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.
Schism in the Church (2)
The Protestant Reformation created a monumental break within the Western church. It is difficult to deny the necessity of Luther and the Reformers’ break from the Roman Catholic Church whose leaders were unwilling to address heresy and apostasy within the church. But what about the subsequent divisions following the Reformation? Do they carry the same legitimacy as the magisterial Reformers’ break with Rome? Can one know if a division is justified or not? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Schism in the Church (2),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones engages these most difficult questions. No doubt this sermon challenges every church, denomination, and individual Christian. He treats the danger of schism throughout church history. On the other side of those who champion a vague doctrine stand those Christians who create schisms over every minute point of interpretation. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says this is part of the wiles of the devil. Acknowledging that division and schism within the church cannot be fixed with a simple formula, he offers several principles to consider as individuals, churches or denominations consider whether division is justified. Listen to wise counsel from Dr. Lloyd-Jones on divisions in the church with this timely message for the evangelical church.
What are cults? Why are they so dangerous? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Cults,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that cults are groups that are not Christian, but nevertheless claim to be. They teach things that fundamentally deny the Christian faith and gospel. Often, cults are centered around one person who claims to have received a special divine revelation. These cults either deny the authority of Scripture altogether, or they put another authority on equal level or above that of the Bible. Many of these cults minimize or deny the doctrines of sin, the incarnation, and the atonement. Unlike heresies, cults are groups that are entirely outside of the church and Christianity. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that cults are one of the many ways that the devil deceives people. False teaching can and does destroy people’s lives because it sets them on the path to destruction by denying the true gospel. This is why the church must be clear that the gospel is by faith alone in Christ who is both truly God and man.
What distinguishes counterfeit forms of Christianity from real Christianity? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Counterfeits,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses false forms of Christianity and shows what makes them so different from biblical Christianity. He says that the cults always offer purely practical advice, but never any doctrine. This is wholly opposed to Christianity that grounds all life in teaching. The cults simply seek to make people’s lives more comfortable, but there is never true and lasting spiritual renewal. The true church of Jesus Christ is different because it alone has the gospel of God that is able to save to the fullest. God has the power to not only deliver from sin and judgment, but also to totally transform men and women. The church must stand against all false teaching and counterfeit forms of Christianity by boldly preaching the one and true gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a timely sermon for those dealing with cults and people involved in them because this sermon has the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the only true and lasting hope in this life.
How does the devil operate against individuals in the church? It is important to know the wiles of the enemy to become better equipped in spiritual warfare against him. In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Watchfulness,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones notes the absence of literature that recognizes the devil for what he does. He provides a couple examples from history that properly reveal the wiles of the devil, such as Pilgrim’s Progress by Paul Bunyan and Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Resources like these come alongside Scripture to help the Christian watch carefully. That being said, there is no substitute for consistent prayer rooted in Scripture and accompanied by self-examination. These essentials help defend the three main lines of attack: mind, experience, and behavior. The devil produces an error of imbalance somewhere in the three so that Christians either do too much or too little to recover. Dr. Lloyd-Jones draws out the dangers of over-emphasizing in these areas leading to intellectualism, emotionalism, or pragmatism. The solution that he offers his listeners for perfect balance comes from a true view of the gospel. Christians must submit to God’s way of delivering them wholly and completely, through mind, experience, and behavior.
Philosophy and Vain Deceit
Why is philosophy and worldly thinking such a danger to Christianity? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Philosophy and Vain Deceit,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines the relationship between biblical revelation and philosophy. The apostle Paul was aware of the temptation to substitute divine revelation for worldly thinking. This is to subordinate God’s wisdom to the vain teaching of the world, according Dr. Lloyd-Jones. This is a great threat to the church in all times and places, but especially in the modern world where science is given such a high place of authority. Many are willing to reinterpret the Bible in light of what Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones refers to as “mere theories.” Christians are called to stand on the word of God in all areas of life. Scripture is to be the ultimate and final authority in all matters of life, faith, and philosophy. The gospel calls Christians to believe in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ, even when they do not understand Him. It is a call to rest in the knowledge of who God is, even when they do not fully grasp everything there is to know about God. This sermon is an invitation to trust in God for all blessings and happiness in this life.
