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. (I John 2:15-16)
There is only one enemy. He works through a mighty force of demons. Satan not only uses demons but he also works through the evil forces of the flesh and the world: 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. (I John 2:15-16)
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
The word "world" has different meanings in Scripture. It can mean the earth or universe in its physical order.
But the word "world" also is used to refer to the present condition of human affairs in opposition to God. It is the system that runs the inhabited earth, a system that is opposed to God and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is this meaning that is used in this lesson. The "world" is the corporate group of flesh-centered individuals who make up the human race. Flesh, in this context, is not referring to the actual flesh of your body. It is a term which describes the basic evil human nature of man which is in willful rebellion against God.
As your enemy, the world is the whole organized system of social, economic, materialistic, and religious philosophies and systems which have their expression through organizations, personalities, and governments.
The worldly system, New World Order, Illuminati and world systems upon which these are based. The world system is an extension of man's fleshiness. It provides an atmosphere, environment, and system which promotes fleshly sins. It surrounds man with that which appeals to his fleshly desires.
The Prince Of The World:
Satan is the "prince" or ruler of the world system:
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (John 12:31)
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. (John 14:30)
Satan is also called the god of this world:
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believed not... (II Corinthians 4:4)
The kingdoms of the world are presently influenced by Satan. They are guided by Satanic philosophy and principles.
They are flesh-centered, flesh-governed, demonic-centered and demonic-governed:
Again, the Devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (Matthew 4:8-9)
Some day they will become the kingdoms of our Lord:
And the seventh angel sounded: and there were great voices in heaven saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)
The Reason For The Condition Of The World:
Sin is the reason for the present condition of the world. When Adam and Eve were originally created by God, they were given dominion over the world. This meant they had control over the world, to guide its systems and inhabitants according to the plan of God. When they sinned against God, they lost that dominion. (Genesis l-3)
When Jesus was crucified for the sins of all mankind and resurrected from the dead, He reclaimed the world. He pronounced judgment on the spiritual forces of evil:
And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15)
Although Jesus reclaimed the world from the power of the enemy, Satan does not yet acknowledge that claim. Satan still is at work in the world with his evil powers. Satan will not acknowledge the claims of Jesus over the kingdoms of the world until the final conflict.
The present situation is similar to military conditions that often occur in the natural world. A political or military power will take control of a nation but their claims will not be acknowledged by rebel troops within that nation. The rebel troops continue to war throughout the country.
They try to take possession of territory not rightfully theirs and overpower the citizens. They often use tactics of terror and force to accomplish these purposes.
The situation in the spirit world is similar. Jesus reclaimed dominion over the world, the enemy, and his evil forces. But the rebel troops of Satan still war throughout the world. They try to take possession of territory not rightfully theirs and influence men and women for evil. This battle, which is our "spiritual warfare," will continue until the final conflict.
The Structure Of The World:
The world structure is in direct opposition to God, His plan, purposes, and people:
The Evil World System:
The present world system is evil:
Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father. (Galatians 1:4)
The world system is without God:
...having no hope, and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12)
There is much deception in the world to ensnare believers to become part of the world system:
For many deceivers are entered into the world...(II John 7)
The world is already judged and under condemnation by God:
But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:32)
The Elements Of The World:
The "elements of the world" refer to the elementary principles that govern the world. They lead to spiritual bondage:
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. (Galatians 4:3)
The Rudiments Of The World:
These are the regulations on which the world structure rests. They are different from the principles upon which God structures His Kingdom:
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances. (Colossians 2:8,20)
The Spirit Of The World:
The spirit of the world is in direct opposition to the Holy Spirit:
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (I Corinthians 2:12)
The Philosophy Of The World:
Philosophies are principles of knowledge. Worldly philosophies are not based on Christ: 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. (Colossians 2:8)
The Wisdom Of The World
Worldly wisdom is not God's wisdom:
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. (I Corinthians 3:19)
The Course Of The World:
The "course" of the world is the cycle of the present world, its routine, the way in which it operates:
Wherefore in times past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 2:2)
The Voices Of The World:
The many "voices" in the world are contrary to the voice of God:
There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. (I Corinthians 14:10)
The Peace Of The World:
The peace of the world is temporary, fragile, and sometimes deceptive: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)
The Sorrow Of The World:
Godly sorrow differs from that of the world:
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (II Corinthians 7:10)
The Attitude Of The World:
The world hates God:
...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. (James 4:4)
The world hates believers:
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 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. (John 15:18-19)
Since the world is made up of flesh centered individuals who hate believers, we need to learn more about this powerful force called "the flesh."
