1 Peter 2: 1-3
"Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord."
My friends, take the time to listen to this message, you won't regret it.
[b]The Apostles Doctrine[/b] by Dr. Martyn-Lloyd Jones ( 60 minutes )
[i]Transcript: this is the last 10 minutes of the sermon.[/i]
Not speculations, not one man getting up and saying, "I say it's this," and another saying, "No; I think it's that -- modern knowledge has taught me this!" No, no! An apostolic message given by the risen Lord to the apostles. Didn't he arrest Saul of Tarsus, on the road to Damascus; didn't he reveal himself to him; didn't he say, "I am going to make you a witness and a minister"; didn't he tell him what to say, the same message as he had given to all the others? There is such a thing as an apostolic message, apostolic teaching, and that, and that alone, is Christianity.
What is it? What is this teaching? Here is the vital question. They continued steadfastly in the apostle's teaching. What did they teach them? Do you know the apostolic teaching? Have you believed it? Have you received it? Do you want to know more about it? What is this teaching? Is it possible for me to tell you what the Christian teaching is? Is it something vague, nebulous, indefinite; is it something that's got to be new because man knows geology and certain other sciences? Is it different from what it was in the first-century?
The answer is: No! The message is one and it is still the same, there is no other message. What is this message? Let me give you the answer in a brief word. The message is summarized in many places in the new testament. Peter had already given them a summary of it, by saying, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins!" He had already explained the death on the cross to them: "Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath risen up." That's it!
What's it mean? What is this apostolic teaching? Shall I tell you in my closing words? It's this: it is summarized again in 1 Corinthians 15; it is summarized in 1 Thessalonians 1, in two verses, 9 & 10: "how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and the true God; and to await for his Son from heaven, even Jesus, whom he raised from the dead, who delivered us from the wrath to come." That's apostolic teaching, that's apostolic preaching -- what's it mean? It's this. This is Christian teaching. Where does it start? It starts with God. It doesn't start with modern-man; it doesn't start with the latest knowledge; it doesn't start with biology or geology -- it starts by saying "in the beginning God" the creator of the whole universe and the sustainer of the cosmos. God in his holy being, God in his righteousness, in his glory, his everlasting life! God! And the world that he made, and men that he made -- man made in the image of God: not a sniveling creature, that goes his whole life just eating and drinking and indulging in sex as if he were an animal at the farmyard. No, no! But upright and righteous: a reflection of something of the divine glory itself. God, man, the universe -- and then the fall of man. Man's rebellion against God; and sin and shame and havoc and misery and unhappiness and man in need of salvation. And the judgment of God upon it all. This is apostolic teaching. The modern-man doesn't like it: "No, no!" he says, "not so much a doctrine as a way of life." But you can't have it, this is truth, this is God's message and the Son of God is the proof of it!
Why did [the Son of God] come into the world? Here is the answer: "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." If a man doesn't believe on God's Son, he will perish -- there's the judgment of God. John 3:16, they say, is the most wonderful verse in the Bible: very well, if you say so, believe it! And it's God and man and the fall and damnation! And the only way of escape: Jesus Christ, the Son of God! This blessed person, who was born as a baby in Bethlehem, the incarnation! It's nothing but sheer doctrine: that "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law." God visiting and redeeming his people. And the Son coming -- what for? -- O, to save us! How? By taking our sins upon himself; by bearing our punishment; by being smitten by the stripes we deserved; by dying in our stead; by bearing our sins in his own body on the tree: that we being dead to sin should live unto righteousness. This is apostolic teaching.
And then the gift of new life in the Spirit. The possibility of a new start: not only are my sins forgiven, I'm made a child of God, I've got a new nature, I'm born again. I'm a new man and the Spirit of God is in me: enabling me and strengthening me, progressively sanctifying me! What for? O, to prepare me for the glory everlasting that's awaiting me in Christ! That's the apostolic message.
