“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
1 John Chapter 2 verses 15 to 17
Download the sermon slides: SERMON-2014-10-5
If you have your Bibles today, turn with me to the book of 1st John and chapter 2. We are on this long series through the book of John, so turn with me to 1st John chapter 2 and before I look at the verses together, I like to speak to you about an object of desire. There is something everybody, not everybody, but many people want today and that is the iPhone 6, whether it’s a regular sized one, or the plus size one, people love to have the iPhone 6.
I know that because I see pictures of people queuing up for a long time, maybe days even, just to get their hands on iPhone 6 and when they get it they absolutely love it. Whoa, this is my life, whoa this is what makes me happy. In fact, they love it so much, they want it so much that in China, there is this man who says I’m willing to rent out my girlfriend for 500 Chinese yuan a month, 50 yuan a day and 10 yuan an hour, of course not those funny stuff that you do, but you want a company, you want someone to be with you, I’m willing to rent you my girlfriend, so that I get the money and buy the object of my desire, the iPhone 6. Well, you shouldn’t be surprised, because a couple of years ago, there was someone was willing to sell his kidney, so that he has money to buy an iPhone 6.
It’s amazing how the things of this world can have such a strong grip upon our hearts. That’s why when you come to 1st John, this verse really is something else, when you realize just how attractive this world is.
John says, do not love the world or the things in the world, oh, this is hard, you mean, I’m to not love my phone, my car, my house, even my job, and my fame and my status. Well, but do not love the world, or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life is not from the Father, but is from the world and the world is passing away, along with its desires but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Do not love the world or the things in the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the worldóthe desires of the flesh
and the desires of the eyes and pride of life
is not from the Father but is from the world.
And the world is passing away along with its desires,
but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
(1 John 2:15-17 ESV)
Time stamp in audio 0:02:30.4.
We are in a miniseries here, a three-part series in the book of 1st John. 1st John is about the real life, but in the midst of this real life, is the consideration of love, not the world. Last week, we look at the definition of loving the world, what does loving the world really mean.
We understood from the sermon last week that loving the world is a heart condition. It’s a heart condition when you want something so badly, this becomes an epithymia in the Greek, this is an over passion, an excessive desire, it is a craving, it is a lusting that you do anything possible to get what you want, because this is the ultimate thing in your life.
Time stamp in audio 0:03:14.5.
So, this is a heart condition when you want something so badly. So there’s nothing wrong with possessing things, but it’s an entirely different thing, when you are obsessing over things. Nothing wrong to possess, but everything wrong when you obsess. There’s nothing wrong with living in the world, but there is everything wrong when the world is living in you. Just like a boat, a boat is designed to float on the waters. There’s nothing wrong with the boat being in the waters, but there is everything wrong, when the waters get into the boat.
Time stamp in audio 0:03:51.9.
So Christians today are called to live in the world, but John says, don’t let the world live in you. Loving the world is a matter of the heart. So he’s not saying don’t live in the world, but he says, love not the world. It’s a heart condition and that’s the definition of what it is.
Today we’re going to shift to the 2nd part of this and that is the devastation of loving the world. You say, what’s wrong with loving the world? We are going to look at that today and next week we are going to end the series by looking at the deliverance from the world. So, it is very simple. What is the world? Why do we avoid the world, or love not the world and then how can I be delivered from the clutches of this world.
Today, we looking at the devastation. What’s so bad about loving this world, why does God command in the Scriptures for us not to love the world. In order to get that, I just have one simple point for you today. Just remember this statement, remember this point, remember this picture and I think this would anchor the thought of the sermons to follow and this thought is very simple.
It is simply saying, there’s only room for one in your heart, there’s only room for one, would you repeat with me, there is only room for one, one last time, alright, there’s only room for one.
Why is it so bad to love the world, because there is only room for one in your heart. How do you get that? Well, in verse 15, John says if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Your heart is only big enough for one. If you love the Father, there is no love for the world, and if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. In Chinese we have this saying, “one mountain cannot hide two tigers”, okay literally what it is. There is only enough space and in one mountain for one tiger, there is only space in the heart for God, or the world, it is not both and it’s either or.
Time stamp in audio 0:06:21.3.
You see, William Barclay when he preached about this passage, he says this are the rivals of the human heart. God wants your heart, that is absolutely clear in the Bible, God wants our heart and the world wants your heart. They are rivals of the human heart and James tells us, you adulterous people, do not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God, therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world, makes himself an enemy of God.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
He is saying a very simple statement that is consistent with what John has to say. John says if you love the world, you cannot love the Father. James says, if you are friends with the world, you are enemies of God, you can’t have both, at the same time, in your heart. This is not just John saying, this is not just James saying, but Jesus Himself, puts it very clearly in a sermon on the mount, no one can serve two masters, for either, he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Mat 6:24)
Time stamp in audio 0:07:33.1.
He says this is an impossibility. Many people try to, many people try to, they try to be a Christian, at the same time, the try to love the world, you don’t want to give it up. Jesus says you cannot, James say, you are adulterous if you do so. John says, absolutely no love for the Father and no love of the Father, if you love the world. You can listen to two leaders, you can’t have two masters. An American saying, goes like this, “If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both.”
You can’t, and this is not just American, this is African, if you walk on two roads, your pants will split. (Laughter in the congregation) The Africans have got it well-written. Jesus says, “No one can serve 2 masters.” You can’t, but I want to try! You can’t, you know, pastor, I’m a Christian but I, I can let my BMW, and my house, and my job, I can’t let go of my status, you can’t. Don’t lie to yourself, don’t deceive yourself that you love God when you love the world. You see, you cannot, get that word, you cannot. It’s not, you may not, you can’t.
Time stamp in audio 0:09:01.8.
Your heart has only room for one, not 1.2, not 1.5, one. So John says “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. So, you got to choose. What happens when you want the world in your heart, what happens when you obsess over the world, what would be the life you are going to have. So let’s look at what happens when the world is in our hearts. We see that when the world is in our hearts, this will become your life. This world is passing away, along with it’s desires, the world would disintegrate, the world will pass away. And when you such a life, where the world dominates your heart, your life will amount to very little, in fact nothing.
This is a picture of a man, that man who loves his iPhone and ah his, this man is in UK, but let me show you someone who is in Australia, Perth. This morning, we had a group of visitors from Perth, they came and he said, ” Oh, I know that man, we saw him the news.” Let me, show you someone in Australia Perth, who got his iPhone, he is the 1st guy in Perth, to get the iPhone, his name is Jack and look at his excitement, alright.
Video plays of man dropping the iPhone onto the ground.
Time stamp in audio 0:10:45.6.
Can you hear the crack, can you hear the crack? Can you hear the crack, not of the phone, but of the heart. (Laughter in the congregation)
Wah, I can’t believe it, the 1st guy, he queued overnight, he queued overnight to be the 1st guy to get the phone, so excited, well, 1st time, he should have learnt already, he never learnt. And he opened, and he dropped and I think his heart cracked, lah. After that, you see him, scratched the phone until in his heart. He says, oh, oh, this is terrible, I have got to queue up all over again for it.
