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Sermon #4196

Schism in the Church (1)

A Sermon on Division in the Church from Ephesians 6:10-13


Ephesians 6:10-13 ESV 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

The unity of the church is undoubtedly one of the most important things for all Christians to seek. But what is unity? In this sermon on division in the church from Ephesians 6:10–13, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones seeks to answer this without falling into extremes. On the one hand, the ecumenist says that unity is about all Christians belonging to one worldwide church and that doctrine must be minimized so that division is not caused. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that this is an imbalanced and unbiblical position as it does not have a high enough view of doctrine and truth in the life of the Christian and church. The other imbalance that must be avoided is that of the schismatic who divides the church not over the essential truths of the faith, but over things such as carnal desires and inclinations. This is seen when Paul rebukes the Corinthians for dividing over who to follow, Paul or Apollos. This is division for the wrong reason. Dr. Lloyd-Jones goes on to condemn those that cause division because of what he calls an attitude of “bigotry.” This is the person who holds so tightly to their preferences that division and disharmony occur in the church.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Schism means division without an adequate cause or division for inadequate reasons.
  2. Schism is condemned in the New Testament as much as heresy or apostasy.
  3. John 17:21 is often misinterpreted to mean unity at all costs. But Jesus was actually praying that his followers who agreed on doctrine would not separate for inadequate reasons.
  4. Ephesians 4:1-6 also warns against schism, not promoting loose unity. Paul wanted believers who agreed on doctrine to preserve their unity.
  5. It is wrong to divide over personalities, carnality, desire for preeminence, social status, gifts, understanding, rites, ceremonies, or bigotry.
  6. Dividing over personalities was happening in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. Some followed Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or Christ, though they agreed on doctrine.
  7. Dividing over carnality happened with Paul and Barnabas separating over John Mark in Acts 15:36-41. Barnabas wanted to give his nephew another chance, but Paul thought it unwise.
  8. Diotrephes caused division over desire for preeminence in 3 John 9.
  9. Divisions over social status and the Lord's Supper happened in 1 Corinthians 11:17-22. The rich ate and drank too much while others had little.
  10. Divisions over spiritual gifts and knowledge happened in 1 Corinthians 8 and 12. They were proud of gifts and knowledge, not seeing their unity in Christ.
  11. The Colossian heresy also brought division over esoteric knowledge and experiences.
  12. Bigotry is holding beliefs in an obstinate, unreasoning manner, often from fear. Bigots divide over issues that do not warrant division.

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.