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.
Suffering - as Christ's Prisoner
Is there something worth giving up one’s life for? In this sermon on Ephesians 3:1 titled “Suffering as Christ’s Prisoner,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones contends with Paul that Jesus is worth it. Paul was concerned because he knew his suffering would trouble the Ephesians 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. 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. Paul also 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.
The Mystery of Christ
What is the mystery of Christ? Why did God wait so long for Him to be revealed? In this sermon on Ephesians 3:2–7 titled “The Mystery of Christ,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones 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 but the one true gospel. Through the recounting of Paul’s imprisonment to the Ephesians, Paul encourages them to stay strong in the faith. That the mystery that has been revealed is true, marvelous, and worth believing above all else. It is worth the imprisonment that Paul is joyfully enduring. They needn’t worry about present circumstances and his imprisonment but should rather glory in their salvation and in the gospel. God’s plan of salvation is a wondrous thing and worth contemplating. No one’s intelligence could ever unravel this wondrous mystery. Dr. Lloyd-Jones soberly reminds the listener that they must be enlightened by the Holy Spirit in order to understand.
Two Mysteries - Jew; Gentile
True unity can exist within the church. Since Christians are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise, harmony can be found between Jew and Gentile. In this sermon on Ephesians 3:2–7 titled “Two Mysteries – Jew, Gentile,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses the general mystery of Christ that 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 that there now is no difference as to membership in the family of God between Jews and Gentiles. There is no longer a need for a Gentile to become a Jewish proselyte since 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 and 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 Minister - Task and Calling
In this sermon on Ephesians 3:7–8 titled “The Minister – Task and Calling,” 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 all that is needed is found, including wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. When one has understanding and realizes their sin, how can they possibly approach the holy God they know they need? He can be approached only in Christ who clothes Christians with His righteousness. Christians can continue their lives with God when they face sin and evil only through sanctification in Christ. Christ sanctifies 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. It is a great privilege and responsibility to take that treasure and show it to the unbelieving world.
Hope for the World
Is there hope for the world? Is there a purpose and plan for the Christian? In this sermon on Ephesians 3:9–11 titled “Hope for the World,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses the question of hope amidst the seeming chaos and pointlessness of life on earth. The only hope is 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 is found in Christ does not, however, mean that the end of war, evil, and darkness will end in this age. The end of these things will come with the return of Christ. Rather, the Christian’s hope is the hope of salvation in Christ that points to the eternal home and reward, not a temporary peace in the circumstances of humanity.
The Wisdom of God
What is the greatest manifestation of the wisdom of God? In this sermon on the manifold wisdom of God from Ephesians 3:10 titled “The Wisdom of God,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points to the church. The church, that is Christianity and the salvation that it proclaims, is the greatest manifestation of God’s wisdom ever 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’s 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.
Prayer; Boldness and Access
In this sermon on Ephesians 3:12 titled “Prayer: Boldness and Access,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses the privilege and importance of prayer. The apostle Paul makes the point that Christians have access to God in prayer through Christ and can come with boldness and confidence. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also shows the importance of doctrine and practicing in one’s prayer life. If Christians focus on doctrine only, they will miss the point. But if all doctrine is abandoned and one simply hopes to “practice,” then the point is missed again. Rather one must know what God says about the Christian life, prayer, and faith in Christ and then apply those things in practice. How can one expect to come to God with boldness if they do not first understand how? Christians can boldly approach the throne of grace in prayer through faith in Christ; He has made the way. He is the access to God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones gives two principles to think about in prayer life. First, when coming to God in prayer, Christians must not rely on feelings, mood, or state of being to inform how to pray or if they pray at all. They must realize that these can be tools used by the devil to keep the Christian from prayer, to plague them with doubts, and remind of their sins. Secondly, Christians must preach to themselves. They must remind themselves over and over of the truths of Scripture. They must remind themselves in the throes of doubt that Christ is the redeemer and mediator. He is faithful to forgive and the Christian 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.”
Praying to the Father
In this sermon on Ephesians 3:14–15 titled “Praying to the Father,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones stresses the importance of prayer and its practice from Paul’s example. Dr. Lloyd-Jones discusses prayer in three important principles from this passage. First, it is important 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 looks at the manner in which Paul is praying. He is praying with reverence. Though he has just mentioned earlier in the chapter that one can come to God in prayer with boldness, he shows here a heart of humility in how he approaches God in prayer. The Christian should be careful to evaluate how they come to God in prayer. It is not necessarily about the outward posture, but does the inward posture show humility in spirit before the Holy God when He is approached 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.
The Inner Man
In this sermon on Ephesians 3:16 titled “The Inner Man”, 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 and the heart, the center of the believer. For if the center (the thinking) and the heart of a person is set right, then everything else will fall into place. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that it is not that when one becomes a Christian that 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 one becomes a Christian, they are being renewed daily in the inner man though the outer man is wasting away (2 Corinthians 4:16). The joy of the Lord is now their strength no matter the circumstance or the state of his outer self.
