“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-2014-10-12
If you have your Bibles, turn with me therefore, to 1 John chapter 2 and er…that you can look at the verses 15 to 17, in particular once again. Now, let me begin with what happened in my home, in my house. Some months ago, I shared with you that there is a plumbing issue, something was choked up in one of the pipes and water was overflowing everywhere in the kitchen. Well, my house seems to have this problem with plumbing and so this week, I had a problem with a toilet bowl. Er…and this time it’s not just overflowing things, not that it’s not overflowing but there is an overwhelming stench. So there’s a smell that came out of the toilet bowl. I do not know what’s going on. The water level in the toilet bowl was going low and when you flush, it will flush and then it will grgrgrgrrr… there’s a gurgling sound. So something obviously is not right, but I did what a guy usually does – act blur and do nothing about it. So I ignored it, I didn’t deal…deal with it, because it’s my son’s toilet, my wife doesn’t know. (Laughter in the congregation) So I sort of ignored it and passed over it, but the stench just got more and more overwhelming.
And at last, we decided to get the plumber in. The plumber came and he took a mirror and he puts it at the back of the toilet bowl or the unit and he says, “I think I know what the problem is.” He began to dismantle the whole toilet seat, the unit itself. Took about 10 – 15 minutes and he says, “Sir, come take a look.” And so I went and to my horror, I saw something that maybe if you’re not er… prepared, don’t see, alright? Viewer discretion is advised (laughter in the congregation). Because when my helper went in, she saw it, she was ‘eeek’ and this is the picture, alright? Close your eyes, if you didn’t want to see it. Eh… aiyah…okay… (nothing on screen) close your eyes if you didn’t want to see it. Well, it looks like this. (Picture shown) (Exclamation in the congregation) Urrrggggg….the seat is removed and that…that trap at the…on the floor looks exactly like this. So no wonder, my helper shook her head; the plumber when he stepped into the room says, “Wah…什么这样臭啊?” (shen me zhe yang chou a) (Mandarin words meaning what is so smelly?) He cannot believe the smell. And I tell you, even right now, I can smell it. (Laughter in the congregation) Still lingering, I think. 0:02:22.0
Well, when I had this, I thought about the series we are in. We are talking about loving not the world. Why? Because the world is choking up our spiritual life and we don’t even know it! There is that smell; there is that filth, there is that stench that is coming out of us, before the Holy God and we don’t even know it. What’s worse is, we tend to ignore it. We think nothing’s going on, we think we are fine, we think we come to church, we think that we serve God and we do not realize that our lives are actually choked up with worldliness. So we tried to, maybe spray perfume, oh mask that smell. And so as Christians, we mask the fact that we love the world by coming to church, serving God and we think everything is okay. The reality, however, your life is not doing well. You’re choked, you’re blocked, you stink and it’s got to be gotten rid of. That’s why the Bible tells us, “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.”
This three-part series began with an understanding of what this world is all about. What does it mean to love the world? We realized, to not love the world is not to say we cannot live in the world, because the Bible tells us to shine as lights in this world. So it’s not about possessing the world, but it’s about obsessing the world. It’s not that we can’t live in the world, but the world must not live in us. The heart of the matter is that this is a matter of the heart. Love not the world, because if you love the world, there will come a certain devastation in your life. John tells us, the world passes away and the lust, thereof. If you love this world and you live for this world, then you live for a life that has no future. What’s worse? According to CS Lewis, this world is like sweet poison of the false infinite. It kills you spiritually. 0:04:32.5
So, today we come to the final message, which is a needful one, about how you can be delivered from loving this world. This is a message about the ‘How?’ The first message is about ‘What?’ The second is about ‘Why?’ and this is a message about how you and I could be delivered from the power of this world. By the way, this is a command from God. This is not an option when he says, “Love not the world…” It is written in the imperative voice, meaning it is a command, it’s not an option. But we know how difficult this is, isn’t it? I mean, like I say, when you go to a shopping mall and you see the glittering handbags, the shiny diamonds, your heart longs for these things; when a guy goes to a car showroom, opens the car and smells the new car, the new leather, he’s intoxicated with the love for this car. It is so easy to be tempted to go the way of the world when you talk with your friends. Oh, he is now a professor; oh, now he is the CEO; oh, now he is earning big bucks; oh, this is the car he drives; this is the house he lives in. These are the things that appeal to us. So we know we ought not love this world but it’s so difficult.