Knowledge Puffs Up
What does it mean to know God and His word? Some say that by merely knowing many facts about the Bible, they truly know God. But in this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Knowledge Puffs Up,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches on the need to know God with true knowledge. Many Christians are tempted to think about the Bible as just another book from which to learn. But this is not the Bible of the living God. Scripture demands that Christians approach it as God’s word and in a way that they learn who God is. Mere theoretical knowledge is not the goal of Christian growth. Christians must encounter God as He has revealed Himself in His word, and they must look to Scripture as the speech of God. Christians must seek to know God, not merely know about Him. They must have a personal knowledge of God. Theological debates cannot replace loving God and each other, for true knowledge of God is a saving knowledge based in His Son, Jesus Christ. This sermon calls each and every Christian to a deeper and fuller knowledge of God as found in His word.
God in the Flesh
What is one of the greatest dangers to the church? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “God in the Flesh,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones warns about the devil’s attack upon the church by introducing false teaching about the person of Christ. The early church in the time of the apostles had to battle those who denied that Jesus truly came in the flesh. In later times, the church had to oppose those that said Jesus is just a creature sent by God, not the Creator God Himself. Heresy is dangerous because it is not merely an academic question of theology, but it affects the gospel proclamation of the church. When the church has lost sight of who Jesus is and what He has done, it loses itself and becomes fatally compromised. What does this mean for the Christian? This answer is simple: it matters because it is Jesus Christ who saves from sins and redeems people by His death. It is Jesus who saves through the Holy Spirit’s gift of faith. The importance of Jesus Christ is the reason that the church must always be clear and bold in its proclamation of God’s truth as found in His word.
Faith and Experience
What is the role of experience in the Christian life? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Faith and Experience,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses this very practical question by looking at the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. He warns of the great danger of reducing all of the Christian life to mere emotions. This is dangerous because it makes the Christian put their hope not in Jesus Christ and His work, but in their own subjective feelings. Christians can become enslaved to passing emotions and desires. The other danger is to reject all emotions as fundamentally deceptive and misguided. Some say that all that is needed is to affirm the truth of Christianity. But the biblical position avoids both these imbalances because it grounds all hope and emotions in what God has done in Jesus Christ. God has declared His people free from sin as His children. This should produce a true and lasting joy that casts out all fear and doubts. Christians can love God and neighbor because God has made them new creatures in Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Emotions are the appropriate reaction to the objective work of God. This sermon calls all to ask the question: “do I have this hope in what God has done for me?” There is no more important question any can ask.
Physical; Psychological; Spiritual
Why is it important to have a biblical understanding of humanity? Many people both inside and outside the church have a flawed view of humanity that either overemphasizes the spiritual nature at the expense of the physical nature, or vice versa. They downplay the need for spirituality and replace it with modern psychology. In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Physical, Psychological, Spiritual,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that the Bible teaches that people are body, mind, and soul. They are more than the matter that they are made of, but the human body also affects its spirit. There is a great danger to turn all sin issues into problems of psychology. They say that a person’s problems are never a result of their sin but are a result of their circumstances. The Bible tells something different. According to the Bible, people are sinful and willingly rebellious. They have rejected God. The answer is in the gospel of Jesus Christ for the redemption of sins. This does not mean that all problems are the result of sin, but it does mean that all problems find their ultimate answer in the gospel. This sermon points all to the glorious truth that Jesus is a sufficient Savior.
True and False Assurance
Why is true assurance so central to the Christian life? Followers of Christ can and should know that they are now children of God and have been set free from sin and death. But, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains in this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “True and False Assurances,” there is a false assurance that leads to death. This is when people who do not know Jesus and who do not believe in His gospel are blinded by the devil and tricked into believing that they are saved. All Christians must examine themselves to see if they truly know God. Many in the church have given only an intellectual assent to the gospel, while others are so caught up in an emotional experience that they have deceived themselves. The answer is to look to Scripture and its main descriptions of what it means to be a true Christian. This sermon contains the timeless message of the need not only of salvation, but also of a true and biblically grounded assurance that should give all of God’s children a lasting and steadfast hope in Jesus Christ.
