The words of the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle John, to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” are not just idle words. They were the inspired command of God to all men, everywhere, who entertained any hopes or desires of dwelling in eternal peace with Him. To love the world is to hate God! In the Epistle of James we read, “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). That man or woman who dares ignore such warnings does so at his own peril. There are many religions of the present day whose philosophy, precepts, and tenets permit and encourage fellowship and association with the world. Those religions are of the world. The lives, desires, affections, and the very being of those who accept them are part and parcel of the world, and cannot be separated from it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ gives no license for worldly associations and fellowship. The follower of Jesus Christ keeps the commands of his Master, and separates himself from the world.
When a soul harbours affection for the world, and the things it affords and promises, he cannot be a disciple of Jesus Christ. The Bible draws a picture of the world in its true colour; and declares in many ways, and in many places, that it is gaudy, sensual, devilish, and doomed to a soon and certain destruction. (James 3:15 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
1 John 2:17 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Luke 21:34 34 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.
Matthew 24:38 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.
Many people think that if a majority of their neighbours indulge in some sinful passion or vice they are justified in doing likewise. Though all the world goes contrary to the will of God, there is not one single person who can justify his action in doing likewise. God is capable of bringing the whole human race to the bar of judgement for an accounting for sin, and He has promised man that He will do it in the proper time. To indulge in sin and be a partaker of worldly appetites will cause one to suffer the wrath of God for his wickedness.
The world has by a large majority rejected Christ and remained indifferent to His cause. These are the people who make up the world. Their actions, their thoughts, their deeds are a continual and constant digression from God, and the end of their lives is the opposite of holiness and righteousness. Their friendships, clubs, businesses, their every movement of life are toward the satisfying of themselves through sinful desires and pleasures. One must, then, either live a life that is pleasing to God, or be adjudged part of the world, whose end is everlasting damnation.
Not of the World
The Christian is in the world, but not of it. He does not hide himself away in a monastery, away from the vices and evils that are in the world; for men need to be told of the Gospel and the power of God to save men from sin. A Christian can work and live a life pleasing to God in the midst of a perverse and wicked generation, and be a testimony for God. There is no excuse for men to say they cannot live a Christian life at their work or in everyday life, because it is the testimony of God’s people everywhere that they can and do live a victorious life. In the armed forces, in business, at home, anywhere and everywhere, God’s people live for Him.
Daniel 1:8 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Hebrews 11:24-26 24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1, 2).
If our affection is on godly things, on the Kingdom of God, we can rest assured we are not of the world. Those in the world have their treasure in the world, and Jesus said that where a man’s treasure is, there is his heart also.
Matthew 6:21 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Lovers of Pleasure
One of the signs of the last days is that men shall be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (II Timothy 3:4). The widespread seeking after pleasure, which is so universally accepted, has become one of the worst forms of worldliness and ungodliness. Without question, God wants His people to be happy and to have true pleasure. And within the pages of the Word of God is the proper place to find its source. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).