Walking in the Light: Renouncing Worldliness

Scripture: 1 John 2:12-17
Date: 08/01/2009 
Lesson: 5
John further defines 'walking in the light' as renouncing the world and its ways.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to Sacramento central sda church this morning in Sacramento, California. A very special welcome to our regular members that join us here every Sabbath to worship and our guests that are here this morning, and also a very special welcome to you that join us every Sabbath from around the country and around the world, either live on the internet streaming this morning, through internet, television, radio, video, however you're joining us, welcome and Happy Sabbath. Our first hymn this morning is hymn number 371, "lift him up." And this comes as a request from lora in antigua barbuda, les and sue and Phillip in australia, jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida, Daniel in new zealand, lynn in New York, ronald in Pennsylvania, judith in the Philippines, Paul in south africa, gemma and Joseph in trinidad and tobago, and ivan in zimbabwe. Hymn number 371, we'll sing the st, the 2nd and the 4th verse.

[Music] What a privilege it is for us as Christians to be able to lift up Jesus, to those around us and to just show them through our love what Jesus is like. Praise the Lord. If you have a favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at saccentral.org, and click on the "contact us" link. And there you can request any song in our hymnal that you'd like to sing with us. And we'll sing that with you on a coming Sabbath.

Our next hymn is hymn number 92, "this is my father's world." And we'll sing the first, second and third. Looks like that's all there is, all three verses. And this comes as a request from gloria in Alabama, frank, dina, jessica and ariel in australia, cleonice in brazil, abigail in Colorado, sherace in england, tonnette, shavoya and donald in jamaica, Daniel in new zealand, darin in North Carolina, marivic in the Philippines, leandra and charles in trinidad and tobago, Matthew in Washington and xolani in zimbabwe. Hymn number 92, "this is my father's world." [Music] Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, we are so grateful this morning that you are on the throne, and that you are in control of this earth, even though it doesn't seem like it sometimes.

And satan is working so hard to keep people on his side, Lord. We are humbled this morning that you love us and that you want to work through us to help save those people. So Lord, this morning just fill our hearts with your spirit overflowing that we can be examples of who you want us to be, that we can lead others to you, that we can finish your work and go home with you. We are so grateful for your love and your mercy and your grace. We ask you to please be with pastor mike this morning as he brings us Your Words, Lord.

Apply them to our hearts that we can live these last days fully in confidence that you are coming and that you truly have saved us. Thank you, Jesus. We pray these things in your precious name. Amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by pastor mike thompson.

He is the health and temperance pastor here at Sacramento central. Thank you, jolyne, and ladies. Thank you for leading us in music this morning. Good morning, Happy Sabbath. I delight to welcome those of you are looking out there on the internet or on the television about 3 weeks from when this is recorded, or anybody who's listening.

And those of you here this morning, God bless you. We're looking in the lesson quarterly, "loved and loving, in John's epistles." And today it's lesson number 5. And the title is "walking in the light, renouncing worldliness." I love a lot of things to say so I'm gonna get moving 'cause I don't want to miss anything else. So pray for me that I'll have the gift of speaking quickly, and you'll have the gift of listening just as effectively. John 3:16 says, "God so loved the world, he," did what? "He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

" God loves this world. He loves every sinner, every man, every woman, every child. Do you believe that? Should we love them as well? Yes. God's given that, a mission to pray and to strive and to plead before him with tears to reach out to the lost. This world needs that.

But there's something about this world that God loves: the lost. And there's something he hates; and that's sin. And he hates it especially in his professed people. So it's God's purpose that he should cleanse us from these things. And we're looking today of course at worldliness.

And I want to read from John 3:19-20 because Jesus came to forgive us for our worldliness--and we'll define that term in a moment--and to deliver us from worldliness. I want to read from John 3:19-20. It says, "and this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved." We shudder to think of the consequences of those who would turn away the light of the world and reject and cast off as so cheap and superficial, such a great gift, saving gift of salvation. May none of us do that.

