sermon: Are You Being Brainwashed? (Part 1)
Influence From the World and the Love of it
Martin G. Collins
Given 09-Dec-06; Sermon #804; 77 minutes
George Orwell's book 1984, in which a brainwashed working class, bred to serve the elite, were kept in ignorance by newspeak and doublethink, is a prediction of what is happening now. Politically correct newspeak is disseminated by biased, agenda-driven media and public educational institutions, patterning their deceitful techniques after the Communist process of brainwashing. To protect ourselves from the influences of the world, we have been cautioned not to love the world, namely the lustful, sensual outlook on life that has totally abandoned God and has blatantly pursued self-glorification and self interest, ambitiously excelling at the expense of others. Instead we have been instructed to embrace the fruits of the Spirit, preferring God's truth to the deceitful spin, brainwashing, and the doublespeak of the world's institutions.
Former First Lady, current New York state senator, and probably the next Democratic presidential candidate, Hilary Rodham Clinton said years ago that the nonfiction book 1984, written in 1949 by George Orwell, was the book that had the greatest influence on her. This book was a type of prophecy of what the elitists see as their utopian world of the future. Mrs. Clinton's worldview fits the Globalists' goal for the common masses: to serve the elites in a worshipped, environmentally-friendly world with a drastically reduced population. It does not look very good for the average person of the world, if the prophecy of this book were to come true.
The unsettling book was later made into a very disturbing movie, and I do not recommend that you go see it. Here is a quote from it:
The Party [i.e. the government] claimed, of course, to have liberated the proles [i.e. common workers] from bondage. . . . In reality very little was known about the proles. It was not necessary to know much. So long as they continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern. They were born, they grew up in the gutters, they went to work at twelve, they passed through a brief blossoming period of beauty and sexual desire, they married at twenty, they were middle-aged at thirty, and they died, for the most part, at sixty. Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer, and, above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.
This is the description of a brainwashed society following the planned mind control of the working class populace. This working class was bred to serve the wealthy and politically powerful elite of society. I would like to go over some points in the book to bring out some principles.
In one part of the story, as "Hate Week" begins, the war with Eurasia suddenly stops and a war with East Asia starts. This meant a lot of work for the main character, Winston Smith, a Party member. (His character was fashioned after Winston Churchill, and the story takes place in a socialist England.) Nevertheless, Winston finds time to read the Party book, entitled The Book, which has three chapters: "War is Peace," "Ignorance is Strength," and "Freedom is Slavery," which were also the main phrases of the Party. You can see some similarities and parallels to society today.
In another part of the story, Winston has doubts about the benevolence of the Party and begins to openly question things. He is tortured by his friend O'Brien, also a Party member. O'Brien aims to teach Winston the technique of "doublethink," which he does by inflicting pain in ever-increasing intensity. He reminds Winston that he wrote in his diary the sentence, "Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two makes four." O'Brien holds up four fingers of his left hand and asks Winston how many there are. Winston answers four a couple of times, and each time the pain increases. This is not done to make Winston lie, but to make him really see five fingers instead of four. At the end of the session, under the heavy influence of drugs and agony, Winston really sees five fingers in his mind. The brainwashing is successful, but only temporarily, as the story goes.
The goal of the Party was to convince through various methods—sometimes painful, sometimes pleasant—that the truth is what the Party says the truth is. The powers behind the scenes, called "Big Brother," know that in order to make the truth of the Party more palatable, the meaning of existing terms must be changed. Keep in mind that this is all in the book 1984 and I do not know whether it was a guideline to how to continue with society in that direction or a warning that it was headed that way. Orwell got a lot of his information in what he saw happening during World War II in Nazi Germany.
I would like to interject into the story that it is interesting that the Holy Roman Catholic Church did the same thing in the fourth century BC when it renamed the pagan orgiastic festival of Saturnalia (December 17-24) and the winter solstice ritual of Brumalia, meaning "birthday of the sun" (December 25), Christmas. It was also the same when they demanded that Christians observe the pagan sun-worshipping spring festival of the goddess Ishtar—Easter—while banning the observance of Passover with a threat of death. Thus, the pagan festivals of Christmas and Easter are kept in mainstream professing Christian homes today. The brainwashing over the many centuries was successful in that light to bring those pagans, who began at the time of Constantine, to move from paganism to what he calls Christianity, which holds the same general pagan beliefs and the same holidays just renamed. It is a parallel to Orwell's novel of 1949.
