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Sermon #4050

Jew and Gentile

A Sermon on Ephesians 2:11


Ephesians 2:11 ESV KJV
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— (ESV)

Sermon Description

Political debates, class warfare, as well as ethnic and religious conflict, seem to dominate the media’s attention. What could an ancient text like Paul’s letter to the Ephesians say to such matters, especially for the people of God? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones walks through an ancient conflict of Jew and Gentile which mirrors all conflicts, both past and present. While unregenerate people will certainly reject Paul’s diagnosis of divisions and strife between nations, classes, and the sexes, the Christian church cannot. In adhering to the apostolic message, the church will not only be in a position to accurately diagnosis the problem, but by the grace of God, it will see the gospel transform prideful and selfish hearts. This is the key to true reconciliation and unity between all people, Jew or Gentile. Listen as Lloyd-Jones diagnoses the cause of divisions that continue to haunt the human race, and consider the vanity with which the world seeks to remove strife and conflict without considering the condition of the human heart. He speaks to how the gospel alone is the cure to the chaos surrounding our world.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul wants the Ephesians to understand the greatness of God's power in enabling them to become Christians.
  2. To help them understand this, Paul reminds them of their former condition - they were Gentiles, uncircumcised, separated from Christ and the covenants of promise, without hope and without God.
  3. Paul focuses on Ephesians 2:11 and reminds them that they were formerly "Gentiles in the flesh" - literally uncircumcised.
  4. However, the Jews had exaggerated the importance of circumcision and used it to create divisions, calling themselves "the circumcision" and calling Gentiles "the uncircumcision".
  5. Paul says the Jews were focused on outward circumcision of the flesh, rather than the inward circumcision of the heart. They misunderstood the purpose of circumcision and turned it into a barrier between themselves and Gentiles.
  6. The division between Jews and Gentiles seemed impossible to overcome, but God overcame it through the power of the gospel, bringing both groups together in Christ.
  7. Paul's message is that true unity can only come through Christ - through people being reconciled to God and to one another in Christ. Mere human efforts at unity and reconciliation will not work.
  8. The root causes of division are: (1) Pride and prejudice, which blind us to other perspectives and cause us to exaggerate our own goodness and diminish others; (2) A focus on outward forms and human traditions rather than spiritual realities.
  9. Christ overcomes these barriers by humbling us, showing us the truth about ourselves and others, showing us our common need for grace, and uniting us in worship of Himself. Loyalty to Christ replaces loyalty to self, group or nation.

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.