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Sermon #4084

The Indwelling Christ

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

All Christians should seek to know and love God more. In this sermon on Ephesians 3:17 titled “The Indwelling Christ,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that part of this pursuit is what he refers to as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This indwelling should be thought of differently from the sealing of the Holy Spirit that all believers experience when they are saved and regenerated. This experience of the indwelling of Christ is one that comes when Christians seek to cultivate deep and abiding love for Christ and his word. It is not a one-time experience or action, but it should continue throughout the life of all believers. This relationship can be thought of as a mystical union whereby Christ and the believer are united in a special and mysterious way. This is an objective experience that is not simply emotional, but it is born out of a real knowledge of who Christ is and what He has done in His death. Dr. Lloyd-Jones cautions that this great truth should not promote feelings of spiritual superiority in believers, but it should strengthen all believers in their pursuit of Christ in this life. This is not a special experience reserved for the spiritual elite, but it is something that all Christians can experience by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul offers this prayer for believers, not unbelievers. Christians should not be satisfied with where they are in their faith.
  2. This prayer is offered for all Christians, not just exceptional ones. All believers should seek to have Christ dwell in their hearts.
  3. Having Christ dwell in your heart is different from being sealed by the Spirit. Being sealed by the Spirit provides assurance of salvation. Having Christ dwell in your heart provides deeper communion and fellowship with Christ.
  4. Having Christ dwell in your heart is a more permanent experience than being sealed by the Spirit. It emphasizes Christ settling down and taking up residence in your life.
  5. Having Christ dwell in your heart has less of an ecstatic element than being sealed by the Spirit. It is a deeper, more permanent experience that leads to greater intimacy with Christ.
  6. Knowing Christ for you (objectively) is different from knowing Christ in you (subjectively). Initially, the Christian life focuses on what Christ has done for us. This experience focuses on Christ as our life and the one who dwells within us.
  7. Christ dwelling within us is a mystical relationship that is beyond human understanding. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Christ also dwells within us in a mystical way.
  8. For Christ to dwell within us, we must be rid of self-love. We cannot create love on our own. Love is a gift from God through the Spirit.
  9. We need the Holy Spirit to strengthen our minds, hearts, and wills so that we can have this experience. Our natural abilities are not enough.
  10. As the Holy Spirit works within us, we will gain a deeper understanding of our sin and need for purification. We will prepare our hearts as we would prepare our home for an honored guest.
  11. We must pray in faith for Christ to dwell in our hearts, but true faith means Christ actually dwelling within us, not just persuading ourselves that he is there. When he is there, we will know it without a doubt.

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.