MLJ Trust Logo Image
Sermon #4097

Practical Application of Doctrine

A Sermon on Ephesians 4:1


Ephesians 4:1 ESV KJV
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, (ESV)

Sermon Description

There are often two types of people within Christianity. There are those who focus primarily on intellect and right doctrine and they forget about right living. And there are those who focus primarily on mystical experiences concerning God and they forget about right doctrine. In this sermon on Ephesians 4:1 titled “Practical Application of Doctrine,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones introduces the second half of Ephesians by giving a clear connection between both right doctrine and right living. Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges the listener to read the Bible rightly within its context because it is the doctrine and the truths of Scripture that should inform their living. These two truths should not be separated; rather they are connected in a way that motivates sanctification. Learning doctrine and experiencing the blessings of God is not sanctification, but instead they stimulate sanctification just as the sun and the rain stimulates the growth of a plant. Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges the listener by asking if they truly believe the glorious truths covered in the previous three chapters of Ephesians. If they do, then the logical conclusion is that they must act upon those truths with the practical application that Paul gives in the last three chapters. Be encouraged by this exhortation to work out salvation by both learning right doctrine and living obediently to the word of God.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon is based on Ephesians 4:1-3 which introduces a new section focused on practical application.
  2. The first three chapters of Ephesians focused on doctrine, now Paul moves to application.
  3. However, Paul goes back to doctrine in verse 4 showing doctrine and application cannot be separated.
  4. Paul was determined to move to application but his love of doctrine caused him to discuss it again.
  5. The sermon is the 100th in a series on Ephesians showing the depth of the book.
  6. Ephesians has two sections: chapters 1-3 doctrine and chapters 4-6 application.
  7. Some may see chapters 4-6 as an anticlimax after chapter 3 but we must not stop at doctrine.
  8. Like Peter wanting to stay on the mount of transfiguration we want to remain in exalted spiritual experiences but must return to application.
  9. The word “therefore” in verse 1 shows the link between doctrine and application; we must not separate them.
  10. “Therefore” shows how to read Scripture: we must read all of it, not picking and choosing our favorite parts.
  11. Extracting verses from their context is dangerous and has led to heresy. We must consider context.
  12. “Therefore” points us to the life we should live based on the doctrine we know. We must not stop at doctrine or experience but live out truth.
  13. Christianity is a way of life not just a set of doctrines or experiences. We must not stop at either but apply truth.
  14. The danger is focusing only on doctrine, experience, or application. We need all three: understand, experience, and live out truth.
  15. “Therefore” introduces the doctrine of sanctification: living out salvation based on doctrinal truth and spiritual experiences.

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.