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 …
Sealed with the Spirit
What causes Christians to be lethargic and lose the joy of their salvation? What steals the enthusiasm for spiritual growth? These are certainly questions evangelical Christians should be concerned about but many Christians are skeptical of talk about the “experience” of the Holy Spirit. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:13 titled “Sealed with the Spirit,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones suggests the joy in Christ – the experience of that joy – might not be present in a Christian life because they do not fully grasp the truth about the sealing of the Holy Spirit. Since they do not know what they are missing, they do not seek it nor ask the Lord for it. The listener is taken through a detailed examination of the meaning of the apostle Paul’s teaching on the Holy Spirit, beginning with the effect of the Holy Spirit upon the Lord Jesus Christ in His life and ministry. Dr. Lloyd-Jones interacts with two competing views regarding the sealing of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Listen closely as Dr. Lloyd-Jones systematically walks through Scripture, illustrating both the meaning and the timing of the apostle’s teaching on the sealing of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.
The Nature of Sealing
The timing of the sealing of the Holy Spirit is a contested topic. It is a topic that raises many other questions. One could be tempted to ignore the subject or teach it in such a way as to minimize the difficulties with the doctrine. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:13 titled “The Nature of Sealing,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones thoughtfully engages this topic and the difficult questions head on. One cannot ignore the teaching of Holy Scripture but instead must carefully examine the Bible and conform their lives according to it. By looking at the teaching of the New Testament on the work of the Holy Spirit and invoking great theologians and pastors of the church, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says one must emphasize the experimental aspect of the sealing of Holy Spirit that occurs after belief in the gospel. He challenges the people of God to consider whether they have experienced the sealing of the Spirit. Is there an unmistakable experience that has occurred, resulting in a great assurance, joy in Christ, or love for God deep within their hearts? Dr. Lloyd-Jones cautions distinguishing between the sealing of the Spirit and particular gifts of the Holy Spirit that may or may not come as He dispenses gifts as He sees fit.
Sealing: Problems and Difficulties
Effective witnessing makes God’s people radiant with joy and there is no experience like it on this side of heaven. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:13 titled “Sealing: Problems and Difficulties,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives a passionate plea for Christians to seek the sealing of the Spirit. The Christian life is not mechanical and emotionless because the love of God, and the love for God in return is not mechanical or emotionless. The fear of emotions should not discourage Christians to seek this experience of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Lloyd-Jones works through objections to this doctrine and answers them by bringing other passages of the Bible to bear on the topic, while also looking at subsequent church history for other Christian men and women who have experienced this work of the Holy Spirit. Finally, Dr. Lloyd-Jones cautions his listeners on the best way to seek the sealing of the Spirit. One must be hesitant to seek the experience for its own sake but instead should seek the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian cannot be fooled into thinking the Spirit is not sovereign in this matter but instead must recognize the Lordship of the Spirit. With these cautions, Dr. Lloyd-Jones calls the people of God to seek this remarkable assurance that God graciously gives His people.
The Earnest of Our Inheritance
As Christians anticipate heaven, the most glorious reality will be seeing the Lord face to face. Until that day, what is the connection between the heavenly reality that awaits the Christian and their life now? According to the apostle Paul, it is the work of the Holy Spirit as the pledge or guarantee of future inheritance that connects the future with the present. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:14 titled “The Earnest of Our Inheritance,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones labors to explain the apostle’s words by arguing that the translation “earnest” fits the context of Paul’s teaching. This rich term communicates the guarantee or pledge, but it also speaks of an installment. The Christian has a glimpse or foretaste of heaven through the work of the Holy Spirit. While one does not fully see Christ in this life, they should be encouraged that they do indeed see Him, even if only as through a mirror dimly. Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges the listener to share in Christ’s life now by pursuing holiness, purity, peace, and love. Wonderfully, when one does this, they taste what righteousness will be like in the future.
To the Praise of His Glory
What should be the starting point of all a Christian’s thought? How ought their thinking about any particular doctrine be finally assessed? The answer is simple: the glory of God. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:14 titled “To the Praise of His Glory,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out that the apostle Paul in Ephesians is primarily concerned with the praise of His glory. Many religious people miss this crucial point. Their thinking upon any particular religious topic – whether sin or salvation – begins first with themselves. Dr. Lloyd-Jones warns this is a grave mistake. Any Christian doctrine that begins with something other than the glory of God will negatively be affected. If one’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, how often do they ask God to forgive them for not glorifying Him? How often do they consider salvation as what only benefits or brings happiness to themselves and not as a right relationship to God? These are all hard questions which Dr. Lloyd-Jones provokes in this sermon on one of the highest thoughts human beings can ever contemplate.
