The Doctor: The Opposite of Works =?

There are some people who seem to regard faith as the opposite of works.  Now that, in itself, is not right, because the opposite of works is not faith.  The opposite of works is the righteousness of God.  That is what the Apostle is contrasting – men who try to save themselves by works, and this other salvation, which is the giving to us of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  …So you see, the opposite of works is not faith.  No! it is the righteousness of Jesus Christ which is the opposite of works, and it is righteousness which comes to us through faith.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans Vol. 1, p. 311

The Doctor: the Non-Existance of Exhaustiveness

A friend of mine who used to attend here regularly and who has now gone to glory – a very good man – once said to me, rather jocularly but very kindly – “You know, I sometimes think that the Apostle Paul must be amazed when he sees what you get out of his epistles!”  Poor man!  By now my friend has discovered that the Apostle Paul is amazed how little that most people, and I with them, get out of his great epistles.  – D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Romans Vol. 1, p. 227

For reference as to how much The Doctor got out of Paul’s epistles this comes from a Sermon on Romans 9:10-11, his seventeenth sermon out of Romans at that point.

The Doctor: Why We Are

We do not become the beloved because of anything that we do.  We are what we are because he first loved us.  It is His love that initiates the movement that brings us out of that terrible plight and predicament in which we are all are as the result of sin.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans Vol. 1, Pg. 159

The Doctor: Revival Not Contingent Upon Me

If you work your way through the Old Testament, this is what you will find.  There were dead, lifeless periods when you would think that everything had come to an end – that God’s ways were forgotten.  How did these dead periods suddenly give way to something else?  Was it that people got together and organized something?  Never!  Not on a single occasion!  Invariably it happened like this: that when they were utterly hopeless, and downcast, and really thought the end had come, God suddenly, unexpectedly, and in the most amazing manner did something.  It is God who revives His work.  You and I tend to be anxious, over-anxious, about the work, don’t we?  Like that poor man Uzzah, we put out our hand to steady the ark, forgetting that he was struck dead for attempting to do so.  And there are many people today who seem to think that they must do something to safeguard God’s cause.  My dear friend, you need not trouble; God revives His work, but in His time, in His way, and with the person or persons whom He has chosen.  The Old Testament history is amazing in that respect.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, Vol. 1, p.96

The Doctor: the Understanding of, Not the Doing of Sin Brings the Greatest Joy

An inadequate understanding of our sinfulness is probably the greatest single cause of our failure to rejoice always in the Lord always, and to realize that this message is the greatest good news the world has ever received. …The positive road to joy is always via the depth of sin. …It ought to be impossible for us to use the word ‘gospel’ without bursting forth, as it were, into a hymn of praise and thanksgiving.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans Vol. 1, pp. 58, 59

John Owen: Hater of Sin, Lover of God

Here are the quotes, used and unused, from last night’s biographical address on John Owen.

If thou art, as many in this pretending age, a sign or title gazer, and comest into books as Cato into the theatre, to go out again,—thou hast had thy entertainment; farewell!  – In The Preface of the Death of Death in the Death of Christ

Heresy is a canker, but it is a spiritual one; let it be prevented by spiritual means: cutting off men’s heads is no proper remedy for it.

May it please your majesty, could I posses the tinker’s abilities for preaching, I would willing relinquish all my learnings.  – In reply to Charles II when asked why he would go hear such a tinker a John Bunyan preach

…I am going to him whom my soul has loved, or rather who has loved me with an everlasting love, – which is the whole ground of all my consolation.  The passage is very irksome and wearisome, through strong pains of various sorts, which are all issued in an intermitting fever.  I am leaving the ship of the church in a storm; but whilst the great Pilot is in it, the loss of a poor under-rower is inconsiderable.  – A letter to His friend Charles Fleetwood

I am glad to hear it; but O brother Payne! The long wished-for day is come at last, in which I shall see that glory in another manner than I have ever done or was capable of doing in this world.  – To Thomas Payne with arms uplifted and eyes heavenward on the morning of the day of his death.

The vigor, and power, and comfort of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh.  – The Mortification of Sin

Do you mortify; do you make it you daily work; be always at it while you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.  – The Mortification of Sin

…sin is never less quite when it seems to be most quite, and its waters most deep when they are still…  – The Mortification of Sin

Sin always aims at the utmost; every time it raises up to tempt or entice, might it have its own course, it would go out to the utmost sin of its kind.  Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could; every covetous desire would be oppression, every thought of unbelief would be atheism, might it grow to its head.  – The Mortification of Sin

He that shall call a man from mending a hole in the wall of his house, to quench a fire that is consuming the whole building is not his enemy.  – The Mortification of Sin

Be much in thoughtfulness of the excellency of the majesty of God and thine infinite, inconceivable distance from him.  …Think greatly of the greatness of God.  – The Mortification of Sin

Let no man, then, pretend to fear sin that doth not fear temptation to it.  They are too nearly allied to be separated.  Satan hath put them together so that it is very hard for any man to put them asunder.  He hates not the fruit who delights in the root.  – On Temptation

