Book of Ephesians
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What is worth giving your life for? Is there even something worth it? These, and more, are questions that concern the depth of our existence. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones contends, Paul is giving us the answer—Jesus is worth it. After 27 sermons on Ephesians 2, Dr. Lloyd-Jones turns his attention to the Ephesians 3:1, and addresses the question of suffering. First, he notes, Paul was concerned because he knew his suffering would trouble the Ephesians. Why would they be troubled? Because suffering is confusing. However, he also gives the Ephesians the principles by which to process his suffering and theirs. According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, Paul examined his situation in light of the Gospel, Jesus, and his salvation, and came to several pivotal conclusions. First, suffering is worth rejoicing in. He knows that he is following in the footsteps of Christ. Also, Paul states that he is “Christ’s prisoner,” implying that he is suffering on behalf of Jesus. He was there because he preached the Gospel, and specifically, he preached it to the Gentiles. Also, interestingly, Paul argues that his suffering should be an encouragement to the Ephesians (verse 13). Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that Paul said this because he knew that his suffering would encourage them as to the truthfulness of the Gospel.
What is the mystery of Christ? Why did God wait so long for Him to be revealed? Dr. Lloyd-Jones addresses here in Ephesians 3:2-7 explores the importance and uniqueness of the apostles and the glorious message not revealed until the New Testament. The mystery of the gospel has been revealed and can now be understood. It is not the vague feelings found in mysticism, the one true gospel. Through the recounting of Paul’s imprisonment to the Ephesians he encourages them to stay strong in the faith. That the mystery that has been revealed is true and marvelous and worth believing above all else. It is worth imprisonment as Paul is joyfully enduring. They needn’t worry about present circumstances and his imprisonment but should rather glory in their salvation, in the Gospel. God’s plan of salvation is a wondrous thing and worth contemplating. In all our intelligence, however, we could never unravel this wondrous mystery on our own. Dr. Lloyd-Jones soberly reminds us that we must be enlightened by the Holy Spirit in order to understand.
True unity can exist within the church! Since we are fellow heirs, members of the same body, partakers of the promise, harmony can be found between Jew and Gentile alike. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses from Ephesians 3:2-7 the general mystery, that is the mystery of Christ which is the glorious story of the Gospel and the particular mystery of the Gentiles now being fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise just as the Jews. Dr. Lloyd-Jones stresses here the importance of there now being no difference as to membership in the family of God between Jews and Gentiles. There is no longer a need for a Gentile to seek to become a Jewish proselyte, they are now members of the same body. This is important because this mystery had not always been known to the people of God. Paul, here in this text, is pointing out that this mystery has now been revealed, Jew and Gentile are members of the same body. Amidst this glorious message of salvation Dr. Lloyd-Jones also takes time to address a particular fallacy that is believed by some regarding this text and the biblical evidence against it.
The unsearchable treasures of Christ. Do you know what they are? Do you desire them more and more each day? Here in Ephesians 3:7-8 Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones lays out the calling and job of the Minister as addressed here by Paul. The Minister is called and appointed by God alone. He is called to preach the unsearchable treasures of Christ, that is Christ himself. Dr. Lloyd-Jones goes on to show that the treasures of Christ are for all believers. In Christ we find all that we need. And what is it that we need? We need wisdom, knowledge, understanding – where do we find this? In Christ. When we have understanding and realize our sin how can we possibly approach the God we know we need, but also know is Holy? We can approach Him only in Christ. Christ himself clothes us with His righteousness. How can we continue our lives with God when we are faced with sin and evil every day? Through sanctification in Christ. Christ is sanctifying us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Lloyd-Jones ends with an encouragement – knowing the unsearchable treasures of Christ, that is, knowing Christ, is the greatest treasure that we have. It is a great privilege and responsibility to take that treasure and show it to the unbelieving world. Do you treasure Christ today?
Is there hope for the world? Is there a purpose and plan for us? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses the question of hope amidst the seeming chaos and pointlessness of life on earth with a resounding yes! There is hope in and only in the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the darkness of the world and in the minds of men and women Christ is the light of the world. The world is God’s creation and He has had a plan and purpose for His creation since before the foundations of the earth were formed. This plan is revealed in God’s word, the Bible. The ultimate hope that we find in Christ does not, however, mean that we will find in our age the end of war and evil and darkness. The end of these things will come with the return of Christ. Rather, our hope is the hope of salvation in Christ that points us to our eternal home and reward, not a temporary peace in the circumstances of humanity. Do you find comfort in this hope today?
