The Legacies of Dr Lloyd-Jones - Rev Iain H Murray
31 Oct 2005
From time to time it is good that we should pause, to look back and think of eminent leaders of the Church, who God blessed in their own generation, and whose work and testimony goes on, they being dead yet speaking. Dr Lloyd-Jones has left us legacies, and our subject is a consideration of some of these great legacies that have come to us.
We all know what a legacy is: something of value, maybe material, maybe monetary, but something that is handed on from one generation to another, usually the persons to benefit from a legacy are carefully named in documents, but in the case of ministers of the Gospel, these legacies are for the people of God down through the ages, and they live on. And so it is true tonight, I believe, that we can speak of the legacies of Dr Lloyd-Jones, as legacies that we inherit, in which we have an interest, in which we trust the generation that may yet come will have an interest.
A Summary of Lloyd-Jones’ Life
Briefly let me try to summarise his life. Some of you will be familiar, I'm sure, with the facts and others perhaps not. He was born on the 20th of December in 1899, the last year of the nineteenth century, in Cardiff, South Wales. He was one of a family of three brothers. His father was a small shop-keeper: a general store with grocery goods and farm goods. They lived in South Wales until the first year of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. His father's business had run into much difficulty, and he had decided to move to London. He was able to obtain a small dairy in Westminster in central London, and so the whole family moved up, and Lloyd-Jones, when he was a boy of fourteen or fifteen would often have to go out on a milk run before he went to school in the morning. He went to Marleybourne Grammar School, and did brilliantly, and at the age of sixteen he had access to any of the great teaching hospitals in London.
He had intended by this time to be a medical doctor, so he went to St Bartholemews Hospital. He graduated at the age of twenty-one, and graduated with such distinction that his work had caught the attention of Sir Thomas Horder, who was one of the Professors at Barts, and also a physician to the King, and Horder asked this young Welshman to come and be an assistant to him. So, at that early age of twenty-one, Martyn Lloyd-Jones became an assistant to Horder, later Lord Horder, and worked with him on Harley Street. He had access through him to some of the great and mighty in the land, because Horder's patients went from the King downwards to Prime Ministers and Members of Parliament.
This was the sphere in which Lloyd-Jones began his work. Sir Patterson Ross, who was the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, was later to say that Lloyd-Jones was one of the best clinicians that he ever knew. So his medical career had a wonderful beginning.
And then, it suddenly came to a stop in 1926. That year he announced that he was retiring from medicine, and he was going to a Mission Hall in Aberavon, South Wales, to preach the Gospel. That's what he did. In January 1927 he married Bethan Phillips and began a preaching ministry in South Wales that lasted from 1927 to 1938. In 1938 his physical condition demanded a rest and a real break, so he retired from the work in Aberavon, at Port Talbot. Campbell-Morgan, who was at Westminster Chapel at that time, and an elderly man, asked him to come and assist him for a little, maybe three months or so. And Lloyd-Jones, after some hesitation because his main love was in Wales, consented to come; and instead of waiting for three months he stayed there for the next thirty years. He was minister of Westminster Chapel from 1938 as assistant, and then from 1943 as minister through to 1968 and his retirement. In 1968 he had serious surgery, but he recovered well, and he went on preaching into his eightieth year, and he died on the 1st of March 1981.
I should say he was very often in Scotland; for the first time in 1938; and then again in March 1941, in the Free Church College in Edinburgh, giving lectures on Romans, in the Presbytery Hall. It was rather a miscalculation on the part of the organisers, because the Presbytery Hall was so crowded, and the surrounding corridors, that the people really couldn't be got in. That was his first speaking at the Free Church College, and thereafter 1942 at St Andrews Hall in Glasgow. He was very often in Scotland. I remember one memorable occasion in 1960 when he spoke to an inter-denominational gathering of ministers in Dingwall, and preached in the Dingwall church; and right through to the end, in May 1980, when he really shouldn't have been travelling at all, he was very seriously ill, he preached for the last time in Glasgow on Psalm 2: "Kiss the Son lest he be angry". It was the last month he preached in public, and his love for Scotland was abiding. He was here almost every year, and I'm sure that many of you heard him preach.
So that is his life in brief: from the last year of the nineteenth century, to the year 1981.