There are some new terms in this novel that express induced trends in society today. The two terms are newspeak and doublethink. They have even been combined to the term doublespeak. Doublethink is a kind of manipulation of the mind. Generally, one could say that doublethink makes people accept contradictions and believe that the Party is the only institution that distinguishes between right and wrong. This manipulation is mainly done by the Minitrue, which in the book is short for Ministry of Truth, where Winston Smith works. When a person well-grounded in doublethink recognizes a contradiction or a lie of the Party, then the person thinks that he is remembering a false fact. With the help of the Minitrue, it is not only possible to change written facts but also facts remembered by the people—providing complete control of the country and its citizens.
Just prior to Orwell's writing of his book, the Nazis had already implemented the faking of history when they told the people the lie that German knights believed in the principles of National Socialism, thereby giving it credibility. Hitler is quoted as having said something to the effect of, "Tell a lie often enough and it is eventually perceived as truth!" That is a paraphrase.
There is one other term that I would like to mention, and that is newspeak. It was the official language of Oceania, the country in which the book took place, actually representing Britain. It was devised to meet ideological needs of the English Socialism that he called "Ingsoc" in the book. In the year 1984, there is nobody who really uses newspeak in speech or writing; only the leading articles are written in this "language." However, it is generally assumed that in the year 2050, newspeak would supersede oldspeak, or common English. The purpose of newspeak is not only to provide a medium of expression for the worldview and mental habits proper to devotees of Ingsoc but also to make all other methods of thought impossible. Another reason for developing newspeak is to make old books (those written before the era of the Party) unreadable.
With newspeak, doublethink would be even easier. Its vocabulary is so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express while excluding all other meanings and the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This is done partly by the invention of new words but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words.
We see this today in political correctness: e.g., abortion is called "free choice," sodomy is called "gay," and euthanasia is called "dying with dignity." Orwell's prophecy, if it was that, is actually coming true. He saw it happen in Nazi Germany, and that was a pattern for what is happening today, with our language being changed to the point that we almost do not recognize some of the words or phrases.
The prophet Jeremiah described the blatant sins of ancient Israel and Judah, shot through and through with wickedness at the time that he wrote. He pointed out their universal adultery, referring to their spiritual adultery of idolatry, which led to gross immoralities. As a whole, the citizens of the nation—especially the politicians—were a deceitful and double-crossing community.
Jeremiah 9:2-8 "Oh, that I had in the wilderness a lodging place for travelers; that I might leave my people, and go from them! For they are all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me," says the LORD. "Everyone take heed to his neighbor, and do not trust any brother; for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbor will walk with slanderers. Everyone will deceive his neighbor, and will not speak the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity. Your dwelling place is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know Me," says the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: "Behold, I will refine them and try them; for how shall I deal with the daughter of My people? Their tongue is an arrow shot out; it speaks deceit; one speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in his heart he lies in wait."
Verse 3 gives a comparison between the military bow and the tongue. The bow is the tongue; the arrow is the lie. Jeremiah says that the wicked men of Judah bend their tongues to be their war bows to shoot lies. It was not against the enemy only, however; it consisted of a great deal of what we might call "friendly fire," directed at their fellow citizens.
Just as men of past ages readied their bows before a battle, flexing and planning, so also people of a wicked society purposefully get their lying words ready to do harm as the arrows shot from the military bow. By way of analogy, the point is that they rule deceitfully rather than faithfully in the land of their people. In a state of such complete lawlessness, mutual confidence wanes, and suspicion takes its place. Nobody trusts anyone, especially not the politicians.
Tirelessly, the people went from one sin to another, fearless in their enthusiasm for lying. We see this today in television commercials, with an unlimited number of lies just within one commercial. It is portrayed as being perfectly acceptable or humorous.
In Israel and Judah, they had completely abandoned moral and social standards. Mutual trust had vanished, resulting in the break down of the inner solidarity of the nation. It was collapsing from within, much the same as is happening to our nation today. Judah was suffocating in deceit. All this stemmed from willful enmity against and ignorance of God. They cared neither to know Him nor to recognize Him.
The apostle Paul wrote an epistle to the Church of God in Rome about this same thing. He gives as his reason the perverted practices of the worldly Gentiles, for the purpose of convincing the Gentile saints in Rome to resist and overcome their previous lifestyles. Those members in Rome were Gentiles as well, having come out of a gentile world, but they were struggling to put that behind them. They, like us today, had been and were being brainwashed by the society in which they lived. However, as the called of God, they had to continue to resist that influence with all of their being.
Romans 1:28-32 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
In approving those who practice such sins as are listed here, they share the responsibility and the penalty connected with this wickedness. Corrupt leaders, for personal gain, encourage sin by passing laws that go directly against God's law. They promote decadence in society on a widespread scale by their own immoral and deceitful activities.
