This excerpt is taken from a sermon by Dr. J. Ligon Duncan, then pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi. The scripture is from James chapter 4 and the entire sermon can be read at http://www.fpcjackson.org/resource-library/sermons/worldliness-in-the-church.
Friendship with the world (worldliness) means forfeiture of fellowship with God (peace).
And then he says this in verses 4 and 5, friendship with the world means forfeiture of fellowship with God. You can have it one way or the other, but you can’t have it both. God will brook no rival in our hearts. In verse 4, James says that worldliness is really spiritual adultery, if you try to be married to Christ and then be joined to another at the same time. Worldliness is spiritual adultery, and the good life and true wisdom cannot be experienced by those who are worldly and selfish.
Verse 5 gives us a summation of the teaching of Scripture, from the beginning to the end. God’s Spirit indwells us and wants total occupation. He doesn’t want some of you; He wants all of you. I don’t mean that collectively; I mean that individually. He doesn’t want some of you individually; He wants all of you individually. His Spirit will brook no rival. This is seen from the very beginning of God’s salvation, back in Genesis 3:15 when God pronounces His curse against Satin, and then brings His judgment to Eve. He blesses her in the midst of the warning judgments by saying, “I will put enmity between you and the serpent, between your seed and his seed.” In other words, I will put enmity between you and the enemy of your soul.
And so God has established an enmity against the world and against worldliness in His peoples’ hearts. And He will brook no rival because He wants all of you, individually. He wants the totality of your love and loyalty and service. And James simply states categorically that friendship with the world is hostility to God, and that if we want to make ourselves to be friends of the world, then we will be enemies of God. It’s one way or the other. And my friends, living in a culture which is prosperous, in which we play a significant role, can work on our hearts over time to make us desire the wrong source of satisfaction. It’s the great, great challenge that we face here. Who do you love? What do you love? Where is your satisfaction? What’s the chief purpose of your life? The honest answers the quiet answers in your own home and your own heart to those questions will tell you much about what you need.
If the answer is not God through Jesus Christ, to the question of, “Whom do you love? What do you want? What’s your great satisfaction?” then the only hope is not to look within, because the answers are not found within; they’re found without, they’re found with God in Christ. May God grant us all to look to Him, to walk with Him. Let’s pray.
O Lord grant us a closer walk with You that we might not love the world and the things thereof, in Jesus name, Amen.
from Charisma News.com
Is a divorce coming between the President of the United States and the State of Israel?
Once, it would have been almost preposterous even to ask such a question. Today, however, it feels like it’s a matter of “when,” not “if” Mr. Obama will formally abandon American support for the Jewish State. And the situation is rapidly going from bad to worse.
Readers of this blog may recall that I posted this column on January 14, 2015: “Will President Obama abandon or fully turn against Israel in last two years in office, amidst ISIS & Iran threats? Exclusive poll results.” According an exclusive poll I commissioned late last year, a remarkable 47.4 percent of Americans fear the President will turn against Israel soon given that he won’t ever face the voters again. I suspect the number would be much higher today.
from Christian Post.com
Platt, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board and author of the books Radical and A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture, began his address by pointing out the hypocrisy of Christians who advocate for less controversial social issues while avoiding others like life, morality and marriage altogether. “We are passionate against poverty and slavery, injustice that we should stand against, but issues that don’t bring us into conflict with culture around us. Yet on issues like abortion or so-called same-sex marriage, issues that are much more contentious in the culture around us, instead of being passionate, we are strangely passive.”
“Ladies and gentlemen the gospel does not give us that option. We cannot choose to pick and choose which social issues to apply Biblical truth to,” Platt said. “The same gospel that compels us to war against sex-trafficking compels us to address sexual immorality in all of its forms.”
“We must apply the gospel consistently, compassionately, and courageously,” said Platt as he went on to lay out four biblical foundations that have significant culture implications when denied God’s truth:
1) God Creates Us as a Demonstration of His glory
2) God Designs Man and Woman for the Display of His Gospel
3) God Judges Us by His Righteous Law
4) God Pursues Us with His Redeeming Love
from First Fruits of Zion
What gift can you get for the Almighty? It’s hard to shop for a God who has everything. The Hebrew word for sacrifice, korban, could be translated as “something brought near,” or to put it another way, it could be translated as “gift.” The Israelites were to view the sacrifices as gifts that they could bring to God.
He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. (Leviticus 1:4)
In Romans 12:1, Paul urges us to present our bodies as a “living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.” What does this mean in practical terms? Is Paul asking us to build altars and literally sacrifice ourselves upon them? Of course not. Paul is using the sacrificial language as an illustration for obedience. He is urging us to set aside our stubborn wills, our wayward flesh and our self-centered egos and force them to submit to the commandments of God. When we set aside our own personal desires and inclinations for the sake of obeying God, we are sacrificing ourselves for the sake of heaven. Instead of offering a bull, a goat or a lamb to God as a gift, we are offering ourselves. This is why the prophet Samuel declared that obedience is better than sacrifice:
Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)
Through the prophet Hosea, the LORD declared, “I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). Yeshua was fond of quoting this verse to prove that God was more concerned with ethical behavior than perfunctory ritual obedience. This is an important principle for all religious people. Regardless of one’s religion, it is always easier to attend to ritual concerns than to live godly lives. The writer of the book of Hebrews says, “Do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).
In today’s world there is no Tabernacle or Temple in which a person might offer a sacrifice. If we desire to give God a gift today, what can we give Him? We can give no better gift than our own humble submission to His will. We can give Him the simple sacrifice of grateful obedience.