“Every preacher will, I am sure, agree that preaching is comparatively simple as compared with praying, because when one is preaching one is speaking to men, but when a man prays he is speaking to God. Many find it difficult to concentrate, others to know how to speak and how to form their petitions, and so on. The moment you take prayer seriously you begin to learn its profound character. Of course, those who ‘say their prayers’ mechanically are not aware of any difficulties; all seems so simple. They simply repeat the Lord’s Prayer and offer up a few petitions and they imagine that they have prayed. But such a person has not started praying. The moment you begin to face what really happens in prayer you find inevitably that it is the profoundest activity in which you have ever engaged. How little we have prayed, how little we know about prayer! It is not surprising that the disciples of our Lord turned to Him one day and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray as John also taught his disciples’ (Luke 11 :i). But they were probably not only thinking at that moment of John and his disciples, they had been watching their Lord Himself and the way He repeatedly withdrew for prayer. I do not hesitate to assert that unless you have ever felt something of what those disciples felt, and offered that petition, it is certain that you have never prayed in your life. If you have never been aware of difficulties It is because you have never realized what prayer involves.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose, (Baker Book House, 1979) pp. 326, 327
“At the heart and centre of the gospel stands the truth that there is no salvation at all apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘Christianity is Christ.’ Anything which may represent itself as Christianity but which does not insist upon the absolute necessity and cruciality of Christ is not Christianity at all. Unless He is the heart and soul and centre, the beginning and the end of what is offered as salvation, it is not Christian salvation, whatever else it may be. —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose, (Baker Book House, 1979) p. 149
“It is just here that we all tend to go astray. Although we have the open Bible before us we still tend to base our ideas of doctrine on our own thoughts instead of on the Bible. The Bible always starts with God the Father; and we must not start anywhere else, or with anyone else. The Bible is, ultimately, the revelation and the record and the explanation of what God has done for the salvation of man. The Bible is the revelation of God’s gracious purpose towards a world of sinful man; it claims to be such, and the revelation is in its every book. This is what accounts for its extraordinary unity. Its controlling theme is what God has done, what God has promised to do, what God began to do, what God has actually done, what He is going to do, and the amazing outcome of it all. And that is precisely what the Apostle is doing in this section of our Epistle. He is not giving expression to his own theories or ideas, but writing about what God has revealed to him.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose, (Baker Book House, 1979) pp. 40, 41
“The whole message of the gospel is introduced by this word ‘grace’. Grace means that in spite of everything I have been saying about man, God still looks upon him with favour. You will not understand the meaning of this word ‘grace’ unless you accept fully what I have been saying about man in sin. It is failure to do the latter that explains why the modern conception of grace is so superficial and inadequate. It is because man has an inadequate conception of sin that he has an inadequate conception of the grace of God. If you want to measure grace you must measure the depths of sin. Grace is that which tells man that in spite of all that is so true of him God looks upon him with favour. It is utterly unmerited, it is entirely undeserved; but this is the message of ‘Grace be unto you.’ It is an unmerited and undeserved action by God, a condescending love. When man in sin deserved nothing but to be blotted out of existence God looked on him in grace and mercy and dealt with him accordingly.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose, (Baker Book House, 1979) pp. 40, 41
“Furthermore, because man is in this relationship to God he is also in a state of enmity against himself. He is not only engaged in this warfare against a God who is outside of him;but he is also fighting a war within himself. Therein lies the real tragedy of fallen man; he does not believe what I am saying but it is certainly true of him. Man is in a state of internal conflict and he does not know why it is so. He wants to do certain things, but something inside him tells him that it is wrong to do so. He has something in him which we call conscience. Though he thinks he can be perfectly happy whatever he does, and though he may silence other people, he cannot silence this inward monitor. Man is in a state of internal warfare; he does not know the reason for it, yet he knows that it is so.
But in the Scriptures we are told exactly why this is the case. Man was made by God in such a way that he can only be at peace within himself when he is at peace with God. Man was never meant to be a god, but he is for ever trying to deify himself. He sets up his own desires as the rules and laws of his life, yet he is ever characterized by confusion, and worse. Something in himself denies his claims; and so he is always quarrelling and fighting with himself. He knows nothing of real peace; he has no peace with God, he has no peace within himself. And still worse, because of all this, he is in a state of warfare with everyone else. Unfortunately for him everyone else wants to be a god as well. Because of sin we have all become self-centred, ego-centric, turning in upon this self which we put on a pedestal, and which we think is so wonderful and superior to all others. But everyone else is doing the same, and so there is war among the gods. We claim that we are right, and that everyone else is wrong. Inevitably the result is confusion and discord and unhappiness between man and man. Thus we begin to see why the Apostle prays that we may have peace. It is because of man’s sad condition, man’s life as the result of sin, and as the result of his falling away from God. He is in a state of dis-unity within and without, in a state of unhappiness, in a state of wretchedness.”
—D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose, (Baker Book House, 1979) pp. 38, 39
“Putting all the ecclesiastical corpses into one graveyard will not bring about a resurrection!
