Albert N. Martin was the pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Montville, NJ for over 40 years. In recent years due to health issues he had moved to Michigan to be closer to his wife’s family. One day, while I was still living in New Jersey about 45 minutes away from Montville, I had heard he would be back to visit Trinity and would preach during the Sunday morning service.
I wasn’t a member there, but I had visited on multiple occasions to sit under Pastor Martin’s preaching. So I went back to Trinity with a good friend of mine who is a member there. And I was excited. I was looking forward to hear what Pastor Martin had to say. What wonderful message, exhortation, rebuke, did he have for the congregation he loved and shepherded for nearly half a century?
He began his message by talking about the Bible, how it’s quite a large book, and really is more like a library, being a collection of books. And then he started talking about the overarching message of the Bible that’s recognizable in certain “capsule statements” that are given throughout revelation.
God has given us these wonderful little capsule statements that give us the heart of the whole message of the Bible. And those statements become like a door into this marvelous, panoramic, overarching message of Bible. And if you can grasp those particular portions, you have a handle on what the Bible is all about. (04:03-04:39)
And so then, as I was wondering what was coming, he announced his text: Isaiah 53:6. And I, like an idiot, was disappointed. “Isaiah 53?” I thought. “This is no great message that he flew back to deliver. This is just the Gospel.” It wasn’t long before I asked the Lord for forgiveness for that thought.
Pastor Martin was going to preach on the Gospel—the overarching theme of the Word of God, as he titled the sermon—from Isaiah 53. And he announced two major headings:
The bad news of our desperate condition in sin.
The Good News of God’s amazing provision for sin.
As he preached message, he progressively won me over. “What a wonderful way to explain the realities of sin and grace!” I thought. “There are so many people that need to hear this!” I must have thought of 10 people, by name, who I would give this message to. He was responding to all sorts of arguments I’ve heard from these particular people I’ve dialogued with the past. Awesome!
And then about two-thirds into the message, God’s grace came to me in abundance. Even though I was already a believer, the Lord used Pastor Martin to, in a fresh way, make me so terrifyingly aware of my own sin before Him. He presented His holiness to me. And as the reality of my sinfulness confronted me afresh, I realized that I desperately needed this message. It wasn’t just the Gospel. It wasn’t just for others I could share it with. It was for me!
And oh how sweet my fellowship with the Savior was that morning! My gratefulness and thanksgiving overflowed like I was a new believer. This great news is my life. How wonderful it was to hear it unfolded, expounded, and unleashed into my heart.
Dear friends, I commend the Good News of Jesus Christ to you. Benefit yourselves by sitting down for an hour, perhaps with a friend or spouse or a family member, and sitting under the preaching of the Word of God, the very power of God unto salvation for all who believe.
The video and audio are available for download.
I’ve highlighted some thoughts below. I welcome your comments and interaction in the thread.
Here is a description of our fundamental orientation in life. And what is it? It is self-terminating! We live unto ourselves. That’s what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5, verse 15: “That He, Christ, died for all that they who live should no longer live unto themselves.” That’s the statement of what has happened to us. Self-will, self-gratification, self-pleasing becomes the fundamental orientation of life, rather than God’s will, God’s purpose, God’s design, God’s desire. No, it’s my will, my purpose, my ambitions. (22:36-23:34)
This is a great indictment. We have turned each one of us to our own way. We live for ourselves. That is how to waste our lives. We were created to live for the glory of God. And in the pursuit of God’s glory, “self-will, self-gratification, and self-pleasing” are sanctified and fully perfected, such that when I seek to find my will, gratification, and pleasure in Christ, I am not sinning in rebellion, but delightfully obeying my God. Because God’s will, purpose, design, and desire is that we want what He wants, that we are gratified by Him, and that our pleasure be in Him.
At 23:37 to 25:31, he has a great response to the objection, “But I never hurt anybody. I’m not a blight on society. I follow the rules. I help people. I love my neighbor. How can God be angry with that?”
But what’s the common denominator between the hooker that’s out on the street tonight plying her trade, the junkie looking for his next fix, and the polite, cultured, educated, upright person sitting here this morning who is a stranger to God’s grace? What’s the common denominator? Just this: they’re both living to please themselves. … You’re living to yourself! God never gave you that mind to make a god of it, and bow down and worship it!
26:47 – “But,” interjects the objector, “I’m only human. Human beings are flawed. That’s what it is to be human. I can’t be perfect. Nobody’s perfect.”
31:16 – The objector continues, “But God is a loving God. Sure He takes sin seriously, but He takes love more seriously. How can a loving God who understands my weakness and imperfection send me to hell?”
33:56 – A litmus test for any saving truth and saving religion. In what direction is the arrow?
40:22 – The dessert of sin. The cup of wrath that Jesus drank. The glory of substitution.
45:10 – The wonderful hymn that he reads is O Christ, What Burdens Bowed Thy Head. Below are the lyrics.
O Christ! What burdens bowed Thy head!
Our load was laid on Thee;
Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,
Didst bear all ill for me.
A Victim led, Thy blood was shed; Now there’s no load for me.
Death and the curse were in our cup:
O Christ, ’twas full for Thee;
But Thou hast drained the last dark drop,
’Tis empty now for me!
That bitter cup, love drank it up;
Now blessing’s draught for me!
Jehovah lifted up His rod;
O Christ, it fell on Thee!
Thou wast sore stricken of Thy God;
There’s not one stroke for me.
Thy tears, Thy blood, beneath it flowed;
Thy bruising healeth me.
The tempest’s awful voice was heard,
O Christ, it broke on Thee!
Thy open bosom was my ward,
It braved the storm for me.
Thy form was scarred, Thy visage marred;
Now cloudless peace for me.
Jehovah bade His sword awake;
O Christ, it woke ’gainst Thee!
Thy blood the flaming blade must slake;
Thine heart its sheath must be;
All for my sake, my peace to make;
Now sleeps that sword for me.
For me, Lord Jesus, Thou hast died,
And I have died in Thee!
Thou’rt ris’n—my hands are all untied,
And now Thou liv’st in me.
When purified, made white and tried,
Thy glory then for me!
At 49:55: “The glory of the Gospel is this. Hear me now. That in Gospel faith, the sinner in all the nakedness of his need, and the Savior in all the plenitude of His saving grace and power come together in the embrace of faith. No wafer, no water, no priest, no minister, no nothing between! Sinner, in all the nakedness of your need, the Savior, in the plenitude of His power, comes riding to you in the chariot of His Gospel! Lay hold of Christ and you’ll have all the saving benefits that He purchased with His own precious blood! They’re all in Him: peace with God, forgiveness, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the hope of eternal life, a resurrection body, His promised presence! You’ve just got oodles of blessing! But they’re all stored up in the Savior. And He is yours if you’ll have Him by faith this morning!”
Oh friends. He is yours if you’ll have Him by faith right now! Don’t waste your life by living for yourself. Turn from your sin and self-worship, and trust Christ to be your perfect, sin-bearing substitute.