So how can you and I be delivered from the love of this world? That’s the question we want to answer today. How do people answer this question? Well, some of them answered it this way: Pastor, I know how I cannot love this world. I will give up all my creature comforts. I will sell my bed; I will give away my pillow; I will not eat any delicacy but ‘jiak loti’ (A mixed of Hokkien dialect and Malay words meaning eat bread) and drink water everyday. I will not have lights nor computer or television. I gave all these things away. That’s how I love not the world. But do you realize that, even if you give away these things and you drive a ‘lau pok chia’ (Hokkien dialect words meaning old lousy car), you can still love the world? You can still be coveting? You can still be longing and craving for the things of the world, so removing these things on the outside may not help you deal with a heart problem. 0:06:39.6
Some of us like the Amish people, they withdraw from society. They say, “Oh, love not the world.” So I tear away from this society; I tear away from people. I go to the desert; I go to the monastery; I stay only with Christians. Well, even if you’re staying away from society, it doesn’t mean that the world does not creep into you as well. Some of us narrow it to external practices. Orr… love not the world means I’m not going to drink; I’m not going to smoke. I’m not going to do this, I’m not going to do that. I live by a code of conduct. But again, that is no sure-fire method to cure the worldliness that can be growing in us. So how can you and I deal with this heart problem? It’s not about the outside. It’s really not about the outside. The outside is merely a manifestation of the inside, of the heart. So how can I deal with this heart disease called ‘Loving the World’?
In order for you to understand this, I want you to think about this little difficulty I have. I have this bottle Pastor holds up empty bottle), empty bottle, umm… you could see it. It’s empty, but it’s not empty because there is what inside? There is air inside. It’s sealed, alright? It’s seal real tight. There is air inside. Can you help me find a way to get rid of the air? If I were to give you any device, any machine, anything at all. Even yourself, you can use whatever parts of your body. I give you anything you can. Could you for 10 seconds think and don’t tell anyone yet. Think for 10 seconds, what’s the best way for you to remove this air from the bottle. Don’t tell anyone yet, alright? Think for yourself 10 seconds and locked in the answer in your mind. (After a short pause) Okay, times up! I will ask anyone of you can? No lah, stress you. You become so stressed. Give your answer. What is the best way to get air out of this? Put in a…? (Response in the congregation) Aiyah, all so smart people! This spoils my game (laughter in the congregation) but okay, I still will demonstrate to you. This… this, some of us may think, open it up and… (Pastor suck out the air from the bottle) suck the air. Some of us may attach it to a vacuum cleaner, but yeah I think most of you are right, this is the best way to get rid of air. (Pastor opens another bottle) My…my son’s water bottle. (Pastor pours red-coloured water into the empty bottle) I think, this is the best way to get rid of air in the bottle. And this is a remembrance for this message. 0:09:24.8
How do you drive out the love of this world? The Biblical basis for this is found in 1 John 2:15. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” We began by looking at this simple principle. There’s only room for one in your heart. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. There’s only room for one. And there are therefore two rivals for your human heart. There is the world who wants your heart and God who wants your heart. But if you allow the world to occupy your heart, if you love the world, then the love of God is not in you. And therefore, the only power that can expel the love of the world in your heart is when you have the love of God in you.
