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Sermon #5712

The Permissive Society



Sermon Description

Every human society is filled with sin, but not every society has necessarily given themselves over to permissiveness. In this sermon titled “The Permissive Society,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones confesses his own weariness while preaching on the subject of permissiveness as the world around him has devolved into a permissive society. Given the human condition, sin is natural. The person who sins feels wrong and apologetic about it, but he still does it. On the contrary, permissiveness is unnatural. The permissive society delights in what is contrary to nature, and exalts in doing what is wrong. The preacher laments the modern view of humanity: it is nothing but an animal controlled by impulses and desires. People are concerned about problems in the world, but oblivious to the problems in their own heart. Dr. Lloyd-Jones delivers a brief history of permissiveness in society and demonstrates that today’s culture is nothing new. The great tragedy, he explains, is not learning from the past. The Christian is not one who has given themselves to sin, but is a new creation. Desires and impulses do not govern them, but they govern their desires. Be encouraged, as Christ is put on display and a changed life is manifested in the believer.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The permissive society is not merely wrong conduct or sin but a deliberate flouting of laws and moral standards. It is abnormal and unnatural.
  2. The permissive society has been promoted by a small number of intellectuals, journalists, and psychologists. Religious influence has declined, allowing these ideas to spread.
  3. The permissive society has serious consequences, including unhappiness, family breakdown, and societal problems. It leads to lawlessness and threatens social order.
  4. Permissiveness is not new. There have been similar periods of moral decline and permissiveness in history, including ancient Rome and 18th-century Britain. We can learn from how these were addressed.
  5. The root issue is how we view human nature. The permissive view sees humans as animals driven by instinct, while the Christian view sees humans as made in God's image with reason and free will.
  6. To address permissiveness, we must reassert moral standards through law and policy. But Christianity also offers hope through the gospel, which says humans can be transformed and gain self-control through faith in Christ.
  7. The Christian message brought positive change in corrupt, permissive ancient Corinth. Christianity has revived societies in the past and can do so again today.

Itinerant Preaching

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.