But as we're considering today the question of walking in the light and renouncing worldliness, I believe this passage helps us to define what worldliness is. John here speaks of the world, that "light has come into the world." But we notice at the same time, he's not actually speaking about the planet, but he's speaking about men and women. You notice here, "light has come into the world, but men." That's what we're looking at, metaphorically men. So men and world are synonymous. They're one and the same thing.

Then the passage goes on to tell us what kind of men they are. It says, "their deeds were evil." Why? Because Jesus brought them light. And they loved the darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. So I believe it's within this context that we can say world or worldliness is a reference to evil desires, passions, practices, openly or even secretly, by men and women who resist the claim of God upon their lives. Would you agree with that? That's exactly what-- that's it in a nutshell.

And worldliness comes in all different shapes, sizes, colors, flavors. And let's get one thing right, friends. It's far more than how we dress, okay? Perhaps a young woman has never set foot in a church before, doesn't know a thing about it, but she felt the call of God upon her heart. And the dear child walks in the church of God with a miniskirt and jewelry dangling all over. And some people will say, "what worldliness! What is she doing in this house of worship?" You don't know where that girl came from.

You don't know where she came from. And we need to remember when people walk through that door, who may be dressed like that, don't jump to conclusions. You don't know what she's been struggling with. It may be a feat in itself to walk through that door. So you understand what I'm saying here? Let's be very careful how we deal with one another.

That's how Jesus was. And so worldliness goes far, far beyond. A young woman--I'm sorry if there's any here. I'm not just picking on you, but you do get picked on by the way. It's not the jewelry that's hanging off, though God says he doesn't want us wearing gold or pearls or those kinds of things.

But we'll touch on that a little later on. But that's not the main thing. See worldliness is a condition. It is a state of the--state of the art--state of the heart. That's what God is trying to deal with, not necessarily the externals.

He goes for the heart. And if the heart is right, the externals will take care of themselves. Can you say, "amen?" So I'm going to move into some of this, this morning. And so it says in John 2:15-16, and I shouldn't make this a preaching thing. We should have somebody read.

Do we have our microphones? Microphones? Microphones? Yeah. Okay, mike's over there. Would somebody like to read John 2:15-16? John 2:15-16. "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.

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." So you see--yeah, while it manifests itself openly, does worldliness, it's a reflection of the condition of the heart. "The lust of the flesh." That's a whole gamut of things there: "the lust of the eyes, the pride of life." It's not just dress, friends. It's a whole gamut of things. And you know, we may look at somebody and we may--i hate to use this term--may say this person is "really liberal." On the other side of the fence, you might find somebody, and I hate to use this term as well, "they're very conservative." You look at them outwardly, you see no--you see no outward worldliness. But they can be just as unconverted as a philistine.

The lusts of this world, the lusts of the flesh may not be openly manifest, but they might be there in the heart. And Jesus dealt with these kinds of people. They're the ones who gave him the most grief. I don't have to go into the details. They're the ones that were foremost in instigating his murder, the pharisees, the sadducees.

So let us not sit here this morning and think, "ah, yeah, yeah, well oh I know somebody." Let us all heed what God wants to speak to us personally, personally. So all Christians are called to heed this admonition. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world." And if that was true in John's day, how true is it today as you and I stand on the very borders of the heavenly canaan. Don't have time to talk about others, thousands of years ago, stood on the borders of the heavenly canaan and got into worldliness, baal-peor, dancing around the golden calf. But here's the problem, friends.

Worldliness and whatever it forms--in whatever forms it comes in, it will eat out the Spiritual heart of anybody who wants to profess to be a Christian and yet hang onto the things which God disapproves. You cannot walk in the light while you're walking in the dark. It will just eat that right out. And this is why--I'm stealing a bit of thunder from the end--this is why we find some Christians who've been in the church for years. They may know the doctrines, but yet in respect to the graces of Christ, kindness and patience and longsuffering and purity, they're stunted.

They're dwarfs. Because when you resist light, and you allow the things of the world to come and raise its banner in your heart, you remain stunted, you remain dwarfed, you cannot become what Jesus wants you to be. So worldliness, it's a plague. It's an infection. And this is why it works so effectively.

