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Common Worldly Philosophies To Be Avoided By The Christian

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

1 John 2:15-16, 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.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

Romans 1:25:
Humanism – evolution (man result of constantly improving system)
– man is capable of anything if he tries hard enough

Relativism – all beliefs are valid, or none is exclusively valid
– there is no absolute truth
– Existentialism – we determine right and wrong

1. The world says: You only go around once, so…(why many can’t come to church faithfully, especially in nice weather)
– this is the only life we’ll have, so live it to the fullest
“the pursuit of happiness is the most important thing in life”
“avoid suffering at all costs”
i.e. Lot, Solomon
II Ti 3:4, “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”
– if happiness comes through favourable circumstances, we’re in trouble because we cannot control them

God says: the pursuit of God produces true happiness
(happiness is a gift to those who follow God’s truth)
(happiness isn’t found by pursuing it, it is a by-product of pursuing God)
(joy depends on accepting God’s will and focusing on His love)
(complete happiness will only be available in the next life)
(suffering can be good for us)
– Ps 16:11
– Ps 42:1-2
– Ecc 12:13

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks

Ps 144:15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
Pr 16:20, He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
Ps 146:5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
Pr 28:14, Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
Pr 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. (serve one another)

2. The World Says: Take care of myself first!
– focus on pleasing me (i.e. worldly marital counselling) – Mk 10:37; II Ti 3:2
– selfishness is natural

God Says: True joy comes from serving God and others, Ac 20:35

We’re Not To Please Ourselves First, But Put God First:
Mt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Jesus our example:
Php 2:5-7, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Servant-hood a sign of greatness in God’s eyes:
Mt 20:26-28, But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Mt 23:11, But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

We’re Not To Please Ourselves First, But Put Others First (Serve Them):
Ro 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Ro 15:1-3, We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
1Co 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
1Co 10:24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.
1Co 10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
1Co 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Ga 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Php 2:3-4, Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
1Ti 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
James 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

Biblical Principle: Give and God will return more
Pr 11:24, There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
Pr 11:25, The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
Pr 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
Pr 22:9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
Pr 28:27, He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
Lu 6:38, Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
2Co 9:6, But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
2Co 9:7-8 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
1Jo 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

i.e. slothfulness/laziness more important than sacrifice

3. You Can Always Fake It (appearance is most important)
– emphasis on the external

The World Says: There is no God, or God can’t see what we’re doing, or He doesn’t care

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Matthew 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
I Sa 16:7, for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

The World and carnal Christians tend to trivialise and rate sin, II Cor 10:12
Easily offended (anger and bad temper)
Hypocrisy Gal 2:11-14 (doing things for man’s eyes; fear of man)
Rebellion/not submissive to authority
Neglect of the Word
Lack of faith/unbelief/worry- Mat 6:31-34
Ingratitude/moaning(negativity)/discontentment(always something wrong); Heb 13:5
Lack of a quality prayer life
Hindering others from being useful (incl. not helping or not praying for others)
Unforgiveness/holding grudges – Mk 11:25-26
Judgmentalism/critical – Mat 7:3-5

God says: The Right Way To Live is to Live Right! see Mt 23:23-28
I Pe 1:15-16, But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

God says: True spirituality means that the Spirit of God is in control!
Romans 8:29, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
If our lives are not exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit, we are not walking with the Lord!

God says: True joy comes from obedience
Jn 15:10-11, If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

God says: God sees everything and we reap what we sow (Ga 6:9)
I Sa 16:7, for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.

