Greetings! Welcome to Lechem Panim. We are continuing today our study of the epistle of 1 John, a book that is centered on helping us to be real, authentic Christians. And John writes in…
1 John 2:15-17 (ESV)-- 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[a]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
The Lust of the Eyes— Now we took a look at the lust of the flesh last week. But the second thing John warns us about is the lust of the eyes. And what John means by this phrase is the coveting of anything that is not your own.
Ten Commandment Climax— I am amazed in looking at the Ten Commandments because we see that the last one is very different from the first nine. The first nine (You shall have no other gods, you shall not take the name of God in vain, you shall remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, you shall honor your father and mother, you shall not murder, commit adultery, or steal, or bear false witness) are all outward sins; sins of commission or sins of omission; things we do or don’t do physically. But the last one is completely unique in that it is the only commandment that deals with something internal; something inside of you. It says…
Exodus 20:17 (NIV)— 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
A World of Discontent-- And I wonder if this in not the climax of all the Ten Commandments. Many argue that it is. The Law of God climaxes in where your heart rests, not just in what you do or don’t do. We live in a world that is always trying to make us dissatisfied with who we are and what we have. It always tries to tell us that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. [The problem is that when you get what’s on the other side you are never satisfied. The object of your desires never lives up to its billing and you are left feeling empty and unsatisfied and so you covet all the more. The burger on the TV ad is never as big and juicy at the pick up window. The truth is that the grass isn’t any greener on the other side of the fence. In fact, what’s on the other side often isn’t as good as what you already have.]
Covetous Cows— One of the funnier things you can observe if you ever visit a farm is [seeing cows in a nice green pasture with plenty of grass stretching their necks through a barbed wire fence in an effort to get a bite of short, brown grass in a neighbor’s pasture. Too many Christians in our world today are acting just like those cows.] There is always something better.
Apple Crazy-- Having worked for Apple I follow the various new things they create. Apple is one of the few companies that truly inspires me by what they create. I watch their new product announcements much like any of you watch a football game. I enjoy seeing what advancements are being made; what boundaries are being pushed; what new ground is being broken. And their last one was this past week. Now I will say this; whenever Apple has one of their keynote events where they reveal their new product, they really know how to make what you have look old and obsolete. That iPhone you got a month ago; it’s not really cool anymore because this new one can do this or that. When iPhone 5 came out years ago, a comedian on tv said about the previous generation of iPhone she had bought not long before that: “I now know what iPhone 4s stands for: For suckers!” Now her phone was still pretty cool, but she didn’t feel that way anymore. Now I don’t really care too much about having the latest and the greatest. I will buy a computer or phone and use it till it breaks; and then I often keep using it. But for a lot of people, they cannot have peace until they replace what they currently have with the next level up. Just read the news announcements that are going to appear this fall about how long the lines are of people in front of their local retailer to get those new Apple products, many of whom have perfectly good devices already.
Cell Phone Madness— I mean cell phone plans are changing now because while people used to sign contracts for two years and use the phone they chose for that long or longer, now people want to be upgrading all the time. There are cell-phone and computer buy-back programs set up now in mobile stores and stores like Best Buy to accommodate that insatiable desire to have the latest and the greatest.
Marital Discontent-- We live in a world that always makes what we don’t have seem better. And partially this may be why we struggle with divorce so much in our culture. We run into problems in our relationships, so we are told to abandon ship and start over with somebody better. But when we do we find out that that person has, if not the same flaws, flaws of their own. Many have affairs because they are seeking to gratify something in a relationship with someone else that they feel that they need and can’t find in the person they are married to. But the secret of contentment doesn’t lie with the thing possessed but in the heart of the possessor. Paul says in…
Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)-- 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
A Very Misinterpreted Verse-- Now notice that last verse (verse 13): 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. This has to be one of the most misinterpreted verses in all of scripture. We strip that verse out of its context and use it in whatever area of our life we want to see victory. I can reach that next level; I can get that better job; I can obtain more and more because I can do all this through him who gives me strength. But what we always forget is that that verse is a summary, if you will of verses 11-12, which talk about Paul’s learning to be content no matter what situation he is placed in. What Paul is saying is that he is victorious in his contentment because God gives him the strength to maintain that contentedness. And ultimately Christ can help you and me to be content no matter where we are because it is in Christ we find our ultimate fulfillment. And it is when we understand that that God is more freed up to bless us. God blesses those who find fulfillment in Him; otherwise He runs the risk of placing idols in your life.
