18Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20But Peter said to …
18And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish …
Can people do anything to save themselves? Are all good deeds really worthless? In this sermon on “Simon the Sorcerer,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims the powerful gospel from Acts 8:18–24, showing that it does not matter how many good works one does or how religious they are: human effort is powerless to save. The severity of sin cannot be undone by good deeds and righteous works. Those who believe it can do not understand the reality that sin absolutely corrupts. Dr. Lloyd-Jones describes sin’s impact on humanity as every aspect of a person, their heart, will, and soul is corrupted. The message of the Bible is not good religiosity but it is one of supernatural regeneration and new birth. Salvation is obtained by Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave. It is applied to everyone who believes by the Holy Spirit, giving them new life. Those like Simon the magician who see salvation as something that is simply a choice fundamentally distort the biblical notion of salvation. They detract from the supernatural aspect of salvation and from the work of God. The church must preach both the necessity of the new birth, as well as the supernatural aspect of salvation. They must make clear that desires alone do not save, but it is the Spirit working to give faith that saves.
- Sin is not merely something negative or the absence of good qualities. It is something active, bitter, and vicious. It manifests itself in terrible ways.
- Sin enslaves us. We are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We need a savior.
- Sin is abhorrent to God. He hates sin and will punish it. The consequences of sin are eternal punishment and separation from God.
- The difference between Christians and non-Christians is not one of degree but of kind. Christians have new hearts and are new creations. They rely on God's grace, not their own works or merits.
- Repentance is turning from sin to God. We must humble ourselves, confess our sin, and cast ourselves on God's mercy. We can pray in Jesus' name, and God will receive us.
- Jesus Christ is the only savior. We must believe in his deity, atoning death, and resurrection to be saved. Salvation is a gift of God's grace, not something we can earn or buy.
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.