Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: May 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

When A Church Starts to Get Things Right

When A Church Starts to Get Things Right

          It is really impossible for the people of any local church to understand the spiritual consequences of worldliness and carnality upon the operations of God.  God cannot bless where He wants to bless!  God’s work is hindered and stifled through carnality and worldliness in the lives of church members.  In Paul’s second epistle to the members of the church at Corinth, he commends them for taking care of the matters he addressed in his first epistle.  Although the Corinthian believers had accepted Christ as their Savior at the writing of Paul’s first epistle to them, they were living in carnality.  They were integrating various aspects of their previous pagan worship into the worship practices of their local church.  Paul reminds the Corinthians believers of these issues in II Corinthians 7:1 and addresses once again the solution to these problems.

1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. 3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. 5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. 6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. 8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you(II Corinthians 7:1-12).

          The Holy Spirit of God is constantly working to bring about revival in every local church.  He does so by convicting of sin, righteousness, and judgment.  However, He does not override the free will of mankind.  The work of the Holy Spirit seeks to bring people to see their failures, repent of those failures, and yield their lives to His use.  Humanity has two basic responses to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.

1. Repentance with yieldedness
2. Hardening with resistance

          Real repentance and yieldedness will be accompanied with real effort at real change.  Hardening to the Holy Spirit’s work can come in many forms of resistance.  People commonly refuse to recognize that the Holy Spirit is using a truth to speak to an area of their lives.  Others recognize the truth that He is convicting of, but their pride keeps them from owning it and their carnality keeps them from change. 
          Modern Christianity has cultured two attitudes which keep revival from taking place.  If a Christian possesses either of these two attitudes, revival will not happen in his life.

1. We want divine action without human participation.
2. We want to win spiritual battles without experiencing spiritual conflict.  This results in an attitude of trying to avoid conflict at any costs.

          We cannot fight a spiritual war without participating in that war or without some conflict with those refusing to do what is right.  Often the battle is with our own carnal natures.  To seek revival is to join one’s self in partnership with the Holy Spirit while declaring war on anything and everything that is in contradiction to the will of God.  That is the partnership Jesus endorsed.

“He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (Luke 11:23).

According to II Corinthians 7:5, when believers enter the struggle for revival, resistance will often be equal to or greater than our efforts.  If a believer wants to do the Lord’s work in the power of the Holy Spirit, he must realize he will constantly face conflict and problems to the degree he seeks to advance the cause of Christ.  The person who adopts the self-protecting attitude of avoiding conflict at any cost will determine to restrain forward movement that will advance the cause of Christ to reduce the resistance of the forces of evil.
Why did Paul write the Catalog of Carnality we call the first epistle to the church at Corinth? 

“Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you” (II Corinthians 7:12).

Paul wrote the first epistle because he wanted them to know he cared for their spiritual welfare.  Would it have been easier for Paul to simply avoid the conflict?  According to II Corinthians 7:8-10, Paul understood that before a local church could advance the cause of Christ in their community, it would require that local church to be unified in PURPOSE, DOCTRINE, and PRACTICE.  We all must understand this truth.  This is the definition of a revived local church.  However, that will only happen when each and every person in that local church is revived of God by active co-operation with the indwelling Holy Spirit and determined to “do the work of the ministry” and to do it God’s way.
          According to II Corinthians 7:1, if revival is going to take place, personal holiness must be the believer’s clothing before the message of salvation can be his banner.  Paul saw the ministry of the pastor/shepherd as twofold.

1. The pastor was to work to keep the corrupting influence of the world out of the church.
2. The pastor was to preach truth that the Holy Spirit would use to motivate the local churches to take the message of salvation to the world.

The great difficulty in these two things was that each new believer coming into a local church would re-introduce the things of the world back into the church.  The local churches then would tend to become fortresses against the world rather than evangelism training centers to reach the world for Christ.
I see six attitudes of a revived Christian that come through the attitude of genuine repentance (II Corinthians 7:10-12).

