The Wonderful Works of God
A Sermon on the Wonderful Works of God
What role does the Holy Spirit play in one’s life? Is there any room in prayers for praying for revival and a fresh outpouring of the Spirit? In this sermon on the wonderful works of God from Acts 2:11, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses the outlook of the church in his day. The church waxes and wanes throughout church history. At times it is strong in spreading forth in holiness and evangelism, reaching far and wide to exclaim the glories of her great God and Savior Jesus Christ. And yet at other times it wanes in want for a glimpse of the power of God in the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that throughout the Old and New Testaments, the focus of the Bible is on the mighty acts of God. At Pentecost the mighty acts of God were heard in a multitude of languages. Moreover, he points out that the church has reserved little room to pray for revival and a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit with power. He implicates this rejection as the main reason for the weaknesses of the church in the modern day, closing itself off from the possibility of revival.
- The sermon begins by highlighting the phrase “the wonderful works of God” from Acts 2:11. Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that this phrase is appropriate to consider in the current times.
- Dr. Lloyd-Jones expresses concern over complacency in the church and a failure to realize the seriousness of the current times. The world is in a time of crisis and climactic change.
- There are many problems in society and the church including: permissiveness, lawlessness, rebellion against traditional values, declining church attendance and membership, the rise of cults and new religious movements, anti-intellectualism, and a desire for experience over reason.
- There has been a tendency to turn Christianity into a cult focused on human activity and decision making rather than God. There has also been a focus on accepting certain beliefs rather than truly knowing God.
- There is a danger of replacing belief in and experience of the living God with an interest in apologetics and theology. One can spend too much time defending the faith and forget God himself.
- There is a modern tendency to turn faith into a philosophy or worldview rather than a relationship with the living God. Some even say the church should be abolished in favor of discussing ideas.
- The Bible emphasizes God's activity, intervention, and involvement in the world. It highlights what God has done, is doing, and will do. This is in contrast with the distant, static God of deism.
- God's activity is seen throughout the Old Testament in events like the call of Abraham, the Exodus, the giving of the Law, the establishment of Israel, and the ministries of the prophets. God constantly intervened to save, judge, and guide his people.
- God's activity culminates in the sending of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The book of Acts records the early church's experience of God's power.
- Revivals throughout church history demonstrate that God is still actively involved in the world. He continues to pour out his Spirit in power. Revivals are necessary to revive the church in times of lethargy and deadness.
- There is a tendency to think God's activity ended with the apostles and early church. But God has been actively reviving his church throughout the centuries through phenomena like the Reformation and Great Awakenings.
- Stories of God's powerful work in people's lives, like Pascal's conversion experience, demonstrate that intellectual knowledge of God is not enough. We need to know God experientially.
- The only hope for the church today is a fresh outpouring of the Spirit and demonstration of God's power. Apologetics, theology, and philosophy are not enough. We need revival.
- We must pray urgently and persistently for God to pour out his Spirit in power and revival. Nothing else can deal with the desperate situation of the world today.
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.