CREATURE VERSUS CREATOR
THINGS OF THE WORLD VERSUS THINGS OF GOD
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (I John 1:15) Here, Almighty God gives us a most clear command, strictly forbidding us to love the things of the world. May God save us from loving the things of the world. May our Creator save us from committing the sin of disobeying this command of His.
“Almighty God, please help me to obey this command of Thine. Please send Thy Holy Spirit to teach me exactly what are the things of the world that Thou commandest me not to love. Help me to fully believe Thee when Thou teachest me what, in particular, the things of the world are. I now open my heart for Thee to instill in it a Holy hatred for all the things of the world. Please help me to hate the things of the world with a Holy hatred from God. Help me to love God with all my heart, and to love the things of God. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
In order for us to obey this important command of God and thus not love the things that are in the world, first of all it is of dire importance that we know exactly what the “things” of the world are. Exactly what are the “things” we are commanded not to love. I firmly believe that “the things that are in the world” refers to things that are of the devil’s kingdom and are on the face of this earth. I believe they first came to be on this earth soon after Eve and Adam became disobedient sinners, thereby becoming lackeys to the devil to be used of the devil in building his kingdom. I believe that fallen man, under the influence and control of the devil, brought all these “things that are in the world” into existence on the face of God’s earth by making, building, inventing, writing, and developing these things that are in the world (things of the devil’s kingdom). Look at those 5 verbs in that last sentence and take note that I did not use the word “create.” Only Almighty God can truly create. So let us honour our Creator and cease using the verb “create” for anything and everything man makes and builds. “The things that are in the world” include things that are tangible, things we can see with our eyes, touch, hold, smell, and such. Mankind (under the influence of the god of this world) made, built, and invented most of these tangible “things”. Things of the world also include things that are less tangible such as sounds, the devil’s music, worldly music, worldly speech, and such. They include the less tangible things like artificial, moving pictures and an ever-expanding variety of artificial images that the devil’s kingdom delights in producing and setting before our eyes. The things of the world also include intangible things such as the pride of life.
In order to clearly discern just what things on the face of this earth are things of the world, let us first think on the things that are clearly things of God. Tho Genesis chapter 2 expounds more details of God creating the earth and things on it, chapter 1 records that creation all the way to the end of it. Upon completing that creation, the last verse of chapter 1 records this about our Creator. “And God saw every thing that he made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis give us a clear record and description of these God-created things that the Creator declared, at the end of His creation, to be “very good.” In brief, those “things” are; the planet earth (air, land, and water), the plants, animals, and the human creature created in God’s Image. All of man’s life’s necessities (while he is here on the earth) are found in that perfect creation of God, which God finished in Genesis 1, and then declared it to be very good. The vast majority of the numberless “things” that fallen man has cluttered up this planet with since then, through making, building, inventing, writing, developing, and such are just about all “things of the world.” They are of the devil’s kingdom. They are the “things that are in the world,” which God commands us not to love. These previous underlined sentences are a most important foundation and starting point in discerning what exactly are things of the world and then in refraining from loving them. Please keep this paragraph in mind and think on it deeply while listening to what the Holy Spirit teaches you in relation to it.
“Almighty God, help me to fully open my heart to Thy Holy Spirit for You to teach me everything Thou desirest that I know concerning the things that are in the world. Please give me clear discernment to be able to definitely recognize the things that are in the world that Thou commandest us not to love. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
Present-day life is cluttered with numerous things. If we do not know which of them are things of the world, then we will not know which ones we are forbidden to love. Proper knowledge of and a clear distinction of the things of God and the things of the world is a direly important matter. I feel plenty inadequate to address it. I only do so because God is telling me to preach it. I will try to exercise extreme caution by limiting my “guesses.” I will try to major on general guidelines. Please think on them while carefully listening to what God’s Holy Spirit says to you about them.
The broadest, most general characteristic I can think of that “things of the world” have in common is extravagance. Please keep that important point in mind. Second important point; necessary (but simple and sufficing) things of God become things of the world when we make them into extravagant things OR excessively indulge ourselves in them. We must believe this second point and let it be a guideline in our daily lives. A most basic example of this is clothing. God ordained that we wear modest clothing to cover our nakedness. Therefore modest clothing is a thing of God. But when we choose extravagant apparel, even if it is modest enough to sufficiently conceal our nakedness, I believe that extravagant clothing has become a thing of the world that God commands us not to love. Basically, there are 2 reasons why people wear extravagant apparel; someone (like parents of little children) require them to wear it, or they love that extravagance and the way it raises them up and makes them look greater in the eyes of other people. (Remember the first 3 chapters of this book, my preaching against increasing and rising.)
