Monday, July 31, 2017

An Untimely Death

Earlier this summer I attended a funeral for an acquaintance.  This person died from an incurable disease before the age of 50 and left behind a spouse and children.  Funeral services were held in a church of a mainline Christian denomination, and it was made known that this person had a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  I'm being vague about the details because I want to make sure that this post is not personal.  My goal is to address what I perceive to be a larger problem in today's Christian Church.

At multiple times during the funeral service the statement was made that God did not want the deceased person to die.  I distinctly remember this statement being made by a surviving minor child and affirmed by one of the church officials.  I was not only shocked when I heard it, but I was also doubly shocked when I heard it affirmed more than once.

I don't know from experience, but I would imagine that losing a parent as a young child is incredibly difficult, extremely painful, and confusing.  But this fact does not allow anyone to deny the attributes of God.  God's sovereignty is undeniable.  If a person on earth dies that God did not want to die, then that means that something is more powerful than God, and He is not in control; and if God is not in complete control, then He is not God and our faith is in vain.  Without proper thinking of God, especially during times of affliction, this child (as well as others) may become bitter and either stay immature in their beliefs or leave Christianity altogether.

So, did God plan for this person to die?  Yes.  God knows everything about all people (Psalm 139:1-6).  All things are upheld by the Word of Jesus' power (Heb. 1:3) and God has put all things in subjection under Jesus' feet (Heb. 2:8).  Christians are comforted by the fact that "all things work together for good to them that love God," (Rom. 8:28).  It's important also to remember and reflect on God's Word when we're in prosperity as well as adversity.  While we are Christians here on earth, we won't understand all that God does: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts," (Isa. 55:8-9).

Sin entered the world through the first man Adam (Rom. 5:10), and therefore, "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," (Rom. 3:23).  The Apostle Paul tells us that that "the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," (Rom. 6:23).  Therefore, death is a fact of life; all people die.  And all people die according to God's plan for their life, whether they are a believer or unbeliever.  But those who believe in the accomplished of work of Jesus Christ on the cross can have eternal life.  Eternal life with Christ is the important life, not temporal life here on earth (2 Cor. 4:17-18).  Our life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away, (James 4:14).

This person did not work their way into God's favor so that God owed them a long, pain-free life.  God, in His mercy, saved this person from their sins, and He healed their sickness--not in the way that some would have liked, but in His own perfect timing.


***
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?  Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen," (Rom. 11:33-36).

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Stop Loving the World - Chap 6

Stop Loving the World [ISBN 978-1-60178-118-5] by William Greenhill is an appended sermon to his book The Sound Hearted Christian and provides excellent advice on identifying and suppressing inordinate love of the world.  In this book Mr. Greenhill expounds 1 John 2:15, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" by properly distinguishing between the correct use of the world versus the undue love the world.

Mr. Greenhill notes that "even saints are prone to love the world" and that "[t]here is a great suitableness between the world and hour corrupt hearts and natures," (p. 2).  In Chapter 6 he outlines directions for getting the Christian's heart off of the world:
  1. Be convinced that loving the world is evil (pp. 65-67)
  2. Mortify lusts (pp. 67-68)
  3. Look to things that are eternal (pp. 68-69)
  4. Diligently guard the heart (pp. 69-70)
  5. Submit to God's will (p. 71)
  6. Look on Christ (pp. 71-72)
  7. Love God more (pp. 72-73)
In practical application, the author reminds Christians that "our affections follow the perceptions and judgments made in our minds.  If men have strong thoughts about a thing, they will have strong affections," and  "[w]hat men have low thoughts of, they never dote on.  If a woman has low thoughts of a man, she will never love him.  The lower thoughts you have, ere long it will be turned to ashes," (p. 65, 66).  Therefore, Mr. Greenhill exhorts the Christian to "[l]ook to your affections and do not let them rove and wander up and down in the world, ranging here and there," (p. 69).  "God should have all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind, leaving creatures to have little or none," (p. 70).

The concludes my study of William Greenhill's Stop Loving the World.  It has been a very timely study for me as I work on "casting down imaginations, and every thing thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," (2 Cor. 10:5).


***
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in 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.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever," (1 John 2:15-17).

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Stop Loving the World - Chap 5

Stop Loving the World [ISBN 978-1-60178-118-5] by William Greenhill is an appended sermon to his book The Sound Hearted Christian and provides excellent advice on identifying and suppressing inordinate love of the world.  In this book Mr. Greenhill expounds 1 John 2:15, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" by properly distinguishing between the correct use of the world versus the undue love the world.

