Karen E. Connell
1 John 2:15-17
Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love for the world squeezes out love for the Father… Practically everything that goes on in the world — wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important — has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him… The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out — but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. TMB
How many Christians profess to love God but in reality embrace what God hates, which is this world’s customs and systems. “Worldly” or carnal Christians (people who embrace the worlds’ ways) are not candidates for being part of the “very elect” who are chosen to rule and reign in Christ’s Kingdom, called the Holy Nation. This present world as we know it (praise God!) … is going to disappear…Heaven and earth shall pass away… (Matt 24:35` KJV). So much for trying to save this planet!
It is not God’s will for His people to get caught up in the affairs and cares of this world. Those who do, will not rule and reign as kings and priests in the Kingdom of God upon the earth with Christ, at His return. The Bible is clear that many who were once born-again, will in these last days before the return of Jesus Christ fall prey to apostasy, through the deception of Satan and his seducing spirits and end up falling away from THE FAITH… Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith… (1 Tim 4:1)
One of the biggest reasons this is happening to Christians, especially in America is due to the sin of IDOLATRY. In this land of plenty which has become a pleasure seeking nation, God’s people are being seduced by the world’s way of thinking, that we have the “right” to do whatever it takes to pursue happiness and prosperity. Sadly, those believing this will find their place in the Lake of Fire… And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone…(Rev 20:10). Who are the “THEM” that become deceived? … But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whore mongers, sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Rev 21:8). Please notice that IDOLATERS find their destiny in the Lake of Fire. When we become engrossed in our life of “self-fulfillment,” we have swallowed the bait of Satan!
When Christians find little time to study and meditate on God’s word, and when pastors of Christian churches no longer preach on sin or fail to know their sheep so they can watch over their souls and give warning about the deceptions of the devil, God’s people like sheep, wander off the narrow road of discipleship onto the broad road of idolatry. Thus they pursue the prosperity and the self-enhancement gospels, and end up becoming carnally minded. This broad road is leading them straight into the Lake of Fire.
When we love our lives more than obeying God’s commands and we embrace the worlds views and ways of finding comfort and security, we have no room left to love God. I hear Christian’s who have become idolaters claim Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, but they are deceived. Jesus said … “So why do you call me ‘Lord,’ (i.e. master) when you won’t obey me? (Luke 6:46 NLT). Idolatry is one of the most deceptive of sins because it brings such pleasure and “happiness” to our fallen human nature (flesh). Christians become idolaters because they refuse to die so they can live. They live a life that is ruled by the flesh and not a life of obeying what God has spoken to them from His word… I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God…(Gal 2:20).
As Christians we have a fleshly [fallen/carnal] human nature to contend with, but we also have Christ, the light of the world, living in us speaking to our spirit which is alive through being born-again. When we don’t live our lives by faith (which comes by hearing and obeying God i.e. Rom 10:17), we will live adulterous lives according to the flesh…You adulterers! (idolaters) Don’t you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can’t be a friend of God. (James 4:4 NLT) Christians who become idolaters are those who listen to and follow their flesh [natural man] and not God’s Spirit within them… Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit…. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace… For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. (Rom 8:5-7 )NLT
Idolatry is greedy for self-gratification
Christians who fall into the sin of greed open themselves up to constant trouble in their lives… He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, But he who hates bribes will live. (Prov 15:27 NKJV). Please notice how greed and bribes go hand in hand. Satan knows just what or who to bring into our lives as a bribe to draw us away from God. He knows what appeals to our flesh. He understands our areas of unmet needs, weaknesses and vulnerability. Whatever fallen human nature looks to for worth, security or pleasure is used as a bribe to make us unfaithful to God.
When our hearts become greedy Satan can use ungodly people (who can be very nice to us) to feed our greed. When Christians become deceived by greed, they create their own gods. These gods are the (graven) false images they have of God, themselves and other people. That is why they allow ungodly things or people into their lives or homes. God warns His people not to allow this kind of idolatry into their lives or homes because they place themselves under an awful curse…Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house (life), lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing (Deut 7:26).
Not obeying God in this gives the devil an open door to bring destruction into our lives. His destructions are often deceptive, they can be times of great trouble and pain, but they can also be a time of great “prosperity” when things seem to be going so good for us… Don’t fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass (Ps 37:7).
Greedy people are deceived into thinking they are being blessed by God, when in reality they are being cursed and slated for destruction. Those who refuse to die to themselves and obediently follow Jesus Christ are not lovers of the truth or diligent students of the word of God. They like to find verses and quote the word of God when they have a need or are in times of pain or trouble, but they are unbalanced in their knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures; therefore they do not know how to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).
Also greedy people do not like to listen to the truth concerning their sin because their pride keeps them from being honest, correctable and teachable. After all, they have a false image to uphold!