“Fashions” in clothing are a thing of the world. These worldly fashions are decided by people of the world and are changed periodically for the purpose of increasing the money flow by selling more clothing more often. People who shun these worldly fashions and do not go along with them are typically looked down on with scorn. “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”
Most, if not all, jewelry is “things” of the world. Reading carefully the several times jewelry is mentioned in the Old Testament, I will not say that God is displeased with all wearing of jewelry. Clothing is necessary to us. But jewelry is not necessary at all. Its basic function is to decorate the human body for the purpose of making it appear greater and more elegant than God ordained that it appear. The wearing of jewelry raises up the human creature to a higher plateau than God created it to be. If it is possible for the wearing of jewelry to be pleasing to God, its use must be most temperate and sparingly to be pleasing to God. Concerning clothing, we quickly cross the line from necessary to extravagant. Concerning jewelry, we can more quickly cross the line from temperate to extravagant. Upon reaching that stage of “extravagant,” I believe that clothing or jewelry definitely becomes a thing of the world, a “thing” God commands us not to love.
Question. “Brother Richard, then just why did God create gold, silver, and precious stones?” Answer. He created them for us NOT to love. “Amen, Brother Richard, preach on!” Hopefully some one of you will say that.
Cosmetics (make-up) are similar to jewelry. Most every thing I just said about jewelry applies to cosmetics also. Briefly stated, their purpose is to enhance the human creature. Possibly all of them are “things of the world.” If it is possible for them to be pleasing to God, they must be used temperately and sparingly. If you truly desire to please your Creator regarding jewelry and cosmetics, please sincerely seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance with an honest and open heart that is willing to listen to God and obey Him in these matters.
“Heavenly Father, please create within me a sincere, honest desire to do Thy Will regarding using jewelry, cosmetics, and any such things that basically decorate my body that Thou created, making it into a more glamorous being than Thou didst ordain it to be. Guide me and clearly teach me Thy Will concerning these “things” and help me to obey Thee in these matters. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
“The lust of the flesh”
Before I mention the next “thing,” let me bring I John 2:16 to your mind. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” The next “thing” I mention relates to the lust of the flesh. Second to air for breathing, food and drink are next most necessary to maintaining the life of our physical bodies. God created food for us and ordained that we eat it in order to live. But we can easily cross the line from temperately consuming only a sufficient amount of God-created, healthy food to maintain proper nourishment, and easily enter into the sin of gluttony (overeating). And that excess amount, of God-created food, likely becomes a “thing” of the world that we consume to the lust of the flesh. We overeat to the sin of gluttony because we love that excess amount. I believe that act is an act of loving a “thing” of the world.
“Heavenly Father, teach me the truth in what Brother Richard just wrote and save me from the sin of gluttony and from the sin of loving the lust of the flesh regarding eating and drinking. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
Consider carefully another important “worldly” point concerning eating and drinking. Sinfully eating much knowledge of good and evil has enabled man to make and invent many “things” to eat and drink that are not God-created food. The main reason we consume them is for the pleasure they give our flesh (the lust of the flesh). Most of those man-made “foods” are, in varying degrees, detrimental to our health, carbonated beverages being one of the first ones that comes to my mind. Likely, edibles and drinkables that man makes and invents are practically all “things” of the world. God forbids us to love them. We should not consume them, thereby harming our God-given health and destroying this body, which is the temple of the Lord.
“The lust of the eyes”
Since the time that God had the Apostle John pen these inspired scriptures in First John that I am now preaching, the “progress” of the devil’s world has added an uncountable number of “things that are in the world” to our daily lives. With God as my Helper and Teacher, I will continue to list “things” I believe to be of the “world.” And I will start with “things” that existed on this earth when John penned these inspired scriptures from which I am preaching. That was almost 2,000 years ago. I have already mentioned extravagant clothing, jewelry and cosmetics (possibly all, or at least that which is over a temperate amount), and excessive food and drink. Food and clothing start out as things of God. Temperate jewelry and cosmetics possibly start out as things of God, but it may be that they are things of the world from the start.
What else was available 2,000 years ago in “the things that are in the world,” which God forbade the people living at time to love? The next most basic “thing” that comes to my mind is extravagant housing. Tho God commands us to be content with food and raiment, I do not believe it is basically displeasing to Him for us to live in some type of dwelling. People (especially women who “feather the nest”) naturally desire a comfortable, pleasant looking abode. But we do not have to go very far in making a dwelling sufficiently comfortable and pleasant enough to the eyes, to cross the line into extravagance. At that point, I believe that our house becomes a “thing” of the world. Most people, Christians included, who prosper financially soon come to have a house and furnishings that are worldly in that they are extravagant beyond being sufficiently comfortable and reasonably pleasant looking.
