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.
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.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 Jn. 2:15-17
My last deposition in this 2-part series deals with the born-again believer’s attitude towards materialism. Actually, that is a contradiction. Christianity and materialism do not go together. Let me put it as clearly as I can right up front: WE HAVE NOTHING TO LIVE FOR IN THIS WORLD.
Everything that is in this world has to do with the lust of the flesh. That is why the Word of God says that “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof”.
I believe it is an affront of the highest order for a portion of the church to believe that Jesus left His abode in heaven and came to endure all that He endured in this world so that we might live a comfortable material life here on earth as “King’s Kids”. It is like saying that He died so that we might keep up with the Joneses!
That is atrocious, to say the least. God has not called us to such a race. As far as I can see in the Bible, the only promise that God gives to His children concerning this material world is that He will meet our basic needs. God’s attitude with regard to our life here on earth is best captured in the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy: “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Tim. 6:8). I wonder how we can add anything to that.
But Christians today are not just adding to God’s Word; they are actually contesting scripture!
I recently overheard a preacher of a mega-church in our city say over the radio, “The life of Lazarus (the poor beggar who lived on the crumbs which fell from his rich neighbor’s table) is not a model of the life that we have been called to live as children of God. His life is a disgrace! It is a cursed life. We are blessed. We are supposed to live the high life!”
In fact, her sermon was all about Lazarus and she literally ripped him apart. My heart fainted as I thought of all those unfortunate, deprived Christians listening to her on their small FM radios. They must have been devastated.
There are many “spirits” at work today, and this preacher certainly was talking under the influence of one (or probably a ‘legion’) of them; but I happen to know she was not talking under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
No doubt when she talked about Lazarus’ life, this poor preacher was referring to his natural life. She utterly failed to see Lazarus’ rich spiritual life. (Of course, it is not written down but from Jesus’ words you can gather that Lazarus was a God-fearing man.) She just saw Lazarus the sore-infested beggar, and she despised him. She did not see the Lazarus who lived a life that pleased God in the Spirit.
And, by the way, who said that begging is a sin? I don’t see that in the Bible. I will tell you what sin is in this setting. Pride and arrogance are.
The ‘prosperity’ gospel has been planted into the church by the enemy and it has received a large following because it is a close companion to the flesh, which grabs at it the way a drowning man grasps at a piece of straw. Many people, for a lack of a revelation of the true gospel of Jesus Christ that says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mat. 16:24) rush into the arms of such preachers. They are unaware that there is the true gospel, the revelation of the cross in our lives where we can gladly crucify the flesh and all its worldly lusts.
I personally know of dear, beloved brethren whose hearts are, unfortunately, very much on money. They are set on “making money”. One brother called me and said, “I am in the U.S. to seek after the mighty dollar!” I loved his candour.
I love these brethren, and I am not judging them. But it is also true that, with the gospel, you cannot have your cake and eat it.
We are spiritual. Whatever our lot in life, we must single-mindedly seek after only one thing. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21). Our hearts need to be where our treasure is, which is God’s spiritual Kingdom. We need to seek after spiritual things. Our lives need to be alive to the will of God.
Paul sums it up well in Colossians 3:1-4, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
For this to happen, we need to hear the right gospel, the gospel of the revelation of the cross. We cannot just swallow anything and hope that we will become spiritual. Becoming a spiritual person requires the keenest attention to that narrow road that Jesus talked about; and when we hear the right gospel, that road becomes clearer and clearer in our hearts.
We are not called to seek after this earthly life. Far from it, the Bible says about this world and its lusts, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof”.