This is why the devil is constantly seeking to introduce worldliness into the church. He effects one heart at a time. Then you get that corporate effect. And you have a church then that has the truth, and yet people come in off the street. And they look, and they say, "you know, you people, I expected a little more.

" You know, I will tell you this. There are some people out in the world that are confirmed non-Christians, atheists. They do what they want. But you know what? Those people have an idea as to how they believe Christians should be. And the world can sometimes be quicker to discern the chinks and the hypocrisy in professed Christians than Christians themselves.

That's a fact, friends. And so this worldliness, the devil is constantly seeking to infect individuals and then the corporate body. And what it does, it weakens the moral core and the Spiritual resolve of the church of Jesus Christ. It will cause the church to misrepresent God and what he stands for before the unbelieving world. And what's more, it places us in a position where we're denied the power of God in its fullness to fulfill our God-given mission to this world.

It's a plague, friends. So let's define worldliness a little more perhaps, kind of touched on it. I wrote a whole page last night, but I decided to scrap it, just give one little terse, short definition. Worldliness you may find, somebody may come along and say, "you know what? I'm a liberated Christian. I'm not a legalist.

I'm not an old-time traditionalist, none of that stuff. I'm delivered from the law. I'm free in Jesus Christ." Well, we should be free in Jesus Christ. We should be free from sin, but not delivered from the claims of the law in our lives. And liberalism--well I won't, okay I used the word.

Forget it. I used the word. Liberal Christianity is this: the Word of God is not absolutes to be believed and it has no absolutes to be obeyed. That's kind of it basically in a nutshell. "Jesus died for me the way I am and he allows me to stay the way I am.

And I don't have to worry about the details of my life as to how i--what music I listen to, what kind of things I eat, what kind of things I drink, what kinds of things I watch, how I spend my money, the places I go, or even how I actually behave in the house of God." There's no absolute standard. "It's okay. That's fine." And you know, friends, that is--a person like that, a Christian like that is like a ship without a compass, and worse still, without an anchor when the storm blows. And the storm is coming, believe me. "Long as you don't do anything bad.

You don't murder people of course, but beyond that it's fine. Anything goes." In spite of the fact the Bible tells us in--sorry--in Titus 2:12-14, it says, "denying unGodliness and worldly lusts, that we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity," not give us license to continue in it, "that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." The Bible says these things. And there's some other verses I had, but I don't have time this morning. But in spite of what the Bible teaches plainly about cutting loose from all worldliness and being cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh. You know, we live in an age now where there are some theologians, they speak of the Bible as being a book that is culturally conditioned.

Have you heard that term before? In other words, here's the Bible. And when it was first written--you know, old testament, long time ago, new testament, you know, 2,000 years ago-- it was culturally--God wrote it so it was culturally in line with the way people were at that time in their thinking, in their attitudes. And because the Bible is culturally conditioned through every age, it must, and especially in our age, we expect the Bible to therefore adjust itself to the way our culture thinks and behaves. You get what I'm talking about here? Instead of the culture in every age, every nation, every person in every age, bringing themselves with all their cultural baggage to the Word of God and conforming to the word, now we're told the Bible is culturally conditioned. And where it may speak some things which were absolutes, that applied to sometime back.

It's a little different now. We live in a different kind of a world. What this does, it cuts the Bible off in some people's mind, cuts it off by the knees. And so the adage, that statement that Jesus made in Matthew 4:4, "man shall not live by bread alone, but by," what? "But by every word." How many words? "Every word that proceeds from the mouth of God," because the Bible is culturally conditioned. No, it doesn't have to really be that way anymore.

Consequently we wonder why the Bible is not believed as much as it used to be. It's not studied as much as it used to be. It's not held up as credible or relevant or preached from as it used to be. It's the reason why we find so much worldliness in the Christian world today. And this is all an attempt by the prince of darkness to mix light with darkness to bring in confusion.

You know what confusion is? Confusion is part and parcel to the Spirit of Babylon. And it's that that God calls his faithful out of in the last days is, "come out of her, my people." The devil has got everything all laid out there. And because we don't study the word, we're just sitting ducks. And he picks us off. Or he picks professed Christians off, one by one by one by one by one.