This principle is what Thomas Chalmers says in his sermon, ‘Expulsive Power of a New Affection’. Thomas Chalmers is an old Scottish preacher known for one sermon, okay? He’s most well-known for this one sermon and the sermon is what we are looking at today – The Expulsive Power of a New Affection. Why new? Because we are never born with the love for God. This love for God is given to us by Him, but once you have the love of God, this is a powerful force that drives out the natural love for God in our hearts. Thomas Chalmers argues, that if you just tell people the world is bad, the world is bad, you got to get out of it, you got to get it out of your heart. If you just tell people that, it will never last. Because the world once driven out for a moment, would easily come back. It’s almost like if I suck the air out of the bottle, when my face turn green, yeah, maybe there is less air but the moment I stop, it flows right back in. Nature doesn’t like vacuum. So Thomas Chalmers says, if you just tell people to love not the world, tell them to do that is bad, they will not be able to sustain that kind of a life. The only way to really do so, is when you’re filled up with the love of God. The red, pure love of God. He says, “We know of no other way by which to keep the love of the world out of our heart, than to keep in our hearts the love of God.” Very, very simple point. How can you and I deal with the air in our life? The vanity of this world in our life? When you are filled up with God’s love. 0:12:08.5
This is very simple and I think even a child can understand that. This is a picture of my son, Matthias. Er…the second one. Matthias is a very cheeky boy and he loves to take photos. He will take…he will pose for you, er… and he’s very strong-willed. My older son is very much like my wife – very gentle, very kind. My second son is like me – stubborn like…like nothing, okay? Matthias is very stubborn and he loves to hold on to…to things he likes. So umm…wherever he goes, he will hold on to something and if you want to take that thing away from him, he will fuss. He will complaint, he will cry, he will make a lot of difficulties for you, so that he doesn’t have to let go.
But we found one method to make him let go happily, willingly, without complaints. We found a new affection for Matthias. You see, if I tell Matthias, “Don’t… Matthias, share the toy, give to your brother, share with friends.” He won’t! But now we have discovered a new affection for Matthias and it all becomes easy. Noticed what’s in his hand? The dinosaur. He won’t…he won’t appreciate if you say ‘dinosaur’, you must be very precise, T-Rex (laughter in the congregation). He knows Diplodocus, T-Rex. He knows T-Rex so…and he has a few T-Rexes. He has an orange one, brown one, this is the green one. The green T-Rex is Matthias’ favourite. Before he sleeps, T-Rex must be beside him. When he wakes up, he says, “My T-Rex! Where is T-Rex?” And wherever he goes, he loves to bring T-Rex around. So now we realize that if Matthias is doing iPad, or he is playing with toys and we want him to leave that, the best thing to do is, “Matthias, T-Rrrex!” And he lets go of his iPad, he lets go of the things that he wants to be playing and he goes for T-Rex. No quarrel, no problems. He’s able to let go because he has an overwhelming passion for T-Rex.
Why would you give up this world? I mean the world is fun, iPad, lots of nice things. Why would you give it up? Simply because someone tells you the world is bad? No, the heart is wired to crave for something. It must search for something and if you say, “Don’t touch it!” You must give it something else and the only power strong enough, for a man to let go of the world, is the new affection – the love for God. 0:14:46.9
Parents, I want to share something. I…I don’t have kids who love to play computer yet, but you probably have kids who are… who play computer everyday. You say to, “Ah Boy, ‘mai shen liao’ (Hokkien dialect words meaning don’t play already). Ah Boy, don’t play already. Play so much computer, you can’t study. You must study. Give up computer, it’s not good… you nag and nag and nag and nag. I tell you what your Ah Boy still do, still play and play and play and play. Why? You…he…it’s not that he doesn’t know he is wasting his time, I can tell you that. He knows it’s a waste of time. He knows it should be spent more profitably. But he can’t let go because you are telling him it’s bad but you’re not giving him anything that really motivates him. There’s no new affection.