1. “Carefulness” is from the Greek word spoude (spoo-day')

A. “Carefulness” does not mean cautiousness.
B. “Carefulness” refers to an overwhelming desire to accomplish something for Christ.
C. To possess this attitude, one must constantly be repenting of its opposite - the care less attitude.

2. “Clearing of yourselves” is from the Greek word apologia (ap-ol-og-ee'-ah), meaning a verbal defense.

A. The idea is an attitude of doctrinal and emotional preparation to answer any challenge that might arise.
B. “Clearing of yourselves” means to maintain an attitude of Christian love from which all service flows.
C. “Clearing of yourselves” means to do all of this regardless of what it costs you to do so.
D. Jude summed this second attitude up in Jude 1:3.

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).

E. To possess this attitude, one must determine to change with godly sorrow against the natural tendency to be neutral and avoid conflict.

3. Indignation” (v. 11) is from the Greek word aganaktesis (ag-an-ak'-tay-sis), meaning to be bothered or irritated.

A. A person is indignant when he sees someone treated unfairly, or unjustly, and is so irritated by it he is consumed with making it right.
B. This person is driven with the desire for justice in all matters of righteousness.
C. Any injustice, any ingratitude, or any meanness of spirit must be confronted and dealt with.
D. To possess this attitude one must determine to change with godly sorrow.

4. “Vehement desire” is from the Greek word epipothesis (ep-ee-poth'-ay-sis), meaning to long after something with a passion.

1. This person has fervency about him.
2. When we do not possess a burning passion for the cause of Christ, it affects the way we see people.
3. The un-revived do not see people the way God sees people.
4. The un-revived do not see people with a passion to win them to Christ.
5. The un-revived do not see people lost and doomed to an eternal Hell.

5. Zeal” is from the Greek word zelos (dzay'-los), referring to an excitement of the mind, excited with expectation and purpose.

A. Zeal is contagious. People with zeal create zeal in the lives of others.
B. Those with cold, stifling deadness in their souls produce the same in others.
C. Real zeal is when a Christian becomes a walking burning bush declaring the glory of God.
D. If you do not have that kind of fervency in your Christianity, you need to determine to work at change in godly sorrow for not having it.

F. “Revenge” is from the Greek word ekdikesis (ek-dik'-ay-sis) and refers to vindication or the meeting out of justice.

A. The intent here is in the sense of vindicating a person who has been wrongly accused of something or has been hurt by someone’s vicious attack.
B. The person with this attitude must seek to right wrongs.

          These are the attitudes of a revived heart.  These attitudes reveal someone on fire for the Lord.  Revival does not come to most churches because they are unwilling to repent of the attitudes that keep revival from happening.  God always wants to see revival and is working to that end.  Do you suppose the Spirit of God possesses all of these attitudes? 
          If we expect divine action without human participation, revival will not come.  If we try to avoid conflict at any cost, revival cannot come.  Every Christian must honestly examine his own life before God.  He must allow the Holy Spirit full access and complete control.  Only then will the “godly sorrow” that brings about real change happen.  Revival is your decision!
Anonymous comments will not be allowed.
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Antichrist Inculcation to Worldliness

Studies in the Epistles of John the Apostle
Chapter Eight
Antichrist Inculcation to Worldliness

          Inculcation is a simple word that means to teach and impress by frequent
repetitions or admonitions.  We might say worldly inculcation is indoctrination through redundant methodologies intent upon capturing and perverting a culture away from God’s moral absolutes.  The minions of evil are inculcating the world with worldliness.  We see this inculcation going on at every level of society and within every culture in society.  The inculcation of worldliness is antichrist in its opposition to everything that is righteous and doctrinally true.  Sadly, many professing Christians have accepted varying degrees of the inculcation of worldliness into their personal lives. 

15 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. 16 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. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (I John 2:15-19).