Attacks on Assurance (1)
The Christian can struggle with assurance of salvation, feel tormented by past sins, or disbelieve that they could truly be saved. In this sermon focused on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Attacks on Assurance (1),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones diagnoses the real cause of struggles with assurance. Often the devil causes the Christian to question whether anyone can be sure of their salvation or he makes them feel presumptuous to be so certain of their salvation. The truth is that only the devil makes one look back at sin—Christ makes them look back to His work on the cross. That is where the Christian must place their confidence. God commands His people to be certain of their salvation and to know the truth that they are saved as seen in 1 John 5. Christians are encouraged to not be so busied with the state of their spiritual health that they make themselves ill but instead lay hold of the promise of salvation and rest in Christ.
Attacks on Assurance (2)
Christians can feel as though the Lord has withdrawn His smile from them and are concerned that their current or difficult state may mean that they are not truly a Christian. In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Attacks on Assurance (2),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shows that when Christians experience hardship and adversity, they must remember that the Lord allows difficult things in their lives because He wants to grow them as Christians. This ought to be a great comfort in hardship. Adversity encourages the Christian not to rely on their good works, but to be encouraged that they are being matured and prepared for future glory with Christ. They should not question their justification when they experience trials and suffering. Instead they should remember that when they confess their sins, God is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse His people from all unrighteousness.
Quenching The Spirit (1)
In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Quenching the Spirit (1),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones makes the bold claim that the church’s quenching of the Holy Spirit hinders it more than anything else. What is quenching the Spirit? In a desire to avoid making Christianity reliant on subjective religious experiences, many Christians leave no room for the work and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This is quenching the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells that the Holy Spirit is a person who indwells all who believe. The church of today ought to look at the early church found in Acts to see what it looks like to rely on the Holy Spirit for power and guidance. What are the practical applications of this message on Ephesians 6:10–13? Christians should seek to look to the Holy Spirit to empower their ministries and lives as they follow Jesus Christ. The church as a whole should look to the guidance of the Holy Spirit as He allows Christians to understand the gospel and God’s word. Christians must not overreact against those who abuse the Bible’s teaching on the Holy Spirit by suppressing what the Bible does teach about the Holy Spirit and His ministry in the church.
Quenching The Spirit (2)
Why does the church seem weak, ineffective, and powerless? As the world is in chaos, why are Christian people so lethargic about witnessing to the glorious good news of the gospel? In his sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Quenching the Spirit (2),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones offers a challenging and convicting message to the church today: beware of quenching the Spirit. Quenching the Holy Spirit is one of the ways the devil works in believers’ lives in order to make their Christian life ineffectual and lacking power. Dr. Lloyd-Jones diagnoses the problem by looking at the Scriptures and noting that the person filled with the Spirit knows their doctrine, has a love and warmth about them, and has the power of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then proceeds to offer application for how one can be guilty of quenching the Spirit. He attacks such practices as formalism in the church, conflating regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit, as well as a general resistance of the Spirit’s prompting.
Temptation and Sin
Many Christians live burdened by a misunderstanding of what it means to be tempted by sin. They think that because they experience involuntary evil thoughts that they have sinned. In this sermon on temptation from Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Temptation and Sin,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones uses the example of the temptations of Jesus to refute this belief. Jesus was repeatedly tempted by Satan when He was in the desert, but he never sinned. The temptation that Jesus faced was not because He wanted to sin but it came through external promptings. In the same way, Christians may have thoughts that they do not desire to have and that are not their own. Many times these thoughts are the result of Satan and his demons who tempt the children of God. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones proclaims, the only way to truly fight the devil and sin is to flee to Christ who alone has the power to overcome sin and temptation. Christ died for all who believe so that though they are still in the flesh, they will one day be free from all sin and temptation when Christ returns to finally destroy death, sin, and the devil. This great hope is the remedy against all sin and spiritual depression.
