During this particular season of my life, I often find myself with time to spend alone. Sometimes, though not as often as I like, I try to put this solitude to good use by spending time with God to deepen my relationship with Him, either in prayer, reading the Bible or a Christian book at length, listening to worship music, or a good sermon or teaching tape. Kingsley College library carries a set of sermons on audio cassette by the noted British preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981). Occasionally I check these out to myself and listen to them, but no, I've never fined myself for an overdue item.
On Sunday afternoon, as I did my ironing, I listened to a expository sermon on John 1:16, and correlating passages. This particular sermon was preached in late 1963, but it had a timeless quality about it. I guess that's why his sermons are still in circulation today. Lloyd-Jones was very adept at expository preaching. Even though he was obviously an intelligent man, he could write and speak quite plainly so as to be easily understood by the common person.
The theme of this particular sermon was the sufficiency of Christ, and the key point that I took away from it was that we are unable to live effectively as Christians in our own strength. We must rely on God's grace and empowerment. He gives us everything we need to live lives pleasing to Him. It's not a matter of trying harder, because it's beyond our natural abilities. Forgetting this may lead to a spiritual pride or arrogance, which to say the least, isn't a very good place for any Christian to be. The other danger is that may lead to a religion based on works. This is a message for 21st century Christians just as much for our forebears in the tumultuous 1960's.
On a less serious note, as I've listened to a few of these tapes, I couldn't help but notice how much Lloyd-Jones sounded like Sir Alec Guinness, pictured above as Ben Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. This is disrespectful of Lloyd-Jones's message and his legacy, but I kept expecting him to use the phrase, "a wretched hive of scum and villainy," or "Vader was seduced by the dark side of the force."
Guinness had a long and illustrious acting career, appearing in many acclaimed movies, and winning an Academy Award for The Bridge On the River Kwai (1957), so in the latter stages of his career it frustrated him that he was best remembered for his Star Wars role, but that's another story.