Still thinking on the days when John penned these scriptures I am preaching, an extravagant boat could have been a thing of the “world” then. That is just another example that comes to my mind. Thus far, I have spoken of “things” that start out right, but become things of the world when carried to the extreme. May God give each of us a willing heart to let His Holy Spirit clearly teach us and guide us concerning these things.
“Heavenly Father, please do that for me. Please make me totally willing for Thy Holy Spirit to clearly teach me regarding these things of the world, and help me to be completely obedient to Thy Guidance in these matters. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
Seriously consider an important safety feature of God’s “prison” farm that He ordained for the human race in Genesis 3. When each family stays on their “prison” farm, the “things” they own tend to be quite limited, and public property naturally tends to be extremely limited. That is a most wonderful safeguard. Think on how fallen, depraved man is so naturally prone to destroy public property. How many times have you gone into a public restroom in a park or roadside rest area and was appalled to see what wanton destruction had been purposely done to the inside of that restroom? That is just 1 example to get you to think on all the abuse you see to public property. Many “good” people who would never abuse public property still use it to the fullest extent, not being conservative with the hot water and toilet paper in that public restroom like they are with those same commodities that they have to pay for in their own home.
I do not believe that employment is a sin, but I do believe that it is basically of the world, the devil’s kingdom. God ordained that each family work for themselves on their own farm. Think on how employees use and access many “things” that belong to their employer while doing their day’s work. You know how prevalent job site theft is on this planet full of sinners. And, of course, the “good” employees do not steal from their boss. They just tend to simply use job tools, supplies, and equipment to the fullest, with little or no thought to be conservative. Why bother? I don’t have to pay for it.
But it is an entirely different story when all the things a person uses daily belong to him. Because he had to grow them, make them, or buy them, he just naturally tends to take the best of care of his own, personal possessions and to use them most conservatively. Such is what our Creator ordained and it just cannot be improved upon by us sinners. For brevity’s sake, I will not preach the unlimited thoughts I have on these last 3 paragraphs. But their short content is most important. So please think on them and listen to what your Creator speaks to you about them.
“Heavenly Father, I am listening. Please help all the rest of Thy creation to listen well also. Amen.”
Now I will list some “things” I believe that never started out as things of God, but were totally instigated by the god of this world, the devil, and therefore were “things that are in the world” from their very origin. First and foremost, MONEY. The much I preached in the last 2 chapters against money, mammon, and filthy lucre should suffice. No need to preach more against it here. If money is totally of the devil and his world, then I believe that the system of buying and selling is completely from the devil also, and not of God. Most, if not all, financial systems on this planet are things of the world.
Likely the wheel is a “thing of the world,” never ordained of God to be on this earth. Ezekiel 1:15-16 describes living creatures that have wheels that are apparently created by God into their beings. Lucifer would have known of these creatures, and likely he instigated man’s inventing the wheel. Wheeled vehicles greatly enhance man’s power to rapidly run to and fro on the face of God’s earth and to transport a mammoth volume of “things of the world” anywhere and everywhere on earth. Thereby they greatly enhance the power of the devil’s kingdom. They also bring on much death, injury, suffering, and destruction with their accidents.
In Bible times, I believe that a chariot of any kind was definitely a “thing” of the world. I have already labeled the wheel and extravagance as things of the world, and the chariot was wheeled extravagance. Just as we have no record of Christ touching money, the Bible also gives us no record of Him ever riding in or on a wheeled vehicle. Therefore I believe that Christ never used the wheel. Think how much people now love wheeled vehicles and consider how un-Christ like we are in that matter. The absence of the wheel on this earth would greatly restrict fallen man’s ability to build a powerful kingdom for the devil here. God created man with a means of locomotion, walking. Walking is ordained of God. I believe that God created the camel, donkey, horse, ox, and such animals to be beasts of burdens. I believe that God did not give us the wheel, but rather that it is a “thing of the world”.
I believe that man-made images and pictures are basically things of the world that God forbids us to love. In the 10 commandments in Exodus chapter 20, God forbade the making of any image or likeness. Later as the Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land, the Lord God commands them, “Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places.” (Numbers 33:52) We make pictures because we love to look upon them, and I believe that we thus love a thing of the world that God forbids us to love. Most, if not all, art is a thing of the world.
Most all literature that is not Bible preaching and Bible teaching is a thing of the world that God forbids us to love. The same is true for most all music and songs that are not about God or praise to Him. God created Lucifer as a musician with apparatus for making music created into his very being (Ezekiel 28:13). And ever since his fall, Lucifer has been the author of much music and many songs. They are things of the world that God forbids us to love. Verbal speech becomes a thing of the world when we talk of things of the world with affection and love toward them. Over the years, people have fallen madly in love with the world God forbids us to love, causing their much speech to be filled with love for, praise of, and homage to the things of the world. What sinful creatures we have become.