I don’t know what, but when I saw this video, I thought it’s a beautiful, not that beautiful, but a very accurate picture of this world. Oh! when I have it, I will be so happy, but who is to know what happens to it next.
It rots, it rusts, it decays, it disintegrates and what you thought would satisfy you, it doesn’t. It’s a picture and Jesus is absolutely right. His advice is, His command to us is, don’t lay up for yourselves treasures on earth. Huh, why ? I thought the treasures of earth are very nice, the cars, the BMW, wah, smells great, the engine sounds great, it looks, everything is great. Why can’t I have it?
Now, let me say it’s not against possessing, it’s about obsessing, alright. So why can’t I obsess over these things, why can’t I live for these things? The reason is very simple, they don’t last. The world and its desires up passing away, moths and rust destroy, thieves break in and steal. Here, Jesus talks about two kinds. You can have the slow taking away, moths and rusts and you have the sudden taking away by thieves. You know when you get something, it’s a handbag, err, I don’t know what brands you have, err, Chanel, Chanel and Gucci and all this stuff, all this brands, oh, I love these bags, and when you 1st buy it, you worship, you worship things, like the idols, you put it on the desk, wah, you love your bags, but I’m very sure in your life, after a month or two, you your worship service gets less and less frequent. You go less, you admire less and within a year, it is just another junk that you have stored in your wardrobe and you have all your walking wardrobe, because of all this junk, okay, okay, it is not junk, hey, it’s precious for ladies, okay. but the value you, it has towards you decreases over time, you don’t value it. You say, what has happened, I thought I really like it? Moth and rust has eaten it away. Even if it does not tear and breakdow, It’s like a car, when you 1st buy a car, I think that every guy when he 1st buys his favorite car, it is so exciting, wah, polish everyday. This is a nice car, you polish, you love it. And then, you have your 1st accident, bang! And then, the neighbor, besides you, so inconsiderate, he opens the car door, bangs, wah lau, another dent and when you have enough of it, the value of the car now drops. Then, you see your neighbor drive another car, wah his one newer model, advance version, yours, the old model, not so nice and now your heart, goes over to that side.
Time stamp in audio 0:14:16.4.
The value of what you love decreases, moth and rust. And even if it doesn’t go away slowly, it comes to you, suddenly, it may be a disease, you accumulated all your wealth and then, suddenly, you are strickened with cancer, suddenly are involved in a road traffic accident and the greatest thief of all time, death. All that you have, is taken away the moment you die. So whether it is slowly or surely, Jesus says, or slowly or suddenly, Jesus says, it will be surely, taken away. So He says, don’t lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, they don’t last.
This world, the devil has placed all these things and he is strategically, manipulating all before you, so that you may hanker for it, long for it, but when you near to it, it is nothing, vanity, emptiness, that’s what Scripture says. Someone shared this on Facebook, on social media, I saw it, and I thought I’ll share this with you, just a 10 seconds clip, take a look.
Time stamp in audio 0:15:19.8.
Video plays on frogs jumping at worms on a phone screen.
Silly, right, silly little frogs, I mean, they are so stupid, they all thought that there was a worm on the screen and they want to eat the worm. How stupid, how silly, too, jump, jump, jump, spent all the efforts trying to get something, they would never have, because it’s not real.
But do you realize we are just like that, we see that car and you think that makes me satisfied, we see that house and you think that makes me satisfied, we see that status, professor, makes me satisfied, we see that CEO title, makes me satisfied, you know you’re jumping at the screen, you are like this frog. In fact, if you look at your whole life, you have been jumping from your study, to your work, you have been jumping and jumping and make a slurpping sound, you want to eat that, it never comes, it’s not real. The world is passing away.
Time stamp in audio 0:16:43.1.
Jesus asked a great question and this is the question you have got to answer for yourself today.
What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?
You say, I must be the top in my company. Oh, I must be the most famous guy in this office, oh, I must own this car, oh, I must have $10,000,000 in my account. Alright, you have that, but what’s the purpose and even if I were to pour into you, your whole world, what does it do for you if you lose your soul.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?
(Matthew 16:26 ESV)
William Barclay says “This is the life in which there is no future.”
Oh, what a statement but a statement, but a statement that is rarely believed today, because, deep in our hearts, I am one as well, deep in our hearts, whilst we may intellectually say yes, the Scripture says this is a life in which there is no future, if you pursue the world, and if we loved the world, but deep in our hearts there is that flesh, there is a longing in our that says, maybe I can just love a bit of this and a bit of that.
The Bible and wiseman has concluded, the life here when the world is in the heart is one where there is no future.
Not only is this no future, it is when you love the world, not only is this leaving you empty in life at the end of life, but this actually kills you. That’s why picture it as black, it kills you, it poisons you. When you love this world, because there’s only room for one, it leaves you empty and it also harms you.
Time stamp in audio 0:18:29.3.
CS Lewis puts it even more strongly than William Buckley when he says the things of this world is like sweet poison of the false infinite. Wah, very chim (colloquial for deep) Lewis, he is like that, don’t worry. This is usual, what false infinite. Well, I tell you something about you, your mate in the image of God, and because you are made in the image of God and you are made for God, nothing satisfies you, unless it is infinite. Our hearts are restless, till our hearts find our rest in Him who is infinite, God. And so, we are always looking for that something that will truly satisfy us. You see, the only person who can satisfy us is God. But the world comes along and says, “I have something that is infinitely able to satisfy you, it’s that Mercedes. Here it is, is that Orchard Road penthouse. Here it is, your CEO title, this will satisfy you but is a false infinite. It doesn’t satisfy, it’s false, but it sure looks sweet, it sure looks delicious, the car looks great, the house looks great, the title sounds great. It is sweet, but when you take of this, you realize it is poison.
So this is the sweet poison of the false infinite and I think this is right, because Scripture tells us, when you love this world, not only does it leave you empty, it actually hurts you, harms you. 1st Timothy 6, those who desire to be rich, what happens to them. Look at these words, temptations, snares, harmful, ruin, destruction, one line, Paul makes it very clear, nothing wrong with being rich, but when you’re obsessed when you desire, when you epithymia, when you a over passion for the things of the world, you plunges him into all kinds of destruction. Verse 10 just in case you don’t get it, the love of money. Again , this is not money that is the problem, it is the love of money that is the problem, brings out all kinds of evils, it causes you to wander away from the faith, you pierce yourself with many pangs, absolutely clear, the Bible gives us, sweet poison of the false infinite.
Time stamp in audio 0:21:01.8.
I urge you, Peter says, so not only does John say this, not only does Paul say this Peter pitch in and says, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh. Why ? Because these things, wage war against the soul. How about Jesus, does He say anything? Oh yes, and He puts it so nicely, so memorably in the parable of the sower.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22 ESV)
He says to us, why is it that in a group like this, same preacher, same sermon, same text and people can walk out of this place totally different in response? Because one of the reasons is because there are people listening right now with the cares of the world, and the hungering and the longing for the riches of this world. Right now, I’m preaching about the Word and you are absolutely thinking about the world, you’re still thinking about your fridge, you are still thinking about your diamond ring, you are still thinking about the iPad, you are still thinking about your job, you are still dreaming that you will climb all the way to the top, you are still thinking about these things and I know, because, like I shared with you, last week, when I go China preaching, I am still thinking about my bumper, it is amazing.
