MLJ Trust Logo Image
Sermon #4205

Faith and Experience

A Sermon on Ephesians 6:10-13


Ephesians 6:10-13 ESV KJV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against …

Read more

Sermon Description

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.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The devil's most potent instrument is ignorance. If people don't believe in the devil, they are already defeated. If they are ignorant of his devices, they will inevitably be defeated.
  2. The place of experience in the Christian life. Some put the entire emphasis on experience. Nothing matters but experience to them. They are not interested in truth or definitions. They say the only thing that matters is that a man can say "Whereas I was once blind, now I see." They are always talking about experiences and telling others the same thing can happen to them.
  3. The opposite extreme is those not interested in experience at all. To them, emphasis on experience is almost despised. They say, "What do they know about the truth? Nothing matters but the truth." But though they talk much about the truth, they have never felt its power. They have a form of godliness but deny its power. The truth has never changed their lives or made a vital difference to them.
  4. The truth is to be experienced. The object of religion is to bring us to a knowledge of God. God is a person to be known, not an abstraction or philosophical postulate.
  5. The place of feelings. Some live entirely on their feelings. Nothing matters but feeling to them. If they haven't felt or wept, nothing has happened. This can take the form of excitement, almost hysteria. They feel they have nothing unless carried away.
  6. The opposite extreme despises feelings. They say feelings don't matter, only believing the truth. But the whole man - mind, heart, and will - is to be involved in the Christian faith. If the heart is not engaged, something is wrong. The truth is to be felt, not just intellectually appreciated.
  7. The difference between emotionalism, sentimentalism, and true emotion. Emotionalism is worked up, artificially produced, lacks understanding, is characterized by excitement and excess, leaves one exhausted, and does not affect life. Sentimentalism is polite emotionalism, tickles the emotions, depends on presentation not truth, is superficial, and does not really affect life. True emotion is not artificial, results from understanding truth, is deep, noble, energizing, and leads to action.

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.