The God of Grace and Power
A Sermon on Acts 4:31-33
31And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
Sharing among Believers
32And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and …
31¶ And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: …
The world can only be saved by the grace and power of God almighty. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims in this sermon on Acts 4:31-33 titled “The God of Grace and Power,” there is no other way. The whole world lies under the condemnation of God’s wrath that justly befalls all the unrighteous and ungodly who reject God’s rule over the world and their lives. The only way to escape this judgment has been provided by God in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. This is the gospel: God showing grace to those who hate Him and reject Him by sending His only begotten Son to die in their place. In this grace, God’s wrath can be escaped and fallen sinners can receive new life and become the children of the God they once hated and despised. They can have complete assurance that they will be saved on the last day because of the grace of God made manifest in Christ. This is the hope of the gospel: salvation to all who trust in Christ. All who rest in His grace will conquer with Christ when He returns to bring the new heavens and the new earth. God’s grace in Christ is the only hope for the world. All must not fail to repent and believe in the only savior that the world has ever known.
The sermon begins by introducing the two phrases from Acts 4:31 and 4:33 that will be the focus of the message. The first phrase is “when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together.” The second phrase is “and great grace was upon them all.”
The sermon provides context for these verses by summarizing the events leading up to the disciples praying together. Peter and John had been arrested for preaching the gospel. After being released, they reported to the other disciples what had happened. In response, they all prayed together.
The sermon states that these two phrases summarize the core message of Christianity and the gospel. The first point is the power of God, as evidenced by God shaking the building in response to their prayer. The second point is the grace of God, as evidenced by “great grace” being upon them.
The sermon explores the power of God in depth. God’s power is seen in creation, providence, history, Jesus’ miracles, and Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. This power will also be seen in the final judgment. Examples of God demonstrating His power are provided from Scripture.
The sermon then explores the grace of God in depth. Grace is defined as favor shown to those who don’t deserve it. Examples of God’s grace are seen throughout the Old Testament as He forgives and restores His rebellious people. The ultimate example of grace is Jesus coming to die on the cross to save sinners.
The sermon argues that the gospel proclaims both the power of God and the grace of God. It also proclaims the powerful grace of God - the paradoxical combination of God’s power and grace. God’s power is necessary to overcome human sin and weakness, but His grace is what saves.
The sermon applies these truths by asking listeners to examine which group they are in: those who will only know God’s power and judgment or those upon whom “great grace” is. Signs of having grace are knowing your sins are forgiven, having peace and joy in spite of circumstances, and having assurance of eternal life.
The sermon concludes by pleading with listeners to believe in Jesus Christ to receive God’s grace. Today is still the day of grace, but the door will someday be shut. Believing in Christ is the only way to experience God’s powerful grace.
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.