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Sermon #4091

Experimental Christianity

A Sermon on Ephesians 3:18-19


Ephesians 3:18-19 ESV KJV
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (ESV)

Sermon Description

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.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul prays in Ephesians 3:14-21 that Christians may know the love of Christ.
  2. There are varying degrees of closeness to Christ among Christians, ranging from those wholly devoted to Him to those barely within His influence.
  3. We must examine ourselves to see how close we are to Christ. Are we comprehending the breadth, length, depth and height of His love? Do we know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge?
  4. The men of the world think little of Christ because they do not look to Him. The true disciple looks only to Christ and learns to forget himself.
  5. There are many Christians who live far below their privileges as children of God and do not realize what they have in Christ.
  6. The reason many Christians do not experience perfect peace is that their souls are not yet able to take in the whole Christ.
  7. From the time Hewitson clearly saw Christ as his all in all, Christ became his present Savior and ever-living friend. His communion with Christ was like that of friend with friend.
  8. Blessed is the soul that is rarely in Christ. No soul should stop short of realizing and enjoying union with Christ.
  9. Many Christians regard the standard of rarely being out of Christ's presence as too high, showing their ignorance of their standing in Christ and what they have in Him.
  10. We must ask ourselves whether we measure up to the standard of Scripture and even the Old Testament, where the psalmist preferred one day in God's courts to a thousand elsewhere.
  11. The men of the world think little of Christ because they do not look at Him, being concerned only with themselves. The true disciple, looking only at Christ, sees nothing but Christ and forgets himself.
  12. There are many Christians in the various circles at different degrees of closeness to Christ, from those wholly devoted to Him to those barely within His influence.
  13. We must examine what circle we are in - are we pressing into the innermost circle to be close to Christ?
  14. The apostle prays this for all Christians, even the lowest slave, showing it is possible for all. But many live as paupers, not realizing their riches in Christ.
  15. Many discount this closeness to Christ as mysticism and say we should just hold the truth externally by faith, not seeking personal experience of Christ. But Scripture clearly teaches we can know Christ intimately.
  16. There is false mysticism involving unhealthy introspection and selfishness. But the opposite of false mysticism is not the absence of all mysticism but true mysticism - knowing Christ intimately, as taught in Scripture.
  17. Paul and John were mystics, with Paul saying "I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me" and John writing so we may have fellowship with the Father and Son and our joy may be full.
  18. Jesus said it was for our good that He left so the Spirit could come, showing we can know Him more intimately than when He was physically present. The disciples knew Jesus better after Pentecost than before.
  19. This closeness to Christ is not just for apostles but for all Christians. John wrote so all may have fellowship with the Father and Son, not just the apostles.
  20. Those who say seeking closeness to Christ leads to uselessness and inactivity are ignorant of Scripture and church history. The most active servants of Christ were those who knew His love best.
  21. Christ's love for the Father and the Father's love for Him drove all He did. Peter and Paul preached out of the necessity laid on them by Christ's love. Count Zinzendorf and George Whitefield were motivated by experiencing Christ's love.
  22. The church today emphasizes activity and busyness but often achieves little because the motivation is wrong. We should work because of Christ's love, not to fulfill expectations or earn diplomas. The greatest servants of God sought Christ's face and enjoyed His love, then accomplished more in an hour than others in a lifetime.
  23. We must ask ourselves which circle we are in - are we pressing into the closest circle to be near Christ? We should covet to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.

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.