The Importance of Spiritual Growth
In this sermon on Ephesians 3:16 titled “The Importance of Spiritual Growth,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones seeks to answer the question of why it is so important that the Christian grow spiritually. He says that the inner self must be continually strengthened because of the continual battle against sin that all Christians experience as they live in a fallen world. There are many forces that Christians must always fight against and 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. It is evident when Christians fail to grow spiritually and into maturity. 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.
Christ in the Heart
The indwelling of Christ in the hearts of believers that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 3:17 is not referring to Christians receiving Christ in their hearts at salvation. In this sermon on Ephesians 3:17 titled “Christ in the Heart,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says it is Christ manifested in the hearts of those who already believe. This kind of manifestation of Christ is fundamentally different from what happens in regeneration when the believer becomes united to Christ in faith and the Holy Spirit. This is a continual indwelling whereby Christ is always present throughout the life of the believer by comforting and guiding them. This is one of the most important truths of the Christian life, for in it is seen all the working and striving as a result of Christ who Himself is working in and through the believer to accomplish all these things. When the Christian understands who Christ is and what he has done for them, it is vain and fruitless to fight sin and temptation with one’s own strength and power. This comforting truth presented by Dr. Lloyd-Jones both humbles and encourages by showing just how weak people are on their own. It shows how great Christ is who indwells and empowers the Christian to live as He has called them.
The Indwelling Christ
All Christians should seek to know and love God more. In this sermon on Ephesians 3:17 titled “The Indwelling Christ,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that part of this pursuit is what he refers to as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This indwelling should be thought of differently from the sealing of the Holy Spirit that all believers experience when they are saved and regenerated. This experience of the indwelling of Christ is one that comes when Christians seek to cultivate deep and abiding love for Christ and his word. It is not a one-time experience or action, but it should continue throughout the life of all believers. This relationship can be thought of as a mystical union whereby Christ and the believer are united in a special and mysterious way. This is an objective experience that is not simply emotional, but it is born out of a real knowledge of who Christ is and what He has done in His death. Dr. Lloyd-Jones cautions that this great truth should not promote feelings of spiritual superiority in believers, but it should strengthen all believers in their pursuit of Christ in this life. This is not a special experience reserved for the spiritual elite, but it is something that all Christians can experience by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Heart Prepared
When Scripture speaks of believers being indwelt by Christ Jesus, it is referring to a real experience, not simply an emotional reaction. In this sermon on Ephesians 3:17 titled “The Heart Prepared,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones brings this foundational truth to bear because it is something all believers should experience as they grow in maturity, faith, and understanding of Christ. There is no special indwelling only for ministers and preachers, but this is something all Christians can and should experience. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that this is not an experience of faith, as opposed to true and tangible experience. He looks to many ordinary saints throughout the many centuries of the church as testament to this truth. We see men and women who had a real, life-altering experiences of this indwelling. However, like all aspects of the Christian life, it is not something humans do apart from the grace and power of God. For it starts with salvation and conversion, and is a part of the ongoing work of sanctification in the lives of believers. This great truth should encourage all Christians to seek growth in Christ and to come to know Him more and more as they live in faith and love.
Rooted in Love
How can one have an abundant life in Christ? What is the secret to living life to its fullest? In this sermon from Ephesians 3:17 titled “Rooted in Love,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones takes the listener through a section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to answer these questions. In this section, Paul is praying that Christians will know and seek Christ Himself, not solely the blessings that He offers. The Christian’s primary ambition in life, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says, should not be to aim merely at a good life since all religions have a version of this. Rather, the Christian should have a holiness that flows out of their relationship with Him, and this happens when He dwells in the heart. What occurs when the Christian allows this to take place? As Paul prayed for his readers, they become rooted and grounded in love. The language he uses reminds the readers of a tree and just like the roots of a tree, their love is to grow deeper and stronger every day. “Knowledge,” Paul says, “puffs up, but love builds up.” One’s knowledge of God must drive them to an increased love of God since God is love (1 John 4:8). Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones encourages Christians to grow in love and reminds the listener of why this is so important for the Christian life.
Grounded in Love
What is foundational to a Christian’s life? Of all the traits that believers are aiming for, what is one of the most important, key characteristics that is supposed to define a follower of Jesus? In this sermon on Ephesians 3:17 titled “Grounded in Love,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones states that the answer is love and explains why this is the case. Paul wrote that Christians are to be rooted and grounded in love, and this love must be foundational to a Christian’s life. The higher a building is, the deeper and stronger its foundation must be, and the same is true with one’s life. Building this foundation takes time and as Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds, there are no shortcuts in the spiritual life. One of the ways to grow in this area is in how one relates to God. If the Christian only thinks of God in intellectual ways, they will never experience the fullness of the riches of knowing Him, and it is this that He intended to naturally flow out into other relationships. How important is love to a believer’s life? A distinctive that sets Christians apart from nonbelievers is that they are called to love their enemies, and thus, love plays a vital role in the witness to unbelievers. It also has an impact on how one handles the circumstances of life because if they are rooted in Christ’s love, they are resting in His sovereignty and plan for the world.
