The Book of Acts
The main series of 119 sermons, plus 24 other sermons preached at Westminster Chapel on the book of Acts. The main series was preached on Sunday evenings between 1965 and 1968.
The God Who Acts
Do you know "the God who acts"? Listen as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches from Acts 2:1–2 and asks probing questions to search the heart. The peace the world searches for can only be found on the other side of submission to Christ. While the world lives in fear of death, Christians can see “beyond the veil” by learning from God’s word. Christianity is about what Jesus began, is currently doing, and will bring to completion. “Any notion that Christianity is merely the result of something that we do is always completely wrong; it is always the activity of God,” shares Dr. Lloyd-Jones. One cannot reason their way to God, nor can they approach Him on their own terms. He revealed Himself to Abram, Moses, David, the prophets, and now to His people today. His believers are invited to receive His free gift of grace if they repent.
The Great Fact of Prophecy
Is Christianity merely some psychological construct that aids those who are emotionally damaged? Is its sole purpose built entirely around experience? Dr. Lloyd-Jones answers these questions with a resounding refutation. In this exposition of Acts 2:14–36, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains salvation is not based on individual experience, but on Jesus Christ and belief in His finished work. This is nothing new as the Scriptures proclaim this truth from the beginning and most boldly at Pentecost. Prophesy is not philosophical ramblings that have the potential of truth; it is the truth of the Living God. This living God cannot be defeated, and nothing has been able to stand in His way, as He proved when He rose from the dead on the third day after His execution. Dr. Lloyd-Jones asserts that it matters not whether an individual has great knowledge, or status, or power; it matters instead that God sent His Son as the savior of humanity.
How to Become a Christian
Is Christianity simply a lifestyle choice or something to which one can adapt? If behavior is changed, will the heart follow? In this sermon on Acts 2:37–38, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones teaches that Christianity is not a hobby to learn or a simple religion of temporary changes but rather Christianity “picks us up.” More than a simple choice one makes, it is an adoption into an eternal family. Dr. Lloyd-Jones combats the idea that Christianity is for simpletons or the weak. He argues that the Spirit leads to think, and therefore, Christianity is for thinkers. It is a great tragedy to go through life without thinking, as much of the world does, and rejecting salvation in favor of intellectual arrogance. This sermon teaches that the only correct response when learning of the sinful nature is to repent. As these 3,000 men and women heard Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost and their hearts were pricked, they repented of their sins and were welcomed into the kingdom of God. This reaction exemplifies the repentant heart necessary for salvation.
Separated Unto Him
In his exposition of Acts 2:37–47 titled “Separated Unto Him,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones tells of true repentance and salvation found with Christ. To believe in Christ is to reject outward religious tradition and put faith in the truth of Jesus Christ. Humanity is born in a terribly dangerous position before God, a position of darkness and rejection of His gospel. The evil that fills the heart remains until, as Paul said in Ephesians, “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved.” When a person repents, it is only then that true happiness begins. This inward happiness comes from being forgiven and knowing the great relief of being loved by our King. From that moment on, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones describes, the believer’s life is separated from this evil world and separated into and unto the kingdom of God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
A New Creation
Christianity is not a costume. It is not something that is added on top of a life of sin, or in place of previous practices. Christians are not people with refined manners and cleaner conversations. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains in this sermon on Acts 2:37–42, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” All who repent of their sin and believe in Jesus are born again into the family of God. More than a new set of rules, it is a new identity; an entirely new person with a longing for holiness and an increasing hatred for sin. This is life transformation, but it comes at a cost. Christians are often forcibly removed from prior social circles and seen as judgmental and traditionalistic. The gospel opposes humanity’s natural desire, which is to pursue self above all else. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides a correct diagnosis of humanity’s self-perceived free thinking that is either in subjection to the devil or to God. There is no middle ground. What a person does reveals where their faith and hope truly rest. The choice is clear: either serve God and know the joy to true transformation, or serve self and reap the disaster of eternal punishment.