“Brother Richard, you are just against everything!” No I am not. I am only against the things of the devil and his kingdom. I am totally for the things of God. What a blessed life it is, to have that mind in you, the Mind of God. Please love the things of God and ask God to save you from loving the many things of the world. You are in great spiritual danger when you believe many things of the world to be innocent or even believe that they are God’s blessings to us to make our lives here on earth better.
“Heavenly Father, please do help me to forsake my love for many things of the world and help me to truly love Thee with all my heart and to love the things that are of God. Save me from being deceived by the devil into thinking that many things of the world are innocent and save me from me deceiving myself by thinking that these things of the world are God’s blessings to us. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
“Pride of life”
I started with “concrete,” tangible “things” and am moving into intangible things as I mention music, songs, and speech. Most of the intangible “things” of the world fall under the category of “the pride of life” there in I John 2:16. The most basic one I can think of is each individual’s sinful pride. Most of the various categories of social status that rank people socially from low to high, pertain to “the pride of life,” and therefore are “things” of the world that God forbids us to love. Entertainment and amusements are mostly, if not completely, things of the world. Do not carelessly group basic recreation with amusements and entertainment. Recreation in its basic forms is not a thing of the world. It is reasonable to believe that it is proper and fitting for us to periodically relax and “recreate” our tired beings with wholesome recreation. However, when you bring competition into your wholesome recreation, I believe you have brought a thing of the world into it. And when you organize teams, have spectator attended games, with the spectators going mad with excitement, screaming for blood, and such, you soon make recreation into an ugly, sinful thing of the world that God forbids us to love.
I have arrived at speaking of some things of the world that are “events.” Presently, much of the time of Christians is taken up with worldly events that originate with the ruler of this world, Satan. Organized sports, amusements, and entertainment come to my mind first, on top of an unlimited number of social events that are of the world and therefore are not of God. Christians believe most of them to be harmless and wholesome, but they contain much subtil danger that we must be aware of in order not to be spiritually harmed by them. One harmful thing they do is to rob us of much of our time that could be much more wisely used for doing noble things that are of God and thus have eternal value. Also, worldly events destroy the family God created. I have already written a chapter about the family. But pause now to consider God’s precious created human family in relation to the things of the world. Look at the American family with maximum events scheduled for each person (from the youngest to the oldest) for the purpose of giving them a most fulfilled life, of course. In reality, that “most fulfilled life” is simply getting all one can from all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Look at the family members racing about for each person to participate in his or her events, with the parents frantically ferrying their children here and there at a frenzied pace to the children’s various events. Worldly events are commonly divided into age categories. All of this “worldly” rot from the ruler of this world destroys many families, even Christian families. May God open our eyes to the danger of worldly events and save us from them.
“Heavenly Father, please help me to always bear in mind that my life here on earth is given to me by Thee to be lived for Thy Honour and Glory. Please help me to daily use my time in accordance to Thy Divine Will for me. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
“He builded a city”
Upon succeeding in enticing Eve to disobey her Creator’s one negative command to her, Satan very soon set about instigating fallen mankind to be his lackeys to be used by him in building the physical structures of his kingdom (the world) here on this earth. Presently, the vast majority of the things built and constructed on this earth are “things of the world.” They belong to the devil’s kingdom. When Cain committed the first murder by mankind, killing his brother Abel, the Lord God came down and had a firm talk with Cain. Read the account of it in Genesis 4. Then look at what Cain did after the Lord talked to him. “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.” (Genesis 4:16-17) I believe that the devil instigated Cain to build that city as a part of the devil’s kingdom, the world. This would have occurred not long after Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden. And that is the only mention in the Bible of “city” or “cities” before the flood in Genesis chapter 7.
“A great city”
God destroyed all sinful men and their building for the devil with a flood, saving just and perfect Noah and his household in the ark, a total of 8 people. Look at Genesis 10 to see what descendents of Noah shortly started doing. “Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.” (Genesis 10:11-12) We are accustomed to seeing great cities built piecemeal over decades of time by a vast number of people as an increasing number of people steadily come to a particular city and join its population. But here it is fascinating to read that 1 man went forth and built 4 cities, one being called a great city. Likely other humans labored with Asshur in all that building. But I believe the devil was controlling Asshur and all this building of cities for the purpose of rapidly building up a large kingdom for him (Satan) here on earth.