Able to Comprehend
How can one know the love of God? In this sermon on Ephesians 3:18–19 titled “Able to Comprehend,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches how the apostle Paul speaks of the knowledge of God’s love not simply as intellectual comprehension, nor as a result of abstract thought. But there is a real experience of God’s love and presence in the life of believers that creates this intimate and personal love of God and Christ Jesus. This is true of all biblical truth. For the word of God is a living and active source of teaching, rebuke, and reproof in the life of all God’s children. This is why the love of God that comes from knowing Him is not reserved for the scholars and thinkers of the church. True knowledge and worship of God is never a matter of the intellect alone, but it requires every human faculty. For ultimately this love is only received by grace through the working of God’s Holy Spirit in the lives of fallen men and women. For this reason, no one has any grounds for boasting in themselves. To do so would be to deny that it is entirely of God’s grace. This is both a humbling and an encouraging teaching because it shows how great God’s love is. It tells of what He has done in renewing hearts so that His people can receive this love.
Breadth; Length; Depth; Height
The biblical view of God’s love is not simply sentimental, but it shows His love as deep and abiding. In this sermon on Ephesians 3:18–19 titled “Breadth, Length, Depth, Height,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains how this love was proven when God sent His Son to die on the cross for sinners. It is this love that is a part of His eternal nature as God. Christians should always look to the love of God in all places of life, for it is the greatest comfort and hope that they have in this life. When one looks at His love, they see their Father who cares for them, who redeemed them through his Son, and made them holy by His sacrifice. This knowledge of Christ’s love is far more than intellectual apprehension, because it is an experience of His abiding love for believers. This experience, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is not something that only the greatest Christians can experience, nor is it reserved to preachers and pastors. All believers should experience the depth and breadth of God’s love for them in Christ Jesus. This great truth is an anchor for all in times of suffering and depression, and it is this truth in which all Christians can put their hope and trust.
Knowing the Love of Christ
In this sermon on Ephesians 3:18–19 titled “Knowing the Love of Christ,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones states that there are two wrong ways to think about love. One is to see love as purely intellectual and mental. The other is to see love as nothing more than emotional feelings. He says that the biblical view of love, as found in the New Testament, is a much richer expression than either of these false views. Love causes one to seek to understand it and apprehend it. It prompts the hearts of those who have been touched by it to respond in joy and love. This particularly is the case with the love seen in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The love of God in Christ transforms and renews all who believe in the gospel. Testament to this experience is found in the lives of saints and faithful believers all throughout the history of the church. There are many uneducated, ordinary Christians who came to know the love of God and the gospel in a deep and personal way. These were not great theologians and preachers but everyday Christians. This should prompt people of faith to abandon all views of spiritual superiority and see that this great knowledge and experience of love is available to all of God’s children.
In this sermon from Ephesians 3:18–19 titled “Experimental Christianity,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains why it is so important that Christians not only know the right things about God but also apply it to their lives. Many believers are like people who have been left a great fortune but do not realize it. God tells His children to apply their knowledge of Him to their lives, and part of this is not quenching the Spirit. Especially in today’s rationalistic culture, Christians are so wary of excess of emotion and the pitfalls it can bring in their relationship with the Lord that they cut themselves off to the depth of the knowledge of God about which Paul writes. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that this fear of an excess is no reason to go to the extreme and leave no room for knowing God intimately in this way. Paul was adamant in proclaiming how much joy Christians can have by knowing the Spirit intimately, and Dr. Lloyd-Jones gives several examples to demonstrate that those who have been most fruitful for the Lord are those who knew Him intimately as a friend.
Seeking to Comprehend
This sermon is for those who long to have a close relationship with God and perhaps have noticed that the pursuit of worldly things fails to provide any lasting peace or joy. In this sermon on Ephesians 3:19 titled “Seeking to Comprehend,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches this sermon from Paul’s letter and shows how one can get to this point of intimacy they desire so strongly. First, they must pray without ceasing for themselves that God would strengthen their inner self according to His glorious might and power. This is especially important because as one actively seeks to know God more, they will become targets of Satan. It is essential that one prays for strength to persevere through the attacks that Jesus promised will come their way as they follow Him. Second, in order to know Him intimately, one must seek the Lord Himself, not just ideas about Him. Even for Christians, it is easy today to reduce a relationship with God to an abstract, intellectual concept. This, however, will not lead to intimacy. Third, one must seek His love. However, Dr. Lloyd-Jones also has a warning — the Christian must never think of their relationship with God as something where they will always get the desired results as long as they push the right buttons. This is not true in the spiritual life because the Christian is dealing with a relationship, not a mechanical robot. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains how one can avoid this pitfall and how they can know God on a deep level.