The ways of our entering temptation are so many, various, and imperceptible, – the means of it so efficacious and powerful, – the entrances of it so deceitful, subtle, insensible, and plausible, – our weaknesses, our unwatchfulness so unspeakable, – that we cannot in the least keep or preserve ourselves from it.  We fail in both wisdom and power for this work.  – On Temptation

Should you go into an hospital, and see many persons lying sick and weak, sore and wounded, with many filthy diseases and distempers, and should inquire of them how they fell into this condition, and they shall all agree to tell you of such or such a thing was the occasion of it, “By that I got my wound,” says one, “And my disease,” says another, – would it not make you a little careful how or what you had to do with that thing or place?  Should you go into a dungeon, and see many miserable creatures bound in chains for an approaching day of execution, and inquire the way and means whereby they were brought into that condition, and they should all fix on one and the same thing, would you not take care to avoid it?  – On Temptation

It will never be exhausted; it is not wasted by men’s spending on it; yea the more they draw out this treasure, the more it grows and abounds!  – Indwelling Sin

Fix you affections on heavenly things: this will enable you to mortify sin; fill them with the things that are above, let them be exercised with them, and so enjoy the cheifest place in them.  They are above blessed and suitable objects, meet for and answering unto our affections; – God himself, in his beauty and glory; the Lord Jesus Christ who is “altogether lovely, the cheifest of ten thousand;” grace and glory; the mysteries revealed in the gospel; the blessed promises thereby.  Were our affections filled up, taken up, and possessed with these things, as it is our duty that they be, – it is our happiness when they are, – what access could sin, with its painted pleasures, with its sugared poisons, with its envenomed baits, have unto our souls.  – Indwelling Sin

The Danger of men’s souls lieth not in a disability to attain a comprehension of longer or more subtle confessions of faith, but in embracing things contrary unto, or inconsistent with this foundation thereof.  – The Person of Christ

Nothing renders us so like unto God as our love unto Jesus Christ for he is the principle object of His love; – in him doth his soul rest – in him is he always well pleased.  Wherever this is wanting, whatever there may be besides, there is nothing of the image of God.  – The Person of Christ

There is no greater discovery of the depravation of our natures by sin and degeneracy of our wills from their original rectitude, than that – whereas we are so prone to the love of other things, and therein do seek for satisfaction unto our souls where it is not to be obtained – it is so hard and difficult to raise our hearts unto the love of God. Were it not for that depravation, he would always appear as the only suitable and satisfactory object of our love.  – The Person of Christ

An imaginary Christ will effect nothing in the minds of men but imaginary grace.  – The Person of Christ

A God-man was necessary for our atonement because…required that there should be an obedience yielded unto God, bringing more glory unto him than dishonor did arise and accrue from the disobedience of man.  – The Person of Christ

And although the life of faith and vision differ in degrees – or, as some think, in kind – yet have they both the same object, and the same operations, and there is a great cognation between them.  – The Person of Christ

This, therefore, deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best of our meditations, and our utmost diligence in them.  For if our future blessedness shall consist in being where he is, and beholding of his glory, what better preparation can there be for it that in a constant previous contemplation of that glory in the revelation that is made in the Gospel, unto this very end, that by a view of it we may be gradually transformed into the same glory?  – The Glory of Christ

For they all grow on this root of an over-valuation of temporal things… One real view of the glory of Christ and our concernment therein will give us full relief in this matter…When we have due apprehensions hereof, – when our minds are possessed with thoughts of it, – when our affections reach out after its enjoyments, – let pain, and sickness, and sorrows, and fears, and dangers, and death, say what they will, we shall have in readiness wherewith to combat with them and overcome them; and that on this consideration, that they are all outward, transitory, and passing away, whereas our minds are fixed on those things which are eternal, and filled with incomprehensible glory.  – The Glory of Christ

No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight hereafter, who doth not on some measure behold it by faith here in this world.  …No man ought to look for anything in heaven, but what one way or other he hath some experience in this life.  – The Glory of Christ

There is more glory given to God by coming to Christ in believing, than in keeping the whole law; inasmuch as he has more eminently manifested the holy properties of his nature in the way of salvation by Christ, than in the giving of the law.   – The Glory of Christ

There is not anything that Jesus Christ is more delighted with, than that his saints should always hold communion with him as to this business of giving and receiving. For,-…1.This exceedingly honors him, and gives him the glory that is his due. …2. This exceedingly endears the souls of the saints to him, and constrains them to put a due valuation upon him, his love, his righteousness, and grace.  – Communion with God

The best biography I read of John Owen was Andrew Thomson’s Prince of the Puritans.  I have an extra copy that I will give away for free (to SLBC readers only).  Just leave a comment and state why you would like to learn about John Owen.  If by some miracle there is more than one reply if any I will choose the one I think best.

The Doctor: Can We “Lecture” the Bible?