Time stamp in audio 0:22:29.1.
But when you have these cares of this world, it chokes the Word. No wonder there is no flourishing, no wonder there is no fruitfulness in life because you have been harboring these things and you remember what John tells us, if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you. The heart is big enough only for one. Demas, left Paul, left the ministry. Why, because life is too hard, no, because he was in love with this present world.
For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me (2 Timothy 4:10 ESV)
Don’t underestimate this, folks. The world has a strong attraction for the flesh, Eve, huh, she looked at the fruit and she says this is the infinite. She said that this fruit is good for food, desired to make one wise; she saw the beauty, she thought that when she has this, she will be absolutely satisfied and she can say to God, God, I do not need you. This is the sweet thing, but never did she realize that when she took a bite of it, it was poison, it destroyed her, it destroyed the whole of humanity and if not for Jesus Christ, there is no hope.
Time stamp in audio 0:23:58.6.
This is what lures them. Recently I read and I think you’re horrified to know, Chinese restaurant owner admits serving opium laced noodles, noodles to hook customers. Hah, you say, yah, next time you go Chi.., oh, no, say, no, no, no, you go anywhere, you have got to be careful, alright. So, what did they do, well this restaurant owner was, wah, really he got 2 kg worth of poppy buds, crushed them into powder and laced them on his noodles, so that when you take his noodles for the 1st time, you like it. And somehow when you don’t take his noodles, after sometimes, you say, I think I should go back and eat again and he lures his customers that way. I wonder why maggi mee so nice. Maybe, they put some of that too. Ooh but the great opium laced noodles, are not from this Chinese restaurant owner, but from the devil. Satan has laced the noodles of this world with his opium. He comes to you and say, look at this noodles, ah Mee Pok Ta (meaning, dried noodles) very nice Mee Pok, you slurp it in, woh, nice, this car is nice and you want more, and you want more, you know, no man is satisfied with the world, no man. You have this car, you want the next car, you want this car, you have this car, you have the next boat, after this boat is the next aeroplane, after that, is the next spaceship.
Time stamp in audio 0:25:34.1.
There is no end because it’s like opium, you are addicted to it, you want it, it’s still pleasurable when you have it, but it kills you. Have you seen those opium addicts, ooh, so shiok (meaning, nice) but they are dying, as they are indulging in pleasure. This is what the world is doing, oh, so nice to live in the but you are dying spiritually. It is a sweet poison of the false infinite. So why does God tell us not to love the world? Very simple, if the world dominates your heart, your life amounts to nothing and you forfeit your soul, it destroys you spiritually. There is only one room, for one, God or the world and and if it is the world, God is not in it.
So, the clear advice of Scripture is that, let God be the one in your heart and when you say, I want God to be in my heart then you must be willing to say no to the things of the world, because you can’t say yes to God and yes to the world, right? You cannot serve God and Mammon, friendship of the world is enmity with God.
Very simple if it is God, you have got to say no to the world and that’s what Moses did. I’m told that there is a new movie coming up, called Gods and Kings, it is about Moses. Moses, the Bible tells us, by faith, he chose rather to be mistreated with the people of God, than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
By faith Moses
choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God
than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
You know something about Moses, he detected the opium there, Egypt, is glorious, it is the world superpower at that time. He could have everything he wanted, he can have all the glory and power and fame and control, but he said that is opium laced noodles, he doesn’t want to enjoy that opium. He said no to it and he chose to be mistreated with the people of God. Why, because he has the love of God.
He considered the reproach of Christ, he loves God so much that he was willing to suffer with his people, with God’s people. He doesn’t bother about the noodles; he wants God, he wants Christ.
He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt,
for he was looking to the reward.
That’s a wise man, that is a man who says, I cannot have both God and Mammon. I cannot have both God and the world, I have made a choice. Have you made a choice, today, will you make that choice? When you follow this advice, you can live like people in times past, Jim Elliot
“He’s no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot loose.”
He is wise, he gave his life for the cause of Christ because he realized that the world and the desires thereof will pass. What’s the point he says, what’s the point of living for the world, when I cannot keep these things, but let me give up, what I can give up today, to gain what I would never lose in another day. Whoever does the will of God abides forever.
whoever does the will of God abides forever. v17. John says, hey, love God because this is what lasts, this is what matters. DL Moody, the famous evangelist, when he died, he had a tomb, of course, tombstone and inscribed on that tombstone with these words ” Whoever does the will of God, abides forever.
You don’t need your name to be carved on hospitals or schools or companies or halls, you abides forever. When these things go away, you abides forever. The beauty of living for God of loving God, so do not love the world. Sometimes we read verses like this, you say, ah, God is very not nice, always deprived, always say no, is like my son always say, papa, why you don’t, daddy, why don’t let me play this, why you don’t let, he always thinks that I am mean to him, restrain him, restrict him and don’t give him all the things, he wants. You know why I do that? Because is not good for him. You know why God says, don’t love the world, not because He doesn’t want you to enjoy alright, not because He doesn’t want you to be happy, alright, but because He knows these things, are like opium, they are poison of the false infinite and it is therefore a gracious command when God says, “Love not the world”. It’s the heart of a Father, crying out to you don’t love the world. I love you, love me, because if you don’t, if you love the world, you will not love Me and you will not have the love of God in your heart. Would you do that, love not the world, it is a gracious command. Adam and Eve didn’t believe God. God says, out of every fruit, you can eat, just don’t think this one and they say, No I don’t believe you, God, you don’t want me to be like you ha, I know now. Ha, you’re just a selfish, jealous, vindictive person, ah, the serpent told me, you don’t want us to be like you okay, I purposely go and eat, and when I eat, I will be like you.
So, they doubted God’s love and when you read this verse, you may may say, huh,I don’t believe, I, I would love the world. No, understand that the Scripture is already very clear and this is God’s command of love for you and for me. I want to say a little bit more about the 2nd of this phrase, where it says this, if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. This is a very absolute term, a very absolute statement. Many of us think that a Christian is someone who comes to church, gets baptized, read the Bible, pray every day. And if I do these things, if I attend church enough, I’m a Christian. I tell you something , all right, here I see that a Christian is someone who loves God and if he loves God, he will not love the world. Not at least in a consistent regular habitual way, not sinless perfection but sincere progression.
Time stamp in audio 0:32:16.0.
A Christian is not defined by the external acts. In the Scriptures, a Christian is someone who has a change in his heart, he understands, he knows God’s love and he loves God. Throughout the Bible, let me give you some verses. Romans 8:28 those who love you can just take down the reference because I just want to highlight. A real Christian is not just someone who goes to church gets baptized, reads his Bible, prays, no.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)
A real Christian is someone who is God in his heart, who loves God. Romans 8:28 says, this is what a Christian is, he loves God.
