Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quoting Martyn Lloyd-Jones #4

One of the devotionals I am using this year is Walking with God Day by Day by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I thought I would share some of my favorite passages month-by-month. (January,February, March,)

From April 2
What is the message of the Christian Gospel and of the Christian church? Now at the risk of being misunderstood I will put it like this: It is not primarily the teaching of our Lord. I say that, of course, because there are so many today who think that this is Christianity. They say, “What we need is Jesus’ teaching. He is the greatest religious genius of all times. He is above all philosophers. Let us have a look at His teaching, at the Sermon on the Mount and so on. That is what we want. What the world needs today,” they say, “is a dose of the Sermon on the Mount—a dose of His ethical teaching. We must preach this to people and teach them how to live.” But according to the apostle Paul, this is not their first need. And I will go further. If you only preach the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, not only do you not solve the problem of mankind, but in a sense you aggravate it. You are preaching nothing but utter condemnation, because nobody can ever carry it out. So they did not preach His teaching. Paul does not say, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the Sermon on the Mount” or “God forbid that I should glory save in the ethical teaching of Jesus.” He does not say that. It was not the teaching of Christ, nor the example of Christ either. What they preached was His death on the cross and the meaning of that event.
From April 4
The test of whether someone is teaching the cross rightly or wrongly is whether it is an offense to the natural man or not. If my preaching of this cross is not an offense to the natural man, I am misrepresenting it.
From April 6
Looking at our Lord on the cross, what I see above everything else is the love that made Him do it all. “Love so amazing, so divine.” What does it mean? Let the apostle himself answer the question. This is how he puts it: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:6-10). It comes to this, my dear friends: He is dying there because of His love for you, His love for me, His love for those who are sinners, those who are rebels, those who are enemies. He died for people who hated Him. As He was dying there, Saul of Tarsus was hating Him, but He was dying for Saul of Tarsus. As Paul (to give his subsequent name) puts it later: “... the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). He did not wait until Paul was converted before He loved him. He loved him even when Saul of Tarsus was blaspheming His holy name, ridiculing His claim that He was the Son of God and the Lord of Glory, ridiculing the idea that He came to teach us and to die for us and to save us, pouring his blasphemous scorn upon Him. While Paul was doing that, Christ was dying for Paul. And He was doing the same for you and for me.
From April 7
Why is the Son of God there on the cross? The first thing the Scriptures say is that it is not merely the action of men. Oh, but, you say, it is men who are hammering in those nails. I agree, but that would be the remark of a very superficial observer. What made the men do it? Is there nothing behind them? You see, the whole trouble in the world today is that we are all looking at everything superficially. We choose some activity, then we set up a royal commission to look into it, and we have a little superficial reporting. It makes no difference, nothing is any different, because we are superficial in our diagnosis—we are not able to see the depths of things beneath the surface. It is the same here. Why do I say that it was not merely the action of men? Why am I saying that it was not merely an accident? My answer is, of course, that it was something that had been prophesied. Take the passage in Isaiah 53, an exact prophecy of what happened on the cross. Again, read the 22nd Psalm. That is another perfect prophecy of the death of our Lord upon the cross. It is prophesied many times in the Old Testament. Indeed, you will see it if you go back to books like Leviticus and other books of the law that people say they find utterly boring and beyond their understanding. If you only know how to read them, you will find that they are all pointing to the cross. Or go back to Exodus and the story of the exodus of the children of Israel from the captivity of Egypt. Why did they have to kill that lamb, the paschal lamb as we call it, at night and put its blood on the doorposts and the lintels? It is a prophecy of this. Everything in the Passover story points to this event.
From April 8
If you want to know God, if you want to know the everlasting and eternal God, this is the way, the only way: Look at the cross. Gaze on, meditate on, survey the wondrous cross. And then you will see something of Christ. The first thing you will see is the grace of God. Grace is a great word in the Bible, the grace of God. It is most simply defined in these words—it is favor shown to people who do not deserve any favor at all. And the message of the Gospel is that any one of us is saved and put right for eternity solely and entirely by the grace of God, not by ourselves. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). My friend, is it not about time we all admitted it? Do what you like, you will never save yourself. You will never save yourself from the world, the flesh, or the devil; you will never save yourself from your own misery. Still less will you save yourself from the law of God and judgment and hell. You cannot do it. Men have tried it throughout the centuries. They have all admitted failure.
From April 11
And the simple message of the whole of the Bible is that the world, everything that is opposed to God and trusts in man and in his own power, is all going to be judged and condemned to everlasting misery and destruction. Now you see why Paul glories in the cross. It is the cross alone that saves any one of us from the destruction that is coming to the world. The whole world lies guilty before God, “for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). The whole world is going to be judged and is going to be destroyed. We are all born in the world and of it. And unless we can be separated from that world, we will share its fate. God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified unto me, and I am separated from it. How? Let me make it clear. On that cross, the Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself the punishment that is coming to all who belong to the world. That is why He died; He was receiving the punishment of the sins of men.
From April 14
Why did the Son of God ever come into this world? Why did He leave the courts of glory? Why was He born as a little babe? Why did He take unto Him human nature? There is only one answer. He came because man could not save himself. He said that. “The Son of man,” he says, “is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). And when I look at the cross and see Him dying there, what He tells me is this: You have nothing whereof to boast. The cross tells me that I am a complete failure, and that I am such a failure that He had to come from heaven not merely to teach and preach in this world, but to die on that cross. Nothing else could save us.
From April 23
Before man can ever know peace, and in particular peace with God, the two sides must be dealt with. Man is at enmity with God, and God’s wrath is upon man. Something has to happen on God’s side, and the message of the cross is that this has happened. When our Lord died upon the cross, He was fulfilling every demand of God’s holy law. The righteousness and the justice and the holiness of God were fully satisfied. God poured out His wrath upon sin in the body of His own Son. Christ’s soul was made an offering for sin, and all the demands of God on His holiness were satisfied there. And, thank God, it works on our side also. We have a feeling that God is against us. We think of God as some great ogre or monster waiting to pounce upon us and to punish us; we feel that He hates us and that He is against us and spoiling our lives. We do not want to be bothered by Him and want to go our own way. Then the moment comes when we look at that cross and see that God sent His only begotten, dearly loved Son into this world in order that He might go to the cross. It was God who sent Him to it. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself ...” It was God who “laid on him the iniquity of us all.” It was God who smote Him and struck Him and gave Him the punishment that we deserved. As you look at the cross, I say again, our whole attitude toward God, and our whole opinion of God, changes completely. There we see that God is love and full of mercy and of compassion, that God loves us with an everlasting love. So you see that by the cross, God’s wrath is satisfied and appeased, and our folly and our rebellion are taken away, and God and man are brought together, and our peace is made with God.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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