The Book of Ephesians
Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s major series of 232 sermons on Ephesians covering all 6 chapters of Paul's Epistle, plus a small collection of 5 other Ephesian sermons preached at Westminster Chapel. The major series is a …
The One Mediator
Because of sin, all are alienated from one another and God. In this sermon on Ephesians 2:16 titled “The One Mediator,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is quick to explain that by the blood of Christ, sinful people can be reconciled to one another and God. Jew and Gentile can be one in the new body of Christ where all who repent and believe in His name are adopted. Rebellious sinners can only be made right with God through the atoning death of Christ on the cross of Calvary. There He removed the offenses against God, ensuring redemption for all those who God elected. This death was not simply a moral example for others to follow, nor was it merely a display of God’s love. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones asserts, it is in the cross where God was reconciling the world to Himself through the blood of Christ so that all who believe are made holy and righteous before Him. The death of Christ Jesus at the hands of sinners is the only way that there can be fellowship restored between fallen sinners and the holy God who created them. This is the great message of the gospel. There is no other true message of reconciliation and salvation between God and sinners. The church must be faithful and bold in its proclamation of this truth to the whole world, for it is the only hope for sinful people.
Peace With God
What some describe as loneliness is actually a lack of peace with God. It is a worldwide problem that often goes undiagnosed and is the most pervasive disease on the planet. In this sermon on Ephesians 2:17 titled “Peace With God,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains Paul’s words to the Ephesian church, primarily focusing on the necessity of peace with God. An important emphasis Dr. Lloyd-Jones makes is that Christ now preaches through the apostles what he was preaching in His own ministry: Jews and Gentiles alike are sinners and need peace with God. Jews in the New Testament made the fatal moralistic mistake of equating knowledge with obedience. Likewise, Gentiles fell short in that they chose to disobey the Lord with their sinful lifestyles. Dr. Lloyd-Jones uses vivid imagery to help listeners understand the reality of humanity's natural state of turmoil with God. He illustrates that the ocean is being pulled upon both by magnetic forces from the moon and the gravitational pull from the earth. This in turn causes massive turmoil and unrest in the ocean. This is similar to humanity’s natural state. Humanity is not at rest; it is at war with God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones ends his sermon on an encouraging note: humans bear many burdens they need not bear simply because they have not brought them before the Lord. Listen in as Dr. Lloyd-Jones helps understand peace with God.
Access to the Father
In this sermon on Ephesians 2:18 titled “Access to the Father,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaks of the solution to the struggle to understand the love of God. It could be because people don’t understand that the three persons of the Trinity have acted in time, each to pursue the Christian’s salvation who must feel the weight of that truth. The Father planned salvation, the Son was sent by the Father to give of Himself to accomplish salvation, and the Holy Spirit has been sent by the Father and the Son to apply redemption. Also, this shows the wretchedness of sin. “Sin is as great a problem as this: that it necessitated the three person of the Trinity to deal with it,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones states. However, removing enmity with God was not the ultimate reason, but God’s “objective” was to bring His people to Himself. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes, this is the “whole object and purpose of salvation.” He made His people to enjoy Him and that is His end goal. Therefore, the questions must be asked: “Do you enjoy God? Do you enter into His presence? Do you go before Him with confidence because of what Jesus has done on your behalf? Do you come before Him by His Spirit?”
Lord; Teach Us to Pray
In this sermon on Ephesians 2:18 titled “Lord, Teach Us to Pray,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses some of the reasons prayers can be so ineffective. Ephesians 2:18 states that “through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” This verse shows the complexity of prayer. According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, a detrimental fallacy in the church is that prayer is simple. Some people focus on the reality that Christians have access to God through Christ and yet neglect the Spirit. They can pray with flawless doctrine but their prayers are “useless.” “You can be absolutely orthodox but at the same time be spiritually dead,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones shares. The other side neglects doctrine and says that all one needs is the Spirit. They elevate experience and throw out doctrine. However, Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that both right doctrine and life in the Spirit are absolutely essential. There is no other way to have access to God apart from these two and nothing should be added to these doctrines.
