Abiding Is Vital

by Wayne Barber

Wayne BarberLoving the world at the same time one is seeking to love the Father is a total impossibility. We saw last month that the devil has set a trap for us all in the deception of the world. We saw how he used his threefold plan-"the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life"-in his deception of Eve, which led to Adam's. Not only did he pull his trick on Eve, he even tried it on Jesus in Matthew 4-but, of course, with no success whatsoever. If he tried it on them, you know that he is good at deceiving the believers of our day.

We as believers need to see how absolutely unthinkable it is for a believer to even compare loving the Father with loving this world. The two are totally opposite. John tells us: In 1 John 2:16, the word "from" in the Greek is ek. It means "out of," which means that it originates in something. "For all that is in the world...is not from (out of) the Father, but is from (out of) the world."

So, for a believer to think that he is walking in fellowship with Christ and growing as a believer and at the same time he is living just as the world lives is not only unthinkable it is impossible. H.A. Ironside recounts an experience in his ministry of someone who had invested so much in the world. He says, "I remember one night in Stockton, Calif. I was preaching about the coming of Jesus. As I was in prayer I was conscious of a woman getting up and going out, for in those days the skirts would swish whenever a lady walked. It seemed to me that this lady must have gone out in a hurry.

"When I finished my prayer and went to greet the friends at the door, I found a woman pacing back and forth in the lobby. The moment I came, she said to me, "How would you dare to pray like that-Come Lord Jesus?' I don't want Him to come. It would break in on all my plans. How dare you!"

"I said, My dear young woman, Jesus is coming whether you like it or not.' Oh, if you know Him and love Him, surely your heart says, Come, Lord Jesus!'"

Loving the world is not compatible with loving the Father; loving the world is not comparable with loving the Father; loving the world is not comprehensible with loving the father. For a believer to love this world makes not one ounce of sense. It's idiotic! Why? Let's let John show us! "The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever" (v. 17). In the next verse, John reminds us that we are living in the last hour-the last hour of the world's existence as we know it.

The verb "passing away" is the word pargo. It means figuratively that its system and all its desire and design is disappearing and will soon be gone!

Now, if you were choosing to invest in a bank, but found out that it was headed for bankruptcy and would soon be extinct, would it make sense to invest in it? But we as believers are going to live forever and God's Kingdom will soon be on this earth. It makes far more sense to invest in that which remains forever than to invest in that which is disappearing!

"The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever" (v. 17). The word "lives" in the Textus Receptus is méno, which means "to abide." This clears up for me what he is saying: John is not saying that we attain eternal life by our consistent obedience. He is saying that we who consistently obey the will of God-which is what walking in fellowship with Christ is all about-then we abide inwe enjoy to the fullest the intimate fellowship with Him now as well as forever!

So, what have we learned? We've learned that when we fall into the temptation to do something the way the world does it we are no longer loving God! The "lust of the flesh" is not compatible with loving God! Lusting to have what the world offers is not compatible with loving God. The "lust of the eyes" is not comparable with loving God! When we fall into the temptation to be something in the world's eyes, we no longer are loving the Father. The "pride of life" is not comprehensible with loving the Father.

The system of this world, which is passing away, will, if we are not careful, keep us from enjoying intimate fellowship with God. In short, loving the world is a dead-end street which leads to nowhere for the believer.

D. L. Moody once wrote: "The church is full of people who want one eye for the world and the other for the Kingdom of God. Therefore, everything is blurred; one eye is long and the other is short; all is confusion.... When the Spirit of God is on us, the world looks very empty; the world has a very small hold on us, and we begin to let go our hold of it and lay hold of things eternal." This is the church's need today.

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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