THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 5-29-11
LESSON TITLE: HE WHO OVERCOMES THE WORLD: FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD”
In Psalm 42:1, we read, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God!” Do you strive after and long for your God on this Lord’s Day?
Welcome to our program and let me thank you all for joining us this day for this time of Worship to our God. It is my prayer that we are all doing our best, today and every day, to accomplish everything according to God’s precious will and His eternal purpose. Won’t you do your part this morning so that God may truly be praised and so that all we offer toward His throne will be done in spirit and in truth.
With these thoughts in mind, will you bow with me before His almighty throne in prayer?
Now it’s time to join in our first song of the morning. Our first hymn of challenges us to consider the direction we are going. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Higher Ground?”
(SONG # 1)
The Bible mentions silver and gold a lot. These ideas are used to help us understand the different types of service we might offer to our Lord. In Proverbs 17:3, Solomon said, “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts.” You see, we all have to be tested throughout our lives and eventually at the judgment, but notice the clear judge which we will have to face - God!
In the New Testament we have the same idea presented by the Apostle Peter, when he said, “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 1:7. Notice again the idea here of our faith being tested, but how? Well, just as gold is tested by fire, we are tested as well. However, also notice the things which we are striving to accomplish at the revelation of Jesus. The text says that we must strive to have been found as those who praise, honor and glorify our God! What a privilege we have in this life to do all things for the sake of Jesus.
So we might ask this morning, “When God tests you with fire how will you stand up to the test?” Why not choose today to put God first in your life and to do everything you can in life to bring praise, honor and glory to His name!
As far as our main study of the day, we will be continuing our discussion entitled, “He Who Overcomes the World.” Our specific lesson of the morning will deal with, “Friendship with the World.” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together I will be leading us in this study of the day. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Does Jesus Care.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
For the last month now we’ve been considering together a series taken from 1 John chapter 5 and verse 5 where a question in a rhetorical way is asked. The question is, “Who is He who is that one that overcomes the world?” When we think about that certainly that is an interesting question and a challenging question because it makes us immediately want to know what does it take to be the one who overcomes the world. Well within that text we have seen together now for weeks some reasons why individuals are able to overcome the world, some of those things for instance verse 5 says, “The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God…” Back up in verse 4 it says, “Whoever is born of God is the one who overcomes the world.” It even speaks of an idea of the “victory we have,” in verse 4, “because of faith.” So there are three specific reasons that are given within that very text or theme that tells us why we should and how we do and really what’s involved in being one who has overcome the world.
With that in mind, today what we would like to do is once again look at some of those things that might would keep us from being those who overcome, that might would keep us from having the proper faith or really being born of God or even as we see here one who truly shows a belief in Jesus Christ because we do what God says and we obey His commandments. So this morning what we would like to look at is an idea brought to us in the book of James, James chapter 4 and verse 4 where it makes this statement, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?”
So what about friendship with the world? What has God always felt about the concept of those who follow Him, His sons or His children and those who might choose to be friends or be in friendship with the world? Certainly as we begin to think of that we cannot remove the idea that all of those throughout the periods of time, even the Old and New Testaments, now they certainly did at times have friends who were in the world. In fact, we even find that God chose people, we find those Patriarchs actually having friends in the world. But there is a difference and you and I as a child of God having a friend that is in the world or a part of the world or involved in the things of this world and yet they have not followed God and in what we might say, “Befriending them as one who has.” Now why do we understand that? Why do we know that?
Well so many beautiful friendships throughout the Bible, good godly friendships that we are well aware of in the New Testament. I immediately think of Paul and Barnabus, and how beautiful their relationship was as those who were friends in God, as fellow brethren in God.
I think of Jonathan and David in the Old Testament, again those who both loved God and their friendship was based on a mutual love as well for God.
Then I even think of those secular friendships. I can go back all the way to the beginning and think of several. One that really pops out in my mind is how that Joseph as he became like a Pharaoh in Egypt was friends with so many of Egypt including Pharaoh himself. He was a friend of Pharaoh. Why? Not because Pharaoh was a brother in a godly sense or in a religious sense, but because he was a friend of his of the world. He was someone whom he had befriended that he might show forth God to that individual.
Now why does all this make a difference? It makes a difference because once we choose to befriend the world or those of the world who have chosen the world and are not of God, guess what happens. Well, what happens is that our odds of remaining faithful go down and the odds of us becoming unfaithful or turning away from God go up because when I choose somebody whose interest, whose life or spiritual background or desires and all of these things are far different from mine… On the one hand, I love my God. I go to church. I try to worship Him. I try to teach others about Him. I try to live by what the Bible says, but they do just the opposite. In fact, not only just the opposite, but they even engage in things that I have been told by my God I cannot engage in.
Now do we not understand then that friendship with the world or those who have chosen the world and the things of it is division with God? You can’t serve two masters. You can’t serve the riches or the things of this world and serve God at the same time because they are opposites. “God is light” (1 John chapter 1) and the world is darkness. That’s why together we’ve been trying to understand that to overcome the world we must truly put away those things that are of the world.
Now let me with you look together at a few scriptures in the Old Testament that show that this is a true problem and actually where this problem came from.
