Saturday, May 9, 2015

a review of Experiencing the New Birth

I am always interested in any new publication of the works of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, with the hope that his sermons might be introduced to new readers and new generations.  

I was first introduced to Lloyd-Jones -- the physician-turned-evangelist -- in 1996 through a collection of messages called Knowing the Times.  I soon moved on to reading many more sermons by Lloyd-Jones, as well as his biography.  I was amazed at his grasp of the gospel, his depth of wisdom in applying biblical truth, the breadth of his understanding of history, and his prescient understanding of where our western world is heading. He was able to communicate all this in a plain and straight-forward manner from the pulpit.

Experiencing the New Birth is a collection of sermons on John 3, preached in 1966 at Westminster Chapel. This is a most timely book, and quite needed today among professing Christians, many of whom take the new birth for granted.  Evangelical offerings published recently have been strong on the issues of justification and related gospel-centered topics, but this book brings forth helpful, biblical answers related to what it means to be born again.  What does the work of God look like, when bringing a person from darkness to light, from death to life?  How can we judge ourselves in this?  With careful diagnosis Lloyd-Jones gives biblical insight as to the meaning of "the fullness of life" in Jesus. His preaching is passionate but logical, giving the reader a practical basis for diagnosing his own heart.  It's a kind of Religious Affections for modern man. 

These messages are searching, and were at points uncomfortable for me, which only served to drive me to seek the Lord for more grace. Lloyd-Jones had a somewhat unique view regarding the direct assurance which the Holy Spirit gives the believer, which he relates to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I found these sermons very helpful for understanding his view of this ministry. Though I'm not sure I'm in complete agreement on his interpretation, I was certainly enlarged in my thinking about the powerful and wonderful ministry of the Holy Spirit in bringing us to the Jesus. 

Overall, this book kindled afresh in me the joy of knowing that I have life in the Lord Jesus. My thanks, also, to Crossway who provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through Beyond the Page. 

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