THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 5-15-11
LESSON TITLE: “HE WHO OVERCOMES THE WORLD: DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD”
Welcome to our program on this blessed Lord’s day morning. Isn’t it great to know God and to have the privilege of gathering together and praising His name on this His wondrous day? Thanks for choosing to be with us this morning for this time of offering to God. How blessed we are in this country to have the freedom to assemble this day and to give this time to our Creator. It is my hope and prayer that we will each do our part to make this time of worship acceptable in God’s sight and according to His Will!
Now as we begin to focus our thoughts on God, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer?
As always, it is our privilege on this program to praise God together in song! So let me encourage you to join in with the congregation at this time as we lift our voices up in the first song of the morning. The name of the hymn, “Be Not Dismayed!”
(SONG # 1)
What a beautiful song we just sang about God’s wondrous love. If you are like me, you love to sing and to praise God with the fruit of our lips.
With that in mind, I would like to mention a song which we sing from time to time about the Bible. The specific song I am thinking of proclaims the following words: “How precious is the Book divine, by inspiration given. Bright as a lamp its precepts shine, to guide my soul to heaven. It sweetly cheers my drooping heart, in this dark vale of tears. Light to my life it still imparts, and quells my rising fears. This lamp through all the tedious night, of life shall guide my way. Till I behold the clearer light of an eternal day. Holy Bible book divine. Precious treasures thou art mine! Lamp to my feet and a light to my way, to guide me safely home.” Wow, what a beautiful song about God’s Precious Word. And how it reminds me of the wondrous word of David in Psalm 119:105, “your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path!” And yes, there is only one place which the Bible can lead us - to God, our true home!
Another beautiful text about God’s Word is found in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, there we read, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Do we really understand what God has done for us in giving us His inspired Word? Not only do we know all things that He wants us to, but we also have His perfect and complete guidance to show us the way, no matter what this life holds.
Finally, notice what the inspired Peter adds in a similar way to this important discussion, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,” 2 Peter 1:3. Has God left us lacking in any way? Certainly not! In fact, in the next verse of the same passage He adds, “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises.” Oh, how I love God and His Word. And oh, how blessed we are as those who strive to obey His perfect Precepts. How precious is God’s Word to you?
This morning we will continue with our important series entitled, “He Who Overcomes the World?” As far as the specific message of the day, we will consider this topic, “Do Not Love the World.” So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this study from God’s Word. Now let’s join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, “I Stand Amazed.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
When we go to the book of 1 John we find some of the best descriptions of really what sin and the world and wickedness is all about in comparison to really who God is and how loving and wondrous, merciful and gracious our God is. In fact, when you get over into the book of 1 John and chapter 3 we read there that “those who practice righteousness are of God and those practice righteousness do not sin.” But then we move over into chapter 4 of 1 John and we begin to read about a God of love. Why? Because “God is love.” In fact, God loved us so much that He gave His own Son to die for our sakes. And then the same text goes on to say, It’s not the fact that we love God or respond to the love of God that is so great but what is so great is that “God first loved us in all that He has done for our sakes.”
That being the case it beautifully brings us into the theme that we began last week in understanding that righteousness and sin are opposites, and understanding that sin is very descriptive of the world and the practices of the world while love and righteousness is all about God. It is within that context that we finally arrive at chapter 5 in 1 John, and we are there told about the “wondrous victory that we have from this world.” And as we saw last week, it is our faith in Jesus Christ. We have the ability to not only know God but to believe in action of who God is and to obey Him in every way. It is that faith, that belief and action that presents to God our willingness to be committed to His cause and therefore guess what, we are those who overcome because God is always with us. He is always there, and He will make us, as the scriptures say, “victorious in every way.”