          Any degree of worldliness is a degree of inculcation into antichrist doctrines and practices.  Christians are to be peculiar people.  The way they are to be peculiar is that they are to be completely separate from any degree of worldliness.  This separation from worldliness in fact what defines holiness.  We can see that the avenues for antichrist inculcation of worldliness into a person’s life is mainly through “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (I John 2:16).  This means we are very susceptible to this inculcation of worldliness because these three avenues for worldliness are a natural part of our fallen nature.  We all have flesh that lust, eyes that lust, and we all deal with the heart and soul of sin in the pride of our lives.  The failure is that Christians gradually accept varying degrees of worldliness with each new generation until that which is acceptable has gone far beyond God’s standards of holiness (unworldliness).  However, because other Christians now accept these new standards, Christians are being progressively inculcated with Antichristism and its corresponding worldliness. 
Inculcation of Abnormal Sexuality

          Paganism is the inculcation of varying degrees of porneia into a culture.  Porneia is the Greek word that describes any form of aberrant sexual desire or behavior.  In our KJV Bibles the word porneia is usually translated fornication. 

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators {pornos – used of male prostitutes, a whoremonger, or a debauchee}, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate {malakos – used of a catamite, which was a young boy who was an intimate companion of an adult man}, nor abusers of themselves with mankind {arsenokoites, ar-sen-ok-oy'-tace – used of a man who defiles himself by sexual activity with other men}, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication {porneia - any form of aberrant sexual immorality}, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. 15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication {porneia – any form of aberrant sexual immorality}. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication {porneuo –commits any form of aberrant sexual immorality} sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:9-20).

          Keeping sex within the moral confines of a marriage relationship is important to God.  The world mocks this idea with statements like - why would God care about whom or what we have sex with?  God cares!  In fact, God cares a lot!  God says He will not save anyone who refuses to repent of sexual immorality.  Repentance means it becomes a priority of our lives to live separate from sexual immorality.  

          Satanic inculcation of sexual immorality has been going on since the beginning of time.  It was sexual immorality that Satan used to draw people into idol worship.  Idol worship took the form of ecstatic music and ritual fertility rites in extreme forms of sexual immorality.  Even those within the nation of Israel, who had detailed biblical instruction from the Word of God, were enticed into idolatry and into sexually immoral worship practices.  This happened again early after the exodus of Israel from Egyptian bondage as the Jews came out of Egypt with a “mixed multitude” of semi-pagans.  These semi-pagans believed in Jehovah, but retained their pagan worship practices. 

37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. 38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. 39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual” (Exodus 12:37-39).

          Be careful of “mixed multitudes.”  These are professing believers who do not understand holiness and God’s expectation to be separate from worldliness.  “Mixed multitudes” integrate varying degrees of pagan worship methods into the worship of Jehovah.  Later in Israel’s history, Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were integrating the pagan worship practices of Baalism as they “they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation” (I Samuel 2:22).  These were a special group of women who were especially devoted to maintaining and cleaning the structure and utensils of the Tabernacle.  Hophni and Phinehas defiled these women, the Tabernacle, themselves, and every sacrifice offered to Jehovah because the offerings were defile by their perverse practices.  

The “mixed multitudes” of the Egyptians and descendants of Jews who had intermarried with pagan Egyptians, which came with Israel out of Egypt, simply believed that Jehovah was the real name of their supreme god.  They knew nothing of holiness and separation.  Neither did most of the Jews that had now spent about 400 years under Egyptian captivity.  They would have rejected the idolatry of Egypt, but were easily deceived into worshipping Jehovah in pagan worship practices once Aaron, a man chosen of God, gave his permission to do so.  Their spiritual leader was deceived who in turn deceived them.  As Moses returns from the top of Mt. Sinai, he finds the children of Israel dancing naked to music in revelry.  They had forged a golden calf as a form in which to worship Jehovah.  The children of Israel had adapted Egypt’s pagan worship music, dancing, revelry, and fertility cult practices of dancing naked before their gods. 

