Friday, December 30, 2016

David's Digest: Love of the World, Part 6 - Denying Lawful Pleasures

This is the planned final part of this series of blog posts, and here are the previous parts:

Part 1 - Cooling Zeal
Part 2 - Truth in Trials
Part 3 - The Evil of Worldliness
Part 4 - Heaven My Way
Part 5 - Worldliness in Much


This is another little related excerpt I found from Thomas Manton in his sermon 6 on Genesis 24:63, of which the entire sermon you can read here:
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A51840.0001.001/1:26.6?rgn=div2;view=fulltext
Others for want of considering the end of their lives, are so far from living as Christians, that they scarce live as men, but either as beasts, or as devils. Delight in the pleasures of the world transformeth a man into a beast, it is their happiness to enjoy pleasures without remorse, and to gratify the body; and delight in sin transformeth a man into a devil. Worldly pleasures are not bread, and sinful pleasures are poison: You that are allured by the pleasures of the world, which are lawful in themselves, you lay out your money for that which is not bread; and you to whom it is meat to do evil, you feed upon that which is rank poison; the world cannot satisfy, and sin will surely destroy.
How much of our time is spent in the things of the world, even those that might be lawful? I believe this is an important question to continue to ask ourselves.


Finally, let's look at the example of Christ, again from Thomas Manton in a sermon on Philippians 2:7, which in its entirety you can read here:
https://sites.google.com/a/oldpaths.org.uk/oldpaths/m/manton/mantonvol18/m000000012/page124sermonuponphilippiansii7philii7butmadehimselfofnoreputation:

[5.] The last lesson is contempt of the world and all the glory thereof. Christ teacheth us this lesson by making himself of no reputation in two ways—

(1.) The example of his own choice. The Lord of heaven and earth despised and neglected the glory and riches of this world. He passed through the world to sanctify it as a place of service; but chose not pomp of living, nor the happiness of it, lest we should choose it as our rest and portion: 'They are not of the world, as I am not of the world,' John xvii. 16. Those that are dearest unto God must look by crosses and trials to be fitted for another world. If a man say never so much for contempt of the world, yet live in the love of it, his saying is nothing. But Christ would be a pattern of his own doctrine. Contempt of the world is a lesson of great consequence; salvation lieth upon it: 1 John ii. 15-17, '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, the lust of the eye 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.' Whether we are high or low, full or kept bare, it concerneth us all to learn it. Though we flow in wealth, we should be as having nothing, and sit loose from the creature. If we are poor, we must count grace a preferment: James i. 9, 10, 'Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted; but the rich, in that he is made low, because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.' There is required of all an hearty preparation for, when they are not called to a patient enduring of, afflictions for Christ's name: Phil. iv. 12, 'I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.' This is of a hard digestion to a natural man. Now Christ's example is a great help to us to check our worldly desires; let us not affect greater eminency in the world than Christ had; and to check the vanity of fulness, or our carnal complacency, that it may not be a snare to us: 1 Tim. v. 6, 'The woman that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.' Christ was a man of sorrows; do you profess Christ, and yet are you addicted to vain pleasures, and not able to deny them?

(2.) As it is an argument to confirm us in the certainty of the happiness of the world to come. It were best to choose the easiest life here if we did not believe eternity, to live a life of pomp and ease. The troubles and miseries of the godly have been counted a sure argument to confirm it: 1 Cor. xv. 19, 'If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.' God would not make us miserable by our duty. And 2 Thes i. 5, 'It is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God.' If the consideration of godly men's sufferings in this world be of moment to such an inference, much more the sufferings of Christ, who was not only a man good and innocent beyond example, instructing the souls, curing the bodies of so many men, but also the Son of God. His exaltation is a pledge of our happiness, and his humiliation an argument he is gone there as our forerunner.


The kingdom of the world, ruled by Satan, is the enemy of all people -- its ends, like Satan's, are to destroy souls. The carnal man, which is enmity against God (Rom 8:7), is like a cancer to the soul (Paul calls it "the body of this death" in Rom 7:24; see what Puritan commentator Dr. John Gill says about this verse), and these worldly distractions and pleasures are like sugar to that cancer, which feed it and help it grow. Why wouldn't we choose to deny ourselves these things?

The carnal man is with us until we die, Satan is on the constant prowl, and the world is continuously pulling us toward it. After going through the previous 5 parts (and hopefully the whole sermon here), and this part, I believe that surely this is something for which we should always be on careful watch, for the rest of our lives, if we have concern for our eternal welfare.

May the Lord God almighty help us to mortify the flesh, and by His infinite graces and mercies, may the things of earth during our time here ever continue to fade...
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.


Psalm 73:25-26 - "25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."

-- David

No comments: