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LESSON 1 WORLDS APARY BIBLE STUDY

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Harold Smith

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Everyday Publications, Toronto and R.E.Harlow. Copyright 1970 by R.E. Harlow


LESSON 1 – WORLDS APART

 

CONTENTS

 

LESSON 1 - THE WORLD: A KINGDOM OF DARKNESS

LESSON 2 - THE KINGDOM THAT MATTERS

LESSON 3 - THE EVIL EMPEROR OF THE WORLD

LESSON 4 - KING JESUS

LESSON 5 - THE WORLD'S CITIZENS

LESSON 6 - CITIZENS OF THE HOLY KINGDOM

LESSON 7 - WHAT THE WORLD OFFERS

LESSON 8 - ALL THIS AND HEAVEN TOO

LESSON 9 - DIFFERENT FACES OF THE WORLD

LESSON 10 - TWO WISDOMS: VIVID CONTRASTS

LESSON 11 - MODUS OPERANDI

LESSON 12 - THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE

LESSON 13 - THE WORLD'S EMPTY HONOURS

LESSON 14 - HONOURS THAT MATTER

LESSON 15 - THE MAN OF THE WORLD

LESSON 16 - THE MAN OF GOD

LESSON 17 - WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL CONCERNS?

LESSON 18 - CONCLUSION

 

It greatly simplifies matters once we realize that basically there are only two kingdoms. There is the kingdom which the Bible calls "the world," and there is the kingdom of God, also called the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. They are worlds apart.

LESSON 1 - THE WORLD: A KINGDOM OF DARKNESS

 

When we speak of the world in this sense, we do not mean planet earth, which God has given us as a temporary dwelling place. Nor do we mean the world of nature, which God has given to us to enjoy. And we certainly don't mean the world of mankind, which God expects us to love as He does (John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life).

 

WHAT THEN DO WE MEAN?

 

The world is the civilization which man has built up in order to fulfil his desires without God. It is not only independent of God, but opposed to Him.

 

The world system is founded on wrong principles and promotes false values. It is largely self-centred. Wealth, power, and sex are central in its culture.

 

"All civilization without God, from the beginning, has been stamped with His curse; and what men call improvement, and inventions, and progress, without God, seems simply to be the erection of a Babel tower, essentially idolatrous, and the centre of self-glory."

 

The whole society is inspired and energized by Satan. Just as holy angels are guardians of God's people, so demon powers are active in the affairs of the evil empire.

 

AN EMPTY SHOW

 

Actually the world is empty. It is a facade. It is a sick joke. All it offers cannot satisfy the human heart. A whole book of the Bible, “Ecclesiastes”, is dedicated to exposing the vanity of the world of life under the sun.

 

Malcolm Muggeridge realized this; he wrote: "Human life, I have come to feel, in all its public or collective manifestations is only theatre, and mostly cheap melodrama at that." Someone else said, "The world's way is make-believe; the kingdom is eternal reality."

 

People of the world are trying to get more out of it than there is in it, and yet it is very attractive to people. It presents itself as the “summum bonum”, the greatest good. People are dazzled by its psychedelic lights, its contemporary music, and its sensuous clothes. Everyone in Marlboro country is good looking, owns a horse, and leans against the front fender of a convertible, charming or being charmed by a beauty queen. It's a never, never land, an artificial society. It is glitz and glitter without worthwhile substance.

 

WHAT IS WORLDLY?

 

Worldliness is the love of passing things. It is anything that pulls a believer away from the Lord. A worldly person is one whose plans all end at the grave.

 

Jowett said it well: "Worldliness is a spirit, a temper. It is not so much an act as an attitude. It is a pose; a posture… Worldliness is human activity with God left out. Worldliness is life without heavenly callings, life without ideals, and life without heights. Worldliness recognizes nothing of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. It has no hill country. It is horizontal life. Worldliness has nothing of the vertical in it. It has ambition; it has no aspirations. Its motto is success, not holiness. It is always saying 'Onward' never 'Upward.' A worldly man or woman is a man or woman who never says, 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills'"

 

In some circles, the definition of Worldliness has been largely confined to drinking, smoking, gambling, dancing, card playing, movies, and similar activities. It is wider than that.

 

Doctor Dale wrote, "To be worldly is to permit the higher law to which we owe allegiance, the glories and terrors of that invisible universe which is revealed to faith, our transcendent relations to the Father of spirits through Christ Jesus our Lord, to be overborne by inferior interests."

 

"My brother, if you go back and live a worldly life, you have to go back through the grave to it, because the grave lies between the body of Christ, of which you are a part, and the world that cast Him out. The world cast Him out, and we were buried in Christ by the world that hates the church."

 

There is a limit to the divine patience with one who tries to get the best of both worlds.

 

KINGDOM THAT MATTERS

 

In sharp contrast to all this is the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In this realm, the spiritual is emphasized over the soulish; the eternal is valued over the temporal. Pleasure is not despised, but it is sought in its purest form and in its only true source.

 

I thirst, but not as once I did,

The vain delights of earth to share;

Thy wounds, Emmanuel, all forbid

That I should seek my pleasure there.