4. The World Says: We are just as good or better than the next guy
example: Lk 18:9-14
– self-righteousness always causes us to look down upon others
– we tend to look at others and judge them based on appearances
– it is always easy to see the sins of others vs. our own sins
– We tend to externalise sin; Matt 23:23-28
– everyone is tempted to come up with a measuring system to make themselves look spiritual

– We tend to trivialise and rate sin, II Cor 10:12 (comparing not wise)
2 Co 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

– people who pride themselves in their rightness(?) with God, based on their outward performance or conformity to some external standard of right and wrong
– We tend to ignore sin – especially in the heart (stress the outward things while not addressing the heart things, Jn 8:3-9)
– vs. 14, he that exalteth himself (even in his thoughts) shall be abased

God Says: We’re Sinners and He Uses Us Because He Loves Us, Not Because We Deserve It
God Says: We Should Only Compare Ourselves to Jesus Christ
– we are good at declaring to ourselves our own righteousness, we have none!
– I Ti 1:15, Paul had the right attitude (chief of sinners)
– Ep 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
– Ga 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
– Is 65:5, self-righteousness is smoke in God’s nose
– we must honest about what we are as David was, Ps 51:4-10
– 1 Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
– we were not righteous when we got saved and we’re not now, stop trying to earn God’s favour!!

Pr 16:2, All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
Pr 20:6, Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
Pr 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
Pr 27:2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

5. The World Says: The one with the most toys wins
(materialism, covetousness)

Lk 12:15-21, beware of covetousness
a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Lk 14:17-20, don’t want to give up covetousness (it will be what keeps many from heaven, the feast)

Lu 18:18-23, the ruler who loved money more than anything

God Says: covetousness, which is idolatry Co 3:5
– Mt 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
– Ep 5:5, covetousness which is idolatry
– I Ti 6:10, For the love of money is the root of all evil.”
– I Jn 2:15-17 (sins of the world, Satan is god of this world, II Co 4:4)
– lust of the eyes (covetousness sidetracks many)

God Says: Things Don’t Give Happiness
Pr 15:16, Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Pr 16:8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
Pr 28:6 Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
Psalms 37:16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

God Says: Seek Heavenly Riches (Affections)
Co 3:1-2, 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.

God Says: Be Content – God Will Provide
Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Mt. 6:31-34Basic Needs
Php 4:11, Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Php. 4:19 All our needs
1Ti 6:6-9,

God Says: Give and it will bring joy
Pr 11:24-25, There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
22:9, He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
Lu 6:38, Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

6. The World Says: The Lord helps those who help themselves
– why pray when you can worry and work yourself do death

The example of King Asa in II Chr 16:1-13
– hired Benhadad, king of Syria; then because of wrong attitude died seeking physicians

The example of King Amaziah in II Chr 25:1-13
-hired unrighteous soldiers to help with the battle
-listened to the prophet and did not use those soldiers and won the battle because of God’s help

Lk 18:9, he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves (self-reliant heart)
– one of the worst and most subtle sins of Christianity (pride, straight from Satan)

When we don’t pray for God’s guidance or victory, we are trusting in ourselves!!
– Jesus said to pray that we enter not into temptation, pray for guidance, etc.
– if we start the day without Him, we are saying that we are trusting our selves

Mt 6:30-33 (vs. 30 little faith when we worry)

God Says: Don’t Worry but Trust Him
– worrying reveals: Don’t trust God; don’t believe in his power

Wrong to trust man (even ourselves)
Jer 17:5, Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
Pr 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes:
Pr 23:4 cease from thine own wisdom.
Pr 26:12 Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
Pr 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Right To Trust God
Php 4:6-7
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Ps 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
Pr 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Ps 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Je 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

7. The World Says: We Can Do Anything
– we’re all powerful, just tap the power inside

Ge 3:1-5, “ye shall be as gods”
Ge 11:1-4, Babel
II Chr 26:15-16
Ps 2:1-3, “take counsel against the LORD”
Psalms 106:39 Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.
Re 20:7-9, man will go to battle against God’s city

Technology/Computer Age – man believes he can do anything
Does Jesus Care About Technology?
He did not change it, even though He could have
medical, transportation, communication, energy (i.e. nuclear), conveniences, information (i.e. computers)
Satan is the god of this world, he’s smart, he is behind technology explosion because it keeps people (saved and unsaved) away from God and spiritual things.

