True Gospel preaching, perfectly contextualized and relevant...

"The fact that you and I are in the twentieth century is utterly irrelevant. It doesn’t make any difference at all. And all this talk about the need of a new message, some relevant word, is a denial of the Gospel." -D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

(Tim, w/thanks to Heidi) A number of months ago, Martyn Lloyd Jones' biographer, Ian Murray, wrote...

On the other hand there are things in the Christian scene that are cause for some dismay. An elder statesmen of the church in Australia spoke to me of the absence of powerful pulpits (a ‘commentary’ on a passage of Scripture has replaced preaching, i.e., speaking that affects the heart as well as the head)... The other day I was moved when I listened to Dr Lloyd-Jones on 2 Corinthians 5:20, 'Ambassador for Christ' (and) it made me wish that some well-wisher to the cause of Christ could see the tape, or CD, circulated across the earth and especially to preachers!

Placing a link to this sermon on this blog doesn't constitute being "circulated across the earth," but it's the small thing we are able to do...

Here then, from our Church of the Good Shepherd web site, is streaming audio of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones' sermon on the text, 2Corinthians 5:20 titled, "Ambassadors for Christ." Here's a short excerpt from the middle of the sermon that does a good job of addressing so much of the marketing current in the evangelical ghetto, particularly the Emergent Church:

There is only one message. The truth, once and forever delivered to the saints.

So let’s make no mistake about it; the fact that you and I are in the twentieth century is utterly irrelevant. It doesn’t make any difference at all. And all this talk about the need of a new message, some relevant word, is a denial of the Gospel.

There is only one message. It is this same old message that was delivered to the Apostle Paul. And I as I stand before you this evening would like to say it again: I am not here to give my own opinions and my own ideas. Oh, how often do men abuse pulpits in doing that--giving their opinions on current events and what they think should be done and said.

No, no, I’m not here to tell you what I think or say. I wouldn’t be in the pulpit at all were it not that I have been given this message. It isn’t mine.

Here it is--It’s plain. It’s obvious. It’s simple. I’m simply here to hold it before you.

What is it? What is my message as I stand between you and God at this moment? What has God called me to tell you?

Well, here it is—the message. It is, he says, "the word of reconciliation." What does that mean? Here you see is the Gospel; here is the essence of the Gospel. Here is the thing which God hath given as His message to all these men throughout the running centuries, and still gives.

(Published with permission from MLJ Recordings Trust.)

Comments

"So let’s make no mistake about it; the fact that you and I are in the twentieth century is utterly irrelevant."

Gosh. Lloyd-Jones talks like he thinks God is like eternal and like stuff like that.

Hi Tim

Just a note... on your church website you reference the sermon as from 1 Cor 5.20, I think you mean 2 Cor 5.20...

I love Lloyd-Jones, even at points where we are theologically divergent. I'm reading his Romans right now. Very moving material, all the glory to our Lord.

Maranatha!

Don Johnson

Jer 33.3

Thanks, Don; I've corrected it.

Couldn't agree more.

I've been auditing some courses from a well-known Reformed seminary via podcast and have been dismayed to find them succumbing to this idea that the gospel must be contextualized. What is so irrelevant about 1 Corinthians 15 or Acts 17? We are just feeling the pain that the Apostles knew all to well (and died bearing witness to): The Greeks find the resurrection to be foolishness. When will we get over ourselves and proclaim the good news? Maybe when we repent and believe it ourselves.

When will we get over ourselves and proclaim the good news?

When will we identify these scriptural relativists as traitors and guilty of treason?

Agree with the above, but I wonder if there is room for a productive debate, in terms of how we deliver the Gospel message.

What I mean by that, is that in even the Fundamentalist camp, the standard Gospel-message-plus-altar-call is passing out of use. You do not have to be a five-point calvinist to see the problems with that approach to things. There is far more use nowadays of courses of various sorts: evangelistic Bible studies, Christianity Explored, even Alpha.

We might also need to be quite clear, too, about what might vary (if anything) from missionfield to missionfield. What is needed in one area, might not work in another - Acts 17, while it expresses the same message as Acts 2, is cast, for obvious reasons, in very different language.

>while it expresses the same message as Acts 2, is cast, for obvious reasons, in very different language.

Agreed--we must become all things to all people. But never saltless, lightless, hucksters for our own glory copping a posture of faithfulness under the guise of contextualizing the Gospel message.

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