Why should Christians not love the world? What is it in this world that we need to be on guard against that could hurt us spiritually?
As members in God's church, we read in the scriptures the importance of our fellowship with God and to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We are told that there's no room for anything in our hearts other than love. Any form of hatred or upheaval toward a brother or a sister in Christ is not "walking in the light," as the scripture talks about in I John 2:9, where it says:
I John 2:9 – He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, or his sister for any reason, is in darkness until now. In other words, something's got to change. Somebody's got to come to repentance in those areas if that is the problem they're struggling with. But you know, the Bible has a lot to address, and there's one area that I'd like to really focus on this afternoon for our edification because it's something that is set forth in scripture in such a strong imperative that we might tend to just read over it if we're not careful and not really dig down and pull out of it the full impact of what the scripture is trying to say.
I'd like you to join me, if you would, please, in I John 2:15.
I John 2:15 – Here we're told the following: the scripture says: Do not . . .this is very emphatic . . . Do not love the world or the things of (in) the world. If anyone loves the world, then the love of the Father is not in him or her. So, what is this "world" that it is talking about?
This is important to look at because, again, do we really understand the meaning of this command? This is what we want to look at today. Do we really appreciate the importance of this command and what God is trying to tell us through the apostle, John, in issuing this very important area of scriptural admonition?
Well, what I hope to do in the time remaining is to shed light on what John was saying, and also provide motivation to seriously heed what this command is all about because unless you and I heed seriously this command, we're on thin ice spiritually. None of us can afford to be there on thin ice. We need to be rock-solid with Jesus Christ and the hope of our calling in the kingdom of God.
So, let's ask this question: Why should Christians not love the world? I mean, we're in the world; we live in the world; Jesus said, "I don't want You to take them out of the world, but I want You to keep them all unified together in the same spirit of love that God, the Father, and Jesus Christ demonstrated." And certainly, that is God's desire that we walk in harmony and unity together, but what is this thing about the world? What is it in this world that we need to be on guard against that could slip in the back door, so to speak and do us hurt spiritually?
Well, that's what we want to look at because first of all, the term – world – in this passage does not mean the general world in which we live, per se . We're not talking about the physical planet which we call – the world. That is God's creation. Genesis 1:1 tells us very plainly that God created the heavens and the earth. And we also know that when He finished up in Verse 31:
Genesis 1:31 - He says, Behold, it was very good. So the earth, as God has created it, was designed to be very good. Now obviously, there is something wrong with the earth, something we've got to learn to hate in terms of not loving the world but staying away from this element but it's not, again, just the earth itself.
Now even the apostle Paul said in the book of Corinthians that when he said, "Don't accompany yourself, or be around individuals, who...like fornicators, and what have you, and so forth," but like he said, "Please understand the balance of that because there's a lot of that going on in this world." And he says," If you're reading me wrong, you're going to have to go to another planet." What he's merely saying is that you don't ascribe to what they're involved in. That's what you stay away from. You live in the same world they live in, but what they are involved in, and what we are involved in are two different things. This is what we want to look at.
God loves His creation. He said it was very good. And we also know that He made humankind in His image. So male and female, made in the image of God is very important to God. And it is not something, when we talk about the world, He's not talking about the people because we know one thing very clearly, John 3:16, and that is what?
John 3:16 – That God so loved the world. . . now, He's not talking about the planet. He's not talking about, you know, the cosmos as we understand it in the general vernacular. We're talking about the people. Because He says He loved it so much that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever. . .that's talking about people. So God gave Jesus Christ for us so that as His creation, the people living in this world could have a mediator of a better covenant and salvation through Jesus Christ.
So, therefore, it's not the planet; it's not the people in the broad, general sense, then what is it that God is asking us to stay clear of that's " in the world?" Because He says, "Love not ..." whatever this is, . . . in the world."
And the answer is: that God is telling us that there is another element in the world, and we use the term - the sphere of influence that is in this world. Because just like you have sports – you know, they have sports on television, and they talk about – the wonderful world of sports. And then what that does, it covers the whole aspect of sport endeavor, what's going on in the world of sports. Well in this particular case, the part we're supposed to be mindful of, is there's something going on in this world that you and I must not love.