Tests of Christian Profession
How does one know they are saved? The world calls anyone a “Christian” even if they are associated with theism or morality in a Western context. The title has lost its distinctiveness due to the evaporation of its first century meaning. This is a problem for the church, as it is difficult to know who is truly a Christian and who is deceived or ignorant of the meaning. What then is the test of salvation? In this sermon on Ephesians 1:15–16 titled “Tests of Christian Profession,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones suggests the apostle Paul provides the ultimate test as he is giving thanks and petitioning in prayer on behalf of the Ephesians. There are just two things necessary: faith in the Lord Jesus and love for all the saints. Within these two tests, Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds not only the significance of the terms used by Paul, but also the apostolic order in which they occur. It is faith in the Lord Jesus, then love for all the saints. Paul is uninterested in vague sentimentality in the church. Faith (in the biblical sense) in the person of Jesus Christ is non-negotiable. Only after this, but definitely following it, is love for all the saints. Faith and works are joined here.
The Father of Glory
Prayer is central to every believers’ life and critical to discipleship and worship. However, Christians often feel ashamed to talk about their personal prayer life. They read books and manuals on prayer, hoping to find the perfect solution to a fickle prayer life. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:17 titled “The Father of Glory,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones argues that questions found in books on prayer often miss the point. Christians must not focus on form or saying the most beautiful words. Nor should Christians simply telegraph their petitions in a sentence or two. Instead they must remember, recollect, and pause, as the apostle Paul does, to whom they are speaking. Paul, in just one verse, notes in his prayer that he is praying to the God with whom he has a covenant relationship. The God of the incarnate Son. Not an unknown god, but the God revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ. This God is the source of all glory. He is the glorious One, who gives glory, not only to the Son, but to His people. When one remembers who they are praying to before they begin, they will, indeed, find little trouble engaging in the greatest activity any human being can do: speak to God.
The Christians Knowledge of God
Where does one begin in describing their knowledge of God? Do they begin with propositional or theoretical knowledge? While propositional knowledge of God is good and necessary for the Christian life, there is another knowledge that is just as important. As a matter of fact, it is a knowledge which the apostle Paul prays for in Ephesians. It is the kind of knowledge which is immediate and intimate. It is a personal knowledge of God the Father. Such knowledge is at the heart of the evangelical message. The Christian can have personal fellowship with God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. In the new covenant, the Holy Spirit comes into hearts so that the Christian can have direct knowledge of the love of God and the glory of God. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:17 titled “The Christian’s Knowledge of God,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones follows Paul’s prayer for ordinary Christians to have this exact and experiential knowledge of the true and living God. Listen to this passionate appeal to know Him.
The Hope of His Calling
Christians can often feel distant from God. What is their response when coldness towards spiritual matters creeps into their heart? Does their assurance waver? How can they have a steady anchor for their Christian life? Rather than wait for another experience, the prayer of the apostle Paul for Christians is that they may know the hope of their calling. This is not a general hopefulness, but hope in God. More specifically, hope in God’s calling of them. This will have a profound effect on the assurance says Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:18 titled “The Hope of His Calling,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds this great prayer of Paul and carefully navigates between the general call of God in the gospel for all and the effectual call of the Holy Spirit for believers. To find assurance, one must look to the covenant-keeping God and Scripture. The Christian must look to the God in whom there is no variation or change, to the Father who will keep His children by His grace until the very end. Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges Christians to consider these wonderful truths of Scripture and pray this for themselves.
Riches of His Inheritance
There are common objections to Christianity. Christianity is only for the weak. It is of no consequence today because it does not care about what is happening in the “real” world. Christianity is a waste of time because it is caught-up in other-worldly matters. These objections are as common today as they were in Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s day. In this sermon on inheritance from Ephesians 1:18 titled “Riches of His Inheritance,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones meets the objections head on and points to the reality that the Bible does call Christians to fix their minds on the world to come. What is important is that this is a good thing for this world. Looking to the list of faithful men and women of Scripture and of history, Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that the ones who did the most for this world had their eyes set on the world to come. The greatest benefactors of this world are those men and women of God who were concerned about the inheritance of the saints. If humanity forgets the next world, everything goes wrong for this world. To be uninterested in the glory to be revealed in heaven is to be unlike the Lord Jesus Christ himself. The Christian must be fixed on the glory to come when they will be with God.
