May 28, 2015

Worldly? Aren’t We All?

Passage: Matthew 6:24

Bible Text: Matthew 6:24 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24

Have you discovered that the longer the explanation of something, the more uncertain you become as to what is really being said? Frankly, I prefer living in a black and white world, one with “yes” and “no” answers; but life is not always like that.

For example, the Bible says I am not to love the world or the things therein. So should I wear black and drink vinegar so that my identity would be very clear? Or rather should I refrain from eating meat on Friday? Or put a fish on the bumper of my car? The Bible says that being friends with the world makes me an enemy of God. Does this mean I am to dislike my neighbors or the people I work with? No. Just what is worldliness?

It is a virus of the heart, a deadly mind-set which produces lukewarmness in my faith and separation from the presence of God. It is marked by five clear characteristics which serve as a checklist for you who know Jesus Christ.

#1: Worldliness is characterized by loss of our thirst to know God. Paul wrote that the desire of his life was to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. You were like that when you were first converted. It was the attitude of David who cried out, “O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).

#2: Worldliness is characterized by our loss of first love. It reflects a heart grown cold, a lukewarmness of the soul, whereby things that once mattered are no longer so important. It was the problem which confronted Christians at Ephesus, where Paul had established a thriving church, but forty years later things had grown routine and perfunctory. God rebuked them, saying, “I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love” (Revelation 2:4). Could that be said of you, friend?

#3: A divided heart is a characteristic of worldliness. This goes to the heart of matter. Who is Lord, who is first in your life? Jesus said so plainly, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24). Then Jesus went on to say that “You cannot serve both God and money”; but the word Jesus used goes beyond money. It refers to the world, the driving force of life today.

When the lights are out and you begin to think about your life, you know whether or not Jesus occupies first place in your life. He is saying that loyalties cannot be divided. He doesn’t want to be one of several things. He wants to be Lord of all of your life.

#4: Justifying things which you once considered wrong is another symptom of worldliness. Like what? In 1924, the world laughed at a Scotsman by the name of Eric Liddell, who refused to run in the Olympics on Sunday. How could someone be so old-fashioned? Liddell held the conviction that Sunday was a day of worship and he refused to bend his conviction. Brinkmanship is the art of seeing how far you can go into the world and yet hold your faith. It’s a deadly game.

#5: Worldliness affects your priorities. Ministering to people inside China or in many underdeveloped countries, who will walk for hours and sit with bated breath, drinking in the Word, tells me that something is missing in the lives of most people living in wealth and affluence. Your scale of priorities tells very quickly how far you’ve journeyed back into the world.

Resource reading: Exodus 5