Now this sphere of influence would strive to embrace us in it and tell us to love it, that it's fine, it's good, there's nothing wrong with it, but according to God's word, it's just the opposite. It's something that we need to absolutely stay clear of.
Three things in particular are mentioned in this area of scripture. And these three things dealing with, again, the sphere of influence, is the world of sin in which we live. We live in a world that has sinful influence all around us, and this is why the days are evil. We're told to redeem the time in Ephesians, because the days are evil, hurtful in their effect upon us, what it can do upon us, what it can mess us up, spiritually and physically. What God wants us to understand is there is much evil in this world, and this world is dominated by the God of this world, the hidden power that influences in this sphere. This is what you and I are told, any aspect of that we are not to love or embrace. And we're going to take a look at that and see how that breaks down.
The very first thing that we see here in I John 2:16:
I John 2:16 – (For) all that is in the world. . . so everything in terms of this sphere of influence of this world with the god of this world brings to bear, he's working in three key areas: One, he deals with . . . the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. And we are told, it is not of the Father. . . So these elements are not of God, the Father, but are of the world. Oh, so this influence, then that is running wild out there is going to promote something that creates a roadblock between an individual and God, the Father. Keep that in mind. We'll come back to that as we move along.
Keep your place here, and let's go to the book of Galatians 5. The book of Galatians addresses something for us, and it tells us what you're going to find in the world with regard to the works of the flesh, and that is the lust of the flesh that is being spoken and addresses in John's account. And we're told here first and foremost, Galatians 5:19:
Galatians 5:19 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest. . . you're going to see them; it's going to be all around you. You'll see it on television; you'll read about it in magazines, you'll know it in people's behavior patterns, this is what you'll see. If it is motivated by the flesh, you're going to hear accounts of adultery – wow, we hear about that all the time, don't we in this world?
. . .fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. . .
Verse 20 – Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Verse 21 – Envyings, murders, . . .every day, somebody is dying in murders, and notice what it says. . . drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. This type of behavior, of the world, that influences people to eat, drink and be merry, and fornicate, and do all the other things that are mentioned here are called elements of the lust of the flesh. And when people are absorbed in those type things, they are destroying their opportunity for the kingdom of God, as Paul is saying.
So this is important because the phrase refers to unbridled desires of the flesh. When you take the bridle off of a horse, you give a horse free rein. When you put the bridle on, you restrict him. This is unbridled, human nature unbridled which will lead to exactly what the scripture says, As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be prior to Christ's return. We are going to witness unbridled human nature, the lust of the flesh, and it is going to be ramped all around us, and we need to understand that and be ready to combat it in our thoughts, in our actions, in every aspect of living life.
Now, how does it express itself? Well, we see here that one of the big areas is the misuse of sex. Sexuality in our society today is terribly, terribly, going downhill. We see everything from fornication, adultery, licentiousness. We see same sex marriages and people just getting involved in all types of things because, again, unbridled desires of the flesh.
We also see socially, socially, that this also has an impact, the lust of the flesh, how is that manifest? There's not a day that we don't hear something on the news, or read reports of hatred among people, contention, somebody upset with somebody, nations upset with somebody, jealousies, jealousies, we sing songs like, "Oh, Jealous Heart, jealous heart, stop beating. Can't you see the damage you have done." Yeah, because it destroys people. It wipes them out. And so, again, these are elements made manifest through the lust of the flesh. That's how it operates, and that's how we see it in the world, and we have to be careful that it doesn't bump up next to us.
Look what happened to the Governor of New York state and a big scandal that took place there. Was that a work of the Spirit, or the work of the flesh? I think you know the answer. He qualifies for what Galatians is talking about, the works of the flesh. And he certainly didn't honor his marriage, and his wife by doing what he was doing.
The second area we see after the lust of the flesh is another ingredient that impacts on all of us. It's called the lust of the eyes. Now, what is meant here? Because again, this lust of the eye is not of the Father, but how does it impact on us? It reflects in an unlawful longing, an unlawful longing. In other words, you see something over there that you want, and you fill in the missing blank, and you just - boy, you can't get your mind off of it. You just thinking about it all the time, "Boy, I wish I had that; I wish I could get that." The mind is just absorbed with it, and you have this unlawful longing for things which you see.
