermons and Bible lessons will be filled with Christ, lead to Christ, and bring glory to Christ in a way that articulates with passion and excitement – the greatest story ever told. I have been blessed in my own worship of Christ, understanding of Christo-centric preaching, and have become a better preacher and teacher as a result – going from teaching moralistically to Biblically and thus leading others to worship Christ the Lord.
Book Review: Preaching and Teaching the Last Things by Walter Kaiser
Walter Kaiser is a gifted Old Testament scholar who has the keen ability to be able to communicate well among lay people and scholars alike. In this new offering Dr. Kaiser does not disappoint. This book is especially geared toward pastors, but is also extremely helpful for all those who teach and desire to understand the Old Testament and it’s connections to the New Testament and the ultimate promise plan of God.
Dr. Kaiser lands somewhere between a “covenant” and “dispensational” theologian – in my opinion he is very balanced and makes an excellent case for each passage he exegetes. He definitely leans dispensational – taking passages and promises to Israel literally unless there is a textual indicator deeming otherwise.
The book is composed of six parts – covering different aspects of the end times. Each of these parts contains two or three passages of Scripture, and is broken down in this way:
1) A discussion of the topic.
2) Specific exegetical and sermonic helps for the specific passage being taught including: the text; title; focal point; homiletical key word; interrogative question; and teaching aim.
3) A teaching outline for the passage.
4) An exegetical discussion of the passage.
5) Practical conclusions based on a thorough exegesis of the passage.
Here are the topics that Kaiser addresses in the book with thorough exegetical and insightful precision:
Part 1: The Individual and General Eschatology of the Old Testament
- Life and Death in the Old Testament (Psalm 49:1-20)
- The resurrection of Mortals in the Old Testament (Job 19:21-27)
Part 2: The Nation of Israel in Old Testament Eschatology
- The Everlasting Promises made to Israel (Jeremiah 32:27-44)
- The Future Resurrection and Reunification of the Nation (Ezekiel 37:1-28)
- The Future Return of Israel to the Land of Promise (Zechariah 10:2-12)
Part 3: The New Davidic King and the City of the great King in the Old Testament
- The Branch of the Lord and the New Zion (Isaiah 2:2-5; 4:2-6)
- The Extent of Messiah’s Rule and Reign (Psalm 72:1-17)
Part 4: The Day of the Lord and the Beginning of the Nations’ Struggle with Israel
- The Arrival of the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:28-3:21)
- God and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39)
Part 5: The Events of the Last Seven Years and the Arrival of the Western Confederacy
10. The Seventy Weeks of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27)
11. The New Coming Third Temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40:1-41:26; 43:1-11)
12. The Coming Antichrist (Daniel 11:36-45)
13. The Battle of Armageddon (Zechariah 14:1-21)
Part 6: The Coming Millennial Rule of Christ and the Arrival of the Eternal State
14. The Millennial Rule and Reign of God (Isaiah 24:1-23)
15. The New Creation (Isaiah 65:17-25; 66:18-24)
I think this book is a welcome addition to any Bible student’s collection – especially due to the neglect of roughly 20-25% of the Bible being of a prophetic nature. Those of us who teach and preach God’s Word are required to teach the “whole counsel of God.” My only complaint is that I would have liked to have seen him draw more parallels in the passages to Christ and how the gospel applies to believers in the here and now – and not solely in the past or future (read Tim Keller or Paul Tripp for excellence in this matter). Overall, I think it’s an excellent resource with wise insights into God’s Word and how His promise plan will ultimately be fulfilled.
*Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (PhD, Brandeis University) is the distinguished professor emeritus of Old Testament and president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Dr. Kaiser has written over 40 books, including Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching; A History of Israel; The Messiah in the Old Testament; Recovering the Unity of the Bible; The Promise-Plan of God; Preaching and Teaching The Last Things; and coauthored (with Moises Silva) An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics. Dr. Kaiser and his wife, Marge, currently reside at Kerith Farm in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin. Dr. Kaiser’s website: www.walterckaiserjr.com