The Israelites ‘in Egypt’ had served the Egyptian idols (Jos 24:14), including the sacred living bulls Apis, Basis, and Mnevis, and sacred cows Isis and Athor; worshipped for their utility to man, and made symbols of the sun and Osiris.  In fact Nature, not the personal Creator, God, was symbolized by the calf and worshipped.  But Aaron’s golden calf he expressly calls, ‘thy Elohim which brought thee up out of Egypt’; and the feast to it ‘a feast to Jehovah’ (Ex 32:4-8, 17-19). Israel too had just seen that ‘upon Egypt’s gods Jehovah executed judgments’ (Nu 33:4). What they yearned for therefore was not the vanquished Egyptian idols, but some visible symbol of the unseen Jehovah; the cherubic emblem, the calf or ox, furnished this. So Ps 106:20, ‘they changed their glory (i.e. God) into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass’; indeed the Egyptians used to offer a bottle of hay to Apis.
“The rites of Mnevis’ feast at Heliopolis, boisterous revelry, dancing, offerings, etc., which the Israelites were familiar with in Egypt, they transferred to Jehovah’s calf image. Ac 7:40-41 marks this first stage of idolatry.”[1]

          Ecstatic music, dancing, revelry, and nakedness were all used to inculcate pagan worldliness into national Israel.  Satan uses the same methodology by degrees to inculcate local churches with neo-pagan worldliness in the corruption of the worship of Jehovah.  Therefore we can see four different formats for the inculcation of worldliness into a culture and into the lives of people – believers and unbelievers alike.  The difference is that believers should know better and separate themselves from the influences of worldliness.

1. Ecstatic music is sensual music of a form and rhythm that captivates the human body motivating it to move according to the sensual rhythm.
2. Dancing with the opposite sex (pre-sex)
3. Revelry is what is known today as partying.  The ultimate purpose of partying is fornication.  Worldliness in itself is a form of spiritual fornication. 
4. Nakedness is the uncovering of the human body by varying degrees for the purpose of sensual arousal. 

          None of these practices are new.  They are as ancient as paganism.  Every one of these practices is being introduced in numerous cultures inculcating those cultures with worldliness.  Many of these practices are being welcomed into Christian churches today.  Nakedness is defined biblically as uncovering for public display any portion of the human body from just below the neck down to the knee.  To expose any portion of the human body in the in-between is to expose your nakedness.  

In the simplest form, worldliness is merely a preoccupation with material and temporal things.  Therefore, spirituality is the opposite – the preoccupation with spiritual and eternal things.  Worldliness is a figure of speech called a metonymy.  For instance, we might call a business executive or a professional person a suit.  Worldliness as a metonymy is intended to represent anything that is a corruption of personal holiness.  Therefore, the word worldly is a metonymy for any degree of being satanically influenced.  The greater the degree of corruption away from holiness, the more worldly that person can be said to be.

Capturing the thought-life

Satan’s inculcation of worldliness is intensely involved in capturing a person’s
thought-life.  These are thoughts that lead to fantasies about unholy practices.  These are fantasies about wealth, power, fame, and various lusts.  The believer must guard his thought-life against day-dreaming and fantasizing about sinful practices.  Guarding one’s thought-life is an integral part of maintaining one’s holiness and protecting one’s self from being inculcated with worldliness.

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (II Corinthians 10:3-6).

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

Capturing the Sight-life

The believer lives in the world, but is not to be of the world.  Christ prayed to the Father in John chapter seventeen that He would keep believers from worldliness while they were in the world.  Satan seeks to inculcate us with worldliness by capturing our sight-life.

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (John 17:11-19).

