A Degenerate Vine
A Sermon on Jeremiah 2:20-22
20¶“For long ago I broke your yoke
And tore off your restraints;
But you said, ‘I will not serve!’
For on every high hill
And under every leafy tree
You have lain down as a prostitute.
21“Yet I planted you as a choice vine,
A completely faithful seed. …
20¶ For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. 21Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: …
What do the people of Israel have to teach? Because all things in holy Scripture are for humanity’s benefit, Christians can learn much about the nature of humanity and themselves by looking at the ancient people of God. In this sermon on Jeremiah 2:20–22 titled “A Degenerate Vine,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones tells that according to the Bible, humanity is polluted by sin. Every desire and inclination are brought under the twisted subjugation of their sinful nature. In a fallen state, humans are not able to pursue the good and upright. They are not able to live lives of love and justice. Many try to escape their own sin by looking to works of righteousness. They think that if they try hard enough, they can erase their sin and earn God’s favor, but this is a hopeless task. What then is the hope? The answer is found not in what people can do, but in what God has done. God has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die upon the cross and to shed His blood so that sinners can be saved. All who believe in Jesus are forgiven of their sins, adopted as children of God, and made truly righteous. There is nothing left for anyone to do but repent of their sin and believe.
- The prophet Jeremiah is addressing the nation of Israel on behalf of God.
- God's message to Israel is that they must turn back to Him or face destruction.
- Israel's troubles are due to their turning away from God, the one true cause of their problems.
- God has sent many prophets to warn Israel, but they continue to refuse to listen.
- We are studying this passage to understand why people today also refuse to turn to God.
- The root issue is that people do not understand their own helplessness in the face of sin.
- People do not grasp the power of sin, thinking that they can overcome it through willpower and good intentions. But they continue to fail and sin again.
- People do not recognize the pollution of sin in their own hearts. There is an inward tendency towards sin that causes moral degeneration.
- The pollution of sin is not due to environment or lack of opportunity but is within human nature itself.
- People do not realize their guilt before God and think they can make themselves clean through good works. But God sees the heart, and all are guilty before Him.
- Only the blood of Christ can cleanse from the guilt and power of sin. People must turn to Him in repentance and faith.
- The madness of refusing God's offer of salvation in Christ is incomprehensible.
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.