For some of you, you are trying to lose weight. People tell you fat no good, fat no good, fat no good. Yeah, I know no good but I…I can’t lose weight. You know why? Because there’s no affection for something else. I know it because I was a ‘Pui Kia’ (Hokkien dialect words meaning fat boy). Er…I was…I was really overweight when I was in primary school, secondary school. I was part of a very famous club called the TAF Club. Heard of that? Trim and Fit Club. Actually not very trim and not very fit lah. All oversize people. I was part of the TAF Club. Never really wanted to lose weight. I mean what’s wrong? I eat all I want, I have all the KFC I like. What’s the big deal? Until…Winnie came into my life (Laughter in the congregation). The expulsive power of a new affection. We all understand this. And when it comes to the world, there is a new affection that changes our life – The love of God. 0:16:27.6
This is what Thomas Chalmers means, and I think that’s what we can learn from 1 John 2. We are naturally born with a love for this world. You tell this world, get out of my heart but the world will creep back in. There’s a vacuum and the only way this world is going to be pushed out in our life is when there is a love for God that fills this heart. That’s the only way. Is this true? Yeah, look at Moses. Moses could be the number 1 man in all the world at his time, he could be. He could have all the glory and pomp and pleasures of this world, but you know what the Bible tells us? Moses didn’t want all that. Amazing! He didn’t want the pleasures this world has to offer. He chose to be mistreated with the people of God. You say why? Why would he let go of Egypt? Why would he let go of this world? Because he has an expulsive power of a new affection – Christ. And even if he were to suffer for Christ, he says, I would gladly go. So overwhelming for this man of faith, that he lets go of this world, because he has a deep love for God and Jesus Christ.
This is exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 13. Sometimes when we read these parables, we don’t get this angle but if you look at it this way. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44, ESV) Basically he exchanged everything he had for this one treasure. He happily lets go of all that he has for this one treasure. This is the Gospel. This is the love of God. What does it means to follow Jesus? It means I’m willing to let go of everything in my life so that I may have God and it is because of God that I happily give up everything in my life. It’s because of Jesus that I would deny myself, take up the cross and follow Him. Is this such a pain? No, because I have Christ! The expulsive power of a new affection. This man is no loser. He has the joy and love of God.
I walk in hospital wards, by and by visiting people. I talked to my friends who are doctors. Maybe now private practice, whatever. Am I a loser? I say, “No, I have Christ.” And I gladly give that all up because I’ve found a treasure. The positive power, expulsive power of a new affection. 0:19:25.9
Sinclair Ferguson, a modern preacher today who, after reading Thomas Chalmers, puts it in simpler English and therefore I share it with you. He says, “You cannot destroy love for the world merely by showing its emptiness. Even if we could do so, that would only lead to despair. The first world-centered love of our hearts can be expelled only by a new love and affection for God and from God. The love of the world and the love of the Father cannot dwell together in the same heart.” There’s only room for one. “But the love of the Fa… of the world can be driven out only by the love of the Father.”
Jesus Christ. He says, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world…” (John 17:15) The cure to worldliness is not taking them out. In actual fact, Jesus wants them to be in the world. To shine, to preach, to bring the Gospel message, but how to prevent the world getting into them? The expulsive power of a new affection. “I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them…” (John 17:26, ESV) What they need is the love of God. So what is the cure? What is a true antidote to worldliness in life? You’ve got to be filled up with the red love of God. You’ve got to love God and when you love God you will not love the world.
Let me tell you something however, the bad news – you don’t have the love of God. None of us is born into this world with this red love for God. We don’t. We are all born with a love for the world. So how? I’m filled with air. Where can I get this red love for God? The good news, is even though you do not have the love of God by yourself, by nature at first, there is the love from God for you. So this is the amazing thing about the Gospel, this is the amazing thing about the Bible. The Bible tells us that when we do not love God at all, there’s nothing in us that longs for God, God loves us. He loves us. He made us and he loves us. And the Bible is telling us that God’s love is for you, who has no love for him and this is the direction of life. You see, most of us think that we love God, then God will love me, isn’t that what it is? Every religion says you do this, you do this, you do this to prove your love for this deity and this deity will now love you in return. The Bible says it doesn’t work that way. You can never love God, by yourself, but it starts with God. God loves us when we are totally unlovely and when he loves us and when we feel and we know and we’ve receive this love, the Bible tells us, we now love Him. 1 John 4, “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19, ESV) I did not love God on my own. It’s because He loves me first and now I have the love from God, that allows me to have the love for God.
