Friday, April 30, 2010

Reading about Worldliness

"Many of the distinctions separating Christian conduct from 'worldly conduct' have been challenged if not altogether undermined. Even the words worldly and worldliness have, within a generation, lost most of their traditional meaning." James Davison Hunter, Evangelicalism and the Coming Generation.

"I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church." Charles H. Spurgeon

Put your finger on any prosperous page in the church's history, and I will find a little marginal note reading thus: 'In this age men could readily see where the church began and where the world ended.' Never were there good times when the church and the world were joined in marriage with one another. The more the church is distinct from the world in her acts and in her maxims, the more true is her testimony for Christ, and the more potent is her witness against sin." Charles H. Spurgeon

"Worldliness is a love for this fallen world. It's loving the values and pursuits of the world that stand opposed to God. More specifically, it is to gratify and exalt oneself to the exclusion of God. It rejects God's rule and replaces it with our own. It exalts our opinions above God's truth. It elevates our sinful desires for the things of this fallen world above God's commands and promises." C. J. Mahaney, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World.

"The goal of worldly people is to move forward rather than upward, to live horizontally rather than vertically. They seek after outward prosperity rather than holiness. They burst with selfish desires rather than heartfelt supplications. If they do not deny God, they ignore and forget Him, or else they use Him only for their selfish ends. Worldliness . . . is human nature without God. Joel Beeke, Overcoming the World: Grace to Win the Daily Battle.

"Worldliness is departing from God. It is a man-centered way of thinking; it proposes objectives which demand no radical breach with man's fallen nature; it judges the importance of things by the present and material results; it weighs success by numbers; it covets human esteem and wants no unpopularity; it knows no truth for which it is worth suffering; it declines to be 'a fool for Christ's sake.'" Iain Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000.

"[Worldliness] exists in our hearts. Worldliness does not consist in outward behavior, though our actions can certainly be an evidence of worldliness within. But the real location of worldliness is internal. . . . We see this by looking closely at [1 John 2:16]." C. J. Mahaney, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World.

"The worldly characteristics . . . are in fact reactions going on inside of us, as we contemplate the environment outside." David Jackman, The Message of John's Letters.

"The antidote to worldliness is the cross of Jesus Christ. Only through the power of the cross of Christ can we successfully resist the seduction of the fallen world. The Savior's death on the cross is what makes possible forgiveness of sin and provides power to overcome sin. And the cross is the attraction that draws our hearts away from the empty and deadly pleasures of worldliness." C. J. Mahaney, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World.

"When someone sets his affections upon the cross and the love of Christ, he crucifies the world as a dead and undesirable thing. The baits of sin lose their attraction and disappear. Fill your affections with the cross of Christ and you will find no room for sin." John Owen, Sin and Temptation.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace."

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Faith will never grow stronger apart from the stress of endurance. The problems of life exercise the muscle of faith (James 1:2-4)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Don't Lose Sight of the Cross!

"Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to be saying to us, 'I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.' Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size" [John Stott, The Message of Galatians (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1968), 179

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Good an the Bad

Pride is insidiously deceptive. I have discovered that even when I do what is good and right I am prone to self-centeredness. This reality was graphically illustrated to me recently while listening to Robert Lewis Stevenson's The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In reflecting on my own life, it turns out that the case was not so strange after all.

Dr. Jekyll comes to the self-discovery that he has two opposing impulses at work within him: good and evil. Furthermore, his bad nature is holding his good nature back. And so, he develops a potion that can separate the good from the bad. His intention is to free the good self from the influence of the bad self and then he will be able to accomplish all of his good goals. However, upon taking the potion, he comes to the realization that his bad side is far more evil than he expected and he is irresistibly drawn to the evil more than the good. He says,

"I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil; and the thought in that moment, braced and delighted me like wine . . . [Edward Hyde's] every act and thought centered on self."

Dr. Jekyll's confession reminds me of the Apostle Paul's struggle and my own: "I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. . . . I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing." (Romans 7:14-15, 17-18).

Jekyll, determined to overcome his evil inclinations of self-centeredness and pride, resolves not to take the potion anymore. He devotes himself to charity and good works in an attempt to defeat his selfish nature and atone for the wrong Edward Hyde has done.

However, something strange happens while he is alone on a park bench reflecting on all the good he has been doing and how much better a man he was than most people.

"I resolved in my future conduct to redeem the past; and I can say with honesty that my resolve was fruitful of some good. You know how earnestly, in the last months of the last year, I labored to relieve suffering; you know that much was done for others. . . . [But as] I smiled, comparing myself with other men, comparing my active good will with the lazy cruelty of their neglect . . . at the very moment of that vain-glorious thought, a qualm came over me, a horrid nausea and the most dreadful shuddering. . . . I looked down. . . . I was once more Edward Hyde."

For the first time Jekyll becomes Hyde without the potion. This realization that he is unable to control his transformations leads him to despair and suicide. Why would Jekyll become Hyde without the potion? Like so many of us, Jekyll knows he is a sinner, so he tries desperately to cover his sin with good works. Yet his efforts do not actually diminish his pride and self-centeredness, they only aggravate it. They stir up within him prejudice, self-righteousness and pride. The transformation occurs because of his goodness.

The good news is that there is a powerful principle available to overcome the deceitfulness of self-righteousness - it is through the renewing power of the Spirit of God. Jesus Christ has broken the bondage of sin and death upon our lives by his death and resurrection. By grace he has imparted his righteousness to us by the presence of his Spirit in our lives. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2).

To be clever enough to get all the money, one must be stupid enough to want it. (G.K.Chesterton) (1 Timothy 6:10)

Monday, April 05, 2010


Spend some time in a cemetery. It will remind you of your own mortality. (Psalm 39:5)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Morning Sunrise in Edmonton

We had some time off while we were in Edmonton on Easter Sunday. So we went to a church with a big enough parking lot to park our rig. God blessed us as we worshiped at North Point Community Church. He even had a trucker sit right beside us.
My King Lives. Do You Know Him?