4But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Christians are citizens of heaven yet remain in the world. In this sermon on Ephesians 2:4 titled “But God…,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones shares that the two powerful words that make this a reality are “but God.” Without God’s action in this world, there would be no hope for the future. Life, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds, cannot be understood unless one views it in light of God. How can this done? He suggests that expository preaching teaches what God says in His word. To be lights in this world, Christians are not simply to strive to solve social issues and wars, but to remind people of the true and only hope: salvation in Christ Jesus. That hope is not to be placed in governments, people, programs or systems, but in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving work on the cross. In addition, Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches the importance of not simply preaching morality and its benefits. Christians are not to preach at people to be civil. They are to share the gospel and beg people to repent as only then will they change. Christians can look forward to going to their true home in heaven.
- The sermon begins by introducing the first two words in Ephesians 2:4, "But God". These two words contain the essence of the Christian gospel.
- The sermon connects these two words to the preceding verses, Ephesians 2:1-3, which describe man's sinful state. Man is spiritually dead, governed by the devil, lives according to worldly principles, and is under God's wrath.
- The sermon argues that the charge that the Christian message is irrelevant to life is unfounded. The Bible addresses the whole of human life. We must start with the truth about God, then apply it to life.
- The sermon outlines the biblical method: start with doctrine, end with application to life. Don't start with situations, end with them. Start by looking to God, not the world.
- The sermon applies this to the current world situation. The Bible explains why there are wars and man's inhumanity to man: man's sinful nature and lusts.
- While man's nature remains unchanged, the world will remain as it is. Optimism that we can solve the world's problems is misguided. Only God's grace can change human nature.
- The Christian message is not an appeal to patriotism, courage, heroism or self-sacrifice. These are pagan virtues, not specifically Christian.
- The Christian message is not just an appeal to follow Christian principles. Unregenerate man cannot follow the Sermon on the Mount. He needs new life from God.
- The Christian message to the world is that without Christ, the world is under God's judgment. The message to individuals is that they can be saved from this through Christ.
- God has put controls on human sin and evil, e.g. instituting government and law. But sometimes He relaxes these restraints to show us the horror of unbridled sin.
- Christians have become citizens of God's kingdom, not of this world. Their hopes and affections are set on the eternal, not the temporal.
- Christians are never surprised by what happens in the world. They expect sin and trouble because of the sinful human heart. They are prepared for anything.
- Christians have a power enabling them to conquer the world's evils. Their faith gives them victory, comfort and strength.
- Christians know they are ultimately safe in God's hands. Nothing can separate them from His love. A perfect world is coming where righteousness will dwell.
The Book of Ephesians
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.