God Says: Without Me Ye Can Do Nothing, Jn 15:5
– He Controls Life and Death
Pr 19:21, There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
Pr 21:30, There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
Pr 25:14, Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.
Romans 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Matthew 6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
God Reveals His Omnipotence Through
– Ge 17:1, I am the Almighty God (El Shaddai): all sufficient, nourisher, strength-giver

Pluralism/relativism – all beliefs are valid, or none is exclusively valid
– no absolute truth
1. The World Says: Truth is what I decide it is (or there is no absolute truth)
– the single most agreed-upon truth in universities today is that truth is relative
– Ge 3:1, yea hath God said

Judg 21:25, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
John 18:38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?
Co 2:8, Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Mk 7:13, Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

When we reject absolute truth:
– The Bible is not reliable
– social order disintegrates (no moral obligation)
– there is no right or wrong (i.e. Hitler)
– examples: homosexuality, discipline of children

God says: Truth is True, no matter what you think, believe, or feel
– and it is found in the Bible and Jesus (Jn 14:6)

Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

Jude 3, “contend for the faith”

What we can trust: The Word, Ps 119:105, the Word is a lamp and light
– II Pe 1:20, no Bible is of private interpretation, it must interpret itself

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Jn 17:17, Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Truth sets us free!, Jn 8:32
Josh 1:8, success comes from knowing the truth
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.

What we cannot trust:
1) What we see, II Co 5:7, we walk by faith, not by sight
– Deuteronomy 13:3, a sign or a wonder or a dream is not the final authority
– Mt 24:24, if it were possible, they shall deceive the elect with their miracles
2) What we hear, II Pe 3:16, those who wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction
– Mt 4:6, Satan is a master at misapplying Scripture
– Eph 4:14, we must be grounded or we will be led astray by those who “lie in wait to deceive”
– II Ti 4:3, itching ear syndrome, looking until find verses to justify behaviour instead of following clear doctrine
3) What we feel, I Jn 4:1, try the spirits, not experience
– Mt 7:21-23, ability to cast out devils etc. not evidence of salvation
– I Th 5:21, prove all things
– people think that experiences are not subject to error, that they are infallible
– Jer 10:23; 17:9, we cannot trust our feelings, heart, or emotions, they can be wrong
– i.e. “I have a peace about it”, etc.
– i.e. “God told me to”
– Php 4:7 only true if rejoicing always, moderate (temperate), praying for all things with thanksgiving

Absolute truth exists whether we know the truth or not; therefore, it is dangerous unless we know what is true.

Follow on to #1:
The World Says: There are many ways to heaven, they are each just different roads to the same place

Mark 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

God Says that His Son is the Only Way:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
1 Timothy 2:5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

2. The World Says: If it works, it can’t be wrong (pragmatism)
the end justifies the means (I Sa 15:13-15)
– “it’s never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right”
– i.e. Uzza and the cart
– i.e. Nehemiah tempted to go into the temple to protect himself
– i.e. don’t treat people in a Christ-like manner because “that’s the way that I am”
– i.e. don’t give to the LORD to have enough finances
– i.e. not faithful to church to get the kids in bed for school
– i.e. gossipping and calling it prayer requests
– i.e. breaking tax laws (disobeying government) to put more food on the table for family
– the goodness of anything is directly related to visible success
– In the Christian community this translates to “whatever is successful has been blessed by God.”
– More than one spiritual teacher on the national scene today is saying that Christians should determine their theology (their understanding of God and spiritual things) by what “works.”
– compromising with the world system to get spiritual results
– The dictionary defines pragmatism as “a philosophic method that makes practical consequences the test of truth.”
– the church now tries to lure and cater to the unsaved, rather than remain separate from the world and go out to reach the unsaved.
– the church adopts unorthodox methods to get people to pray and then justifies it with the “results” It is the temptation of this age to presume that technique is the secret of evangelism.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Jeremiah 44:17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for [then] had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.

Ac 5:34-39 – teaching that if it works, it must be of God

Mal 1:7, 10

Lk 4:5-6, And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

Judges the moral or spiritual value of anything solely by its success – where success is determined by winning a contest, or by earning a great deal of wealth, or by gaining a large following. By this system, people who cheat, steal, or are immoral can be judged to be acceptable if they profit from what they do – people to envy and emulate.

