1Now the high priest said, “Are these things so?”
2And Stephen said, “Listen to me, brothers and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3and He said to him, ‘Go from your country and your relatives, and come to the land which I will show you.’ 4Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. And from there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. 5But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, He promised that He would give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him, even though he had no child. 6But God spoke to this effect, that his descendants would be strangers in a land that was not theirs, and they would enslave and mistreat them for four hundred years. 7‘And whatever nation to which they are enslaved I Myself will judge,’ said God, ‘and after that they will come out and serve Me in this place.’ 8And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham fathered Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac fathered Jacob, and Jacob, the twelve patriarchs.
1Then said the high priest, Are these things so? 2And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, 3And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. 4Then came he out of the land of the Chaldæans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. 5And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child. 6And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. 7And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place. 8And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.
God’s great plan of salvation is found in Jesus Christ. But as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains through Stephen’s sermon on Acts 7, this plan of salvation was foreseen in the Old Testament and in the sacrificial system. One clear foretelling came when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac upon an altar. While in the end God provides a ram for Abraham to sacrifice instead of his son, this looks forward to when God gives His only Son to die upon the cross for the sins of the world. God tells that the blood of bulls and goats will not atone for sins and Dr. Lloyd-Jones proclaims that it is only the perfect blood of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, that can take away sins and make sinners righteous. This is the whole message of the Old Testament: the need of salvation for all and the need for God to supply the means of this salvation. This is why the Old Testament is so central to Christianity; the Old Testament tells of the need of salvation and of the futility of human means. It is the overarching narrative of Scripture that tells of the fallenness of humanity and the great gospel of Christ that is the only salvation of the world.
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.