It was the sight of Thy dear cross

That weaned my heart from earthly things,

And taught me to esteem as dross

The mirth of fools and pomp of kings. —William Cowper

 

In Christ's kingdom, wealth is not something to be coveted; spiritual prosperity is what really counts. The kingdom of heaven is concerned with righteousness, peace, and joy. Christ, not self, is central. Everything is valued only as it appears in His sight. Whereas men of the world love money and lightly esteem God, subjects of Christ's kingdom lightly esteem money and love God.

 

THE EVIL EMPEROR OF THE WORLD

 

Since there are only two kingdoms, this means, of necessity, that there are only two rulers: Satan and Christ. The devil is the world's monarch.

 

He is called the ruler of this world - John 12:31 - Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out; John 14:30 - Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me; John 16:11 - Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

The god of this age - 2 Corinthians 4:4 - In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

 

And the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience – Ephesians 2:2b - Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

 

The apostle John reminds us flatly that "the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1 John 5:19 - And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness).

 

People are held captive by him, and must be awakened from their sleep of death. While the devil is very powerful, he is not omnipotent, and he is still under the dominion of Christ. The devil is the worst enemy of Christ and therefore of His followers. The other two foes are the world and the flesh. Just as the devil is opposed to Christ, so the world is opposed to the Father and the flesh to the Spirit. This trinity of evil has been described as follows: The devil is the enemy against us; the world is the foe around us; and the flesh is the traitor within us.

 

HIS BAG OF TRICKS

 

We are not unaware of the devil's devices. Think of the methods he employs:

 

Deceit

 

He is the father of lies, and has been lying from the beginning - John 8:44 - Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

 

He poses as an angel of light and sends out his messengers disguised as ministers of righteousness - 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 - And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

 

He misquotes the Word of God - Genesis 3:1 - Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

 

He performs miracles and lying wonders - 2 Thessalonians 2:9 - Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

 

He seeks to sow doubts and denials and to divert God's people from sincere and pure devotion to Christ - 2 Corinthians 11:3 - But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

 

He tempts people to lie - Acts 5:3 - But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

 

Slander

 

He is the accuser of the brethren night and day - Revelation 12:10 1 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

 

Imitation

 

He has a counterfeit for everything that is of God. He empowered the Egyptian magicians to imitate the miracles of Moses - 2 Timothy 3:8 - Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds reprobate concerning the faith.

 

The tares in the kingdom (sons of the wicked one) imitate the wheat (sons of the kingdom) - Matthew 13:38 - The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.

 

As J. Oswald Sanders says, "Not without reason did Augustine term him Simius Dei, the ape of God. He has his own "trinity":

 

The devil, the beast, and the false prophet; his own church: the synagogue of Satan - Revelation 2:9 - I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

 

His own ministers: ministers of Satan - 2 Corinthians 11:15 - Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

 

His own gospel: another gospel - Galatians 1:6 - I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel

 

His own theology: doctrines of devils - 1 Timothy 4:1 - Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

 

His own sacrifices: sacrifices offered to demons - 1 Corinthians 10:20 - But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

 

His own table and cup - 1 Corinthians 10:21-22- Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

 

Discouragement

 

It is a satanic ploy to take advantage of Christians by causing them to be "swallowed up with too much sorrow," that is, to be discouraged - 2 Corinthians 2:7-11 - So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 

Also he can oppress the believer with gloom and despair.

Persecution

 

He goes about as a roaring lion to terrify and destroy - 1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; Revelation 2:10 - Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

 

In fact, the invariable purpose of this thief is to kill and steal and destroy - John 10:10 - The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

 

Incomplete Commitment

 

Just as he sought to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross - Mark 8:31-33 - And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men; so he seeks to dissuade Christians from bearing the cross.

 

Pride

 

He knows by personal experience that pride goes before destruction - 1 Timothy 3:6 - Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

 

So he uses this device on others.

 

Moral Failure

 

He tempts people because of their lack of self-control - 1 Corinthians 7:5 - Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

 

False Doctrine

 

At the dawn of human civilization, he tempted Eve to believe that she could become like God - Genesis 3:5 - For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

 

Bodily Affliction

 

Paul's thorn in the flesh was a messenger of Satan to buffet him - 2 Corinthians 12:7 - And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure

 

The devil sifts God's people by difficult circumstances - Luke 22:31 - And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.

 

All sickness, suffering, and tragedy are from him, but in the life of the believer God can overrule them for His glory, for the Christian's good, and for the blessing of others.

 

Hindering of the gospel

 

He snatches away the seed from shallow listeners - Matthew 13:19 - When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

 

Also he blinds the minds of unbelievers lest they should see the truth and be saved - 2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

 

Procrastination

 

He moves people to delay, to put off the time of action and decision, especially with regard to the gospel.

 

TEST – LESSON 1 – WORLDS APART

 

PLEASE WRITE ALL YOU ANSWER’S IN CAPITAL LETTERS

 

TRUE OR FALSE

 

1. There is a kingdom of this world

2. The world’s kingdom is dependent on God

3. The Devil is a thief who comes to destroy

4. Satan tempted Eve to become like Adam

5. Satan can perform miracles and wonders

 

FILL IN THE MISSING WORDS

 

6. The whole _______is inspired ___ _______.

7. Worldliness is the ____ of _______things

8. Satan is ____the ______of this world.

9. The ______is the worst ____ of Christ.

10. Satan ____the minds of _____ lest they ___the _____

 

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