“Let us build us a city and a tower”
Let’s carefully study the building of the well-known “tower” of Babel. “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4) Those “builders” clearly stated 3 reasons behind their desire to build. (1) They wanted a city and a great tower. (2) They wanted to make a name (reputation) for themselves. They wanted future generations to remember what great “things” they had built. (3) They desired not to be scattered apart from each other, so they built a city where they could dwell close by each other. We need to keep all 3 of these motives in mind, because we are prone to think only of the tower and of them wanting to build it up to the 3rd Heaven so they could go to God’s Heaven by walking up this tower. I believe that is mistaken thinking on our part. No doubt those “builders” well knew the impossibility of building a tower to reach God’s 3rd Heaven, and therefore that was not their motive. When they boasted, “whose top may reach unto heaven,” I believe that was just sinful, proud boasting in the exact same way we presently call tall buildings “skyscrapers” tho none of them have actually scraped against the sky. “Let us make us a name.” Present day builders build large cities and buildings (attaching their names to the building they built) for the exact same reason, to make a name (reputation) for themselves.
“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.” (Verse 5) Bible stories written about this event usually major on the tower. But the Lord takes a good look at the city also. Likewise, He keeps a close eye on all the building we do for the devil’s kingdom. The next 2 verses tell of the Lord confounding their language to put a stop to their building. Then look at verses 8-9. “So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” Notice that these verses do not even mention the tower. God’s perfect words tell us that they left off to build the city. This scripture shows us how displeased God was with them building a city in order to make a name for themselves. Look at this scripture carefully and take it at its face value. “And they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel.” I conclude they named the unfinished city, “Babel,” tho most Bible stories are about the “Tower of Babel.” May God help us to be ever so careful as we handle His Perfect Scriptures.
Immediately after the flood of Noah’s day, great men began to again build great cities. Sodom and Gomorrah would have been built in this period of time when God halted the building of the city of Babel. Soon thereafter, God rained down fire from heaven onto Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying them for their abominable sins of sexual perversion.
Egypt is a type of the world, and Pharaoh a type of the antichrist. When Pharaoh made slaves out of the Israelites, he forced them to build cities for him. “Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.” (Exodus 1:11) Wicked kings like Ahab were noted for building cities. “Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” More such city building accounts abound in the Old Testament, often the builder being a particularly evil person or ruler. A prominent mark of people who love the world and also rise to great power is their intense urge to build the biggest and greatest “thing” they can possibly build. These are things of the world that God commands us not to love. A prominent “Doing” of Almighty God in the Old Testament was that of destroying that which man had built. God sent the flood of Noah’s day. He burned up Sodom and Gomorrah. He brought the walls of Jericho down flat. And after His soon coming 1,000-year reign on earth, our Lord will burn up all of man’s work here on earth. Ask Him to save you from loving that which He is soon to destroy.
“Lord Jesus, please save me from loving the things that Thou doest hate and therefore Thou art soon to destroy. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
“Nor fill the face of the world with cities”
Fallen mankind gets much glory for building the devil’s kingdom for the devil. Man is naïve enough to believe that he does all his great building by his own power alone. Therefore he boasts in that building, and in himself, putting his name on his buildings. You can readily see how that man has filled the face of the world with cities, doing away with God’s beautiful and bountiful creation and replacing it with cities that immediately become cesspools of sin. Our Creator is highly displeased with us building such a sinful kingdom for the devil on God’s created earth. So let’s look at part of the prophecy against the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14. And keep in mind that spiritual Babylon is throughout the entire earth and is practically the same as the “world,” the kingdom of the devil.
“Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 14:21-22)
Think seriously on these Old Testament scriptures about man building. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you whether I am correct in calling it the building of the kingdom of the devil. But, above all, think on your direct relationship to all of man’s building that presently stands around you. Ask yourself, “How much do I love all this?” Stores, malls, plazas, theaters, clubhouses, amusement parks, museums, and the list is endless. I believe all such things are “the things that are in the world” that God commands us not to love. So my main point is that we all should cry out to God to save us from loving that which He forbids us to love.
“Almighty God, please help me to obey Thy command not to love the things that are in the world. Please teach me all the things Thou forbiddest me to love and save me from loving them. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
In the Old Testament, government leaders of the Israelites customarily sat in the gate when they judged the affairs of the people instead of building government buildings. Compare that to the numerous government buildings that presently fill the face of the world. It was the custom of New Testament believers to meet to worship God in believers’ homes, instead of building church buildings that tend to become elaborate and extravagant, evolving into things of the world. Think deeply on these things while praying for God to save you from loving the things that are in the world.