The Fellowship of Believers
A Christian is a person who has received abundant life from God and what does the Christian do in response to this incredible measure of grace? He goes to church. Dr. Lloyd-Jones quotes a Welsh politician in the 1960’s who said, “I’m a Christian, but the non-churchgoing type.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones exposes this wrong thinking, showing that a Christian is not one who goes to church once a year or not at all, but one who participates actively in Christ’s body in a response of thankfulness and servitude. Reaching the world does not start with asking people to go to church; it starts with sharing the gospel, as the gospel is the most important truth in the world. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains, if an unbeliever is saved by Christ, they will naturally want to join the local, visible family of Christ. Ultimately, Christians gather because they rejoice in the same Savior. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches from Acts 2:41–47, we learn that in this life, there is only one way to get to the favorable side of eternity: through Christ’s blood. Those who respond to His sacrifice and rejoice in Him will be in fellowship with believers today.
The Apostles Doctrine
What is the church and who are Christians? According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, to know what the church is and understand its mission, he recommends looking to the church in Acts 2:40–42. There the church is a community of born again, spirit-empowered believers who boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to a broken and sinful world. The church committed itself to the teaching and preaching of the apostles’ doctrine and the fellowship. The church of Acts was far more than a social gathering, but it was the power of God, manifested on earth through the work of His Spirit. The early church did not grow by attracting people by appealing to humanity’s carnal desire, but though the power of the gospel. It is this gospel that the church is tasked with guarding and proclaiming. It is this glorious gospel that can transform the lives of those around us. If the church today and beyond is to be a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, and if the church is to be a faithful steward of His gospel, it must commit itself to the teaching and works of the apostles as found in God’s word.
The Church and Doctrine
Many people go to church but have no idea what church actually is. In this sermon from Acts 2:41–42, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones brings forward “the great, most important question we must face at this time — What is the church?” To answer this, he explores what it means to be a Christian, fellowship with believers, and delves into refuting theological liberalism which seeks to redefine the Christian faith and the Christian church. His chief concern is that the church itself is undermining Christian doctrine, yet rails against increasing societal immorality. In his estimation, within the church there are those who decry moral decay but do not recognize that their rejection of apostolic doctrine is the key contributing factor to the mounting immorality of society. He shares that the Christian church has been the institution which has most contributed to declining moral standards in recent generations through theological and academic exploits in so-called “higher criticism.” He draws examples from the Old Testament and secular history to underscore his point that Biblical, apostolic doctrine is necessary for practical morality. He affirms that the church must reject the modern suggestion that it doesn’t need the apostles’ doctrine, but instead only needs ethical teaching. Such a premise, in his understanding, is built on a false and unrealistic concept of human nature.
A New Reformation
If the Christian feels like they are standing alone in opposing the world, they should be encouraged that they are not alone in this thought. In this sermon on Acts 2:41-47 titled “A New Reformation,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims how the apostles confronted the ancient world with the gospel of Christ. They sought to confront the deepest ills of humanity through the power of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit. The early church did this as a community of believers who had true fellowship in the gospel. This fellowship was more than simple friendship; it was a deep communion based on the new life in Christ. This love of one another is one of the marks of the true Christian; it is this love of fellow believers that makes the church distinct from all other institutions. The church of Christ is a Spirit-filled community of believers who love one another and Christ because of God’s great work of redemption. The early church in Acts lived out this salvation by loving one another and proclaiming the gospel to the whole world. The church of today must not stray away from the great truth of who the church is and of the glorious gospel with which they have been entrusted. Only the church has been entrusted with the truth of God’s gospel, and only the church can confront the fallen world with the good news of who they can be in Christ Jesus.
