BIBLE STUDY 2: DECEMBER RETREAT 2015, DEEPER LIFE BIBLE CHURCH
BIBLE STUDY 2: DECEMBER RETREAT 2015, DEEPER LIFE BIBLE CHURCH
TOPIC: WORLDLINESS AND ENMITY WITH GOD
TEXT: James 4:4.
God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice brought us into the most intimate relationship with God. The sin of yielding to the influence of Satan who controls the world is a sin against love. Our relationship with God is not like the distant relationship of king and subject or master and slave, but like the intimate relationship of husband and wife. It means then that when we sin and give our hearts to the world, we break God’s heart, as the heart of one partner in a marriage is broken by the desertion of the other. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). The man or woman who dedicates his or her life to the world is at enmity with God. The one who is so influenced and dominated by the pursuit and pleasures of this world that the world dictates his attitude, desires, taste, style and actions is not a child but an enemy of God.
Those who harbour affection for the world and the things it affords and promises cannot be disciples of Jesus Christ. The thoughts, actions, principles and practices of the world are a continual and constant digression from God. The purpose and pursuit of worldliness is the opposite of holiness and heaven-mindedness. Every movement of the life of the worldly is toward the satisfying of sinful desires and pleasures. Those who live and die as part of the world can only hope for everlasting damnation as enemies of God.
1. THE DANGER OF WORLDLINESS
James 4:4; Mark 4:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 Peter 2:20-22; 2 Timothy 4:10; Philippians 3:18,19; Revelation 12:9,12; Isaiah 13:11.
The idea of being called an enemy of God is enough to make us see the danger. It is strong language. It is being classified with Pharaoh, Herod, Ahab, Jezebel, Judas Iscariot and all other enemies of God who hate and oppose God to face the eternal consequence. Anyone who neglects the message in James 4:4 does so at his own peril.
All individuals and religious groups who encourage or permit fellowship and association with the world are not of God but of the world. The Bible draws the picture of the world in its true colour, and declares that it is devilish and doomed to a soon and certain judgment. Many people think that if a majority of their neighbours indulge in some sinful passion or vice, they are justified in doing likewise. Though all the world goes contrary to the will of God, there is not one single person who can be excused and thereby escape judgment. God is capable of bringing the whole human race to the bar of judgment. To indulge in any sin and be a partaker of worldly pleasures will cause one to suffer the wrath of God.
One of the signs of the last days is that men shall be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). Widespread indulgence in pleasure which is so universally accepted even among many nominal Christians is one of the worst forms of worldliness and ungodliness. The true Christian does not support by participation or association organized sports, dances and theaters because the spirit of such things are directly opposed to the Spirit of Christ. The entire purpose of all such entertainment is to amuse the carnal heart, the heart of sin. The television and the film industry have exploited the evil tendencies in men’s hearts towards sin and flooded the whole world with a tide of iniquity and evil. Parents should teach and warn their children in connection with pornographic magazines and worldly comic books, many of which have a definite influence upon their hearts to think and do evil.
2. THE DRESSING OF THE WORLDLY
Isaiah 3:16-24; 2 Kings 9:30; Revelation 2:20; Jeremiah 4:30; Proverbs 7:10-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; 1 Corinthians 11:5,6,13-16; Deuteronomy 22:5; 1 Timothy 2:9,10; 1 Peter 3:3,4.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Pride is an abomination unto God. It is the cause of many of the world’s sins. Pride is completely opposite to humility. The humble soul never looks for the praise of the world. That soul desires more than anything else, the approval of God. It is when sin enters the heart of either men or women that pride and foolishness rise to power.
The daughters of Zion were haughty. They decked themselves with chains, bracelets, earrings, nose jewels, etc. – everything the fashions of their day called for. They were “tripping nicely” as they walked. Their dress and ornaments were for show. They wanted to appear beautiful to men. Immodest apparel – slacks, shorts, sleeveless dresses, dresses low at the neck, immodestly tight garments and the generally scanty dress with which women appear on the streets – are a disgrace and an abomination in the sight of God. When our souls are clothed in the robes of righteousness, we will ensure that the manner of our outward dress conforms to that of the inward man. It is those of the “mixed multitude” who want to dress in the attire that is similar to that of the world. The standard revealed in God’s word teaches us not to dress like the world, but to dress as it befits a child of God – not in an extreme manner, but rather in a conservative way.
The language of Deuteronomy 22:5 and 1 Timothy 2:9,10 is clear and plain. It needs obedience rather than explanation. Here is a plain “Thus saith the Lord” which no child of God should think of disobeying. Immodest apparel is condemned and forbidden. Clothing is for the covering, not the display, of the body. Vain display in dress should be avoided and opposed, because: (1) it is condemned both in the Old and New Testaments; (2) it is a sinful waste of the Lord’s money; (3) it is immodest and unrighteous; (4) it fosters pride; (5) it promotes the lust of the flesh; (6) it is a mark of worldly conformity– flowing in the worldly stream, under Satan’s control; (7) because: it is the exact opposite of the Bible standard of “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit”.
3. DELIVERANCE FROM THE EVIL WORLD
Galatians 1:4; 2 Peter 1:4; Titus 2:11,12; 1 John 5:4,5; John 17:14-16; Galatians 6:14; James 1:27; Colossians 3:1-3; Romans 12:2.
The inspired word of God declares that our Lord and Redeemer “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4). The Christian is in the world, but not of it. Salvation transforms our hearts and converts our lives. When Christ comes into the heart, God’s power saves from all sins, old things pass away and all things become new. From then on, the desire in the heart of the believer is to live a life pleasing to God in the midst of a perverse and crooked world. At home, in business, indeed, everywhere, God’s people live for Him. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1,2).
If our affection is on godly things, our hearts will not be tied or glued to the things of the world. Jesus said that where a man’s treasure is, there his heart will be also. The true believer finds his joy and delight in the worship and service of God. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).
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