The Wrath of God
A Sermon on Acts 8:5-12
Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.
Simon the Magician Believes
But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (ESV)
Why does the church seem to be so ineffective? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that the church is ineffective because it has departed from the apostolic example seen in Acts 8:5-12. He says that the Apostles boldly proclaimed the gospel of Christ to all. They spoke of Christ's death and resurrection, and of his spirit empowered ministry. They never shied away from the hard truth of God’s wrath and man’s sin but preached the Gospel as the only way to escape the wrath of God and to be redeemed. It is this message that the early church was founded upon. They did not shrink form declaring the Gospel to all men, both Jew and Gentile. If the church is to be a light in a dark world it must look to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the basis for the transformation and redemption of the whole world. The church has been given no other message, it has no other power then the Spirit of God working through the proclamation of the Gospel in the hearts of fallen men and women. The modern church must look like the apostles and the early church in order to imitate them. The church does not need anything new to engage the world, but all that it needs has been given in God’s word.