In this society today, the first thing people think of with regard to politicians is that they are liars. Because of the universal distrust of politicians, most people have the question lurking in the back of their mind: "What are they up to behind the scenes?" Many people cope with this distasteful thought by blinding themselves and blocking their ears from any information that may answer that question. As the old humanly-reasoned adage goes, "Ignorance is bliss!" That is one of the ways that they get away with it, because people do not want to face the truth of what is going on.
I fear that people are also this way when it comes to immoral and treasonous propaganda crammed down our throats by the written, listened to, and viewed media—in other words, the steady diet of "misinformation" that the public is fed in newspapers, magazines, and books; what we hear on the radio; and what we see on television. Also, educators in public schools, colleges and universities take easily programmable minds and feed them politically correct "doublespeak," the "party line." They have encouraged such perverse immorality that universities are well known for their drunken orgies and other perversions.
For members of God's church, this idea that "ignorance is bliss" is especially dangerous. It leads to letting down one's guard, maintaining biases and prejudices, and developing new ones. It leads to being brainwashed by the enemies of God, to believing, or at least accepting, the lies. We saw this happening in the Worldwide Church of God years ago. Ignorance was bliss, and they did not want to know about the detail of the doctrines. Those who went that way were part of the great falling away.
The majority of you would probably deny that you have been and are being brainwashed against your will. This is a wake up call! Sadly, we are, to some extent, a product of this society and, therefore, have the effects of being brainwashed by this society! This is one of the things against which we fight, and Satan, of course, is the instigator behind it all. However, man has to face his own responsibility, and certainly the society and its leaders must and will face the judgment of what they have allowed. Predators brainwash others for any number of reasons: for power, for money, for self-validation, for self-gratification, for control, and for misguided convictions that society needs to be led like sheep rather than properly nurtured, educated, and cared for.
Other terms used to refer to brainwashing are "thought reform," "coercive persuasion," "mind control," "indoctrination," and "encoding." This is not a sermon about conspiracies. Whether or not you believe in conspiracies, Satan is the master conspirator, and there is at least his conspiracy going on. This is about being brainwashed and allowing someone or something else to take control of part of your mind. Sometimes it is through repetition; sometimes it is through enticements.
What, then, is brainwashing? The term brainwashing was first used in 1951 by the news correspondent Hunter to describe the conversion process that American POWs had undergone in Chinese prison camps during the Korean War. He translated the term from the Chinese concept of hse nao, "wash brain." Actually, Mao Tse-tung used the term ssu-hsiang tou-cheng, or "thought struggle," as early as 1929 to denote what we later commonly refer to as "mind control," "thought reform," or "thought control."
According to the World Book Dictionary, brainwashing is "a process of systematically, forcibly and intensively indoctrinating a person to destroy or weaken his beliefs and ideas so that he becomes willing to accept different or opposite beliefs or ideas." One of the major tools for this, as far as selling a product goes, is advertising. The commercials run over and over, over and over, and over and over again.
There are those who say that brainwashing does not exist and is not a useful concept. However, a whole industry has grown up around the concept of forcibly and intensively destroying or weakening a person's beliefs so that he becomes willing to accept different or opposite beliefs or ideas. This practice is called "deprogramming" or "exit counseling," in which family members have been known to pay large sums of money to have a family member, who has joined a religious group not acceptable to the family, brainwashed to reject the beliefs that they have and take on the beliefs that their family wants them to have.
One example is a young woman who was imprisoned in her home a few years ago. When she said she intended to leave the house, she was told by the deprogrammer that she would be leaving when he said so, and that would be when she agreed to give up her religion. To the disappointment of the deprogrammer (and the family, which had paid him handsomely), the police freed her and she remains unbrainwashed.
Although the abuse of the human rights in this case is clear—false imprisonment, violence, sleep deprivation, and endless repetition of videos showing material against a person's religious beliefs—there is an even more vicious and far-reaching attack on the person, which comes under the general heading of mind control. Some of this description of what she went through exactly describes the advertisements that we see on television and listen to on the radio, as far as the repetition of it and the impression put on the brain to the point that the brain no longer resists.
Since the existence of deprogrammers is a matter of record, in this scenario, the person presumably could be brainwashed into a religious movement and later brainwashed out again by the deprogrammers! Berkeley psychologist Margaret Singer wrote an early popular defense of the idea and subsequently developed it in her testimony in a number of court cases through the mid-1980s. Several of these cases resulted in multi-million-dollar judgments against some of the more well-known religious groups. We could face this some day if things continue as they are.
Those opposed to cults found a popular response from juries to the emotionally charged word of cult, and it soon became the keystone of popular prejudice. Singer's views spread and became popular among other psychologists. What happened was that they were taking these "brainwashing cases" to court. All that they had to do was to mention the word cult, and the jury would immediately pass judgment on the religious groups. Some of it was probably justified, and some of it was probably not.
