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Sermon #4083

Christ in the Heart

A Sermon on Ephesians 3:17


Ephesians 3:17 ESV KJV
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (ESV)

Sermon Description

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.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon examines Ephesians 3:17 - "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith."
  2. The sermon first establishes the context of the verse. It is part of Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, who are already believers.
  3. The sermon focuses on the meaning of the word "dwell" which means to settle down and be at home. This suggests an intimate, permanent presence of Christ.
  4. The sermon compares this verse to Revelation 3:20, addressed to the church of Laodicea. Although they are believers, Christ is standing outside and knocking, wanting to come in and have intimate fellowship.
  5. The sermon emphasizes that this indwelling of Christ is not the same as conversion or justification. It goes beyond that to a deep, intimate knowledge of Christ.
  6. The sermon highlights that "heart" refers to the center of one's being - the mind, will, and affections. Paul is praying that Christ may dwell in the center of their lives.
  7. The sermon asks whether we truly know Christ personally, as Paul did. Do we have a conscious fellowship and enjoyment of Him?
  8. The sermon says that when Christ dwells in our hearts, He controls everything. We can say as Paul did "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."
  9. The sermon explains that this indwelling is not just Christ's influence, but His actual presence in us, as mysterious as that is.
  10. The sermon shows that this is received by faith - faith reveals it as a possibility, believes it is a reality, and claims it personally. Faith leads to prayer for this intimate knowledge of Christ.
  11. The sermon concludes by encouraging us to pray for this, that Christ may manifest Himself to us and dwell in our hearts.

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.