Friday, November 11, 2011

Have you been fooled? - November 11th, 2011

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:15-17

History and Context:
1 John does not name an author, but it has been labeled as John's. This is because the style is extremely similar to the unique style of the Gospel written by the Apostle John. The date of this letter is probably at the close of the first century when the Christian faith was around 50 to 60 years old. At this time John was probably the last of the original apostles and the church was struggling to not be influenced by surrounding ideas and philosophies. Most notable was gnosticism: the belief that the physical and spiritual were completely separate, and that all things physical were evil and all things spiritual were good. This belief led to much immorality as they believed that what was done in the physical didn't matter and could not effect the spiritual, but it also ultimately led to the denial that Jesus came in human flesh and therefore the denial of Jesus' death, as a spirit cannot die. These uprooted the very core of the Christian faith and John ultimately wrote this letter to counter that philosophy.

The Text:
The Bible identifies three enemies to our Christian faith; the devil, self, and the world. The world's system goes directly against God's system, it is a fallen world and this fallen state is seen in the culture, the media, and even in the very mindset of the people. John is confronting his readers with their love for the world's system. They had begun to go after three things which John names, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. In our times we could probably rename these things as lust, greed, and pride. These are the three underlying values of the world's system and they can often show outward success. They appeal to each of us as each of us have a fallen nature with the same three underlying values in us.

The Challenge:
The challenge is to reject the world's system and commit to God's system. As I mentioned above the world's system has three underlying core values, but they don't always show up so blatant. For example, greed may not give us the direct message of "do this and you will become rich". Instead greed may say "this is how it's done and if you don't do this your family will starve". Our three enemies work together to make the world's system appealing to each one of us. They know what we hold dear and they know the best way to convince us to go astray. This is why Peter told us to be "sober and vigilant", we need to be ready and immersed in the Word of God and in His presence daily. This will keep us from being fooled by the world's system.

The Prayer:
Lord, I love you and I do not love the world. I pray that you would lead me into your kingdom and the ways of your kingdom and out of the ways of this world. In Jesus' name, Amen!

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