Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Three Ways in which the World Entices a Believer
The world works in three ways to entice the believer away from the Lord. The first way is Imitation. So we have antichrists and false prophets. We have an imitation church, a harlot actually. We have an imitation cross [worn round the neck or placed on a steeple], instead of the cross working in our heart and lives. We have worldly churches, worldly believers - which can be traditional churches and traditional believers. Tradition will not save a man; only a born-again experience will. The world will listen to false prophets, 1 John 4.5; and they will be very popular because of their eloquent preaching, miracles and wonders! I believe this is the group that protested, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Matt 7.22
Imitation will not work; God does not look at the outward appearance, He looks at the heart.
The second method is Compromise. The world will protest if you go all the way with Christ. Though Pilgrim's Progress is the most popular book after the Bible, it is mostly read by children in an abridged edition, when it should be read and studied by adults and especially those who profess to follow Christ. But the world, enraptured by Harry Potter, would prefer C.S.Lewis' semi-Christian Narnia books rather than the staid but sturdy classic of Bunyan.
The message is that you can enjoy the best of both worlds, as proved by Korean and T.V. evangelists. You can live a luxurious life like most charismatic preachers. That is their 'worldly faith' [not Word of Faith!] The majority of Christians seem to be living in Moab. They are the modern version of Lot's infamous grandchildren, Moab and Ammon. They would love to settle down in Sodom. Paul says, We are the scum of the world, 1 Cor 4.13; but today's brand of 'popular Christianity' is a cocktail enjoyed by the masses. Both Schuller's and Yonggi Cho's churches are bursting with numbers!
But the third method is more sinister; Gravitational Attraction. As the earth has its gravity or downward pull, so the world weighs us down with cares and worries. We are so beset by anxiety over food, clothing, career, children, earthly security - that we simply don't look up to heaven. The plant of faith is choked by thorns. Like Jacob we settle down in Shechem, Gen 33, bringing tragedy to our children, Gen 34. Even as we begin our spiritual journey, Satan plants many attractions and distractions [like mine-fields] on the way. So Israel, though protected from the curse of Balaam, fell through the enticements of the women of Moab.
No wonder, John, a spiritual writer, familiar with the world of the Spirit, warns us of the world and its invidious attractions. None of us would like to lose our heavenly protection or the heavenly blessings.