No Longer Strangers
A Sermon on Ephesians 2:19
19So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,
19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
In this sermon on Ephesians 2:19 titled “No Longer Strangers,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses the reality that Christians are citizens of the kingdom of God and “no longer strangers.” Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that the imagery used by Paul (“strangers” and “foreigners”) to describe the past tense for the Christian implies several things. Before salvation, they were around the people of God and may have even seemed to be a citizen of the kingdom, but in reality were not. Many, he concludes, are in the same predicament in the church. They are around the people of God but have no true understanding of the things of God. They may be able to have deep philosophical or theological conversations, but when true religious experience is discussed they feel awkward. Therefore, before one seeks to understand what it means to be a citizen, it is important to come to the understanding of one’s status as citizen or foreigner.
- The apostle Paul sums up his argument that Ephesian Gentiles and Christian Jews have become one body in Christ.
- Paul emphasizes two things: the great change necessary to become a Christian and the privilege of the Christian position.
- Paul wants the Ephesians to know the privilege of being a Christian.
- Paul implies three pictures: a state, a family, and a temple.
- Paul starts with a negative statement: "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners."
- Paul then gives a positive statement: "But fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
- The terms "strangers" and "foreigners" refer to those who live among a people not their own. They do not belong.
- The difference between Christians and non-Christians is clear and definite. We are either in Christ or outside Christ.
- It is vital to know whether we are Christians or not. This becomes especially important during times of testing and trial.
- There are those who seem to be part of the church but are really "strangers" and "foreigners." They do not truly belong.
- We can determine whether we are strangers or members of God's household through:
- General feeling: Do we feel at ease among God's people and in His house? Is our interest alive and real?
- Understanding: Do we understand the language and subjects of the Christian life? Or do we feel like outsiders listening in?
- Secrets: Do we share in the intimate, experimental side of the Christian life? Or only in theoretical discussions?
- Conformity: Do we honor God's laws and commandments? Or do we behave like foreigners, not understanding the customs of God's kingdom?
Birth certificate: Have we received the witness of the Spirit that we are God's children? Or are we living on a "passport" of superficial interest and behavior?
We should not be content without the assurance of the Spirit that we are truly God's children. We should earnestly seek this witness.
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.