Many pastors are kind and gracious enough to me to invite me to come to their churches to preach, and I greatly appreciate their invitations. When I arrive at a church, it is common for the pastor to give me a tour of the church facilities out of kindness, just as the disciples offered Christ a tour of the facilities out of kindness. “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.” (Matthew 24:1) Let’s read that same event in the Gospel of Mark. “And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here.” (Mark 13:1) Can’t you just feel that disciple’s earnest desire to impress our Master with the magnificence of those man-made buildings and dead stones? Thus the disciple considered himself bestowing a kind favor upon our Master. So let’s carefully note our Lord’s response. “And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Mark 13:2)
The disciple’s eyes saw great buildings, but our Master’s eyes saw nothing so great about them. “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:18) May we fully submit ourselves to our Master in order for Him to give us God’s Eyes, God’s Heart, and God’s Mind. Christians take too much vain pride in building an elaborate and extravagant church building when a simpler building would suffice, putting much of God’s money into concrete, brick, stones, and wood that could better be used to spread the Gospel to the lost and to help poor Christians throughout the world. Always bear in mind that God is going to destroy all the physical structures that man builds on this earth because they are things that are in the world that God forbids us to love. Let us obey God in this.
“Lord God, please help me to have Thy Mind concerning the things that are in the world. Please save me from loving them. Please save us Christians from vainly trying to please Thee by building elaborate and extravagant church buildings. Please save us from looking on the seen and give us sharp spiritual vision to look on that which is not seen. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
“In the last days”
Selfish, vain pride of life likely formed in Eve and Adam's beings immediately when they disobeyed God and became sinners. Some of these other intangible things of the world likely immediately or soon came into existence. As for the tangible things of the world, fallen mankind, under the spell of the god of this world, immediately set to work making, building, and inventing them, all for the glory of the devil’s kingdom. Most all of the things of the world I have mentioned thus far existed down thru the few thousands of years during which the Bible was being given to us by God. Now I want to preach against things of the world that have been added after the Bible was completed about 2000 years ago. For brevity’s sake, I will not go into much of that history (from the time the last book in the Bible, Revelation, was written until now).
During the 19th century (the 1800’s), the pace of the building of the devil’s kingdom (the world) by fallen mankind, exploded forward into a more rapid speed never before known. (1) The discovery of electricity (in the previous century), (2) the invention of the steam engine, and (3) the invention of the gasoline (and other fuel powered) engines, greatly aided the increasing speed at that time. These 3 things of the world started drastically altering our natural, God-ordained lifestyle. Man gluttonously continued to feast on the forbidden knowledge of good and evil, bringing us into this intensively evil, sinful, and destructive end time era. I believe that all of man’s inventions that stem from eating of the knowledge of good and evil (higher education) are things of the world that God forbids us to love. Now just stop a minute to seriously and honestly consider to what great degree these “things” have become your life.
“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the ABUNDANCE of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15) When your God and your soon coming Judge commands you to take heed and to beware, it would greatly behoove you to do just that for the sake of your eternal well being. Please always keep in mind that your life does not consist in the abundance of things, even if they be things of God. It is even more tragic when we allow our life to consist of the things of the world.
Notice carefully that the one thing our Lord is here calling on us to take heed to and to beware of is covetousness. The system of the world (the devil’s kingdom) typically imparts the things of the world to us thru the system of buying and selling. Merchants typically take great pains to display their goods before our eyes, ears, and minds (with actual displays and much well planned advertising) to cause us to desire those “things”. Think what big business advertising is. As the merchants’ skilled efforts take their intended effects upon us, causing us to desire those things, we soon and easily cross the line right into the sin of coveting those things. Therefore our All Wise Lord warns us so plainly to beware of covetousness. Consider how you are constantly bombarded with advertising and displays of things of the world, and how it causes a desire for them to grow on you.
“Lord Jesus, please help me to obey Thy command to beware of covetousness. Please guard me against coveting things that do not belong to me. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
The god of this world has cleverly filled our lives with numberless things of the world, thereby burdening us down with the cares of this world. “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19) In addition to the tangible, visible “things” that become our possessions and become the instruments and tools with which we do our daily work at our job site, the cares of this world also include intangible things such as business and social affairs that come upon us without limit. “The lusts of other things” would certainly include the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. Listen carefully to what our God says the deceitfulness of riches, and these cares and lusts do to us. They choke the word, causing it to become unfruitful. These 3 things our Lord spoke of here are main reasons modern day Christians are barren of spiritual fruit.
Luke’s record of this gives us a few other inspired words our Lord spoke about this. “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” (Luke 8:14) Pitiful is the lot of Christians who are barren of spiritual fruit in this life, and will therefore be barren of rewards and of a “well done” when our Lord judges them. Cares and pleasures of this life and riches choke spiritual growth, preventing fruit from growing. (Add this negative point about riches in Luke 8:14 to the many negative things I preached about riches in the last 2 chapters.)