1 Corinthians 2:9
But, as it is written, ìWhat no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love himî
(1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV)
What is a Christian, a Christian is someone who loves God
1 Corinthians 16:22
If anyone has no love for the Lord,
let him be accursed. Our Lord, come!
(1 Corinthians 16:22 ESV)
What is a Christian, a Christian is someone who loves God.
James tells us:
Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? (James 2:5 ESV)
What is a Christian, a Christian is someone who loves God.
You say, how do I know if I am a Christian today,, I ask you, do you love God. And how do you know you love God? John says, number 1 you obey His commandments, number 2, you love your brethren, number 3, you love not the world. It’s about the heart.
Time stamp in audio 0:33:30.2.
Some of you have been in church for a long time, again that does not guarantee you any change of your heart. You know if you have a change of heart, if you really love God today, you will obey His commandments, you love the brethren, and you love not the world.
Jesus said this,”You want to be my disciples, you want to be a believer, you want to be a Christian, you want to be a follower of Christ, by the way, there is no such thing as a Christian who gets saved and he also lives the same way. No, when you trust in Jesus Christ. When He is your Lord, you will do what He says, it says here, ” If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it, for what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeit his soul.”
Then Jesus told his disciples, ìIf anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul (Matthew 16:24-26)
Many people from the Gospel of Jesus Christ is just a message, I say yes to and God takes away my sins, God gives me a ticket to heaven, and I can live the same way I used to live. The Gospel is primarily a call of God for us to forsake sin and to love Him. That’s what the Gospel is, it’s calling His children away from the world, to belong to God. Now, of course, we have no ability to love God, until He first changes our hearts, but you know if you really been born again, you know if you really know Christ, if today , there is a change in your heart desire. A real Christian is someone who has had a heart transplant. God has so worked in him.
Time stamp in audio 0:35:23.9.
It is sad, when I see many, many people who say they believe in Jesus, but they live absolutely for the things of the world. But I can’t know your heart, but I fear for you. I’m concerned for you and hope your concern for your own life, your own soul. Now please, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you love God, in order to be saved, no, you don’t get that, you can’t do that, but I am saying if you are saved, you will love God. Why, because God has changed your heart. The day you repented of your sin and believe in Jesus that He died for your sins, is the day where God has changed your heart, you will forsake the world, you will, not that you forsake the will, in order to be saved. But if you saved, you will turn from the world and follow Jesus because you love Jesus and if you love Jesus, you cannot love the world, very simple.
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That’s why, Billy Sunday says it makes as much sense to talk about the worldly Christian as it does to talk about the heavenly devil. They are mutually incompatible. Have you heard about a heavenly devil, have you heard about a godly devil, anyone heard of that? No, la, pastor, don’t be silly. He is an evil devil, there is no godly devil, they are are absolutely right. And the Bible has nothing to say about a worldly Christian, no such thing. You are a worldly unbeliever or you’re a godly Christian, meaning that you are not perfect, not saying that you are sinless but you are sincere, you move towards the love of God.
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Some of us, says, today, pastor, I’m a Christian but I’m worldly lah, I am a worldly Christian. No such thing, Billy Sunday says, there is no in between, there’s no gray area, who are you today? What about Tozer, he says a whole new generation and this he spoke years ago, Tozer says, a whole new generation of Christians has come up believing that it is possible to accept Christ without forsaking the world, you can’t, you can’t.
The Gospel is a call away from sin, away from the world, to belong to Jesus Christ. That’s what the Gospel is, we have cheapen it, to become a kind of a sales thing where oh, sign up for this and God gives you all these goodies. No, it’s a call from disobedience to obedience, from loving the world, loving your sins to loving Jesus Christ and God alone.
That’s why, the prosperity gospel is a dangerous thing. The prosperity gospel is where people tell you that when you believe in Jesus, God gives you money, God gives you health, God wants to give you the things in this world. It doesn’t work, and if you think about it, it is outright dangerous. Why, because the prosperity gospel built into it, feeds the love for the world. So if they say, love God and love the world, it doesn’t because there’s only room in your heart for one. And that’s why, the prosperity gospel is not just a minor error. It is a core fundamental, departure from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that’s why Paul says in 1st Timothy when someone teach these things that are contrary to doctrine and so on, supposing that gain is godliness wealth gain and prosperity is godliness, from such, you don’t engage with them, you don’t listen to them, but you withdraw from them, because it’s a damnable heresy folks, it’s teaching you idolatry, it’s teaching you to put the world into your heart, when the Gospel is about putting God alone in your heart.
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Because there is only room for one. God and the world, there is a choice that you’ve got to make, do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
I pray today that we will be a people where the love of God is seen. Some of you, you say, I want to be a good evangelist, I want to share the Gospel with my family, my friends and you learn about the techniques of sharing the Gospel and that’s great. Be clear about communicating the Gospel. But you know that there’s more to communicating the Gospel that your lip, its your life. God has called us to be the salt and light of this world. The inference that it, there is no sound, , salt and light, no sound, but it’s visible. I ask you today is your life visible, visibly different from the world. You say, how do I dress a T-shirt that says, Jesus loves me? No, that’s not the way you become visible, the visibility is seen in the way you live. Do you have the same ambitions and desires as your friends, the way you spend your money, the way you raise your kids, the pursuits you have in your life. Can everyone see any difference in your life.
We are not just to give the Gospel. We live the Gospel and it is seen in the choices we make, because the choices reflect the heart we have, and the heart we have for God, will be seen in the choices we make. Nothing wrong with living in the world, nothing wrong for you to have a car, house, iPad whatever, there’s nothing wrong with that, but be sure that the world doesn’t get into you.
Spurgeon, he says, I believe that one reason why the church of God has so little influence over the world, is because the world has so much influence over the church.
Our thinking, our spending, our thirst, our appetite is like the world. 5 C’s, American dream, make it rich, strike it rich, make yourself famous that is ethos of the world and that is, I’m sad to say the ethos that has crept into the church, into my life, into your life.
My friends, we started with this picture. What a man, you say, what kind of a man would sell his girlfriend for an iPhone, what kind of a man, are you, if you will sell your soul for the things of this world. Love not the world, because it is passing away, but he that doeth the will of God abides forever.
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The devastation of the world is too much for anyone of us, to bear, love God, know His love, you abides for ever.
Let’s bow for a word of prayer together. This morning, I want to cause us to end on the time of reflection. You’re Christian today, some of you, you know that, many of you, in fact. But in your heart, there is something that you are obsessing about. It maybe your appearance, it may be your looks, it maybe your family, it maybe your career, it may even be ministry, but this has taken the place of God in your life. My friends, the things of this world, the reputation, the fame, they will pass away. But worse than that, they war against the soul, your Father is graciously speaking to you through His Word this morning. Love not the world. But know My love. See how I’ve given you all things in Christ, see, how I have given you, Jesus, My Son, that is the proof of My love. Don’t covert, don’t long for the things of this world, because I will never leave you nor forsake you, be content, be satisfied, I am for you. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, would you return to God today, wherever you are, wherever you, how far you’ve gone, deep in your heart, because Jesus has changed your heart, you long for Him, you love Him and I know you will come back to Him. Would you do that today, right now, lay it at the foot of the cross.
