Book of Acts
Page 1 of 2
Do you know "The God who acts"? Listen as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches from Acts 2:1-2 and asks probing questions to search the heart. The peace the world searches for can only be found on the other side of submission to Chirst. While the world lives in fear of death, Christians can see "beyond the veil" by learning from God's word. Christianity is about what Jesus began, is currently doing, and will bring to completion. "Any notion that Christianity is merely the result of something that we do is always completely wrong, it is always the activity of God." We cannot reason our way to God, nor can we approach Him on our own terms. He revealed Himself to Abram, Moses, David, the prophets, and now to us. As His believers, we are invited to receive His free gift of grace if we repent.
Is Christianity merely some psychological construct that aids emotionally damaged types of people? Is its sole purpose built entirely around experience? Dr. Lloyd-Jones answers these questions with a resounding refutation. In this exposition of Acts 2:14-36, The Doctor explains salvation is not based on individual experience, but on Jesus Christ and belief in His finished work. This is nothing new as the Scriptures proclaim this truth from the beginning and most boldly at Pentecost. Prophesy is not philosophical ramblings that have the potential of truth; it is the truth of the Living God. This living God cannot be defeated, and nothing has been able to stand in His way, as He proved when He rose from the dead on the third day after His execution. Dr. Lloyd-Jones asserts that it matters not whether an individual has great knowledge, or status, or power; it matters instead that we are all human beings and God sent His Son to save human beings.
Is Christianity simply a lifestyle choice or something one can adapt to? If we change behavior will the heart follow? We learn in this sermon that Christianity is not a hobby to learn or a simple religion of temporary changes. Rather Christianity "picks us up." More than a simple choice we make, it is an adoption into an eternal family. Dr. Lloyd-Jones combats the idea that Christianity is for simpletons or the weak. He argues that the Spirit leads us to think, therefore Christianity is for thinkers! The great tragedy for man is to go through life without thinking, as much of the world does, rejecting salvation in favor of intellectual arrogance. This sermon teaches that the only correct response when we learn of our sinful nature is to repent. As these 3,000 men and women heard Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost and their hearts were pricked, they repented of their sins and were welcomed into the kingdom of God. This reaction exemplifies the repentant heart necessary for salvation.
What is a Christian? What does it mean to be separated unto Him? In his exposition of Acts 2:37-47, Dr. Lloyd-Jones tells of true repentance and salvation found with Christ. To believe in Christ is to reject outward religious tradition and put your faith in the truth of Jesus Christ. Mankind is born in a terribly dangerous position before God, a position of darkness and rejection of His gospel. The evil that fills our hearts remains until as Paul said in Ephesians, "God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved." When a person repents, it is only then that true happiness begins. This inward happiness comes from being forgiven, and knowing the great relief of being loved by our King. From that moment on, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones describes, the believers life is separated from this evil world and separated into and unto the kingdom of God and His son Jesus Christ.
Christianity is not a costume. It is not something that is added on top of a life of sin, or in place of previous practices. Christians are not people with refined manners and cleaner conversations. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains from Acts 2:37-42, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." All who repent of their sin and believe in Jesus are "born again" into the family of God. More than a new set of rules, it is a new identity, an entirely new person with a longing for holiness and an increasing hatred for sin. This is life transformation, but it comes at a cost. Christians are often forcibly removed from prior social circles and seen as judgmental and traditionalistic. The gospel opposes mankind's natural desire, which is to pursue self above all else. Listen as "The Doctor" provides a correct diagnosis of mankind's self-perceived free thinking; mankind is either in subjection to the devil or to God. There is no middle ground. What a person does reveals where their faith and hope truly rest. The choice is clear, either serve God and know the joy to true transformation or serve self and reap the disaster or eternal punishment.