Do This in Remembrance of Me
What is the church’s message? Some say it is to forget the past and that it must decide what the church is today. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones argues that instead it must go back to the past and to the only authoritative source: the Bible, specifically the Acts of the Apostles. Referencing Acts 2:41–42 in this sermon titled “Do This in Remembrance of Me,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that all humanity’s trouble arise because they are ignorant of God. To understand the modern world, it is this: the wrath of God is revealed against ungodliness. They are not only sinful but helpless and cannot save themselves. The church declares and demonstrates that God has done it all, and this can be seen particularly in the Communion service. There are three reasons the early church practiced Communion: first and ultimately, because Jesus commanded them in order to preserve doctrine. Secondly, Jesus instituted it to preserve the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. Finally, He established it to remember Him and all that He represented. This is the great message of the Christian church: Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, sent into the world to save humanity. This is what the early church and the Christian church have been looking back to ever since.
How to Pray
In this sermon on Acts 2:41-42 titled “How to Pray,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones encourages the Christian to examine their prayer habits. This personal examination will reveal the true value a believer places on prayer. A lack of prayer is often traced to a lack of understanding what prayer is and how to go about it. Prayer means entering into the holiest of holies, the very presence of God, to have communion with him. In the Old Testament the reader finds detailed instructions for festivals, sacrifices, and the temple so that the Israelites would know how to approach God. Now, as believers in the time of the new covenant, instructions have been given in Scripture for how believers can approach God directly through prayer. They may approach God based on the work of the Lord Jesus and it is only with his help that prayer is made possible. This glorious truth leads to prayer focused on God as the Christian approaches boldly with thanksgiving and worship.
In the midst of a world filled with unhappiness and calamity, how can one possibly find joy? In this sermon on Acts 2:46–47 titled “Christian Joy,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones offers this type of lasting joy that the apostles experienced in the early church and cannot come from entertainment, momentary pleasure, or even the contemporary church, but instead from the truth found in God’s word. How wonderful it is to have the kind of freeing joy that is based not upon efforts, but on what Jesus has done. The type of joy expressed in this message is contingent upon the Christian’s recognition of who they are apart from Christ, an awe for the Lord in His might, and a thankfulness for what the Lord has laid up for all those who believe. This joy brings the believer to praise and glorify the Lord. Happiness is not the goal but a result of those that seek after righteousness. As the disciples seek after righteousness, Dr. Lloyd-Jones concludes, they are able to maintain joy in all circumstances because of the freedom they have received from the time they were delivered from sin. It is this kind of authentic joy that distinguishes true Christianity.
The Divided Man
What makes any person a Christian? Singleness of heart. Listen to the sermon “The Divided Man” as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones works from Acts 2:46–47 and explains how the early church manifested unity and singleness of heart because they each had been unified individually. The main effect of the gospel, when it is believed, is to simplify and unify the person. Only the Biblical view of humanity really explains the state of the world and the condition of humanity. The world is busy with its learning and understanding but there is one question all must face: “How can I stand before God and be just with Him?” The gospel simplifies the problem and the answer. All the problems in the universe have risen because humanity has lost the face of God. They are sinners under His condemnation. How does one face death? How do they stand with God? How are sins forgiven? The Christian is someone who sees the one problem that confronts everyone because they have been given the one answer. The Christian is no longer seeking; they are found. They are no longer swayed by different views, ideas, and schools of thought. They have found the answer to the one great question in this one blessed person. The answer is Christ.
In this Easter day sermon, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims the centrality of praise in the Christian life. He says that praise is one of the marks of a true Christian who has been transformed by the Holy Spirit. While even the demons believe that God exists, only Christians who know God as Savior and Lord can praise Him in truth and joy. This desire to praise God flows from the great salvation that He has granted in His Son, Christ Jesus. It is by grace and grace alone that Christians have been regenerated and adopted into God’s family as children and heirs with Christ. It is the great and glorious truth for which God is praised. He is to be praised for His grace and mercy that He has granted. The apostolic church in Acts 2:46-47 lived out this great truth in the ministries and lives of its people. The preaching of the apostles on the day of Pentecost was driven by their desire to see the Lord and Savior praised by all. The church of today and of all times must behold the greatness of God and His Son, and they must praise Him for all His great works of mercy. Only by seeking the glory of God in truth can the church of today be a bold witness of Christ and His gospel.