Later, because there was a lack of scientific evidence to support Margaret Singer's claims of religious brainwashing, the American Psychological Association slowly began to distance itself from her as it backpeddled from its earlier inclination. One of the four APA committee members, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, who reviewed her views to see if they were valid and backed with scientific proof, had this to say: "The term brainwashing is not a recognized theoretical concept and is just a sensationalist explanation more suitable to cultists and revival preachers. It should not be used by psychologists, since it does not explain anything." They totally deny this, but they were quick to blame the religious leaders, referring to them as cultists and revival preachers.
Brainwashing, mind control, deprogramming—are these just words, or do they represent frighteningly real activities that strike at our most basic freedoms? The leaders know that to control people, they must create a society for them whereby they can be kept busy and entertained. By encouraging the basest of human desires in the continuing of society, they satisfy the natural enmity against God and the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Give the people what they want up to a point, but remain in control of them by way of popular propaganda. Tell the people what they want to hear with the use of subtle, guiding deceptions.
The problem is not contained within the confines of the world. Even human beings who are called by God are susceptible to all that is in the world.
In I John 2, the apostle John encourages members of the church—that is, those who truly know Christ—about the strength of their spiritual state. He explains what they are able to do because they are strong in the spirit, have truly known God and what He stands for, have the knowledge and understanding that God has placed in them, and have overcome the wicked one. In verses 15-17, John begins a negative exhortation. Having told us what we are to do, he here reminds us of something that we are to avoid: "Do not love not the world."
As we are to love God and keep His commandments, as we are to love the brethren, so equally definitely are we not to love the world or the things that are in the world. This is something that follows quite logically and inevitably from what John has already been saying. This negative admonishment is vitally important—every bit as important as the positive admonition that he gave earlier in this chapter.
I John 2:15-17 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; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Because we all engage in self-defense, part of the danger is to approach these words and interpret them in such a way as to make us all right and probably condemn other people while we are doing it. This is an element of self-righteousness of which we have to be very careful. We say that the world is not affecting us, but it is affecting everyone else around us. We cannot have that attitude since we are right in there with everyone else.
We are all experts at rationalizing our sins and explaining away what we do. It is interesting to hear how people often quote these verses, fondly imagining that they are perfectly all right themselves with regard to these words. Yet they often display in their lives that they have certainly completely misunderstood one of the main emphases of this particular restriction. Sometimes we hear people talking excitedly about worldliness and denouncing it, and we realize immediately that they have taken only one little section and have completely ignored the remainder. I hope that we will all, after this sermon, not ignore the remainder of it, but recognize all of that influence that is coming from the world. We have to honestly face what worldliness is and search and examine ourselves in order to know truly and exactly what it really is. We have to discover where we are and where we stand. The word worldliness examines us down to the very depths of our being, because it affects every last person in God's church.
First of all, let us ask what John means. What is "the world" in this case? We know that he is not referring to creation; he is not thinking of the mountains and the valleys and the rivers. He does not mean the physical world in that sense; neither is it referring to the life of the world in general.
John is not referring to family relationships. It does not mean engaging in peaceful, honest business or a profession or all the things basically essential to life. It does not indicate government and authorities and powers, because all of these have been ordained by God Himself. However, it is referring to those within such organizations who try to move forward with their globalist agenda.
What, then, does "the world" signify? Biblically, the essence of the meaning is the organization, the mind, and the outlook of mankind as it ignores God. It does not recognize Him, and it lives a life independent of Him, a life that is based upon this world and this life only. It means the outlook that has rebelled against God and turned its back on Him. It means the typical life that is being lived by the average person today, who has no thought of God, but thinks only of this world and life, who thinks in terms of time, and is governed by certain instincts and desires promoted by this world. It is the whole outlook on life that is exclusive of God.
Secondly, what are the characteristics of that kind of life? John answers that question in verse 16, but first he says,
I John 2:15-16 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.
Lust means an inordinate affection or desire, the abuse of something that is naturally and perfectly right and legitimate in and of itself, such as drinking wine or sexual relations within marriage.
Paul puts this in clear terms to the Corinthians when he tells us to use this world and not abuse it (I Corinthians 7:31). To abuse it is to be guilty of lust. Lust, in other words, means that instead of controlling our desires and using them as we ought to, we are controlled by them; they master us and they control us. There are certain desires in us that are perfectly legitimate and have been given by God. They are good unless we pervert those desires. However, if we are governed and controlled by them and our whole outlook on life is circumscribed by these things, then we are guilty of lust; that is the meaning of the word.
