MLJ Trust Logo Image
Sermon #4110

The Drama of Redemption

A Sermon on Ephesians 4:9-10


Ephesians 4:9-10 ESV KJV
(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) (ESV)

Sermon Description

In this sermon on Ephesians 4:9–10 titled “The Drama of Redemption,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses this difficult passage with the reference to Christ descending below. After mentioning various interpretations of this passage (Christ descending to hell after His death or going to Sheol), Dr. Lloyd-Jones comes to the conclusion that this speaks of Christ’s descent as His coming down to Earth as a man. He did this in order to die on the cross so that all who believed might be saved and come to a true and saving knowledge of God. But to die as a man He had to come down from heaven, be born as a baby, and live as a true human being. Christ did not simply appear to be a man, but the Son of God hid His glory by taking on a true human nature and dying a cruel death upon a cross. It is this sacrificial death that stands at the very heart of true Christianity. If Christ did not die as a man, then there is no salvation for anyone, and all are still in sin. But God’s word tells that Christ truly died so that all may have everlasting life with Him.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon examines Ephesians 4:9-10 which discusses Christ's ascension and descent.
  2. The phrase "lower parts of the earth" has been interpreted in various ways, including Christ's birth, death, and descent into hell.
  3. The sermon argues that "lower parts of the earth" refers to Christ coming down to earth, not descending into hell. This is supported by other biblical references contrasting heaven and earth.
  4. The sermon outlines the "drama of redemption" - how Christ descended to earth to conquer enemies holding humanity in bondage: sin, Satan, the law, and death.
  5. Christ lived a life of obedience and sacrifice, culminating in his death on the cross. Through his death and resurrection, Christ defeated these enemies.
  6. Having completed his work, Christ ascended into heaven. His ascension was a result of his victory over his enemies. He now has all power and authority.
  7. Though Christ is exalted in heaven, he retains his human nature. So in a sense, we are exalted and seated with him.
  8. Christ, as head of the church, gives gifts and graces to his people according to his will.

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.