Today I want to talk about the church and its relationship to the world. I have more to say than I will get said; therefore, it will be hard to say because when you are loaded with too much, you never say it right. I will read my text at the close of the sermon. This way I will have it then since now I will not preach from it anyway. The church and the world. First I would like to ask this question and try to answer it: What is the world? The world is so close to us that we can hardly imagine what it is. It is not the earth, that is the thing on which the world exists. It is not the atmosphere above us as much as it is the life on this earth. It is what the Greeks call the "cosmos," the "set-up." If there never had been any people on the earth, there never would have been any world in our concept of what the world is. People constitute the world along with their institutions and movements and thoughts and life as we know what "life" means; the life of the people. The world has future prospects, and it has a past, it has history. You are well acquainted with what we are talking about.
Now this world was created along with all other things by the Lord for the purpose of His glory. It was alright until the people began to deviate from the will of God. Therefore, we have the kind of world we have. This is the world I am talking about. It is made up of institutions like banks and schools and jails, armies and navies, hospitals and insane asylums, fraternities and businesses; all organizations and social set-ups, etc. You could go on and endlessly name the things that constitute this world. And anything you can think of that is in the world today, including religions and churches, except a special kind of church, that is the world.
Here is a fascinating thing about the world: it has worlds within worlds. There is in this world the social world, the political world, the industrial world or the economic world, and I do not know how many others. The world of music and the world of art, the world of business. You call it anything you want. We could go on and name endless worlds. Including the world of religion, you have all kinds of systems of thought to suit every kind of people in the world. People group themselves in segments: they are after this fashion in respect to society, they are after that fashion in respect to politics, they are after another fashion maybe in respect to their social life, and so on. Whatever we might name, even their business life. And they are crossed up. A man who is in a certain political world may be in a different kind of social world, and so on. He is all mixed up in a lot of ways.
I am merely going over some words in a modernistic style of preaching to make you think and get before you the idea of the world and its content. All the great war munition factories, every kind of grocery business, and all of that has to do with this world, it is a part of it. It is all contained in the mind of the people. Institutions are all built, not in these buildings, but in the minds of the people. You do not have anything that does not exist in the minds of the people, and when we talk about the interchange of business, social and political relationships, why, it is a thought. The Senate and the House of Representatives yonder in Washington, that is an institution of the mind in spite of the fact that those big fat senators sit up there and are real. The institution itself is in the mind. The government is in the mind. All these institutions we have are mental, but they are manipulated by personalities which are in bodies that are real.
By this time you ought to have some idea of what I am talking about when I say "the world." And who is the head of this world? Well, there is a sense in which God owns everything, but as to these institutional things, and the institutional life of this world, the devil owns it and runs it. He initiated it and built it, he runs it, and he is the god of it and prince of it.
What is the philosophy of this world? It is this: I am not my brother's keeper. God's purpose in setting up a world was on the basis, "I AM my brother's keeper." Cain said, "Not me! I am not my brother's keeper." He went out from the presence of God and built a world of his own. He began in the land of Nod, named the first city after his son, and denied the fact and responsibility of any care for his brother. Therefore, he discarded the world which God had set up. Since he was the personal embodiment of Satan himself with his principle of life, the self life, he built his world on that order. There is not a single institution in this world that will recognize God, apart from the special kind of church that lam talking about. There is not a government, there is not an institution of political life, there is not an institution of business life, there is not an institution of social life, there is not an institution of all these worlds in existence on this globe that will bow down and recognize God as Supreme. This world is a God-hating world. It hates God so much that it crucified the Son of God and told Him that it had no use for Him. That is the philosophy of this world. Every institution in this world is a God-hating, God-crucifying institution. You do not believe that, do you? All I ask you to do is just think a while and you will find out. Name one single institution in this world apart from the church of the Living God (wherever it is), name one single institution that will bow down and let God run it. Just name one. And Satan is the head of the world, the ruler of it, the manipulator of it, the director of it. He is a real person, a real personality, and he has hosts of demons helping him run this thing. He intends to run it apart from God and contrary to God's principles, and dominate it with everything that is anti-God.