Mr. Greenhill notes that "even saints are prone to love the world" and that "[t]here is a great suitableness between the world and hour corrupt hearts and natures," (p. 2).  In Chapter 5 he gives further motives for not loving the world:
  1. Loving the world is sinful (pp. 53-54).
  2. God commands against loving the world (pp. 54-55).
  3. Loving the world belongs to the wicked (pp. 55-57).
  4. Loving the world only disappoints (pp. 57-58).
  5. Loving the world is destructive (pp. 58-60).
  6. Loving the world leaves Christians bitter (pp. 60-61).
  7. The pleasures of loving the world are fleeting (p. 61).
  8. Christians were not set apart to love the world (p. 62).
  9. Loving the world steals love from Christ (p. 63).
  10. Loving the world is not the Christian's end (p. 64).
The author reminds Christians that "[t]he least sin is evil, even if it progresses no further than a sinful thought or lust," (p. 54).  He also warns Christians that:

"Many men love pleasures, recognition, and honor; sooner or later, for the love of those things, some cross or other will befall them.  Many love their children, and God takes them away.  Many love their beauty, and God sends some physical illness or adversity that takes it away.  Children whom their parents have made idols of prove to be wayward.  They turn out to be a matter sorrow and shame, increasing their parents' fears, cares, and tears.  Bitterness is multiplied because they doted on them and love them inordinately.  So it happens when we love the things of this world; if we love them, God will cross us in them.  The way to enjoy any mercy is to love it but a little or to love it in order to please God," (pp. 60-61).


***

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in 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.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever," (1 John 2:15-17).

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Stop Loving the World - Chap 4

Stop Loving the World [ISBN 978-1-60178-118-5] by William Greenhill is an appended sermon to his book The Sound Hearted Christian and provides excellent advice on identifying and suppressing inordinate love of the world.  In this book Mr. Greenhill expounds 1 John 2:15, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" by properly distinguishing between the correct use of the world versus the undue love the world.

Mr. Greenhill notes that "even saints are prone to love the world" and that "[t]here is a great suitableness between the world and hour corrupt hearts and natures," (p. 2).  In Chapter 4 he gives directions for examining the Christian's heart for the love of the world.

First, he looks at the usefulness of applying the doctrine to not love the world:
  1. Examining the heart informs a Christian of the corruption of his nature, which is very prone to love the world and the things of the world (pp. 42-43).
  2. If those in a state of grace should not love the world, then there are very few who are truly in the state of grace because there are so few who do not love the world (pp. 43-44).
  3. If a Christian should not love the world, then those who are gracious and godly should be content with a little of the world (p. 44).
  4. Examining the heart serves to reprove professing Christians (pp. 44-45).
Next, the author provides probing questions to help the Christian examine his heart:
  1. Am I more concerned about the things of the world than I am for heaven and spiritual things? (p. 45-46)
  2. Does the world push aside and cut out the things that are of God? (pp. 46-48)
  3. Am I content with a little when it comes to matters of the soul? (pp. 48-49)
  4. In what then do I find most sweetness and contentment? (pp. 49-50)
  5. Do I use questionable or unlawful means to get the world?  Do I neglect lawful and unquestionable means that would get me heaven and spiritual things? (pp. 50-51)
  6. Do I love ideas, learning, wisdom of words, talents, gifts, and things of this nature? (pp. 51-52)
  7. Am I more grieved for the loss of outward, worldly things than I am for the loss of spiritual things? (p. 52)
Mr. Greenhill concludes this chapter with the following directions: "Honestly answering these several questions should help you know whether you love the world or not.  And if you find that your heart is set on this world, you are worthy of great blame," (p. 52).


***
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in 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.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever," (1 John 2:15-17).

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Stop Loving the World - Chap 3

Stop Loving the World [ISBN 978-1-60178-118-5] by William Greenhill is an appended sermon to his book The Sound Hearted Christian and provides excellent advice on identifying and suppressing inordinate love of the world.  In this book Mr. Greenhill expounds 1 John 2:15, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" by properly distinguishing between the correct use of the world versus the undue love the world.

Mr. Greenhill notes that "even saints are prone to love the world" and that "[t]here is a great suitableness between the world and hour corrupt hearts and natures," (p. 2).  In Chapter 3 he describes the Christian's relationship to God's Creation.

