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Friday, January 17, 2014

This World Isn't My Home

Colossians 4:14 (ESV)
14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.

Philemon 1:24 (ESV)
24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.

2 Timothy 4:10 (ESV)
10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.

Demas had been one of Paul's trusted associates. He had been there to share the gospel with Paul. Paul takes the time to mention him in two earlier letters along with Luke and others. He must have been important.

In fact, Demas was so important that his desertion also got mentioned. The word for what he has done can be translated "forsaken." The dictionary defines this as "to abandon; leave; renounce." There is no doubt what Demas has done.

Then, Paul gives the reason for Demas' leaving. He loved this present world. The alluring things of this world tempt us to do whatever feels good, whatever fills our physical desires, whatever looks good and whatever gives us a sense of worth in what we own. It is impossible to resist unless the mind is set on the Spirit.

I have been in the full-time ministry for over thirty years. I have seen many people who originally grabbed onto the gospel. They came to every Christian function. They absorbed every Bible verse that was read. They seemed so fully devoted to the Lord that I would never have dreamed they would have walked away. But, many of them did.

Some are living lifestyles which would indicate that they never knew the Lord. There is no evidence that these people have ever been in the church.

Others have drifted away to churches which appeal to the desires of the world. These churches preach a Jesus who came to make you feel good, get rich and become famous. Their pastors are wealthy, self-indulgent rock stars. They promise their congregations they can have it all.

But each of these have truly forsaken their Lord. They aren't serving Him but seeking to be served by Him. That just isn't the reason that Jesus died. That is not salvation.

No, I am not immune to this temptation. I know that I can fall back in love with this world. I know that I have to set my mind on the Spirit or I will become like the world.

That's why I have to take a stand every day. I must say to my God that He is at the very center of my life.I will allow everything that that comes into my life today to go through Him. I affirm my belief in His word. I am everything it says I am and I can do whatever it says I can do. Therefore, I will not act like I am unforgiven or forsaken by my Lord. I will live with Him beside me. I will not be dismayed by the circumstances against me. I will not, I will not, I will not fall in love with this world.

This world just isn't my home.


Anthony Chia said...

Coincidentally, I am in the midst of doing up an entry on my own blog on this passage below:

1 John 2:15-17 - 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

What you have written, can be used as the exposition for this text, or alternatively, this text can be your blog entry text, too.

You said this in your entry: "But each of these have truly forsaken their Lord. They aren't serving Him but seeking to be served by Him. That just isn't the reason that Jesus died. That is not salvation."

Indeed, it is NOT wrong to say that, that, "That is NOT salvation." 1 John 2:17 implied the same - if one is NOT "the man who does the will of God", he lives NOT forever; and that is "he has no salvation or eternal life".

We also have this, in His Word: Matt 7:21 - "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

These two verses, 1 John 2:17 and Matt 7:21, point to doing the will of God is required of us, for us to be admitted to Heaven or live eternally. I am NOT saying anything amounting to you cannot hold down a "secular job" or you got to be a pastor or minister, to be doing the will of God. The will of God can comprise a number of things, but it does not include, in fact, it precludes, loving the world or anything in the world, and the 1 John 2:15-17 text explained that, that includes desires and values coming from the world, and this word, "world",
as last used in this sentence, refers to the world-system as perpetuated by Satan. I repeat, loving the world or anything in it, and including worldly values and desires, it is outside the will of God.

"Can't I love the world and love God?" No, you can't. No, it is NOT my opinion; it is God said we have to love Him with our all. When we love the world and love Him, we are NOT loving Him with our all.


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

There is a way of God that we have to know, and it is that, the way God looks at love, includes this: love calls for obedience, and so, service, even sacrifice. Scripture, John 14:15 and John 14:21a, together said this - he who loves me obeys my commands and he who obeys my commands is the one who loves me. Obeying commands means having to do the will of the one we obey; in other words, when we love, we are to serve. Jesus loves the Father God, and he obeys every command of the Father, including to die crucified; He serves the Father. When we love God, we have to obey and so, serve God. If we love another, we would end up serving that "another". God links the two, love and serving, together.

Not only by the first and greatest commandment He gave, that God is saying we cannot love another, God,through The Lord, said this of serving two masters:

Matt 6:24 - "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

Clearly, God is saying we cannot love God and another or serve God and another; or we cannot do the will of God and that of another, for to serve one, is to do his will/desires. It is appropriate , is it not, for the last sentence of Matt 6:24, we can replace "serve" with "love", and say, "You cannot love both God and money." Not only the love of money is the root of all kind of evil, and some people, for that love, wandered from the faith, and got themselves smitten with much grief (1 Tim 6:10), it is we got to be resolute to love only one, God; serve only one, God. Romans 6:16 warns this: "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?" Want to attempt to love God and another, be it money or world or the one behind it, or serve similarly? The Apostle James warned, in James 1:7 that a double-minded man cannot expect to get anything from God.

Lastly, and very briefly, what must a believer do, to avoid drifting off to love the world or another? Remember what I harped on, at the beginning; yes, "do the will of God to live forever or to get to Heaven". Be led by the Holy Spirit, for He knows the mind of God, even as we must get to know God's words, and apply them in our life, exercising faith.

Love NOT the world or anything in it, don't be tight-fisted about it, the world and its desires will pass away (1 John 2:17); the world is NOT our home, Heaven is.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions