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Sermon #4067

The Only Foundation

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

If a foundation is bad, the building will collapse. Therefore, one must ask, “What is the foundation of the church?” By the grace of God, the church has a stable foundation in the apostles and prophets, with Christ as the chief cornerstone. In this sermon on the foundation of the church from Ephesians 2:20–22 titled “The Only Foundation,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches on the nature and importance of that foundation. He argues that the church is a miracle. Paul argues that the unthinkable has happened: Jews and Gentiles are brought together in Christ. The foundation of the church is found in two statements: 1) “the apostle and prophets,” and 2) “Jesus Christ himself being the cornerstone” (verse 20). According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, the first is referring to the people themselves, but also the doctrines that they set forth. The second refers to Jesus and means that everything is held together by Him. Dr. Lloyd-Jones argues that nothing can be added to or taken away from that foundation and there can be no unity apart from this foundation. One cannot be a Christian if they deny the person and work of Christ. Therefore, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones challenges the listener to question what they believe about Jesus, if they know Him, and if they are in Him.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul uses the metaphor of a temple to describe the church. The church is a holy temple in which God dwells.
  2. There are two principles to keep in mind: the unity of the church and the privilege of our position.
  3. The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. We must understand what an apostle and prophet are to understand this foundation.
  4. An apostle is one who has seen the risen Lord, is commissioned by Christ to preach the gospel, and has been given authority to work miracles.
  5. A prophet is one who receives direct revelation from God and speaks this message to others. The apostle refers to both Old Testament and New Testament prophets.
  6. The church is founded upon the apostles and prophets themselves as believers and their teaching. Their teaching is the gospel message about Christ.
  7. There can be no repetition of apostles and prophets. There is no such thing as apostolic succession. Only faith in the truth brings one into the church.
  8. There can be no addition or subtraction from the foundation of the apostles' teaching. We cannot add or take away from the gospel.
  9. It is not enough to call ourselves Christians. We must know and believe the truth of the gospel.
  10. The unity of the church depends on purity of doctrine and life. The church is a habitation of God.
  11. Jesus Christ himself is the chief cornerstone. He holds the foundation stones and walls of the church together. Everything depends on and is supported by Christ.
  12. There is no unity apart from Christ. Our relationship to Christ is what matters.

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.