What is the purpose of this world? Well, the one God had in mind was to glorify Him. The purpose of this world now is to defeat God. Whether you are conscious of it or not, or whether the world is conscious of it or not, that is the purpose of the world. It is to supplant God, it is to rule God out, it is to get Him off their globe. The devil's purpose was to take this thing away from God and to have it for his own. And he did that. What is the destiny of this world? This verse is close to my text, I John 2:17. Here is the destiny of it. Read it solemnly. "And the world passeth away and the lust thereof." That is the obituary of this world. The world passes away and the lust thereof. Even the desire for it leaves. The whole business passes away. That is a brief history of this world.
What is the church? Now when I speak of the Church, brethren, you might as well get me straight, so there will not be anybody wondering about it. I do not believe in any kind of universal, invisible church. As Pogo says, "That is a fig-newton of the intellect." In other words, to get the Kentucky mountain vernacular, "There ain't nothing to it." There just is not any such thing, and the brethren have never trotted it out yet. They have talked a lot about it, they think there is one, but they have never been able to trot it out. I think this may be a little thing to say, undignified maybe for this occasion, but it will help you to remember: If there is any such thing as an invisible church, I never saw one. And so I leave it there. What I mean by a church is a group of people like those located here, bound together in a covenant of love and by the purposes of God, baptized by New Testament authority and Scriptural authority in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a church. When I speak of the church I am talking about it in the institutional sense. Those are the only two ways that I know anything about the church. So, when I speak of the church, I speak of it like man. Man, you will always find him in a body somewhere. No matter how general the term is, and the term is universal, the man is local always. The term church is universal, but the church is always somewhere in a body. You do not find it outside of some people united together. I can find one in a body, but if you tell me to go preach to some invisible church, I would not know where to go. Would you? Well, the church then, is composed of the believers in Christ who have been baptized by the authority of the Lord through His church, into a covenant of representation of the Lord Jesus.
What is the church's purpose? Its purpose is to propagandize (if you will let me use that word in that way) the gospel, to preach the gospel. The church does not include all believers. Its purpose is not to enroll the whole society of God's people. Its purpose is a militant purpose of moving out with the gospel of Jesus Christ, to interpret the Word of the Lord to the lost in this world, and to bring the impact of God's Word on the people. A lot of believers do not even belong to it. There are citizens who do not belong to the army. Nevertheless, they are the benefactors of it just like a lot of people are the benefactors of the church. But the church is a militant group of people who are judged by a doctrine and a commission. And you identify them by that doctrine and that commission. They are the people who have the authority to baptize and have the Lord's Supper because those two institutions are the preaching institutions of the church by which they interpret the gospel which they have been commissioned to preach. There is no reason for anybody else to have that authority. The destiny of the church is nothing like this world, the world passeth away. The destiny of the church is glory and reward and all the blessed things that God prepared for His people.
What is the philosophy of the church? The church represents the ideal philosophy of God, and that is: "I am my brother's keeper." If all the people in this world were children of God by faith in Jesus Christ and belonged to the church and could live that principle in their lives, this would be the kind of world God would want to build. We are, therefore, the church in the world. I must say the following to clarify my position. If you are mixed up about the kingdom and the church, it is very simple: You are born into the family of God, you enter the kingdom, and you are added to the church. We are in the world and not of it, as a church, and we are of the kingdom, but not in it. The kingdom is up yonder, and we are down here pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land. We are of the kingdom but not in it, and we are in the world but not of it. That keeps everything straightened out so we will not get mixed up.
These are the two institutions presently on this earth, the church and the world. Brethren, there are not any others, taking it in total summary, that is all there are, just the church and the world. Now understand that a large portion of what we call church belongs to the world because there is more religion on the devil's side than there is on the Lord's side. He operates more churches and more systems of religion than God does. God operates just one, and Satan operates all the rest. And so religion, from the devil's viewpoint, is just a part of the world. You have to watch it there. That is where we get into trouble. When the church came into existence God set up a society which was so different from anything the world had, and the destiny and purpose of the whole thing was so different, and the philosophy of it was so different, why, the devil began to scratch his head and say, "Why, I thought I had this thing whipped over there at the grave, but I see That Fellow is still messing around here in my institution, and I have to do something about Him. He has a lot of folks thinking that one day He will come and setup His kingdom here in this world. I thought the kingdom was over. I thought I had it all settled, but those folks are yelling around down there at Pentecost just like they were still victorious. I have to do something about that." And he said, "Now, let me see how I can do this."
