Category Archives: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Rejoice that your names are written heaven” by D.A. Carson

“The story is told of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, one of the most influential preachers of the twentieth century.

When he was dying of cancer, one of his friends and former associates asked him, in effect, ‘How are you managing to bear up? You have been accustomed to preaching several times a week. You have begun important Christian enterprises; your influence has extended through tapes and books to Christians on five continents. And now you have been put on the shelf. You are reduced to sitting quietly, sometimes managing a little editing. I am not so much asking therefore how you are coping with the disease itself. Rather, how are you coping with the stress of being out of the swim of things?’

Lloyd-Jones responded in the words of Luke 10: ‘[D]o not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven’ (10:20—though of course Lloyd-Jones would have cited the King James Version).

The quotation was remarkably apposite. The disciples have just returned from a trainee mission, and marvel that ‘even the demons submit to us in your name’ (10:17).

At one level, Jesus encourages them. He assures them that (in some visionary experience?) he has seen Satan fall like lightning from heaven (10:18). Apparently Jesus understands this trainee mission by his disciples as a sign, a way-stage, of Satan’s overthrow, accomplished in principle at the cross (cf. Rev. 12:9–12).

He tells his disciples that they will witness yet more astonishing things than these (Luke 10:18–19). ‘However,’ he adds (and then come the words quoted by Lloyd-Jones), ‘do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven’ (10:20).

It is so easy to rejoice in success. Our self-identity may become entangled with the fruitfulness of our ministry. Of course, that is dangerous when the success turns sour—but that is not the problem here.

Things could not be going better for Jesus’ disciples. And then the danger, of course, is that it is not God who is being worshiped. Our own wonderful acceptance by God himself no longer moves us, but only our apparent success.

This has been the sin of more than a few ‘successful’ pastors, and of no fewer ‘successful’ lay people. While proud of their orthodoxy and while entrusted with a valid mission, they have surreptitiously turned to idolizing something different: success.

Few false gods are so deceitful. When faced with such temptations, it is desperately important to rejoice for the best reasons—and there is none better than that our sins are forgiven, and that by God’s own gracious initiative our names have been written in heaven.”

–D.A. Carson, “February 24” in For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word (vol. 1; Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 55.

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“An utter travesty of the Gospel” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Here is something which is truly important, and something which is basic and fundamental to the whole Christian position. The order in which these things are put is absolutely vital. The Apostle does not ask us to do anything until he has first of all emphasized and repeated what God has done for us in Christ.

How often have men given the impression that to be Christian means that you display in your life a kind of general belief of faith, and then you add to it virtue and knowledge and charity! To them the Christian message is an exhortation to us to live a certain type of life, and an exhortation to put these things into practice.

But that is an utter travesty of the Gospel. The Christian Gospel in the first instance does not ask us to do anything. It first of all proclaims and announces to us what God has done for us.

The first statement of the Gospel is not an exhortation to action or to conduct and behavior. Before man is called upon to do anything, he must have received something. Before God calls upon a man to put anything into practice, He has made it possible for man to put it into practice.”

— D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones,  Expository Sermons on 2 Peter (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1983), 23-24.

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“The most staggering thing in the universe” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Test your view of the Cross. Where does this statement about ‘declaring’ His righteousness and so on come into your thinking? Is it something that you just skip over and say: ‘Well, I don’t know what that means. All I know is, that God is love and that He forgives.’ But you should know the meaning of this. This is an essential part of the glorious Gospel. On Calvary God was making a way of salvation so that you and I might be forgiven.

But He had to do so in a way that will leave His character inviolate, that will leave His eternal consistency still absolute and unbroken. Once you begin to look at it like that, you see that this is the most tremendous, the most glorious, the most staggering thing in the universe and in the whole of history. God is there declaring what He has done for us. He is declaring at the same time His own eternal greatness and glory… God was declaring publicly once and forever His eternal justice AND His eternal love. Never separate them, for they belong together in the character of God.”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross: The Vindication of God (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1976/1999), 19-20.

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“The Cross is the vindication of God” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“The Cross does not merely tell us that God forgives, it tells us that that is God’s way of making forgiveness possible. It is the way in which we understand how God forgives. I will go further: How can God forgive and still remain God? –that is the question. The Cross is the vindication of God.  The Cross is the vindication of the character of God. The Cross not only shows the love of God more gloriously than anything else, it show His righteousness, His justice, His holiness, and all the glory of His eternal attributes. They are all to be seen shining together there. If you do not see them all you have not seen the Cross.”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross: The Vindication of God (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1976/1999), 17.

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“The great public act of God” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“The death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross on Calvary was not an accident; it was God’s work. It was God who ‘set Him forth’ there. How often is the whole glory of the Cross missed when men sentimentalize it away and say, ‘Ah, He was too good for the world, He was too pure. His teaching was too wonderful; and cruel men crucified Him!’ The result is that we begin to feel sorry for Him, forgetting that He Himself turned on those ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ that were beginning to feel sorry for Him, and said, ‘Weep not for me but weep for yourselves.’

If our view of the Cross is one that makes us feel sorry for the Lord Jesus Christ, it just means that we have never seen it truly. It is God who ‘set Him forth.’ It was not an accident, but something deliberate… It is a great public act of God. God has done something here in public on the stage of the world history, in order that it might be seen, and looked at, and recorded once and forever– the most public action that has ever taken place.”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross: The Vindication of God (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1976/1999), 4.

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“Talk to people about the Lord Jesus Christ” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“We are meant to talk to people about the Lord Jesus Christ and to tell them He is the Son of God and that He has come into this world in order to save men and women… We are meant to tell men exactly why the world is as it is; we are meant to tell them about sin in the human heart and that nobody and nothing can deal with it save the Son of God…

We are very ready to talk about our doctors, and to praise the man who cured us when so many failed; we talk about some business which is better than others, or about films and plays and actors and actresses, and a thousand and one other things. We are always glorifying people, the world is full of it, and the Christian is meant to be praising and glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ.”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Safe in the World (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1988), 88.

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“Preach to yourself” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“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? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment was this; 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. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’– what business have you to be disquieted?

You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’– instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do.

Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: ‘I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.'”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965/2002), 20-1.

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