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Sermon #5306


A Sermon on Backsliding from Jeremiah 31:21


Jeremiah 31:21 ESV KJV
“Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went. Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities. (ESV)

Sermon Description

Christians who are unhappy may feel as though they are not receiving the Lord’s blessing as they once had. Jeremiah was a prophet to the people of Israel who were unhappy in their captivity in Babylon. In this sermon on backsliding from Jeremiah 31:21 titled “Wandering from the Highway,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones introduces his audience to the concept of “backsliding” from the Bible, and how the Christian can find his or her way back to blessing. Dr. Lloyd-Jones maintains that God chastises His people and gives them reliable instruction in order to drive them back to Himself. Dr. Lloyd-Jones discusses repentance, the first great essential, and the various marks of true repentance: realizing one has sinned; realizing the folly of struggling against God; realizing the depth of the sin nature; and casting themselves utterly into the hands of God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones charges his listeners to repent and set their hearts toward the highway. There is only one highway: it is spacious and it leads to God. They are challenged to seek God along the highway and look back so as to learn by self-examination where they went wrong.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The prophet Jeremiah is addressing the Israelites during their captivity in Babylon. He is giving them a message of hope and encouragement.
  2. Jeremiah is speaking to those who are unhappy in their spiritual life and relationship with God. He wants to show them the way back to God's blessing and joy.
  3. The cause of their unhappiness and lack of blessing is their backsliding and wandering from God's way. They have failed to live as they know they should.
  4. When God's people sin and depart from Him, He chastises them. He also instructs them through His word and prophets.
  5. The way back to God's blessing involves several steps:
  6. Repentance: Realizing your sin, its folly and depth. Ceasing to struggle against God. Casting yourself on Him.
  7. Turning again to seek the highway: Setting your heart on God's way. Following Christ's example. Walking in holiness.
  8. Examining how you went wrong. Putting up waymarks and landmarks to guide you back: Bible reading, prayer, meditation, fellowship, etc.
  9. Doing a thorough work of repentance immediately. Not vacillating or looking for shortcuts.
  10. Despite their sin and unhappiness, God still loves His people. He remembers them, yearns for them, and will show them mercy when they turn to Him.

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.