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Sermon #2055

True Marks of the Spirits Work

A Sermon on Acts 5:38-39


Acts 5:38-39 ESV KJV
So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing …

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Sermon Description

The most urgent and important thing in the world is to know exactly what the Christian message is. Listen to this sermon on Acts 5:38–39 titled “True Marks of the Spirit’s Work” as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones considers the question: “How can you tell whether a work is of God or of humanity?” What are the authentic marks of the work of the Spirit of God? First, this is not always easy. False saviors, prophets, and world religions use great deception in “helping” people. Dr. Lloyd-Jones shares what tests are inadequate in considering the distinctions between the work of God and that of humanity: what guarantees the work of God? Terminology? Zeal and enthusiasm? Offering people help? Lasting effects? There may be some truth in each of these, but Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones trains his listeners lest they be deceived, too. Ultimately, if one can understand and explain the works, it is the work of humanity. A miracle is supernatural. One starts with the human and their needs and desires, and then offers what they need; the other starts and ends with the glory, majesty, and honor of God.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon text is Acts 5:38-39 which discusses whether the apostles' work is of God or men.
  2. Gamaliel suggests that if it is of men, it will fail. But if it is of God, it cannot be overthrown.
  3. It can be hard to tell the difference between the work of God and men. False prophets can show signs and wonders. Success and popularity are not proof of God's work.
  4. Using Christian terms, helping people, or showing phenomena are not proof something is from God.
  5. The work of men can be understood and explained. It relies on human power, methods, and pressure. It is man-centered and superficial. The effects don't last.
  6. God's work is inexplicable and surprising. It relies on the Spirit, not human power or methods. It is God-centered and profound. The message starts with God, not man. It produces conviction of sin, exalts Christ, and changes lives.
  7. The sermon applies these principles to determine if the apostles' work was of God or men. The effects of Pentecost couldn't be explained by human means.
  8. The sermon warns us to examine ourselves to make sure our faith is from God, not men. True faith humbles us, shows us our sin, and exalts Christ.

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.