Now I do not mean that these instances mentioned here are in exact historical sequence, but they do represent Satan's method of attacking the church. At first the church got along all right until Acts 4. The fellow had been healed there at the temple, and Acts 4:32-35 states, "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own;. . ." (See, right in line with the principle of this institution, ".. .but they had all things in common. (33) And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all. (34) Neither was there any among them that lacked:. .." (What a good communism that is. I believe in communism, the kind the Lord runs, nobody is shorted in that kind), ".. .for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, (35) And laid them down at the apostles feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need." And Barnabas turned loose a whole possession there and so the story goes. They were having a great time, do you see? Well, the devil said, "That thing has to be stopped." The devil does not know everything. He just works along the way history proceeds. He is a little ahead of us, but then, he is not ahead of God. So he begins to figure out, "How am I going to handle this?"
The first method he used was isolation. He comes over to Ananias and tapped him on the shoulder and says, "What are you going to do?" Ananias said, "Oh, you heard about Barnabas. He brought everything he had and laid it down at the apostles feet. You know, they think Barnabas is one of the grandest fellows to ever come down the pike, He is just getting praised by everybody. They all love him." He said, "You know, I thought I would do the same thing; just take the money down there and pile it down before them.” Then the devil said, "Now, wait a minute. There is no use to be a fool about this thing. You do hot have to give everything you have." I will not detail, but the little argument went on, and just like Eve over in the garden when she put her hand on the palings and looked over the fence and talked to him, that is when she got into trouble. So Ananias said, "Well, I had not thought about that. I do hate to give it all up. But Barnabas, he…" And so he kept back part of the money. And the devil said, "I will get some of it back. Isolate. Isolate. I will cut back on it.” But Peter put the quietus on that pretty soon. Then sister Sapphira came in with the same sort of deal but she did not know what had happened to her husband, and she took the way out, too. That about ended it. The devil said, "That is 100%. They kill them as fast as I bring them up. I cannot risk that any longer. I had better change methods on this thing someway." He could not isolate part of their affection from the institution and he could not split them up that way, so he decided he better change his method.
Satan then began the method of persecution. "I will fix them." Now this just follows right along in history, as you know, with the first centuries of the church. The persecution began, and it was like we used to do in "Spit, Spat, Splatter." If you want to find a lost ball or something, you spit in your hand, and then you hit it. Whichever way the largest portion went, that is where the ball went. So the devil began his persecution, and just scattered that church all over the country. As they went they kept yelling about the Lord Jesus Christ being raised from the dead, and it just scattered the gospel everywhere. Well, that proceeded down through a good deal of the first century. Several of the emperors kept on and said, "We're going to stamp this thing out," and they would hit it and it would splatter, and out yonder it would go. They would be preaching the gospel when they landed out there, and the persecution was a complete failure. The devil said, "I'm not going to defeat the church that way at all." So he gets more gentle, and he sits down and thinks things over. The brethren who were his instruments in the world began to look back, and some of those emperors began to talk about it and said, "Now we haven't done any good this way. This thing gets worse all the time. We've got to change methods." They thought of the cross, the symbol of the Lord of glory. They thought of what the cross had done, they said, “Well now, there it is. That Fellow died on a cross and He's still running this thing. " And while those fellows were looking around, old brother Constantine got to thinking things over and he said, "There's bound to be some way out of this." He looked up yonder, and there the devil (I am pretty sure the devil did this) flashed it in the sky, the cross; and over that the words in the fiery letters, "By this sign conquer.” Do you know who has been conquering by that sign ever since? It is very easy to tell who that was. The devil said, "Why, this is the way to do it. Instead of trying to isolate the church back to myself, instead of trying to persecute it and scatter it everywhere in the world, I'll just join the thing." And that is the method he found to be successful, join the church.
Now this is exemplified in the instance of Simon the sorcerer. He was a fellow who could put on a pretty good show. He had Magic powers and was cutting a big shine over there. He even thought himself to be some great one. People were awed by him. Paul and one of his brethren came along and they were doing bigger miracles than Simon had been doing. Simon looked on and said, "Those boys are going to take my business away from me." He came along, "Say now, I believe what you fellows are doing. I'd like to join this thing. Here's some money, I'll buy in on it; I'll pay your salary while you preach." That is the way the Roman churches, the Romanist movement, began. They joined it. They said, "Well, you folks got to have some idols, we'll fix up some idols for you, you heathen." The invasion of barbarians from the north and all those things that took place in history brought great problems to them. "Well, we can't convert you folks overnight, so we've got to kinda play along with you. So we'll give you some rabbits and eggs and whatever you have to have to play your little heathen games with, your evergreens and tinsel, and join up with you. We'll all get together and we'll call it Christian, but you Can make out of it anything you want." This is that great institution known as the Roman church, which the devil joined, and this is the method by which he joined the church, that great institution with all of its satellites including some Baptists whom I know. They followed it down through the ages. Even now we have the great conflict on still. That is the conflict of the church. The hardest thing you ever tried to do in your life is to try to keep the devil from joining the church. I do not care how hard you screen it, how close you work on it, or how long you put him on probation, he will get in someway. He will not only get in, but he will bring his institutions in. He has just about usurped some of the denominations that once were, seemingly, imbued with the Spirit of the Lord.
Brother, I worry about Baptists, Southern Baptists especially. I am acquainted with them. Why, they are going to have the biggest Easter you ever heard of down in Kentucky in those churches. Yet the magazines and papers will write articles all during that season telling you where it came from, the origin of it, and everything else about it, but the Baptists will go on and say, "Hallelujah," and have a big Easter. I went out and preached one Easter Sunday at a little church over in the country, and they had lilies all over the place. I would just get lost every time I tried to move. I preached against Easter. They told me after church that they had talked it over and thought it would not be necessary to have an evening service. In a Baptist church!
Brethren, I do not know what to do. We are in terrible times. But that is the method; join the church. Join the church. Now when Satan joined the church, he brought his institutional set-up in, little by little, not all at once but little by little. He is like the camel who stuck his nose into the Arab's tent. "All I want is to look in. I just want to be where I can see you. " Then it got a little colder and he stepped up a little closer, and so on. Finally he was in the tent and the Arab was out. That is exactly the way it all came about in history. First he came with the Reformation which merely got out some of it, and then went on with the rest of it. We have come on down the way and one time after another the movement arises. The Northern Baptist Convention is already gone, and the Southern Baptist Convention is headed that way, and away over here some of you G. A. R. B. brethren are headed the same way. All of the things that we are doing just go through a cycle. We start out pure, we start out on our knees, we start out with tears in our eyes, we start out hoping we will never have any of that anymore. The first thing you know somebody comes and knocks on the door and says, "I want in." You say, "Well, he's good folks; got some money, too, and we’re in an awful need of money." And so they get in, and they say, "Well now, I've got a few little things I want to bring in, you know, it's not bad, it's very mild," and so forth; and it is not long until they are telling you how to run the thing. "Now over yonder at So-and-so's church, when we were over there, we did this, that and the other.” And "You know, our Pastor he used to do so-and-so and so-and-so.” The first thing you know they get hold of a few of your folks, especially if one of them is mad at the pastor, and they will get to working on this thing. There will be a setting up some of these things, and the next thing you know you have a bumble bee against you. "We ought to join up with so-and-so," and you join up. Then they begin to join you and you are all down the road again. Why, this is not the first time it has happened. It has been that way ever since the devil joined the church there in the beginning.
