The Book of Ephesians
MLJ's major series of 232 sermons covering all 6 chapters of Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, plus a small collection of 5 other sermons preached at Westminster Chapel. The major series is a systematic exposition of the epistle that was preached on Sunday mornings between 1954 and 1962.
The Mystery of God
When a person is at the point of giving up and giving in, would it make a difference if they knew that the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead also was working for them? This is the mystery Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses as he begins a new sermon series on the book of Ephesians. While the world wrestles with “war at our doorstep,” the mystery of salvation leads Christians to worship and give thanks even in the darkest hour. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:1 titled “The Mystery of God,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that the apostle Paul is pleading with believers to seek a new, fresh, and deeper understanding of God’s grace and predestined purpose for them. Since the riches of God’s attributes are displayed in the Christian’s salvation, they should live always ready and eager to confess the gospel of Jesus Christ. Knowing that the sovereign God reigns supreme over all, that the death of Christ paid for sin, and He has risen from the grave, the Christian moves forward in confidence. Regardless of circumstances, the greatest need of everyone is to know the truths of the gospel.
Saints ... and Faithful in Christ Jesus
What is the minimum of what it means to be a Christian? In this sermon on Ephesians 1:1 titled “Saints…and Faithful in Christ Jesus,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses this question. Three striking descriptions are proclaimed from this text: saints, faithful, and union with Christ. Dr. Lloyd-Jones centers his sermon around these descriptors and shows what the apostle Paul meant by these terms. While many Christians have a tendency to emphasize one of these descriptions over against the other, Dr. Lloyd-Jones calls the Christian to hold these together. The failure to do so is damaging to the church as Christianity is reduced to either some form of “easy believism” or an academic exercise. Correct doctrine, holiness, and participation in Christ must be at the center of one’s definition of “Christian.” Christians who have a burden for the lost must know who they are and what they are called to be, according to Dr. Lloyd-Jones. Having a robust understanding of what it means to be a Christian has a direct effect on one’s witness to the world.
Grace; Peace; Glory
Why is every word of Scripture vital? In this sermon on grace, peace and glory from Ephesians 1:2, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds the significance of two words: grace and peace. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that these two words contain the most profound truths of the Christian faith. Christian lives begin with God’s condescended love, His beneficent kindness, and His unmerited favor. In other words, it begins with grace. This unmerited favor begins with the faith of the Christian, whereas peace is the result of their faith. Fallen humanity has a minimal and warped sense of peace. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says “reconciliation” captures the biblical picture of what God promises in peace. The peace that God gives includes peace with God, peace with self, and peace with others. Since God gives what is not deserved, one can give that same grace to others. His peace makes His people peacemakers, even with their enemies, because they sympathize and understand that humanity’s core problem is sin. Grace and peace only come through the Lord Jesus Christ. To deny the exclusivity of Christ is a denial of Christianity and the only place where grace, peace, and glory can be found.
The Everlasting Covenant
The words of Scripture allow a glimpse into the eternal plan of the Trinity. Theologians have called this the Covenant of Redemption where humanity can be redeemed from their sin and reconciled to God. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:3 titled “The Everlasting Covenant,” this central theme of Ephesians comes alive as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones warns, laments, and challenges Christians to understand the great theme of redemption. The believer’s greatest need is to understand doctrine. What is at stake is not intellectual curiosity, but worship. The truth about redemption, argues Dr. Lloyd-Jones, leads to adoration, worship, and praise. When one dwells upon the redemptive work of each person, they grow in their worship of God. When a Christian understands more, the more worship they experience. For the Christian, worship is always Trinitarian. One must not only praise the Father, but also the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Christian must not stop at worshiping only the Son, but also the Father and the Holy Spirit. They cannot focus exclusively on the Holy Spirit to the neglect of the Father and Son but must adore the blessed Trinity.
All Spiritual blessings ...
How does one come to enjoy spiritual blessings? What are the spiritual blessings in Ephesians 1? In this sermon on Ephesians 1:3 titled “All Spiritual Blessings…,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones focuses on two themes. He insists that the Christian only enjoys blessings through Christ. While acknowledging God gives common grace to everyone, the Holy Spirit gives unique grace that only Christians enjoy. Dr. Lloyd-Jones connects Paul’s words in Ephesians to his other letter to the Colossians (1:19; 2:3), showing the absolute necessity of going to God through Christ, the mediator. A second blessing Christians enjoy through Christ is that His grace flows through the Holy Spirit. The sovereign work of the Spirit quickens, convicts, enables, and keeps the Christian. Dr. Lloyd-Jones recaptures the “other-worldly” nature of the Christian’s blessings by criticizing movements that insist that blessings are of this world. The Christian, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, does not deny or despise the world, but this is different from setting their affections upon it. If they do not keep an appropriate distance, they forget that this is a fallen world and that their citizenship is in heaven.
