Uncircumcised in Heart
A Sermon on Acts 7:54-60
Stephen Put to Death
54Now when they heard this, they were infuriated, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. 55But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56 …
54¶ When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, …
Sin contaminates everything. Although God created the first two humans to be sinless, pure, and upright, they quickly fell into sin. What started with their act of sin continues in everyone today. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches the sermon “Uncircumcised in Heart” from Acts 7:54–60 and proclaims that sin blinds and makes humanity unable to hear the things of God. Even when the gospel first enters the ears, it sounds foolish and incomprehensible. This is the case of many who saw Jesus perform great miracles yet because of their unbelief did not understand what they saw. Just as a blind person cannot heal themselves, neither can a sinner save themselves. This why God in his grace provided a way of salvation. This is the gospel of grace. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts people and enables them to believe. While sinful people can and do resist the Holy Spirit as the Pharisees did, the Holy Spirit can ultimately overcome the most deep-seated unbelief. God is able to overcome the most irrational aspects of unbelief. When God’s Holy Spirit works to make sinners born again and give circumcised hearts, they receive the new life in Christ and the Spirit indwells them, making them new creatures.
- Stephen addresses the Sanhedrin as "uncircumcised in heart and ears". This means they are spiritually deaf and blind. They cannot understand spiritual truth.
- The natural man cannot receive spiritual truth. He lacks the spiritual faculty to understand it. Spiritual truth is foolishness to him.
- Unbelief involves a person's entire relationship to God and truth, not just actions. It is a profound state of being.
- The Sanhedrin persecuted the prophets and rejected the Messiah the prophets foretold. They were blind to the truth before them.
- The Sanhedrin resisted the Holy Spirit. They felt His power but rejected it. Unbelief is an active rejection of truth, not passive.
- The Sanhedrin twisted God's law to suit themselves. They were hypocrites who did not actually keep the law.
- The reaction of the Sanhedrin shows the irrationality of unbelief. They responded with violence and emotion, not reason.
- Saul of Tarsus, before his conversion, also showed the irrationality of unbelief. He violently persecuted Christians.
- Unbelief enslaves the mind, will, and heart. Only God can free us from unbelief by giving us new life in 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.