[1 John 2:16]
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the 11th lecture on 1 John.
Those who love God have to cast off the worldly, namely the fleshly things, from their hearts.
1 John 2:16 says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life,”
If we cast off this lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, we can cast off the world.
In the last session, I was talking about the lust of the eyes.
Do you remember what the lust of the eyes is-
It is the nature that stirs our heart and makes us seek fleshly things through what we see and hear.
If we see and hear fleshly things and have contact with them, it is more likely that we will take in and accept them.
If a person who wants to quit drinking goes to a bar and watches others drink and smells the liquor, he would want to drink, too.
Proverbs 23:31 says, “Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly;”
As it tells us not to get drunk, it also tells us not to even look at it.
If you accept the lust of the eyes, the sinful nature that’s in you will be agitated, and furthermore, it can also be strengthened.
For example, suppose you have besieged a city and are trying to conquer it.
You attack with all your strength. But, suppose that there is an opening in the blockade and enemy reinforcements are able to get into the city.
The enemy is constantly resupplied with soldiers, food, and arms.
Then, the enemy force in the city can keep on resisting, and the siege will not end quickly.
It is important to attack the city and to conquer it, but at the same time you have to cut off their supplies to accomplish it.
Now let’s say that the enemy force in the city is your sinful nature, and the lust of the eyes is the reinforcement.
Even though you fast and pray to become sanctified, as long as you keep on accepting the lust of the eyes you cannot really cast off sinful natures.
You will only have more and more struggles of the heart.
Such people will find it difficult to cast away their sins.
Let me give you another example. If you keep on pouring clean water into a vessel that contains dirty water, the water will finally become clean.
But while you are pouring clean water, if you pour dirty water at the same time, what would happen-
The water will still be dirty no matter how long you pour clean water.
The water can be clean only when we don’t pour dirty water into it any more.
The same goes when we cast away the sinful natures in our heart.
Along with the effort to cast away sinful nature, we must have the determination to stop accepting more fleshly things.
Namely, we have to cut off the lust of the eyes.
We have to try to see only good things and hear only good things.
To cut off the lust of the eyes you cannot just plug your ears and close your eyes to get away from the world.
Also, I am not saying if you come in contact with the worldly things, the lust of the flesh will definitely be agitated and you will commit sins.
The important thing is to keep your heart so that you will not consider worldly things good and you will not accept them.
As long as you live in this world you cannot help coming in contact with the worldly things.
If your family members or coworkers are not believers, sometimes you have to accompany them to places where they take in the world and enjoy themselves.
If you work in secular sector, you might have to work with those who are not morally good.
But the important thing is to keep your heart to be watchful so that the worldly things will not come into your heart.
When the sons of Israel were attacking the city of Jericho, God commanded them to destroy all enemy and not to take anything from them.
But when a person called Achan saw the treasures, his greed was stimulated, and he hid a cloak, and gold and silver.
Finally, what he did was discovered and he was put to death.
Of course, when they had a battle, they came in contact with the treasures of the enemy.
But Achan could not possibly have thought, “I will commit a sin if my lust of the eyes is stimulated. So, I must not see any of the treasures. So, I will not go to fight.”
Rather than having such a thought, even after seeing precious things he should have kept his heart so that greed could not come into his thoughts.
When he first had the thought, “I want those things. Should I hide them-” he should have driven such thoughts away.
Would the treasures have mattered to him if he had thought that rather than becoming rich, he could be stoned to death for taking those things-
He would have thrown them away even if somebody gave them to him.
You can have the same kind of attitude when you encounter the flesh of the world.
You shouldn’t just suppress it and get away from it, but you have to realize that the fruit of flesh is death and hate it and keep a distance from it with your heart.
At the same time, you have to cast away the sinful natures that are in your heart with fervent prayers.
Brothers and sisters, the thing that we have to cast off next is the boastful pride of life.
Boastful pride of life is the nature that tries to reveal ourselves following the pleasures of life.
Men want to boast of the things they have to other people.
When they are praised for their wealth, fame, knowledge, social power, or appearances, they feel good and they enjoy the attention of other people.
If they don’t have anything to brag about, they boast of the things of their parents, spouses, children, or relatives.
