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Sermon #5786

The Doctrine of the Church

A Sermon on Acts 2:42


Acts 2:42 ESV KJV
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (ESV)

Sermon Description

Unity for the sake of unity is a current cultural movement. The culture encourages unity, to avoid division, to love everyone, and let others live as they please. According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, this movement isn’t confined to secular spheres of influence. It is also present in local churches. There is a great movement underway among churches to be ecumenical; that is, to focus on fellowship, love, and unity across all denominations rather than focusing on doctrinal differences. It is the idea that fellowship must come before doctrine and this movement needs careful consideration. The foundational issue at stake concerns the teaching found in the Bible about the doctrine of the church. What is a church? What are its objectives and goals? What does it provide and how does it function? As Dr. Lloyd-Jones examines the early church in this sermon from Acts 2:42, he focuses on the importance of correct doctrine for the life of the church. Doctrine is held in high regard and is the most important feature of the biblical text. The apostolic teaching and focus on doctrine must have preeminence and then, following from necessity, comes fellowship within congregations. If fellowship is allowed to reign over doctrine, confusion and compromise is invited into its midst. This allows the thinking and desires of humanity to direct actions, rather than the supremacy of Scripture.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The church is a gathering of people who have undergone a profound change as a result of the Holy Spirit.
  2. These people were convicted of sin, repented, and believed the gospel. They were born again and became new creations.
  3. The early church gathered together daily and steadfastly. They made the church central to their lives.
  4. They did not gather together to be entertained. They gathered for doctrine, fellowship, communion, and prayer.
  5. Doctrine and teaching came before fellowship. Doctrine is essential for unity, correcting error, and safeguarding truth.
  6. The early Christians hungered for doctrine and teaching. They never grew tired of hearing the word of God.
  7. Doctrine is necessary to help others come to faith and to grow in faith. Christians must be able to explain what they believe.
  8. The early church was filled with joy, gladness, and praise. This attracted others to the faith.
  9. The church today lacks power and effectiveness because it lacks joy, doctrine, prayer, and praise.
  10. Christians today seem reluctant in their faith and give the impression that church is a miserable duty. This does not attract others.
  11. When the church is filled with invincible joy and praise, it acts as a magnet to draw others in.
  12. The church needs revival, power, and a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is necessary to experience these things.

Itinerant Preaching

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.