It is time once more to raid my electronic version of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ materials, which is produced by Logos Bible Software. Today’s quote is more from the Doctor on revival – this time it is a list of vital doctrines that are neglected outside of times of revival, yet find their central place during revival. Read them slowly, and carefully, then get a hold of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ book on revival (electronically or in paper form) and read them in full in chapter 3. They sound so very current to today’s controversies.
Truths We Neglect at Our Peril
The truth concerning the sovereign, transcendent, living God who acts, and who intervenes, and erupts into the history of the Church, and of individuals. I must start with that. It is the foundation of all doctrines . . . The basis of everything is the sovereign, transcendent, living God, who in His eternal, glorious freedom acts, intervenes, and interferes with the life of the whole Church and of individuals. And if there is anything that is more obvious than anything else in the life of the Church today, it is the failure to start with, and to believe, that truth . . . Their ideas of God that He is a God who does not intervene. He is a God who does not act, a God whom they are always having to approach: they are always moving while He remains away in some distant eternity, absolutely impassive and immovable. He is this remote God. And they consequently do not believe in revival, because that means essentially God acting, God coming in, God breaking in . . . .
The second truth which has been hidden follows from the first. It involves the authority of this book, the authority of the Bible . . . They do not really believe that God has revealed the truth concerning Himself, in propositions, and in statements, as they are recorded in the Bible. What then, is their position? How do they arrive at truth? Their answer is that they arrive at truth by searching for it, by their reasoning, by their understanding and by their speculation.
Now, this can be put very simply. The whole emphasis today is upon man’s search for God, as if God had never revealed Himself at all. But the whole case of the Bible is that God is searching for man, and that He has revealed Himself to man, because man by searching cannot find God. That is its fundamental proposition . . .
If you read the history of all the revivals of the past, you will find that they have been periods when men and women have believed this book to be the Word of God. They have believed it literally, they have regarded it as the revelation of God, and the truth concerning Him, and man’s relationship to Him, and all that is involved. And they have believed that this book has been written by men who have been divinely inspired. They have submitted themselves to it, they have not stood above it as judges, and as those who can decide what is right and what is wrong . . . .
The third great cardinal article of belief which has been ignored is man in sin and under the wrath of God. Here is a doctrine that the natural man abominates. He feels that it is insulting to him. He has always been like that . . . Men and women in the midst of revival are . . . conscious of . . . their own unutterable sinfulness. When you have a revival you see men and women groaning, agonising under the conviction of sin. They are so conscious of their unworthiness, and their vileness, that they feel that they cannot live. They do not know what to do with themselves. They cannot sleep. They are in an agony of soul. If you read the history, you will see that that is the thing which stands out . . . .