Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2016 Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones remains the most pre-eminent preacher in the English language from the twentieth century. Having said that, it is not unfair to say […]
Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2016
Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones remains the most pre-eminent preacher in the English language from the twentieth century. Having said that, it is not unfair to say that some of his evangelistic and revival sermons from the Old Testament were lacking a little in proper context. That cannot be said of this series dating from 1956, based on 21 verses in Ezekiel 36. Sermons can easily become dated, but Lloyd-Jones’ never do. He oscillates smoothly between Ezekiel’s day and his own, saying: ‘Final disaster has not overtaken us nor our world, but we are in trouble.’
Long-winded illustrations can be the bane of many sermons, but not so with Lloyd-Jones. For example, he points out that a shallow optimism can be disastrous in matters of business or health, and the same thing can be seen in people’s attitude to the judgment of God. Later, he compares anyone who would defy God to a person who deliberately runs to where an atomic bomb will be dropped. In fact, he says that the comparison can hardly be made, for God is more a consuming fire than is any atomic bomb.
In all his preaching, Lloyd-Jones had a way of explaining the heart of the matter quite simply, as when he says that the prevailing non-Christian view is that ‘we do not need to be changed; we need to be made better.’ Ezekiel declared, in contrast, that we need new hearts. There is something infectious about Lloyd-Jones’ love for the Bible as God’s ‘interesting, exciting, romantic book’, full of marvellous truth. ‘The godless life starves the mind,’ he says. People cannot listen now, but only look at pictures and work out football pools. Morality ceases to make any sense, and so there is a descent into amorality.
These sermons were preached in 1956, but they could have been preached yesterday. A most vital need today is preaching Christianly from the Old Testament, and these sermons are a wonderful example of how that can be done. Christ is on every page.