Book of Acts
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False ideas about the making of a Christian; Christianity an exclusive and intolerant teaching; a Christian is not ashamed to be associated with Christ; the Christian will be present on the day of victory.
What is the first task of the local church? While some may say that more doing, or serving the world, is the first task of the church, but Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones shows us something different from the Bible. As the Doctor exposits from Acts 6:1-2, he argues that the priority of the church is not philanthropy but it instead must be preaching. It is clear that the early apostles chose to preach rather than to “do good in the world” because they saw the greatest and primary need in the world was not lack of help but lack of repentance. Acts 6:1-2 becomes a model for current Christians and churches to follow. The first and primary task of the church should reflect the fundamental need of man, which is hearing God’s Word. While the church should not neglect in doing good and serving others, it also should also not forget the role of preaching as only God’s Word has the power to change people for their greatest benefit.
Revelation and inspiration explained; the word of God can be defined; modernist; liberal interpretation refuted; the importance of of neither adding to; nor subtracting from; the Gospel message; the message starts with God.
The exclusiveness of the Apostles' message; the Bible not a record of men's search for God; the Bible a record of God coming down to save; sin an insult to God; Jesus; the sacrifice accepted by God.
The priorities of the Christian life, according to Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, are the Gospel and prayer! The Doctor continues his series on the book of Acts and here, he specifically looks at the apostles’ emphasis on prayer. “Even Orthodoxy is not enough.” says Lloyd-Jones, “It needs prayer” The early church knew that they ought to pray and preach the Word of God because the primary task of the church is to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. But how? How should they faithfully fulfill this purpose? The Doctor compares this dilemma with the modern church and strictly warns against churches relying on the method of men rather than on the method of God. While the method of men will try to improve their own abilities and comfort in communication and programs, the method of God ultimately seeks after God’s power, wisdom and Spirit to work in the hearts of men. By praying, the apostles sought power and strength from God’s Spirit to change the people’s hearts. In this sermon, Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones urges and pleads the Christians to show dependence on God through prayer.
What is the message of the church? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones boldly proclaims, it is the message of salvation in Christ to all who repent and believe in His name. It is a message of regeneration and new life as a new creature. This is not simply moral transformation, nor is it educational, but it is new life in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is redemption by His blood. And this new life generates obedience to God and His Word, it calls for holiness and purity. For genuine conversion will always manifest itself in one’s actions and attitudes. The idea of a Christian who is saved, but never repents of his sin and seeks holiness is an oxymoron. On the other hand, just because someone has an ethical transformation, or lives a life of charity and good works, these do not make a person saved. Because the Christian life is a life of both good deeds and saving faith. There is a Spirit empowered desire for righteousness and good works that only comes with salvation. So, we must avoid the error of seeing all good deeds as the result of regeneration and a new heart. But we should also not fall into the trap of thinking that one can know God truly, and yet never desire holiness.
The early church was led by the apostles of Christ. They were normal men, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes, yet they became students of Jesus Christ and God’s Word. We see in this that Christianity was a religion of teaching from the earliest days. It was not, as many erroneously claim, an anti-intellectual and anti-doctrinal movement. But the early church committed itself to the study of the apostles teaching and of Scripture. This concern with doctrine and teaching was not simply academic, but it was done out of hearts and minds that had been transformed by the Gospel and the power of God. And they were beholden with the glory of God as their Savior and Redeemer. This serves as a reminder to many who see doctrine as cold and abstract, and utterly disconnected from the real world. But as Lloyd-Jones demonstrates, we see the apostles committed to the teaching of God, but also boldly proclaiming the Gospel, and caring for the poor and sick. How they thought about God and his power influenced them to act in the world. The church of modern times should take this example to heart. And they should be encouraged to learn what the Bible teaches, and to follow that teaching.