Church growth: do we really understand the growth of the local church when we believe that simply “finding the right method” will do the trick? We bring in Christian rappers, jugglers, clowns, acrobats … and “whatever works” we hang on to. It’s called pragmatism, and it is a horrible philosophy. Pragmatism knows no bounds, and will go as far as need be until something “works.” It’s a dangerous playground, pragmatism.

We use marketing techniques to draw the crowds to our churches. We tone down the difficult parts of the gospel and emphasize the feel-good parts so that we don’t scare off potential converts. We avoid difficult doctrines and give shorter messages that focus on how people can succeed in life, because that’s what people want to hear. We use psychological counseling and 12 Step Groups instead of submission to the lordship of Christ to help people cope with life’s problems, because these techniques seem to work. Pastors flock to conferences that share the latest methods that are proven to build your church.

“If some good comes out of a man’s ministry, what does it matter if some of his methods are ungodly”?

The Majority: Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Lenin said. “Good ends justify evil means”.

God says: We should measure the moral or spiritual value of anything by how it measures up to God’s holiness, His commandments, His teachings, and His plan.
– the means justifies the end (read where the means is given and then the end: Josh 1:8; Jas 1:22-25)
– It is not a matter of favouring “failure” over “success;” it is a matter of measuring success by what pleases God.

We must decide to do right no matter what the circumstances
– Jn 14:15, If ye love me, keep my commandments.
– Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God
– “right is right even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong even if everyone is for it”

Any plan of innovation must be God’s plan. It doesn’t matter if it produces positive results, such as numerical growth, or —look out now! this is controversial — or even conversions.

Ro 1:16, preaching is enough! (He 4:12)
The gospel does not always produce positive results: 1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
Ga 5:11, the cross causes offence, not comfort in the unsaved (I Co 1:18, 23)
II Ti 4:2-4, we’re not to tell people what they want to hear, but what they need!
I Co 3:6-7, God saves and He does not need our help to win a sinner!
1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

God never contradicts His Word (there are no situational ethics with God)
Sometimes Satan may even try to use someone we trust – i.e. Nehemiah’s friends (the Word must be supreme)
Satan will tempt most when most convenient to do wrong

Through failure we deepen our discernment: One of our problems in ministry that we may be driving for the wrong goals. We often assume that things which bring more results, like greater numbers, are the will of God. We may think certain types of people are best suited to lead. These assumptions may be partly right, but they often overlook important exceptions that could lead to unfairness or corruption in the church. God often shows us through failure that we are looking at things superficially and that we need goals more in harmony with the deeper picture.

3. The World Says: It’s only wrong if you get caught
Achan – took of the stuff they were not allowed to take and hid it
– God had to point it out
David – watching a nude woman; committing adultery with her; trying to cover it up by encouraging her husband to go into her; having her husband killed
– God had to send Nathan to rebuke David because he thought he was getting away with it

Letting the mind think on wrong things
– media is attacking us through our minds – we must guard the inputs
– what we dwell on in our thought life
Pr 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he
Ro 12:2, renew our mindsPhp 4:8, think on right things

Privately involved in pornography (God knows)
Mt 5:28
Cheating on taxes (God knows)
Romans 13:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Gossipping/Slandering Behind Closed Doors (even under the guise of prayer requests)
– or listening to it!!
Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
1Pe 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
Pr 17:4 A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.

God Says: It Is Wrong If It Violates God’s Holiness and Righteousness as Defined in the Word of God
– He Knows and Sees Everything
Psalms 90:8 Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
Pr 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

4. The World Says: Everyone else is doing it
– a way to rationalise sin
– the standard for right and wrong is an external authority (majority of people’s actions)
– authority: internal (feelings); external (results, others); or eternal (the Bible)

Examples: Daniel and bowing down to the idolLot/Sodom
The Jews (go back to Egypt, etc.) and Moses
The Jews and Aaron (golden calf)

2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Pr 12:26, The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.

ladies not submitting to husbands
children not obeying parents
teen clothing
TV programs and music
premarital sex and drugs

God Says: Right is Defined in His Word, not by the crowd!
– don’t follow the crowd

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
Pr 12:11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.