Am I sounding hard this morning, sounding heavy? Are we on track? You know, I want to read from Timothy 4:3-4. I'd like somebody to read this, Timothy 4:3-4. And somebody maybe on this side here. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts, shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." Thank you very much. I believe that time has arrived.

You know in every age the Word of God has been battling against teachers, false teachers, and congregations that were glad to have false teachers, that would preach smooth things. You always find that in every age. But I think really at a time when tHis Word is fulfilled in our ears and before our eyes today. It all goes along with unsound doctrine, the teaching of fables, and a smooth and easy Gospel that ruffles no feathers and steps on no toes, and presents a Gospel where there's no cross to lift. It doesn't talk about sin, you know.

You get a lot of preaching today and it's how to be successful, you know, how to feel good about yourself, this kind of stuff. It may have some use in some settings, but friends, I don't believe that God--that's what God wants preached from the pulpit in this time in history, when the time has come when people are not enduring sound doctrine, but after their own lust. They're heaping together teaches--teachers having itching ears. It's not the time to do that. Paul said that time will come, and I believe it's here.

And the solution, the verse before, 2 Timothy 4:2, he said to Timothy, "preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine." He says, "but you do it, son." He says, "make full proof of your ministry." And he told him, "I say, son, I know you're young and people are gonna look down at you. You get beaten around a little bit, but son, you be faithful to the call that God has given you. And you preach the Word of God." And that's what we need today, friends. Isaiah 58:1 says, "cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins." And what is the big, glaring things? It's worldliness. I may get some stones coming across the internet for what I'm saying here, but you know what? God's laid a burden on my heart and I make no apologies.

I want to read you something, my friends, from "Great Controversy." If you have this book at home, I would encourage you sometime today--today, read the chapter called, "modern revivals." I want to read--it's about this long. I hope you'll bear with me. I don't like to read long passages, but every word I read I thought, you know, it applies, it applies, it applies. I want to read you this about where the Word of God is preached. And that's what we need today.

It's the only solution for worldliness in all its forms. "Great Controversy," 461, the preachers among us today, pastor Luke, wes, brother lowell preaching this morning, glad you're here, and others, this should--it should give you goose bumps. It should challenge you. And I want to say in the name of Christ and through his grace, rise to the challenge. It says, "wherever the Word of God is being faithfully preached, results have followed that attest at its divine origin.

the Spirit of God accompanied the message of his servants. And the word was with power. Sinners felt their consciences quickened. The light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world illuminated the secret chambers of their souls. And the hidden things of darkness were made manifest.

Deep conviction took hold of their minds and hearts. They were convicted of sin and of righteousness and of judgment to come. They had a sense of righteousness, and of jehovah, and felt the terror of appearing in their guilt and uncleanness before the searcher of hearts." We need sermons, friends, that's gonna do people like this-- well, reach inside people and affect them like this. "In anguish they cried out, 'who shall deliver me from the body of this death?' And as the cross of calvary, with its infinite sacrifice for the sins of men was revealed, they saw that nothing but the merits of Christ could suffice to atone for their transgressions. This alone could reconcile man to God with faith and humility.

They accepted the lamb of God, 'which taketh away the sin of the world.' Through the blood of Jesus, they had remission of sins that are passed." You say, "amen" to that? That's--and it continue-- I want--can I read another paragraph? "The consequences. These souls brought forth fruit and meat for repentance. They believed and were baptized and rose to walk in newness of life, new creatures in Christ Jesus, not to fashion themselves according to the former lusts, but by the faith of The Son of God to follow in his steps, to reflect his character, and to purify themselves even as he is pure." Can you say, "amen?" "The things they once hated, they now loved. And the things they once loved, they hated. The proud and self-assertive became meek and lonely in heart.

The vain and supercilious became serious and unobtrusive. The profane became reverent. The drunk and sober and the profligate pure. The vain fashions of the world were laid aside. Christians sought not the outward adorning of plating of their hair, of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.

