14 October 2008

The Doctor: Life in the Spirit

Another musty volume inherited from my grandfather that I dusted off this week, reading it when I just can't bring myself to plow through the latest NT monograph convinced works of the law equals social boundary markers, is Lloyd-Jones' Life in the Spirit. It is a series of sermons on Eph 5 and 6 preached at Westminster Chapel in 1959-60. The first five sermons are on more general "life in the spirit," from 5:18, "do not get drunk on wine . . . but be filled with the Spirit." Then he goes into the more specific applications to husbands and wives, parents and children, and masters and slaves.

These opening sermons are dynamite. I have not myself been able to get much profit out of listening to Lloyd-Jones. Bores me to tears. I just can't pay attention. It's no one's fault but mine. But reading him is invariably profitable. I would even say exhilarating, at least at this point in my development. I find myself thinking this week, in fact, that I have been largely neglecting and sidelining the reality of the Holy Spirit in my life. God helping me, that ends here and now.

Here's one quote from the first message, entitled "The Stimulus of the Spirit." As applicable in 2008 Wheaton, Illinois as it was in 1959 London, England. Ponder this and apply it to your own heart.

[M]orality is in many ways the greatest enemy of Christianity. It is your good moral men who today are the greatest enemies of the Cross of Christ; and therefore they are to be denounced. Christianity is not mere morality, or the absence of certain things in the life of man. There is nothing, surely, that does greater harm to the Christian faith than just that view of it. I am emphasizing this point because I am increasingly convinced that so much in the state of the Christian church today is to be explained chiefly by the fact that for nearly a hundred years the church has been preaching morality and ethics, and not the Christian faith. It is this preaching of the 'good life', of being 'a good little gentleman', and of viewing religion as 'morality touched by emotion' . . . that has been the curse. Such men have shed the doctrines; they dislike any idea of atonement, they dismiss the whole notion of the miraculous and the supernatural, and ridicule talk about re-birth. Christianity to them is that which teaches a man to live a good life. . . . (p. 19)

No comments: