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Unbelief and Division

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A Sermon on Acts 23:6-8

Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. (ESV)

Being religious does not guarantee salvation. Working from Acts 23:6-8, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows how there are many in Scripture who pass themselves off as being deeply religious, but are not saved. This is the condition of the Jewish Pharisees and Sadducees that opposed the Apostles, particularly Paul, representing the unbelieving man in many respects. They are well-educated intellectuals who are blinded by their sin from believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This unbelief is prejudiced opposition. They oppose the message of Christ because it contradicts their traditions, for they had no place for a crucified Messiah who had no kingdom and who came from an uneducated family. He was not born into the top of the social pyramid and educated like themselves. Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains how modern man rejects the Gospel for many of the same reasons. They think it is backwards and old fashioned. They say it is intellectually ridiculous. But this is prejudice that is the result of sin. For man’s problems with Christianity are never simply intellectual or moral, but at the core of these beliefs lies his opposition to God and his Law. For as all men are dead in trespasses and sin, so they are unable to evaluate the truth claims of Christianity as merely rational thinkers, but they are prompted by their sinful nature to oppose this message. This why the Gospel must be a supernatural message, for without the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit no man would be able to believe and be saved.