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Sermon #5324

The Unproductive Age

A Sermon on Ezekiel 36:34-35


Ezekiel 36:34-35 ESV KJV
And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are …

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Sermon Description

Discover the benefits that come when one forfeits sins for the glory of God. Exceeding riches of God’s grace are found to be endless in Christ. In this sermon on Ezekiel 36:34–35 titled “The Unproductive Age, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses the sin that ruins humanity and defaces the image of God. Listen to the hope of the gospel in undoing these effects of sin. Sin wastes life; it is not just “negative,” it is devastating. Nothing in a person is left unaffected. Both in general and in particular, sin makes utterly useless that which was designed to be productive. This is an unproductive and barren age. History shows great productivity in ages of great faith. What is the condition of souls today? Look at sex, work, drinking, gambling, and beauty and see how happiness and pleasure become ends in themselves. Taken out of context and isolated from the glory of God, these become idols. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reveals the real and abhorrent nature of such sin. Sin always produces a crop of misery, shame, regret, and suffering. Nothing in sin enables the soul or increases anyone’s faculties. The Holy Spirit must break, smash, and convict.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Sin is utterly unproductive and leads to barrenness and a sterile condition.
  2. Sin never makes the right use of our faculties and never draws out our innate potential. It neglects the "soil of the soul."
  3. Sin isolates and exaggerates certain faculties like sex, happiness, and pleasure and makes them ends in themselves rather than means to an end. This leads to exhaustion and lack of productivity.
  4. Examples of unproductive sins include:
    • Sex: Isolated from context of replenishing the earth and made an end in itself. Leads to physical and spiritual barrenness.
    • Happiness: Made an end in itself rather than a byproduct of obedience. Leads to lack of purpose and productivity.
    • Drink: Depresses higher faculties and leads to paralysis, recklessness, and lack of judgment. Pharmacologically unproductive.
    • Gambling: Desire for wealth without work. Nonproductive and of no value to community.
  5. The effects of sin show in the "ugly appearance" and lack of cultivation of life. There is no "crop" to ennoble the soul or give purpose. Life becomes loud, ugly, and untidy.
  6. Not only does sin fail to produce a good "crop," but it produces a "crop of misery, shame, remorse, vain regrets, and suffering." It leads to confusion and dishonesty.
  7. Sin ultimately poisons and exhausts the faculties so they can no longer function properly. The "soil of the soul" becomes bitter and sterile.
  8. Thankfully, the gospel undoes the effects of sin. Christ's life, death, and resurrection applied by the Spirit clear the "weeds," drain the poison, restore the soil, plant the seed of new life, and enable a productive "crop."
  9. The results of the gospel include:
    • An ordered and tidy life.
    • Proper use of faculties and development of potential.
    • The fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
    • Comfort, sustenance, and a vision of eternity.
    • Continuous growth in grace and likeness to Christ.
  10. We must ask God to perform this transforming work in our lives to move from a barren wilderness to a fruitful garden.

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.