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Sermon #4120

Practice Rooted in Doctrine

A Sermon on Ephesians 4:17


Ephesians 4:17 ESV
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. (ESV)

Sermon Description

Can an unbeliever apply the Scripture? Certainly there are general moral principles that someone could attempt, but in this sermon on Ephesians 4:17 titled “Practice Rooted in Doctrine,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that Christians must follow the example of Paul and never present the application of Scripture as mere morality disconnected from the salvation required to implement it. When morality that is not grounded in the doctrine and narrative of Scripture is preached, only abstract laws and regulations have been offered. This leads to legalism and self-righteousness because people reduce Christianity to a mere list of actions. This, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is a broad road that leads to destruction. The proper way to teach the Bible is to ground all application in the doctrine of transformation taught in the Scripture. This is to place morality in the context of who God is and what he has done in Christ Jesus on the cross for salvation. It is to see the Christian life not in terms of what is done first and foremost, but in terms of what God has done. Sanctification flows from this right understanding of the doctrine of salvation by showing the place of works in light of God’s gracious gift of salvation. For all that trust in God and in His Son Christ Jesus have been made a new people that are to seek holiness and a true knowledge of God.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul never leaves anything to chance. He carefully applies the teachings he lays out.
  2. The Christian life is not meant to be lived in a detached manner. Our lives inside and outside the church should be interrelated.
  3. Doctrine and practice are constantly linked. Our conduct should arise from and be dictated by our doctrine.
  4. The Christian life is not meant to be a code imposed on us without understanding. We should understand why we do or don't do things.
  5. Failure in the Christian life stems from a failure to understand doctrine.
  6. It is fatal to ignore doctrine and focus only on being "practical." Conduct is determined by doctrine.
  7. We should not make direct appeals to the will without teaching doctrine. We must teach people to understand doctrine.
  8. Sanctification teachings that bypass doctrine are false. We must understand doctrine and apply it.
  9. Our concern should not just be to be good or get rid of sins. It should be to function as members of the body of Christ.
  10. We should live to show God's glory and point people to Christ, not to glorify ourselves.

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.