1. His Example as a Christian Minister
The first legacy that I suggest to you, he leaves for us, is the example of what a Christian minister and pastor ought to be. Now, in saying that I need to remind you what a change took place in the Christian ministry between the year 1900 and the year 2000. In the year 1900, the Christian minister had a position of some considerable influence and strength in the community, in all parts of Britain. His word carried some weight, his congregations were usually well attended, and he was a figure generally esteemed. Go on 100 years from that date to the recent turn of the century, and what a change we see. The Christian ministry has become something, in many quarters, viewed as simply insignificant, sometimes an object of mirth on the television or on radio programmes. The influence, the weight of the ministry of the Gospel is nothing as it was in an earlier day.
Now, why did that happen? I suggest to you that it happened for the very same reason as we find it happening in the Scriptures, that is, in the Old Testament. You know, there were times in history, as there have been since, when the work that God calls men to becomes discredited. And it is discredited because God has said, "Them that honour me, I will honour, and those that despise me shall be lightly esteemed." And there were times in the Old Testament when the priesthood turned from the Word of God, and God made them contemptible in the eyes of the people. We read that in Malachi7, and in other passages of the Word of God.
And that happened in Britain: the ministry became a profession. Men went to university, they went to theological college, they went out into churches, and tragically, very often instead of purely preaching the Word of God, they began to preach merely the ideas of men. And as they did that, the whole standing of the ministry fell, and it fell, I believe, by the hand of God. God humbled the Christian ministry.
God can Restore the Ministry
Now, when that happens, and as I say, it has happened on many occasions in history, God has his own way of restoring the true work of the Gospel minister. He did it in the Old Testament. He called Amos from being a farmer to being a prophet. He did it gloriously at the time of the Reformation: John Knox was a church lawyer before he was a preacher. God calls men, and endues them afresh; and Lloyd-Jones was called. He was called from the most unlikely place; from a citidel of humanism, scientific rationalsim in St Bartholemews Hospital. The leading teaching Hospital in London was the pride of scientific achievement and evolutionary belief; it was the temple of all that science stood for. And science, by that date, as so many believed, had discredited the Infallibility of the Word of God. Science had made it impossible, any longer, for us to treat the Bible as verbally inspired.
And, from that context, God called this man to be a minister of the Gospel. And He called him in such a way that there really was no explanation for why this man should go into the ministry, no explanation in any worldly terms. From a high salary on Harley Street, he came down to �225 a year, to a small house in a working class, industrial area of South Wales. The explanation was that God had called him to this. And it wasn't an easy call. He was engaged at the time, and his future wife was not at all certain that it was the right thing to do. Other people advised him to remain in medicine, and then do some preaching part-time, but no, he was convinced that this was what God had called him to do.
The Honour of the Ministry
When he spoke at the Free Church College, as I have mentioned in July 1941, Principal MacLean introducing him began by paying compliment to the man's sacrifice and the step he had taken in leaving medicine to become a preacher. Dr Lloyd-Jones was really quite indignant, and he said by way of reply, "I gave up nothing. I received everything. I count it the highest honour God can confer on any man, to call him to be a herald of the Gospel."
So, here was a man in the ministry with authority, with certainty, with a life that was in harmony with what he said, a humble man, a man who had given up desire for earthly applause; and people who heard him, people who met him, found in him an example of what, as I say, a Christian minister ought to be. And that example touched many lives, and still does, and I think it will come down into the future as men read of his life and his example: it commends to us what a Christian minister ought to be.
When Lloyd-Jones retired in 1968, the Christian Medical Fellowship, to which he still belonged, paid tribute to him, and this is what they said, "We would like first, to refer to your personal example which has emphasised, in so unique a manner, the importance and the dignity of the Christian ministry."
So, that is a first legacy. Now a second one, and this is more important.
2. God-Centred Religion
Dr Lloyd-Jones, I believe, has given to us and exemplified in his ministry, that true Christianity is God-centred religion. That is to say, it begins with God; it is about God Almighty; God, the Creator; God, the Sovereign Ruler of all men; God, who inspired the Holy Scriptures; God, who so loved the world that He gave His Son; God, who will bring all things to an end and to His own glory: "of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things".
