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« Reply #6180 on: June 17, 2018, 08:54:25 AM »

Honoring Our Fathers

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12)

This familiar command was the fifth in God’s list of Ten Commandments, the law of God, and it has never been abrogated. It was quoted by Christ as His own command, when He said: “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. . . . Honour thy father and thy mother” (Matthew 19:17, 19). The apostle Paul also cited it as of special significance: “Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise” (Ephesians 6:2).

This all indicates that God considers the honoring of parents by their children to be of great significance. Since the father has been charged with the primary spiritual responsibility for his family, it is of supreme importance that fathers lead their children properly and the children follow that lead with all due respect and diligence. God blessed Abraham as “the father of us all” (Romans 4:16) because He could say concerning Abraham: “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment” (Genesis 18:19).

It is not easy being such a father, but it is vital if our children are to come also to honor their heavenly Father. “For what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? . . . Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:7, 9).

“And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). If we fathers diligently follow God’s Word in leading our children, then they will honor their fathers, not only while they are children, but all their lives. HMM
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« Reply #6181 on: June 18, 2018, 09:17:48 AM »

Coming Like the Flood

“So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19)

The great enemy of our souls “the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Yet he can also be “transformed into an angel of light,” and so can “his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). He and his ministers are perhaps most dangerous when most deceptive, quoting Scripture and spiritual sentiments in a superficial show of piety, yet distorting the “Scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16), and we must use the sword of the Spirit against them.

Then there are those times when, angered that their deceptions (sometimes even their own self-deceptions) are not persuading the true people of God to compromise their stand for God’s truth and His great salvation, they resort to great pressure and overt opposition—even persecution—seeking to silence their testimony. The enemy comes in like a great flood, and the waves seem about to engulf us, and we cry with the psalmist: “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul” (Psalm 124:2-4).

But God is on our side, as long as we are on His side and hold fast to His clearly revealed Word. Before the demonic flood can overwhelm us, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up His standard (or, more literally, “put him to flight”), and God will prevail once again, for “the foundation of God standeth sure” (2 Timothy 2:19), and “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). HMM
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« Reply #6182 on: June 19, 2018, 08:47:41 AM »

What to Put On

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

People give much attention to what material clothes they should put on, but the New Testament tells us what spiritual clothes to put on. First, we are to be “endued with” power from on high. This Greek word (enduo) is normally rendered “put on.” That is, we are to put on power, and this is imparted only by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), according to Christ’s departing promise.

“Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. . . . put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:12, 14). “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

Along with this, we are to “put off concerning the former conversation the old man,” and then to “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22, 24). Then we must “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

These items of spiritual clothing—the power of the Holy Spirit, the light of God’s presence, the new man in Christ, the resurrection life of the indwelling Christ, His imputed righteousness and holiness and all our spiritual armor—provide the foundation clothing for beautiful spiritual jewels and accessories. “Ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: . . . Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; . . . And above all these things put on charity [love]” (Colossians 3:9-10, 12, 14). HMM
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« Reply #6183 on: June 20, 2018, 09:16:58 AM »

Things We Ought to Do

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23)

This sharp rebuke by Jesus to the legalists of His day should also be taken seriously by us today. Although we are saved by grace alone, there are many things we ought to do, not as a matter of credit toward salvation, but as gratitude for our salvation. Surely judgment, mercy, and faithfulness are high on such a list.

Other “oughts” of the born-again Christian life would include the following incomplete listing:

1. Prayer: “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).

2. Obedience to God as Priority: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

3. Working and Sharing: “So labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

4. Gracious in Speech: “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6).

5. Walking with God: “As ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1).

6. Heeding God’s Word: “We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Hebrews 2:1).

7. Sanctified Behavior: “What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11).

HMM
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« Reply #6184 on: June 21, 2018, 08:45:40 AM »

He That Is Spiritual

“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (1 Corinthians 2:15)

The word rendered “spiritual” is the Greek word pneumatikos, from which theologians have coined the term “pneumatology,” the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Thus, a “spiritual” person is one who is not only born again spiritually through faith in Christ and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, but also tries diligently to follow the leading of the indwelling Spirit and to understand and obey the precepts of the Bible inspired by Him.

