The greatest and most urgent thing the church does on a week-to-week basis is the preaching of God’s Word. In our modern evangelical culture that is driven by entertainment and all sorts of methods of attracting unbelievers into the church, such a statement may seem out of touch with reality. However, any true evaluation of the functionality of the church will reveal that every area of the church’s life and ministry philosophy is directly connected to the preaching of God’s Word. Preaching must take the primary place in the life of the church because what happens in the pulpit will set the course for the entire ministry of the local church.
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (20 December 1899 – 1 March 1981) was a Welsh medical doctor who left the practice of medicine to serve as a protestant pastor. He was influential in the Reformed evangelical circles in Britain during the 20th century, but his ministry expanded to the United States and beyond. He was called to pastor Westminster Chapel in London just a few blocks from Buckingham Palace—a post he would hold for almost 30 years. Today, the Welshman’s ministry continues through his writings and sermon library that continue to leave an indelible mark upon Christians around the world.
Paul Washer has stated, “Some people have called Edwards the last Puritan, I refer to Martyn Lloyd-Jones as maybe the last of the Puritans.”1Taken from Paul Washer’s testimony regarding D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the documentary, Logic on Fire. Why do people remember Martyn Lloyd-Jones today? It’s not because of his slick programs or attempts to entertain masses of people. It’s because of his faithful proclamation of God’s Word. R.C. Sproul said, “I believe Martyn Lloyd-Jones was to the 20th Century Britain what Charles Spurgeon was to the 19th Century.” .”2Taken from R.C. Sproul’s interview regarding D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the documentary, Logic on Fire.
When one thinks of the ministry of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, certainly his rich, warm, and powerful preaching must be at the forefront. While people would flock to his church to receive counsel from him, it was his preaching that changed lives. His book, Preaching and Preachers, was a book derived from a series of lectures that he gave at Westminster Theological Seminary. In his most helpful book, Martyn Lloyd-Jones drives home a definition of preaching over approximately 45 pages where he argues the following:
What is preaching? Logic on fire! Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire. A true understanding and experience of the Truth must lead to this. I say again that a man who can speak about these things dispassionately has no right whatsoever to be in a pulpit; and should never be allowed to enter one.3D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971, 53.
In his early days of ministry, Martyn Lloyd-Jones served a church in a Welsh village community before being called to serve as an assistant under the well known G. Campbell Morgan in London at Westminster Chapel. In the coming years, as the Welshman would take the pulpit—his ministry would be tested by the Blitz as the Germans dropped bombs on the city of London during World War II.
At one point, there was a span of 57 straight days where bombs rained down upon the city. Darkness covered the land. During those days, many people in central London would flee the city for safer locations outside the city in the rural landscape. Martyn Lloyd-Jones remained at his post because he understood that whether he lived or died as a result of the German bombs, it was the faithful preaching of the Word of God that would provide a means of light in the darkness and peace in the storm for those sheep who were under his care.
One Sunday in the summer of 1944, as Martyn Lloyd-Jones was leading the congregation in prayer prior to his Lord’s Day sermon, a bomb exploded a short distance from Westminster Chapel. The entire building shook with a deafening jolt. Plaster from the ceiling fell from above. Martyn Lloyd-Jones paused his prayer. After the blast and the echo of the explosion ceased, the people were sprinkled with a fine white powder from the ceiling plaster that was dislodged by the bomb. After a brief pause, Martyn Lloyd-Jones continued onward in the service with a remarkable steadfastness. Rather than fleeing the pulpit, he stood firm and preached his entire sermon that Lord’s Day.
The point that Martyn Lloyd-Jones displayed in his preaching that day was clear. What happens in the pulpit is critically important. The primacy of preaching was evident in the Welshman’s heart that Sunday and the congregation never forgot it. They may have not remembered every point of the sermon that Lord’s Day, but they certainly remembered the point that the preaching of the Word is the primary ordinary means of grace in the life of the church. It wasn’t the Germans who dropped a bomb that Lord’s Day, it was Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
What happens in the pulpit every single week matters. Life and death hang in the balance. The preaching of a single sermon will leave an indelible mark upon lives of the church. In some ways, a single sermon will have an immediate impact and at the same time a generational influence. This is what Lloyd-Jones understood about the preaching of the Word. This is also what his daughter Ann remembers about her father’s preaching. She recalls, “He was grave in the pulpit and urgent for the souls of those listening.”4 Taken from Ann Beatt’s testimony regarding her father, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the documentary, Logic on Fire.
As Christians gather for church every single Lord’s Day, there must be a constant understanding that the entire worship service matters, but at the center of it all is the preaching of the sacred Word of God. When many churches run to gimmicks and cultural schemes to grow their churches, we must remember the constant, warm, and steady ministry of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes:
Preaching the Word is the primary task of the Church, the primary task of the leaders of the Church, the people who are set in this position of authority; and we must not allow anything to deflect us from this, however good the cause, however great the need.5Preaching and Preachers., 23.
*For prints of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, visit G3Min.org.
|Taken from Paul Washer’s testimony regarding D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the documentary, Logic on Fire.
|Taken from R.C. Sproul’s interview regarding D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the documentary, Logic on Fire.
|D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971, 53.
|Taken from Ann Beatt’s testimony regarding her father, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the documentary, Logic on Fire.
|Preaching and Preachers., 23.