A Christian is a person who has received abundant life from God. What does the Christian do in response to this incredible measure of grace? He goes to church. Dr. Lloyd-Jones quotes a Welsh politician in the 60's who says, "I'm a Christian, but the non-churchgoing type." Dr. Lloyd-Jones exposes this wrong thinking, showing that a christian is not one who goes to church once a year or not at all, but one who participates actively in Christ's body in a response of thankfulness and servitude. Reaching the world does not start with asking people to go to church; it starts with sharing the gospel, as this is the most important truth in the universe. If an unbeliever is saved by Christ, he will naturally want to join the local, visible family of Christ, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains. Ultimately, Christians gather because we rejoice in the same Savior. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches from Acts 2:41-47, we learn that in this pilgrimage in which every human endeavors, there is only one way to get to the favorable side of eternity: through Christ's blood. Those who respond to His sacrifice and rejoice in Him will fellowship with believers.
What is the church and who are Christians? There are many answers being given, and many answers have been given over the many years. But, according to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones if we are to know what the church is and what its mission is, we must look to the church in Acts 2:40-42. There we see the church as a community of born-again spirit empowered believers who boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a broken and sinful world. The church committed itself to the teaching of preaching of the apostles and the word of God. The church of Acts was far more than a social gathering, but it was the power of God manifest on earth through the work of his Spirit. The early church did not grow by attracting people by appealing to man’s carnal desire, but though the power of the Gospel. It is this Gospel that the church is tasked with guarding and proclaiming. It is this glorious Gospel that can transform the lives of those around us. If the church today and beyond is to be a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, and if the church is to be a faithful steward of his Gospel, it must commit itself to the teaching and works of the apostles as found in God’s word.
Many people go to church, but have no idea what church actually is! In this sermon from Acts 2:41-42, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones sets before us what he calls “the great, most important question we must face at this time — What is the church?” To answer this, he explores what it means to be a Christian, and delves into refuting theological liberalism which seeks to redefine what Christian faith and the Christian Church are. His chief concern is that the Church is herself undermining Christian doctrine, yet rails against increasing societal immorality. In his estimation, within the Church there are those who decry moral decay but do not recognize that their rejection of apostolic doctrine is the key contributing factor to the mounting immorality of society. In his estimation, the Christian Church has been the institution which has most contributed to declining moral standards in recent generations through theological and academic exploits in so-called “higher criticism”. He draws examples from the Old Testament and secular history to underscore his point that Biblical, apostolic doctrine is necessary for practical morality. He affirms we must reject the modern suggestion that we don't need the apostles’ doctrine, we only need ethical teaching. Such a premise, in his understanding, is built on a false and unrealistic concept of human nature.
Are you standing alone for Christ? Does it feel like you are by yourself in opposing the world? You are not alone! Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims from Acts 2:41-47 how the apostles confronted the ancient world with the Gospel of Christ. They sought to confront the deepest ills of mankind through the power of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit. The early church did this as a community of believers who had true fellowship in the Gospel. This fellowship was more than simple friendship, but it was a deep communion based on the new life in Christ. This love of one another is one of the marks of the true Christian, it is this love of fellow believers that makes the church distinct from all other institutions. The church of Christ is a Spirit filled community of believers who love one another and Christ because of God’s great work of redemption. The early church in Acts lived out this salvation by loving one another and proclaiming the Gospel to the whole world. The church of today must not stray away from the great truth of who the church is and of the glorious Gospel that they have been entrusted with. Only the church has been entrusted with the truth of God’s Gospel, and only the church can confront the fallen world with the good news of who we can be in Christ Jesus.
What is the Church’s message? Some say it is to forget the past; we must decide what the church is today. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones argues, instead, that we must go back to the past, to the only authoritative source we have: the Bible. Specifically, the book of the Acts of the Apostles. Referencing Acts 2:41-42, Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that all humanity’s trouble arises because man is ignorant of God. To understand the modern world, it is this: the wrath of God is revealed among men against ungodliness. We are not only sinful but helpless, and cannot save ourselves. The Church declares and demonstrates, particularly in the Communion service, that God has done it all for us. There are three reasons the Early Church practiced Communion: first and ultimately, because Jesus commanded them in order to preserve doctrine. Secondly, Jesus instituted it to preserve the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. Finally, He established it to remember Him, and all that He represented. This is the great message of the Christian church: Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, sent into the world to save mankind from the predicament we are in. This is what the Early Church and the Christian church have been looking back to ever since.