41So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; …
41¶ Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43And fear came upon every soul: …
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.
- The sermon begins by establishing the importance and urgency of understanding what the Christian church and message truly are. Dr. Lloyd-Jones expresses concern over the moral and spiritual decline of society.
- Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that people reject Christianity because they do not actually understand what it is. They reject a "travesty" or counterfeit of the faith, not the true Christian message. Dr. Lloyd-Jones aims to articulate the true Christian message and nature of the church.
- Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that the Christian church is not meant to be merely an institution, as many wrongly assume. The early church in Acts 2:41-47 is used as an example of the true nature of the church.
- The early church "continued steadfastly" in four key areas: the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. The sermon focuses on exploring fellowship in depth.
- True fellowship is not superficial friendliness or social interaction. It is a deep unity and communion, like a partnership or marriage. The early church displayed true heartfelt fellowship, not mere institutionalism.
- Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that people today have false views of fellowship. Some see it as merely social, involving tea, biscuits, and handshakes. True fellowship is much deeper. It is a shared life and shared interests, like a family.
- True fellowship is only possible between those of the same nature, specifically those who share the life of God through faith in Christ. Light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness cannot have true fellowship. Only Christians can have true fellowship with each other.
- True fellowship is based on three factors: shared nature (the life of God), shared teaching (the apostles' doctrine), and a sense of trust and freedom. These allow for openness, exchange, and communion.
- The early church displayed true fellowship in that they shared an outlook, interests, awareness of the dignity and value of their new life, and a desire to spread the message to others. They supported each other in living out and spreading the gospel.
- The ultimate goal of the church and its fellowship is the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Christians are meant to shine as lights, demonstrating the life of God to a dark world. True fellowship aids in this purpose.
- The sermon concludes by challenging listeners to examine if they know and delight in true Christian fellowship. It calls them to consider if they are truly part of the fellowship of God's people, the church.
The Book of Acts
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.