But now if you’ll go to the same text with me, I want you to notice with me the wording that is used even in verse 5. “Who is he who overcomes the world?” Who is that one who has the ability to overcome the world? Who is that individual who can be victorious? Well you think for just a moment about our lives. How many of us like to be successful? How many of us like to be in 1st place? How many of us like to receive the bigger bonus? Or who among us like to be those who are seen as to be the most talented in the areas that we have focused our lives in? Well you see we want to be #1. We want to be victorious. We want to be those who are able to be seen as very successful. With God it is very possible. With God here we ask a question: Who is the one that overcomes? But you know what spiritually, he gives the answer. He gives the answer there in verse 5 by saying, “The one who believes that Jesus is the Christ.” Now belief is something that is essential and really not only believing that Jesus is, but then having the what? The faith we saw in the verse previous to do what? Obey God! To live a life in accordance to His Will! But then he also says that, “One who has overcome the world is someone born of God.” Guess what a person is who is born of God. A person who loves. “A person who loves God,” as chapter 4 says. “A person who loves his brother whom he has seen just as he loves God whom he has not seen.” Also, “A brother whom God has made in His own image.” You see, we must love. In the fact that we love and we are striving to be like God and therefore victorious, we also want to as chapter 3 says, “to be righteous.”
And so within these concepts of the theme that we’re developing, we want now to focus on a chapter back, a chapter back from chapter 3 to chapter 2. There in verses 15-17 there is actually a statement made that will be the main discussion for the remainder of our time this morning. “Do not love the world.” On one hand we see the idea that we are victorious with God from the world. We overcome the world and we’re able to be victors with God’s help. In the next statement that we read here in this same book is that “we should not and cannot love the world.”
The next thing that I want us to think about when we consider the idea of not loving the world is what that must mean. When I ask you the question: Who made the world? The answer is obvious- God! Who made the beauties of nature and the trees and the grass and the beautiful flowers that are blooming now and the trees that have grown leaves? Who makes the beauties of this creation? God! And so when the Bible says, “Do not love the world,” is it talking about really the physical things of creation or those good and those righteous things that God has made for our purpose, for our ability to live and to move about on the earth and to have our being? Certainly not! So what is he talking about? Those things that are contrary to righteousness. Those things, chapter 3, that are about sin and those things that are really not about God at all but about lawlessness, (1 John 3 and verse 4).
So when we think about the world and in the sense of being lawless or wicked, we see something that we cannot take part in. It’s not saying that we can’t enjoy nature or the creations of God or those good, wholesome things that He has provided for us. It is saying those wicked, evil or even abused aspects of goodly things created by God that we can have no part in that we cannot partake in as those who love God. Do not love this world.
Another aspect I would like to present to us about not loving the world is that we cannot even love the good things of this world more than God. We cannot put the things that we like such as fishing or hunting before God. Have you known anyone like that who misses worship or they don’t give their time to God, but rather they give their time to the physical things of this world? Certainly that would become an abuse of a blessing of God that would say we love this world and the things of this flesh more than God. But rather when we are those who do not love the world or the flesh or the physical more than God, God is pleased. So as we read here I hope we will be able to understand the implication of not loving the world more than God, not putting those things even that God has made for our good purpose and use before our Creator. Why? Because when we do such, those things in and of themselves, our spirits and attitudes become sinful. Now what does he go on to also add there? “Do not love the world or the things of the world, for if anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in Him.” You cannot love the world more than God. You cannot love the world even over God for the world is full of lust and evils and passion. He goes on to say that in verse 17, “The world is passing away and the lust of it.” Those sinful attitudes that men have toward each other, those actions that are not becoming of a child of God, those things that are again according to what we read in chapter 3, “lawlessness or contrary to the Bible.” Those are the things that he is talking about here. Those things that are not of God, therefore we cannot love them, take part in them, we cannot desire them, because when we do we can’t love God and we can’t love God and sin at the same time. If we are born of God, we do not sin. So how can I love the world and be born of the world and put it first and at the same time put God first? Well you see, the fact is that God always must be first.