The world is an evil social force of Satan that works from the outside to attack believers. It is the corporate organization of fleshly individuals. The flesh is an evil force working from within the believer.
The same "fleshly spirit" that operates in the world will operate in your life if you allow it to do so. The word "flesh" as used in Scripture can refer to the actual body of man and beast. But this is not what we are talking about when we use the word "flesh".
The Bible also uses the word "flesh" to describe the basic sin nature of man. The flesh is the center of willful defiance and rebellion against God:
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will (to do good) is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 8:18-20)
The flesh is a compulsive inner force which expresses itself in rebellion through sin. It is this meaning of flesh which is used in this lesson. The words "carnal" and "old man" are also used to describe the fleshly nature of man. All men have this basic, sinful, fleshly nature:
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
The Lust Of The Flesh:
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
What is the lust of the flesh? First let us define the word "lust." Lust is "strong desire, soulish emotions, the natural tendency of man towards evil."
The Bible warns that we should not lust after evil things:
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. (I Corinthians 10:6)
Lusting after evil things which will please your fleshly nature is "lust of the flesh.” It is how Satan attacks from within. It is like a civil war within a nation, with your spirit and flesh warring against each other.
How Lust Develops:
Lust, or sinful desire, first enters through the natural senses. The eye sees something evil or the ear hears something wicked. A touch, a taste, or even a smell can even foster lust.
This is how Satan uses the environment of the world to tempt the flesh. These natural senses trigger an evil thought or desire in the mind. This is lust. The lustful thought is what tempts you to do evil:
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (James 1:13-14)
Remember, God never tempts you. You are tempted when you are drawn by your own sinful, fleshly lusts. But you do not have to yield to this temptation. God always provides a way of escape:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape that ye may be able to bear it. (I Corinthians 10:13)
Since the mind is used to tempt the flesh, Paul warns:
For to be carnally (fleshly) minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7-8)
The Results Of Lust:
If you yield to lust, temptation results and if you yield to temptation, it results in sin which leads to death:
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:15)
The world is corrupt because of lust:
...having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (II Peter 1:4)
Your flesh is corrupt because of lust:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts... (Ephesians 4:22)
The Relationship Of The Spirit To The Flesh:
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Galatians 5:17)
When you are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, that Spirit indwells your spirit.
The Holy Spirit in your spirit opposes the lusts of the flesh. Your flesh wars against your spirit and the Spirit of God within you. The flesh entices you to sinful lusts. This is why you often cannot live the way you desire to live.
Paul described this battle between the spirit and the flesh in Romans chapter 7:
I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man (the spirit); But I see another law in my members (the flesh), warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:21-23)
The Works Of The Flesh:
The lusts of the flesh, if not conquered, lead to sinful works of the flesh which result in spiritual death:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such thing shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
This list can be divided into four categories of sins:
Worship Sins: Idolatry and witchcraft.
Sexual Sins: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, and lasciviousness.
Personal Sins: Drunkenness and revellings.
Relationship Sins: Hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, envyings, and murders.
Powerful Evil Forces
The world and the flesh combine with Satan and his demons to war against believers. These are the spiritual forces of evil. In the following lessons you will learn strategies of spiritual warfare to combat these powerful spiritual forces of evil.
Study further on the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21.
Contrast to these evil works the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 6:22-23.
Read John 1:1-15 and chapter 3. Observe God's great love for the world despite its sinful, fleshly condition. What did God do to show His love? What was the response of the world?
Study further about temptation.
Satan is called the tempter: Matthew 4:3; I Thessalonians 3:15
God does not tempt men to do evil: James 1:13-14
You are tempted by:
Men: Matthew 16:1; 19:3; 22:35; Mark 8:11; 10:2; Luke 11:16; John 8:6
Satan: Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2; I Corinthians 7:5
Your lusts: James 1:13-14
Riches: I Timothy 6:9
You are to pray not to be led into temptation: Matthew 26:41; Luke 11:4; Mark 14:38; 22:46
Jesus was tempted, but did not sin: Hebrews 2:18; 4:15
You are blessed if you endure temptation: James 1:12
God can deliver you from temptation: Hebrews 4:15; II Peter 2:9; I Corinthians 10:13
Temptation brings heaviness but you should count every temptation a joy James 1:2; I Peter 1:6
Are you experiencing lust which has led to temptation and then to sin?
If so, follow the strategy in I John 1:8-9.
It is within the context of describing the warfare between the Holy Spirit and the flesh that Paul identifies the works of the flesh which war within believers. See Galatians 5:16-26.
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