Now here's the interesting part of that. It can also be summed up in one other word that we all are familiar with. It's called covetousness. Covetousness, when you start longing after something so much. I remember years ago a situation where a member was blessed one time with a beautiful new Cadillac car. It was used, but it was nice.
Well, this member came to me, and asked, he said, "Well, you know, I'm having a problem with one of the members."
And I said, "Well, what's the problem?"
He said, "Well, he seems to be all upset with me because I have this new Cadillac."
And I said, "Is that right?"
And he made statements like, "Well, you think you're better than the rest of us because you've got a Cadillac." And he said, "What should I do?"
I said, "Well, I would suggest you get into your Cadillac and drive back and forth in front of his house. And the reason you do that is to show him your blessing from God because he's got a lesson to learn."
You're not to be coveting or jealous over somebody else's blessing. We should be happy for everyone who's blessed. If God has blessed you in such a way, more power to you because that's one of the great lessons of conversion. If you can't be happy for somebody else's blessing, why would God want to bless you with such a selfish attitude? You see, He wouldn't want to do that. That's the lust of the eye – "My, why would you have to get that Cadillac. I wish I had it."
No, that's not the answer. The answer is, you're happy for somebody and their blessing. But covetousness is an earmark of our day and age today.
Another term that expresses it is called materialism. Materialism. People are caught up in the act of materialism. We live in a day where our so-called television marketing technique is designed to do what? Appeal to the lust of the eye, the unbridled. . . you deserve the very best. That's what they keep telling us, you know. If you believe that, you know, - "I sure do; I deserve the very best; I need that." And yet, the truth of the matter is – we don't deserve the very best. And we've been dealt much better than we deserve by a very kind and loving and a gracious God who has shown great mercy to all of us. And the greatest mercy of all, that out of all the searing millions of human beings on this planet, that He should call you and I in our lifetime with the truth of God and open our minds to see and understand where He's going with all this, because the vast majority of people have not a clue, and we understand why because it's not their time for salvation. Their time is coming; God is fair and just, but it is a situation that is very serious.
Let's take a look, holding your place here; let's go back to Ephesians 5 again. Take a look at Ephesians 5. Here we notice the following:
Ephesians 5:3 – He goes on and says: But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you,. . . he says. . . as (becometh) becoming saints.
Verse 4 – Neither filthiness, nor foolish talk(ing,) nor (coarse) jesting,. . . . In other words, you're saying things that have overtones to it. . .that just don't . . . It's not complimentary. . . .which are not convenient: He says. . . but rather giving of thanks.
Verse 5 – For this (ye) know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous (man) individual , who is an idolater, (hath any inheritance in) shall inherit the kingdom of Christ and of God. So there you have it in a nutshell right there. It has a far-reaching impact – the lust of the eyes. In other words, you have to control what you're watching, and in a day and age when you're watching television, going to movies, you have to be very careful what you're watching, what you're seeing, because certain things are being portrayed constantly.
How many times do the modern-day fashions of today's society are directed by what you see on television. And so, young and old have to be extremely careful, especially women. Women have to be very mindful of that fact because the scripture addresses this. It says, women, you need to conduct yourself carefully because the world around you is not now. They're showing a lot of skin, and a lot of tight clothes, and things of this nature. I want to say, you know, they walk around like this, and do things like this in the movies. What's this for? They got an itch they're trying to scratch? No. It's designed to focus your eyes on a certain part of the human body. All of this, God tells us, be mindful of because as daughters of Sarah, that's not why God wants His women to walk or conduct themselves accordingly. And that's why we strive to maintain the standard of God.
But women today are being targeted by the devil. They really are. In fact, you may be hearing about all of these things and how young girls are being taken from the age of eleven to fourteen or fifteen, and they're being taken into the slave trade, sex slave trade, being put in pick-up, not pick-up, but eighteen wheelers and transported to various parts of the country, and they found a major base in Kansas City, Missouri, where they get them there and then they ship them out to different places. You know, we need to pray for our ladies in the Church of God, and for womankind as a whole because Satan is really working the number, and if he can bring them down, then that is going to be very hurtful indeed.
