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Sermon #5483

What Shall We Do?

A Sermon on Acts 2:37-40


Acts 2:37-40 ESV KJV
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your …

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Sermon Description

The great need for every person living on earth is not for the world to be made a better place, but for their souls to be saved from eternal destruction. In this sermon on Acts 2:37–40 titled “What Shall We Do?” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says this is why the gospel is first and foremost a call to personal salvation and repentance. When the apostles and Jesus Christ preached, they did not do so before nations and governments, but before individual people. They spoke of the judgment that each person must endure in the final days because of their sins, and the only way to escape this judgment was repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. This is not to deny the importance of working to make the world a better place through charity and the like, but it does mean that the primary application of the gospel is to individual salvation. While some may claim that this concern with personal salvation is narrow-sighted and selfish, the Bible presents the greatest need for all is salvation. Salvation is purposefully a matter of individuals, not nations and countries. The church and Christians must be focused in their proclamation of the gospel so that it does not become another message of social reform, but it is the power of salvation to all who believe.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Dr. Lloyd-Jones begins by introducing the passage from Acts 2:37-40 which contains the questions "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" and "Save yourselves from this untoward generation."

  2. He then provides context for the passage, reminding the listeners that Peter was preaching to the crowd that had recently called for Jesus' crucifixion. Upon realizing their sin, they asked what they must do.

  3. Peter responds that they must repent, be baptized in Jesus' name, and receive the Holy Spirit. Dr. Lloyd-Jones emphasizes that this response is intensely personal, focusing on individual repentance and salvation.

  4. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then addresses the common objection that a focus on personal salvation is selfish given the state of the world. He argues that concern for one's own soul is not selfish, just as concern for one's own health and happiness is not selfish. The soul is the greatest and most eternal part of a person.

  5. Furthermore, God will hold each person individually accountable for the state of their soul. Each person will face judgment alone and be responsible for their own soul.

  6. Additionally, one's own soul is the only thing that can be put right in this world. The world is doomed to judgment but individuals can be saved. It is foolish to spend one's life trying to save the world but losing one's own soul.

  7. In light of these reasons, the logical reaction is to ask "What must I do?" like the people in Acts. The only answer, like Peter gave, is to repent, believe in Jesus, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit. This will save one's soul from the doom of the world.

  8. Dr. Lloyd-Jones concludes by pleading with listeners to think again about their souls, repent of neglecting them, and believe in Christ to be saved. Then they can work to better the world, but salvation must come first.

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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.