Praying in the Spirit
What does the Holy Spirit have to do with prayer? In his sermon on Ephesians 2:18 titled “Praying in the Spirit,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones seeks to impress on the believer the absolute necessity of prayer and of the role of the Holy Spirit in prayer. According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, praying in the Holy Spirit “is the very essence of prayer.” Also, in light of God’s stunning love that brings His children to Him, “prayer is the supreme activity of the human soul.” Many people think that prayer is as simple as saying “their prayers,” but Dr. Lloyd-Jones critiques the phrase “saying our prayers” as being antithetical to prayer itself. Prayer is much deeper than this simplistic understanding because it is a Holy Spirit-lead endeavor. Dr. Lloyd-Jones goes as far as to say, “The Holy Spirit is as essential to prayer as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.” According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, Jesus died that all might have access to the Father and the Holy Spirit makes real to the believer all that Jesus died for. Both must be held together if prayer is going to be true prayer.
What makes people unified? Is it the way they act? The same interest? In this sermon on unity from Ephesians 2:19 titled “Christian Unity,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones states “Nothing else can bring men together truly but this—this gospel.” In Ephesians, Paul is addressing the reality that both Jew and Gentile were side by side in standing before God through Jesus. This reality would have stunned the readers of Ephesians. No “righteousness” that Jews had would earn right standing before God and no lack of religious heritage for the Gentile would hinder salvation through Christ. Their righteousness was as filthy rags before God and all are on the same plane (Isaiah 64:6). All sinners are absolutely helpless before God. However, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes, Christians are those who are agreed upon the cross, know Jesus Christ, and share Christ’s righteousness. Also, Christians are one because they are brought to one Father by one Spirit (Eph. 2:18). Dr. Lloyd-Jones also notes that all who are in Christ are fighting the same battle, have the same struggles, and are able to carry each other’s burdens as they journey through this life. They are also comforted by one savior. Though living this life may be challenging, Christians are marching towards one eternal hope.
No Longer Strangers
In this sermon on Ephesians 2:19 titled “No Longer Strangers,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses the reality that Christians are citizens of the kingdom of God and “no longer strangers.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that the imagery used by Paul (“strangers” and “foreigners”) to describe the past tense for the Christian implies several things. Before salvation, they were around the people of God and may have even seemed to be a citizen of the kingdom, but in reality were not. Many, he concludes, are in the same predicament in the church. They are around the people of God but have no true understanding of the things of God. They may be able to have deep philosophical or theological conversations, but when true religious experience is discussed they feel awkward. Therefore, before one seeks to understand what it means to be a citizen, it is important to come to the understanding of one’s status as citizen or foreigner.
In a time of instability, it can seem like there is no foundation. Each nation has its own issues and is destined to end at some point. However, is there a nation that will last forever? In this sermon on Ephesians 2:19 titled “Heavenly Citizenship,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out there is a kingdom that will last forever—the kingdom of God— and Ephesians 2:19 gives this hope. According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, if the church understood the reality of their citizenship and the nature of the kingdom, she would be heading towards revival. The church is called to understand the reality of the kingdom and rejoice in it. So what is the nature of this kingdom? According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, the kingdom implies that the people contained in it are separate. Also, it means the church is bound by the same allegiance to each other and to the King. However, this is not a kingdom that can be entered into by mere outward allegiance; it takes “new birth” by the Spirit and redemption by the “precious blood of Jesus.” Christians are brought into a spiritual kingdom and birthed into it by the Spirit. Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that while it may seem like the church is underwhelming, on the day that Jesus returns and the church is united, that will not be the case.