The apostle John mentions the "lust of the flesh" in I John 2:16. He is talking about lust in the sense that it arises from and appertains to nature—that is, belonging to our physical bodies. This is his definition of sensuality. He is talking about the kind of person who lives only for sensual gratification. That is not only sex but it is also gluttony and drunkenness and sexual perversions.
It includes the kind of man or woman who lives to eat, who have a lust for food—people whose whole outlook seems to be entirely defined by their interest in food and drink. The expert knowledge they have on drink means that they have made it too much a part of their life! Often, these are people who delight to talk about it and call themselves connoisseurs and experts in tastes and flavors, living for eating and drinking. I am not talking about a basic education of these things; I am talking about the obsession of it. The many magazines on the different subjects certainly show an obsession with these things that titillate the senses. Nevertheless, the hunger instinct is perfectly legitimate. We have to eat in order to live—but if we live to eat, we are guilty of the lust of the flesh. It is exactly the same with drinking: If it is our controlling and main interest in life, it is a lust. The same applies to sex.
We have only to look at the newspapers and magazines, and we see the whole thing shouting and blaring at us. The western world seems to be full of it. The clever, subtle businessmen who produce the advertisements know exactly what appeals to the public palate. They put these things always in the forefront, and they all belong to this lust of the flesh—the abuse of certain natural instincts and desires that are part of human nature and life.
John warns us not to love that, not to be guilty of that, and not to be controlled by that sort of thing. It has nothing to do with this godly life; it is the very antithesis of it.
Let us move on to the "lust of the eyes," mentioned in I John 2:16. The best way of defining this is to say that it describes the kind of man or woman who lives according to false values. They judge by appearances and by outward show, which, of course, often leads to the "lust of the flesh." It is through the eyes that sin so often arises. It is what we see and what the world makes us see that so often causes us to sin. Briefly, it no doubt includes sin when it is in the intellectual stage. Jesus Christ put it this way:
Matthew 5:28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
The lust of the eyes includes that; it is a kind of offensive looking, sin in the intellect, the toying and playing with it in the imagination and thought—but it does not stop at that. The lust of the eyes means also a kind of vanity that delights in spectacle and splendor, in an appearance, in anything that appeals to the eyes. The world is full of this kind of thing: great pomp and show, the mere appearance, giving an impression. In fact, you could say that is the banner of the world, merely an appearance and giving an impression.
This also pleases the people whose main interest in life is their personal appearance. There are people who live just for their own personal appearance and the impression that it makes. It is amazing the time, energy, and enthusiasm that go into this! Look at the number of people that are always in the mall, even until it closes. The Internet is not evil in itself, but it thrives on this very thing. Consider the talking and writing about clothing fashions. There are innumerable magazines, newspapers and television shows to promote such things. It is being shouted at us everywhere. The lust of the eyes—how pathetic it is that human beings, endowed with the things which God has given, can live for things like this outlook of showiness and appearance.
The next step that the apostle John introduces in I John 2:16 is what he calls "the pride of life." The best way to define this is to call it self-glorification, a very subtle thing. This is something that we can divide into two sections. It includes ambition, and it includes contempt of others. "The pride of life" indicates a pride in oneself, generally at the expense of someone else, glorying in something that is true of oneself in this life and world.
Let us analyze this for a moment: pride in your family, that you have a particular name, or that there is particular blood in your veins; pride in your industry; pride in social status, in influence, the people we know, our acquaintances. People love this sort of thing. They are eager to get into certain circles, to belong to a certain club—and that has nothing to do with God and His honor and glory! It is amazing how much men and women give thought to this kind of thing, how much money they spend on it, how much time and energy. The way they suffer, the jealousy and envy that arise are all a part of the pride of life.
Then there is the question of wealth and the way people pride themselves on their wealth and material possessions. The pride of life shows itself in our feeling about the school to which we went—a little better than somebody else's school—the college that we attend, or the university to which we belong. The world encourages the natural human tendency of the pride of life to flourish and even makes money from it. Look at all of the mascot things that the college students and others buy, such as the cups and the jerseys. There is a sense of superiority and a despising of others, feeling somewhat sorry for others. The same thing goes for the national sports. Sports are not necessarily wrong in and of themselves, but the marketing of them surely has taken it to the extreme.
I have been going into these things because this is the kind of thing that creeps into the life of the Christian church. Sadly, this is the type of thing that we sometimes observe in Christian circles. These are the standards by which we judge one another, rather than spiritual health.
With pride in knowledge and learning, ability and culture, man boasts of his brain, his knowledge, and his understanding. It is a striving for worldly honors. It is part of the pride of life—this ambition to get on and succeed, to be greater than someone else—this idea of self-glorification in some shape or form that permeates the society.