A Different Ethos
Now, one has to look back and remember that in speaking like that, a very different ethos prevailed when Lloyd-Jones began his ministry. In Wales, the typical pulpit ethos was sentimental, anecdotal, not distinctly modernistic or liberal, perhaps, but non-doctrinal, and certainly sentimental. And then many pulpits sadly were liberal, which meant that their whole focus was on preaching that would bring comfort, preaching that would give satisfaction, preaching orientated to people's needs, with man at the centre of all things. And then there were Evangelical pulpits, but you know, many Evangelical pulpits began with the Cross, and they spoke of the need of forgiveness and conversion, and that's all very good.
But God raised up this man to say that the Gospel doesn't begin with the cross. It begins with the God who has created all things, to whom all men must give an account. It is only as men are brought into the presence of God, that they can become conscious of the need of what Christ did when He died on Calvary. Gospel preaching begins with God. How can we define sin, apart from God? Sin is rebellion against God. Calvary is propitiation, God's holy, righteous judgment upon sin, borne by His own Son. It speaks to us of God. Conversion is turning from self to God. How is conversion possible? With man it is impossible, but not with God.
Lloyd-Jones began preaching in a way that seemed utterly remarkable to many people that heard it. Utterly old fashioned. He was simply using the Word of God, and his belief was that true Christianity is God-centred religion. And we should be God-conscious people. And preachers should be men with a sense of God about them.
Now I say, that was something very different in many cases. And so the question arises: How did Lloyd-Jones come to that view of things? How did he learn it? Was it some particular book that helped him?
The answer to these questions is no; the explanation is this: It was that God, Himself, had intervened in Lloyd-Jones' life. You see, he had become a church member when he was fourteen years old, a communicant, as so many did, without any real personal knowledge of God. He had been a church goer all his days. When he went to London and studied medicine, he was still attending a Welsh Calvinistic Methodist church. But first of all, in 1918 his elder brother died in the great flu-epidemic; and then his father died, who he much loved, in 1921. Suddenly the idea of the brevity of life began to dawn upon him.
And then when he got into medicine, rubbing shoulders with the great and the mighty; and mixing with top medical men, who could diagnose almost any disease, who had treatments for all sorts of ailments, he discovered that these great men couldn't deal with their own hearts. They had no remedy for pride, or selfishness, or vanity, or impurity sometimes. And as this discovery came to him, God simultaneously showed him it was true in his own life, in his own heart. That he was indeed, a sinner. And about the age of 24, he came to an end of himself, and I say, God intervened in his life.
He belonged, as I mentioned, to the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church, and now for the first time, he really understood what the word 'Calvinistic' meant. It means of course, that without God's intervention and help, we are all utterly lost, and ruined. The truths that we call 'Calvinism' are truths that tell us that all our salvation comes because God in His great pity and compassion, has looked upon sinners, determined our salvation, sought us when we didn't seek him, done for us what we could never do for ourselves: made us new creatures in Christ Jesus. Our comfort is not that we love God, but that He loves us, and that He has set His heart upon us, and that we belong to Him because of that grace, and that grace alone.
Now, Lloyd-Jones wasn't a great user of the word 'calvinism' or 'calvinistic', he didn't care for the word particularly. He used it sometimes, but the important thing was: what the truths mean, that those words represent. And to him, those truths were of great importance.
Our View of Preaching
I will just mention two reasons why they were of great importance, and the first one is this. When a person understands that God is truly at the head of things, ruling and reigning, then it changes the whole approach of the church and the pulpit to preaching. You see, the popular viewpoint was, that the great purpose of preaching was to get people to respond; to make them happy; or to make them respond to the Gospel. And that being the great motive, the important thing was not to same anything or do anything that would offend them - that would destroy the purpose of preaching.
But that's not the Biblical view of preaching. The biblical view of preaching is an announcement about God; about His greatness and majesty and glory; and how we have offended Him by our sins; and how without His mercy and grace we are altogether undone. The Bible calls us unrighteous. "None righteous, no not one." We are fools; we are ignorant people; we are in desparate need of His grace. And the Bible talks like that because it knows that our response doesn't depend on winning our sympathy. We don't need to be afraid of offending people. The Truth may offend, but God is the one who can break and melt the hardest heart. Our business is to present the truth in its purity, and leave to God the consequences.