Privileges and Responsibilities
Many people vie for the opportunity to be a citizen of a great nation, but Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones dives into the reality that Christians have a far greater privilege and responsibility as citizens of the kingdom of God. In this sermon on Ephesians 2:19 titled “Privileges and Responsibilities,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains the magnificent realities that entail being made a citizen of the kingdom. God is actively pursuing the good of each and every member of the kingdom. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes, “All the resources of the Godhead are for us.” Accordingly, Christians have been given all the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places and find their pinnacle in access to God Himself. Dr. Lloyd-Jones turns the sermon to discuss some of the responsibilities of the Christian. By way of illustration, if a person is in the army, they are going to be expected and required to live, look, and act a certain way, and it will be the greatest joy to do so. They want to represent their king and kingdom well. How much greater is the weight of responsibility for the Christian who was brought into the kingdom by the blood of their King?
Of the Household of God
How would one’s life change if they knew that not only were they a citizen of a country, but they were a child of the king? This question is posed in a much deeper way by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in this sermon on Ephesians 2:19 titled “Of the Household of God.” In his continued sermon series on Ephesians 2:19, he plunges further into the depths of the Christian’s position and privilege. Paul uses the metaphors of a kingdom, the family, and the temple of God. Being part of the kingdom entails unity as a people, along with the rights and privileges of being under the king. Being part of the household of God entails the intimacy and depth of relationship with God. The second is much deeper than the first. By way of application, Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that understanding the familial relationship of the church should promote deep relationships in the church. Also, according to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, these two descriptors point to the bewildering facets of the love of God towards the Christian, but also demand the responsibility to represent God well.
An Habitation of God
In his continued exposition of the analogies that are used for the church, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones comes to what he views as the deepest analogy of them all—a temple of God. In this sermon on building the temple of God from Ephesians 2:20–22 titled “A Habitation of God,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones points to the two themes of unity and privilege. Unity can be seen by the closeness and necessity of each brick of a building. Each brick can be different, but if one begins to take away bricks, the building will start to fall apart. The privilege of the church can be seen by the nearness to God. “God dwells within her” and this is the greatest privilege. Also, this is a temple being built by God, not by people, and it is a vital building. He exhorts grabbing hold of the nature of the church because a false view leads, and has lead, to issues in the church.
The Only Foundation
If a foundation is bad, the building will collapse. Therefore, one must ask, “What is the foundation of the church?” By the grace of God, the church has a stable foundation in the apostles and prophets, with Christ as the chief cornerstone. In this sermon on the foundation of the church from Ephesians 2:20–22 titled “The Only Foundation,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches on the nature and importance of that foundation. He argues that the church is a miracle. Paul argues that the unthinkable has happened: Jews and Gentiles are brought together in Christ. The foundation of the church is found in two statements: 1) “the apostle and prophets,” and 2) “Jesus Christ himself being the cornerstone” (verse 20). According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, the first is referring to the people themselves, but also the doctrines that they set forth. The second refers to Jesus and means that everything is held together by Him. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that nothing can be added to or taken away from that foundation and there can be no unity apart from this foundation. One cannot be a Christian if they deny the person and work of Christ. Therefore, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones challenges the listener to question what they believe about Jesus, if they know Him, and if they are in Him.
Fitly Framed Together
What is the most important part of a building? Some may think the walls or the floor, but it is always the foundation. In the church, it is no different. In this sermon on Ephesians 2:20–22 titled “Fitly Framed Together,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues teaching a further understanding of the nature of the church and the application that truth has for the Christian. Previously, Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounded on the importance of the foundation (apostles, prophets, and Christ being the cornerstone), but he turns to the stones being placed on the foundation—the church. First, each stone must be “truly and rightly related to that foundation” and to each other. Each stone (or church member) is different, but is still inseparably tied to the rest of the building. Also, each stone must be connected to the foundation. Ultimately God is the builder, but as Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes, God uses pastors (1 Cor 3:10-15). Dr. Lloyd-Jones issues a warning for pastors that they are careful what they build the church with. Ploys can be used to build big churches, but only those who have a “vital union” with the foundation—Jesus—will last. God is building His church to be “harmoniously fitted together” with true believers of every type of person.