In order to avoid being inculcated with worldliness, the believer must carefully guard his sight-life (the “lust of the eyes”).  The minions of satanic influence will bombard our sight-life at every turn.  We are highly susceptible and easily tempted by the “lusts of the eyes.”  David understood this.  Because David did not guard his sight-life, he was enticed into adultery with Bathsheba.  After that failure, David makes a covenant with God about his sight-life.

1 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. 2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. 3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. 4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. 5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. 6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. 7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. 8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD” (Psalm 101:1-8).

Capturing the Pride of Life

It has been said that pride may be at the center of all sin and the ultimate source
of all worldliness.  Pride is the desire for adulation, praise, and even worship.  Pride is seeking to establish one’s self as an idol to worship.  The simple solution to this devious form of idolatry is to do everything possible to immediately deflect all praise and adoration to God.  The problem is that we all appreciate praise.  We want it more than anything else in life.  Such desire is perhaps at the heart of the corruption of humanity due to the fall.  The “pride of life” was the cause of Satan’s fall and resultantly the corruption of humanity.

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14).

If we were honest about our motivation for doing the things we do, at the heart of those motivations is the basic desire to be appreciated.  However, that desire is never content with a mere thank you or a testimony of appreciation.  The “pride of life” wants to be adored, praised, and worship.  If you do not guard your heart against the “pride of life,” it will capture you and ultimately destroy you, because the “pride of life” is an insatiable beast. 

What might be some of the ways the worldliness of the pride of life might be visible through simple actions of life?  

1. A child arguing with a parent after being told to do something or after being told not to do something.
2. A smirk of derision or rolling of the eyes when some issue of holiness that is now viewed as archaic is spoken of.
3. Ask a teenager (boy or girl) the question; what is the one thing in this world that you think would really make you happy if you had it?  Some of the worldly answers are a car, money, a boy or girl friend, a sports star, a rock star, and etc.
4. A smirk, a snort, or rolling the eyes when someone talks about worldly music, inappropriate or immodest clothing, inappropriate contact with the opposite sex, or preoccupation with the pursuit of pleasure or fun.
5. Parents who think that there are age appropriate practices they can participate in, but their children are too young to see or do. 

Inculcation with Worldliness Infects and then Reflects

Worldliness spreads by infecting a culture with social acceptance of carnality.  God is marginalized by worldliness.  Worldliness manifests the reality that God is not loved.  It is an either/or proposition.  Worldliness is spiritual adultery.  The worldly Christian cannot be allowed to claim he loves God.  He certainly does not.  This would be like a wife having an affair with a man other than her husband while arguing that she loves her husband too.  Her thought life has been so corrupted that her infection with worldliness reflects in the corruption of her heart.  The problem is that worldliness reflects one’s love of self above anything else or anyone else.  It is amazing how many Christians have varying degrees of worldliness while living in self-delusion in their claims of loving the Lord.  

“If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15b).  This statement presents a contradiction in practice and a paradox to a profession of faith.  This issue is the definition of double-mindedness.  Double-mindedness is to love the things of the world while professing to love God.  The love of the world and the love of God are incompatible to one another.  Loving the world is antithetical to loving God.  We might go as far as to say every problem in our lives and every struggle in humanity are directly connected to and the outcome of this antithesis.

1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, 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. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:1-10).

Another aspect of worldliness is body worship.  Body worship is not really about good health.  Body worship is about the vanity of personal appearance and sexual
appeal.  Body worship says skinny is beautiful and fat is ugly.  When people talk about someone being attractive or unattractive, what they really mean is they are or are not sexually desirable.  Worldliness in this area is the desire to draw the eye.  How does this really translate within the context of worldliness?  The desire to draw the eye is actually the desire to generate lust from the opposite sex towards you.  Although this is practiced by the worldly of both genders, the female gender has sought to perfect ways to draw the eye.  God warns men about this form of worldliness.  Every man should read it carefully, because ALL men are highly susceptible to this allure to lust.  Read Proverbs seven very carefully.  It is written specifically to men regarding the woman who seeks to allure to lust by drawing the eye to her sexuality.  Such a woman is to be avoided at any cost.  A godly man should respond to such a woman exactly the same way Joseph responded to Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:7-12).  In other words, flee from her in terror of the consequences.