One that stands out to me is all the way back to the days of Noah. Have you ever noticed there in Genesis chapter 6 when it begins to speak about those alive in the days of Noah that there is a problem? The problem is as you have on one hand the sons of God which means those who are born of and followers of God, al men are created of God, but the sons of God were those striving at least to be righteous. On the other hand, we have the sons of men. I want you to read with me beginning in verse 1 of that text. “Now it came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the earth that daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful and as they looked at them they desired them and (what?) took them for wives.” Now what was wrong with that? Well the next verse says, “The Lord was angry.” The next verse then confirms that He says, “How much longer will I strive with man?” Why would that be the case? Because God had always wanted those who love Him and put Him first to seek out someone of the same desire. In other words, how can you have two coming together as one flesh in a physical way as husband and wife and yet in a spiritual way they couldn’t be more divided. What good is that? What good is it when I love my God and I want to worship my God and yet my wife doesn’t even believe in God? Or when my children begin to come of an age and to themselves develop faith, on one hand they are torn by someone who says that God is not important and on the other hand they are torn by someone who says that God is. Where is the unity in that? Where is the true love for God? Where is the idea of putting God first and saying the only way we can be one is if God is first in your life. Doesn’t that sound like true friendship, true love, true commitment to God? What will you give in exchange for your own soul? I might even ask the question: What have you already given in exchange for your own soul? What a sad thought. Because friendship with the world, my brethren, is enmity, division with God Almighty.
We know that God’s plan was always that it didn’t make a difference who one married, that they should marry someone of like spiritual interest that they might not be turned away from God. We find this first evident and clearly spoken of in the book of Genesis chapter 28 in relationship to Isaac. It speaks about how Jacob was sent to find him a wife where? From the family in the region of Paddan Aram. And when he returns, guess what Esau does. Go with me there to chapter 28 of Genesis and verse 6. “And Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan Aram to take for himself a wife there and that he had blessed him and given him charge saying, ‘You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.’” Well why? Because the world, friendship with the world, drives us away, pulls us away, divides us from our God. Is that true? Certainly it’s true. It happened in Noah’s day. Because if you’ll read on there in Genesis chapter 6 the hearts of those sons of God who had married the daughters of men were driven into idolatry. What happened here with Esau? Esau was so attuned to the fact that it had brought really great sadness on his father that he had married women of Canaan that he then tried to marry a descendent of Ishmael, that maybe he will at least in some way show his father that he understands that it does make a difference who we marry, that it does make a difference who we befriend in this life, who we join ourselves with, who we also fellowship, who we have communion with.
Brethren, the same idea is really dealt with and presented on all of these levels. But now perhaps the lesson that shows us more than any other as why this was true and why God so often and so regularly and so fervently challenged them not to engage with those of the flesh. We find a great example there in the book of 1 Kings 11 of Solomon. Do you remember Solomon the great king, the man who started out so well, so righteous, so godly? It says, verse 1, “He loved foreign women of Pharaoh, of the Moabites, of the Ammonites, of the Edomites, the Sidonians, as well as the Hittites,” and it says, “He clung to them. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines,” verse 3 says. And what did it do for him? Let me show you, verse 4. “For it was so when Solomon was old that his wives turned his heart after other gods and his heart was not loyal to the Lord God as was the heart of his father David.” What happened to his friendship with the world, his love for the things of the world, for fleshly things over God? It destroyed him. It destroyed him and led him away from God. Could there be anything sadder? Nothing sadder than to see that, brethren, a little leaven can leaven the whole lump. Just a small portion of evil or wickedness can bring us down. Just a small thing can drive us away and pull us toward those things that the roaring lion Satan has tried so diligently to take us away from God with.
Friendship with the world, my friends, is enmity with God. Why? Because the love of the world (1 John chapter 2 verse 15) is against the things of God. It is contrary to God. Those lusts of it will drive us away from God and keep us (verse 17) from the reward that he has promised the faithful.
Well what has Jesus done for us? Jesus, we learned there in Galatians chapter 1 has given His life, has given His life and died on the cross and shed His blood that we might be able to be those who now have salvation. The way that Paul words it there to the Galatian church is this, that “Jesus has given Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from sins and the things of this present, evil age.” What has God done? He has tried to deliver me from the evils of this world, from the flesh, from those things that would keep me from Him or divide me or pull me away from my God. He has tried to wake me up just like He tried at times to wake Samson up who kept looking to Delilah and yet it finally, that sin, that passion, that desire brought him to his knees and he was destroyed. You see we must not have friendship with the world.
Wasn’t it also there in Colossians chapter 1 verse 13 that we are told that we have been translated out of the what? The darkness of this world and put into the light of the Son of His love, Jesus Christ, the church, the body. When we become Christians, my friends, we are those who have not only died to the Old things, but the wording that is actually used in Colossians there and chapter 3 is that we have died or put off the old man. We have put off there (chapter 3 and verse 5 of Colossians) the passions of this earth, fornication, uncleanness, and on and on and on we could go there. He says in verse 8 we have put off anger and wrath and filthy language and those vile things out of our mouths. We have put off the old man and his deeds (verse 9). In order to do what? In order (verse 10) to do this, to put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.
How do I overcome the world? I strive to have the image of God. I strive to be like Christ, (1 Corinthians 11:1). And brethren and friends, if I am striving to be like Christ, who are my friends going to be? My true friends. My real friends. Where are my desires going to be focused? What am I going to strive to look to in order to be what God wants me to? I am going to look to those things that are holy, that are righteous, that are pure, that are good, that are kind because that is what my God is all about and that is what I want to be all about and that is what I want of my friends, family, associates and yes, even my mate.
You see brethren, “friendship with the world,’ as James said, “is enmity with God.” It divides us. It keeps us from our God. He goes on to say in the same text that, “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
I know today you are watching this program because you love God. You don’t want to be an enemy with God and you don’t want any of your relationships on this earth or the things of this earth to keep you from God, so be a friend to God today. Be a friend, as we read in John 15:14, “If you love Jesus, keep His commandments,” for that is what a true friend is all about.
(SONG # 3 - “The Great Physician!”)
As always it was great to have you join us this morning. I hope our time together has been uplifting and profitable to all. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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Brethren and friends may our true focus and friendship in this life be with God, and not this world. For this is the only way we can truly overcome the things of the flesh. Have you overcome the world with the help of God?