Logic and Fire

colorsfeb10You may remember that I’ve always enjoyed the preaching of the physician from Cardiff, Wales, who ended up as pastor of Westminster Chapel in London. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones received his M.D. in 1921, and experienced a profound conversion to Christ sometime between 1921 and 1923. He was a profound thinker and a lover of God’s Word. Lloyd-Jones longed to see “a great spiritual awakening” in his day. After a series of “disappointments” that put him right where he was supposed to be (and isn’t that always the case?), he preached in London for thirty years. Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ preaching was precise, logical, and passionate. Thousands were drawn to Christ through the Westminster pulpit.

Among many dimensions of his preaching that I have admired is Lloyd-Jones’ insistence upon our need for the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us. He talked about Light and heat. Word and Spirit. Logic and fire.

We all agree, at least theoretically, that dead intellectual orthodoxy is insufficient to save. Without Christ there is no hope. Without His Spirit there is no power to change a single life. Lloyd-Jones believed that the only cure for evangelical compromise (which is sure to come without this) is revival. And Lloyd-Jones understood real revival to be nothing less than a miracle sent down from God. Ian Murray in The Fight of Faith records Lloyd-Jones from 1959: “During the last seventy, to eighty years, this whole notion of a visitation, a baptism of God’s Spirit upon the Church, has gone.”

Some of us may disagree with the nuances of Lloyd-Jones’ understanding of “the baptism of the Holy Spirit,” but surely we must agree that revival is a pouring down of the Spirit into the lives of Christ-followers who would be otherwise powerless and joyless in their Christian service. Talk about a cure for spiritual depression! Like Lloyd-Jones, we know there is something sorely lacking when the church becomes “barren institutionalism.”

My heart really resonates with this piercing observation from The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church by Reggie McNeal: “There is a dimension beyond planning that is critical for us to understand. We can settle for our imaginations, our plans, and our dreams. In fact, I think the North American church has done just that. We have the best churches people can plan and build. But we are desperate for God to show up and to do something that only he can get credit for.”

Specifically, how might you and I begin to pray for the glorious fruit of Spirit-drenched revival in our day? HERE’S WHAT I WOULD PROPOSE THAT WE OFFER UP AS OUR FIRST REQUEST: That we might know in all its fullness the love of God for us in our Lord Jesus Christ! I’m going to ask you to read this passage, aloud, every day for a week: Ephesians 3:14-21. Would you join me in taking up that simple but powerful challenge?

I’ll close with a story by Thomas Goodwin that’s included in Lloyd-Jones’ Joy Unspeakable, and I pray that it will bless you as you delight in Christ’s amazing love for His own (and that includes you).

“A man and his little child are walking down the road and they are walking hand in hand, and the child knows that he is the child of his father, and he knows that his father loves him, and he rejoices in that, and he is happy in it. There is no uncertainty about it all, but suddenly the father, moved by some impulse, takes hold of the child and picks him up, fondles him in his arms, kisses him, embraces him, showers his love upon him, and then he puts him down again and they go on walking together.

That is it! The child knew before that his father loved him, and he knew that he was his child. But oh! the loving embrace, this extra outpouring of love, this unusual manifestation of it – that is the kind of thing. The Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).

As the doctor-turned-preacher reminded us, we need the Holy Spirit, and to be “carried not only from doubt to belief but to certainty, to awareness of the presence and the glory of God.”

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5 comments on “Logic and Fire
  1. Judy Sheppard says:

    Bill asked the question of our Sunday School Class – “What do you think it will take for a ‘real’ revival? I don’t mean just a personal revival, though that is where it must start, but one like the Great Awakening or others that have lasted for years.” There were several good answers but we did agree that what is missing in us is NEED. Bill said he asked Paul Van Stone why it was that those in China were open to the Gospel. Paul said “You have to remember that the government has been there god, and then you tell them about a God that really loves them; there is hope . . . ”

    This is your best “Moore To Life” to date [at least in my opinion].

    • Katherine Phillips says:

      I agree Judy that the lack of need is crucial to our sense of depravity or lack there of. But I also believe that we have filled ourselves with business, and the wonder of our own thoughts and ideas, where if we took time, truly, to rest in our Father’s arms and the love He relishes on us, that Love will be the only thing that changes how we see the world and people in it. (yikes, what a run on! Always sounds better than it reads.) Thank you Pastor Charles. As always, helping us think through our place in the Story.

  2. Jill Wrye says:

    I happily take your challenge. Imagine what a difference if our entire church family did the same! God bless you in the way HE is working through you.

  3. Jo Ranval says:

    Taking the challenge, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Romans 1:16”

  4. Carl House says:

    Thanks for your concern and commentary Pastor Moore. But as we all know, we are living is a different age. It is heart breaking to see the lack of spirit felt, heart led expressions of Christian love in the lives of most congregations today. I can recall as a lad while growing up in Baptist churches people freely and openly would express their love and affection for God and each other (shouting, dancing, hugging,testimonies etc) at almost every gathering. Maybe it was location,location location. I rather think not. I feel it was more Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit. It might be well that we look harder today at Pride,Pride,Pride!

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