Maybe some of you are here and you’re not Christian, you’re not a believer, this is the 1st time you have heard the preaching of God’s Word and you say well, I realized that maybe, what I’m chasing in this life, amounts to nothing, so how can I love God, how can I be saved, too, I start attending church, go Bible study, I am glad you want to do all that, but let me say this, what really needs to take place, is that there must be a transplant of your heart, what really needs to take place, is according to the Bible, you must be born again. In other words, God got to do that work in your life, in your heart. He’s got to do it, but this is what He has commanded you to do, He has commanded you to repent of your sin, he has commanded you to see your ugliness of sin, to see that sin and disobedience against God is a terrible thing and it has ruined you and will continue to ruin you, you have got to see that you are helpless to rid yourself of sin and that he wants you to realize that He has done it all for you, because He has sent His Son, Jesus to die on the cross. The Bible says if you repent and believe in Jesus Christ, you will have everlasting life. God gives you that new birth, God gives you that new life, God gives you the new heart, this is where it is all about. It is about your heart. It’s about God, God changing your heart. Would you today humble yourself, repent of your sin and believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus saves. May we as a church, live in a way that is so different from the world. May you live in a way that is different from your brothers and sisters, your colleagues, from your schoolmates. Why, because you love God, in your heart. Why do you love God, because you know how much God loves you in Jesus Christ in the the Gospel. May the Gospel flood your life. Father, we thank You today. We are called to be strangers and pilgrims in this world, that we are to hold the things of this world loosely, because we look forward to that heavenly city, we look forward to meeting with You and so, I pray, each and everyone of us would follow the call of discipleship, that we will forsake this world, deny ourselves, pick up the cross and follow Christ, enable us to do so, I pray for our guests, for those who are yet unsaved, in particular, that they will turn from sin and believe in Jesus alone, bless each heart today. Bless each life, each family represented here. Thank You for Your loving Words in 1John. May these be etched in our souls. We asked all this now in Jesus Name, Amen.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John Chapter 2 verses 15 to 17
Download the sermon slides: SERMON-2014-9-28
Well, we are, as a church, going through the Bible and we are right now in the book of 1John and if you have your bibles, it will be great if you can turn with me to 1John chapter 2. And the book of 1John is a very searching book. John is Apostle of Love and he doesn’t shrink back from hard truths. He doesn’t shrink back from saying tough things because that’s what love is all about. Love is not just a sugary, sentimental feeling. It’s wanting, and doing, the best for the people you care for. So he cares for his church and so he gives tough things to his church because they are necessary things.
Today, we come to 1John chapter 2 and verses 15-17. If not the most famous, will be one of the most famous passages in 1John and in, really, all of the Bible. Here, we see that John says,
“Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world ~ the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life ~ is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
Today we are going to look at the subject on ‘Love Not the World’. And we all know how powerful attraction to the world can be, isn’t it? I read of a man who, this is a fictional story of course, just bought a brand-new BMW car. It’s his favorite car. It’s his dream car. And, as he opened the door to get out of the car, another car sped by and tore off the door of the car. He got out and he was staring at his car. And a bystander came and said, ‘Sir, don’t look at your car. Look at your arm.’ He asks, ‘What’s wrong with my arm?’ ‘It’s torn off!’ And the man then looks at his arm on the floor and says, ‘Oh no, my Rolex watch!’ (laughter).
The grip of the world is strong upon the hearts of men. In fact I read again this week about someone saying that when a man falls down with an iPhone 6 in his pocket and he hears a ‘crack’ sound, he will pray, ‘Lord, let it be my leg.’ (laughter). We can love the BMWs, we can love the iPhone 6, we can love the things of the world so much because the world has a lure for every one of us, even for all of us who are Christians.
So, today, I want to share with you something really important. Why? Because it is said that, today, the greatest threat, the greatest danger to Christians is not persecution from the world, but seduction by the world. I’ll say that again.Today, the greatest threat to Christians is not persecution from the world, but seduction by the world. And, I think, everyone of us here today can feel it and can understand that. This is a very needful sermon. This is a very needful passage of scripture because it is sad today that most of Church, most of Christendom cannot be distinguished from the world today by the way we live. We are no different from the world in the way we spend our money, in the way we raise our kids, in the way we hunger and thirst for goals in our lives. It is virtually indistinguishable between the world and the Church, and yet, John tells us Love Not the World.
I think this is so important that I want to dedicate 3 sermons to this passage. You hear it right. It’s not 3 points. Usually I have a 3-point sermon. This is a 3- sermon series because I want to cover, in a very clear way, what loving the world is. The definition of loving the world. And then, in our next sermon, I want to look at the devastation when we love the world. And then we are going to cover, lastly, how we can be delivered from the world. So it’s a very simple 3-sermon outline ~ what it is, why is it bad, and how can I be delivered. (04.42)
Love Not The World
Today, we are just going to focus on one thing ~ the definition. What does it really mean to ‘love not the world’? What is loving the world? So, this is a very simple message. What does it mean by loving the world? What is the meaning of the word ‘world’, first of all. Does it mean today that you and I are not to love people? ‘Love not the world’ means ‘don’t love people’. Does God mean, does John mean, that we’re not to love our wives, our husbands, our parents and our children and our neighbours, and the lost? Does it mean we don’t love people? Answer? Obviously no. The Bible tells us that :
“For God so love the WORLD, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16 ESV
And so the use of the word ‘world’, in John 3:16, is about people. I suppose, I suggest to you, that in 1John chapter 2 when John says ‘love not the world’, he’s not saying ‘don’t love people’. The Bible is full of commands to say ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. Love one another ~ that’s what we just covered 2, 3 sermons ago so he’s not having amnesia. John is clear. ‘Love not the world’ does not refer to ‘not loving people’.
And does ‘the world’ mean ‘the planet’? Does it mean today, we cannot love the planet. We cannot love beautiful flowers and trees, and plants and animals, and rivers and streams, mountains and great scenes? Does it mean that we cannot love this planet? Is there something wrong with this planet? Well, again, I don’t think John is saying ‘love not the world’ by meaning that I cannot love the things or the beautiful, creative works of nature. No, I don’t think he refers to that. Again, Romans 1:20, tells us that the creation – this planet, this world – reveals something good to us, reveals the power and the divine nature of God.
