Summary: There will always be distractions that keep us from focusing on God’s plan for us. The Bible calls these distractions "the world."
Passage: I John 2:15-17
Intro: One of the first child-raising techniques I learned from my brother was the power of distraction.
1. baby fussing, wave a toy or make a face and very possibly she will be distracted from the task at hand.
2. cell phones in cars a problem, distraction
il) apparently three men watching over Abe Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre left their posts and went out together for a drink.
Il) in wartime, one side will send a small force to one side or another to create a diversion, distracting the enemy from the site of the main attack.
3. as we saw last week, one of the wonderful characteristics of our new life is that we have overcome the evil one.
4. freed from Satan’s domination, no longer under the control of our sinful nature, entrapped by Satan.
5. before we get too relaxed, John follows that up with a strongly worded command that serves as well as a powerful warning.
6. Satans new plan for us is to distract us, to fill our lives with substitutes for real life, to replace our affection for God and the things of God with affection for the worldly value system.
7. let’s look first at the command itself, defining the key terms.
8. then we’ll expose Satan’s schemes so that we can be equipped to recognize and resist in the power of the Spirit.
I. Guard Your Heart
1. the relationship of believers to the world in which we live is one of the toughest parts of the Christian life.
2. we try to solve the dilemma by a list of rules, do’s and don’ts.
3. John’s answer is deeper, goes where the power is.
4. “Do not love”=imperative, command, not a suggestion.
5. agape the word, most powerful of words
6. it is a love so powerful that it leads to some kind of action. It is the giving over of oneself to the object of ones love.
PP) John 3:16 God’s love led to action.
7. so we are capable of losing ourselves, sacrificing everything for this false god.
PP) Matthew 6:24. Notice the word…agape
8. look around! Are people in the world madly in love with Satan’s lies?
9. sacrifice family, health, financial health, friends, even life itself for a chance at the illusory rewards of the world’s system.
10. because it is a Satanic substitute for the joy of knowing God, there is a measure of pleasure, a cup of happiness, a pinch of joy.
Il) advertisements for anything, the people are always having a good time, perhaps even a riotous time! They have found happiness in alcohol or clothes or cars or a new home.
11. “don’t get sucked in”, John writes. “Don’t give yourself to the world, or the things of the world.” What is that?
12. word very broad, understood by context
13. here, means “mankind organized in rebellion against God” Marshall
14. because of sin, mankind has taken the good gifts of God’s grace and made them into gods to take the Creator’s rightful place.
PP Romans 1:25
15. “the world and anything in the world”, then, is that system of substitutes, lies, idols and deception, using physical things, that Satan has created to pacify the human race which has lost it’s Father and is alone.
Il) Satan stands by us, waving any number of baubles and toys and urgent concerns to distract us from the important things.
16. it is the system of false values opposed to God, focused on physical realities, the here and now, on pleasing the relentless demands of self.
17. this person is not manifesting the presence and power of our loving God. The person who continues in this lifestyle is not in the light, as demonstrated by his choices.
18. now how do we keep from getting sucked into the trap of worshipping the worldly system around us?
II. The Traps Satan Has Set for Us
Il) traps use a simple principle. The succulent bait overcomes the natural caution of the animal until it’s too late.
1. Satan understands the human mind and heart.
Il) CH Spurgeon, “When Satan cannot catch us with a big sin, he will try a little one. It does not matter to him as long as he catches his fish, what bait he uses. Beware of the beginning of evil, for men, who wanted to go right, have turned aside and perished amongst the dark mountains in the wide field of sin”
2. whether he learned by experience or knows it intuitively, he knows what works.
3. and so he baits his traps with things that are very appealing, listed in v16. Can be very small, no big deal.
4. “cravings of sinful man”, word is actually neutral, defined by context.