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In Spirit and in Truth

Collection:
Book of Acts

A Sermon on Acts 7:42-50

But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:

“‘Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices,
during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
You took up the tent of Moloch
and the star of your god Rephan,
the images that you made to worship;
and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’


“Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen. Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David, who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,

“‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
Did not my hand make all these things?’ (ESV)

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People are instinctively inclined to worship. But who or what do they worship? In the sermon “In Spirit or in Truth,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones opens Acts 7:42–50 and shows how the human heart will either worship the one true God or worship an idol. False worship is marked by an emphasis on the external and it breeds a hypocrisy that tells people what to do and what not to do. It ignores the heart and focuses only on appearance before the world. It emphasizes the places of worship as a means to know God. They say one has to worship at this church or on this mountain. However, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains, there is no substance in any of it. It is shallow and lacks any power to effect real change. True religion, on the other hand, is a product of God’s saving work in the life of the sinful. This is a fundamental reorientation of the heart and mind that creates the desire to seek and love God. It produces true worship that is Spirit-filled and driven. True worship only comes from being a new creation in Christ. This is why the worship that God receives can only come from those who have been regenerated by believing in the gospel of grace that God has given in Christ Jesus.


Additional Scripture Translations

Acts 7:42-50, New American Standard Bible

42But God turned away and gave them over to serve the heavenly lights; as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘You did not offer Me victims and sacrifices for forty years in the wilderness, did you, house of Israel? 43You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of your god Rompha, the images which you made to worship. I also will deport you beyond Babylon.’

44“Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen. 45Our fathers in turn received it, and they also brought it in with Joshua upon dispossessing the nations that God drove out from our fathers, until the time of David. 46David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob. 47But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says:

49‘Heaven is My throne,

And the earth is the footstool of My feet;

What kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord,

‘Or what place is there for My rest?

50Was it not My hand that made all these things?’

Acts 7:42-50, King James Version

42Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? 43Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. 44Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. 45Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; 46Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. 47But Solomon built him an house. 48Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50Hath not my hand made all these things?


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.