And so, we see that don't we, in our Lord's ministry. You remember how the disciples were alarmed on one occasion when they said to Jesus, "Master, don't you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard that saying. Shouldn't you be a little bit more careful?" Oh, our Lord knew perfectly well. "Let them alone," he said, "They be blind leaders of the blind". A real grasp on the Sovereign Grace of God makes men bold, because they know their business is to stand in the presence of God, and to honour Him. And it raises up men like John Knox, and Robert Bruce, and Lloyd-Jones, and others. You know the words of Horatius Bonar:
Men heed thee, love thee, praise thee not;
The Master praises: what are men?
That's the viewpoint that comes from a real grasp of the grace of God, and our dependence on that grace. So I say, this was of vital importance to Lloyd-Jones. Some people didn't like him on that account. Some people said, "That Calvinist!" But he was simply trying to be faithful to the Word of God.
Comfort from God
But there is a personal reason, a second reason, why these truths were so important to Lloyd-Jones. He said, "There is no doctrine which is so comforting as this." And what he meant by that was, to know as a Christian that it doesn't depend upon me; it didn't begin with me; it won't end with me; its all the grace of God upon which I stand.
in 1942 when bombing was still severe in Glasgow and other places, he had to preach in St Andrews Hall in Glasgow. He had a long train journey; he arrived in Glasgow with a migraine headache; he'd not had a meal and there was no time far a meal; there were no taxis to take him from the station to the hall; and before he could speak there were three other speakers. They were all professors: two professors of medicine, and one professor of divinity. It was nine o'clock before Lloyd-Jones, with a headache, could stand up on his feet and speak as he was intended to do. He felt, not only weak, but discouraged. And he said that as he got to his feet, suddenly the words of 1 Cor 15:10 came into his mind: "By the grace of God I am what I am". In other words, it doesn't depend on me; its not what I am; I'm here by the grace of God; I'll speak, depending on His grace. And God gave him that night, wonderful help.
A few months before he was dying, when I had the privilege of talking with him, he told me he had been reading two biographies. One was of G M Trevellian, and another was of Jerry D Burnell, who was a Cambridge physicist. Neither of these men were Christians, and he explained to me why he had been reading them.
"It turned out to be a tremendous blessing to me. Because, it came to me that these were natural men, human nature, at their best. Why did God ever choose to look upon me? It came to me with such force. Why was God pleased to look upon me? In contrast with these men and the despair in which they died".
He was dying as a Christian, Lloyd-Jones, by the grace of God. So these truths were not just doctrines that he preached, but he did live on them. He cherished them. They were precious to him.
So I say secondly, Lloyd-Jones has handed on the truth that real Christianity is God-centred religion. Now a third legacy.
3. The Local Church is the Primary Means of Evangelism
Its the truth that the local church is the primary means of evangelism. Now that may seem obvious to many people, but in the last century, the twentieth century, it wasn't obvious to the majority. Most people felt that the only way we can make an impression upon our world and society is by massing numbers together, inter-denominational societies, crusades, campaigns. Get as many churches as you can to act together, and the numbers will impress people, and thereby we may hope to evangelise.
The Company of God’s People
Now Lloyd-Jones wasn't against co-operation as such, but he believed with all his heart that the local church is the primary means of evangelism. He believed that for this reason: the message has to be preached, there has to be an evangelist, that's true. But, when the message is preached in a company of believing, worshipping, praying people, there is a presence of God, and that is the place where so often the outsider, the visitor, the stranger, the careless, are arrested and awakened. The apostle Paul, you remember, speaks about one who, coming in will fall down and confess that "God is in you of a truth".
In other words, its not just the man in the pulpit, but the believing community of Christians, gathered in worship. There is something present, the Holy Spirit himself and his grace, not simply in the preacher, but in the people too. Lloyd-Jones believed that with all his heart. When he first went to Aberavon, the church secretary at that time was not yet a real Christian. But he was very enthusiastic, and he had a big poster put up outside the church, 'Come and hear Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Late of Harley Street'.
"Oh," said Lloyd-Jones, "take it down, and never do that again!"