Are we being brainwashed? Yes, every last one of us is being affected by these things that are promoted by the world. All this is what the apostle John meant by, "Do not love the world or the things in the world."
Why should we not love the world and the things that are in the world? The apostle John puts it like this: to not obey this commandment means a denial of our love to God and of our knowledge of Him. In I John 2:15, John says, "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." He is saying that loving these other things is incompatible with loving God. We cannot serve God and material things; we cannot love God and the world at the same time.
The apostle James warns us,
James 4:4 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.
That is a powerful statement that sends shivers up our spines when we look at it in this light. It is an utter denial of what we claim to believe.
Another reason is that love of the world and the things of the world is a denial of the life that is in us. We already read in I John 2:16, "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." The word of indicates that it is not derived from, it does not originate in the Father. Christians are people who have in them the life of Christ—Christ dwelling in them. Therefore, if we as Christians claim that Christ is dwelling in us, we cannot be guilty of loving the things that arise from the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
Look at Jesus Christ. He was never guilty of those sins of the flesh. He did not believe in showiness and conceited appearance; rather, He was meek and humble. He was someone who was the very antithesis of all the loudness and vulgarity of the world and its delight in the appearance and mere show.
Remember what Christ taught: "Blessed are the meek"—the very opposite of the so-called worldly person. "Blessed are the poor in spirit"—not those who are proud, arrogant, and ambitious, who look down upon others because of certain things. Christ taught that we should feel that we are unworthy and inadequate, of and by ourselves, to be called by God.
Matthew 20:28 "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness"—not those who treat God's inspired written word as out of date.
In the world, the "great" lord it over others. It should not be so in His church, and it will not be so in His Kingdom. Jesus is interested in and concerned about all human beings, including tax collectors and other sinners. He does not look at their clothing, their birth, ancestry, or possessions. The apostle Paul put it like this:
II Corinthians 5:16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
That, again, is an opposite viewpoint of what the world holds. All these factors are demolished; the heart and mind of each individual is what matters. In other words, Christians have an entirely different conception of all these things from the man or woman of the world. The wealth in which we are interested is the wealth of the riches of glory; the knowledge to which we aspire is not human knowledge but the knowledge of God. The associations of which we are proud are not those found in elite circles; they are with the people of God, the Church of God, the saints, however humble we may be working to be. The honor that we crave is not the honor of a great name among men but the honor of being known by God and of anticipating the day when we will hear the compliment of Matthew 25:21, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." That is the very opposite, the antithesis, of that which is so true of the world. The apostle Paul told the Galatians,
Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
We have no spiritual connection to the world at all. God forbid that we should boast of anything but that—not our birth, not our appearance, our knowledge, our understanding, our wealth, our social status, nothing!
Another reason given by the Apostle John for not loving the world is that if we love the world, it means we do not truly understand this great gospel of salvation. As we read earlier, John says in I John 2:17, "And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." What he means is this: If we still love the world and the things that are in it, then it is clear that we have never understood the principle of sin.
We can see that is all that belongs to the world and is passing away. All these things are disappearing; they are dying. We may be proud of our personal appearance, but we will soon be old and haggard. We will be dying, and then we will have nothing of which to boast. It is all passing. Wealth, riches, learning, knowledge, social status—all these things are vanishing.
Since they are all going to eternal destruction, those who live for these things are utterly inconsistent. They have never understood that if they belong to that realm of the world, then they will be destroyed for all eternity. They must come out of and escape from it, and they should glory in the fact that there is a new life and realm, a new kingdom. If they belong to this, they will abide forever.
We must do the will of God, as John instructs, and not be concerned about our own desires, other than to resist them and control them. If we do that, we will abide forever. We will be building up a firm foundation for a building that will be tried and tested as by fire.
Succumbing to the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life manifests itself as works of the flesh, many of which Paul listed in Galatians 5:19-21. When we look at the list of the works of the flesh, written almost two thousand years ago, we are struck by how accurately the Apostle Paul described the present society in which we find ourselves treading water and sometimes even drowning. How many of these wicked traits do we recognize as common themes today that are promoted in business through advertising, on college campuses by immoral professors, at parties of debauchery, and other various forms of entertainment?
We see this life of dissipation promoted and portrayed by such vehicles as music, magazines, novels, television shows, and movies. We live in a society gone mad, where insanity is the norm! Paul labels the subject matter of much of what is encouraged by these conduits of influence as works of the flesh—actions of uncontrolled corrupt human nature.
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Practicing those things includes fantasizing about them. Here is a very brief description of each:
Adultery: Immoral sexual intercourse or relationships with a married person.
