The Ancient Faith
LOVE NOT THE WORLD
What a man is, is determined by what he loves. A Christian loves God supremely. A worldling loves the world supremely. Hence, John gave a complete prohibition. “Love not the world; neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15). The things of the world are specified namely:
- The lust of the flesh.
- The lust of the eyes.
- And the vain glory of life.
The reason for the prohibition is because love for the world is incompatible with love for God. Our love for one will destroy our love for the other. Jesus says, “For either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other” (Luke 16:13). There is no neutral ground to occupy. We stand with God or the world.
The devil has called into service every wicked and diabolical thing that cunning hands can devise. He places in front of the Christian every temptation and all the machinations of hell in order to thwart Christ and his kingdom.
The divine principles of Christianity are as much opposed to worldliness as light is darkness. So completely, that
James says, “Whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God’ (James 4:4). The apostle Paul exhorts us, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed” (Rom. 12:2). To be conformed to the world means to become like the world and to partake of the sinful pleasures of the world. Many start out to live the Christian life but do not have enough self control to resist the temptations of the world. This class is represented in the parable of the sower as the “stony ground.” “And these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away” (Luke 8:13).
Such was the sad plight of Demas. He had a glorious beginning but a tragic ending. The sainted Paul in a dungeon cell wrote his son Timothy this dolesome message: “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Tim. 4:10). Thus he became known as Demas the quitter. But he is not the only quitter. Yea, their name is legion. There was a time when you made a business of your religion. You were fervent and zealous. There was a time when you felt that the duties of the church were not a responsibility of the preacher alone, but a responsibility of yourself, also.
You can remember the time you once daily read your Bible and prayed to God earnestly. You were prompt to attend every service of the church which once characterized your life. But you pitched your tent toward Sodom. Little by little the fires died on the altar of your soul. And now, though you are still in the church, you do not count. If everyone treated the song service as you treat it, there would never be another one till the end of time. If everyone attended church like you, there would never be another meeting house lighted for service until this old world becomes a cinder.
Thus the sad story of the benighted Demas should serve as a bugle blast to warn the careless drifter of the soul destroying, God dishonoring, hell deserving effects that “love for the world” has upon the human soul. The love Demas had for the world soon destroyed his love for God. He placed his affections on the wrong object, upon the thing made, rather than the maker. His life was a failure and became unfruitful. Just as Jesus said, “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, choke the word, and bring forth no fruit unto perfection” (Mark 4:19).
I think it imperative to mention some of Satan’s strongholds. I think each child of God should be warned of all his devices. Paul knew the cunning craftiness of Satan, and lived in daily apprehension of it when he wrote: ‘Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11).
MOVING PICTURE SHOWS
One of Satan’s devices is the. “moving picture shows.” Seventy-seven million people attend the movies each week in the United States. Not long ago a questionnaire was sent to a group of high school superintendents, asking this question, “In your opinion, which is wielding the greatest influence on our young people today, the home, the church, or the school? The replies revealed the amazing fact that in the opinion of seventy-nine percent of those questioned, the picture show was influencing the young more than either the home, the church or the school. Sixty million attend church and seventy-seven million attend the movies. In view of these facts, it is proper to inquire, what kind of influence does this “carnival of death” have upon the minds of American people. What is in the mind of the picture show goers. Murder, lust, rape, nude women, gangsters, jail breaking! These are the things that America
thinks about! That is the reason that five and six year old boys will be found on the sidewalks playing “cops and robbers” and usually the robbers (or bandits or gangsters) are the heroes. These scenes of wickedness, whether of attacks on women, or of gun fights, or jail breaking, or of nude women, fill the hearts and minds of picture show goers.
Both principle avenues into the brain are used—sight and hearing. With people inflamed by advertising, lulled by music, encouraged by educators, the movies are making cesspools of the minds of American people. People are in the words of the Scripture, “being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, back biters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do such things” (Rom. 1:29-32).
Thousands of juvenile criminals before the courts now, are confessedly there, because of the movies. There is where they got their idea of criminal life and the inspiration that caused them to commit crime and led them into the hands of the law. Raymond Hamilton, notorious killer of Texas, electrocuted in 1935, said shortly before his death,
“I cannot tell how to raise your children, but I learned a lot about hi-jacking and bank robbing at the movies.” Fathers and mothers! How can you, under the charge and solemn responsibility to bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, allow them to sit under the spell of this monster pied piper whose deadly influence has wrecked the lives of thousands, destroyed homes, disgraced the church of Christ, and molded the lives of the innocent into knaves, thieves and prostitutes. Dear reader, when you walk up to the box office and lay your money down, you join hands with the devil and bid farewell to Christianity. You sell to the devil your most valuable possession (your precious soul) to enjoy the lust of the eyes.
You contribute your money and influence directly to perpetuate and build up the crime hatcheries of Hollywood.
