West London Alliance Church

TbT@ITT: Overview of Joy Unspeakable




Originally posted February 11, 2009:


The following is an overview of Joy Unspeakable by D. M. Lloyd-Jones:
Foreword and Introduction
  • “For him, everything was to be rooted in Scripture, but nothing was to be left from Scripture.” (p9)
  • Pentecost was an experience available to us all
  • Apostolic history is the typical experience of the church in revival
  • “…and he himself has been called ‘the last of the Calvinistic Methodists’, those people who combine the love of sound doctrine of Calvin with the fire of the Methodist Revival.” (p12)
Chapter 1 – Baptism with the Spirit and Regeneration
Summary: you can be regenerate without being baptized in the Holy Spirit
Key Ideas:
  • We should not be content with less than what Scripture intends for us
  • There are 2 ways we can go wrong with the relationship between experience and scripture
    1. Claiming what goes beyond Scripture or what is contrary to Scripture
    2. Being satisfied with something less than what Scripture offers
  • “You can be so afraid of disorder, so concerned about discipline and decorum and control, that you become guilty of what the Scripture calls ‘quenching the Spirit’” (p18)
  • “Look at the New Testament Christian, look at the New Testament church and you see it vibrant with spiritual life, and, of course, it is always life that tends to lead to excess.” (p19)
  • Of necessity, the Holy Spirit is a resident in every believer

Chapter 2 – Blessed Assurance
Summary: there are even more proofs for maintaining a distinction between the Spirit’s regenerating us and being baptized in the Spirit
Key Ideas:
  • The New Testament depicts what the Christian should be and understanding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is of utmost importance
  • Though there are exceptional times in the church, it is wrong to say that any teaching in Scripture has nothing to do with us
  • Differentiating between the teaching in Acts and the teaching in the epistles is false
  • The epistles can only be understood in light of the the history of the Acts
  • Not distinguishing between regeneration and Spirit baptism causes one to hold that there is no difference between saving faith and assurance of faith
  • Not distinguishing between the aforementioned to also causes one to hold that the apostles could regenerate people
  • Though clearly regenerate, Christ needed to be filled with the Spirit

Chapter 3 – Something that Happens To Us
Summary: baptism with the Holy Spirit is something that happens to us in a significant and experiential way
Key Ideas:
  • Baptism in the Holy Spirit does not happen automatically and it does not happen based on something we do
  • Holy Spirit baptism is given by Christ and its giving is His prerogative to give
  • Revival is defined as a large number of people being filled with the Holy Spirit
  • The Baptism is clear and unmistakable
  • The Baptism is essentially experimental and involves a mystical experience

Chapter 4 – Filled with the Spirit
Summary: the work of the Spirit in Baptism is different than the work of the Spirit in sanctification: Baptism is an exceptional and direct working whereas sanctification is regular and indirect
Key Ideas:
  • The Holy Spirit’s regular work is done through the Scriptures
  • Generally speaking, the Holy Spirit does not use means in Baptism but works directly
  • Baptism is an exceptional experience brought about directly, with immediacy and an overwhelming character
  • “This is no age to advocate restraint; the church today does not need to be restrained, but to be aroused, to be awakened, to be filled with the spirit of glory, for she is failing in the modern world.” (p75)
  • The first result of Baptism in the Spirit is not fruit of the Spirit but experimental evidence of His direct work

Chapter 5 – The Sense of His Presence
Summary: the primary purpose and function of the Baptism is to enable us to witness to Christ and his salvation
Key Ideas:
  • An obvious external demonstration of the Spirit is proof of Baptism
  • The effect of the Baptism can be divided into 2 groups:
    • Subjective experiences
    • Objective demonstrations
  • Subjective experiences usually fall into several broad categories:
    • A sense of God’s glory, an unusual sense of God’s presence
    • A sense of awe of God
    • An assurance of the love of God
  • It is assurance that has the greatest effect on our witness
  • There are 3 types of assurance:
    • Assurance deduced from Scripture
    • Assurance through the tests of life: loving the brethren, His commandments no longer grievous, an unction of the Spirit
    • The highest form of assurance is God’s Spirit bearing witness with our spirit; it is direct and immediate and not a deduction that we make

Chapter 6 – Joy, Love and Understanding
Summary: Spirit Baptism is not limited to certain peoples and it comes with exceptional joy, a desire to glorify Christ, as well as understanding
Key Ideas:
  • There are manifestations of the Baptism:
    • Joy and gladness – this will be a strong witness to those in the world, miserable as they are
    • There is a great desire to glorify God, especially Jesus Christ
    • There is great knowledge and light and understanding
  • These manifestations do not need to be ‘worked up’

Chapter 7 – Bold to Speak
Summary: Spirit Baptism brings with it external evidences; visible glory in peoples countenances and power and efficacy is speech
Key Ideas:
  • Fuller knowledge of God comes from Baptism in the Spirit as opposed to learning
  • There are other physical evidences apart from tongues
  • We should not put all the emphasis on learning when it comes to preaching

