Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Personal Witness to Christ–Do we have a message to deliver to those in need?

“The Christian is not a seeker; the Christian is one who has found. “Come, see a man”¦” (John 4:29); “We have found the Messiah”¦” (John 1:41); “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth”¦” (John 1:45). Christians are men and women who have found; they have found something to give; they are not merely seeking”¦By definition Christians have something; they have something to say”¦ So the great question we must all ask ourselves is this: do we have something to give to people who are in need? I like to think of it like this. Imagine that tonight when you are in your home, somebody knocks at your door or rings the bell. You go to the door, and there you find a messenger. What is the message? Well, it is a request, an appeal, from a man whom you have known for years; perhaps you have known him since you were children together. Unfortunately, poor fellow, he has gone wrong in life, he has lived a godless life, and yet you somehow liked him. Whenever you met him, you were glad to see him, you always spoke to him, and you often tried to urge him to come with you to listen to the gospel. But he would not come; he laughed it off, as such people often do.
Now here is the message ”“ this afternoon that poor fellow had a sudden heart attack, and he is desperately ill; in fact, he is dying. The doctor can do no more for him. He has told the family, and this man realizes the truth ”“ he can see it in their faces. And suddenly he has come to himself. He sees that his life is finished, and he is going to the unknown and to darkness. He has nothing ”“ nothing to lean on in his past life, nothing to lean on in the present. Nobody can help him. He is absolutely alone, as we all shall be sooner or later, as our soul passes from time to eternity and into the presence of God. He does not know what to do or where to turn; he is in agony of soul. But suddenly he has thought of you because he thinks of you as a Christian and as a member of a church, because you have invited him to go with you to church. So he has sent for you ”“ that is the message. Of course, you have no choice; you must go. And when you arrive in the room, there is your friend lying on his back in bed.

This is the test as to whether or not we are Christians. Do you have something you can give him that will make all the difference in the world to him? What is the point of telling this man that you are also a seeker and a searcher after the truth ”“ he will be dead before midnight? What is the point of saying to him, “I hope that my sins are going to be forgiven sometime, I’m doing my best, I’m living a good life”? Does that help him? That puts him into hell while he is still alive. Or how does it help him if you turn to him and say, “Well, at last you see it. How many times have I told you that the life you were living was wrong? If only you had live as I live!” What is the value of that? That is sheer cruelty. That, again, is putting him in hell while he is still alive. It is of no value at all.

No, no; that is not the Christian way. Christians are not seeking truth or seeking forgiveness. They are not trying to make themselves Christians by living good lives; they are not merely church members. What are they? Well, in the end it just comes to this: they are men and women who, like the woman of Samaria, have met Christ, the Son of God. They are able to tell this poor fellow that it is not too late, that it is not hopeless, that no one is justified by their works or by their lives, that we are all sinners, and there is no ultimate difference between us at all, but that this is the message: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever [even he] believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Christians can tell this man not about their own experience but about Jesus Christ. There is no time to give experiences; there is no time to go through your drill and mechanically quote this or that. All they can say is, “Jesus Christ ”“ look to him!” They just tell the dying man about him, who he is, what he has done. And that is the only way this man can be helped, the only way he can find peace and rest for his soul.”

–Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), Living Water: Studies in John 4, quoted by yours truly in yesterday’s sermon


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Soteriology, Theology

2 comments on “Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Personal Witness to Christ–Do we have a message to deliver to those in need?

  1. Revcant says:

    Thank you, Kendall. This went up on my FB page as soon as I read it.

  2. Kendall Harmon says:

    I read it again this morning and it brought me to tears as it did yesterday. Very fine stuff.