How do you know God loves you? Some people today think that God loves me because he healed my disease. He helped my boy get into this school. I earned the 1st million bucks. Wah, God really loves me. Well, maybe that’s true, but I tell you, those are not the pinnacle expression of God’s love. The pinnacle expression of God’s love, according to the Bible is here: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9, ESV) How is God’s love made so clear? The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good News, that while we were yet sinners God sent his only Son so that we might have life. This is love unspeakable. This is love that is stunning and out of this world because it is… has nothing to do with how worthy we are. It’s all because of God. And that’s why this love from God is experienced via the Gospel of Christ. I think this is what the Gospel is all about. The Gospel is a glorious message that God loves me. And the Gospel is the message that when I receive understanding that God loves me, I now live for him. 0:24:25.5
The world today, Christianity today, has by and large miss this when we neglect either part. Some of us say, “All I need to do is to love God.” And what it produces is religion or works-based religion. We produce Pharisees. Oh, Christianity is a set of rules and regulations by which you earn God’s love. You talk about love for God without the love from God, that doesn’t work. That’s ‘Pharisaism’. That’s legalism. That’s flesh-based religion.
On the other hand, there are people today who says, “God loves me. God loves me. God loves me.” But there is never an expression of love for God, in obedience. That’s really not the Gospel as well. Grace and godliness are together. You take away anyone of them, you do not have the Gospel. True Gospel centeredness is God’s love for me and my love for God, in response to that. That’s why, again, the Gospel says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, ESV)
We’re called Gospel Light Christian Church. Gospel light! This Gospel light is not just for the unbeliever, this Gospel light…this Gospel is also for the believer. Because it’s only when we know God’s love that you and I can live that life that shines for Jesus Christ. It’s only when we understand the Gospel that we can really live out the true life of godliness. And this is what we need: the Gospel-centered life. Not about flesh-based religion, not about indulgent erroneous teaching of grace, that doesn’t lead to godliness. This is the center and the love from God and the love of God are to be held in tandem. 0:26:37.8
See, this is what we are (picture shown). This is you and I and all of us have dreams. Some of us dream of cars. Like I’ve shared with you, I had last time. Some of us dream of houses and money and gadgets, the things of this world but maybe you don’t want material things, you want these things: you want the applause of men. You love it when people applaud you. You love it when people accept you. You love it when your Facebook has a 1000 likes. You love it when you’re the number 1 person wherever you are. This is what you live for. You know why? Because this is from the heart that loves the world. It’s natural. This is very natural. So weird! This is universal because this is your heart.
So when a preacher comes along and says to you, “Don’t love this world, because the world is bad. The world is bad! The world is bad!” You say, alright, the world is bad, I…I’m going to stop thinking about it. I’m going to stop thinking about it. I’m going to stop thinking about it. The next moment it comes back in. It’s like I’m going to suck this air out of this bottle. Suck, suck, suck, suck, herrrr (out of breathe sound)….the air rushes back in. You can’t get rid of the air. You can’t get rid of this er… love for this world because your heart is filled with the love for this world. The only way you can get rid of it, is when your heart is changed. It’s filled with this love for God. And these things will fade in your life. This world will look strangely dim because you’ll be filled with the love of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s the only way. There is no other way. There is no other way, where you can loosen the grip of this world in your heart, until you have experienced and received the love of God in Jesus Christ.
If you today are here and you do not know Jesus, you love this world and you say, you know this world is meaningless, it’s vanity. I… I do not want to live for this world but I found it so difficult. I say to you, come to Jesus Christ. He’s the only way, the truth and the life, for you to know the true and living God for whom you are made for. And find your rest in Him.
I say to all of you who are parents. We who are…majority, many of you here are Chinese and I know how we Chinese teach children. We teach them don’t do this, don’t do that because… or study harder, don’t waste your time, because you’ll be a scholar. You earn enough money and you tell them about these things. Don’t love this world, but it will never work until his heart is filled with the love for God. Our Sunday school ministry, our children ministry, should not be about, oh kids should be filial. Oh, kids should obey. Oh, kids should love one another. Oh, kids should be kind. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying we don’t teach these things but we must not teach these things without telling them the love of God in Jesus Christ, in the Gospel. Because if you tell them to do these things but their hearts is not filled with God’s love, you produce moral children but they are not spiritual children. You are just teaching behaviourism, moral education. Their heart is not changed! So what we need to give our kids? What we need to give your children is that they will know the love of God in Jesus Christ, so that their heart is now filled with God’s love. Then their life will really change. They will really obey their parents because they love God. They will really be kind to one another because they love God. They will be gracious to people because they love God. Why do they love God? Because they know God loves them.