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” (Luke 21:34)
Each time one of these “things of the world” makes its first appearance on God’s earth, it is typically and naturally foreign and therefore repulsive (in varying degrees) to human creatures. (Remember the accounts I gave in chapters 2 and 3 of people being highly repulsed by new inventions in the 19th century.) Also, each new invention that is noticeably extravagant, at first readily appears to be just that in the eyes of the masses. But the god of this world entices us to set our eyes upon them. And the longer we gaze upon them, the more our heart becomes fixed upon them, and the more we grow to desire and covet them. When automobiles first came onto the market, the masses of people using horses and wagons soon began to dream of one day owning such an extravagant thing as a car. The same was true when electricity came into use, and then each electrical appliance.
With passing time, practically everyone comes to own these things of the world. So, in due time, they cease to be extravagant to our minds. Step by step, they each become commonplace to us. And then the next step is that each of them becomes necessary to us. Soon we can’t live without them. Even if we confess with our mouth that we don’t love them, we regard them as necessary to our life. In a real sense, they have become our life. And at that point, we have become firmly entrapped in the snare that our enemy, the god of this world, so cunningly laid for us. As we come to use each of these things of the world, we so easily and naturally grow to love them for their convenience, power, and speed (in travel, communication, etc.) and thereby “evolve” into sinful obedience to I John 2:15. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”
Presently, Christian believers are madly in love with numerous things of the world that never existed 100 years ago, or 50, or 10, or even 5 years ago. Most of us have easily gotten over the old-fashioned “hang-up” of opposing each new thing of the world when it first comes out. Instead, we just can’t wait to see the many new inventions that will be available to buy tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. We increasingly become dependent on these things of the devil’s world, come to love them more, and come to love more the money required to buy them. Satan’s money and his things of the world become our life. The main reason most people desire to have money is to use it to buy the things that are in the world, that God commands us not to love.
People, with their houses already crowded full of the things that are in the world, look at a large item in a store and think, “I sure would like to have it, but where would I put it?” From hence comes the trend to build larger (more extravagant) houses, simply to hold more things of the world. “And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.” (Luke 12:18) Many people are presently going down the same path to destruction that this foolish rich man went down. Just as the Bible does not forbid us to use money, neither does it forbid us to use the things of the world. But, just as with money, when we touch these “things,” we touch the world. And that is dangerous. It starts a trend of going deeper and deeper into the world, thereby becoming more hopelessly entrapped.
Satan’s master plan behind it all is to steadily weave a stronger, more encompassing web to firmly entrap us in the power of his kingdom, thereby making us slaves to him. He wants to bring us to the place where we come to conclude in our minds that escape is absolutely impossible and we therefore mentally surrender to the enemy, believing escape from the system of the world to be hopeless. Therefore it is a must that we cry out to God for salvation and deliverance from this slavery to the devil’s world that we are in. We must sincerely ask God to create within our hearts a genuine love for the lifestyle He ordained for us while on this earth. And we must ask Him to guide each of us into His present will for us.
“Heavenly Father, please do that for me. Please create within me a genuine love for Thee and for the things of God. Guard me against loving the things of the world. Help me to unreservedly place my life in Thy Hands for Thee to deliver me from the power of the world in accordance to Thy Will for my life. Guide me to fully follow Thee concerning this and save and deliver me by Thy Unlimited Power, I pray. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
Think on how destructive and deadly the things of the world are, an unending array of chemicals and such, weapons of war that grow increasingly destructive, and the list is endless. Let me give 1 example of how our sinful vanity harms our God-given health. Much of God’s creation on this earth is plants of soft green colors. “Experts” tell us that the soft green colors in nature are the most pleasing, comfortable, and most easy colors to the human eye. But consider what colors confront your eyes in the world full of things we have made and built for the devil’s kingdom. Our sinful vanity loves bright, shiny surfaces that produce a glare harmful to our precious eyesight when God’s sun reflects from those shiny surfaces of cars and car glass, the much glass in the outer walls of large buildings, tin, aluminum, and many such shiny surfaces of metal and glass all around us in the devil’s world that we have so gladly built for him. That glare forms cataracts in the eyes and does much other harm to the eyesight, all because we vainly prefer to live in Vanity Fair instead of God’s created nature. How self-destructive we fallen sinners are. How direly we stand in need of God saving us from loving the world and the things that are in the world.
