The Tragedy of Unbelief
A Sermon on Acts 4:8-10
8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, 9if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10let it be known to all of you …
8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10Be it known unto you all, …
People reject the gospel of Christ because of their unbelief and hardened heart. In this sermon on Acts 4:8–10 titled “The Tragedy of Unbelief,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that this is the universal problem. Sinful people have always rejected the message of the gospel and those that bring the message, as was the case with the apostles. They were persecuted, some to death, and they suffered because they refused to be silent. This persecution and rejection of the gospel has been present throughout church history. Lloyd-Jones says that the tragedy of this rejection of the gospel is that when people reject the gospel, they lose any hope of salvation. Apart from the gospel that is persecuted and hated, no one can be saved. There is no peace, hope, or joy without the redeeming power of the gospel of God. Ancient and modern humanity are no different for their foolish and blind unbelief. Apart from the light of God’s grace in Christ, both are lost and live in darkness. The root of this is sin, but in their darkest sorrows, people reject the only hope that the world has ever known. This rejection of the message of salvation is the great tragedy of unbelief and the very remedy to the world’s greatest problems is what the world despises the most.
- The messengers (apostles Peter and John) were rejected and persecuted.
- The message (the gospel of Jesus Christ) was rejected. This includes:
- Jesus's birth, life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection
- The meaning of Jesus's death and resurrection - God's love, forgiveness of sins and reconciliation
- The results of the message were rejected. This includes:
- Rest, light and life in Christ
- Forgiveness of sins and a new life
- The many benefits Christianity has brought to the world (hospitals, education, liberty, morality, etc.)
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.