PASTOR NICK’S WEEKLY DEVOTION 10/14/2018

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus promises, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (ESV)… That promise always makes me think of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. He is by far one of my favorite figures from recent church history (1899-1981). He was from Wales, once a great medical doctor, who in obedience to God’s call on his life left a successful practice to become a pastor.

Lloyd-Jones only pastored two churches in his life: one a rural church in Wales, and the other a church in the heart of London. Both churches were in bad shape when he got there. In that time in the UK it seemed as though people had grown bored with church, and so, unless a church had a lot of things that would attract people in, they were likely a shrinking congregation (sound familiar)… But Lloyd-Jones believed God’s Word, and he had a strong conviction that the gospel was enough, and so he set out to put his conviction into action as he faithfully preached and ministered the gospel week in and week out…

Lloyd-Jones was once addressed by church members who—wanting to see the church grow—said that they needed to bring in certain programs, events, activities and the like that would attract the world in… He responded, “If we are to have a New Testament church it will be by the preaching of the Word of God, it will be by prayer, and it will be by our going into the world and living out the reality of Jesus Christ…” And he meant what he said… He held to this conviction… At one of the churches he pastored they had built a big stage to put on plays in hopes of bringing in the world, but Lloyd-Jones led the church to only focus on God’s Word, prayer, and a life of love… Once the church asked him what they should do with the big wooden stage that was being neglected; he told them to chop it up and use it for firewood to heat the church…

Now that may sound extreme to you, but Lloyd-Jones was right. The gospel is enough… In both churches that he pastored, things got worse before they got better. Both churches got so small that they moved out of their normal worship center and began meeting in their fellowship hall; but after a number of years, both churches experienced such amazing growth that they could barely fit into their worship center…

The church in Wales experienced great revival; so much so that people came to Lloyd-Jones in repentance, and gave him all of their liquor. At one point, it was said that Lloyd-Jones couldn’t pour it out fast enough, and the whole church basement was filled with liquor bottles… People were turning from their alcoholic lifestyles and following Jesus, all because of the right preaching of the gospel, because of the faithful exposition of God’s Word, desperate prayer, and lives lived in love… He did not embrace gimmicks, or drama, or programs, but simply sought to make much of Jesus… And through that faithfulness souls were saved, revival came, and the glory of Christ was magnified…

In our day the temptation is there for us to do what seems to give immediate results, instead of trusting the power of the gospel and God’s timing… May we resist that temptation and seek to be faithful, and trust the Lord… For He has told us in His Word, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1 ESV)… So may we give ourselves to prayer, the right preaching of the gospel, and lives of Christlike love…

I am nothing; Christ is all!

Pastor Nick