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Sermon #5311

The Foolishness of God ...

A Sermon on Ezekiel 17:24


Ezekiel 17:24 ESV KJV
And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it.” (ESV)

Sermon Description

Christians can be like children who provide instructions to adults without true knowledge. Like the child, Christians do this by thinking about how God should do things. In this sermon on Ezekiel 17:24 titled “The Foolishness of God…,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones walks through the Bible to see that God’s ways are not humanity’s ways, so much so that they think God’s ways are foolish. Jesus’s own life was renounced as foolishness in His day, and continues to be rejected by humankind because it is seen as silliness. At the end of this message, listeners will ask themselves these questions: “what will happen to you after you die? Can you save yourself? What is the purpose of this life?” All of these questions demand an answer, and Dr. Lloyd-Jones points in the only direction where it can be found: in the will of God.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The passage from Ezekiel 17:24 emphasizes that salvation is God's work, not man's. God has brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree.
  2. Many people misunderstand Christianity and think it is man's effort to reach God. But the Bible shows that Christianity is the story of God seeking lost men.
  3. The Christian message is that God has acted in Christ to save men. We are called to believe and receive this message.
  4. God's way of saving men is unexpected and surprising. It overturns human thinking.
  5. The Jews rejected Jesus because He did not match their expectations of the Messiah. His birth, life, ministry, and death were not what people expected.
  6. Jesus spent His early life as a carpenter, not as a king or religious leader as expected. His ministry was also surprising, focusing on outcasts and sinners, not the religious elite.
  7. Jesus' death on the cross seemed like failure but was God's way of conquering sin and death. This is foolishness to human thinking but the wisdom of God.
  8. God brings down those who are self-satisfied and proud but exalts the humble and needy. He makes the "dry tree flourish" by giving new life.
  9. Christianity is not about human effort but receiving God's free gift in Christ. We can never earn forgiveness and new life but must receive it by faith.
  10. The Gospel message is the opposite of human thinking. It is God's way of salvation, not man's way of reaching God.
  11. We must glory only in Christ and what He has done, not in ourselves. This is the essence of Christianity.

Old Testament

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.