But the hidden man of the heart, and that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." It's a powerful-- I encourage you to read it. It says, "revivals with this kind of preaching brought deep heart searching and humility. They were characterized by solemn, earnest appeals to the sinner." It says, "such were the effects that in former years followed seasons of religious awakening. Judged by their fruits, they were known to be blessed of God in the salvation of men and the uplifting of humanity." Preach the word, in season, out of season. 'Cause worldliness is a curse.

It's a cancer. And there's only one thing that can get rid of it. That's the blood of Jesus and the preaching has to lift up Christ and his cross. One last little paragraph, very short. 'Cause in this passage, in this chapter, it goes on and it describes modern revivals.

And as you read this, it's like picking up something you'd read today about what's happening in Christianity. It says this. "The converts," under a false religious presentation, it says, "the converts do not renounce their pride and love of the world. They are no more willing to deny self, to take up the cross, and follow the meek and lowly Jesus than before their conversion." I won't read anymore. It speaks for itself.

You tell me this woman wasn't inspired...i need to move on. I need to move on. Excuse me. I'm in the wrong place. And I just want to mention again as I did at the beginning.

You know, you may see people and see the way they dress and the music they listen to, let us be careful to hate the sin but love the sinner. Let's not drive them people away. You just don't know what they're struggling with. I came out of a rock-n-roll band. My hair was down here in the '60s.

An old man came to my house selling magazines. If he'd looked at me and taken one look, as he's walking down the gate, took a look at me sitting on the doorstep, this so-called, wannabe rock singer, he'd a probably looked and said, "oh, forget it. I'll leave him alone." But that man came right up to where I was. And he did what God called him to do. He sold me a magazine.

I bought it to get rid of him. You know the story, but that man did his work. And here I am this morning. But by the grace of God go i. And so where was i? Oh yes.

Let's be careful what we think when we see people. Jesus hates the sin, but he loves the sinner. There's a way of addressing these things. We need the wisdom and the love to do it. If you can't weep for somebody who's in the troughs and in the gall of worldliness.

Don't go talk to them until you can weep for them. Don't go do anything until you come before the cross, and you say, "Jesus, break my heart for this soul." That's the way to do it, friends. Pray for them. Miracles are yet to be wrought of which we can't even imagine. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord.

" And so we may have sittin' in the corner there or somewhere near the back, or whatever, somebody's who's a long-established Seventh-day Adventist. Outwardly impeccable, has all the right books stacked on the shelf, does all the right things, but they may have the Spirit of the world inside their heart. And they're no more favored in God's sight than the philistine, drunken philistine that hangs out in a brothel. The drunken philistines, one day, some of them are coming out of those brothels when they hear the Word of God. And they'll sit down with Jesus in his kingdom.

And the children of Abraham, with all the light, they'll be left outside. Anyway, I'm getting off track here. So what are we to do? Well, the lesson discusses the importance of overcoming the wicked one. That is the prince, the prince of this world. And in doing this successfully, we will in turn be successful in overcoming worldliness in the individual life and corporately at a church.

And you see while worldliness manifests itself in worldly things, worldliness is not overcome by merely dispensing with worldly things and replacing them with better things, good things. See the issue is not good things or bad things. The issue is about which God do you serve? That's where it's at. Do you serve the prince of this world, or do you serve the Savior of this world who overcame the prince of this world for our sakes. You see when we ally ourselves with Jesus, who overcame the devil when he came down here to walk in our shoes, then we're on the right track.

And come with our own fallen flesh. And every time I stand up here I seem to somehow have a sermon to preach or a lesson that prompts me to say that, but Jesus came down to this world with our same fallen flesh, sinful flesh. But he lived an unfallen life. And he lived it for us, encountered all our temptations, encountered all our sins, resisted the temptations and trod down every sin. And that victorious life he took to the cross.

He gave it away so that in his death, he could bestow upon us that which he attained for us through his life. That's the Gospel, friends. And the world is dying for the want of it. And a church is languishing in worldliness for the want of it. May God help us as little children to open His Word upon our knees and say, "Lord, show me.

Teach me. And will you find me a verse I'm willing to let you take this heart and just break it and melt it." All God needs is a willing spirit. And if you will bring that, he will perfect that which concerns you. So Jesus came down encumbered with our flesh, lived an unfallen life. And that victory he gives to us when we come to him in faith.

