Summary: Urging readers / hearers to eschew this world in favor of God.
“Follow God, Not The World”
David P. Nolte
The Way of Gladness. Which way is that? Those who know and obey Jesus say, “The Way
of Gladness is God’s way.” Unbelievers would say, “The Way of Gladness is my own way!”
God has a way, the world has a different way.
Now, when you hear the word “World” it might mean one of three things.
# We might be referring to terra firma, the earth.
# We might be thinking of the people, as in “God so loved the world.”
# We might be referring to the anti-God culture and values that are so clearly seen all
It is the latter to which I will refer this morning. Paul wrote, “Therefore I urge you,
brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,
acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to
this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what
the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (NASB).
The Message has verse 2 translated in this way, “Don't become so well-adjusted to your
culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll
be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly
respond to it. .....” Romans 12:2 (MSG).
We cannot go God’s way and the world’s way at the same time – they’re diametrically
opposed. There is the narrow way that leads to life and the broad way that leads to death.
So, to discover and walk in the Way of Gladness, God’s way, we must deal appropriately
with the world’s way, the way of death. Follow God, not the world!
I have opted to use the following text as the basis for the sermon: “Do not love the world
nor the things in the world. If anyone loves 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 boastful
pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and
also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 (NASB).
What are appropriate responses to the world’s ways?
I. RENOUNCE THE WORLD’S DESIRES:
A. “Do not love the world” John defines the world as
1. Lust of the flesh.
2. Lust of the eyes.
3. Boastful pride of life.
B. Lust means
1. Desiring what we have no right to possess.
2. Covetousness and greed.
3. “Those evil desires which are ready to express themselves in bodily activity.”
Vine's Expository Dictionary.
C. A lust driven person will always choose the way of the world because the way of the
world is the way of lust. At the heart of lust is: SELF:
1. Self-centeredness: “It’s all about Me!”
2. Self-seeking. “I’m keeping my eyes open to what will benefit me.”
3. Self-gratification. “I do what makes me feel good and fulfilled and satisfied.”
4. Self-magnification: the “Big I and the little you!”
5. Self-self-self! “If I am not for me, first and always, who will be?”
D. Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish
ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NLT).
1. Where do you need to exercise self-denial?
2. What must you do to dethrone self, abdicating the throne to Jesus?
3. What lust or impure thoughts or worldly desires must you renounce in order to
4. “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or
destroyed?” Luke 9:25 (NLT).
E. There was a very selfish man who wouldn’t give a dime to help his mother if she
was starving. He could pinch a penny so tightly that Lincoln would groan. His
desire was to get more and to keep what he got! Get and keep! Get and keep! Get
One of his neighbors, after praying for the man for 10 years, had the opportunity to
lead him to Christ when he had a heart attack and was hospitalized, near to death.
When he got home, he immediately sought the pastor of the local church and was
baptized. He heard of a needy family and decided to help, so he went to the store
to buy groceries. Satan tried to get him to “go cheap” and buy very few groceries,
but he said, out loud, “Satan, if you don’t shut up, I’ll buy the entire stock for those