And the church secretary, E T Rees, said he thought this was very odd. Isn't this the right way to get people in?
"Don't do it", said Martyn-Lloyd-Jones.
Well, "why not", because he believed the real authentication of the Gospel, is seen in the transformed lives of men and women. The church is the witness, the light set upon the hill. Its not a man, its not an individual, its not a personality. It is more than that. It is a community of believing people. He believed that, and he practiced that. So the church is a vibrant fellowship of believers. You may say, in a real sense, a missionary society.
Encouraging God’s People
Now, someone might say, "Well, that's all very well, but our church isn't like that." And what would Lloyd-Jones say to that church? Well he would say to the pastor, Don't scold the people. If the church isn't raised up, your business in the pulpit is to do, by the grace of God, that work that will enliven, and quicken, and encourage, and comfort, so that Christians are bright and Christians are happy.
You know it was said by a Presbyterian long ago, that if Christians were as happy as they are warranted to be, the progress of the Gospel would be irresistable. That's the sort of thing Lloyd-Jones believed. That's what the pulpit is for. Not to scold people, not to depress people, certainly not. But so to help the people of God, that they will in this world be living lights. Ian Palmer said something that Lloyd-Jones would have agreed with 100%. D M Palmer said, "I have reached the conviction that the best way to reach the unregenerate, is to show him what Christianity is able to do for believers."
Well, if there was time I could give you examples from that church in South Wales of how that worked out. People like Staffordshire Bill, the old drunkard; another woman who was a spiritist medium; and many others of whom Mrs Lloyd-Jones and other have written. As they came into the community of the church, the church as a living community was the means that led them to Christ.
[ED: Notable cases of individual conversions are found in ‘Memories of Sandfields’ by Mrs Bethan Lloyd-Jones.]
4. The Legacy of his Preaching
Now, this is a big subject, but a little about his preaching when he was alive, and then a little about his preaching since his death.
He went to Wales, as I have reminded you, in 1927: the eve of the Great Depression. And nowhere in Britain suffered more than South Wales, in terms of poverty, unemployment, children going the school without any breakfast, sometimes without any shoes. It was a difficult time, and a lawyer in Liverpool once said that two men kept South Wales from Communism in the 1930s. One of them was an Aneurin Bevan, a socialist MP, the other one was Lloyd-Jones, the preacher at Aberaven. In other words, in the midst of a situation of great need, the preaching of the Word of God touched lives, changed lives, uplifted lives, and touched not simply an individual but in some cases touched communities. Lloyd-Jones believed that preaching is able to do that.
Another example of the same thing was that in 1967 he was asked to preach in Aberfan, South Wales; a valley town, a mining town. November 1967 What made the occasion so special was that twelve months before, the end of October 1966, that great disaster had taken place in Aberfan. It had been raining for several days and this great slurry of coal dust came down the mountain on the village of Aberfan at 9.15 in the morning. 116 children were killed, and 28 adults. It was just a small community, with hardly a household where there wasn't a bereavement. A whole generation of children were taken. Desolation. It was said that for twelve months, they didn't see anyone smile in Aberfan. Hope seemed to have just gone. And it was Lloyd-Jones who was asked a year later to come and to mark the first anniversary. His text was, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
I don't know just how he handled that text, but we do know that God so spoke through the preaching, that hearts that had been broken were mended, and hope came back into the community, and people smiled again. The Word of God is alive and powerful.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
Let me just mention another occasion briefly, that a friend of mine recorded in his diary. In 1948, a big meeting was held in Westminster Chapel, London. It wasn't a church service, and Lloyd-Jones wasn't there as the minister. I think it was an Evangelical Alliance meeting, but the speakers were a little bit mixed. The first speaker everybody was so keen to hear was the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day, Sir Stafford Cripps. The Chairman, who also spoke a little, was W R Matthews, who was Dean of St Paul's. And then the closing speaker was Lloyd-Jones. Well, Cripps spoke first, and he spoke about the need for prayer, and the benefit of prayer for the nation, and the need for higher moral standards, and how moral standards were good for a country, and so on. He said things along those lines.