No one can patronize the movies and please him who hath said “You are in the world but not of the world.” No one can gaze upon the silver screen and witness scenes of immorality, lust, murder, rape, nude women, and all forms of wickedness without violating the command of God, “Abstain from all appearance of evil’ (1 Thess. 5:22). You cannot attend the show without hurting your influence in the home and in the church. This soul killing device of Satan was never intended to save but to destroy, and its deadly influence vitiates the taste, beclouds the judgment, weakens the moral perceptions and brings into captivity the nobler impulses of the soul.
The movies have lowered the morals of American people. The advertisements are usually of the lowest type and such as to inflame the lower natures of men. At almost every crossroad on bill boards are scenes of immorality. In the
newspapers and magazines are photographs that would make a circus clown blush. So obscene and vulgar are some of the shows that several foreign countries, including Canada and the dark continent of Africa, have barred them from crossing their borders. What a sad commentary for this so-called Christian (?) nation. It only proves that America is fast becoming the corrupter and debaucher of the world.
The morals of the United States are now at their lowest ebb. The movies have influenced girls and even mothers to don a pair of abominable shorts and even as scanty apparel as a bathing suit and walk down the street bold and brazen as a lion. While others and even sisters will come into the sacred assembly on Lord’s day dressed like a Ziegfeld folly girl. Can such attire be pleasing unto our heavenly Father who hath said, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel with shamefacedness and sobriety” (1 Tim. 2:9).
Divorce rides with a high hand through the land because the movies have encouraged it. Most actors have a whole harem of wives and have utterly disregarded the marriage law recorded in God’s word. We readily see that the movies are thoroughly corrupt. They are strictly of the world and no one can attend them nor help produce them and please God. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and keep himself unspotted from the world.”
PLACES WE SHOULD AVOID
The picture shows have plunged the world into gross immorality, and corruption, and depravity and vice, but it is just as sinful to attend the ball games where some of the players are dressed like heathens, while bystanders gamble on the side lines and squall like savages. The domino parlors, beer taverns, skating rinks, mixed bathing pools, dance halls, race tracks, pool halls, bowling alleys, USO clubs are places of the world and yet church members and even preachers continue to patronize these slum holes. Oh fatal worldliness, how long must a righteous and eternal God, warn, plead and instruct his followers to flee from such places? How long will he withhold the exhibition of his wrath against those who are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”? (2 Tim. 3:4).
The sisters are occupying seats in the barber shops where men should be sitting, to keep up with the fads and fashions of the world. ‘Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long (komee) “uncut” hair, (as long as nature will grow it) it is a glory to her: for her hair was given her for a covering” (1 Cor. 11:14-15). Dear sister, your long hair is your glory and Paul says, ‘To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life’ (Rom. 2:7). Why not keep what glory you have and seek for more?
Politics and fraternal orders are all corrupt and pertain not to the Christian but to the world. A Christian cannot vote for he is a pilgrim—a sojourner, and a stranger. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them, and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Heb. 11:13). Can a stranger vote? “Dearly beloved I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims abstain from fleshly lust, which war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11). Can a pilgrim vote? ‘Now we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you for us” (2 Cor. 5:20). An ambassador cannot vote when he goes on a mission. We are Christ’s ambassadors. We are on a mission for the Lord. In the midst of an unfriendly world, we are pilgrims and strangers. Thus, politics is not of Christ. “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:4). The political powers crucified Christ and the devil owns the kingdoms of this world- The kingdoms of this world versus the kingdom of Christ.
SECRET ORDERS AND LODGES
The secret orders and lodges belong to the world. “Every plant my Father hath not planted shall be rooted up” (Mt.
15:18). Including worldly man made churches. Show us where God planted them and we will accept them. If not, beware! “Unto him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end” (Eph. 3:21).
The world often presents itself in garments of respectability, but remember the precipice is hidden by a hedge of beautiful roses. The noise of the engulfing torrent is drowned by strains of heavenly music. He that is deceived is not wise. The world offers a road with a gravitation continually downward that hurries its victims on with an ever increasing momentum. The world has never offered one rose upon which there was not a sharp thorn. It has never offered one cup of happiness in which there were not dregs of bitterness.
Children of God take courage. Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. In blessed imitation of your Lord, overcome this wicked and accusing world. He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15). Even on the mount of temptation, old Satan tempted him “with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life.” But just before his death we hear him shout the victory as his blessed words come thundering through the ages, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”’ (John 16:33).
Dear brother in Christ, when we shall have crossed death’s sullen stream and our feet shall touch the shores on the other side, there is that celestial home on the golden shores of sweet deliverance. Will you be there, with garments made white in Jesus’ blood, unspotted from a sinful world. If you would be there, you must overcome the world. ‘And this is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith” (1 John 5:4). “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7).
[This was taken from the Old Paths Pulpit, Lynwood Smith Publication, 1979]