Some of us have youths and your youths have plenty of problems. I think teenage years are the worst years, all the problems surface. Sometimes struggle with this computer addiction, sometimes porn addiction, sometimes relationship issues and there’s so many problem. You say, so difficult to deal with them one by one. You know why it’s so difficult? Because they are merely the manifestations of a heart problem. They love this world. And your cure is to get right at the heart. That they may know the love of God. That’s what Yu Fei’s job is all about. Leading these youths to a Gospel-centered obedience to Jesus Christ. This is what parenting is about. Helping your children see the love of God in Jesus Christ. And when they are really experiencing that, their lives would changed. Some of us, however, we already have this love, we have known Christ, we have believed in him, we’ve turn from our ways, but we find that our journey is lots of up-and-down. Sometimes, we are on fire, sometimes we are cold. Sometimes we love God, sometimes we love the world and we hate to admit that, but it’s true. Well, I think it’s because sometimes, like this bottle of water, if I… if I uncapped this and I leave it in the sun. After a few months, I think the water level drops. I need to what? Top it up! If I don’t top it up, the world comes…or the air comes right back. So how can I grow in this love for God? How can I top up? Because there are times when it runs dry and I begin to be cold in my relationship with God. I begin to love this world and I don’t like it. So what do I do? 0:32:31.6
I end with these 3 things that are practical outworking of what you can do to fill your heart with the love from God, so that you may have a genuine love for God.
Number 1 – I suggest that you need to ponder.
The word ‘ponder’ means to think, to meditate, to reflect, to consider. You see, the Bible already tells us, the love of God is shown in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that’s why we need to be thinking the Gospel regularly, at all times. Not just an intellectual thinking, oh God saves me, but to…to really reflect in Scripture how God has presented His love to us. How we are steep in sin and how amazing His love is. And that’s why you read the books of the Bible, Romans and so on, is it technical theological alone? No, it’s…it’s healing of the heart. It’s love language. That’s why we read the Bible! It’s God’s love letter to you and to me! Some of you, you have BGR problems. You argue, you quarrel with your girlfriend, your boyfriend and…he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t love me anymore. Then you go back and you take out your love letters that he has written to you. Oh he loves me, oh he loves me, oh he really loves me and you look at all the presents he has given you and you look at all these tokens. And you reaffirmed to yourself, he really does love me. Sometimes in this life, we think God doesn’t love me. Or His love is really not that great. Go back and read His love letter. Read the Bible.
I was reading the Bible with my son and that… the picture Bible and we started from the beginning and the Bible… the picture Bible opens with this statement: the Bible is a story…that’s a nice way to start. Story about what? Goes on to say, the Bible is a story…about God. You see, sometimes we think that the Bible is a list of commands and instructions. It’s primarily a story. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. It’s a story of how God reveals himself to sinful man. It’s a story of how God is on the move to redeem and to restore us. It’s a story of God’s infinite, unchangeable love for you and for me. So go, read God’s love letter to you. Ponder, meditate. I say to you: ponder and meditate on God’s love in the songs we sing. Do you know that the Bible commands us to sing to one another, in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs? It’s so sad when people come for Worship Service, ‘swee swee’ (Hokkien dialect words meaning just nice) 11:20. I know your timing, very ‘juen’ (Hokkien dialect word meaning very accurate) one, you all. You know when I’ll step up to preach and you just want to hear the preaching of God’s word. I tell you, you miss out on the first segment of singing to God and singing to one another in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Those are opportunities for the Gospel, by the spirit’s help to go deep into our lives and into our hearts. You watch so many movies, you watch so many TV programs, it tells you about the world. Don’t you think you should ponder and meditate about God’s love for you? That’s why we observe the Lord’s supper. Do this in remembrance of Me. It’s a topping up process. It’s getting low, top it up. How? Ponder through Scripture, through songs, spiritual songs, and in the observance of the Lord’s table. So, Number 1, you’ve got to ponder. I guess you can guess the second one, the pattern all ‘P’ one. That’s easy for you.
