The World

Part 1 - The Three Great Enemies series
By: John Herbert | Nov 16, 2008
James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

These are strong words recorded in James, but words we should take very seriously. The 'world' is not a passive entity, but one of three great enemies that are ranged against us in the race of the faith.

Message Notes

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Sunday November 16th 2008
The Three Great Enemies ? Part One
The World
1). Jas 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the
world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world
makes himself an enemy of God.
2). In Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 we find the entire ?church?- all spirit saved
Christians from this dispensation standing before the Lord in Judgment with
determinations being made with respect to positions of rulership with Christ in the
coming Kingdom ? Re 3:21 "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on
My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
a). And at this point of Judgment all Christians will be divided into two
categories ? those who are overcomers and those who have been overcome, those
who will have been the friends of God like Abraham and those who have been
friends to the world - Jas 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says,
"Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he
was called the friend of God.
b). Those who are overcomers will have produced works commensurate with
gold, silver and precious stones and will receive a reward ? the reward of the
inheritance, the salvation of their soul.
c). And those who have been overcome will have produced works
commensurate with wood, hay and straw and are described, as we see in James, as
adulterers and adulteresses, who will not only fail to realize a reward, but that
which is still in their possession, their soul, will be lost for the age to come ?
although their eternal salvation of course will be totally secure ? 1Co 3:11 ? For no
other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.12
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood,
hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it,
because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what
sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a
reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be
saved, yet so as through fire.
d). One of these two outcomes awaits each one of us ? and each of us in this
room today will find ourselves in that day in one or other of these two camps.
e). Which one it is will be dependent on the choices that we make each and
every day of our life until either we physically die or are raptured.
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3). Although the choices that we need to make are on one level very simple,
summed up for us here in - Jos 24:15 ? "And if it seems evil to you to serve the
LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods
which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of
the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve
the LORD."
a). On another level though these choices are far from simple as they do not
exist in a vacuum, and are not made in a neutral environment, rather they have to
be enacted within an extremely hostile environment, an environment that is most
often not blatant in its hostility, but subtly deceptive.
b). Casualness, carelessness and most dangerous of all, complacency on our
part with respect to the reality of this will inevitably lead to our downfall -
1Pe 5:8 ? Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like
a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
c). The enemy of our soul will not relinquish his dominion over the earth
lightly and although we may know with absolute certainty that in the end Christ
and His coheirs will be victorious, Satan still entertains the thought of thwarting
God?s plans by disqualifying those who would seek positions of rulership with
d). Please be under no illusion ? there is not one of us who is not subject to
his attention.
e). And remember, if Satan is successful against us, the consequences for us
are dire ? this is not a game of tag where we will go and sit on the sidelines ? our
failure in the race of the faith will bring the full weight of God?s wrath upon us
Col 3:5 ? Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication,
uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of
these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
f). And so, arranged against us in this ongoing warfare are the three great
enemies that are inextricably connected and demonically orchestrated ? the world,
the flesh and the Devil.
g). If we are to stand before the Lord as an overcomer at His Judgment Seat
we will have to have overcome each of these three ? consistently.
h). And perhaps it?s worth stating the obvious here ? overcoming this unholy
trinity is not a onetime event, but a lifetime of faithful obedience, a lifetime of
patient endurance.
i). Each of these three is to be overcome after a different but clearly stated
fashion, and this will be the topic of our study over the ensuing weeks.
4). And today we will start by looking at ?The World? ? so let us first understand
what we are talking about. We are not referring to the globe on which we live as a
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physical entity, nor are we talking about humanity in a general sense, but rather the
present system of rulership over the earth, and all that would be associated with
that. Encompassing all of this age ? from Adam to the Kingdom.
a). And according to - 1Jo 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the
world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
b). And the reason for our not loving the world or the things of the world
would be twofold.
c). Firstly - 1Jo 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies
under the sway of the wicked one.
d). Satan is of course rightly described in scripture as - Joh 14:30? the ruler
of this world
e). 2Co 4:4?..the god of this age
f). And therefore everything connected with the present world system, with
this age, is under his control and finds itself to be diametrically opposed to
everything that is of God. Hence the reason for us being described as aliens and
strangers during this present time. We are living in enemy occupied territory ?
Joh 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world.
g). And then secondly - 1Jo 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust
of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
h). 2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in
which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt
with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
i). The present world system is passing away ? we know for sure that it has
an expiration date that date was set at the beginning of Genesis, and the clock is
counting down.
j). We just have to grasp the reality that in the very near future the church,
all of us, will be resurrected or raptured to the Judgment Seat and from that point
onwards nothing will be the same again for us and therefore nothing that we look
to in this world has any lasting value.
k). The world is passing away ? governments, political systems, education
systems, financial institutions, the military, the internet, TV, the film industry, the
auto industry, bank loans, mortgages, credit cards, our house, our car, dare I say
even football ? it?s all going ? and at the conclusion of the Millennial Kingdom the
physical earth and the heavens and all the works that are in them will pass away
with a great noise and fervent heat and there will be a new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness will dwell.
