Monday, April 22, 2019

Book Review: The Cross

The Cross: God's Way of Salvation. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 1986. Crossway. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: First sentence from the introduction: Can you remember what you were doing when you heard the news that President Kennedy had been assassinated?

Premise/plot: In the fall of 1963, Martyn Lloyd-Jones was preaching a sermon series on Galatians 6:14 which reads, ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.’ These sermons have been published in book form as The Cross. Lloyd-Jones did not interrupt his sermon series to address the assassination of President Kennedy, but, it did trouble him and he incorporated it into his next sermon.

The Cross features nine sermons: "The Wondrous Cross," "The Acid Test," "The Wisdom of God," "Love Not the World," "The Triumph of the Cross," "He Is Our Peace," "The Cross of Christ Speaks," "A New Nature," and "Bought Out and Set Free." All nine sermons share a single Scripture verse as their basis. All nine sermons are Christ-centered. All nine sermons include an invitation to unbelievers.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved, LOVED rereading Martyn Lloyd-Jones The Cross. I read it during Passion Week and finished up on Good Friday. It is one of those books that you should reread every other year or so. It's just that good. Christians should never tire of the gospel, of the cross. Christians should never be bored or dismissive of the good news. It should humble us and excite us. It should lead to worship and praise. It should lead to repentance and obedience. It should make us want more, more, more of Christ in our lives. 

  • The whole of the New Testament is proclaiming the blood of Christ, the death of Christ upon the cross, on Calvary. It is the heart and centre of the Christian evangel, the good news of salvation.
  • If he had not died upon the cross, nobody would ever have been saved. There would be no gospel to preach. It is the saving event.
  • It does not ask us to save ourselves, it does not tell us to do something that will save us, it says it is done, it has happened, it was happening there. That is the gospel.
  • Any man who is saved, is saved by the cross, and to be saved means that your sins are forgiven, that you are reconciled to God.
  • You will never understand the significance of what happened there until you are clear about who it was that was dying there. Who is this person in the middle nailed to a tree?
  • My friends, the Son of God is there dying on that cross because he came from heaven into this world in order to die.
  • He came because you and I and all mankind are guilty and under the condemnation of a Holy God.
  • Man is a guilty sinner, God is a holy God. How can the two be brought together? The answer is the cross of Christ.
  • The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is either an offence to us or else it is the thing above everything else in which we glory.
  • The test of whether someone is teaching the cross rightly or wrongly is whether it is an offence to the natural man or not. If my preaching of this cross is not an offence to the natural man, I am misrepresenting it. If it is something that makes him say how beautiful, how wonderful, what a tragedy, what a shame, I have not been preaching the cross truly.
  • There is nobody born a Christian into this world. We have to be born again to become Christians, and while we are natural men and women, the cross is an offence.
  • If you want to know God, if you want to know the everlasting and eternal God, this is the way, the only way. Look there, gaze, meditate, survey, the wondrous cross. And then you will see something of him.
  • Grace is a great word in the Bible, the grace of God. It is most simply defined in these words—it is favour shown to people who do not deserve any favour 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.
  • If you think you deserve heaven, take it from me you are not a Christian. Now, that is a very good definition of a Christian. Any man who thinks that he deserves heaven is not a Christian. But for any man who knows that he deserves hell, there is hope.
  • Sin is a matter of attitude. And what makes sin sin, is that it is rebellion against God. It is to disobey God; it is to trample upon the sanctities of God. It is unrighteousness; it is transgression of God’s law.  Indeed, it is worse. It is a hatred of God.
  • We are all naturally God-haters, and if you have not realized that, you have not known these things very deeply. And if you think you have always believed in God, it is because you have had a God of your own creation, not the God of the Bible.
  • Why did he die? He died for the souls of men, not for our material welfare, not to reform this world, but to save our souls.
  • From beginning to end the message of the Bible, this revelation of God, is that there is to be an end to the world, and that the end is judgement. The Christ of God will come back into this world and he will return to judge it.
  • Now you see why Paul glories in the cross. It is the cross alone that saves any one of us from the destruction which is coming to the world. 
  • I am not called to preach against, I am called to hold a Saviour forth.

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