What is the greatest manifestation of the wisdom of God? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones here in Ephesians 3:10 points us to the church. The church, that is Christianity and the salvation that it proclaims, is the greatest manifestation of God’s wisdom ever witnessed or to be witnessed. Even the angels in Heaven see it and are amazed. It is this manifestation of God’s wisdom that Dr. Lloyd-Jones discusses first in a series of three propositions from this text. His second proposition is that the Church is the median through which the variegated wisdom of God shines like light through a prism into its many beautiful colors. From these two propositions Dr. Lloyd-Jones dives deeper and gives two conclusions to be considered. First, consider that the Church was a part of God’s plan for His creation from the very beginning, not an afterthought as some believe. Second, consider that the church is not temporary as some have suggested, but is the final expression of God’s people on earth. Dr. Lloyd-Jones third and final proposition from this text is the consideration of how God has shown His wisdom throughout history. Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages believers to meditate on and consider God’s wisdom through the ages, in the Bible and in all of history, and most importantly to consider the greatest manifestation of His wisdom, salvation through Christ.
How do you pray? What is the character of your prayer life? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses the privilege and importance of prayer from Ephesians 3:12. The Apostle Paul is making the point that we have access to God in prayer through Christ and can come with boldness and with confidence. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also shows importance of doctrine and practicing in our prayer life. If we are focusing on doctrine only in and of itself then we miss the point. However, if we abandon all doctrine and simply hope to “practice” then we miss the point altogether again. No, we must rather, know what God says about the Christian life, about prayer, about faith in Christ and then apply those things in practice as we live. How can we expect to come to God with boldness if we do not first understand how it is that we can come to Him in boldness? We can boldly approach the throne of grace in prayer through faith in Christ, He has made the way for us. He is our access to God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones gives two principles to think about in your prayer life. First, when we come to God in prayer we must not rely on our feelings, mood, or state of being to inform how we pray or if we pray at all. We must realize that these can be tools used by the devil to keep us from prayer, to plague us with doubts and remind us of our sins. Secondly, we must preach to ourselves. We must remind ourselves over and over of the truths of scripture. We must remind ourselves in the throes of doubt that Christ is our redeemer and our mediator. He is faithful to forgive us and we can boldly approach God in prayer through Him. Dr. Lloyd-Jones concludes with this great reminder, “Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you.”
How important is prayer? Why then do we pray so little? Have you stopped to think about these two things? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones stresses the importance of prayer and how we pray from Paul’s example here to the Ephesians in chapter 3 verses 14-15. Dr. Lloyd-Jones discusses prayer in three important principles from this passage. First, it is important to see here that the apostle Paul is praying for the Ephesians. Even in the midst of his imprisonment he is praying. Prayer is a vital necessity for every believer in every circumstance. Second, Dr. Lloyd-Jones asks us to look at the manner in which Paul is praying. He is praying with reverence. Though he has just mentioned earlier in the chapter that we can come to God in prayer with boldness he shows here a heart of humility in how he approaches God in prayer. We should be careful to evaluate how we are coming to God in prayer. It is not necessarily about our outward posture, but our inward posture, are we humbled in spirit before our Holy God when we come to Him in prayer? Lastly, Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out the importance for Paul’s description of God here in the passage. He speaks of Him as being the Father of all. Jews and Gentiles alike are now fellow heirs, children of God, bearing the name of God and addressing Him as their Father.
How does God change our thinking? Here in Ephesians 3:16, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds on the profound importance of the transformed inner man. He begins by pointing out Paul’s manner of prayer for the Ephesians. Paul begins by praying for the spiritual needs of the Ephesians, and then goes on to pray for specific things that the Ephesians need. He does not pray that his own circumstances would be changed, nor that the circumstances of the Ephesians would be changed. Instead he focuses on spiritual need and specific needs. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then expresses the importance of the inner man, the heart, the center of the believer. For, if the center, the thinking, and the heart of a man is set right, then everything else will fall into place. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that it is not that when a man becomes a Christian suddenly everything in the world is set right. The world is fallen and sinful, consequently full of disease and tribulation of many kinds, so that cannot be. Rather, when a man becomes a Christian, he is being renewed daily in his inner man though his outer man is wasting away (2 Corinthians 4:16). The joy of the Lord is now his strength no matter the circumstance or the state of his outer man.
Why is it so important that Christians grow spiritually? This is the question that Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones seeks to answer in his exposition of Ephesians 3:16. He says that the inner man must be continually strengthened because of the continual battle against sin that all Christians experience as they live in a fallen world. For there are many forces that Christians must always fight against. Some of these come from within, such as sinful desires and the flesh. Others come from without, such as the world and the temptations of the Devil. When Christians fail to grow spiritually and into maturity it becomes evident. They are beset by sins that they are unable to overcome, and they show a lack of interest in God’s Word. They are often unable to understand God’s Word because, as Paul says, they are babes and are not able to eat meat. This is why, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says, it is so vital that Christians continually seek and pursue Christ and His Word. Christians must fight sin not only by fleeing what is evil, but by growing in Christ as mature believers who desire the holy and good things of Christ more than they desire the evil and sinful things of this world.