The Bible says it is impossible for those who once were born-again and who knew Christ, but willfully sin and live in this kind of pretense (hypocrisy), to repent and be restored…For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost…And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come… If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame (Heb 6:4-6). The word impossible is the Greek word Strong’s #102 adunatos , this is a compound word coming from “a” meaning without and the root word “dunamis” meaning supernatural power or strength. Therefore those who end up in willful sin have lost the dunamis power of God, because of their sin. This word also means to have “no ability”.
This means, those who are greedy adulterers, who enjoy what their greed and adultery are giving them, have quenched the Holy Spirit, and lost the ability to repent! How awful to be in this kind of deception! It saddens me to say I have been in this place myself and also minister to many in this very condition. For so long I just couldn’t understand how this could happen. Now I know why. Many like I did, do experience being born-again, then become unwilling to humble themselves and repent of the sin that is being made plain to them. Instead they get defensive and angry and turn and attack those trying to give them the truth.
Jesus said not to cast your pearls (truth) before swine, for they would “rend and tear you.” Swine represent those who are defiled by sin. God says He will see to it that those who resist the truth become deceived… He (Satan) will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those who are on their way to destruction because they refuse to believe the truth that would save them… So God will send great deception upon them, and they will believe all these lies…Then they will be condemned for not believing the truth and for enjoying the evil they do (2 Thess 2:10-12 NLT). Please notice this verse says they like their sin. When Christians like their sin, they won’t see their sin! This is because they are being blinded by PRIDE. Instead they will excuse it, blame it, justify it and even redefine it, in order to hold on to it.
Is there any hope for those in this condition? God says this… So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you… Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites … Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy… When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor (James 4:7-10 NLT).
The only way out of pride, greed and idolatry is to become humble. This verse admonishes us to “humble ourselves”. It is very hard for those in pride to humble themselves, therefore God’s mercy will allow His righteous judgment to fall. God’s times of judgment are for the purpose of turning people from their sin to righteousness … For only when you come to judge the earth will people turn from wickedness and do what is right… Your kindness to the wicked does not make them do good. They keep doing wrong and take no notice of the LORD’s majesty… O LORD, they do not listen when you threaten. They do not see your upraised fist. Show them your eagerness to defend your people. Perhaps then they will be ashamed. Let your fire consume…(Isa 26:9-11 NLT).
Until those in deception humble themselves, there is no hope for salvation. My very painful time of judgment, was truly a “gift” from God that caused me to humble myself before Him. It “saved” me from the Lake of Fire and brought true repentance and restoration into my life! Often when ministering to those who have understood the truth about Jesus Christ and have fallen into sin and pride, refusing to repent, I have been directed by the Lord to pray as the Apostle Paul did … deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor 5:5).
This sounds harsh, but when a born again child of God rebels against the truth, he has departed from God the Father, just as the prodigal son did when he left the Father’s house and ended up (spiritually) dead (Lk 15:24). Destruction to the flesh is an opportunity to bring life to their spirit. The word “destruction” in the above verse is the Gr. word olethros (ol’-eth-ros) Strong’s #3639. This word according to the CWSD (Complete Word Studies Dictionary) is defined as… God’s divine punishment in the form of unavoidable distress and torment, which can lead to death. You may be thinking this sounds like an unloving thing to do… turn someone over to Satan so he can torment their flesh! However, God said His…”kindness to the wicked does not make them do good. They keep doing wrong and take no notice of the LORD’s majesty… O LORD, they do not listen when you threaten… (Isa 9:10).
God knows how deceitful pride is and that it can take extreme measures to expose it. When pride was blinding me to my greed and idolatry that is what it took to get me free. I experienced very painful circumstances that could have caused me to turn against God, like Job’s wife did, when she told Job to “curse God and die!” I am happy to say that His judgments turned me to Him, not against Him. When God’s judgment falls upon those in pride, they will either seek God and be given the truth concerning their sin and repent, or go further into deception and ultimately face death. It is sad that it takes such drastic measures to bring an awakening to His disobedient children. Any good parent will punish their children with the hope they will bend their will and turn away from what is harming them.
In (Isa 9:11) it says “perhaps they may be ashamed…” some will humble themselves and some will not. May we always pay attention to this most important command from God’s word…But never forget the warning: “Today you must listen to his voice. Don’t harden your hearts against him as Israel did when they rebelled” (Heb 3:15 NLT).
May we humble ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit access to the real motives of our heart and pray for the exposure of all deception in our lives. All greed and idolatry must be rooted out where it has found a place in our hearts… You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world…Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him…Don’t participate in the things these people do (Eph 5:5-7 NLT). May we get before God in the days ahead and cry out for His light to shine in all areas of our life, so we will not be one of the very elect who Jesus said are going to be deceived in these end times (Mt 24:24). •