Fornication: Sexual immorality. This is a broader term than adultery. It refers to any immoral sexual intercourse or relationships between single or unmarried persons, yet often signifying adultery, also.
Uncleanness: Impurity. It originally meant the state of being dirty but later developed ethical overtones, referring to a person who is either morally or ceremonially unclean. Paul uses it almost exclusively of moral impurity and alludes to unnatural vices, whatever is the opposite of purity: unnatural practices, including homosexuality, lesbianism, and bestiality.
Lewdness: Debauchery. It is an open and reckless contempt of modesty and decency, including all partial or complete public nudity.
Idolatry:A worshipping of the creature rather than the Creator. It is the worshipping of idols, attending pagan festivals, partaking in anything that has to do with non-Christian religious practices. Spiritual idolatry is giving more of one's time and attention to something in the place of God.
Sorcery: From the Greek word pharmakeia, referring to a drug or poison, from which the word pharmacy comes today. All spells and enchantments used drug. As a drug, sorcery might be either the means of removing an evil or inflicting one. Spells and incantations sometimes were used for the restoration of health; and others, for the destruction of an enemy. Basically, it is a secret tampering with and at times a worship of the powers of evil.
The following works of the flesh includes much of what would today be called social offenses:
Hatred or enmities: Loathings and hostilities, directly opposite of brotherly love and kindness.
Contentions or discord: The natural outcome of hatred. When hatred proceeds to open actions, the result is altercations, clashes, lawsuits, and disputes in general.
Jealousies, envies, or emulations: Strife to excel at the expense of another; lowering others to set up oneself; unholy zeal, fervently adopting a bad cause, or supporting a good one by cruel means. When zeal or anger originate from selfish motives and hurt pride, they are evil and harm others. In its general meaning, it can indicate both good and bad qualities. Paul uses it to direct us towards noticing and recognizing bad qualities.
Outbursts of wrath: Fits of rage, turbulent passions, temper-tantrums, losing control of one's mind. This is a natural result of jealousies.
Selfish ambitions: Rivalry, intrigues, disputations, or strife about words. Its basic meaning is a selfish-aggrandizing approach to work.
Dissentions: Generally, a state of affairs in which people are divided and feuds flourish; divisions into separate factions or parties, whether in the church or state; being disloyal against the church.
Heresies: Propaganda, lies, deceptions, parties in the church separating from fellowship with each other over misunderstood doctrinal differences.
Envy: A wrong passion; very hard to cure because it leads to deep bitterness. It is so closely related to jealousy that it is hard to tell the difference between them, except for the fact that envy is always bad.
Murders: The destruction of human life. Since he who hates his brother in his heart is ready to take away his life, he is called a murderer.
This set of words, beginning with hatred, shows the flesh to be responsible for the breakdown in interpersonal relationships seen in all levels of society. Here are the last two:
Drunkenness: Taking more wine or any kind of alcohol than is necessary for health; whenever it makes a person unfit for public, domestic, or spiritual duties.
Revelries: Lewd parties, carousing, even listening to obscene music.
The works of the flesh include offenses against God, as well as against ourselves and our neighbors. This is a very strong and solemn warning that those who habitually practice such evil things will never inherit God's kingdom. The worldly society encourages and promotes such evil, directly in defiance of what God tells us through the apostle John, "Do not love the world or the things in the world." The world thumbs its nose at God and proceeds to promote evil with all of its might and enthusiasm.
In order to recognize that we are being brainwashed with evil from Satan and the world, we must understand what evil is and how it works. Biblically, evil is the undesirable perversion of good. For example, the perversion of love is hatred. The love that the world has manifests itself in hateful, damaging ways. Evil, in scripture, consistently appears in contrast to good. The apostle Paul contrasts evil and good in Galatians 5:19-21, where we just read of the evil works of the flesh, which immediately precede and contrast the good fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
The perversion of joy is misery; the perversion of peace is war; the perversion of longsuffering is impatience; of kindness, cruelty; of goodness, wickedness; of faithfulness, untrustworthiness; of gentleness, harshness; and finally, the perversion of self-control is self-indulgence. Now we begin to see the contrasting opposition between the world and the church and the contrasting enmity between sinful human beings and God.
In Genesis 2:9, the first mention of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil exposes the great divide of good and evil. On the one hand is the source of all goodness, the eternally good God, who created all things "very good," as Genesis 1:31 tells us. On the other hand is anybody or anything opposed to God's perfect nature, activity, and plans. Adam and Eve embraced the "opposition party" when they disobeyed God and then came to know good and evil. The whole story of mankind in relation to its Creator continues to develop through history as an opposition between good and evil, with people loving evil rather than good. Listen to this very stinging indictment of wicked human leaders, educators, politicians, and judges:
Psalm 52:1-4 Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually. Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah. You love all devouring words, you deceitful tongue.