A spiritual person will have “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), able to judge all things by spiritual standards and biblical revelation. He or she will “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” knowing that “to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:4, 6). As such, spiritual believers prayerfully make decisions seeking God’s will; they are “led by the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:14). And since they “walk in the Spirit,” they “shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

They will often and repeatedly be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) for Christian service. Furthermore, they will manifest “the fruit of the Spirit” in their lives and personalities—that is, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Yet, while “he that is spiritual” is thereby able to discern and evaluate all things by such divine standards, he will find himself often misunderstood by unsaved relatives and acquaintances, for “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: . . . because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Nevertheless, “he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:8). HMM
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« Reply #6185 on: June 22, 2018, 09:17:36 AM »

In a Moment

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

This is one of the greatest promises in the Bible, assuring us that “we” (i.e., all believers, whether dead or living when Christ returns) shall suddenly be changed, with our dead or dying bodies instantly transformed into incorruptible, immortal bodies, which can never die again.

This great change, when it finally occurs, will take place “in a moment.” The Greek here is en atomo, “in an atom of time.” This word, implying the smallest entity conceivable by the Greeks, is used only this one time in the New Testament. It is further described by “the twinkling of an eye,” where “twinkling” is the Greek rhipe, also used only this once. Evidently there is nothing else in this present world comparable in rapidity to this miraculous change that will be called forth when “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

The great shout (probably uttered by Christ Himself as at the tomb of Lazarus) will instantly create new bodies for both dead and living believers. “The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Our new bodies will be like Christ’s resurrection body. He “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21).

Christ is able thus to create new bodies for us in a moment, just as when He created all things in the beginning: “He spake, and it was done” (Psalm 33:9). HMM
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« Reply #6186 on: June 23, 2018, 09:23:32 AM »

The Unequal Yoke

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

This is one of the definitive statements in Scripture on the doctrine of Christian separation. Not only should believers refrain from practicing evil teaching and error, they should not join in any formal association with those who do such things, nor should they enter into a binding relationship of any kind with non-Christians.

There may be a question regarding the full scope of this prohibition, though it probably would not apply to civic clubs, professional societies, and other groups with no religious connotations. The context of this verse implies an association of Christians with pagan idolaters, compromising God’s Word with the immoral pantheism of the Greek religions.

The “unequal yoke” seems, therefore, to be one involving an actual “fellowship” and “communion” in some kind of religious or quasi-spiritual union with unbelievers, and this is forbidden, for how “can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). In the modern scene, ancient Greek pantheism has now become one form or another of evolutionary humanism. Thus, the prohibition would at least apply to membership in secret lodges or fraternities with a pseudo-religious structure and purpose, as well as membership in liberal churches or cults in the so-called “New Age” orbit. It clearly must also include marriage or partnership or other formal unions with individuals who, as unbelievers in Christ, are either knowingly or unknowingly affected by such pagan beliefs or practices. Instead of such an unequal yoke, we should be joined only to Christ and His followers, “For,” said He, “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). HMM
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« Reply #6187 on: June 24, 2018, 08:43:15 AM »

Prepared Hearts

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” (Ezra 7:10)

It does not come naturally into our hearts to seek, obey, and then teach others the words of God as found in the Scriptures. Therefore, like Ezra, we must prepare our hearts.

The Hebrew word for “prepare” means to “stand erect,” and thus takes special effort. One’s natural “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), not at all inclined to “stand up” for the Word of God.

But Ezra did, even in the court of a pagan king and in the midst of the enemies of God’s people in a far country, and even among the backslidden people of his own nation. He prepared his heart, fixing it in firm faith on the laws and promises of God. And because he did, he could testify: “I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me” (Ezra 7:28).

On the other hand we read, for example, of King Rehoboam whose rebellion and sin led to the dividing of Israel into two kingdoms and eventually into the captivity. These judgments came because, unlike Ezra, Rehoboam “did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD” (2 Chronicles 12:14).

Thus, our hearts need to be prepared to seek God and His Word, but how do we get them prepared? First, we must come to Him in true humility. “LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear” (Psalm 10:17).