In Heavenly Places
When a person is saved, a profound change occurs and they are taken from one realm to another. The non-Christian only knows the earthly realm. But the Christian knows two realms: earthly and heavenly. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:3 titled “In Heavenly Places,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds the mystery of Paul’s words, showing that in Christ, the Christian has heavenly citizenship. The consequence of this teaching is far-reaching. This makes the Christian an enigma to others and to themselves. They wrestle with sin like others do but do not enjoy it. There are social consequences as well. While the world places its confidence in the perfectibility of humanity and hope for a better future through education, government, and culture, the Christian is engaged in such matters, but their hope is firmly set on the heavenly places, in their afterlife with Christ. Their faith is on the sure ground of the return of Christ and the eternal home where the Savior is, seated in the heavenlies. No one can change their nature; it is only done through faith in God's only Son.
Chosen in Him
The doctrine of election requires a reverent approach and the listener is on holy ground concerning this topic. Christians have often done great injustice in an argumentative style. From this sermon on being chosen by God from Ephesians 1:4 titled “Chosen in Him,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explores this crucial doctrine, and like the apostle Paul, he simply states this doctrine without arguing for it. The Bible is uninterested in giving a philosophical explanation and, according to Romans 9, reproves the Christian when they begin to argue against God’s sovereign choice in election. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explores this doctrine throughout Scripture, including John 6, 15, 17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13–14; and 1 Peter 1:2. It is wise, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, to look to authorities in church history, great Christian theologians, evangelists, and preachers who have held fast to God’s sovereign choice. Even with his strong defense of the Reformed position, he asks if one is saved by their position on this important question. Happily Dr. Lloyd-Jones answers, “no.” But, he argues, there is great comfort, security, and joy bound up with knowing God has set His love upon His children before the foundation of the world.
Holy and ... before Him in Love
Why are Christians elected to salvation? In this sermon on Ephesians 1:4 titled “Holy and…Before Him in Love,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explores this doctrine that believers are chosen by God to be holy. Echoing the apostle John, Paul says the purpose of God in Christ for His people is to undo, remove, and rectify completely the effects of sin and the fall. By making His people holy and without blame before Him, Christ destroys the work of the devil. The ability to be in the presence of God and communion with Him is the goal for Christians. In Christ, the believer has a new love and affection for God. Salvation is nothing less than a new relationship with God whereby the Christian can stand before Him in His presence. If this is the end for which God has chosen His people, they must be concerned with preaching holiness to others. Holiness is not an addition to be added after someone is saved. Because they have been chosen, God will make them holy.
Christians are adopted by God because He chose them. With careful attention to the details of Paul’s letters, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explores the purpose of salvation and the implications of being adopted into God’s family. To help grasp the significance of this doctrine, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that the term “adoption” emphasizes the standing and rank of the chosen child. In this sermon on adoption from Ephesians 1:5, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains that regeneration addresses the Christian’s nature, whereas adoption is about the legal standing of the child. Adoption is the highest expression of God’s love towards His chosen people. It is the love of a Father for His child, the love of God for His creation. Children of God must live holy lives in keeping with their identity. The privileges of God’s household are found throughout Paul’s letters. Christians are His sons and daughters and, as the Scriptures say, heirs with Christ.
Higher than Adam
God is the Creator of everyone, but not everyone is in His family. Nineteenth and twentieth century liberalism emphasized the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of people. This false teaching disregards the gospel’s call to repentance and dismisses the wickedness of sin. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:5–6 titled “Higher than Adam,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones confronts this wrong theology and continues to expose others that have harmed the church. Another errant teaching confronted by Dr. Lloyd-Jones in this sermon is the teaching that differentiates between “sons of God” and “children of God” and the benefits given to them. The former, according to this teaching, enjoy a much greater fellowship with God than the latter. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds how important sound doctrine is for the Christian church. While providing a robust response to these errors, Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages seeing the absolute privilege Christians have in Christ. He does so by contrasting Adam and the Christian. He notes that in Christ the Christian has been given more than what was lost in Adam. The privilege of redemption includes forgiveness of sin but also exaltation to sonship.
The Glory of God
Forgiveness of sin is the heart of redemption in Christ. But that is different than saying God’s primary motivation for redemption is forgiveness of sin. In this sermon on “The Glory of God” from Ephesians 1:6, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones remarks that errant thinking places the human being at the center of salvation rather than God. Instead, the glory of God is the great motive that led God to plan and purpose redemption in Christ. Christians are often lethargic about their salvation but Paul says Christians are redeemed to praise Him. Why should Advent illicit praise to God? Chiefly because in the coming of Christ the revelation of God’s glory is seen. Although the glory of God is difficult to define, the term implies God’s beauty, majesty, splendor, greatness, might and eternity. Dr. Lloyd-Jones walks through various passages in order to demonstrate how this theme runs throughout Scripture (Genesis 3:24; Exodus 40:34–37; Isaiah 6; Luke 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:6). Placing the glory of God at the front of one’s mind can have great effects in evangelism. By emphasizing the glory of God in their proclamation of the gospel, Christians shall be much more apostolic in their method. While God is about His glory, the highest manifestation of that glory is found in the salvation of sinners.
In the Beloved
How great is the love the Christian receives from both God the Father and God the Son. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:6 titled “In the Beloved,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones considers the measure of this love and its central theme found in Christ who is called the “beloved.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones traces this title throughout the Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry as well as its relation to the doctrine of eternal generation of the Son. Dr. Lloyd-Jones exhorts the listener to see the significance of the incarnation and virgin birth by remembering who Jesus Christ is: the beloved, eternal Son of God. The incarnation is quite unimaginable as God the Father watches his beloved Son suffer so that people might be forgiven of sin. The love of God is on display as the Son empties himself by taking on human flesh. The ultimate height of salvation is that God loves humanity as he loves the Son, because they are united with the beloved. The Christian is called beloved, revealing an intimacy surpassing anything imaginable.
Christ alone makes one a Christian. Every generation of believers must reiterate this again and again because human beings are desperately trying to stay in sin yet have the benefits of salvation. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:7 titled “Redemption,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s message is that God alone has devised a plan for humanity to be reconciled to God. If sin is taken seriously it will be seen as hopeless to try and save oneself. This is why, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones proclaims, all are in need of redemption. In other words, everyone needs deliverance by payment of ransom. Outside of Christ everyone is in bondage to the law and under the dominion of the devil. But in Christ Christians have been ransomed, bought with a price. What was this price? The apostle Paul takes up the Old Testament language of sacrifice and blood in order to show how the death of Christ fulfills the Law and the Prophets. The design of the Old Testament sacrificial system was propitiation as the result of expiation. This good news is the consistent testimony of the New Testament. Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges the Christian to never forget they are not their own but were bought with a price.
Through His Blood
Christians are forgiven of all sin past, present, and future. This marvelous truth is proclaimed as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives this compelling and comprehensive exposition in this sermon from Ephesians 1:7 on what is meant by “Through His Blood.” While recognizing the distinction between redemption and the forgiveness of sins, Dr. Lloyd-Jones nevertheless says the forgiveness of sins is the first item of redemption. If the sinner does not have their guilt removed, then sanctification and glorification do not follow. Modern society dislikes talk of guilt, wrath, the cross, and bloody sacrifice. They much more enjoy talk of the happiness and power that Jesus can bring. Dr. Lloyd-Jones thinks this is an incomplete gospel. The fundamental component (or first item) one needs is to be reconciled to God and this comes only when guilt is removed, forgiven, and ultimately covered by the death of Christ. He took the punishment, endured the wrath of God, and bought His people with the price of His life. Although forgiveness is difficult and sorrowful to God, as seen in the death of Christ, it is the only means that leads to absolute restoration with God. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches of complete restoration and present forgiveness found only through the blood of Christ.
The Riches of His Grace
How can the apostle Paul be so exuberant in praise about the grace of God? Why is the grace of God something the apostle constantly writes about? It is because he knew the grace of God; he experienced it and it led to his worship and praise. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:7 titled “The Riches of His Grace,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds Paul’s words on the riches of God’s grace. By better understanding God’s grace one gets a glimpse into the very character of God. In the riches of God’s grace they see that He gives fully, freely, and abundantly. It can be no other way. He must give grace liberally because of who He is. Pastorally, Dr. Lloyd-Jones applies God’s grace to the Christian by highlighting their desperate need for it. Thankfully, His grace is sufficient for all needs. Millions have drunk from it, yet it is still bubbling up, offering assurance for all who come and drink from it. The gracious and good news of the gospel is the free and full forgiveness for those who are in Christ Jesus according to the riches of God’s grace.
