Christ's Death - The Purpose of God?
A Sermon on Acts 4:23-28
What is the understanding of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ? In this sermon “Christ’s Death—The Purpose of God?” from Acts 4:23–28, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains how this is the ultimate test of the validity of the Christian faith. Was it simply the result of the actions of the cruel and ignorant? If God is so powerful and Christ so wonderful, why did He die and in this way? In this highly theological prayer made by the early church during their first evil hour of persecution, they focus on the central message of Christianity: the death of Jesus Christ on the cross was no mere accident, nor example, nor response of God to the actions of sinners. The cross was the purpose of God, foretold from Abel to Moses to Isaiah, all the way to John the Baptist when he cried out, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” There was no other way for God to remain just and the justifier of His people other than sending His own Son into the world to take upon Himself the sins of His people. Humanity killed Him, but only according to the definite purpose of God and it is the center of everything.
- The sermon begins by introducing the passage from Acts 4:23-28 which describes the early church praying after Peter and John were released from the Sanhedrin.
- The sermon then highlights verses 27 and 28 which state that Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles and the Jews gathered together to do what God's hand and purpose predestined to happen.
- The sermon points out that this passage gives insight into the early church's view of Jesus's death.
- The sermon argues that Jesus's death was not an accident or surprise but was predetermined by God. Jesus predicted his death, and it was necessary to fulfill God's plan.
- The sermon claims that Jesus's death was not just an example for us to follow. It was not meant to teach pacifism or obedience.
- The sermon argues that Jesus's death was not just a reaction by God to human sin. It was not meant just to show God's love in spite of human sin. Rather, it was planned by God before the creation of the world.
- The sermon cites multiple passages from the Old and New Testaments to show that Jesus's death was foreordained by God.
- The sermon argues that Jesus had to die in order to fulfill God's righteous demands for justice in punishing sin while also allowing God to forgive and save humanity. Jesus's death was the only way for God to remain just while justifying sinners.
- The sermon concludes by exhorting the listeners to see the meaning of Jesus's death, be broken by the sight of the cross, and pray to gain a deeper understanding of the cross.
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.