God is then the One who actually prepares our hearts! “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD” (Proverbs 16:1). We can only prepare our hearts to seek and serve God if we humbly call on Him to do the preparing. HMM
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« Reply #6188 on: June 25, 2018, 09:24:33 AM »

Young Men

“I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:14)

There are two commendations about the “young men” (typically applied to those under 40) that John notes. They are “strong” (vigorous, healthy, both physically and mentally) and the word of God “abides” (remains, endures) in them. These are those who have come through their believing childhood, no doubt guided and counseled by the “fathers” in their lives, who are now active in the “good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12).

Like Abraham, they are “strong in faith” (Romans 4:20), not staggering under the burden of unbelief. Like the leaders in the church at Rome, they are willing to “bear the infirmities of the weak” (Romans 15:1) and to be alert, standing “fast in the faith” (1 Corinthians 16:13). Even though they would have faced opposition from among professing Christians, they were “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1).

These are the ones who refused to handle the “word of God deceitfully” (2 Corinthians 4:2), but gladly received it as “it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). They know that “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword” (Hebrews 4:12), and have taken time to store the Word in their heart (Psalm 119:11). These “young men” know that if God’s “words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

Those attributes make possible the result: “Ye have overcome the wicked one.” Safe in the secure saving faith of God, guided by the great truths of the Word of God, these young men have not been “overcome of evil” but have “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). HMM III
 
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« Reply #6189 on: June 26, 2018, 09:22:48 AM »

Made in Christ

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Many men would boast of being “self-made” men, but no Christian can do this. Everything we are that is truly worthy and eternal was made in us by God through Jesus Christ. Our text is clear on this. We have been made righteous in Christ, but this was only because God made Him to be sin for us.

When He made us righteous in Christ, He also “made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). Furthermore, we were “made nigh by the blood of Christ” (2:13). The contexts of these passages make it abundantly clear that our being made righteous, accepted in Christ, and nigh to God, is all of grace; we did nothing to merit such privileges.

This is not all. At the same moment, He also has “made us meet [‘fit’] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:12). That we in our poverty should be made joint-heirs with Christ once again is only by His unmerited grace. “Being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

In promise now and in full reality later, He has “made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Revelation 1:6). Positionally, we even share His throne, for He “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

Without Him we are nothing; but in Him we have all things. He is “made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Truly, in salvation as well as in creation, “it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3). HMM
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« Reply #6190 on: June 27, 2018, 09:23:34 AM »

Thou Shalt Not

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” (Exodus 20:4)

Many secularists criticize Christianity as being a religion of negativism filled with prohibitions. In response, Christians often try to blunt this criticism by stressing Christian love and freedom from the law.

The fact is, however, that the New Testament also contains many prohibitions, including a restatement of all those in God’s laws as expressed in the Ten Commandments. The first of these in our text prohibits idolatry. Six others also begin with “thou shalt not.” “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain”; “Thou shalt not kill”; “Thou shalt not commit adultery”; “Thou shalt not steal”; “Thou shalt not bear false witness”; “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:7, 13-17).

It is inappropriate for any Christian to ignore these commandments. Godly behavior is more important now than ever before. Not only are these prohibitions all repeated in the New Testament, but there are numerous other “shalt nots” as well, all directed to Christians saved by grace, apart from the works of the law.

For example: “Be not drunk with wine” (Ephesians 5:18); “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26); “Mind not high things . . . . Be not wise in your own conceits” (Romans 12:16); “avenge not yourselves” (Romans 12:19); and many, many others.

There are numerous positive aspects to the Christian life, of course, but there are also things a Christian should not do. We do not work for our salvation, but we must work out our salvation, putting off the works of the flesh and putting on the works of a regenerate life. HMM
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« Reply #6191 on: June 28, 2018, 09:37:55 AM »

To the Fourth Generation

“Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” (Deuteronomy 5:9)

This seemingly unwarranted penalty imposed on the innocent grandchildren of the idolater cannot possibly negate the later promise of God through the prophet Ezekiel: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20).

