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Sermon #2063

Institutionalised Religion

A Sermon on Acts 7:1-2


Acts 7:1-2 ESV KJV
And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, (ESV)

Sermon Description

Rejecting Christ is nothing new but why are so many people quick to turn against God today? In this sermon on Acts 7:1–2 titled “Institutional Religion,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out that many people who reject the gospel are just like the Jewish leaders who did so in the time of the apostles. They believe that just because they perform good deeds, they do not need a savior or salvation. Or they think that because of their heritage and association with institutionalized religion that they are in good standing with God. There are many people who go to church every Lord’s Day and who give their money and time to the church, and yet are not saved. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones exposes the dangers of institutionalized religion. These are people who perform religious actions not out of a heart of love, but out of tradition and human means. This is the great threat to the church in all times because these people do not believe that they are in need of salvation and redemption. They are deceived by their own vain actions and traditions. The answer to this is the true and powerful gospel of Christ that alone can save people from their blind slavery to false religion.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon begins with Stephen addressing the Sanhedrin council. He says "Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken". This means to listen carefully and thoughtfully.
  2. The gospel is an argument and a reasoned case. It is not based on emotions or feelings. It requires intellectual engagement and concentration.
  3. The message of the gospel is unlike anything in the world. It cuts across prejudices and preconceived ideas. We must be willing to consider something different from what we are accustomed to.
  4. The gospel convicts us of our sin and hopelessness. It tells us we cannot save ourselves through our own morality or good works.
  5. We must be willing to listen to the gospel with an open mind. We must seek to understand what Christianity really is, not just rely on traditions.
  6. The gospel is the message that God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save us because we were lost in sin. We must realize we need Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.
  7. The first step to believing the gospel is to listen to it. We must control our prejudices and passions, read the Bible, and ask God to open our mind and heart to the truth.

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.