Summary: A sermon to encourage people to think about their future beyond this life.
"Living a Life that Lasts"
1 John 2:17 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 forever.
INTRODUCTION: To set the stage for this message I want to share some personal observations with you that I hope you can relate to. First, the Bible teaches us that God has placed something inside of every human being that tells us that there is more to life that just what we can experience with our five senses; that there is something beyond this life, that life is more than just birth and death. Yet, there are so many, even many who profess to be Christians who seem to be living for the moment, just for this life. Second, I don't think that I can remember a time in my life when it was any more difficult to live the Christian life, not that we are being persecuted or anything like, but the lines between what it means to be a Christian or not have become so blurred that there is seemingly little difference between the two, and therein lies the difficulty. How can we know that we are on the right track? How can we know that when we come to end of life here on earth that we can be assured that we will have a home in heaven? The Apostle John gives us several admonitions and declares several truths so based on that I want to ask three questions. First, what is:
I. The Focus on Our Affections
Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
a. The prohibition
If we want to have a life that lasts we cannot "...love the world, neither the things that are in the world..."
(Prohibition with mē and the present active imperative of agapaō, either stop doing it or do not have the habit of doing it.)
ILL - A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them. These are listed in this order. 1. Materialism. 2. Pride. 3. Self-centeredness. 4. Laziness. 5. Tied were: Anger/Bitterness/Sexual lust. 6. Envy. 7. Gluttony. 8. Lying. (3)
There's little difference in ethical behavior between the churched and the unchurched. Religion, for most people, isn't really a life changing experience. People cite it as important, for instance, in overcoming depression, getting through a problem at home, work, or school but it doesn't seem to have first place in determining personal behavior.
b. The problem
The Apostles point is "if any keep on loving the world," that is, there is the possibility that a man might profess to be a Christian but still love the world. This individual still has an attachment to the world and the "...things..." of the world (Greek kosmos) which for those of John's day would have been a distinctly Roman world and its system.
c. The paradox
The love of the world and the love of the Father are so opposed that we cannot do both at once. John says that is impossible for "...the love of the Father..." to dwell in such a person.
II. The Focus on Our Attitudes
Someone called this, the world's awful anti-trinity, the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,"
a. Impure desires -- "...the lust of the flesh..."
This is the lust which has its seat and source in our lower animal nature. This is David's sin and Achan's. Lust brought wreck and ruin, death and destruction to both of these men.
Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
ILL -- Joshua Harris- Lust is always a desire for the forbidden. Though lust longs for an object or a person, ultimately this object is not its prize; its goal is the very act of desiring. The result is that lust can never be quenched. As soon as the object of lust is attained, lust wants something more.
2 Samuel 13:15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
ILL - Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honor and recognition. It will devise subtle, religiously acceptable means to call attention to the service rendered. If we stoutly refuse to give in to this lust of the flesh, we crucify it. Every time we crucify the flesh, we crucify our pride and arrogance.