The Privilege of Preaching – thoughts from Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Preach the word
At this point there is one golden rule, one absolute demand–honesty. You have got to be honest with your text. I mean by that, that you do not go to a text just to pick out an idea which interests you and then deal with that idea yourself. That is to be dishonest with the text.
Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers, 199.
You would have thought these men [Pharisees] therefore were now in a perfect position to go out to preach; but according to our Lord’s teaching they were not. They seem to have all the necessary knowledge, but that knowledge is not sufficient, something further is needed, is indeed essential. The knowledge indeed is vital for you cannot be witnesses without it, but to be effective witnesses you need the power and the unction and the demonstration of the Spirit in addition. Now if this was necessary for these men, how much more is it necessary for all others who try to preach these things?
Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers, 307–308.
Assume the listeners are unsaved
For many years I thought I was a Christian when in fact I was not. It was only later that I came to see that I had never been a Christian and became one. . . .What I needed was preaching that would convict me of sin. . . .But I never heard this. The preaching we had was always based on the assumption that we were all Christians.
Iain H. Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years, 1899–1939 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1982), 58.
In the beginning, the preacher’s business is not to convert men, but the very reverse. It is idle to attempt to heal those who are not wounded, to attempt to clothe those who have never been stripped, and to make those rich who have never realized their poverty. As long as the world stands, we shall need the Holy Ghost, not only as the Comforter, but also as the Convincer, who will ‘reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
C.H. Spurgeon speaking in 1883 quoted by Iain H. Murray, The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones 1899–1981, 129.
Preach the gospel
The Church has been trying to preach morality and ethics without the Gospel as a basis; it has been preaching morality without godliness; and it simply does not work. It never has done, and it never will. And the result is that the Church, having abandoned her real task, has left humanity more or less to its own devices.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers
Salvation does not begin with a person deciding for Christ![The] term ‘decide’ has always seemed to me to be quite wrong…A sinner does not ‘decide’ for Christ; the sinner ‘flies’ to Christ in utter helplessness and despair saying —
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.
No man truly comes to Christ unless he flies to Him as his only refuge and hope, his only way of escape from the accusations of conscience and the condemnation of God’s holy law. Nothing else is satisfactory. If a man says that having thought about the matter and having considered all sides he has on the whole decided for Christ, and if he has done so without any emotion or feeling, I cannot regard him as a man who has been regenerated. The convicted sinner no more ‘decides’ for Christ than the poor drowning man ‘decides’ to take hold of that rope that is thrown to him and suddenly provides him with the only means of escape. The term is entirely inappropriate.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers
Give a defence of your faith
In Jude 3, we read, ‘Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ Here we are given a stirring call to the defence of the Faith. Such a call is not popular today. It is not popular today even in some evangelical circles. People will tell you that it is all ‘too negative.’ They continually urge that we must keep on giving positive truth. They will tell us that we must not argue and we must never condemn. But we must ask, ‘How can you fight if you are ever afraid of wounding an enemy?’ ‘How can you rouse sleeping fellow-warriors with smooth words?’ God forbid that we find ourselves at the bar of judgment and face the charge that we contracted out from love of ease, or for fear of man, or that we failed to do our duty in the great fight of the Faith. We must — we must fight for the faith in these momentous times.
Quoted by Iain Murray, The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 332