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Sermon #4085

The Heart Prepared

A Sermon on Ephesians 3:17


Ephesians 3:17 ESV KJV
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (ESV)

Sermon Description

When Scripture speaks of believers being indwelt by Christ Jesus, it is referring to a real experience, not simply an emotional reaction. In this sermon on Ephesians 3:17 titled “The Heart Prepared,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones brings this foundational truth to bear because it is something all believers should experience as they grow in maturity, faith, and understanding of Christ. There is no special indwelling only for ministers and preachers, but this is something all Christians can and should experience. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that this is not an experience of faith, as opposed to true and tangible experience. He looks to many ordinary saints throughout the many centuries of the church as testament to this truth. We see men and women who had a real, life-altering experiences of this indwelling. However, like all aspects of the Christian life, it is not something humans do apart from the grace and power of God. For it starts with salvation and conversion, and is a part of the ongoing work of sanctification in the lives of believers. This great truth should encourage all Christians to seek growth in Christ and to come to know Him more and more as they live in faith and love.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul offers this prayer for all members of the Ephesian church, not just certain people.
  2. This passage shows the greatest thing that can confront a human being and the possibilities for a Christian in this life.
  3. To know if Christ dwells in us and how to enjoy this privilege, we must understand how to arrive at this position.
  4. The testimony of Charles Wesley shows what it's like to have Christ dwell in the heart. Christ was his all in all, his everything in every circumstance.
  5. This relationship with Christ is experiential, not just theoretical knowledge held in the mind. Wesley found complete satisfaction in Christ.
  6. This experience of Christ dwelling in the heart is essential Christianity and what we are offered. We must manifest this in our lives to attract others to faith.
  7. The question is whether this is our experience, if Christ is like that to us. If not, we are poor Christians.
  8. The apostle says Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith, but faith does not mean "take it by faith" or auto-suggestion. We deal with a person, not an influence.
  9. Wesley's hymn shows he experienced Christ, he didn't persuade himself with no feelings. We see Christ dwelling in the heart throughout church history.
  10. This experience is not simple or just "letting up the blinds." Many who knew Christ dwelling in their heart did not find it simple but sought Him desperately.
  11. We must see this possibility and be persuaded it can be for us, not just exceptional people. It is for every Christian, no matter how ordinary. It depends on Christ, not us.
  12. Hebrews 11 shows faith is active, not passive. We must see, be persuaded of, embrace, and confess the promises of Christ dwelling in our hearts.
  13. We must recognize, be arrested by, and desire this teaching. We must hunger and thirst for righteousness to embrace the promise.
  14. We must keep this constantly in our minds, read Scripture and the experiences of saints, remind ourselves of Christ's personal relationship with us, and ask if He is real to us.
  15. Certain things are incompatible with Christ in our hearts and must go: sin, worldliness, self. We must cleanse ourselves from these.
  16. We must deny ourselves, crucify the flesh, and follow Christ. He will not dwell in our hearts until we do.
  17. We must realize our dependence on Christ and pray for His strength and mercy to prepare our hearts for Him.
  18. We will face discouragement and difficulties, but must persevere. Christ will manifest Himself to those who come to Him.

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.