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Sermon #2053

The Nature of Unbelief

A Sermon on Acts 5:33-42


Acts 5:33-42 ESV KJV
When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to …

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Sermon Description

Opposition to Christianity is nothing new. The apostles faced much resistance in their day when they proclaimed the gospel of the risen Christ. Listen to “The Nature of Unbelief” as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones unpacks Acts 5:33–42, showing how this came primarily from the same Jewish leaders who had opposed the ministry of Christ and put Him to death. The Jewish leaders did this not because they were rational individuals who sought to preserve the truth, but because they had been blinded by sin and the devil. This is unbelief manifested. It is a reaction against the truth of the gospel that is produced by a sinful, fallen nature. As it was then in the early church, so it is also now. Modern humanity opposes the truth claims of Christianity because they think they are scientific and enlightened. This rejection of Christianity is really nothing more than the outworking of a fallen and sin-corrupted heart and mind. Humanity’s fundamental problem with the gospel is never a matter of intellectual objections alone, but with the heart. The heart of a person can only be renewed by the sovereign working of God’s Holy Spirit when it opens the eyes of the spiritually dead. The church should take great comfort in knowing that it is the Spirit of God that has the power to make even the most hardened sinners repent and believe.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Unbelief is not new or modern. It has existed since the beginning of Christianity.
  2. Unbelief is not based on reason or intellect. The Sanhedrin wanted to kill the apostles without cause or evidence.
  3. The gospel message offers forgiveness, salvation and a new life. There is no reasonable objection to this message.
  4. The Sanhedrin were annoyed by the apostles because they were uneducated yet successful, and the gospel message contradicted their beliefs.
  5. Unbelief arises from the heart, not the mind. The Sanhedrin were "cut to the heart" and filled with rage.
  6. The Sanhedrin's conscience condemned them for crucifying Jesus. Unbelief often arises to escape conviction of sin.
  7. The gospel message is insulting to human pride because it says we are helpless sinners who need God's grace.
  8. The gospel message tells us the truth about ourselves - that we are sinners in need of salvation. This provokes antagonism.
  9. Unbelief is ultimately against God, not men. The Sanhedrin were fighting against God by opposing the apostles' message.
  10. The Sanhedrin failed to recognize the evidence that proved the apostles' message was from God. Unbelief blinds us to the truth.
  11. We must learn from the Sanhedrin's example, admit our sin and unbelief, and cry out to God for mercy.

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.