“Heavenly Father, please teach me just how deadly and destructive the kingdom of the devil is. Reveal to me just how guilty the human race stands before Thee for destroying Thy created nature that nourishes our beings in order to replace it with the destructive kingdom of the devil. Save me from loving the world and the things of the world. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
“All that is in the world”
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (I John 2:16) A thorough Bible knowledge of these 3 things (all that is in the world) is a must. In the same order, those 3 things correlate to fun, fortune, and fame. In the same order, they each also pair up with pleasure, possessions, and position (power). That scripture (I John 2:16) clearly tells us that these 3 categories make up ALL that is in the world, the devil’s kingdom. Please keep them foremost in your mind while you live your mortal life on this earth, which became the setting of the devil’s kingdom when Eve and Adam first sinned.
“Lord God, please help me to totally submit myself to Thee for Thee to save me from all that is in the world. Save me from loving all that is in the world. Save me from being enslaved by all that is in the world. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
In Matthew chapter 4, when Satan tempted our Lord, the temptation was in these 3 areas. Satan tempted our Lord to eat, lust of the flesh. The devil next tempted our Lord to exercise His Godly powers, pride of life. In a final attempt, the enemy offered our Lord all the kingdoms of the world, lust of the eyes, in return for worship. Praise God that our Lord was completely victorious over all these temptations. He has that same victory available to all His believers down thru all the ages, if only we will seek that victory instead of madly chasing after the things of the world.
“Heavenly Father, please save me from chasing after the things of the world. Please help me to seek the victory over the world, victory that is available in the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
Let’s look at these 3 realms of human creature passion and desire back before Eve and Adam fell. Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, I do not believe that the “world” yet existed on this earth. But the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that God created and placed in the garden, appealed to all 3 of these passions (desires) the human creature possessed in his perfect state. Think carefully on Genesis 3:6. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh), and that it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and a tree to be desired to make one wise (the pride of life), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” All of the temptations that come our way fall into these 3 categories. All 3 of these categories were contained in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when Eve looked upon it in her perfect state.
Our Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) created us humans as triune beings (body, soul, and spirit). Although there appears to be some overlapping, these 3 things that compose “all that is in the world” pair up with the 3 parts of our being. In our fallen, degenerate state, our body feeds on the lust of the flesh. Our soul feeds on the lust of the eyes. And our spirit feeds on the pride of life. There is also the ear gate into our being. The sounds that enter in through it feed our soul and spirit. Our soul is composed mostly, or entirely, of our emotions. Feelings of joy, sorrow, love, hate, and such, are generated by our soul, though some of them may originate in our spirit. (Someone much wiser than I must explain some of this most deep Bible teaching.)
It is important that you always bear in mind that fallen man naturally tends to feed his entire being (body, soul, and spirit) on “all that is in the world,” the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Don’t forget that any temptation that comes your way will fall into one (or more) of these categories. You also need to know that these 3 categories started out as perfect and upright desires in the perfect human that God created.
What is more important to keep in mind is that our Creator God made perfect provision for the fulfilling of these desires (passions) in His Perfect Creation. Therefore there was absolutely no need for Adam and Eve to disobey God in order to be completely fulfilled creatures. Back up to Genesis 2:9. “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight (desire of the eyes), and good for food (desire of the flesh); the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
You can readily see that the provision for the fulfillment of the “pride of life” is missing there in all those other trees in God’s perfect creation that God permitted Adam and Eve to eat of. The “pride of life” is contained only in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God forbad us to partake of. So where is our provision for the fulfillment of “the pride of life”? That should be most obvious to you. Our Creator God ordained that He alone be our pride of life. That is one of the most basic, important facts for you to know and believe. Almighty God is the One and Only Thing that we human creatures should take pride in.
“My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” (Psalms 34:2) “In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever.” (44:8) Let us be like King David and take pride in and boast of our Creator God and Him alone.
We Christian believers have been regenerated by God and therefore should not desire the things of the world. Rather, we should desire and live for the things of God, looking to them to satisfy and fulfill our triune being. God ordained 3 things to totally satisfy our triune being. (1) Our Creator God. (2) God’s created nature, this planet and the plants and animals on it. (3) Other human creatures. You must have a good knowledge of the things I have preached in this chapter in order to please God by living for the things of God and in order not to live for the things of the world. You must live for these 3 things I just listed here in order to please your Creator and in order to have a fulfilled and satisfied life on this earth. I pray that God will help you to do that.
“Lord God, please help me to fully believe that only Thou and Thy creation of nature, plants, animals, and people can truly satisfy my being. Please help me to live for God and for the things of God. Please save me from living for the wrong things. Please help me to diligently study Thy Scriptures in the Bible and to keenly listen to Thy Holy Spirit’s guidance in order to learn from Thee what to do with my life here on earth. Please teach me exactly what things Thou wouldest have me to learn from this chapter in this book. I pray this for all other people also. Amen.”
(This is the end of Chapter 10 of Creature Versus Creator)