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Pastoral 2012

Unmasking the Dangers Of Worldliness - Part II

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As the apostle John explains in 1 John 2:15-17, worldliness is not only unprofitable but also detrimental to Christian life. In last Sunday’s bulletin, we considered the first spiritual danger of worldliness, namely “it excludes the love of the Father”. Today, we shall consider the second spiritual danger mentioned by the apostle John.

Worldliness embraces temporal at the expense of eternal

John forewarns, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (v. 17).

Notice John’s words that the world passes away, and the lust of it. The warning is that the world’s glory is a fading glory. In other words, if there is anything that can be certainly said about this world system, it is this: it is not going to be here forever. All its promises and pleasures are quickly vanishing and hence totally unworthy of believers’ enthusiasm and dedication.

Would you buy stock in a company that is sure to go bankrupt? Would you like to spend a day to relax on a sinking ship? Would you like to dance the night away in a nightclub that is on fire?

The world is passing away! It is rushing into eternal hell. To set your heart on it is only asking for heartache and misery in the end. No reasonable person would lay up treasure where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, would they? (Matthew 6:20).

That is not all; not only is the world passing away but also the lust of it. This warning from John has also been echoed by the apostle Peter – “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men... But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:7, 10).

So if you love the world and live for it, it will take you with it because soon it will pass away. You will not only lose your treasure, you will lose your soul also. The world passes away and the lust of it.

Worldliness distracts us from delighting in things that abideth for ever, even doing God’s will. So if you are stuck in some worldly living, be forewarned of your quick destruction.

Unmitigated counsels against worldliness

The first absolute counsel against worldliness is a command: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (v. 15a). Christians should take precaution not to be attracted by the world or the things that are in it. They must be wary of all its ideologies and activities. They should not even desire the world or to be like the world.

Jesus’ words in John 15:19 tell us the reason why Christians should not love the world. They “are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world” (John 15:19). Since the truth is that Christ has called us out of the world, let every Christian love Him more and more in place of the world.

If you are a backslidden Christian, you must now yield to the Spirit who has caused you to be born again, and who is now teaching you through His Word. Plead before His presence for an unrestrained love for the things of God and for the things that matter for all eternity.

O let us all stop loving the world. O we are only sojourners here on earth. We are pilgrims going to the glory land. So do not get stuck in the miry clay of worldliness.

The second counsel against worldliness is a great declaration: “he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (v. 17a). A person whose character and personality are shaped by obedience to God will not be affected by the passing away of the world and its vain desires. Genuine Christians do not desire anything in this world more than God’s will concerning them.

A Christian’s desires must always be regulated by the Word of God. All the pursuits of the world must be subject to His will. Never pursue any of our desires beyond His will for us. “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”

The third counsel against worldliness is the wonderful promise that there is eternal life to all who walk away from worldliness to love and do the will of God: “he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (v. 17a). God’s cure for worldliness is the bringing before us of the eternal world, infinitely more glorious than that which He calls on us to forsake. There is no thorough cure for worldliness but this. It is lack of faith in eternal realities that makes us worldlings! When the believing eye is fixed on the world to come, then we will learn to set our affections on things above.

Conclusion

There are few things against which we need to be more warned than this spirit of worldliness. The church is very prone to forget her pilgrim character in this present evil world and live as a citizen of the earth.

Our dignity as God’s chosen people is not in craving after the things of this world but in doing His will and getting ready for His glorious appearance. Let us not allow the world to obscure or blur our vision of the glory and the kingdom of God that He has called us to inherit.

 

 

A Note from Bro Cherry
(A member of Gethsemane BPC, San Antonio, The Philippines)

 

Pastoral Exhortation