But then, when Lloyd-Jones got up, he said that prayer is not some sort of device to get help from God for us. God isn't here to serve nations. We don't use Christianity as a means of helping national life. I'm not giving you his exact words, but you see the point that he was making. God doesn't exist for us. We live for God. And from that point he went on to preach that what England needed was not a little more prayer or morals. It needed regeneration. It needed repentance. And my friend, who wrote this in his diary said, he daren't look at Sir Stafford Cripps. Lloyd-Jones was demolishing really, what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said!
Well, preaching and the power of preaching: "Our Gospel came not to you in word only, but in power, in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance."
Since Lloyd-Jones Died
Now, what about his preaching since he died? Well you know, thats a wonderful thing. We've lived in an age when tapes have come into existance, and we can hear the voices of men who are no longer here. And thousands of 'Lloyd-Jones' tapes go out every year. A year or two ago, I think, fifteen thousand tapes went out in one year. I was in California a few years ago, and turning on the radio, what did I hear but Lloyd-Jones, preaching. Somebody had given a cassette tape to the radio station, and the radio was broadcasting Lloyd-Jones.
So that preaching goes on, and it goes on too, in his books. And these have been so wonderfully used: The Sermon on the Mount, Romans, Ephesians. . . All sorts of people are touched. People in prison. People on a voyage at sea, on holiday, go into the ship's library and pull down Lloyd-Jones from the shelf and something happens to them.
A student went from Korea to South Africa to do his doctorate, and his subject was 'The Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones'. Another student met him from Brazil, his name is Elopez, I've met him, and Elopez says to this Korean student, "What are you studying?" And the man said "Lloyd-Jones". "I've never heard of him." So the Korean tells the Brazilian about Lloyd-Jones, and this Brazilian, his heart begins to burn. And today, he's preaching as Lloyd-Jones preached, in Brazil!
And it is a remarkable fact, that Lloyd-Jones's books on Romans go to fourteen volumes, and those fourteen volumes are all in print in Korean, and all fourteen volumes are in print in Brazil, in Portugese. In other words, these are books that speak to people's hearts. They don't simply give information, and direction, but they lead people closer to God, and to the Word of God.
Another legacy, the fifth.
5. Understanding the Times
Decline in the Church
He left us an understanding of the times in which we live, in the United Kingdom. You know, we can look at details sometimes, and we forget the broad picture. And Lloyd-Jones looked at the broad picture. He had a great opportunity to do so, because through a long life, he travelled the length and breadth of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. I think he knew this country, religiously, to a degree which, probably, nobody else did. He preached in little villages, he preached in big towns. And as his life went on, and drew to its conclusion, one thing was unmistakable. Decline in the church. Decline in numbers. Decline in faith. A situation that was a great burden to him.
And then the question was, "How is this situation to be faced? This decline in the Christian Church?" And some people said, 'The answer is evangelism'. The church has got to reach out. The church has got to get to new people.
Lloyd-Jones didn't agree with that. He agreed with evangelism, of course. But, that isn't the first thing. "The first thing," he said, "was the Church". The Church has to be revived. The Church needs new discipline. The Church needs to be brought back to repentance, and to real faith in the Word of God. That was his emphasis. Its a living church that becomes a real witness to a dying nation.
And that takes us back to his point about the local church
But as well as the local church, he pleaded that all Gospel believing churches should stand together. He pleaded that we were in a situation of crisis and urgency and seriousness, in which this was no time for Christians to be divided over secondary issues, matters of church government and things of that kind. If we believe the Bible is the Word of God, and want to be faithful to Christ, then let us stand together. He pleaded for that.
That brought him into conflict with the Ecumenical movement. The Ecumenical movement said,
"The reason the world isn't listening to the Church is because the Church is so divided, and if Churches would only come together and unite, then the world will be impressed. They'll see our numbers. They'll see our strength."
And so the Ecumenical movement preached unity. And so did Lloyd-Jones, but it was a different kind of unity. The Ecumenical movement didn't begin by defining what a Christian is. Lloyd-Jones said, "Before you can talk about unity, you have to say what it means to be united to Christ." As we are united to Christ, then we are indeed united to all Christians. But the Ecumenical movement wanted to bypass, "What is the Gospel you have to believe?" They didn't want to discuss that. They just wanted to talk about unity.
