Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Review: Fellowship with God

Fellowship with God (Life in Christ: Studies in 1 John #1) D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 1993. Crossway. 142 pages. [Source: Bought]

In April, I reviewed a four volume series by Martyn Lloyd-Jones on John 17. I enjoyed reading Lloyd-Jones so much, I decided to read more! Now I am reading a five volume series on the book of 1 John. The Life in Christ series consists of sermons preached by Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the late 1940s. Though he may have preached to another generation, his messages are still relevant, very relevant to today's generation.

Fellowship with God is the first book in the series. It covers 1 John 1.

  • The Christian and the World (1 John 5:19)
  • Full and Lasting Joy (1 John 1:4)
  • How To Know the Joy (1 John 1:4)
  • The Apostolic Declaration (1 John 1:1-3)
  • Christian Experience (1 John 1:3)
  • All Because of Christ (1 John 1:3)
  • Knowing God (1 John 1:3)
  • Mysticism (1 John 1:3)
  • The Holiness of God (1 John 1:5)
  • Sin (1 John 1:6-10)
  • Walking in the Light (1 John 1:6-10)
  • The Blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:6-10)
  • Jesus, His Son (1 John 1:7)

I really loved this one. 1 John is one of my favorite epistles. I spent thirty days in this one several years ago, and it just has a very special place in my heart. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is such a joy to read. There is substance and depth and an undeniable richness. Probably because Lloyd-Jones sticks closely to the Word of God and is very passionate about bringing understanding to his audience.  He wants to be understood. He wants to make the Word of God understandable. He wants people to get it.

Favorite quotes:
Thank God, the Bible always faces things as they are, even at their worst. That is why to me a psychological use of the Bible is of the devil. It is a misuse of it, because the Bible is not concerned simply to ease a situation. It has a strength and a power; it is concerned about courage, but in terms of its own truth so it looks at the world as it is, at its worst.  (17)
Christians are not people who are in a state of uncertainty; the very definition of Christians in the New Testament is of people who know where they are, what they are, and they have got; they are not men and women who are hovering in the dark. (17)
I cannot see that the New Testament message has any comfort to give us or any consolation unless we start from that basis; that if we are Christians we are altogether different from those who are not. (19)
There is only one thing that can give true joy and that is a contemplation of the Lord Jesus Christ. (30)
Here again we come to the great watershed which divides Christian preaching and teaching from every other teaching; it is based solely on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian Church has nothing to say to the world until it believes on Him. Indeed, the Church's message to the world is one of condemnation until it believes on Christ. (35)
The gospel is an announcement. We can put that negatively by saying that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a speculation, nor a human thought or idea or philosophy. (45)
We are ambassadors, and the business of the ambassador is not to say to the foreign country what he thinks or believes; it is to deliver the message which has been delivered to him by his home government and the King he represents. (46)
Life outside God is not life, it is existence, for there is a difference between the two. (54)
There can be no true joy of salvation while there is a vagueness or an uncertainty or a lack of assurance with respect to what we have. (56)
This, says the Bible, is the state of the world away from God. It rebels against God and therefore produces its own miseries. It does not argue about that, it just tells us, and the whole state of the world is just a proof of that. It is no use, says the Bible; you can do what you like, you can organize and scheme as much as you like, but while men and women are in a wrong relationship to God, they can never be better. As Augustine put it: "Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our souls are restless until they find their rest in Thee." (65)
What right have we to expect Christian behavior from a world that does not believe in Christ? Why should the world apply Christian principles? Does it believe in Christ, does it acknowledge Him to be who He is? Does it accept Him as Savior? Indeed, I do not hesitate to say that according to the New Testament it is rank heresy to recommend Christian behavior to people who are not Christian. They are incapable of it! Before people can live the Christian life they must be made a new creation; if they cannot keep the moral law and the Ten Commandments, the ancient law given to the Children of Israel, how can they live according to the Sermon on the Mount? How can they follow Christ? It is ridiculous! That is not our message; that is not what the Church must say. (66)
The supreme need for every one of us is to know God, to return to that condition of fellowship and communion, to know that centrally I am right with Him. (67)
The Christian life is not essentially an application of teaching; it is a fellowship, a communion with God Himself and nothing less. (74)
It is because we tend to assume that we know the truth about God, it is because we tend to assume that everything is all right in our ideas about God that many, if not most, of our problems occur, because we constantly start not with God but with ourselves. (94)
The Bible is constantly reminding us that we must start with God. If ever I start with man, I must ultimately go wrong in all my thinking about truth; because if I start there, everything accommodates itself to my doctrine of man. Yet the doctrine of the Bible is that I can never know man truly unless I look at him in the sight of God and in the teaching concerning God. (95)
I suggest that if you do not start with the holiness of God you will never understand God's plan of salvation, which is that salvation is only possible to us through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross on Calvary's hill. But the question arises; why is that cross essential, why is that the only way whereby man can be saved? If God is only love and compassion and mercy, then the cross is surely meaningless, for if God is love alone, then all He needs to do when man sins is to forgive him. But the whole message is that the cross is at the centre, and without that death God, I say with reverence, cannot forgive. (101)
It is as true to say that man is sinful as it is to say that God is light and that in Him is no darkness at all. (106)
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

Joyful Reader said...

The true word of God is relevent through all generations. His word never changes. These are the great sermons! When they are still preaching today!