John said, "love not the world, neither the things that are 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." And it was these very things that Jesus had to confront in his flesh, the same flesh that we have. I want to read to you from "Desire of Ages--" and he got the victory, praise God-- I want to read to you from "Desire of Ages." I didn't get the page, but it's the chapter, "the temptation." You'll find it there. I read as follows: "the enticements which Christ resisted were those that we find it so difficult to withstand. They were urged upon him in as much greater degree as his character," not his nature but, "his character is superior to ours.

With the terrible weight of the sins of the world upon him, Christ withstood the test upon appetite, upon the love of the world, and upon that love of display which leads to presumption. These were the temptations that overcame adam and eve and that so readily overcome us." And Jesus, who in Hebrews 4:15 tells us, "we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." This same Jesus met those temptations. He confronted those lusts. And he stood like a rock so that you and I can stand like a rock. And Lord, if I want to be something, I want a heart that's soft and gentle and compassionate and weeps for the sinners lost in this world.

That's the kind of heart I want. But on the other hand, I want a heart that stands like a rock when the devil comes to sift me as wheat. That's the heart Jesus had, so soft and compassionate on one hand, but determined and resolute on the other. I want to be like Jesus. Gospel is not dull, is it? You know.

Some people, they think their religion is so dull. "You can't enjoy anything. You don't do this. You don't do that." Who wants to get drunk? I tried that years ago when I was in a band. It's a loser's game.

Who wants to get high on drugs when you can--and I say this reverently--you can get high on Jesus, not in a cheap sense. But he can put in your heart such a peace, such a fulfillment. You come before him and there's a raging thirst and emptiness in your soul, that the things of this world can never satisfy. And you come and you say, "Lord, I hunger. As the heart pants after the water brooks, so my heart pants for thee, oh God.

" And you stay there, and he comes. And he puts that cup to your lips and you drink. And you know when you drink that water, this is not something from this world. This is water from the water of life that flows from the throne of God. And we can drink that water now before we ever get close to the gates of paradise.

You can drink it today, friends. Being a Christian is not dull. I will have been baptized years at the end of this next month in 19--August 30, 1969. And through those 40 years-- don't get me any black balloons, friends. Get me golden ones with lights inside that shine--and through those 40 years, I kid you not, I have had my trials.

I've wept. I've failed. I've fallen on my knees before God. I've crawled away in a corn patch out in Virginia and balled my eyes out because I failed God in so many ways. I've done all of those things, but I wouldn't change those years to have another 40 years of the life I left behind, a wannabe, a wannabe rock star.

It's not boring being a Christian. It's the greatest thing, greatest gift that God can give anybody. And it's all there for the taking. Can you say, "amen?" Well, I get back to where I was. We got 16 minutes left.

I think we might make it. As I mentioned a few minutes ago, "the issue of worldliness will be established or confirmed in our lives--" sorry-- "established or eradicated depending upon which God we serve. And there's a verse we want to look at, 1 John 2:13-14. And should let somebody read, 'cause I'm--as they say, I'm sucking up all the oxygen here. Somebody read 1 John 2:13-14, actually just verse 13 to save time.

"I write unto you, fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known The Father." Thank you, andrew. And we won't read the next verse. We don't need to try and differentiate between fathers, young men and little children.

It's all in the same family of believers. But the point is it's speaking here about overcoming the wicked one by what means? He says, "you have known." What does he say there? "Because you have known him." It says further down in the verse, "you have overcome because you have known The Father." You've known God The Father and Jesus Christ, The Son. And when we have this connection with Christ, to know him is to overcome the wicked one. It's to overcome the prince of this world and all the things that he might come to display before us, to beguile our senses, to seduce us and lead us off down the path, down to perdition, when you know Christ. The theologians have a term here.

It's called an "experiential" knowledge of God. We've got the Word of God, you know. There's the written word and we need to read that. And intellectually we gain knowledge of that. But the Word of God is not just any word; it is a power.

And that power infuses us. And in a mysterious sense, the God, the Jesus that we read about, we actually experience him at the same time in His Word. It's called knowing God experientially. And as we know Jesus experientially, it has a profound effect upon the mind and upon the heart. It transforms.