But everything in society today is geared to the video. You have to watch. Even Job talks about that in his writings that he made a covenant with his eyes that he wasn't going to be looking in certain directions, and you know, when you are in some of these things, if you don't bring those thoughts into subjection to Christ, you can end up going into the way of the world – "Ooohhhh, there's nothing wrong with it. Everything's fine."
That's the influence of the sphere of sin. That's what He says, "Love not the world. That's not God's way." Why? Because it's going to impact on your relationship with your love for the Father, because that's not of the Father, and it definitely is not of Christ.
Now that brings us to the next section. Reading on here, we go on, the lust of the flesh was discussed, the lust of the eyes, and now the pride of life. He says it is not of the Father. Now, how is the pride of life; how is it manifest? It's based upon such things, and there are some of the broad categories that the pride of life shows itself, and reveals itself. It can manifest itself in the area of age, experience, ancestry, people like to say, well, you know, my relatives way back here, as if that's supposed to mean something? You know, we can all dig around in our ancestry and we can find all kinds of things there that maybe we don't want to find. But the truth of the matter is people have this idea, past accomplishments, like, "Oh, I have done this. What have you done?" As if that's supposed to make you a lesser person than the person who has had this accomplishment.
And what about money, position and power? Oh, there are people who have money, position and power. We hear the word today, the elite, the ones that think they are so much better than the average individual in modern day society, and what would that translate to? Oh, well, obviously, the bottom line is this: that you as individuals living in our society, you will find yourself caught in the trap of everyday circumstances that are influencing people.
And again, I'd like to give a few passing observations. In each of these three categories, they often strike harder at different times. This is what we need to keep in mind. They strike harder in different times. For example: the lust of the flesh – when does that strike the hardest? The answer is: the young.
We're told in the scriptures, flee youthful lusts. It doesn't say, flee aged lusts, because in that particular area, things have kind of cooled down a lot, haven't they? But when you're starting out in those earlier years, what is it referencing? It's called hormonal development. And when those hormones are raging, one must be extremely careful not to get caught up in that type of thing, so fleshly lusts are a warning to all young people growing up, to watch your behavior, watch your conduct, don't be in situations where you're isolated – boy-girl type thing, keep plenty around you because if you're not careful, all of a sudden, those hormones get going, problems develop, and you say, "We didn't mean it." Nobody means it. It just happens. It's called chemistry. And when you put certain things together, like black powder and sulphur, BOOM! You got gunpowder. It goes BOOM! And so in this particular case, young people have to be extremely careful about those areas dealing in that area of the lust of the flesh.
But how does it effect middle aged people? Because middle aged people move along through the cycle of life, and what is their lust of the eyes, this is how the lust of the eyes begins to effect them, because they want more, and they want to en masse certain things. There are things they want.
"We've got to get a new house, a new car, we've got to get this; we got to get that." Most men are accustomed to the "Honey-do list," where "Honey, we need this done; we need that done," because it's just part of life. It's just we recognize that, but we have to be careful that it doesn't become the lust of the eyes, inordinate desires where we just get caught up in wanting to do these things en masse. It's very important.
And what about the aged? As we get up in years, and we're no longer interested in the lusts of the flesh, or we're no longer interested in en massing things, well, where do we go when we're up in years? Well, it's called – the pride of life. And the pride of life is manifested in the following areas. "Oh, that young whipper snapper, he doesn't know what he's doing."
You remember George "Gabby" Hayes from the movies? Roy Rogers's sidekick? George "Gabby" Hayes, he used to come around, and he'd see these young fellows, and he'd say, "These young whipper snappers," and that was his famous phrase.
And you'd hear the term, "Oh, that individual is 'wet behind the ears.' What does he or she know?"
Or, "They're just inexperienced," because again, when you're aged, that means you've been there, done that. You have passed mileage down the road. You have seen things that the younger ones do not. Now, here's an important point. The reason why we have to keep this in mind is because younger people are just as smart as older folks. They really are. And to prove my point, you take some older folks and put him next to a computer and put a younger person next to him, and what do you get? We can't even set the clock on our VCRs. They know how to run it forward and backward and then some. Even the little children come along, the grandkids can sit at the computers and play games. They've grown up with this technology.