These are they who themselves call good evil and evil good. They encourage and promote sin by their own perverse examples and by the good laws they ignore and the evil laws that they pass.
All human beings are susceptible to propaganda and brainwashing to accept the spinning of the world's lies as truth. Isaiah warns us:
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
We know that God inspired His prophets to call on His people to hate evil and love good. Hebrews 5:14 describes the "mature" as those who have "trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." This is something that takes hard work. It takes a great deal of effort to understand the difference and to distinguish between good and evil. It is not something that comes naturally to the fleshly mind. We have to work, with the help of God's spirit, to recognize that we are being brainwashed with a flood of evil enticements and a concerted effort to reshape our minds to accept such things as homosexuality, abortion, infanticide, suicide, euthanasia, undeclared wars, fetal tissue harvesting, cannibalism, feminism, vegetarianism, political correctness, extreme environmentalism, pharmaceutical drug abuse, legalization of prostitution, mind-bending drug abuse, acceptance of illegal immigration, consistent over-spending and over-taxing, and the gross misuse of political power.
For several decades, the citizens of the United States have been brainwashed and manipulated into voting for either of two evil parties, the Fascist Republican Party or the Socialist Democrat Party. It will not be long before we can drop that Republican and Democrat, because those parties are neither. Also, our children are being targeted for brainwashing from the time they are born. According to an article by Jerome Douglas, published December 8, 2006, on NewsTarget.com, entitled, "Corporations are bombarding children with ads that boost obesity and poor nutrition":
The age groups that include young children to adolescents witness so many advertisements [that] medical experts now fear for their health. Reports show that 40,000 ads each year from television alone may be boosting obesity, poor nutrition, cigarette use, and alcohol consumption among U.S. youth.
In what is known in the advertising industry as "cradle to grave" marketing, many companies start targeted advertising when children are infants in order to ensure that children grow up with certain acceptable advertising and branding ideas and carry those impressions with them throughout their lives.
We are being brainwashed with a flood of evil inducements and a rigorous effort to reshape our minds to accept the universal promotion of the Purpose-Driven Church, while at one and the same time discrediting any Bible-based Christianity. The prophet Jeremiah says that God sets His face against evil and evildoers. God is against those who reject and ignore His inspired written word. In this light, the Bible most often distinguishes evil, not in isolation, but rather in relation to good—that is, to God. God's goodness is primary; evil opposes His goodness; that opposition best expresses the nature of evil. It is not a matter of evil being passive; quite the contrary, evil is in direct defiance of God. It is anti-God; it is anti-Christ.
The Bible portrays this opposition of evil to good through descriptions of darkness and light. From the very beginning, when God spoke the light into existence, saw that the light was good, and separated the light from the darkness, the light became associated with good, with God Himself. Darkness, by contrast, works as the opposite of light and goodness, most often picturing a world of evil, alienated from God. Job 34:22 speaks of evildoers futilely attempting to hide from God in dark places and deep shadows.
Into the darkness of this world came the light of Jesus Christ, but people loved darkness instead of light, because their deeds were evil. The shining light in the darkness gives a picture not just of original creation, not just of Christ's coming, but also of each individual's redemption from the evil of sin and death. Paul writes to the Ephesians,
Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.
The inoculation against the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is to put on Christ—put on the armor of light. Jesus Christ must dwell in us, and He must be the major part in our lives, next to God the Father.
Romans 13:11-14 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Putting on the armor of light—putting on Christ—provides spiritual protection that is also conducive to producing the fruit of the Spirit. To cast off the works of darkness completely, as Paul admonishes in verse 12, is a long, tough struggle beyond the human mind's ability without the help of the Holy Spirit. Thus, we find ourselves continually guarding the truth and resisting the bombardment by Satan and the world to brainwash us to see little or nothing wrong with fulfilling the lusts of the flesh and of the eyes.
This opposition of evil to good determines direction. Good is the pathway or direction toward God and light and life; evil leads in the opposite direction toward darkness and death. Following these lusts, even occasionally, takes us in the wrong direction, away from God. In his final song, David rejoices that he has kept the ways of the Lord and not wickedly departed from God.
II Samuel 22:21-25 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me; and as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His eyes.
Notice that David said, "I ... have not wickedly departed from my God" David did sin, and we know that sin separates us from God! Wickedly could also be translated willfully or intentionally. David did not willfully or intentionally depart from God; his direction was always toward God and away from the world. This is the direction that we must take in our lives. We must come to the point that we find the world absolutely despicable, disgusting, and any other word that you want to add to that.