The Growth of the Church
According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, every Christian is a part of “something more”—the church. This church is described as a “temple” in Ephesians 2:21. In this sermon on Ephesians 2:20–22 titled “The Growth of the Church,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones dives deeper into this illustration given by Paul and helps the Christian understand the privilege and responsibility that comes with being a part of the church. He notes that in temple construction the stones would be hewn before they were brought to the temple structure and from this he draws several principles. One, there is work done by the Holy Spirit prior to entrance to the church—the Holy Spirit saves the soul. Each Christian has been fashioned spiritually by God and in a way that won’t make sense to the watching world. According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, this is not because Christianity is irrational but because it is supra-rational. Also, the church is not simply a group of stones thrown together but a group of stones fashioned together by the builder. The church consists of believers and Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that God is not interested in a big church, but a holy church. He’s not interested in how many are on the church rolls, but how many “believe right doctrine and live accordingly.”
Built Together by the Holy Spirit
How can something be one and yet many different things? This is the nature of the church where each member is different, but part of one body. In this sermon on Ephesians 2:20–22 titled “Built Together by the Holy Spirit,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones probes into how this can happen and who produces it. First, Dr. Lloyd-Jones makes a distinction between individuals and being individualistic. The former is, as he notes, a beautiful aspect of the church. Each stone is hewn differently—every Christian is different—but each stone does not pursue isolation. Each stone needs the others to be a temple. The differences in the church, according to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, spotlights the nature of a living God. However, who is the one responsible for the unity in the diversity? As he observes from Ephesians, the builder of the temple is the Holy Spirit (vs 22). As Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes, the church is a miracle. The Holy Spirit must bring all to the conviction of their depravity and sin in order to shape and mold them into stones for the temple. Also, the Holy Spirit is the one who opens eyes to the truth of the gospel, gives understanding, produces the same fruit, and gives different gifts to members of the church. No one is able to do anything apart from Him.
Parts of the Whole
If an employee of a company decides that they are not going to consider the good of the company when making decisions, the employee is not going to last long. In humanity’s natural state, this selfish attitude will invade all of life. How can the church be different? In this sermon on Ephesians 2:20–22 titled “Parts of the Whole,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines the startling reality of unity and diversity in the church because of the work of the Holy Spirit. The church is composed of many different stones and Dr. Lloyd-Jones asserts that it is the job of each stone to think of itself in relation to the rest of the building. He argues that many people are not grounded enough in their identity as a member of the church and tend to be too subjective. Also, many become selfish and claim aspects of the church (such as ministries, churches, and denominations) as their own, rather than focusing on serving for the glory of Christ. Each stone has a specific part to play in the wall, not with meaningless activity, but serving in whatever way God calls them to serve. Also, Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that a dangerous mistake is when people start “doing without being.”
“How can we have unity without uniformity?” In this sermon on evangelism from Ephesians 2:20–22 , Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones seeks to answer this question. Titled “Personal Evangelism,” His desire is to look at the application of the passage, namely the work of the Holy Spirit in building the church. First, according to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, Christians must not let others dictate their callings. As he states, there is a danger to just doing “the thing to do.” Each Christian has a responsibility before God to obey Him and Him only. Even the thing that seems like a reasonable call for a person may not be their call at all. By way of illustration, he uses his own call. After leaving his profession as a doctor for ministry, he was pressured by an executive in a missionary organization to become a medical missionary instead of a pastor. Dr. Lloyd-Jones found this to be a biblically ignorant action because the calling of God is between God and the person being called. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also discusses evangelism and several ways that Christians can be faithful. First, he notes that evangelism should an overflow of the Holy Spirit’s presence, not an endeavor to simply know all the answers. Second, faithfulness can be seen in being a good listener, faithful church attendance, and other such “small” tasks.