MLJ Trust Logo Image
Sermon #4069

The Growth of the Church

A Sermon on Ephesians 2:20-22


Ephesians 2:20-22 ESV KJV
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (ESV)

Sermon Description

According to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, every Christian is a part of “something more”—the church. This church is described as a “temple” in Ephesians 2:21. In this sermon on Ephesians 2:20–22 titled “The Growth of the Church,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones dives deeper into this illustration given by Paul and helps the Christian understand the privilege and responsibility that comes with being a part of the church. He notes that in temple construction the stones would be hewn before they were brought to the temple structure and from this he draws several principles. One, there is work done by the Holy Spirit prior to entrance to the church—the Holy Spirit saves the soul. Each Christian has been fashioned spiritually by God and in a way that won’t make sense to the watching world. According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, this is not because Christianity is irrational but because it is supra-rational. Also, the church is not simply a group of stones thrown together but a group of stones fashioned together by the builder. The church consists of believers and Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that God is not interested in a big church, but a holy church. He’s not interested in how many are on the church rolls, but how many “believe right doctrine and live accordingly.”

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon begins by introducing Ephesians 2:20-22 which describes the church as a building built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ as the cornerstone.
  2. The sermon then provides an overview of the three pictures Paul uses to describe the Christian church in Ephesians: citizens of God's kingdom, members of God's family, and stones in God's temple. The sermon focuses on the third picture of the church as a temple.
  3. The sermon examines the foundation of the church in more detail. The foundation consists of the apostles, prophets, and Christ as the cornerstone. As stones in the building, Christians are related to the foundation, to Christ, to the truth, and to one another.
  4. The sermon then discusses how stones must be prepared before being placed in the building. This preparation happens through the secret work of the Holy Spirit in a person's soul before they become part of the church. The world does not understand this preparation.
  5. The sermon emphasizes that this preparation must happen before a person can truly become part of the church. People do not join the church to become Christians; they join because they are already Christians. The church consists only of believers, not a mixed group of believers and unbelievers.
  6. The sermon warns against focusing on the size and numbers of the church. God is concerned with purity and holiness, not numbers. Revivals have always started with a faithful few, not large numbers. The greatest problem of the church is that it is too big, consisting of a "mixed multitude."
  7. The sermon's final point is that there should be no noise or debate over fundamental doctrines in the church. The doctrines should be settled before people join the church. The church should be a place of unity, not argument. Doctrine unites; lack of doctrine divides. The church should build according to the pattern shown in Scripture.

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.