Today's Expositor's Quote is from Martyn Lloyd-Jones' sermon on Romans 6:13. While not specifically addressed to preachers, the exhortation is particularly relevant to us. (I will continue this quotation next week):
Positively and actively, we should be engaged in this mighty crusade of righteousness and of truth which is God's crusade. . . .
There are vital principles concerning the New Testament doctrine of the method of holiness and of sanctification taught in this verse. . . . In the first place, one of the most fatal things we can ever do in connection with sanctification is to start with ourselves; and yet I suspect that if we examined ourselves, and were honest, most of us would have to admit that we have almost invariably done so. Our chief reason for being interested in holiness and sanctification is that we are having a terrible fight and battle with sin. We tend to fall constantly and to go down. What can I do about this problem of sin and evil that is in me? Where can I find relief? Is that not the way we almost invariably start with this matter? It is utterly and entirely wrong. That is not the way in which the Apostle deals with it here or anywhere else. We are subjective, and, so often, holiness teaching meets us on the grounds of our own subjectivity. Here am I thus struggling and striving, defeated and unhappy. Suddenly I look at an advertisement which says, 'Come to the clinic'. . . . What you need, we are told, is to come to the clinic, to the spiritual hospital, and here your sickness and your illness can be dealt with. But as I read the verses that we are studying I see no suggestion whatsoever of a clinic. Rather, I find a barracks; not a hospital, but a military centre. What do I need? what do I find? I do not find a doctor here. What we all need is not a doctor, but a sergeant major. Here we are, as it were slouching about the parade ground, feeling our own pulses, feeling miserable, talking about our weakness. So we say, 'I need a doctor, I need to go to the clinic, I need to see the Medical Officer'. But that is not right. What you need is to listen to the voice of the sergeant major who is there shouting out the commands of God to you -- 'Let not sin reign in your mortal body.' 'Yield not your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin.' 'Yield yourself unto God.' You have no business to be slouching about like that; stand on your feet, realize who and what you are, enlisted in the army of God. 'Present yourself.' This is not a clinic.
The main trouble with the Christian Church today is that she is too much like a clinic, too much like a hospital; that is why the great world is going to hell outside! 'We are all suffering' -- to quote Charles Lamb again -- 'with the mumps and measles of the soul' and feeling our own pulses and talking about ourselves, and our moods and subjective states. We have lost the concept of the army of God, and the King of righteousness in this fight against the kingdom of evil. 'What can I do to be delivered?' we tend to say. I answer: Look at the great campaign, look at it objectively, look at it from God's standpoint. Forget yourself and your temporary troubles and ills for the moment; fight in the army. It is not a clinic you need; you must realize that we are in a barracks, and that we are involved in a mighty campaign.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The New Man (Banner of Truth, 1972), p. 173-4.
[Lloyd-Jones preached this sermon in 1959; how much more true is it today! And how often do we preachers tend to slouch, and complain; how often do we ourselves view our giving into sin simply as a personal failure. We are God's agents of change in this world, with a tremendous objective to achieve - which we will achieve, by His power and enabling. So forget your little pains and infirmities; we are the army of God, and we cannot fail! Move out! -- Coty]
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