The devil uses multiple tactics in order to discourage God’s people from being useful for kingdom work. In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Discouragement,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses how discouragement cripples the life of the Christian and how God has equipped His people to fight against this attack in His word. Dr. Lloyd-Jones addresses the difference between self-evaluation and introspection, which is looking to oneself for their worth and value. Dr. Lloyd-Jones combats this by stating that what makes a person a Christian is not anything that they will find within, but simply through the blood of the Savior. Christian assurance can never come from oneself; this will only breed discouragement. The Christian must instead combat their own doubts and discouragement with thankfulness over what Christ has already accomplished. This is a truth that should demand action from the Christian, saturating every aspect of their life and ministry. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones presents the hope that can be found in the midst of a discouraging world and the friend the Christian has in Jesus; a friend who is no stranger to the hurdles Christian’s face.
Worry and Anxiety
What brings a Christian to a place of worry and anxiety? How does one fight the discouragement that is brought about when one becomes anxious for the future? In this sermon on worry and anxiety from Ephesians 6:10–13, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones begins to tackle these questions and addresses the way that the devil incapacitates believers through worry. Drawing from the story of Martha in the New Testament, Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds listeners that the devil desires to overwhelm Christians with good responsibilities, effectively preventing followers of Christ from meditating on the spiritual. Yet the Christian should not be out of control in this way. Drawing from several common worries, such as wellness and the future, Dr. Lloyd-Jones addresses the fact that good things were never meant to be at the center of one’s life. The way in which to fight the enemy when one is tempted to grow anxious is to declare the truth: that God has never failed His people and the Christian’s future rests secure in His hands. Dr. Lloyd-Jones concludes by offering this relief of stress to the Christian: leave the future in the hands of a loving God, and allow Him to lead through His will.
Man's Greatest Problem - Self
“The greatest battle a man faces,” says Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “is against himself.” Why is this the case, and how is this known to be true from Scripture? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Man’s Greatest Problem – Self,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones works through how Satan tries to bring havoc into the lives of people, especially believers. How does he accomplish this? Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that the devil primarily uses pride to refocus people off the things of the Lord. One of his main methods in this is to take a person’s gift— whether it is singing, speech, knowledge, intellect or even conversion experience — and use it to make its possessor feel self-reliant and that they are above the spiritual state of other believers. How can Christians counter this threat? Scripture says Christians must face their fallenness and who they are with honesty, realizing that all are equal sinners in the sight of God. Additionally, one must see everything they have as coming from the Lord and not themselves, remembering that their gifts are to be used for the encouragement of other believers and the glory of the Lord. This proper view of themselves and what the Lord has given them will allow them to be humble in whatever level of life they occupy, knowing that their sole purpose is to please God.
True and False Zeal
Why do people have a hard time finding the proper balance in life between too much activity and too much rest? Society today is saturated with the message that people should always be doing something in order to be productive. Yet others would say that life should be lived casually and restfully. What does Scripture say? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “True and False Zeal,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains why this battle is so important for a follower of Christ. One way that Satan attacks is through one’s view of their own actions. He tries to keep them from finding the balance between the two extremes of activity for the kingdom of God. What are these extremes? The first is called antinomianism, which is an interpretation that disregards instructions in Scripture as things to be obeyed. On the other side is legalism, a view that demands a strict lifestyle with no room for obedience based on principle. Either of these views, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, will lead to a general slackness in one’s Christian walk and a failure to apply the truth to oneself. Christians are called to follow Christ and to demonstrate their love for Him by obeying His commands, but they must not allow this to build a worldly zeal within — rather, they must overcome this scheme of the devil by realizing that they must obey God out of a desire to please Him and know Him better.
When someone mentions “worldliness,” what comes to mind? In this sermon on overcoming worldliness from Ephesians 6:10–13, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones helps the listener come to a proper understanding of worldliness and how it affects the Christian walk. Worldliness, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is when one allows things that are good in and of themselves to occupy too big of a part in one’s life. Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that this happens when the Christian doesn’t allow their walk with Christ to overlap with the other areas of their life. Being a follower of Jesus means following His instruction for every action, thought, and desire one has. How can one prevent falling into the trap of worldliness? First, they must remember that salvation is not just to save one for eternity, but is also to save from sin now and deliver the Christian from the present evil. Second, Christians must be cautious of any hint of sin and run from the scent of it at all costs. At times it can seem like an impossible task but Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds the listener that they are called to stand strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Jesus has overcome Satan, and the Christian can do the same because He is alive lives in those who believe in Him.