So, some people really feel this way : ‘Oh, this is such a beautiful rose. No, no, no, no, that’s not a beautiful rose. It’s of the world. I cannot love the world.’ That’s weird if you have people like that because we all know that the world does not refer to people nor to the planet. Then you say, ‘Okay, Pastor, then I think what it means by ‘the world’ is iPhone 6, computers, cars, houses, food. These are the things of the world and we should not love them. But again, I suggest to you it is not necessarily evil for you to have an iPhone 6. It is not necessarily wrong to own a house or a car. The Bible does tell us that God richly provides us with everything to enjoy :
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” ~ 1 Tim 6:17 ESV
This world does give legitimate things for us to enjoy. So what is ‘the World’ today? We’ve got to be very clear in its definition, otherwise we will have false guilt. Or, on the other hand, we may indulge in things we shouldn’t indulge. So, what is ‘the World’ in 1John chapter 2? Well, I suggest to you, in the bible, the word ‘world’ is used in different ways. One, he refers to people. One he refers to possessions. (08:04)
But in 1John 2, it is not referring to people. It is not referring to the planet. It is not referring necessarily or primarily to possessions. ‘The World’ here refers to a kind of a power. It’s a kind of influence. Love not the world. This world is exerting a power and influence. What is this power? This is the power all around us that draws man away from God. This power can reside in people. This power can reside in a glass. This power can reside in an iPhone. The problem is not the iPhone. The problem is not about people. The problem is not about the rose. The problem is the power that Satan is exerting behind these objects that seeks to draw us away from God. And John says don’t love this influence. You see, this is an evil world. Food by itself is not evil but there can be evil that can be achieved out of that because there is that satanic influence that uses the things around us and this is like a power, this is like an influence that seeks to draw us away from God. Galatians 1:4 tells us this is an evil world :
“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.”
John again in this passage :
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” ~ 1John 2:15 ESV
reminds us that when we love the things of this world, when we love this world then the love of the Father is not in him. This is an evil power that draws man away from God. In my mind, I think of it this way : the World is the POWER all around us that draws men away from God. It’s like an electric power. And you can be plugged in here (referring to an image on the screen). But when you are plugged in to this power, it does not empower you to live for God. It empowers you to live away from God. It pulls you away from God. It draws you in the opposite direction and so this is your life. Your life, when it’s plugged into this power, (referring to another image on the screen) is not going to be godly. Your life will be worldly. Your life will be against, and away, from God. And, in 1John, we are told how we are plugged in. Three pins, right? That’s why I thought about this power analogy. Three pins. And there are three seductions that this world affords to you and if you plug in to :
the desires of the flesh
the desires of the eyes
and the pride of life,
you will be drawn away from God. And these are powerful seductions. Don’t underestimate these three phrases back in the garden of Eden (picture of a woman reaching out for a fruit). Why did Eve take that fruit? By the way, I don’t know if it’s an apple or something else? Just a picture to represent the fruit. We do not know what it looks like but when Eve saw this fruit, there was something that made her go and get it, and eat it. And, eventually, it led her away from God. In fact, it was the result of – we are all the result of – this sinful act. With this one act, the whole of humanity is drawn away from God. It’s a powerful thing. So why did she go for it? The Bible tells us that :
“when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
and that it was a delight to the eyes,
and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,
she took of its fruit and ate ….. ~ Genesis 3:6 ESV
She absolutely plugged in to the seduction of the world. This is the lust of the flesh. This is the lust of the eyes. This is the pride of life. And the whole of human history is plunged into deep, dark evil because she bought in to the seduction of the world. It can be a fruit today, but it can be anything else. It can be an iPhone. It can be a car. It can be a bank account but when you are seduced by these three things, you’ll be led away. The key word, therefore, is the word ‘Desires’. You say, ‘Pastor, is it wrong for me to have a desire?’ After 84 hours, you will start to desire something. What do you desire? You desire food. Maybe some of you desire sleep now. ‘Pastor, please, short, short. Please, short. I want to sleep.’ (laughter). (12:58)
Is it wrong to have desires? (Someone in the congregation replied ‘No’). No, huh? Is God saying we must have no desires, like the Chinese say ‘meiyou qi qing liu yu’? Is it biblical that we should have absolutely no desires? No, of course not. Desires are good when it’s used in the right context and to the right degree. It’s good that you have a desire to eat, otherwise you die. It’s good that you have a desire for something greater than yourself, otherwise you will not have a search, or a heart to seek after God. Desires are great. So, why does John say the problem is ‘the desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, the pride of life’? Well, the key is to understand the word ‘Desires’. In the Greek, the word ‘desire’ is the word ‘epithymia’. (Form of word is shown on the screen). The Greek form is there and this is the English transliteration of that. Epithymia. Wah, si-mi-ah? (‘what is this’ in Hokkien)
Epithymia is formed with 2 Greek words : Epi and Thymia. Thymia is the word that may be related to the word thermos, thermometer. Thymia is the word that represents what? (A member suggested ‘heat’). Heat? Very good. Or the word ‘Passion’. Thymia is the word that refers to passion. What is Epi? What is Epi? (Someone said ‘Super’). Super? Okay. Epi is the word ‘Super’. Or on top, right? Epi – on top. And it is a word that refers to ‘over’. The King James’ translates this word ‘Desires’ or Epithymia to be the word ‘Lusts’. Now let me say this : ‘Oh, lust is a bad word’. Not necessarily, alright? If you search the Scriptures, ‘Epithymia’ is used sometimes to refer to ‘good things’. It can refer to good things. It’s that deep, strong passion for something. And it can be good things. A deep, strong passion for God is a good thing. So whether it’s good or bad is not determined by the word itself but by the context ~ where it is used.
Obviously, in 1John chapter 2, the word ‘desires’ is a word that refers to a bad kind of ‘Over Passion’. In other words, it’s an excessive, inordinate desire for things that are forbidden or it’s that excessive craving for something treating it as the ultimate thing in life. And that is not God’s desire for us. The fruit is not God’s desire for Adam and Eve. But there was that excessive inordinate craving for it and treating it as the ultimate thing in life, thereby leading them to disobey God and to be separated from Him. So, the key is not that we cannot have desires. The key is not that the things of the world is wrong. The key is when we excessively crave for something, so much so that we are willing, and we are wanting, and we are deciding to say, ‘I will have it at all costs.’ Even if it means disobeying God. This is my ultimate thing. When I have it, I’ll be really, really happy. I don’t need God. So this is what the world offers to you ~ I give you things and when you treasure it to be THE thing in your life, it draws you away. It’s not passions alone. It’s over-passion. It’s excessive passion. This is seen in 1Timothy 6 :
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1Tim 6:10 ESV)
A superficial reading of this text would say, ‘Oh, money is bad’. No, money is not bad. It’s not. But what is bad? It is when you have ‘epithymia’ for it, when you love it, and when you crave after it. That is the problem. It is not wrong to have money. It is not wrong to work and get money but it is wrong when this is the ultimate pursuit of your life. It is wrong when you say money makes the man. Again, in verse 17 : (17:30)
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty (not to be proud or arrogant), nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:17 ESV
So there’s nothing wrong with being a rich man. God did not say, ‘for the rich man today, I want you to become poor’. No, He didn’t say that. It’s not about what you have but your heart. When you are rich, don’t crave after riches. Don’t let this be the ultimate thing of your life. Don’t think that because you are rich, you are somebody. Don’t be haughty, nor set your hopes upon it ~ epithymia. So, let’s come to very basic things. Oh, he’s such a worldly man because he’s so rich. Not very good deduction. Not very true. Oh, that man is so poor. He’s such a godly man. Not very true. There can be very rich men who have no craving for money and yet there are also very poor people who have a deep craving for money. It’s not money that is a problem. It’s not even having the money that is a problem. It’s not even wanting the money that is a problem. It’s the excessive desire for it. The over (the epi), desire that is the problem.