It changes the direction of the feet. It puts within us an enmity against sin and worldliness. And the cleaver of God's Holy Spirit comes in and, whack! Those things start falling off. And you become a soul free in Jesus Christ. And the devil comes and he's got all his fiery darts and all his wares that he's used, maybe on your ancestors for thousands of years.

And you've inherited their weak genes. You've got all this handicap so you think. He looks and he looks at the thompson family tree, "oh, I've taken this family every time, every generation. He's just another thompson. I'm gonna take him as well.

" So he comes and he finds somehow there's something there that is defiant and resisting. And it's not the last generation in the line of thompsons. It's Jesus that lives inside this thompson. And the devil doesn't know what to do about it. We have to have that experience.

We have to have it. And God longs to give it to us. We may sing The Song, "Jesus loves me this I know." And it's true. And it's great. But do you know what it means to go to a quiet place and you encounter the Jesus who does love you? Do you know what it's like to go to that place and open your heart and stay there, stay there, and wrestle with God in prayer, 'til you sense the very presence of Jesus just come and surround you? You come so close, you can almost hear his breath.

You come so close, you can almost reach out and touch him. Those experiences can become very real to every one of us. Do we know what it means to hunger and to thirst for righteousness? Do you know what it means to press your petitions through? When there's darkness all around, do you know what it means to stay there determined that, "God, I will not let you go unless you bless me"? Do you know what it means to press that petition through, 'til finally it just bursts through the dark clouds, and you find yourself in the glory and the peace and the joy in the sweet sunlight that shines from the face of Jesus? You ever had that? You can. You can have it every day. I'm not saying you're soar like you're high on drugs, but you will know that Jesus is there and he's in your heart.

And he brings you assurance and peace. You know, I don't worry about the judgment, you know that? Word of God tells me I have to be perfect, stand finally. This book's very clear on that. After the close of probation, I've gotta stand before a holy God without an intercessor. And I'm not being careless, trust me I'm not.

But I don't--there was a time I used to worry about that, just to get a bit-- I don't worry about that. It's not an issue for me. I just know if every day I will do what I just spoke about, Jesus will take care of me. I don't have to worry. He will perfect that which concerns me.

And he knows how much time there is left. And he's got it all worked out. I just have to say, "Jesus, here I am. You don't get much back for your sacrifice. All I am is all I have.

I asked you to come live inside me. I'm just a tiny little habitation. It's kind of plain inside, not any furniture. It's just plain walls. I wish I could present you something nicer to live in, but what I am is all I have.

" But he's pleased to dwell inside me, pleased to dwell inside me. Best friend that I've ever had and ever will have. So do we know what it means to receive that anointing of his love that takes the heart captive? And you feel the power of the wicked one broken as you become a joyous soul set free in Jesus Christ. That's how we overcome the wicked one by allying ourselves with Jesus. So the life that was seen in his life, in his flesh that we have will be duplicated in ours.

There's a book here called, "Christ our righteousness," by a.g. Daniels, a former, now long-deceased president of the general conference. He's a bit of a late bloomer in respect to understanding the biblical doctrine of righteousness by faith. But finally got it, praise God. And he wrote this book.

You can still get it at the abc. And he's got some statements here from Scripture. But there's one from "the review and herald," December 13, 1887. If you have this book, it's page 34. It says, "pride--" this is for those who have the worldliness, but they try to do it themselves.

You gotta let Jesus in. But listen to this. "Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness," there we go, "sin in all its forms--" see it's all lumped together when we speak of worldliness. It's pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness, sin in all its forms. It says, "must be overcome if we would enter into a union with Christ.

" Now get this. "The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable is they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols." You cannot walk in the light while you're trying to walk in the dark. It just doesn't work, friends. You want me to read that again? "Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness, sin in all its forms must be overcome if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable is they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from their cherished idols.

" And detaching yourself from a cherished idol is not like you go to the drawer and get a knife and you can't, "cut this thing out. Cut this thing off." No, Jesus does it. You ask him to come in. And he's good at what he does. He's very good at what he does.