2. (Number 2?) Pray.
That’s so simple, right? And this is not just because it’s all ‘P’ but because the Scripture says so. In Ephesians 3, one of the great grand passages of the Bible, earlier verse I think in verse 15 or 16, Paul says, “For this cause I bow my knees before God.” So what is Paul praying for? Paul is praying for the Ephesians, for the church at Ephesus, “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth (and) length (and) height and depth, and to know the love of Christ…” (Ephesians 3:17-19, ESV) You say what does Paul pray for? He prays for the church to be filled up with God’s love. He prays for the church to be filled up with the Gospel of love. That’s what he prays for.
You know what we pray for? Orr…pray for my son to get good results, pray for my flu to go away, pray that my job will ‘soon soon lee lee’ (Hokkien dialect words meaning smooth sailing), very smooth. Er… pray that I will have a good day. I’m not saying that you don’t pray for these things or that is necessarily sinful to pray for these things. But the balance of prayer in the Scripture and what we are praying today is just so different. And I’m not saying this in a condemning way at all, I’m just encouraging you to… to think scripturally, what is really important? Here, this heart. This little heart of mine that has room only for one. It was filled with the love for…for this world. Today, it should be filled with the love for God. And the only way it can be filled, is when I know the love of God to me. And I therefore need to meditate on Scripture. I need to ponder, I need to remind myself through the means of grace and I not only must do this on the intellectual level, I must pray that God will bring it really to my heart and fill it up. That’s what you should pray for, for yourself. Because some of you today are tired in your spiritual life. You’re cold, you’re lethargic, you…you feel so weary of living the Christian life. I say, you need to be topped up with God’s love. He goes on to say in Philippians… Philippians 1, “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more…”(Philippians 1:9, ESV) Again he prays that they will grow in God’s love. 0:39:15.0
Finally, the 3rd ‘P’. Anyone wants to guess? Someone actually gave, I think a better word than what I came up with, so I thought it’s great. But anyway what’s the 3rd ‘P’? Think about it, how can I know the love of God more? Well, scripturally, I know I need to ponder, I need to think, I need to meditate, I need to read. Two, I need to pray. That’s Scripture. Prayer – that’s obvious. The 3rd one? The 3rd one is…
Wah…this kind of word also can ah? (Laughter in the congregation) Yeah, because in Hebrews 10:24, by the way, Hebrews 10:24, in the King James version, I…I grew up on King James, that’s why. “And let us consider how to… provoke one another to love and to good works.” That’s why I have the word ‘provoke’. Actually, someone said, “Participate.” I thought that’s quite good. ‘Participate’ means you are part of this community where you stir up one another. Christian living is never in isolation. The Gospel calls us to community life. The world tells you to live individualistic lives. The Gospel calls you to a community life and this community is necessary for you to be filled up with God’s love and for you to help fill other people with God’s love. It’s a dynamic that Scripture tells us of in Hebrews 10. And I want to encourage this church, each and everyone of you. Are you really serious about living for God? Are you really serious about having your life changed? Are you serious about discipleship to Jesus? Then repent and go back to your first works. What are your first works? Scripture, prayer, community.
And I love the word that you guys used, ‘practice’. Hehe… it is so appropriate today. Because I tell you, I fear that all of us who have heard this message, walk out of this place, “Thank you Pastor. I understand that you use a bottle. I remember the story. I remember this three ‘P’s and thank you very much.” And then for the next year, your life has no change. You’re still as cold. You still love this world. You’re still dreaming about your BMW and there’s no change… you know why? Because you’re not practicing this.