1 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. 2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. 3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. 4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: 5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words. 6 For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, 7 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, 9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: 10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. 11 (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: 12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) 13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, 14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. 15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. 16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. 19 For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: 20 He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. 21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. 22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; 23 Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. 24 Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. 26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. 27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death” (Proverbs 7:1-27).

Non-Verbal Communication

          A person begins to communicate long before he ever opens his mouth.  How one cuts his hair, dresses, grooms himself (or does not groom himself), and a hundred other nuances of appearance identify him with a culture within a culture.  In general, the overall culture of the world can be said to be worldly.  The Christian should be peculiar in appearance to any aspect of a culture that communicates worldliness. 

1 Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. 2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar {shut up treasure, the idea is of protected wealth} people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:1-2).

          Every culture is inculcated with various customs that can be traced back to heathen paganism.  One such custom was cutting one’s self after the death of a loved one.  This shedding of blood was supposed to placate and appease the pagan gods so as to provide the dead loved one some kind of favor with the gods in the afterlife.  This is what the priest of Baal did when Baal was put to the test by Elijah in I Kings 18:28.  They cut themselves to the point “the blood gushed out upon them.”  The point of the matter of Deuteronomy 14:1 is that Christians ought not to mourn their saved loved ones like the heathen mourn their dead.  Christians who believe in salvation by grace through faith should not see the death of a saved love one as something to mourn about.  There is no doubt in the mind of a person of faith about what happens to that saved loved one at the moment of death.  Although a believer might mourn over the vacuum left in his life in the passing of someone that was a major part of his life, he should balance that mourning with rejoicing.  There should be as many cries to God in gratefulness as are their tears over the present emptiness due to the loss of a loved one.  This provides a balance between the faith of godliness that knows because of the light of God’s Word and the hopeless despair of the heathen who has nothing to do but cry out into the darkness of his superstitious ignorance.  

          The central meaning of the word “peculiar” is a protected treasure.  God has given His children dignity of identification.  With dignity comes sophistication.  God’s children are the children of the King of kings.  They should not be dressing like the world and looking like a bunch of bums.  Even in poverty, a Christian can be clean and sophisticated in his appearance.  He should be one that sets standards and not be a mere follower of fads.  If you do not want people to think you are worldly, stop dressing like the world and stop adapting to every new fad. 

27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. 28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:27-28).

          Worshippers of various pagan gods defined and identified themselves by the way they cut their hair and trimmed their beards.  Some shaved their heads.  Others shaved everything from just above the ears down creating a haircut like a bowl.  Some had what we call goatees.  Others shaped their beards and facial hair according to certain patterns.  The Jews were forbidden from any of this lest they be identified with the pagans or confused the heathens regarding their holiness before the Lord by having similarities in appearance to those holding to pagan beliefs and customs.  To understand holiness was to understand that peculiarity meant to be distinctively different than the customs of the heathen.  Haircuts, beard trimming, ritual scarring of the flesh, and tattoos were all forbidden because they identified a supposed distinctive child of God as a heathen. 

9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation {behavior} honest {proper or morally good} among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (I Peter 2:9-12).

Radio, Music, Vinyl Records, Cassette Tapes, DVD’s, and Musack

In 1897, Guglielmo Marconi received a patent on a piece of equipment that provided the wireless transmission of radio waves.  This made it possible to send sound through the airwaves to be heard through a radio receiver.  It was not long before every home of moderate income in the world had a radio.  Family evenings were no longer spent reading around the fireplace or an oil lamp.  The age of electricity and cheap, immediate entertainment was introduced into the world.  Satan would begin to use these two mediums to introduce levels of worldly influence into the world like never before in history.  Whole generations could be captured by worldliness through the medium of entertainment.  Bible reading and Bible study became secondary in importance to entertainment.  Entertainment gradually began to consume all free time and dominate the culture into which it was introduced.  