And that is the thing that these people [the church of Acts] coveted to hear more and more of. They knew they had got new life. They said, "we need more of it, we're in the world still. And the world, and the flesh, and the devil are powerful and we are weak. Tell us, what's the teaching?" They wanted to know what it means to be in Christ, and Christ in you, the hope of glory. They wanted to know more about this blessed Spirit that can change a man and give him power! They wanted to know more about that world that's to come, not this passing evil world, but that world and its pleasures and its joys -- who can teach them but the apostles? And how do they know? Well, because Christ has revealed it unto them. So they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread and in prayer. O, my dear friend, we've got to leave it at that for this evening . . .
This is the only thing that matters you know. I don't know the future of this world. I am not an expert in politics: I don't know enough about it. I don't know what is happening behind the scenes. So I don't waste your time by preaching politics to you. I am not here to get you to organize campaigns against bombs; or this or that! I am here to tell you what is delivered to me through these apostles -- the only authority I have and that is their message. But you and I, and all mankind, are going to stand before God in the judgment and that all of us, as we are by nature, cannot do so. The ungodly cannot stand in the judgment but will be swept away like the chaff (as the Psalmist puts it in Psalm 1). And this is the thing that matters: whatever the political future may be, whatever governments may come or go: you and I are living souls! And we are facing God and eternity! This is a passing world, at best, we've all got to die -- our time is short, life is but a breath, a vapor!
And the supreme question is: how can a man be just with God?
How can I get forgiveness for my sin?
How can I get a new life and start living in a worthy manner?
How can I lose the fear of death and the grave?
How can I prepare for that eternity that's coming?
And, thank God! the apostolic doctrine deals with those questions and it answers them. It is the only teaching that does so. The philosophers don't know, they can talk cleverly, they can't live so well, many of them. There is nothing under the sun tonight that deals with our fundamental and essential problems and questions: save this apostolic doctrine. O, thank God for it, thank God that it's plain, thank God it's clear, thank God that it's been preached through the running centuries, thank God that it's as true tonight as it was [over] 1900 years ago -- thank God it is the everlasting gospel! There will never be another because this is about what God has done himself, in his only begotten Son, for us men and for our salvation.
My dear brethren, have you believed? Have you received this apostolic doctrine?
I can test you very simply. If you have believed this and received it: you've got new life, spiritual life. And that will show itself in this way: you will be hungering and thirsting for more of this. It will become the greatest interest of your life! You'll be interested still in other books but you'll find as I say, to the glory of God -- that I find there are many books that I would like to read, I just haven't got time, I am too busy reading this [Bible] and books that help me to understand it. Now I am not criticizing the others; I like to read books on history, I like reading biographies, I like reading about music, I like reading about many of these subjects; I like reading medicine, I like reading aspects of science, psychology, philosophy, and so on. But you know my whole problem is to get the time! This [Bible] -- O, I find life here. I find something here not only for my mind but it moves my heart! It melts me, it moves me, it fills me with rapture, it strengthens my feeble will! I want this!
And any man who has new life in him, the life of God in his soul, there is new spiritual life. He will be like a new born babe: he will desire the sincere milk of the word, that he may grow thereby.
Have you got that desire? IF YOU HAVEN'T YOU ARE DEAD! I don't care whether you are a church-member or not.
If you haven't got this desire: YOU ARE DEAD!
If this sermon has been too long: I venture to say, YOU ARE DEAD!
If the Bible is still boring to you: YOU ARE DEAD, my friend!
If you find prayer difficult and a task: YOU ARE DEAD!
And therefore you have but one thing to do: go to God -- repent -- confess your sin -- tell him you realize you're dead -- ask him to give you life anew, to breathe his Spirit upon you and to give you new life from amongst the dead.
And one of the first things you will find about yourself is this: that this will become central. You'll want to know more and more -- you'll have a hunger and a thirst for it. And you'll put everything aside, in order that you may know this because this will build you up and prepare you not only for death but for the glory that awaits you at the other side. O, beloved people, may God give you grace to examine yourselves in the light of this. I am not asking whether you are a good man or a good woman. I am asking you this: are you a new man, are you a new woman? Is there a spiritual life -- nothing else matters. Make certain. Go to him if you haven't got it and ask him for it. He won't refuse you. I have his authority for saying this, "him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." Get hold of that water of life, that he alone can give, that will spring up within you like a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. Thank God, this is Christianity! This is God's way of salvation.