And Lloyd-Jones said that, "That kind of unity is a sham unity. Its not the real thing." He was pleading for true unity, amongst God-fearing, Bible believing people. And he pleaded that a false unity led to a situation the apostle Paul speaks about, where error eats like a cancer. It brings compromise. It weakens churches and paralyses the work of the Church. So his understanding of the times went in that way, and his fear was that if true bible believing Christians didn't act together, and stand together, then we should simply be over-run by a worldly church, and by deviations from the faith. He died believing that the supreme need was that Christians who are bible believers should stand together.
A sixth and last legacy, and I think he would have put it first and made it most important of all.
6. The Holy Spirit
Its the lesson that the of the growth of church depends entirely upon the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. "Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." Many people were suggesting all kinds of remedies for the church. 'Better scholarship', some said. others said, 'try to get important into the church and get them to give their testimony'. All sorts of remedies, and Lloyd-Jones went back to this one. We need the Holy Spirit's grace, in large measure.
He believed that, as John Knox said of the Reformation, "God gave His Holy Spirit to simple men in great abundance." That's what happened in the sixteenth century. Lloyd-Jones believed it could happen today. And he believed earnestly, that the Holy Spirit doesn't need to be given to a multitude of people in greater power, but a few earnestly seeking God can be anointed with fresh power and influence. That often times in history, it has only been a remnant of men who have turned the tide. And I remember how grieved he was after speaking at one ministers' meeting, I'm afraid here in Scotland, when he said he sensed that there was no real expectation of revival.
Now, before the Disruption of 1843, Horatius Bonar says that people like William Chalmers Burns, and John Milne of Perth, these eminent preachers, that they weren't like that until something was given to them. In 1838-39, something happened to them. The same thing happened to John MacDonald, the 'Apostle of the North', when he was at the Gaelic Chapel in Edinburgh. Something happened to him that made him a new man, Dr Kennedy of Dingwall says. He was a Christian before, but he had a new enduement of the Holy Spirit, and his preaching became different. Now Lloyd-Jones believed that, and he believed it on the basis of Scripture. Acts 4: "When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness". Something happened to the preaching.
Now, my friends, that surely is of tremendous importance. What makes an evangelist? An evangelist is a man with a heart full of love and compassion. Where does that come from? From the fulness of the Holy Spirit. The mind of Christ. The more we have the Spirit's enabling, the more we shall be touched with the need of the generation around us. And that leads, by the grace of God, to a new day, and a better day.
So, we are trying to obey the Scripture, "Remember them who have spoken unto you the Word of God, whose faith follow". And then, what follows? "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." We don't speak of Lloyd-Jones or anyone else to honour men, but to thank God that He gave such men. And that He is able to do that today. And we all, I pray, go home and bow our knees to God, to send us men endued with the Spirit. And our pastors, our faithful pastors, that thank God we do have, that they will be given yet greater measures of the Spirit's grace and enabling.
This article has been transcribed from a recording of The Legacies of Dr Lloyd-Jones - a lecture given by Rev Iain H Murray at a public meeting of the Inverness Branch of the Scottish Reformation Society, on Monday, 31 October 2005.
Rev Iain H Murray served for three years as assistant to Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel and subsequently at Grove Chapel, London, and St Giles Presbyterian Church, Sydney. He is a founding trustee of the Banner of Truth Trust, and currently lives in Edinburgh.
An author of many helpful books, Iain Murray the wrote the 2 volume biography of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years, 1899-1939 and The Fight of Faith, 1939-1981. He has previously spoken for the society in 1995 on “Spurgeon & Hyper-Calvinism”.
SCOTTISH REFORMATION SOCIETY
The Scottish Reformation Society was founded in 1851, following a protest against the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England. The original constitution of the Society set out its objectives as being “to resist the aggressions of Popery; to watch the designs and movements of its promoters and abettors; and to diffuse sound Scriptural teaching and information on the distinctive tenets of Protestantism and Popery”.
To these aims, the Society has maintained and promoted a faithful witness to the present time. A quarterly magazine, The Bulwark, is committed to the same principles as the Society and the material is drawn from a wide source of Reformed teachers and writers past and present.
Enquiries can be directed to:
The Scottish Reformation Society
Telephone: 0131 220 1450
Visit the Scottish Reformation Society website.