The Pride of Life-- The last thing John warns us to watch out for is the pride of life. And one author I read pointed out how [This “pride of life” essentially consists of two things: (1) Boasting about material possessions; and (2) Boasting about accomplishments. …proud of either your position in life or your possessions in life.… Such pride causes you to put your faith in yourself rather than in God. Therefore, such pride will ultimately cut you off from the grace of God because his grace is received through faith alone. The Bible clearly teaches that pride will lead to our downfall. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). It should come as no surprise to you that Jesus was also tempted in this manner. Satan dared Jesus to show off by leaping from the top of the temple. Jesus responded, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Matthew 4:7). If we have been blessed with positions and possessions we must be careful not to put our confidence in them because verse seventeen tells us that they will not last.]
“the world is passing away along with its desires”— [Verse seventeen says, “The world and its desires pass away...” The Bible teaches us that one day the world and all the things of the world will be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:10-11). If you have lived your life only for the things of this world, what will you have left on that day? Nothing! That is why Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” This verse is teaching us that we will share in the destiny of whatever we give our lives to. If we give our lives to the world we will burn in the lake of fire for all of eternity. If we give our lives to God we will enjoy paradise for all of eternity as the verse says, “the man who does the will of God lives forever.” The following quote says it well: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what is done for Christ will last.” Are you living for eternity or for the now? Are you more concerned about laying up treasure for retirement or for heaven? Are you more concerned about what people will think of you today or about what God will think of you on Judgment Day?] Let us preserve our bodies from the lust of the flesh; let us preserve our eyes from the seduction of covetousness; let us guard our hearts against the pitfall of pride.
Dear World, I Want A Divorce— This week my secretary asked me for my sermon title so she could print it in the bulletin. Preaching on this passage, I told her “Not Loving The World”. And then I thought, “No, that’s boring. Let me think of something catchy that represents the heart of what John is talking about.” And I came up with the opening of a letter: “Dear World, I Want A Divorce.” And I liked that much better. But it got me thinking; if you and I were to write a letter of divorce to the world, what would it say? Maybe something like: Dear world, I have been married to you for years. I indulged in the gluttony, the lust, the sex, the ambition; I tried every amusement and spent a lot of valuable time and money on material gain. But I just became more and more dissatisfied. And I gotta tell you, things just aren’t working out. You aren’t making me happy anymore. And what’s more, I have found Somebody better; a Way that is better; a Life that is better. So, Dear World, I want a divorce. Maybe that’s a letter you want to write this week. Then maybe write a second letter, this time to the new object of your love, your Lord. “Dear Jesus, here’s why I have chosen to unite myself with and be faithful to you. Please help me to be. Change my heart and mind so that they are aligned with Your Word and Your Kingdom.
Let me tell you, don’t write or say something like that unless you are ready for God to move, because God will always respond to that kind of request if it is offered from a heart that is willing and ready to obey Him. Let’s commit ourselves to Him today.
Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)— 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
May you know that transformation and renewing today. Amen.
Rev. Cameron Ury graduated from Asbury University in 2007 with a B.A. in Bible and Theology. From there he continued his studies at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, MS. It was there that he met his wife Tanya, who graduated from WBS with her M.A. and M.Div. degrees. Cameron and Tanya got married in 2009. Cameron then graduated with his M.Div. degree with a pastoral concentration in 2011.
After shepherding churches in both Mississippi and Ohio, they joined the ministry team at Renton Park Chapel in January of 2018, where Cameron serves as Senior Pastor and Teacher.
Cameron is also the founder and host of Lechem Panim, a weekly radio show that airs on KGNW 820AM "The Word Seattle". The ministry of Lechem Panim is centered around leading people into the life-giving presence of God in and through Bible study, prayer, and active discipleship with the aim of ministering to a world that is in desperate need of the healing touch of Jesus Christ.