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TITLE: WORLDLINESS--THE "NEUTRALIZER" OF GODLINESS
Subtitle: Mixed Any Baking Soda And Vinegar Lately?????
The sin of worldliness is becoming so wide-spread among the brethren that we feel another article is necessary. The original (www.cuttingedge.org/articles/p118.htm) compares it to the biblical disease of leprosy and if you have not read it, we urge that you do so. The most precious possession a Christian has, other than salvation itself, is our personal testimony for Christ. And all of us need to be reminded of the fact that many years of godly living can be neutralized and effectively destroyed by attitudes and actions typical of the world around us. For this reason, we want to take another hard look at why we must guard against adopting the lifestyle of the crowd.
For this most important subject, we will take our text from the Book of 1 John, where we begin reading in verse 15 of chapter two:
Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification], and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things]--these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. (17) And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life, abides (remains) forever" (1 John 2:15-17, Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine)
Preachers (or anyone else, for that matter) who try to live a godly life will tend to isolate themselves from "where the action is." I certainly try to stay away from it, but all it takes is a week with a large group of people in a vacation setting to re-educate us on how far things have deteriorated since the last time we took a hard look at the lengths to which people will go in seeking pleasure and excitement! My comments will be based on those observations and are directed toward any who might benefit from them-- not intended as a harsh condemnation of the individuals involved, because I am convinced they have not been properly taught where spiritual values are concerned.
Vinegar is acetic acid and therefore slightly corrosive to certain metals, but can be quickly neutralized by mixing it with common baking soda. The chemical reaction produces carbon dioxide gas and water--a process utilized by some older fire extinguishers. Carbon dixode cuts off oxygen from the flame and the water cools the flammable materials below the ignition point, making it a fairly effective combination against fires. But the main point we want to stress is how quickly the acid is neutralized by the soda and the obvious spiritual application of how quickly worldliness will take the "vinegar," or spiritual vitality, out of Christians! When we allow ourselves to look like and act like the ungodly people around us, our testimony for Christ is rendered useless. They cannot discern any appreciable difference between us and therefore are not attracted "to the light," because it is too dim. 1 Thes. 5:19 warns us about this by saying: "Quench not the Spirit." Genuine Christians are literally indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God and His convicting presence is felt by those around us. But the sin of worldliness, like any other unconfessed sin in our lives, "quenches" or cools or neutralizes the degree to which He is felt by others. Our sinful flesh dims the light of His presence and our witness for Christ is diminished as a result. Surely this is a principle that can be understood and appreciated by all concerned.
In the vacation setting, I am always dismayed at how some Christian women--young and old alike--will stip themselves just short of complete nakedness to pour themselves into bathing suits and lounge in the sun. Apparently the feeling is that "everyone is doing it" and they will not be singled out for attention. Although I will be among the first to point out that men in their "speedo's" might as well be naked, they do not generate the same degree of lust among women as vice versa. And I am convinced that if women really knew what was going on in the minds of some of the male spectators, they would keep it covered! Men need only to see in order to be instantly attracted and women rarely understand this--because by nature they require much more stimulation to reach the same level of interest. Human nature dictates that the female will go to great lengths to attract a mate, but a Christian woman should be very careful not to use her body as bait. Can you really picture yourself witnessing to a guy while wearing a bikini? Would you want your picture taken with the Lord while basically naked? I seriously doubt it and pray that you will see the error involved.
Then there is the matter of tee shirts with their suggestive messages and/or sleazy ads for eating joints, beer and liquor. How can Christian people wear such with a clear conscience? For that matter, how can they frequent such establishments in the first place? That type of risque behavior is quite the norm for the world, but we must steer clear of it if we are to maintain our distinctive and separated walk. As I pointed out in the previous article, if Christians look like the world, act like the world, and smell like the world--how in the world is the world going to know the difference?
Ever notice how freely otherwise sane and sensible folk will throw away money while in pursuit of fun? Or how advertisers routinely use the phrase "you owe it to yourself" or "go ahead, you deserve it"? Pandering to the flesh is a mult-billion dollar industry today and students of human nature are cashing in on it big time. Last week I saw a professing Christian wife and mother go with her engaged daughter and future son-in-law across the state line to purchase a lottery ticket. And another professed Christian mother (who goes to the same Church) routinely takes her two sons (one of whom is supposedly a preacher) to a casino where they gamble the night away. What is wrong with that, some of you are asking? Well, for starters the money they are risking does not belong to them, if they are genuine and know the Lord as their Savior. Born again Christians are "bond slaves" of Jesus Christ and merely stewards of His money and possessions. (See article entitled "The Best Kept Secret In The World" at www.cuttingedge.org/articles/p112.htm for discussion on stewardship). How do you suppose He feels when they waste that with which He has intrusted to them? Or do you think, as they do, that it is quite permissable as long as they win? I have talked with many unregenerate people who felt that gambling is inherently wrong! But why these Christians do not feel so is a mystery to me--unless of course they are merely professors and not possessors.
What subjects do you talk about while at work or in other situations where there are unbelievers around? The Bible principle is the mouth speaks that which comes from the heart. The computer principle is "garbage in--garbage out"!! If you continually focus your attention upon worldly fare such as the ungodly soap operas, romance novels, TV talk shows, etc., etc., it will be very obvious in your conversations with others. And I find it highly revealing that during the entire week not one person initiated a conversation with me to talk about spiritual things. Many of them attend Church and sing "Oh how I love Jesus," but their silence spoke louder and more eloquently than words. Having fun is apparently more important to them than talking about our Lord and Savior. How sad.
I challenge each of you to ask yourself this important question and answer it as honestly as you can: "Am I truly ready for the Lord to come back at any moment?" When you take time to think it over, is it possible you will have to admit that there are things you are planning on doing, places you intend to visit, and people/possessions you cannot bear to leave, etc.,--that actually occupy first place in your heart? If this is the case, may I suggest that at the very least you are on the verge of loving this present world--as did Demas in 2 Timothy 4:10? When we truly love someone, nothing can take the place of that beloved individual in our hearts and we are incomplete without them! If we truly love our Lord, we will be eagerly anticipating His any-moment return for us. [And this brings up another subject, about which I want to comment briefly. Why in the name of common sense are we repeatedly taught in the Word of God to watch for Him and that the hour of His coming is not known, if the Tribulation Period must occur first? We continue to get email insisting that the Church must go through the Tribulation Period, but that prospect is totally illogical due to the imminency of His return. In other words, we know the antichrist has not yet been revealed to the world and that the seven-year Tribulation Period has not yet begun--so if His only return is at the end of the Tribulation Period, why bother watching until after these things occur? The very imminency of His return at the Rapture is obviously designed to keep us on our toes!]
Yes, this is a beautiful world and God has blessed many of us by allowing us to live in the United States of America--experiencing freedoms and benefits that other countries can only dream of--but as wonderful and desirable as life can be here, Christians ought to enjoy it "at arm's length," so to speak. Being prepared to leave it at any instant will (and should) cause us to appreciate it more, even as we eagerly anticipate the prospect of something infinitely better! Are you ready to go? Are you ready to meet the Lord in the air? Brothers and Sisters in Christ, enjoy this life, but walk lightly!
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
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