What a privilege it was. Often truly awesome (and I use that word very sparingly). On Sundays throughout my three years at Theological College in London I would listen to the extraordinary preaching of the remarkable Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones.
His bald dome would appear at the back of the huge Westminster Chapel pulpit and another service would start. Hymn singing provided simply the preliminaries to the reason why everybody attended, namely to hear the beloved Doctor preach.
I often used to think that it could not have been more remarkable to have heard C.H Spurgeon every week. His exposition of scripture was electrifying and the power present was truly exceptional. Unlike Spurgeon he would work systematically through whole Biblical books. Arriving at Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7 he spent one whole sermon on ‘Men and brothers hear me’ with a devastating attack on prejudice and making up your mind before you have heard the message.
I remember one Sunday when he took us into Romans 1 emphasising the thrice repeated ‘God gave them up’. It is hard to describe the power and conviction with which he preached. Although we dutifully sang the closing hymn, all who were present were overwhelmed. Hardly anybody moved for long moments at the conclusion of the service, having been so confronted with the horror and finality of God’s judgement. God gave them up!
I personally feel extraordinarily indebted to the Doctor not only for his preaching and writing, his personal encouragement was also so enriching.
One memorable conversation with him followed his great sermon on Philip's powerful impact in Samaria in Acts 8. On the previous evening I had invited Arthur Wallis to speak on the subject of revival at college where Arthur made reference to an outpouring currently taking place in South East Asia accompanied by phenomenal signs and wonders. The faculty at college were troubled that such controversial things should be referred to. I was therefore transfixed when the Doctor preached, making almost identical biblical points to those made by Arthur the evening before.
I spoke to the Doctor after the meeting, expressing my frustration at the college's attitude. He replied by asking, ‘How many points did I say I had this evening?’
‘Three’ I remembered.
‘How many did I make?’
‘Only one, surely.’
‘Correct,’ he said. Pointing to some papers on his desk, he chuckled ‘Those notes will do for next week; God opened it up to me as I was speaking’ adding that the great sin of the Evangelical Church was putting God in a box and telling him what he was not allowed to do. The Doctor was unquestionably a man of the Spirit. I still benefit massively from his books and I am once again reading through all of his Ephesians series. Currently halfway through book 3 ‘The Unsearchable Riches of Christ’, I stumbled upon his saying, "Many evangelical Christians are afraid of the power of the Hoy Spirit." He evidently wasn't.
I have been delighted to see how nowadays he is frequently quoted and now have stumbled on this recent video. I do hope his voice will continue to be heard for its Biblical authority and great openness to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
Blog originally posted on TerryVirgo.org