Chapter 8 – Baptism with the Spirit and Sanctification
Summary: the relationship between the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and sanctification is not direct; rather it is indirect in that the baptism is the greatest stimulus to Sanctification
Key Ideas:
  • The Spirit convicts of sin, gives unction, enlightens, anoints, and seals
  • There are 2 wrong tendencies when considering the relationship between Baptism and Sanctification
    • Regarding the Baptism of the Spirit as entire sanctification
    • Ignoring sanctification altogether and focusing on the gifts
  • Disrepute has been brought by people claiming great gifts but failing in their Christian life, particularly with ordinary morality
  • There is no direct connection between the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and sanctification; the direct effect of the Baptism has to do with power in witness and testimony
  • Sanctification is something we are always exhorted to do whereas the Baptism is not our doing
  • Sanctification is ultimately the work of the Spirit
  • Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the greatest possible encouragement to sanctification
  • Spectacular signs can be tested by the fruits of those involved and they can be thus corrected and warned

Chapter 9 - The Sealing of the Spirit
Summary: the sealing of the Spirit is synonymous with Baptism in the Spirit and is an authenticating and confirming experience
Key Ideas:
  • We should not reduce New Testament terminology to the level of our experience or interpret New Testament teaching in terms of the modern day church
  • ’sealing’ follows faith and is not true of all Christians
  • ‘sealing’ leads to certainty of the individual and power

Chapter 10 – Something Worth Striving For
Summary: the church desperately needs a visitation of the Spirit; Spirit Baptism requires effort and is worth striving for
Key Ideas:
  • We need the Spirit to understand the Gospel and to preach it effectively
  • True biblical asking requires seeking
  • “You will never know the heights of the Christian life without effort. You have to strive for these things…” (p167)
  • “They do not realize that all the promises of God are always conditional – invariably.” (p171)
  • some things, such a Spirit Baptism, are possibilities that are open to us in Christ but they are not received automatically

Chapter 11 – Receive the Spirit
Summary: though we should seek the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, we can not get it whenever we want; It’s giving is the Lord’s prerogative and we receive it passively
Key Ideas:
  • The New Testament church is a norm or standard which we must try and attain
  • Most members of the early church had received the Baptism of the Spirit
  • “It is our business to desire to attain always to the New Testament norm; we have no right to do anything else.” (p184)
  • We must seek the Baptism
  • The New Testament focuses on the control of the manifestations of the Spirit already received
  • Delivering the Baptism by the laying on of hands is a recent Pentecostal practice
  • The Baptism happens to people; it is received passively not ‘taken by faith’

Chapter 12 – Seeking the Baptism with the Spirit
Summary: we seek the Spirit Baptism by; realizing the possibility, watching our motives, remaining obedient, and praying for it
Key Ideas:
  • We should not seek His gifts but rather the Gift Giver
  • “New Testament Christianity is not just a formal, polite, correct, and orthodox kind of faith and belief. No! What characterizes it is this element of love and passion, the pneumatic element, this life, this vigor, this abandon, this exuberance – and as I say, it has ever characterized the life of the church in all periods of revival and reawakening.” (p203)
  • “The moment a man is born again the Spirit begins to work in Him. He works in Him to produce his sanctification. And he will stimulate him and cause him to feel certain impulses…” (p206)
  • Grieving the Spirit has special reference to disobedience
  • Quenching the Spirit has special reference to resisting His general move on your spirit; hesitation or fear
  • ‘Pleading the promises’ – a term used by the Fathers; taking God’s promises and pleading for them

Chapter 13 – When Discouragement Comes
Summary: there are tangible things we can do to prevent becoming discouraged in the sought after Baptism
Key Ideas:
  • Be ready to be surprised, it can come at any moment
  • Keep the state of your heart in mind, we are all sinful
  • “Anybody who comes to you with a formula or a cut and dried method is already on the side of the psychologists and the cults.” (p215)
  • Aggravations can increase when seeking the baptism with the Spirit
  • Let God lead you in the seeking
  • “We all have our ideas, and they are all short and glib and easy: short cuts always.” (p221)
  • Keep on; don’t give up
  • Remain patient
  • Consider those who have gone on before us

Chapter 14 – Blessed Are They That Mourn
Summary: there is no formula for experiencing the Baptism with the Holy Spirit but there are circumstances that history has shown are favored
Key Ideas:
  • It often happens when:
    • One is in prayer
    • When one is reading Scripture
    • When the Word is preached
    • When one is meditating
  • Be ready if you:
    • Have truly mourned
    • Have been led into some special act of self-denial
    • After a season of conflict
    • Have been through a great trial
    • Are being prepared for a task
    • Are on your deathbed


Chapter 15 – The Church and Pentecost
Summary: the church was constituted not at Pentecost but on the evening of the day of the Resurrection
Key Ideas:
  • Nowhere in Acts 2 is there they suggestion of the constitution of the church, either explicitly or implicitly
  • The disciples received the Holy Spirit the night of the Resurrection when Christ said ‘receive the Holy Spirit’
  • Pentecost, like the baptism of the Holy spirit, was about power and not constituting the church

Chapter 16 – The Way to Revival
Summary: God’s plan has been to revive the church throughout the ages and revival is the Baptism with the Holy Spirit happening to a group of believers
Key Ideas:
  • “This needs to be emphasized more than ever today – our gospel and our salvation is not a mere teaching or philosophy, but primarily a series of acts, with meaning and purpose. We should never lose sight of the historicity of what we are considering here.” (p266)
  • There is agreement on almost all doctrine of the Holy Spirit with the exception of the Baptism
  • Men can ‘do’ all they like, but in the end revival is God’s ‘doing’
  • Every revival is a repetition of Pentecost, and we need it more than ever




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