The aged, the older ones, the seniors, we didn't have that type of technology, so we are the naïve ones sitting down there trying to put two and two together and wondering, "How in the world do they do it?"
Well, here again, those observations just show that young, middle-aged, it doesn't matter. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life impacts all of us. Where are you on the scale of life? That's what your target will be. That's where Satan will work you over. You're a young person? You're going to struggle with the lust of the flesh. You're an aged person? You're going to have the pride of life because you look back and think everybody doesn't know anything. You know it all because you lived there.
On the other side of the coin, we've got the middle-aged wanting things and that can create a thing, you know. Buy now; pay later; we're told this all the time. We're paying all right, but it's not later. It's now. It's all coming home to roost.
Now let me ask you something in terms of the various elements, because we tend to want to focus, if we're not careful, on the lust of the flesh. That seems to be the big magnet that'll grab your mind, you know, oh, all this evil stuff, the lust of the flesh, the misuse of sex and what have you, but let me ask you this: which is worse in the eyes of God, fornication or covetousness? Think about that. Sin is sin, remember, in God's eyes.
What's more serious? Adultery or jealousy? You begin to see why God says you are not to love the world in any of its manifestations? Because if any of this stuff creeps into one's life, it can reek havoc and it creates sin because it's the sphere of sin that God is telling us, stay out of, that realm of that world. Don't get involved in it. Walk in the world as lights, but the world is in darkness. And even Jesus said it. He came as the light of the world. It said, "But men love darkness because their deeds were evil." They were caught up under the sphere of this world.
You know, being strong against immorality is very important in our lives. We must be strong in that area. We see how immorality is just flooding the marketplace today. People don't think anything of being immoral. They're living like a bunch of alley cats out there, just chasing after one another, doing unseemly things like the apostle Paul talks about in Romans 1.
But how many people are chasing after materialism? A lot of people. A lot of people are caught up in that. And what about pride? Well, pride can slip in on the back door, and we're told in Proverbs, pride leads to destruction. You can't afford to have your spiritual life destroyed because of these elements.
Now, why is this so important in terms of how John gives this admonition? The reason why all this is written by John is because he wants you to know, if we get involved in any of those elements, those three areas, what it does, it literally cuts our ability to have love for the Father, let alone Jesus Christ. We cannot love God, the Father, nor Jesus Christ, and remember, holding your place here, and going back to the book of John, the gospel account of John, we have this admonition regarding God. In John 4, Jesus is saying, He talked to the lady at the well, He says:
John 4:22 – You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. And then He goes on to say:
Verse 23 – (But) the hour is coming, (and now is,) when the true worshipers. . . now, that's what we want to be; we want to be true worshipers, not just a worshiper, but true worshipers. It says . . . shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. . . to acknowledge Him, to love Him because of His great love for all of us.
Verse 24 - God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. And His word, the Bible , is His message of truth to us, John 17:17.
So if anyone loves the world, we're told, that love for the Father becomes incapacitated. You're not able to do it. You can say you do, but you're not really doing it. You know, Jesus even said when He comes, He's going to find individuals that claim all kinds of things in their relationship with God. And yet, He's going to say, "Depart from me you that work iniquity. I never knew you." I never knew you. How could that be?
Well, the answer is, they were involved in something else, in a different sphere and were not in the sphere of God. And what they were told was okay, was not okay. And rather than heed the word of God, they listened to others tell them about what they should or shouldn't do instead of letting God guide.
We know the Father's love for us because He loved us when we were yet sinners according to Romans 5:8. That point is brought home.