To me one of the major tragedies of the hour, and especially in the realm of the church, is that most of the time seems to be taken up by the leaders in preaching about unity instead of preaching the gospel that alone can produce unity.
If all the churches in the world became amalgamated, it would not make the slightest difference to the man in the street. He is not outside the churches because the churches are disunited; he is outside because he likes his sin, because he is a sinner, because he is ignorant of spiritual realities. He is no more interested in this problem of unity than the man in the moon!” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, from Messenger of Grace by Iain Murray
Commenting on Ephesians 1:1
“I am emphasizing this because it seems to me that it is the primary need of the Christian Church at the present time to realize exactly what it means to be a Christian. How was it that the early Christians, who were but a handful of people, had such a profound impact on the pagan world in which they lived? It was because they were what they were. It was not their organization, it was the quality of their life, it was the power they possessed because they were truly Christian. That is how Christianity conquered the ancient world, and I am more and more convinced that it is the only way in which Christianity can truly influence the modern world. The lack of influence of the Christian Church in the world at large today is in my opinion due to one thing only, namely, (God forgive us!) that we are so unlike the description of the Christians that we find in the New Testament. If therefore we are concerned about the state of the Church, if we have a burden for men and women who are outside the Church, and who in their misery and wretchedness are hurtling themselves to destruction, the first thing we have to do is to examine ourselves, and to discover how closely we conform to this pattern and description.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose, (Baker Book House, 1979) p. 24
“Another way in which the peculiar characteristic of this great Epistle can be stated is that it is a letter in which the Apostle looks at the Christian salvation from the vantage point of the ‘heavenly places’. In all his Epistles he expounds and explains the way of salvation; he deals with particular doctrines, and with arguments or controversies that had arisen in the churches. But the peculiar feature and characteristic of the Epistle to the Ephesians is that here the Apostle seems to be, as he puts it himself, in ‘the heavenly paces’, and he is looking down at the great panorama of salvation and redemption from that particular aspect. The result is that in Epistle there is very little controversy; and that is so because his great concern here was to give to the Ephesians and others to whom the letter is addressed, a panoramic view of this wondrous and glorious work of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Luther says of the Epistle to the Romans that it is ‘the most important document in the New Testament, the gospel in its purest expression’, and in many ways I agree that there is no purer, plainer statement of the gospel than in the Epistle to the Romans. Accepting that as true I would venture to add that if the Epistle to the Romans is the purest expression of the gospel, the Epistle to the Ephesians is the sublimest and the most majestic expression of it. Here the standpoint is a wider one, a larger one. There are statements and passages in this Epistle which really baffle description. The great Apostle piles epithet upon epithet, adjective upon adjective, and still he cannot express himself adequately. There are passages in this first chapter, and others in the third chapter, especially towards its end, where the Apostle is carried out above and beyond himself, and loses and abandons himself in a great outburst of worship and praise and thanksgiving. I repeat, therefore, that there is nothing more sublime in the whole range of Scripture than this Epstle to the Ephesians.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose, (Baker Book House, 1979) pp. 11, 12
Sometimes God has been gracious on a Sunday and I have been conscious of exceptional liberty, and I have been foolish enough to listen to the devil when he says, ‘Now, then, you wait until next Sunday, it is going to be marvellous, there will be even larger congregations’. And I go into the pulpit the next Sunday and I see a smaller congregation. But then on another occasion I stand in this pulpit labouring, as it were left to myself, preaching badly and utterly weak, and the devil has come and said, ‘There will be nobody there at all next Sunday’. But, thank God, I have found on the following Sunday a larger congregation. That is God’s method of accountancy. You never know. I enter the pulpit in weakness and I end with power. I enter with self-confidence and I am made to feel a fool. It is God’s accountancy…. He is always giving us surprises. His book-keeping is the most romantic thing I know of in the whole world.
Our Lord spoke of it again in the third parable in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel according to St Matthew. You remember His description of the people who will come at the end of the world expecting a reward but to whom He will give nothing, and then the others to whom He will say, ‘Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you.’ And they will say, ‘We have done nothing. When have we seen you naked, when have we seen you hungry or thirsty and given you drink?’ And He will say, ‘Because you have done it unto the least of my brethren you have done it unto me’. What a surprise that will be. This life is full of romance. Our ledgers are out of date; they are of no value. We are in the Kingdom of God and it is God’s accountancy. It is all of grace. – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, pp. 131-132
Let me put this plainly and bluntly in order that I may emphasize it even at the risk of being misunderstood. There is a sense in which the one thing that any believers who are in this condition [spiritual depression due to a particular past sin] must not do is to pray to be delivered from it. That is what they always do, and the more they pray the more they begin thinking about this one sin that they’ve committed in the past, and the more and more unhappy and depressed they become. Now the Christian must always pray, the Christian must ‘pray without ceasing’, but this is one of these points at which the Christian must stop praying for a moment and begin to think. So you must stop praying and think, and work out your doctrine. – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, p. 69