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Sermon #4202

Philosophy and Vain Deceit

A Sermon on Ephesians 6:10-13

Scripture

Ephesians 6:10-13 ESV NASB 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 …

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Sermon Description

Why is philosophy and worldly thinking such a danger to Christianity? In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Philosophy and Vain Deceit,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines the relationship between biblical revelation and philosophy. The apostle Paul was aware of the temptation to substitute divine revelation for worldly thinking. This is to subordinate God’s wisdom to the vain teaching of the world, according Dr. Lloyd-Jones. This is a great threat to the church in all times and places, but especially in the modern world where science is given such a high place of authority. Many are willing to reinterpret the Bible in light of what Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones refers to as “mere theories.” Christians are called to stand on the word of God in all areas of life. Scripture is to be the ultimate and final authority in all matters of life, faith, and philosophy. The gospel calls Christians to believe in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ, even when they do not understand Him. It is a call to rest in the knowledge of who God is, even when they do not fully grasp everything there is to know about God. This sermon is an invitation to trust in God for all blessings and happiness in this life.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon focuses on Ephesians 6:10-13 and the phrase "wiles of the devil". The preacher notes that the "wiles of the devil" manifest in two main ways: general activities of the devil and personal attacks on Christians.

  2. The preacher classifies the personal attacks of the devil into three categories: attacks on the mind, attacks on experience, and attacks on practical daily life. The sermon focuses on attacks on the mind.

  3. The first attack on the mind is "philosophy and vain deceit" (Colossians 2:8). Philosophy represents a confidence in human reasoning and man's ability to arrive at truth. This is contrary to the Bible which says that revelation from God is the ultimate authority.

  4. The desire to understand and explain is another manifestation of "philosophy and vain deceit". The natural mind always wants to understand everything but we must accept that there are secret things that belong to God alone. We must be content with what God has revealed.

  5. There is a danger that the devil will persuade us that our knowledge from Scripture needs to be supplemented. But we must hold fast to the truth that has been revealed and avoid "profane and vain babblings" (1 Timothy 6:20-21).

  6. Mysticism is another danger, promising immediate knowledge of God through concentrating on oneself. But there is no knowledge of God apart from Jesus Christ and Scripture.

  7. The church went wrong when it became afraid of being a "fool for Christ's sake" and wanted to appear intellectually respectable. But the gospel does not need to be supplemented by philosophy or science. Scripture is sufficient.

  8. We must reject anything that offers itself as a supplement to Scripture. Scripture is complete and up to date. We must shut our eyes to philosophy and vain deceit.

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.