Now the apostle James also gives a very important aspect of understanding in this. He tells us in:
James 4:4, he says: Friendship. Now we all want friendship. We thrive on friendship. You're a lonely person if you don't have friends. And God wants to be our friend. Jesus even said, "You are My friends." And that's what we desire to be, friends with Jesus and friends with God, the Father. But He said in:
James 4:4 - . . .friendship with the world. . . that sphere again, the influence of sin where Satan dwells, to get involved in that, what does it do? He says it puts you in a state of hostility . . . enmity against God. You can't be in the same camp with God if you allow that influence of the world to start stamping your character in any way, shape or form; that's why where it says, "Come out of her, My people." Revelation 18. Back away, so you can see; so you can understand. You weren't called to be a part of this world's sphere. You were called to be saviors of this world through Jesus Christ who will bring about salvation to mankind when He re-establishes this earth, changes it dramatically, and we know a new heaven and a new earth is going to come, a purging is going to take place, and all this is going to be done by the glorious hand of God, Himself, and we have been called to share in that glory and that inheritance. What a wonderful future that is for all those that have ears to hear and desire to walk in God's way.
Now Jesus put it this way in Matthew 6:24.
Matthew 6:24 – He says: No man . . .no woman. . . can serve two masters: . . . you can't have a foot in the world and be like them when you're with them and then you come in and you play pious, holy on the Sabbath before God. You have to live what you believe every day of the week, and especially with reverence as you come before God on His Sabbath. This is why services are so important for us. We are not just a "meeting/eating" type organization. We don't come here to just kind of chew the fat and kill time. We're here to worship the God who made us, the God who gives us hope and purpose for life. Your life has meaning and promises to you as adults and to your children, so here you are, as young people coming up, you have a great future, and you have to reach for it. Just like you have to prepare for school, you have to prepare for college, prepare for a job. You have to prepare for eternal life, and if you're not preparing for eternal life now, then when are you going to do it?
Now is our time, not later. The world is for later. We're called now. Now is the time that God wants us to operate and love the Father with our whole being. Now, how do we do that?
Let's go look at I John 5.
I John 5:3 – (For) this is the love of God,. . . this is how we show God we love Him. We can say, "God, I love You." And that's good. That's right and proper.
But God says, as what the old saying today would be, "Put your money where your mouth is." Now where do you put your money where your mouth is in this case? Well, to draw the comparison, He says: For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. But what does the influence in the sphere of this world tell people today who want to worship God? They tell them the commandments don't apply anymore; the commandments have been done away, that Christ fulfilled it all.
You and I are told in scripture that in the end time there is going to be a massive assault against the faith of every individual on this planet. What we are struggling with is a desire to get back to the faith once delivered. That's what the scripture tells us in the book of Jude. And it says the reason you have to earnestly contend for it is because there are other forces, sinister forces in this world pushing against you to make you give up the faith or sell you a counterfeit faith. And there's a lot of counterfeit faiths going out.
Ministers today who offer techniques on how to draw closer to God; I'll tell you how to draw closer to God; put your faith and confidence in Him and recognize that He is the only one who can pull it off. He's the only One who can save us from our sins. What do we do? We believe.
When Jesus comes, what did He say He's going to look for? When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth? Faith will be attacked and assaulted, and as long as you believe anything under the sun but what the word of God says, you're fine. No problem. Believe what the word of God says, and they're going to be upset with you, and you might as well prepare now, preparing the people for what is coming.
The Canadian government is persecuting ministers now, telling them to give up their faith because they say certain things that are in the Bible that people don't want to hear. In Germany, they're sending people to jail for home-schooling because they refuse to come under the influence of the German state and some of the teachings that are going on in the German government. All these things become part and parcel of what the scripture is addressing.
Jesus told us very plainly. He says that our love is defined by the keeping of the commandments. Holding your place here, notice John 14:15.
John 14:15 – He says – If you love Me,. . . referring to Jesus, now. He says . . . keep My commandments. Now Jesus keeps the Father's commandments because of His love for the Father. So Jesus agrees that for the love of the Father is a primary directive for all of us.
Now if we love the world, then the plain, simple truth of this matter is we cannot keep the commandments properly if we're involved in the world. That's why we're not to love the world or the things of the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life. Let any of those elements come into play and it begins to roadblock the relationship of our desire to worship the Father and to love Him by keeping His commandments.
You know, if you remember some time back Merrill Haggard, the country singer had a song. It was quite popular. It fit right into the context of the lust of the eyes. There's so much in the world; talks to us all the time. You hear it in the music; you see it in the movies, and if you're alert to it and from the word of God, it's all being played out right in front of you. And what he sang was a song entitled, "Mama's Hungry Eyes." Because what Mama wanted; Daddy was working so hard, he sings, trying to provide all these things that Mama had to have. Why? Because there were these people over here that had all these things, and Mama didn't have them, and she wanted them.
So he had to work hard, but Daddy just kept getting older as he kept trying to take care of Mama's hungry eyes because she had that yearning for those things. See, materialism, covetousness. Now that's a plain, simple comparison of what you see in our society today.
Another aspect of that to show how it brings about the downfall of a person was the famous Star Wars classic that wrapped up here the whole thing dealing with, I believe it was, "The Revenge of the Sith." The Revenge of the Sith. That was the last one. And in it, Anakin Skywalker was supposed to be trained as a jedi knight. But what happened in the movie, he says,
"There's something wrong. I want more. Here's the code. Here's the commandments of the jedi, but I want more." He was lusting after more. "I want power. I want to be the greatest jedi ever," but it didn't turn out that way. Because what he ended up doing, he didn't want to let go of something he also had possessed, a relationship with a young lady called Padme. And what ended happening there is Anakin Skywalker became the famous Darth Vader in the series. He fell from his noble intentions, and you see, that's how a person can be brought down.
These things are out there, people see it, they don't realize the influence it's having on young, on old, middle-aged, it makes no difference. Because of where the world is going, you and I all need to be mindful of because this is something that is true regarding all of our lives as men and women.
Every day that we are graced by the gift of life from God, our life is passing away. It's disappearing. I hate to say that. I wish it weren't the case, but the only hope for life we have is in Christ Jesus because He is eternal life, and to worship Him in spirit, in truth, and God, the Father, is the hope of life eternal.
If you have the Son, you have life. If you have not the Son, you have not life. God gave us eternal life through Jesus Christ. That is where our faith is. Our confidence is in that – nothing we can do earns our salvation. What we do is merely an attestation of our faith, attest to the fact that we believe what God has promised, eternal life to all of us through Jesus Christ.
Now what we see here is something very, very seriously. In I Peter 1:24
I Peter 1:24 - It says: (For) all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower (thereof) falls away.
Verse 25 – But the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. This is the wonderful hope that we have because as we go back to John's writings in Chapter 2 we see again the admonition clearly given, I John 2:17.
I John 2:17 – It says: (And) the world. . . of sin, not the earth. The earth is going to abide forever according to Ecclesiastes in God's word. We know Revelation tells us there is a future time of great transformation of the earth, a new heavens and a new earth. The earth will be there. But the world of this sinful sphere that you and I find ourselves living in; it is passing away. . . and the lusts thereof: it says: . . . but he that does the will of God abides forever.
That's what you and I must strive to do, because, in summary, we are told that the heavenly blessing of God's kingdom. The kingdom of God is what we all look forward to, and you and I want to be there, and we also want to hear, and I summarize in conclusion those wonderful words given by Jesus in Matthew 25:21 where He said the following:
Matthew 25:21 - . . .well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things,. . . yes, what we have is nothing by comparison to what God has on the drawing board. He says: . . . and I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.
We have so many wonderful things being prepared for the future for the sons and daughters of God that I cannot even begin to explain to you what an absolutely thrilling joy that is going to be. We get a little taste of that in human efforts when we have certain things happen to us, and we just get so excited, and we just, - Wow! That was wonderful! And we're just all filled with a joyous feeling.
Well, just remember this, brethren. The god of this world, and the sphere of this world he operates in, he would like to rob you of your joy, to take it away from you. Your joy is in the word of God and the calling you have been given, and God has told us to give serious heed to John's admonition to make sure that our affection is in the right place, that we're not playing one foot in the world and one foot with God.
I would tend to think that's why He's going to say to some, "I never knew you, because that's not the way My people are supposed to operate. Those that know Me know I wouldn't put up with that. They know. They have repented of their sins, and had them forgiven, and they are striving to walk in My ways and keep my commandments. And because they do, I know they love Me, and I know they love My Father which is in heaven. God be blessed and praised and may all of us realize the world is always out there waiting to attack and influence one's life. We must be vigilant to resist it and stand firm to the glory of God. God help us all.