Not all forms of entertainment are worldly.  God created humanity to be creative and He provided us with many ways in which we can enjoy life and its simple pleasures.  God’s has always intended that humanity’s central source of enjoyment would be interpersonal relationships such as the husband/wife/children relationship known as family.  This source of enjoyment should always be primary.  Family should never be sacrificed by allowing one’s self to be carried away by personal forms of self-gratification apart from family.  There is subtle deception regarding this when family members participate in joint entertainment ventures that do not provide personal interactions such as conversation about current events, sharing of ideas and dreams, or actual exchange of life values.  

Much of what is done for family entertainment is absent of those things that develop moral character and the ability to present ideas or the ability to defend one’s values against challenges.  In many cases, entertainment is viewed as neutral by the viewer or listener while the producer actually has an agenda of social engineering.  This has been going on in the music and movie industry since their inception.  In that sense, the entertainment industry is a large part of Satan’s agenda to advance and promote worldliness above God’s moral values for humanity. 
The entertainment industry has never been the friend of family values.  The electronic media driven entertainment industry has gradually lowered moral values and standards of righteousness for almost a century.  This lowering of moral values has caused Christians to be absorbed into an increasing immoral culture of worldliness.  Families have come to view the entertainment industry through electronic media as something merely to be controlled and patrolled.  Parents are failing miserably in trying to curb the influence of the entertainment industry upon themselves and upon their children.  They do not understand the undercurrent of its agenda to move a culture away from biblical values.  The entertainment industry accomplishes this through social manipulation and the progressive acceptance of varying degrees of immorality through progressive exposure and toleration.  There is an observable process by which the media change and pervert the moral values of a culture away from biblical norms to new cultural norms.  These new cultural norms than become the new absolutes by which those who continue to hold to biblical norms are ostracized, radicalized, and marginalized. 

1. Present the contradiction against the biblical norm in a humorous way fostering exposure without complete abhorrence of the immorality.  The person believing in the contradiction against the biblical norm is progressively desensitized to the immorality through humorous exposure.
2. Present the contradiction against the biblical norm in such a way that creates sympathy towards a person under a difficult situation of life.  The person believing in the contradiction against the biblical norm is normally sympathetic towards any form of injustice.  Thereby, the moral values are lowered by toleration of the immorality by creating sympathy towards the immoral person.
3. Saturate the media with the contradiction against the biblical norm exposing the immorality in everyday situations of life that now present the abnormality as a commonly accepted normality while at the same time representing anyone that still opposes the immorality as a judgmental, hateful bigot.  In this last stage of normalizing cultural acceptance of immorality, those who continue to hold to biblical norms are ostracized, radicalized, and marginalized. 

People become progressively worldlier through the process without even knowing that they have been manipulated into acceptance and toleration of unrighteousness.  This is especially true of those with very shallow understanding of the Word of God and who are ignorant of the devices of Satan.  We have an invisible and evil enemy whose goal in the world is to corrupt and destroy as many lives as he possibly can.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Music has certainly been a tool to manipulate a culture towards worldliness.  Music has always been a gift from God and it has been used for good and bad since the beginning of time.  Music has been used for relaxation, entertainment, times of rejoicing, and certainly as a vehicle to express worship towards God for many millennia. 
Music has also been use to illicit carnal emotions, revelry, pagan licentiousness, and sensual stimulation.  These are all things forbidden by God and are things that define worldliness.  If you can dance to it, or want to dance to it, it is not Christian music.  It certainly is not worship music. 

[1] Fausset, Andrew Robert. Fausset’s Bible Dictionary. SwordSearcher Software 6.2. Module file time: 7/31/2011 7:15:26 PM UTC.

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.