The Mystery of His Will
Can anyone discover the mysteries of God? Does God hide His will from humanity? As the apostle Paul expands his teaching on God’s grace, he moves from election and predestination to “mystery." In this sermon on Ephesians 1:8–9 titled “The Mystery of His Will,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones warns that this mystery is no incomprehensible mystery as taught in the ancient religions, reserved only for a select few. Nor is it a vague teaching, antithetical to propositional truth as many contemporary Christian movements want to make it. Instead, biblical mystery is something hidden from natural humanity, yet God has fully revealed it. It is an open secret that sinful humanity cannot see. It is a truth that God must reveal to individuals. This has great implications for evangelism. The gospel is comprehensible to anyone, no matter their intellect, as long as God reveals it to them. Dr. Lloyd-Jones insists that this is the work of the Holy Spirit who opens the eyes of men and women to the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures. Faith is not opposed to reason, but reason alone cannot bring someone to God. The mind of a person, at its best, is inadequate; God must bring them to this truth. All desperately need His grace.
All Things Reunited in Christ
How does one make sense of today’s world? What message do Christians have for those around them? According to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Christians have been given the ultimate revelation that gives an unique, supernatural perspective of everything. What natural humanity cannot see or understand, God has revealed to the Christian this profound mystery: God is reuniting together all things in Christ. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:10 titled “All Things Reunited in Christ,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expands upon this cosmic theme. While he maintains the orthodox position in rejecting universalism, Dr. Lloyd-Jones also pushes against the narrow view that only the redeemed and angels are part of God’s universal purpose. Instead, he argues, all of creation, excluding fallen people and fallen angels, will be united in Christ in perfect harmony at the end of the ages. Christians are face to face with a reality beyond personal salvation. Paul is taking the reader to a place finite minds can barely consider. Hear Dr. Lloyd-Jones explain this great truth and see what it means for engagement with the world.
We ... Ye Also
Political peace and social unity is something often heard about in the media and how communities need to strive to embrace unity and lay down their tribal identities that divide people. How might Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones respond to this kind of plea? More importantly, how does the apostle Paul talk about unity? In this sermon on Ephesians 1:11 titled “We…Ye Also,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds on the great themes of unity, harmony, and peace in the letter to the Ephesians. In the church, there is no nationalistic boasting from the Jews nor philosophical snobbery from the Greeks for they are all one in Christ. The apostle Paul, who first boasted in his flesh as a Hebrew of Hebrews, now boasts that he is an apostle to the Gentiles. How did this come about? It comes about from God’s grand purpose of reuniting all things together in Christ. It is only when one looks to their inheritance as Christians can true peace and true unity be realized. Only by setting affection upon the spiritual inheritance in Christ can true reconciliation take place. The world does not know this or understand this unity. Hear Dr. Lloyd-Jones speak to this important topic that has implications for lives today.
The Counsel of His Own Will
Perhaps no truth of Scripture is more uncomfortable for certain Christians than predestination. In this message on Ephesians 1:11–14 titled “The Counsel of His Own Will,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that one cannot simply ignore themes in the Bible just because there are disagreements or debates over them. With reverence, without prejudice, and with submissive hearts, Christians come to the Bible open to the truth contained within God’s Holy Word. Dr. Lloyd-Jones asks a penetrating question that all Christians must contemplate: “why I am what I am as a Christian?” Does one’s answer to that question reserve any glory for themselves or does the answer reserve all glory to God? With keen observation and interpreting Scripture with Scripture, Dr. Lloyd-Jones demonstrates that God is fully responsible not only for the initiation of salvation, but He also is fully responsible for carrying it out. What great assurance this is for Christians. What praise and adoration should be for such a great salvation. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds this wonderful truth of God’s deliberation of salvation according to the counsel of His will.
Heard. Believed. Trusted
Does the sovereignty of God minimize the responsibility of humanity? Reformed theology is often caricaturized by insisting it promotes a world where people lack true humanity. God’s work in salvation is said to be in contradiction to human responsibility of proclaiming the gospel and the sinner believing the gospel. But that is not Reformed theology, says Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. A fundamental truth is lacking in this common objection. While it is absolutely God’s work, He uses means to accomplish His work. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:11–14 titled “Heard. Believed. Trusted,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds the listener of these means that are always constant as God is working. If these means are not present, then a person cannot become a Christian. They are necessary for the sinner to move from being under the wrath of God to being in Christ. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones carefully works through God’s Word and teaches on this extremely important subject. Whether the listener is a faithful Christian who desires to better understand the relationship between evangelism and the work of God or a skeptic of Reformed theology, Dr. Lloyd-Jones will assist in explaining this important truth of Scripture.