And certainly it cannot obviate the clear promise of Christ Himself in the last chapter of the Bible: “Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Anyone who desires to do so may accept the Lord’s gracious offer of salvation, regardless of the possible wickedness or anti-Christian religion of any of his ancestors.

At the same time, a man should realize that his decision to follow a false religion and then bring up his children in that false religion will almost certainly affect his grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well. Many of the latter will actually be children while their great-grandfather is still alive. It is a simple fact that most children (though not all) will continue in their parents’ “religion.” They can, if they wish, choose to leave their parents’ religion and become Christians, but most will not.

What a great responsibility, therefore, each father has! He should quickly accept Christ (whose credentials as our Creator and Redeemer are impeccable!) as his Savior and Lord, and then diligently train his own children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). HMM
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« Reply #6192 on: June 29, 2018, 08:01:19 AM »

If I Perish

“Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)

This is the courageous testimony of Queen Esther as she prepared to risk her own life in order to save the lives of her people. It was a capital crime for anyone to intrude into the king’s throne room unbidden, but she was willing to do so in order to do the will of God, knowing that “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

In the same spirit, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to enter the fiery furnace rather than to worship the humanistic gods of Babylon, testifying to Nebuchadnezzar that “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods” (Daniel 3:17-18).

God did deliver Esther and the three Jewish youths, but there have been many through the ages who have died for their faith rather than deny their faith. All the apostles (save John) died as martyrs, for example, and so have countless others throughout the centuries. “They loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11) if it meant denying their Savior.

Believers in many nations are suffering such persecutions today, and the time is coming when the last great God-rejecting king of the earth (called the “beast” in Scripture) will “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:15). If a similar choice confronts us, may God give us the grace to say with Paul that “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20), and with Esther: “If I perish, I perish.” HMM
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« Reply #6193 on: June 30, 2018, 08:46:53 AM »

Working Out Our Salvation

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

We are not told here to work for our salvation, but to work it out—that is, to demonstrate its reality in our daily lives. Our salvation must be received entirely by grace through faith, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9), or else it is not true salvation. Works can no more keep our salvation than they can earn it for us in the first place. It is not faith plus works, but grace through faith.

Nevertheless, a Christian believer, if his salvation has been real, can testify that “I will show thee my faith by my works” (James 2:18). Good works—consisting of a righteous and gracious lifestyle, considerate of others and obedient to Christ’s commands—are the visible evidences of salvation. We have been “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

The context of our text, in fact, assures us, on the basis of Christ’s sacrificial death, glorious resurrection, and exaltation (Philippians 2:8-11), that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (v. 13). God is thereby enabling us to “work out” our salvation in visible practice, through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.

Thus, it is beautifully appropriate that the life of a genuinely born-again Christian, possessing true salvation, should be “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, . . . as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life . . .” (vv. 15-16). We do need to “examine [ourselves], whether [we] be in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5), and we are admonished that “we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #6194 on: July 01, 2018, 09:22:59 AM »

Things of the World

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” (1 John 2:15)

We must be wary of the world’s “things,” because we are “in the world,” not “of the world” (John 17:11-16). The command in our text is that we are not to love the world or its things, not that we should remain blissfully ignorant of them. We are to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

There are big things of the world like nations and kingdoms (Matthew 4:8; Luke 12:30), as well as cares and riches (Mark 4:19), that can sap our focus and drain our loyalties. And there are “rudiments” and “elements” (Colossians 2:20; Galatians 4:3) that can twist our thinking and “spoil” us (Colossians 2:8).

We are warned that friendship with the worldly lifestyle and that which espouses the “things” of the world makes us an “enemy of God” (James 4:4). That is because such people embrace the “spirit of the world” and not “the spirit which is of God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). Those people speak about the things of the world, and the world listens to them (1 John 4:5).

God’s people may be “base” and “weak”—even “foolish” in the eyes of the world (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). Since the great Creator God has chosen us out of the world (John 15:19), it should not surprise us that the world “hates” those who belong to the Lord Jesus (John 17:14). Hence, the ungodly passions that drive the ungodly behavior of 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” (1 John 2:16).

Those passions and the people who embrace them will “pass away.” But “he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:17). HMM III
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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