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What Shall We Do?

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A Sermon on Acts 2:37-40

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” (ESV)

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The great need for every person living on earth is not for the world to be made a better place, but for their souls to be saved from eternal destruction. Working from Acts 2:37-40, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says this is why the Gospel is first and foremost a call to personal salvation and repentance. For when the apostles and Jesus Christ preached, they did not do so before nations and governments, but before individual people. They spoke of the judgment that each man must endure in the final days because of his sins, and the only way to escape this judgment was repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. This is not to deny the importance of working to make the world a better place through charity and the like, but it does mean that the primary application of the Gospel is to individual salvation. While some may claim that this concern with personal salvation is narrow-sighted and selfish, nevertheless, the Bible presents the greatest need for men as salvation. And salvation is necessarily a matter of individuals, not nations and countries. The church and Christians must be focused in their proclamation of the Gospel so that it does not become another message of social reform, but it is the power of salvation to all who believe.


Additional Scripture Translations

Acts 2:37-40, New American Standard Bible

37Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what are we to do?” 38Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on urging them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”

Acts 2:37-40, King James Version

37¶ Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.


About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.