My challenge to you, my challenge to myself, is that we will not just walk out of this place with an intellectual knowledge, “Oh, this is the way to do it.” But we will practically take the bottle of our lives, to ponder, to pray, to provoke and regularly be topping up the heart of our soul, the heart of our life. Would you do that? That’s why we encourage you to read the Scriptures. To…to go for means of grace. That’s why we encourage you to pray for spiritual things. That’s why you need to be in community. 0:42:17.1
The real and only solution to this heart is to have our hearts set on fire by the love of God. That we’ll pray and we’ll sing and we’ll say to ourselves, a passion for you, God, not just to serve but to love you with all of my heart. And this is the beauty of the Gospel. When at the end of life’s journey, we turn up before God. We appear before Him and we could say, “Lord, we kept Your Word, we love not the world.” Why? Because your love has fill up our lives. Jesus is the hero who has captured our hearts and we live for Him because He first loved us. You know, that brings glory to God? And that is the real antidote to the sweet poison of your soul today. Let’s bow for a word of prayer. 0:43:20.4
Love not the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. This is one of the evidence of a life that truly has been changed by Jesus Christ. If you’re part of this church, you’ve attended our services, we want to affirm to you that you are a follower, a disciple, a believer of Jesus not because you came to church, not because you have a Christian name, not because you do this and you do that. You are a child of God and you can know it because you love not the world. Just like John has told us earlier on, you obey His commandments, you love one another. If you in your life today, could not say honestly to yourself, “I obey His Word. I love my brothers and sisters in Christ and I love not the world.” If you cannot say that, my friends, this is not a bad time at all, for you to come to God and say I need to be born again. Because I see that there is no glimpse of real life and this may be the most glorious day for you, that you would see your own lack of change. That you’ll see that your heart is still the same heart and you cried to God, “God, change my heart!” And I know you can, because you sent your Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross, shed his blood, to save me from my sins. The best I know how, I would turn from my sins and I will receive, I will believe in Jesus to be my Savior. Today can be the day your heart is changed. Today can be the day your heart experiences the love from God, in the Gospel. But you’ve got to make that choice. You’ve got to say “No” to sin, you’ve got to say “Yes” to the finished work of Jesus Christ. You’ve got to say, “Lord, I want to come to you and Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.” Would you do that? Today, right here, right now?
There is hope for your soul. There is life from the cross of Calvary. There is love you’ve never experienced, that comes through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. Your life that is like the bottle filled with vain air, clutching at anything this world has to offer, can be absolutely filled up with the red love of God, the warm love of God. It can be yours today. I speak today to brothers and sisters in Christ, you have believed. You have repented. You have followed Jesus, but sometimes you follow erratically. You follow a day or two, you drop off a day or two. There are peaks and troughs, there are mountains and valleys in your spiritual journey. You struggle, you are dry, you are tired, you are frustrated. You got to need…you got to have a top-up. You got to have a re-charge. You got to have a filling up again with the Gospel of love. So maybe it’s time for you to stop being like a ‘Martha’. Running around, praying for everything around you, but neglecting the need of your heart – to know His love, to be filled with His love. Maybe, that’s what you need to cry out to God today. It is a time for you to commit yourself to say, “Lord, I’m going back to my first works. I’m going to be like a ‘Mary’ who will sit at your feet. I will ponder the Scriptures. I will sing songs of praise. I’ll be part of a spiritual family. I will… I will consider to provoke one another because I want to be topped up, I want to be filled up with Your love, because that is the only way I can be rescued from the clutches of this world. I want to love You God and I thank You that Your Word tells me how, to go back to the Gospel to be filled up with the Gospel.” Would you make that choice as well today?
Father, we thank you for this morning, and how we could consider, a glorious theme of the Bible. The Bible is the story of God and His love for sinful men. God, this is Your love, this is the power of Your love, not just to save us from hell to heaven, but to save us today from the world unto Yourself. Glorious power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, fill our hearts today, answer our prayer. Even as we right here, right now, will sing a song unto You. Hear us, make this church a glorious church, glorious with the love of the Gospel, glorious to bring many more to this same love with which You have love us. So be with your people today, we pray 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-2014-10-5
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.
Time stamp in audio 0:36:31.6.
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.
Time stamp in audio 0:37:22.7.
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.
Time stamp in audio 0:39:40.1.
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.
Time stamp in audio 0:42:45.4.
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.← Older posts Newer posts →