The same for a house. Is it wrong for you to have a house and an apartment? No, but if this is the house that dominates your thoughts every, you know it, every waking hour somehow you think about your house. How to decorate it, where’s my kitchen. Wah, when friends come. Wah, and when you’ve nothing to do, you think about your house. I tell you something : you have an epithymia for your house. The world has brought along this plug ~ lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. And your life has homed in on those three sockets or three pins and are connected to the power that seeks to draw you away from God.
It is the same for a car. It’s so easy to be tempted, isn’t it? Nowadays you can walk in a shopping mall and cars are displayed there. You open the door. You smell. Wah, the new car smells very shiok, ah. Wah, and you close the door. Thud. Wah, the ‘thud’ is not like mine – clank, clank, clank, clank, clank. (laughter). Wah, and you start to dream about it, think about it, you work for it. That has become an epithymia. There’s not a problem with you owning a car. The problem is : does the car own you? Do you crave for it? Same for iPhone 6. 6 and 6+ ~ which one you like? Which one you are thinking about all the time? It can come to very simple things like gadgets. It’s not very expensive but it dominates your thoughts. (20:40)
Again, iPhone 6 is not to be cursed. Wanting a phone is not to be cursed but treating it as the ultimate, and excessive craving for it, is to be cursed. Maybe for some of us it’s not so much possessions of things. For some of us, it may be this one (picture of ‘char siu’ or Chinese BBQ pork). Wah, look at this ‘char siu’. ‘Ai jiak liao’ (‘it makes me want to eat’ in Hokkien). Hungry already lah, you say. Now, is food bad? Of course not. Food is meant for sustenance. It’s wanting to eat that. Don’t dare to say, huh? Wanting to eat bad? No, of course not. It’s a perfectly legitimate thing. But when you crave and you live for food, that’s when it gets into problems. Eating is not a problem. Over-eating is. Eating is not a problem but gluttony is. There’s a distinction. Some people say, ‘Oh, I eat to live’, but there are others who live to eat. (laughter). If your life is living to eat today (laughing at who?), there is a danger. This is an excessive inordinate desire. It may be char siu, it may be durians, it may be ice cream, whatever it is. But this is where it goes wrong.
What about rest? Is it wrong to rest? Is rest bad? Is a desire to rest wrong? No, but when you rest excessively, you are lazy. Correct? Or when you live only for pleasure. That’s worldliness. And, I say, in comfortable cozy Singapore, we may be in danger of the world because we long for an epicurean lifestyle, meaning you enjoy the high things, the nice things of life. That’s what you live for. That’s why you work so hard, so that you can enjoy, you can go on holidays, you can eat the nice stuff, and, suddenly but surely, we are gripped with the world because we love pleasure. We love comfort. The mattress must be the type that you sleep already cannot wake up type. (laughter). (Someone shouts out ‘coffin’). Coffin, ah? (laughter). That’s true. If anyone of you crave for the coffin, please talk to me. You seriously need counselling. But there is that desire for comfort, for ease, that is excessive.
Let me give you something even more touchy : sex. Woh, sex is a dirty word. No, it’s not a dirty word. It is made dirty by the world but sex is a beautiful word. It’s found in the Scriptures ~ Song of Solomon, and, of course, in the New Testament Hebrews 13. The marriage bed is undefiled. In fact, we as a church look at what sex means in Christendom, in Christianity, it’s a beautiful thing. Wanting sex is also not a wrong thing. But when you excessively crave for sex, and you want to get it outside of your marriage bond, and you go beyond what God has allowed, that becomes a reason why you will be drawn away from the world. It’s an excessive inordinate desire, thinking that this will satisfy you, make you happy. And you live this kind of a promiscuous lifestyle. You could go on and on, you know. (24:20)
About art. Is art wrong? No, it’s not. But it can go wrong if you have an excessive desire for it. Is music wrong? No, but you can go wrong if you have an excessive desire for it. Is the desire for acceptance wrong? No. We are made to be loved. That’s our inbuilt desire but this can go very wrong if you think that you are the centre of the universe and it can lead to pride and self-centredness when it goes to excessive desires. So, I just want to clarify for you : loving the world today is not living in the world. Some people say, ‘Wah, you live in New York, ah? Very worldly.’ You are very worldly. No, not necessarily.
Loving the world :
Is not living in the World
Is not possessing the things in the World
Is not using the things in the World
Loving the world:
Is excessively craving for the things of the world at all costs, and seeing them as ultimate in my life.
I want to say ~ the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. Too often, we view people as worldly simply because of the people they hang around with. If Jesus hangs around with very worldly people, He was not worldly. Too often we determine worldliness by the things we possess. No, the Bible tells us clearly it’s not what you possess but what possesses you. Some people think that worldliness is categorized by the do’s and don’ts of the Christian life. No. I tell you it’s not about these outside things but what is on the inside.
A church like ours, from the background we come from, too often we categorize people as worldly, or not worldly, by the things they do on the outside, by the things they possess on the outside and by the people they hang around on the outside. Ah, you go to movies, huh? Wah, you are very worldly, huh? Wah, you go to shopping centre, huh? Wah, you are very worldly. It’s always categorized by the outside but who is to know what is on the inside? You stay at home, you don’t watch movies. You are very godly. No, inside you still want. ‘I wish I could watch The Ironman’. It’s about the heart. You don’t go to shopping centres but you do online shopping and shop more than anybody else. (laughter). It’s about the heart and is not about the haves and have-nots. It’s about the inside. So, let me summarize this : the world is a power. It’s all around us. It’s all around you, by the way. It can be a car and, like I said, it can be anything but it’s a power because Satan is real and he uses these things to seduce us and he draws us away from God. And my life can be plugged into that with the relevant date, with the relevant desire when it elicits the relevant ‘over passions’, the ‘epi desires’, the excessive cravings.
Let me make this clear.
Worldliness is not what you Possess, but what you Obsess.
‘Wah, I wear very torn clothes, Pastor. You never see my shoes all broken. My pants got holes here and there. I am very godly. I am not worldly.’ You’re serious? Peel your heart. Not how you dress on the outside. Not what you carry in your pocket but what is inside your heart. Not what you possess, but what you obsess. In fact, you can look very godly. You can serve God. You can do many good things. You are always in church but you are worldly. And people can’t tell because it’s on the inside. (28:18)
Several years ago, actually a long time ago, I would go to China to preach once in a while. I remember one trip that I was in China preaching. I was supposed to be there to be a blessing to teach the word. But I tell you something. This is embarrassing to share but I don’t think it’s unique because all of you might understand this. When I went there, I was always thinking about something. You say, I must be thinking for lost souls and for people to be trained and people to be godly. No, I was not thinking about that. I was thinking about this (picture of a blue car on the screen). This, by the way, looks a little bit like the car I used to own. This one not so good because got blue and black. Mine all black one. (laughter). Church members used to call that the Batmobile ~ Pastor PJ’s Batmobile. But it didn’t always look like the Batmobile because when this car, it’s a Subaru car, it’s a normal car but you can ‘zheng’ (in Hokkien meaning ‘to accessorize’) ‘Zheng’ the car have you heard of that? Gangsters and Ah Bengs all like to ‘zheng’ cars. And there’s an Ah Beng in me that likes to ‘zheng’ my car. So I was always thinking about my car how to zheng’ to be more ‘zheng’. How to be more Beng. And so, one thing that I kept thinking about a very significant change for my car is this bumper. You see this bumper? (Pointing to the picture on the screen). This one not ordinary. Chargespeed version 2 GD bumper. You all don’t understand. But I tell you what I was thinking about. I was thinking about this bumper for my whole trip. I mean, I was thinking whether to ‘buy, don’t buy, pay, don’t pay’.
