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Sermon #4129

When Not to Pray; but to Act

A Sermon on Ephesians 4:22-24


Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV KJV
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (ESV)

Sermon Description

It’s a fact of the Christian life that Christians will always fight sin and temptation. In this sermon on Ephesians 4:22–24 titled “When Not to Pray But to Act,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones highlights this spiritual battle as Christians put off the old self and all its ways. Christ commands fleeing sin and the devil and to pursue a life that is consistent with being children of God, benefactors of Christ and His work. This putting off of the old self and pursuit of Christ is not something that Christians do passively but are commanded to do actively. Simply praying about sanctification, but never acting in pursuit of holiness is not enough and does not take account of the many commands that God’s word gives. Nor do they see that Christians are able to flee temptation and sin. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues, all Christians are called and able to obey God, growing in sanctification. For in the power of the Spirit all Christians are to fight against the old self. They are to wage war against all ungodliness and worldliness that still dwells in them. This is done by consistently seeking to put off the flesh and put on the spirit of righteousness. God who has called His people to salvation also calls them to pursue holiness and sanctification.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Putting off the old man is not something to be prayed about. It is something we must do.
  2. Putting off the old man is not an experience that happens to us. It is something we must actively do.
  3. We have the power as Christians to put off the old man. God never commands us to do something without giving us the ability to do it.
  4. We must remind ourselves of who we are in Christ. We are new creations, the old has gone, the new has come.
  5. We must remind ourselves of the corrupt nature of the old man.
  6. We must recognize the inconsistency of claiming to be Christian but continuing to live like the old man. Our lives should match our profession of faith.
  7. We must have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Do not entertain sin or make provision for the flesh.
  8. If we are doubtful about something, it is best to avoid it. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
  9. We must make no provision for the flesh. Do not put yourself in compromising situations or around people/things that tempt you.
  10. We must mortify the deeds of the flesh. Starve sin by not feeding it or exercising it.
  11. We must keep our body under subjection like a boxer. Actively fight against sin and temptation.

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.