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Sermon #5265

This Modern Condition

A Sermon on Materialism from Isaiah 5:8-10


Isaiah 5:8-10 ESV KJV
Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land. The LORD of hosts has sworn in my hearing: “Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful …

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Sermon Description

Materialism is a trap so subtle that most probably do not even realize they are bound to it. It calls from every crevice of the culture and seeks to measure life by this world, its focus entirely on the here-and-now and what can be gained, from riches, to popularity, to belongings. In this sermon on Isaiah 5:8–10 titled “This Modern Condition,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches a warning against this trap, reminding of the dangers of living in a mindset enraptured by this temporary world. Every second Christians spend longing for the world is a second they are not gazing on the goodness of their God. What are some things he urges the listener to note? First, materialism’s smallness—it takes all of life and measures it by what someone has. Second, it is selfish—the logical outcome of this worldview is for a person to think entirely of themselves and their existence here and how they can progress. What causes materialism? Ultimately, that God is not in a person’s thoughts. Naturally, when people cease thinking eternally, they begin to focus on this world more. Scripture issues several warnings against this, and God has acted on these warnings throughout history. Dr. Lloyd-Jones exhorts the listener to care for their souls and to not put off addressing spiritual things. After all, what advantage is it to someone if they gain all this world has and yet loses their soul in the end?

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The prophet Isaiah delivers a message of warning to the nation of Israel.
  2. God pronounces woe upon those who accumulate houses and land greedily.
  3. Materialism and worldliness were prevalent sins in Israel during Isaiah's time.
  4. The characteristics of materialism include:
  5. Smallness: Life is reduced to possessions.
  6. Debasement: Life revolves around status symbols and goods.
  7. Greed: There is an insatiable desire for more houses, land, and possessions.
  8. Selfishness: There is no concern for others, only the accumulation of wealth for oneself.
  9. The root cause of materialism is forgetting God. Man sees himself as autonomous and the center of life.
  10. God will punish materialism. He will turn the houses and lands of the greedy into desolation.
  11. Examples of God's punishment of materialism and greed include:
  12. The flood in Noah's day
  13. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
  14. The demise of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel
  15. The fall of great empires like Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, and Rome
  16. Materialism is evident in the modern world. There is a lack of interest in spiritual things and an obsession with possessions, status, and selfish pleasure.
  17. God's message to the modern world is the same as in Isaiah's day: Repent and turn to God or face desolation and judgment.
  18. The only hope is to seek first the kingdom of God. We must lay up treasures in heaven rather than on earth.
  19. Jesus came to purchase an eternal inheritance for believers that can never be corrupted or fade away.

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.