I am one of those who do not recognize any consideration of the Word of God which is not accompanied by worship.  The Bible is not an ordinary book – it is God’s book, and it is a Book about God and man’s realtionship to Him.  Therefore, every time we consider or study the Bible we are, of necessity, worshipping.  – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans Vol. 1, p. 1

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones for 09

Many of you know that each year I devote time to the study of one man’s life and theology.  This year I have decided to spend a year being taught by the man many affectionately call “The Doctor”, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  My first direct exposure to Lloyd-Jones was through his book Spiritual Depression.  The logic was life changing, the seriousness contagious, and the solemn holiness that is attested to have permeated the atmosphere in which he preached could still be sensed.  It is paragraphs like this that will leave me eternally thankful to God for His teaching:

How do we reconcile the two things? In this way. I say that we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ‘ourselves’ to talk to us! Do you realize what that means? I suggest that the main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. this is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment was this [the man in Ps. 42]; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you’….The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself.

The second book of Lloyd-Jones and one of the most practically life changing was Preaching and Preachers.  After reading this book the driving emphasis behind my ministry, my schedule, use of time, and study habits radically changed and I am all the better for it.  I believe these changes have brought about much fruit; I think that God has blessed my ministry in a way that was absent before.

Next year I hope to read through his set of expository sermons on the book of Romans (14 volumes), his large book, the Great Doctrines of the Bible, and Revival.  In addition I plan to reread Spiritual Depression, Preaching and Preachers, and The Cross as well as skim back through Studies in the Sermon on the Mount and Life in Christ.  As far as biographies I will reread Iain Murray’s wonderful two volume work, as well as reading his new work Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace.  Unlike years past I plan on beginning each week by sharing with you some of the gems gleaned from my study the previous week.  All these posts will be prefaced, “The Doctor:”.

I invite you join me by reading any of the titles listed above, especially Spiritual Depression and Preaching and Preachers.  Also the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Recording Trust has free sermon audio, books, articles, and an mp3 podcast.

John Owen and MP3 Sermons

Listen to mp3 sermons. You will be rewarded. So many blessed teachers are available online for free it would be a shame not to sit under their preaching. Recently I recommended Piper’s biographical message on John Paton. This would be a great way to start. As I was reading through John Owen on Indwelling Sin this morning I thought the 17th century Puritan could give us some advice on listening to mp3 sermons. The help came from chapter nine of his treatise where he offers prayer and meditation as primary ways of fighting indwelling sin.

1) Don’t expect your flesh to leap with joy. “There is an aversion, as hath been declared, in the law of sin (indwelling sin) unto the immediate communion with God.” Would you rather listen to Coldplay or Sinclair Ferguson while you exercise? Sure one may pump you up, but which one will leave you with fuel for long meditation bearing joy?

2) What you lack in duration make up for in frequency. “Some are discouraged because their minds do not regularly supply them with thoughts to carry on their meditations, through the weakness or imperfections of their own inventions. Let this be supplied by frequent returns of the mind unto the subject proposed to be meditated upon, whereby new senses will still be supplied unto it.” I rarely listen to a sermon in one sitting. Mostly I listen in the mornings for approximately fifteen minutes while I take care of the dogs and eat breakfast. I listen while I do chores, walk the dogs, and work outside. All are short, stolen, precious moments.

3) Worship. This is my favorite line from the chapter:

Meditate of God with God; that is, when we would undertake thoughts and meditations of God, his excellencies, his properties, his glory, his majesty, his love, his goodness, let it be done in a way of speaking unto God, in a deep humiliation and abasement of our souls before him. This will fix the mind, and draw it forth from one thing to another, to give glory unto God in a due manner, and affect the soul until it be brought into that holy admiration of God and delight in him which is acceptable unto him. My meaning is, that it be done in a way of prayer and praise,-speaking unto God.

Begin your listening with a prayer. Pray that worship happen in your mind and heart. Pray that you have discernment to take in only what is scriptural. Pray that you have humility to learn and repent. Don’t just listen to the sermon; listen to the sermon fellowshipping with God.

Recommendations (iTunes links):

Students and adults:
John Piper
Matt Chandler
Mark Driscoll
Don’t Waste Your Life

Sinclair Ferguson
Allister Begg
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Eat what You Serve

Please pray for me that I never serve what I have not partaken of myself. Also never expect others to taste and see that He is good while your lips smack of the world and your breath reeks of idolatry.

A man preacheth that sermon only well unto others which preacheth itself in his own soul. And he that doth not feed on and thrive in the digestion of the food which he provides for others will scarce make it savoury unto them; yea, he knows not but the food he hath provided may be poison, unless he have really tasted of it himself. If the word do not dwell with power in us, it will not pass with power from us. And no man lives in a more woeful condition than those who really believe not themselves what they persuade others to believe continually. The want of this experience of the power of gospel truth on their own souls is that which gives us so many lifeless, sapless orations, quaint in words and dead as to power, instead of preaching the gospel in the demonstration of the Spirit. – John Owen in The True Nature of a Gospel Church