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Sermon #5099

The Authority of the Bible

A Sermon on Acts 17:1-3


Acts 17:1-3 ESV KJV
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the …

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Sermon Description

This is a time when all kinds of teachings are propagated. How can Christians safeguard themselves from the ever-present danger of being carried away into error or heresy? In this sermon on Acts 17:1–3, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones presents the answer: Christians must be clear on the authority of Scripture. The tendency in modern times is to divorce Jesus Christ from the Scriptures, choosing to accept Him and some of His teachings while rejecting the historicity and validity of the rest of the Bible. The problem with this thinking is two-fold: Jesus Himself accepted the whole of the Old Testament and appointed His apostles to write the New Testament; and one can’t be sure that knowledge of Jesus is true and accurate if there is not belief in the Scriptures. Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages the listener to: 1) start with the whole of Scripture and not simply the particulars; 2) realize that acceptance of Scripture’s authority is not a matter of argument, but rather a matter of faith given by the Holy Spirit; and 3) focus on asserting the authority of Scripture more than defending it. The listener is encouraged to be certain of the authority of Scripture, so as not to be carried away by every wind of doctrine.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon text is Acts 17:1-3 which describes Paul reasoning with Jews from the Scriptures.
  2. The sermon topic is the authority of the Scriptures. This is an important issue today with many false teachings.
  3. Our ultimate authority is Jesus Christ. But we know Christ through the Scriptures. We cannot separate Christ from the Scriptures.
  4. Acceptance of the authority of Scripture is a matter of faith, not just logical arguments. The natural man cannot accept the things of God. We need the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
  5. We should assert the authority of Scripture, not just defend it. The Scriptures speak for themselves.
  6. We should start with the whole of Scripture, not just parts. We can then deal with particular difficulties and questions. Don't miss the whole message by focusing on details.
  7. The whole Bible is the Word of God, not just parts of it. There is no distinction between divine and human parts.
  8. God's revelation comes through real historical events, not just teachings. We can't separate the doctrine from the history.
  9. Vital doctrines like the atonement depend on historical facts like the Fall. If we reject the history, we undermine the doctrine.
  10. The apostles and Jesus accepted the whole of the Old Testament as God's Word. So should we.
  11. The authority of the New Testament is based on the authority of the apostles, who were commissioned by Jesus.
  12. The apostles claimed to preach and write the infallible Word of God. They had authority from Jesus, not themselves.
  13. The apostles recognized each other's authority and inspiration. Peter called Paul's writings "Scripture."
  14. The early church accepted the apostles' authority and the New Testament as God's Word.
  15. We must accept the authority of Scripture or rely on human knowledge and science. We must trust Christ or men.

Sermons on Authority

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.