Then it was time to go to China. Go China I thought will be better but I was still thinking about my bumper in China. Preach half-way, the bumper can come one (laughter). The whole trip thinking about bumper. Whole trip thinking, can you imagine how stupid that is? Pastor, you are crazy, huh? You are supposed to preach and you are thinking about bumper. It’s such a trivial thing. It is very trivial. I mean, this is so silly. Now I thought about it, I want to laugh. I want to hide myself. It’s so trivial but it has such a grip on me. I know it’s stupid but that’s the power of the world. I’m not proud of it because I know I was drawn away from that. I couldn’t really focus on the Lord, on the things he wants me to do.
What is it in your life today that draws you away from God? What is it today in your life that consumes your thinking, that become your focus, your obsession? What is it today that you say ‘I must have’. And if I don’t have it, I will be devastated. I’ll be at a loss. Worldliness is here (pointing to his head) and here (pointing to his heart). I look like a super godly man going to China, sacrifice my life. Go in the cold winter, never bathe two weeks. Wah, you’re such a servant. No, no, no. God knows what’s going on right inside ~ Over Passions. Living in the world is not necessarily worldly. Jesus actually wants us to live in a world. But it’s when you are plugged in, you are sucked into it by your Over Passions that’s when you are drawn by the powers all around you. It can be a car. Some of you right now, I guarantee in a congregation like this, some of you are thinking about car. Some of you who can afford a car you think about a car. Those of you who cannot afford a car ~ you are 15, 16 you are still thinking about a car because when I grow up, my first pay check, I’ll buy this car. It can be the house. Wah, Singapore property, Pastor, you don’t think about it, cannot one. You are sure? There’s a way to think about it appropriately, plan for it appropriately and another thing to obsess over it. Money. Nothing wrong with money but when money is the way by which you are plugged into the Over Passions that’s where it goes wrong. iPhone 6. I found an icon for iPhone 6. (32:40)
It can be also the applause of men. This is what I live for. I live to be popular. I live to be well accepted and if I’m not accepted, if I’m not loved, I am supremely unhappy. That’s a kind of lust, pride of life. The thumbs up thing. Wah, my Facebook must have a lot of ‘likes’. If not, I’ll be very unhappy. (laughter). Oh, the desire to be king, the desire to be the boss in a company, in a school, in the neighborhood. It can be any form and shape but it brings us back to Adam and Eve. It’s the same trick the devil uses on us all over again. So, the Scripture says today, ‘Love Not the World’.
This is a heart condition whereby we have an excessive craving for the things of the world treating them as the ultimate goal of our life and that which draws us away from God. It’s not about a problem on the outside. It’s a problem on the inside ~ it’s about the heart. My friends, what is in your heart today? The Bible says love not the world. You say, ‘Why?’ ‘How can I be delivered?’ I say, come back next week and I’ll tell you how. But this week, today, I just like you to be able to reflect upon your own life. ‘Are there idols in your heart? Are you plugged into this world?’ Do you know that your desires are meant not to plug into the things of the world but your desires are to be meant to be plugged into God. So, who is having the power in your life? Who are you obsessing and what are you obsessing about?
Let us bow for a word of prayer. I’d like you, this morning, to reflect. I think this message is simple enough, straightforward enough. And I just want to afford you this time to consider and to really be honest before God because you are not going to get this kind of a message or this kind of a reflection anywhere else in this world. The advertisements will not cause you to pause. The shopping malls will not cause you to pause. The radio programs will not cause you to pause. But God’s Word today tells you to pause. What do you love?
My friends, is there something in your heart that you are obsessing about? What is that? It may be a bumper like my car. It can be your bank account. It can be the approval of men. I tell you something. It can even be your ministry. I must succeed in ministry. I must do well here. You know there’s something about doing well for Jesus’ sake, and doing well for your own sake? It can be anything, you see, that draws you away from God. It can be your son. It can be your husband. You have treated them as the ultimate things of your life. That’s worldliness.
My friends, the bible tells us that a true Christian is someone who cannot, and will not, consistently, habitually love the world because he loves the Father. Some of you say, ‘How do I know I’m a Christian today? I’m not sure whether my baptism was ‘pakay’ (‘valid’ in Malay). I’m not sure whether my sinner’s prayer was done perfectly. My friends, this is how you know whether you are a Christian today. What’s your relationship with God? Do you obey him? What’s your relationship with one another? Do you love your brethren? And, number 3, what’s your relationship with the world? Do you love the world? I’m not asking if you are in the world. It’s obvious we are all in the world. But, I’m asking, is the world in you? By this you would know if you are truly a child of God. (37:36)
My friends, maybe today you are a disciple of Jesus Christ. You know it. You are following Him. But you, in this season of your life are just entrapped by the lures and the lust of this world : your thoughts, your life patterns, your spending patterns, the way you raise your kids, your goals for your kids. It’s so much for the world, it’s for money, for better career. The Scriptures warn us this morning, and I urge you to repent because God is good. He gives you this Word not so as to condemn you but to lovingly draw you back to a supreme love for Him. That’s where your life is supposed to be plugged in. That’s where you have the greatest satisfaction. That’s what really matters.
Maybe you’re here today, first time, and you’re saying, ‘Why should I be a Christian? Why should I love God?’ Let me tell you why : Because the world passes away. The world is an enemy to God who made us, who has a divine purpose and glorious promise for us. You say, ‘how can I be delivered from this world?’ My friends, you can only be delivered from this world if Jesus is in your life. You see, you cannot replace that deep desire for things but it is only when Jesus fills your heart, when you repent of your sin, and come to trust Him that you can truly have deliverance. Would you, this morning, choose to repent of your sin and believe in Jesus, the Son of God? Would you be born again? Would you have this real life? It’s available from the cross. Jesus has paid it all. Would you come to Him?
Father, we thank you today for your word ~ crystal clear. As we study Scripture, we are so confused because we have been so entrenched into the philosophies and the lures and attractions of this world. Would you have mercy to deliver us today? This is an evil world and if we love the world, the love of the father is not in us. So, would you work in all our hearts? Purge us from inordinate excessive cravings for the things of the world and make us have a real passion for you. For those that need to be saved today, we pray by your Spirit, awaken their soul, turn them from sin, that they will repent and believe in a wonderful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And for all of us who are disciples of Jesus, help us to keep our eyes on you, to decide to follow Jesus ~ no turning back. We thank you and we pray all this now in Jesus’ name.← Older posts Newer posts →