It can not happen now many more times, and I will tell you why. There was a time when I lived over there in Magoffin County and you lived over here in Ohio. If I said something about you, by the time it ever got over here, I would probably be dead and gone. There would not be any fight about it. But now we are living and breathing together and you can not have things like they used to be. The world is all one world now. Things can happen so much faster now, and they happen simultaneously, all together. The great movement is on. The Protestantism of the National Council of Churches, which they are trying to form now, will finally land with the Catholic church, and they will all be together. That is where we are all headed. What is the reason for staying out if that is the way we are going? They just limit one important thing after another, and it does not take long to get there. And then there will be a few soreheads like me and some of these brethren here who are hanging out and will not go along. Well, there have been "soreheads" all down through the centuries, brother, and they were back there in the Bible, too. They are the people who keep the gospel that saves everybody who has ever been saved. I know what I am talking about, I have taught church history, and I have read a little of it to boot. I know the signs, the portents. We are going over the same territory. We always lose sight of the church. Brethren, I say there are just two institutions, and when the devil moves into the church with the world, he takes over the church. Then the church becomes the world. There is a constant coming out, coming out, and purifying, and re-purifying the stream until the Lord comes. That is the only way you can keep the gospel alive. These evangelists who get so big that they cannot preach in a church, but get out and leave the church, they leave two-thirds of the gospel in the church. If they do preach the gospel, the only gospel they preach is salvation from hell. The minute they stop to tell a man to go to save his life, in a church where it will save his life, they lose their congregation, just like all the rest of us. The salvation of life is more spoken of in this Book than the salvation of the soul from hell. But you take an evangelist that emphasizes the salvation of life, when he tells a man to put his light on a candlestick that is of the Lord, he will lose his following. The evangelist knows that and he dreads it, so he is not going into that phase of it at all. They say, "Go to the church of your choice," or, "Read the Bible and interpret it for yourself and go where you think. . ." No, that is not the way. God put interpreters here, preachers here, to tell people what the Bible means and where to go.
The church and the world are two separate institutions, I want to emphasize that by saying that there is not a thing in the world that the church has any use for. We ought to be careful to make the distinction so that people can tell the difference. Brethren, I am convinced that in most of the so-called churches of this day you cannot tell the difference. And you can not tell much about it by the method of the church. There was a time when the church sat and listened to the voice of the Lord, felt the power of God, and was moved by that power of God. But the pragmatic philosophers and others came into this country from Germany and Oxford and other places under the direction of men like John Dewey who dominated education here for so long. They filled the churches with a ceaseless program of activities in which the man becomes important, and God ceases to be important. We have set up programs by which we have people do things and we have created a Pharisaism that is exactly like the one in the days of Jesus. Religion then consists of what you do instead of what you are. The consequence is that we have the world in the church. And the power of God is gone because He cannot work through that kind of instrumentality.
Now the reason God wants His church away from the world is because that is the only way He can bring the impact of the church upon the world. I was deceived a long time in my life about these things. I was a preacher when I went to college, and they had some fraternities there. I thought that the preacher-boys in the college were too hard on those boys in the fraternities. I know what they did. I sat through them, they cursed and swore and told their vulgar tales and talked about their women when they were drinking, and so forth. If you think they do not do those things, you ask me. I am a fraternity man, I know. I joined it. I did not know any better, but that is what I did. I have steered many a boy and girl around those things since then, but I did. Let me show you. The boys said about me, "We like you. You're one of us.” I thought that was fine. They said, "You don't go around with the label all over you that you're a preacher." What did they mean? They meant that there was not enough religion about me that they could tell any difference between me and them. Well, I thought that was the way to approach them, and I said, "Now preacher boys, if you don't hold yourself aloof and don't get so queer, and so narrow-minded, you can get among those fraternity boys and you can do some good." Let me tell you what happened. It made me popular but it did not make my Lord popular. It gave me popularity, but it took away my power. The Lord never intended you to slither around through this world and identify yourself with it as a Christian, and thereby make your impact upon it. The Lord intended you to separate yourself from this world and let Him through His own thunderous power make the impact He wants upon the world by His Own method. But we have an idea that you have to count these boys, steal around and get among them. You read in my book, Faith is the Victory, how to take Jericho, and you will find out what I am talking about. Yes sir, we have joined up with the world and we have filled the church with worldly methods, with worldly philosophies, with worldly efficiency, and with carnality until today I can run the average church in this country with just good moral sinners who can with office efficiency execute the duties of the churches and the organizations. All I need to have them teach is boy-scout morality and pray "the Lord's prayer," and that is all that is necessary. Now maybe I am a little radical, but the only way to get at this thing is to get to the heart of it, and then I will come out and apologize if I have done wrong. Brethren, I am sincere about that. The average Sunday School teacher today does not know any more about the Bible than boy-scout morality. Bless their hearts, I know they are earnest and all that, but they do not know anything but the programs, so many of them do not. We have to be honest about this thing.
