Christ's Death - The Purpose of God?
A Sermon on Acts 4:23-28
23When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported everything that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24And when they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind and said, “Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything that is in them, 25who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,
‘Why were the nations insolent,
And the peoples plotting in vain?
26‘The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’
27For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever Your hand and purpose predestined to occur.
23¶ And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. 24And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
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.
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.