The Spiritual State of the Union | Part Two
Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey | Pastor
First Baptist Church, Spanish Fort, AL
Click HERE for Part One.
Second, note the word about Detachment. 1 John 2:15-17a reads, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it. . .”
The term “detachment” means, “Indifference to worldly concerns.”[i] Dr. Douglas Groothuis writes, “As Pascal said, our passionate interest in the trivial and our lack of concern for the eternal, evidences a very strange disorder. Let us repent and live for what matters most.”[ii]
The term “detachment” can also mean, “That which is detached; especially, a body of troops or part of a fleet sent from the main body on special service.”[iii] 2 Timothy 2:3-5 reads, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”
We are to be in the world but not of the world. In 1 Corinthians 7:31 we read about “. . . those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.”
Puritan Bible Commentator, John Trapp (1601-1669), writes the following on “Ambition” related to 1 John 2:16: “Pleasure, profit, preferment (called here the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life) are the worldlings Trinity, to the which he performeth inward and outward worship. According to the three things which the woman by false suggestion saw in the tree for meat, for the eyes, and for prudence. And according to our Saviour’s three-fold temptation Mat. 4 the last whereof the vain pomp and glory of the world, he could least of all endure, and therefore bids the Tempter Avaunt.”[iv] According to the Webster’s 1913 Unabridged English Dictionary, the term “avaunt” means, “Begone; depart;—a word of contempt or abhorrence, equivalent to the phrase ‘Get thee gone.’”[v]
Solomon confesses in Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, “I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure’; but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter—‘Madness!’; and of mirth, ‘What does it accomplish?’ I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives. I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” As you slowly read those words you get the sense of one pursuing “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life”!
Solomon shares his conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.”
Dr. Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) began a sermon based on 1 John 2:15 titled, “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection” as follows: “THERE are two ways in which a practical moralist may attempt to displace from the human heart its love of the world—either by a demonstration of the world’s vanity, so as that the heart shall be prevailed upon simply to withdraw its regards from an object that is not worthy of it; or, by setting forth another object, even God, as more worthy of its attachment, so as that the heart shall be prevailed upon not to resign an old affection, which shall have nothing to succeed it, but to exchange an old affection for a new one.
My purpose is to show, that from the constitution of our nature, the former method is altogether incompetent and ineffectual and that the latter method will alone suffice for the rescue and recovery of the heart from the wrong affection that domineers over it.”[vi]
Rev. Andrew Murray (1828-1917) explains, “Pride, or the loss of humility, is the root of every sin and evil. All this to make it known through the region of eternity that pride can degrade the highest angels into devils. . . . [Rev. Murray further explains,] Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is, from the very nature of things, the first duty and the highest virtue of the creature, and the root of every virtue.”[vii]
James warns about the love of the world as well. James 4:4 reads, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Colossians 3:1-9 reads, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”
Dr. David Wells writes, “Worldliness is what any particular culture does to make sin look normal and righteousness look strange.”[viii] Jerry Bridges explains, “The world…is characterized by the subtle and relentless pressure it brings to bear upon us to conform to its values and practices. It creeps up on us little by little. What was once unthinkable becomes thinkable, then doable, and finally acceptable to society at large. Sin becomes respectable, and so Christians are no more than five to ten years behind the world in embracing most sinful practices.”[ix]
1 John 5:14 reads, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” Romans 10:17 reads, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
[i]detachment. Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster Dictionary http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/detachment (accessed: 03/12/15).
[ii]Douglas Groothuis, “Why We Should Avoid Celebrity Gossip,” February 9, 2015, Accessed: 03/09/15, http://douglasgroothuis.com/the-constructive-curmudgeon-blog/ .
[iii]Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, ed. Noah Porter, “detachment” (Springfield, MA: G. C. Merriam Co., 1913), 400. Database © 2013 WORDsearch Corp.
[iv]John Trapp, A Commentary Or Exposition Upon All the Books of the New Testament Wherein the Text is Explained, Some Controversies Discussed, Divers Common Places Handled, and Many Remarkable Matters Hinted, that Had by Former Interpreters Enlarged Throughout (London: R. W. are to be sold by Nath. Ekins, 1656), 1060.
[v]Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, ed. Noah Porter, “avaunt” (Springfield, MA: G. C. Merriam Co., 1913), 104. Database © 2013 WORDsearch Corp.
[vi]Astronomical and Commercial Discourses by the late Thomas Chalmers, D. D., LL. D., (New York, NY: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1880), 209. http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nnc1.cr59944048;view=1up;seq=569 .
[vii]Andrew Murray, Humility: The Beauty of Holiness (New York, NY: Anson D. F. Randolph & Co., 1895), 15, 133.
[viii]Roy B. Zuck, The Speaker’s Quote Book (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2009), 552.
[ix]Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace, (Carol Stream, IL: NavPress, 1994), 202-203.