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Sermon #2004

How to Become a Christian

A Sermon on Acts 2:37-38


Acts 2:37-38 ESV KJV
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your …

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Sermon Description

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.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon begins by introducing the passage from Acts 2:37-38 which describes people asking what they must do to be saved after hearing the gospel preached.
  2. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then explains that the sermon series is focused on discovering the true nature of the Christian church and message by examining its origins in Acts.
  3. He argues that Christianity is not vague or indefinite but rather concrete and clear. One passes into Christianity at a specific point in time.
  4. Dr. Lloyd-Jones emphasizes that becoming a Christian is not something one chooses to do but rather something that happens to someone through the power of the Holy Spirit.
  5. The first thing the Holy Spirit does is make people think. The crowd in Acts 2 was previously thoughtless but began to think deeply after hearing the gospel.
  6. The Holy Spirit makes people think specifically about Jesus Christ and the facts concerning him. Christianity is focused on the person of Christ, not on ourselves.
  7. The Holy Spirit next makes people realize how the facts about Christ relate to them personally. The crowd in Acts 2 realized they were responsible for Christ's death.
  8. This realization of personal responsibility leads to conviction, fear, and asking what one must do. The crowd asked Peter and the apostles what they must do.
  9. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that most people today do not think about Christ or see their need for him because of ignorance about God, themselves, death, and judgment.
  10. This ignorance, combined with spiritual deadness, leads to a lack of concern for Christ. Dr. Lloyd-Jones illustrates this with examples of great Christians who were willing to die for Christ.
  11. Those convicted by the Spirit realize they are guilty before God for rejecting Christ and fighting against him. They realize they can do nothing to remedy their guilt.
  12. The only solution is to obey the message given, as the crowd in Acts 2 did. They were told to repent and be baptized in Jesus's name.
  13. Repentance means confessing one's sins and foolishness to God, acknowledging one deserves punishment, and casting oneself on God's mercy. This is how one becomes a Christian.

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.