The Greatness of His Power
Are Christians guilty of underestimating the need for God’s power? At first it may sound like a silly question. After all, any Christian will rightly affirm their daily need of God’s power. But while Christians may correctly affirm the continual need of God’s power in their lives, many times they will assume initial belief in the gospel is easy. Conversations among some Christians often assume anybody who wants to believe the gospel can do so. In this sermon on the greatness of God’s power from Ephesians 1:19–20 titled “The Greatness of His Power,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says this is a grave mistake. To do so tragically misunderstands the need for God’s power to believe. It misunderstands the consequences of sin and the power of the new birth. With its darkened mind, proud heart, and deadly prejudices against the gospel, humanity must experience regeneration if there is any chance of coming to faith in Christ. Do unregenerate people need God’s power? Given these theological truths, it is foolish to think otherwise. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones expands on this topic and explains the desperate need of God’s grace.
Power to us-ward Who Believe
Hardly anyone claiming the title “Christian” would deny the need for God’s power in salvation. There is, however, a fundamental difference between the person who says salvation is the power of God in addition to something they do, and those who say salvation is God’s power working in them and through them. The latter has roots in the apostolic testimony but the former does not. Neither is this a mere linguistic quibble, says Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, but one’s very assurance is at stake. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:19–23 titled “Power to Us-ward Who Believe,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones says Paul is not simply concerned with God’s power towards His people, but His power in them. This is ultimately the final grounds of the Christian’s assurance. When they consider all that glory entails, especially standing before a holy God and seeing Him face-to-face, how can they ever have confidence that they will be fit to stand? Given that the world, sin, and the devil are constantly at war against the Christian, how will they ever overcome? Dr. Lloyd-Jones shows how the apostle Paul’s prayer calls minds to the resurrection power of God in order to assure that glory will be attained by God’s saints. It is God and by His power alone Christians are made and not even death will keep them from glory.
His Power from Beginning to End
Does the Christian need God’s power just a little bit? Is it only God working as He is asked to work that sustains Christians? In this sermon on Ephesians 1:19 titled “His Power from Beginning to End,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones argues in this message that Christians would not stand a single hour if it wasn’t for the power of God. The Christian life is only sustained by the continuing working of God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones makes a compelling case from Scripture that this must be so. If one considers what they are up against in their daily life, they are forced to acknowledge that they are in desperate need for God’s power to work in them. The powers against the Christian – the world, the flesh, and the devil – are tremendous. It is only exceeded by God’s power. It is not enough to simply think one needs power against these forces. This would be difficult enough. There is also a call by God towards holiness and to keep the law of Christ. It is foolish to think Christians will attain perfection and glory on their own power or with little power from God. Rejoice while listening to this powerful sermon on the nature of God’s power working within His people.
The Church which is His Body
One of the most exalted ways the church is depicted in Scripture is through the metaphor of the body of Christ. Not only is it an exalted picture of the church, but the church as the body of Christ is one of the most intimate metaphors of the New Testament church. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:20–23 titled “The Church Which is His Body,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that the metaphor of the body of Christ demonstrates that the church is in union with Christ, Christ is the head or source of the church, and Christ fills His body with life. The understanding of the doctrine of the church would be severely restricted if this picture were not in the Scriptures. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines this metaphor in great detail and with great passion, preaching on this source of unity and holiness. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also challenges a popular view of sanctification which regards any working on the part of the believer as misguided. Listen as these themes are brought together in such a way as to challenge the members of Christ’s body to remember the great source of power as one mortifies sin and resists the devil.
The Final Consummation
Can a Christian ever err by focusing on the future glory too much? Is it possible to spend so much energy looking to the future that they underestimate the present power of Christ? In this sermon on Ephesians 1:19–23 titled “The Final Consummation,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones focuses on these questions. Some evangelical Christians are capable of forgetting the current rule of Christ. Forgetting that the Son of God is at the right hand of God, in honor and authority, can cause hearts to become anxious about their present conditions. The Christian can forget that God the Father has already handed over all authority over the entire cosmos and He is unfolding history. One must balance their anticipation of Christ’s visible rule with His current invisible reign. There also is great assurance for the church when one contemplates Christ’s current rule over the cosmos. They are reminded that the Father gave over all things to Christ for the church. Therefore, what is true of Christ now is true of His church now. There is no need to vie for a position of honor; the church has that through its union with Christ. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones brings together many important themes of Christian doctrine in order to encourage the saints.