Thursday, August 6, 2009

This Present Evil Age: Worldliness Part Four

by Michael Durham (listen to all four parts of this blog entry by downloading it in MP3 format)

It motivates you to please yourself.

This is the one area, I fear, that has the strongest grip on us. To some degree, all of us are trying to be free from the power of the world. This desire for pleasure is not evil – it is not wrong to want to be happy or experience pleasure. Pleasure is a gift from heaven. But the present evil age perverts the true pleasure with lesser pleasures: Internet, computer, TV, cars, wealth, good friends and families, good homes, good health, hobbies – on and on the list goes; the lesser pleasures are offered to you.

If you are not careful, when you taste the pleasures the world offers, like a drug addict you will want more. You wish to regain the euphoria you felt when you first experienced the pleasures of the world. But the problem is, the pleasures of the world are not long lasting! You must drag an intravenous bottle with you! You must have a constant stream, because the heart becomes addicted to the entertainment of the surrounding culture. So we do what everyone else does: we go into debt for things that will cause us to experience pleasure. That’s the strategy of worldly pleasure: to get you seeking it rather than Jesus Christ.

Our Deliverance
Our text offers our help, “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age.” Would you note with me the measure to which Jesus went to offer you help? Not only did He die for your sins, but He also gave Himself up for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil age.

Some of the things I talked about this morning may have seemed harmless or natural to you. But they must be of great offense to God and so dangerous to your soul that Jesus Christ would go to the cross to die so that He might deliver you from them. His life has been given that He might set you free from these things. Your self-providing spirit cannot handle these things. You sit there thinking, “I believe, now that you have warned me, I can handle these things.” And once again, the present evil age has deceived you. That is simply more self-provision and self-protection.

The only way you can be delivered is to call upon Jesus Christ for His saving mercy to rescue you from the spirit of this present evil age that has your body and soul. Only He can save you! I am talking to the saved as well as the unsaved. He is the only one who has overcome the world. Why would I listen to the spirit of this world in order to find out how to overcome it? That is like listening to the thief tell you how he will not steal you blind!

I want to go to the One who has overcome the world. He was in this world, confronted with things far more difficult than you have been confronted with. Pain? Think about the pain Jesus had to endure as He walked in this world of nothing but woe and problems. How did He withstand? It is an amazing thing. Look at how the world treated Him—with every argument lined up against Him and every weapon they could form aimed at Him. And yet He says, “I have overcome the world.” Finally, the world gets its final wish with Him: they take Him to a place called Golgotha, and there they stretch Him out on splintery, rough-hewn timbers, and there they nail Him and kill Him. And even as the world kills Him, the world does not overcome Him or defeat Him. He alone survives in victory. He defeats it!

If you are a believer today, “greater is He that is in you that He that is in the world!” The very One who has said, “I have overcome,” said to you, “Be of good cheer!” Be hopeful, Christian! You don’t have to continually be deceived by the spirit of this present evil age! There is victory in Christ Jesus!

Dear friend who has yet to know Christ (I would like to believe that you will be saved; please forgive me if I presume upon you that you will one day be a Christian, but I have great hope in God), if the Spirit of God has spoken to you so forcefully you could not help but know it was God, you must say, “I am bound by the spirit of this present evil age. I am preoccupied with myself. I care only for me – even my own family members, I love them, but I love them only in proportion to what they do for me! I promote me or I hide from the world so I can protect me! You have described me – what is my hope?”

Your hope is my hope. Your deliverance is my Deliverer. So I extend to you now the hope of Christ Jesus. Believe in Him, trust in Him, and be saved from this present evil age. Amen.

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