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Martyn Lloyd-Jones: A Preacher by Divine Appointment

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Dear Friend,

Warmest Christian Greetings. It is a privilege to write to you on a monthly basis and to hear from you in turn. Thank you for encouraging us as a team and for standing with us in the cause of the Gospel.

For over twenty years, May has begun with our welcoming some 1,500 pastors and church leaders to our conference called Basics. We named it Basics because we seek to help one another get to grips with what it means to follow the apostolic pattern of giving ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word. Instead of looking for bright ideas, gimmicks, or the latest methodologies, we’re committed to teaching the Bible, convinced that the Word of God does the work of God by the Spirit of God in the people of God.

Preaching is indispensable to Christianity. Throughout church history, we find a direct correlation between the forthright proclamation of the Gospel and the vibrancy of the church. Methodist preacher William Sangster said, “Preaching is in the shadows. The world does not believe in it.” Today the prevailing wind is no longer at our backs; it is blowing hard against us in a culture that is increasingly hostile to the Christian faith. Instead of cowering or capitulating, it is time to proclaim the Gospel with a holy boldness and a Christlike winsomeness.

We can learn from those who in times not dissimilar to our own were unashamed to declare that there is salvation in no one else, for there is no one other than Jesus in whom salvation may be found. The late Martyn Lloyd-Jones was bold in his proclamation of this truth. If you’re not familiar with him, he was trained as a medical doctor at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and served as assistant to Sir Thomas Horder, who was the physician to the royal family. Lloyd-Jones quickly realized that his patients’ need for spiritual salvation overshadowed his ability to effect physical change. The call of God to pastoral ministry was so strong that he left medicine for the pulpit by divine appointment. His preaching was God-centered, and his listeners were left in no doubt as to where they stood before God in the light of eternity. It was his conviction that the main failing of the evangelicalism of his day was man-centeredness. On the number of occasions I heard Lloyd-Jones preach, there was a very real awareness of God, His glory, and His love for the world.


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This is a photograph of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s daughter, who was present when I had the privilege of preaching in Greater London in 2022.

Let me recommend the two-volume biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones written by Iain Murray. I also commend to you the opportunity to benefit from his preaching online at mljtrust.org. You can listen for free to a large library of his sermons preached from the pulpit of Westminster Chapel, where he served a congregation in Central London for nearly thirty years.

Lloyd-Jones used to say that he would never cross the street to hear himself preach. He often encouraged his listeners to forget the voice of the “little preacher” and instead hear the voice of God.

We greatly value your prayers for Basics 2024 as we seek to remind each other of the Lord’s declaration: “This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”

Ever grateful for fellowship with you in the Gospel and with my love in the Lord Jesus,

Alistair


PS: I’m joined at Basics 2024 by Sinclair Ferguson and Rico Tice. You can watch the conference beginning May 6 at 3 p.m. eastern at basicsconference.org.


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Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.