It was the night before his betrayal. Jesus lingered for a while in the upper room with his disciples. That was the night when the great and final crisis of his life was to come upon him, which would culminate in his death upon the cross. The destiny of the human race, the security, the eternal security of the universe hung in the balance, depended on how he came through this. The stakes were infinitely high, and the devil knew this.

And the devil had been preparing for this for who knows how long. This was his moment. This was his hour. And he knew he had to do one of two things. He had to so drive Jesus to despair and discouragement that Jesus would say, "father, I can't take it.

I'm outta here!" Leave us all behind. Or if he could get Jesus to sin, just to lose it just for a moment. "Go curse those Romans as they scourge you. Go smite back when they hit you in the face. Go spit in their face when they spit in yours.

When they try to nail that nail in your hand, bring up your foot and let 'em know what you think of it all." The devil was ready. And what a test. And Jesus, he knew. Satan knew that to be successful to get Jesus to sin, he had to find something in Jesus that would be an answering chord to any one of his temptations, just one thing, if he could just find one thing, he would have an in. And he could take Jesus down.

And Jesus knew this was coming. And what did he say to his disciples in John 14:13? He says, "the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me." The devil's gonna come. He's gonna look for something in my heart that will give a responsive chord to whatever overture he plays, not sweet music by the way. And Jesus said, "he's not gonna find anything." But that still had to be proven. And sure enough, the devil came.

He scourged, he mutilated, he crucified the body of Jesus. He wrung out his tender heart with unspeakable temptations, but nothing in Christ's sinless heart responded to the devil's wrath. He held him up on a cross to be mocked, derided and put to shame and grief before his enemies. Yet Christ's broken and grieving heart was still a pure, sinless heart that was resolute, that would rather chose death than transgression, that would rather choose death than in one instance bring dishonor upon his father. I want to be like that, friends.

I want to be so filled with the Spirit of Jesus. I want to be so like him that I would rather die than dishonor him. And every one of us, if we want to be like that, we're gonna get our chance to demonstrate what we're made of before he comes. But here was this heart, a heart though tender and vulnerable to pain and suffering, nonetheless held firm and defiant and unconquerable and unmovable against everything the devil threw at him. And he says, "the prince of this world cometh," said Jesus, "and hath nothing in me.

" And how true that was. Jesus passed through the greatest trial, the crisis of his life for our sakes. And we, his professed people, we got a crisis coming as well. And we need to get ready. But Jesus has given us a warning and a promise.

I'm getting ready to conclude here. Revelation 3:10 he says, "because though has kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation which will come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." That trial is coming, friends. And the only way that we will stand firm is to make sure that our lives are in Jesus Christ. And those of us who choose to cling to worldliness at that time, when we have failed to reach the fullness of righteous perfection in Christ, we'll be found wanting. We'll be found with dwarfed characters when we could have had that full experience with Christ.

But we love the things of the world more than the things of God. Don't be found in those balances and found wanting. Now is the time to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. So John says, "love not the world, neither things that are in the world." And he says in 1 John 2:17, "and the world passeth away and the lusts thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." And Jesus will help you to be that kind of person. So I want to say this in the last 60 seconds.

If worldliness has taken you in its snare, Jesus can still forgive you, 'cause he still loves you. And Jesus can still set you free, because he still loves you and he still has the power. So be of good courage. "God allows u-turns," as they say. One little statement here from, "our high calling," February--page 49, "if you make mistakes and are betrayed into sin, do not feel then you cannot pray.

But seek the Lord more earnestly. The blood of Jesus is pleading with power and efficacy for those who are backslidden, for those who are rebellious, for those who sin against great light and love. Satan stands at our right hand to accuse us. And our advocate stands at God's right hand to plead for us. He has never lost a case that has been committed to him.

" It doesn't matter how deep you are in that hole of worldliness, Jesus can pull you out, wash you clean and make you everything that he wants you to be. Can you say, "amen?" Praise God. I just want to say this. There's a free offer, number 774. It's called, "compromise, conformity and courage.

" You can get it if you go to www.amazingfacts.org, or in the continental u.s. Call -866-788-3966, Or 1-866-study-more.

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