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Sermon #2077

The Wisdom of Men

A Sermon on Acts 7:17-20


Acts 7:17-20 ESV KJV
“But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph. He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that …

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Sermon Description

How can one know God’s plan for their life? Are they willing to trust and follow Him even when the outcome is unclear? God’s plans are often different than humanity’s for His ways are above human ways. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones unfolds Acts 7:17–20 in this sermon titled “The Wisdom of Men,” this fact is seen as God calls Israel out of the land of Egypt and bondage. He does so by blessing them to grow and multiply even as they are oppressed by Pharaoh. In their suffering they turn to God and ask Him to deliver them out of suffering and bondage. God does so through His servant Moses. In a similar way, God uses the presence of sin and the law to cause humanity to flee from their sins and to turn to Christ. This is the reason for many of the hard circumstances in life. It is to make one turn from their efforts and turn to the God who alone can save. This salvation is not of the world’s wisdom, but it is only found in Christ and in His redeeming work on the cross of Calvary and victory from the grave.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon begins with an introduction providing context about Stephen's trial before the Sanhedrin and his defense of the gospel.
  2. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then provides an overview of how Stephen demonstrated through Jewish history that the Sanhedrin had always opposed God's plan of salvation.
  3. He notes that this sermon applies today as many still dismiss the gospel and need to understand their own history and failure to see their need for Christ.
  4. The first main point is that God's ways are mysterious and unexpected. He does the opposite of what we expect.
  5. For example, God caused the Israelites to multiply in Egypt in a supernatural way but then allowed them to suffer and be oppressed. This was to prepare them to want to leave Egypt.
  6. Likewise, God used Pharaoh, an evil man, to bring about His purposes. God is in control of all circumstances.
  7. The story of Moses' birth and the exodus shows God's unexpected and indirect methods. God's power and wisdom are shown.
  8. This pattern is seen in Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection which confound human wisdom. The disciples were unexpected leaders.
  9. God continues to work in unexpected ways, using difficulties and setbacks to humble us and draw us to Himself. His ways are for our good and His glory.
  10. We must not judge God's ways by our own limited understanding but trust in His wisdom and grace. His purposes will be fulfilled in His time.
  11. The sermon concludes with an appeal to see our own blindness and need for Christ, finding salvation in Him alone. We must glory only in the Lord.

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.