l). Now all the things we have just listed are an everyday part of our present
experience, but in them is neither our security or our hope or our future or that with
which we are to be preoccupied ? and if we elevate any of them to this status, or
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put them before the truth of the word of God then James says we are adulterers and
adulteresses ? we will in fact have become idolaters.
m). During the present world financial crisis we all experience uncertainty
and instability in our day to day life, but the solution for us is not the economic bail
out or a new president, but a correct mindset - Heb 13:6 So we may boldly say:
"The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
n). This is where our hearts and minds need to be.
o). Mt 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the
soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in
5). Now as we continue to consider our enemy ?the world? we find that scripture
provides its own commentary for us on what we should expect - 1Jo 2:16 For all
that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is
not of the Father but is of the world.
a). According to our scripture then, all that is in the world is described as,
?the lust of the flesh?, ?the lust of the eyes? and ?the pride of life? and these are not
of the Father, but of the world and therefore of the god of this world.
b). So as we look at these it would be helpful to understand the word ?lust?.
c). Lust = Greek ??epithumia?= from 1937; a longing (especially for what is
forbidden):--concupiscence, desire, lust (after).
d). From 1937 = Greek ? ?epithumeo?= to set the heart upon, i.e. long for
(rightfully or otherwise):--covet, desire, would fain, lust (after).
e). So we can see then that ?lust? is by no means restricted to sexual sin but
would apply to setting our heart upon anything, with an attitude of covetousness.
f). In other words this would translate into, ?I must have?, ?I can?t do
without? ? normally with the idea that once I have whatever it is, then I will be
happier - Lu 12:15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness,
for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."
g). Pr 28:16??..he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.
h). And the first reference to lust that we see in our scripture is that of the
Flesh = Greek ? ?sarx? = as the symbol of what is external, or as the means
of kindred), or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties (physically or
morally) and passions), or (specially), a human being (as such):--carnal(-ly, + -ly
minded), flesh(-ly).
i). And being carnally minded would inevitably bring us to the wisdom of
this world as opposed to the truth of the word of God - Ro 8:7 Because the carnal
mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can
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j). So then we could understand the lust of the flesh to be setting our heart
upon something which is other than God?s word in the delusion that in having this
something is our happiness and security, rather than the truth of the word. Now this
is not necessarily a conscious and premeditated turning away from the word ? this
may well be our experience without us even realizing it.
k). The more stocks, the more shares, the more bonds, the more houses, the
more cars, the bigger, the better ? if I just have this I?ll be OK.
l). Lu 12:16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a
certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 "And he thought within himself, saying,
'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' 18 "So he said, 'I will do
this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my
crops and my goods. 19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods
laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' 20 "But God
said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will
those things be which you have provided?' 21 "So is he who lays up treasure for
himself, and is not rich toward God." 22 ? Then He said to His disciples,
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about
the body, what you will put on. 23 "Life is more than food, and the body is more
than clothing.
m). Then secondly we have ?the lust of the eyes?
Eyes = Greek ? ?opthalmos? = from 3700; the eye (literally or figuratively); by
implication, vision; figuratively, envy (from the jealous side-glance):--eye, sight.
n). Now whereas the lust of the flesh has to do with covetousness with
regards to material things, the lust of the eyes seems to deal with covetousness with
regards to people - De 5:21 'You shall not covet your neighbor's wife;
o). We can of course be dealing with inappropriate sexual desire as seen here
in Deuteronomy, but we can also see this as envying someone because of who they
are or what they have ? ?If only I could have what he has, or be like she is, then my
life would be so much better? ? and again such thinking would be played out in our
carnal thinking.
p). Whatever we lust after with our eyes now with regards to what we see in
others is of no consequence. All that is going to matter is what we have remaining
at the Judgment Seat after our works are tested by fire. In that day and in that day
alone will the true worth of any of us be revealed.
q). There is no point in giving the side glance of ?if only? ? God has given
each one of us our own circumstances and within those circumstances as we would
be faithfully obedient and as we would patiently endure lies our pathway to glory.
And please do not be deceived into thinking that someone else?s pathway is easier
than our own. Such thinking would be contrary to the evidence of scripture -
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Re 2:10 "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the
devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you
will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown
of life.
r). Ac 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to
continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the
kingdom of God."
s). 1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to
t). And finally we have ?the pride of life?
Pride = Greek ? ?alazoneia? = from 213; braggadocio, i.e. (by implication)
self-confidence:--boasting, pride.
Life = Greek ? ?bios? = a primary word; life, i.e. (literally) the present state
of existence; by implication, the means of livelihood:--good, life, living.
u). So then we would understand this as having a prideful, self-confidence in
who and what we are right now, apart from any reference to who we are in Christ.
To get a good idea of what this looks like we can use Revelation 3 as an example -
Re 3:17 "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of
nothing' --and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and
v). This would be the same attitude as that of the certain rich man from our
Luke 12 parable. And again in this we would see a focus on the here and now
rather than having a future day and a future Judgment as our focus ?
