To get the big picture of today’s sermon make sure to check out the today’s messages and sermons from the previous seven Sundays on our church’s website, https://stjamespukekohe.org.nz/
As Christians, we face three invisible enemies daily: the devil, the flesh, and the world. Today we will look at the world.
Our key verses from 1 John 2:15-17 highlight three ways the world lures us into bondage: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. These are the world’s three hooks, fully baited, dangling before us, 24/7.
The lust of the flesh is our corrupt sinful nature. Galatians 5:19-21 lists them:
“Now, the effects of the corrupt nature are obvious: illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity, idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions, envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things. I’ve told you in the past and I’m telling you again that people who do these kinds of things will not inherit God’s kingdom.” (God’s Word Translation)
How many of these are daily seen and heard on TV, movies, secular radio stations, newspapers, internet, and almost every other media you can think of? The lust of the flesh is pretty loud!
The best way to understand the lust of the eyes is recalling the 10th Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet.” (Exodus 20:17) To covet means to have a yearning or a strong desire to have something that rightfully belongs to someone else. “That’s not fair that he has such a beautiful wife. I want her as my wife,” is a prime example. Other examples of the lust of the eyes include looking at pornography, desiring others’ material possessions, status, appearance, etc. It’s the recognition that something sinful has visual appeal, and then wanting it for the sake of its visual appeal. David committing adultery with Bathsheba is a well-known example of coveting another man’s wife. (2Samueal 11)
The pride of life is that sinful temptation for excess greatness or power. Pride itself is one of the sins that God hates most. Some examples of ‘pride of life’ include the following:
* Desiring to get credit or glory for things that others (or God) did.
* Desiring for others to worship us or hold us in excess esteem, “to make a name for ourselves.”
* Desiring to feel valued or more important than others around us.
* Desiring to have positions of power over others in a way that puffs up our own ego. (Jesus said that those who desire to be great should be the greatest servant)
The world daily advertises it’s glory, fame, pleasures and value-system as answers to our problems. God’s Word advises, “ Do not love the world or the things in the world.” (1John 2:15). Why not? Because, “…the world is passing away, and the lust of it…” (vs. 17). In other words, everything the world offers, is so short-sighted, temporary, hollow, and can NEVER satisfy. On the other hand, those who do the will of God, that is, listening and obeying the Holy Spirit’s voice, can know God’s security, love, joy, and peace, Forever!
But it’s a choice – You either Love (capital L) God Or Love (capital L) the world. Not both!