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Sermon #4073

Suffering - as Christ's Prisoner

A Sermon on Ephesians 3:1


Ephesians 3:1 ESV KJV
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— (ESV)

Sermon Description

Is there something worth giving up one’s life for? In this sermon on Ephesians 3:1 titled “Suffering as Christ’s Prisoner,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones contends with Paul that Jesus is worth it. Paul was concerned because he knew his suffering would trouble the Ephesians because suffering is confusing. However, he also gives the Ephesians the principles by which to process his suffering and theirs. According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, Paul examined his situation in light of the gospel, Jesus, and his salvation, and came to several pivotal conclusions. First, suffering is worth rejoicing in. He knows that he is following in the footsteps of Christ. Paul states that he is “Christ’s prisoner,” implying that he is suffering on behalf of Jesus. He was there because he preached the gospel and specifically he preached it to the Gentiles. Paul also argues that his suffering should be an encouragement to the Ephesians (verse 13). Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that Paul said this because he knew that his suffering would encourage them as to the truthfulness of the gospel.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul was not complaining about his imprisonment. He did not have a stoic attitude either. Rather, he had an attitude of rejoicing and exultation.
  2. Paul saw his imprisonment as a privilege and an honor. He was suffering for Christ and the gospel. His suffering was proof of his calling and discipleship.
  3. Paul's suffering allowed him to fill up what was lacking in Christ's afflictions. He was able to follow in Christ's footsteps.
  4. Paul was imprisoned specifically for preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. He was suffering on behalf of the Gentiles so they could have liberty in Christ.
  5. Paul's suffering should strengthen the Ephesians' faith. It showed how certain Paul was of the truth that Jews and Gentiles were one in Christ.
  6. Paul's suffering set an example for how Christians should face suffering. Reading about the deaths of martyrs strengthens faith.
  7. If viewed properly, Paul's imprisonment would give the Ephesians insight into the glory of the Christian life. The Christian life was so glorious to Paul that it was more precious than liberty or life itself.

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.