Ro 14:10b?For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
w). And I am sure we will realize that the pride of life is not necessarily
expressed through the spoken word, although it can be, but rather through action.
x). A self-check on our attitude to the teaching of the Word would reveal
this, not what we think our attitude to it is, but what we do with regards to it ? if
Sunday mornings, or Bible study is something that we fit into our schedule only if
there is time, or if we think that missing the teaching we have here really is not that
important, or we don?t find time to engage with the word that comes from it in a
structured way throughout our week, then we are already walking in the pride of
life. And this of course can come about insidiously and subtly over a period of time
without our even realizing what is happening ? the good news is of course is that
we can repent and make a change.
6). Then there is this admonition in - Jas 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before
God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to
keep oneself unspotted from the world.
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a). We will focus this morning on the second part of this admonition,
keeping ourselves unspotted from the world.
b). Now there should be one thing we notice immediately here, ?keep
oneself? ? who then has the responsibility for doing this?
c). There is then an individual responsibility for each of us keep unspotted
from the world.
d). Unspotted = Greek ? ?aspilos? = from 1 (as a negative particle) and 4695;
unblemished (physically or morally):--without spot, unspotted.
e). And as we read this definition it will hopefully call a particular scripture
to mind - Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church
and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the
washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious
church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy
and without blemish.
f). Keeping ourselves unspotted from the world has an inevitable and
glorious connection with a marriage relationship and therefore rulership, and this is
a process that cannot be separated from the washing of water by the word. Which,
according to our scripture, is made possible by Christ?s giving of Himself for us.
g). It would not be difficult to realize that a failure on our part to participate
in this washing casts scorn and brings shame upon the sacrifice of God Himself on
the cross of Calvary.
h). And again, it is the word, as a result of our proper engagement with it
that makes the washing a reality- not just reading the words printed on the page,
but prayerful study in accordance with the way God has put His word together.
i). Ro 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and
perfect will of God.
j). Conformed = Greek ? ?suschematizo? = to fashion alike, i.e. conform to
the same pattern (figuratively):--conform to, fashion self according to.
k). Here in Romans we see the same thought as we find in Ephesians
presented as not being conformed to the same pattern as this world ? therefore not
engaging in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life ? all of
which are part and parcel of the character of the eternally lost and the carnal
Christian. But rather we should be transformed ?
Transformed = Greek ? ?metamorphoo? = an inward change
by the renewing of our mind ? replacing the mindsets, thought patterns,
understanding that are a part of our sin nature, that part of our being that has a
direct association with the things of this world and the god of this world with the
truth of scriptural reality ? in other words we are to be in the process of not
allowing our mind to follow its fallen desire, but rather to follow the unfallen
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righteousness of the Living God - 2Co 10:5 casting down arguments and every
high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought
into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
And the obedience of Christ was to submit His will to the will of the Father
so as to die in the flesh. This is what the washing of water by the word has to do
with ? submitting our will to the will of God thereby accepting and embracing the
truth of scripture.
l). And this renewing process in Romans 12 happens after a particular
fashion ? Col 3:10?? put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge
according to the image of Him who created him,
i/ It happens in knowledge - epignosis
m). And then in a companion scripture in Ephesians we see reference to the
same thing, which is then followed by examples of what this looks like in practice
Eph 4:22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which
grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of
your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to
God, in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, putting away lying, "Let
each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one
another. 26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let
him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to
give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but
what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of
redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put
away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
7). And here once again we can realize that the things of this world have ready
access to us through our old man who grows corrupt according to the deceitful
lusts ? which would be what? - and we see in our scripture the implicit contrast
between our ?old man? and the action that would give witness to the new.
a). So we may conclude that not only are we living in enemy occupied
territory, but we share our living space with a suicide bomber whose twitchy finger
is constantly on the trigger.
b). The morals, the mores, the values, the diversions, the distractions, the
deceptions of this world crowd in on us from every conceivable direction
throughout our day.
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c). And the intensity of the pressure that comes from this constant
bombardment is to one end alone to corrupt the purity of our calling so that we
should settle for so much less than God intends for us.
d). It is in the midst of this sometimes overwhelming plethora of sensory
overload that we need to be so careful and guard our hearts and minds less we
become desensitized to the wickedness that surrounds us resulting in our
conforming to the world as it is an easier option than walking in the truth.
8). And so to close out for this week let us look at some scriptures in which we
may find strong encouragement to stand strong in the face of our enemy ?
2Pe 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of
Jesus our Lord, 3 as 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, 4
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that
through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the
corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 ? But also for this very reason,
giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge
self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness
brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours
and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness,
and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren,
be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things
you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
a). Joh 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have
peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have
overcome the world."
b). 1Jo 4:4 ? You are of God, little children, and have overcome them,
because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
9). If the Lord is willing we will conclude our dealings with ?the world? next week.
Other messages from this series Audio Video PDF Study Notes
Part 1 - The World
Part 2 - The World - Continued
Part 3 - The Flesh
Part 4 - The Devil