Exodus 23:2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

“The greatest want of the world is the want of men, –men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”

“It is human to stand with the crowd; it is divine to stand alone.”

2 Timothy 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

I Peter 2:9-12, peculiar; time past

Matthew 7:13-14, Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

5. The World Says: If you can’t beat them, join them

“When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas”

Many people have this attitude about the world (i.e. the media) and the unsaved – they have given up speaking out for truth.

This happened when carbon dating first came out – theologians started coming up with theories to accommodate long periods of time.

Since Balaam could not curse Israel for Balak, what advice did he give?
Nu 25:1-18; 31:7, 16; Re 2:14
Why did he give this advice? II Pe 2:15; Jude 11

During the first three centuries the devil attacked the Christian church. Stephen was the first victim (Acts 7:54-60). Later James was put to death (Acts 12:1-2). Saul of Tarsus led the attack against believers (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-2).

At first the greatest persecutors of the church were unbelieving Jews (see 1 Thess. 2:14-16 and Romans 11:28). Later the Romans became the great persecutors. Paul and Peter were both put to death by the Roman Emperor Nero. As we study the early history of the church we learn that there were 10 different periods of persecution under 10 different Roman emperors:

What did these attacks and persecutions really do to the Church? Was the church destroyed? Were all true believers killed off? Did believers become an “endangered species”? Was the church fatally wounded and about to die?

Actually the very opposite happened. The more the church was persecuted and attacked, the more it grew and prospered. “The blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church.” When Stephen died the church lost a great warrior, but his death led to the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, and Paul the great apostle accomplished what Stephen never would have been able to do. The martyrs died, but others were saved and took their place. Christianity not only spread but it thrived and prospered!

The church of Jesus Christ could not be exterminated. It survived each and every persecution against it (compare Matthew 16:18″and the gates of hell (hades) shall not prevail against it”). The Church could not be defeated. It came out of every persecution victorious and strong.

The devil knew that the Church was surviving and thriving. The Satan-inspired attacks against the Christian church were unsuccessful. Even men were beginning to realize this. In the year 311 A.D. Galerius (along with his co-emperors, Constantine and Licinius) signed the Edict of Toleration, a law which granted toleration to all religions including Christianity. Galerius was not a fan of the Christians, nor was he a friend. He was a foe of the Christians but he was smart enough to realize that the past persecutions under the Romans had not accomplished anything. The more the believers suffered the more they multiplied.

The devil still wanted to destroy the church, but persecution was not the way to do it. Instead he came up with a much better plan. Instead of attacking the church from the outside he would corrupt the church and destroy it FROM THE INSIDE. The devil’s new strategy was very simple: “IF YOU CAN’T BEAT THEM, JOIN THEM!” Don’t fight them, just shake hands with them and JOIN THEIR TEAM! Infiltrate their ranks!

There is a great danger whenever the church becomes POPULAR! In the days of Constantine it was no longer a shame to be a Christian, it was an honor. It was to your advantage to become a Christian. It was the fashionable thing to do. After all, everyone was doing it and the government put its blessing upon it. (Note: During the years that Jimmy Carter was President1976 to 1980it became very fashionable to say that you were BORN AGAIN. Many people started saying they were born again including many who did not even understand what the new birth really means).
In earlier years the church stayed pure because it COST SOMETHING TO BE A CHRISTIAN. Often it meant suffering and persecution. Believers were not popular with the world. But in Constantine’s day it did not cost anything to be a Christian. It was to your advantage to do so! Today in our country it is somewhat easy to be a Christian. There is little persecution and little cost. Suppose the government suddenly made a law that every Christian would lose his head. Do you think you would soon find out who the true Christians really are?

God Says: Stay Separate From the World and It’s Philosophies
see II Cor 6:14-17; Ro 12:2

Re 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.