Our power has been robbed from our churches by the world's methods, and by the carnal ways of the world injected into the church. Now if the power of God ever returns to the churches of this day, it will be when we get the world out of it. That is the only way it will ever be done. Brethren, I cannot help it, but I can prove to you that it has no power. I can prove it to nearly anybody that we are not seeing folks really saved. Brother Billy Graham with all the evangelistic crusades he has had, hollering about "revival in our time, " "revival in our time, " is now saying that the coming of the Lord is the only thing that will settle it, that can solve the problem. He did not announce that he had changed his plea, but he changed it because I heard him. He is now talking about a world-wide revival. I do not think we will have it, brethren, but I do not know. If the Lord would be gracious and want to, it would be all right with me, I would be glad to see it. But I do not believe it will happen, because I have read enough in the Word to know we are headed toward the close. I do not think it is going to go back to the way it was, but the anti-Christ may soon appear. He will be a great religious man as well as a civic leader you know. This religion will all blend in. For years the agricultural organizations of our state have been advocating a one-building community where all the dances and the Sunday Schools and the preaching, the fraternities and the lodges and everything will all meet together in one place, and have one great big community. Do you see, that is what the devil is going to have some day when the anti-Christ appears. He is going to say, "Why, brother, this is the way to have peace, have everything under one head. And we'll run it together." Well, we are getting close enough so that you can see it. Yes, it is easy to see.
I doubt if we will ever have an old time revival like came yonder on the creek of Mashed Fork where I was raised. All we had to do was go down to the meeting house, start singing, preaching, and praying, and the power of God just came over us. I do not know what it was, but it was not holy-rollerism. There were no holy rollers then. It was that deep flowing convicting power of God you read about during the Pentecost. I have seen it, it is almost electrical, and I would go to church with sinners with a frown of fear on their faces. They sat there and wondered what they were going to do under the judgment of God. I have seen them come down the aisle after the preacher would get to preaching. Maybe he would get no more than 15 or 20 minutes of his sermon done until somebody would get up, come down the aisle and say, "I've been saved and want to tell about it." People would weep tears of joy over God working. Down at the old baptizing hole I would hear shouts of joy. Now brethren, that is real. I am not dead yet. I can remember that, and I am telling you now as an eyewitness, that is the way it was. It was no trouble at all to have a revival meeting. You did not have to go out and take a census. They would all come in. As soon as they heard that the Lord was blessing down there, why, everybody flocked down the creek, up the creek, and over the hill. You would have the house full and hanging out the windows in just a little while. That is the way to get a crowd. We have tried every other method but that. You get the Lord working and you will have a crowd. But brethren, we have passed that day I am afraid. Did you know that over yonder in Palestine is the hardest place to plant a church in this world? The churches that Paul planted there, every last one of them are gone, Jerusalem included, been gone years and years ago. Why? Because Palestine had its day. The United States has had its day, and is just about to fade out right now. We are declining so fast right now, and there never will be, as I see it, another great revival in the United States. The day is closing out. All of the nations have had their day. I hope I am wrong, God will handle it the way He wants to, I am sure He will, but that is the way it looks. What is the matter? The devil joined the church back yonder in the third century, he has been in it ever since.