First, the author looks at how a Christian should legitimately interact with the world:
  1. Christians may study the world and the works of God in the world (pp. 29-31).
  2. Christians may pray for the things of the world (pp. 31-32).
  3. Christians must follow a calling in this world (pp. 32-33).
Next, Mr. Greenhill lists six ways that the Christian can use God's creation well and right:
  1. Use all things for the end that God has made them (pp. 33-34).
  2. Walk with God in the use of the world and answer God's call (p. 34).
  3. Use the things of the world to promote spiritual good in ourselves and others (pp. 34-35).
  4. Use the world slightly and consider the things of God and of the soul as the main business (p. 35).
  5. Use the world in moderation, keeping the affection in check (pp. 35-36).
  6. Give a good and cheerful account to God concerning worldly possessions (p. 36).
He also shows us how to love good things in the world:
  1. Keep the good of creation in proper perspective (p. 37).
  2. Remember the right use of these good things (p. 37).
  3. Place the greatest Good (love to God) second to none (p. 38).
Finally, Mr. Greenhill gives five reasons why a Christian should not make his own wealth a goal in life:
  1. It is a heathenish thing to argue for the goodness of a calling from the gain of a calling (pp. 38-39).
  2. Christians must aim at the public good in their callings (p. 39-40).
  3. To make being rich a goal is against the great and glorious principle of the gospel, self-denial (p. 40).
  4. It is directly against Scripture for Christians to make earthly gain an end (p. 40).
  5. Christians should follow a calling to glorify God, whether there is gain or not (p. 41).
The author reminds Christians to "[l]et our moderation be toward things as if they were not ultimately ours," (p. 36).  He also encourages Christians to keep the right perspective:
"The things of the world feed our lusts and are stronger to set our corruptions to work than to further the good that is in us.  And because the things of the world divert us from God, discourage us toward good, or corrupt the good that is in us, therefore the Lord has forbidden us to love the world--even though there is some good in the world," (p. 37).


***

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in 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.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever," (1 John 2:15-17).

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Stop Loving the World - Chap 2

Stop Loving the World [ISBN 978-1-60178-118-5] by William Greenhill is an appended sermon to his book The Sound Hearted Christian and provides excellent advice on identifying and suppressing inordinate love of the world.  In this book Mr. Greenhill expounds 1 John 2:15, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" by properly distinguishing between the correct use of the world versus the undue love the world.

Mr. Greenhill notes that "even saints are prone to love the world" and that "[t]here is a great suitableness between the world and hour corrupt hearts and natures," (p. 2).  In Chapter 2 he looks at reasons for not loving this world:
  1. Christians have a higher calling (p. 15).
  2. It is unreasonable (pp. 15-19).
  3. It is scandalous (pp. 19-20).
  4. It is idolatrous (p. 20).
  5. It is dangerous (pp. 20-22).
  6. It deals with the impossible (p. 22).
  7. It makes God the Christian's enemy (pp. 22-24).
  8. It debases our understanding (pp. 24-25).
  9. It is utterly destructive (pp. 25-26).
  10. It is hostile to godliness (pp. 26-27).
  11. It is the devil's trap (pp. 27-28).
  12. It leads to apostasy (p. 28).
The author states an obvious, but discredited, reality: "The things of God are better than the things of the world," (p. 18).



***

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in 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.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever," (1 John 2:15-17).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Stop Loving the World - Chap 1

Stop Loving the World [ISBN 978-1-60178-118-5] by William Greenhill is an appended sermon to his book The Sound Hearted Christian and provides excellent advice on identifying and suppressing inordinate love of the world.  In this book Mr. Greenhill expounds 1 John 2:15, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" by properly distinguishing between the correct use of the world versus the undue love the world.

Mr. Greenhill notes that "even saints are prone to love the world" and that "[t]here is a great suitableness between the world and hour corrupt hearts and natures," (p. 2).  In Chapter 1 he addresses what is meant by "the world" and what it is to love the world.

First, the world is (1) all things created by God, (2) the customs and fashions of men, and (3) the pomp and splendor of men (pp. 3-5).

Next, Mr. Greenhill describes what it means to love the world.  To love the world is:
  1. To hold it in high account (pp. 5-6)
  2. To fix your thoughts on it (pp. 6-7)
  3. To desire it (p. 7)
  4. To set your heart on the things of it (pp. 7-8)
  5. To employ your strength in, on, and about it (pp. 8-9)
  6. To watch for all opportunities and occasions to get the things of it (pp. 9-10)
  7. To endure great hardships for it (pp. 10-11)
  8. To favor it the most (pp. 11-13)
  9. To mourn and lament for the things of it that are taken away (p. 14)
  10. To be resolved to be rich and have it one way or another (p. 14)
This short book is not only very convicting, but it is also very helpful as it encourages the Christian to obey the first and greatest commandment to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind," (Matt. 22:37).


***
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in 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.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever," (1 John 2:15-17).