Is that not exactly what Jesus said and also what was spoken in the Old Testament in the book of Deuteronomy? But the time Jesus said it it was in Matthew 22. He was asked the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” Do you remember that commandment? “To love the Lord thy God with all your heart.” He mentions a few other things there but the point is clear. God must come first. When? In everything! God must be first in everything and then He said, “This is the first and greatest commandment.” Certainly that is the truth. God must be loved above all else, above anything else, and to be above even those things that we can rightfully love in this world. The question might actually be: Do we love God more than this world? Do we love God more than the things of this world? Are we focused on our Creator?
And then He begins to describe for us or really explain to us the idea of what sin is in three ways. There if you’ll notice with me in verse 16, He says that, “Sin is encompassed in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.” Then once again He says, “Anyone who does such things is not of the Father, but of the world.”
Now I want you to notice with me then an example, probably the best example of all in the Bible that shows us these things and I say it is the best because it is described by Jesus here but it actually was in reaction to the temptations of Jesus in Matthew chapter 4. There are three times that Satan came to Him and tempted Him while He was in the wilderness. The first is found in verse 4 of chapter 4 when there Jesus said, “It is written man shall not live by bread alone.” Do you remember what Satan asked Him? He said, “Here are stones. Make them bread that You can eat because I know that You are hungry,” and in fact in verse 2 it says, “You have fasted for forty days and forty nights.” You see Jesus did not give in to the lust of the flesh, something that would have satisfied the physical needs. Then it goes on there in the same text in verse 5 and it says, “And then Satan took Him to the pinnacle of the temple. Then he tempted Him by quoting the Word of God and he says, “In the Old Testament it is said that if you cast yourself down, you will be born up. You will be cared for by God and His angels Himself,” as is quoted there from Psalm 91. Again Jesus saw the desire of the devil, and not only did he want Him to give into the lust but now that great desire of the eyes to know that man would see Him, to be elevated or saved by God or accomplishing the purpose that God has spoken of Old.
So then finally to me, I always say is this great pride of life and some like to change these last two around and I think it is also fitting in some ways, but I believe this last one is the pride of life when he takes Him before all of the world on a high mountain and he says, “Look at everything. All of this can be yours. All of the creation will bow down to You if only You will worship me.” And what does He say to him in verse 10? “Away with you Satan for it is written you shall worship the Lord your God and only God shall you serve.” You see Jesus knew the deceitfulness of Satan, and He knew now that he was offering everything of the world, all the allegiance of men, the praise of men, the possessions of men, and all the fleshly things He could have, and yet Jesus said, “No thank you!” Do not love the world.
How many times, brothers and sisters? How many times, friends, do we love the things of this world, the activities of this world, the hobbies of this world, the sports of this world over our God? How many times do we love our family in this world? Or our friends in this world? Or our associates or acquaintances in this world or our jobs in this world? How often do we love all of these things more than God because we put them first? It is clear in Matthew 6:33 in the words of Jesus, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” What shall we be striving to do? To love God! Not to love the world! Not to love the flesh! Not to desire the flesh, but to love God and God alone! And when that happens, what does it tell us? It tells us that we are sons of God. It tells us that we are those who have proven our belief in God by faith and it proves to God that we will receive the great reward as we read there in chapter 5 of overcoming the world. We cannot, we will not, and shall not be defeated because God abides forever. That’s what our text says.
So why in the world, verse 17 of 1 John, why would you give yourself to the world and the things of it when it is passing and the lust of it, when God abides forever? Why not put your love and your trust and your confidence in God Almighty knowing that by doing so you will be victorious, you will overcome, and the world will not bring you down? Will you put God first today? Will you give Him what He deserves?
(SONG # 3 - “Soldiers Of Christ Arise!”)
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today? I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Thanks be to God that we have such wondrous blessing and promises through His Son Jesus! Therefore, let’s not turn to the world or the love of it, but rather turn to God and give Him our very best - always!