Now the lesson is this: What are we to do about this world? You say, "Brother Kazee, what do you mean, that I'm not to have a thing to do with the world?" I will tell you now, there is a way to do it. There are some natural aspects of this world, and there are some superficial aspects. It is alright to live. It is alright to buy groceries. It is alright to buy clothes. It is alright to have what is necessary for you to live. But let me tell you this: You are to take as much of this world as will make you a better child of God, and a better servant of the Lord. Now that will solve it. You are to indulge in as many institutions of this world as will make you a better servant of the Lord and a more devoted child of God. When you lay down that rule you can see that God has sanctified some of this world to your use, but you will be temperate. You will not be a lot of places that the Lord would not go, and you will not join yourself to the institutions of this world. You will say, "I can't do that. That's against my Lord."
When I first came to Morehead, Kentucky, in 1930, I thought it was alright to go to a picture show. You say, "Oh, preacher, don't you believe in going to picture shows?" No, I do not, and I am going to tell you why. They had complimentary tickets for all the preachers in town. When I came in, they passed mine down to me. And I said, "Well, fine. I appreciate that." Had one show in town then and it did not run on Sunday. The superintendent of Sunday School up at the Christian church was the man who operated it. So I went a few times. Then I got to preaching and studying the Bible, and got convicted on some things. They stirred my thought, and I said, "Wait a minute. That thing would crucify my Lord. It does not have any pictures there for the religious and spiritual good of the people. It is a business institution which plays up things that are contrary to the teaching of the Bible, and as an institution, it would crucify the Lord." And it did in a short while. It opened on Sunday. “Well,” I said, “I can't have anything to do with a thing that would drive nails in my Lord's hand." Does anybody here or anybody in this town believe that Hollywood would recognize the Lord Jesus as the ruler of the movie world? Well then, if they will not, it belongs to the devil, and you had better let it alone. Do you see it?
There is not a thing in this world that works against my Lord that I have any right to have any part in at all. You probably could just rule yourself out right there very easily. But let me tell you, it is a blessed life when you can get your own consent to live that way. You think it is hard. You say, "Well, that is hard to live that way. You have to give up so much." Well, brother, if you are going to follow the Lord Jesus, are you going to raise the question of how little you can give up and still be a Christian? Would you marry on that basis? Would you tell your wife, "How many of my girl friends do I have to give up in order to be your husband? How many dates will you let me have marked on this basis?" Do you see? Brethren, God is going to put this old world out. Do you see what it says, "The world passes away"? God does not want you to hang on to anything that will get out of your clutches. These men who spend their lives writing deeds and mortgages, making money and depositing their money in the bank will lose everything. One died the other day, a friend of mine in Lexington, 80-some years old, and another one is just about ready to die. Both of them lived wholly for money. They have positions and can write a quick-claim deed to the whole business, but they will never have another deed recorded in their name. Nobody will ever come to them for any business transaction of any kind. Why? They are done. And they have been deceived into believing that this world has something they could hold onto. Now they are gone and they have lost it. God does not want you to be deceived, and He does not want you to get hold of this old world out here at all, for it is a God-hating, Christ-crucifying world, and you are not to have anything to do with it.
Here is what the Bible says: I John 2:15-17: I want you to hear it and read it if you will. I am quoting my text, and I will be through now. "Love not the world..." (that is the world I have been talking about) "... neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,..." (that is all there is) ". . . is not of the Father, but is of the world. (17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." Do you see why it is that way? There is nothing that you can have except that which God uses to make you a better servant of God and a better child of God.
As a church, brethren, let me press this point upon you. If you want to have the blessing of God and the power of God in your life, and the approbation of God when things are done, when the Lord of the harvest comes, draw a line between you and the world. Say, "Let's take sides with Christ. Let's line up on His side." Keep your hearts filled with meditations. As you grow in appreciation and understanding of His goodness, and of what He has done for you, the world will just die away and you will get so used to doing without it that it will not bother you much. I do so pray that your church will keep pure, that you will keep the line drawn, that you will see how awful it is when the world comes into the church and takes over. It nullifies the power of God, exalts the human being instead of God, places him in prominence and honor instead of God. Be careful, brethren, that you do not do that. ===============
[From The Message of Grace, Fairborn, OH, March 15, 1959. This sermon was delivered at Grace Baptist Chruch in 1959.]
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