They may also try to let others know that they have friendships with celebrities or politicians.
Because they have this desire to show themselves off, they take many fleshly things after all.
They may even try to get power and fame by framing others or telling lies.
In order to show off their wealth, they may buy things they can’t really afford, or they try to get illegitimate income.
Ecclesiastes 1:2-3 says, “”Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”  What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun-“
From a spiritual viewpoint, the boastful pride of life counts for nothing.
Psalm 103:15 says, “As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.”
Even though you have so many things to brag about on this earth, nothing is everlasting, and they can never give you true value and life.
But rather, because of the desire to lift yourself up, you would stand against God and finally fall into eternal death.
For example, the first king of Israel, King Saul, disobeyed God in the battle against Amalekites, which was commanded by God.
God told him to destroy all Amalekite people as well as their livestock.
But Saul had self-centered desire, and saved the good livestock.
Also, to reveal his glory, he captured the king of Amalek.
God sent the prophet Samuel to Saul and he rebuked him sternly.
God said He would forsake Saul and establish another man as the king for his disobedience.
How did Saul react to it-
Saul clung to Samuel holding his clothes, even to the point where it was torn.
He said he did wrong and he was pleading, but if you really hear what he says, it was not true repentance.
1 Samuel 15:30 says, “Then he said, “I have sinned; but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.”
He says he had sinned, but he never really wanted to repent and turn back.
What he meant was, “I have sinned. But please, just cover it and go back with me so that I can still have my honor as the king in front of the people.”
If he really understood what the most important thing was, he wouldn’t have sought his pride and honor.
He was in a situation in which he should have humbled himself to the lowest place before God, but he was rather asking Samuel to honor him.
He was more afraid of being looked down upon by the people than to be forsaken by God.
How foolish is this-
It is easy for those who seek boastful pride of life to become spiritually blinded.
So, we have to realize how foolish it is to follow the flesh of the world to reveal ourselves.
But the Bible says that we have to boast of something.
2 Corinthians 10:17 says, “But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord.”
To boast in the Lord is to boast of the cross of Jesus who saved us.
We are to boast of the power of the Almighty God who helps us achieve anything by faith, even though we cannot do anything with our own strength.
This kind of boasting is to give glory to God.
Also, it is to plant faith and hope in the hearts of the hearers.
To give testimonies is boasting in the Lord.
Such examples are like, “I was weak and sick before, but I became healthy by the grace of the Lord.”
“I was unwise and incompetent, but I pleased God and with His help I received great blessing in my business. As I served others and acted faithfully according to God’s word, I am loved by my boss and my colleagues and got promoted quickly.”
“I was not good at my studies, but God gave me wisdom and strength to concentrate, so my grades went up and I received scholarship, too.”
“I was an evil person before, but I am a new person now after believing in God.”
“My family was just about to break apart, but we are a very happy family in the Lord now.” Such testimonies are all boasting in the Lord.
2 Corinthians 11:30 says, “If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.”
Even though we are weak and we cannot do certain things, we can do anything by God’s grace and power. We boast of such things.
If we boast in the Lord this way, God is glorified and He gives us more things to boast of.
Romans 15:17-18 talks about the boasting of the apostle Paul.
It says, “Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God.  For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed,”
The apostle Paul considered himself the foremost of all sinners and the least of all believers.
But in spiritual matters, he was so confident and he didn’t hesitate to boast of the power of the Holy Spirit.
He bravely boasted of the power of the Holy Spirit, and the signs, and wonders that were manifested through him.
It was because he could confirm the living and almighty God through such boasting.
But we have to be careful here.
Some people say they are giving glory to God with their testimonies, but in fact they are flaunting or revealing themselves.
The boastful pride of life is not just about boasting of the worldly things.
It is also boastful pride of life if you try to be acknowledged and to become well known in the church.
For example, as you receive certain blessing and give a testimony about it, you somehow express that you want others to think you have done well and you have great faith.
Or, as you have listened to some good messages and talk about them, you somehow show that you know a lot of spiritual things.
Here, on the outside, you seem to be giving glory to God and speaking for God, but it is difficult for both you and the hearer to realize the deeper part of your heart.
But if you constantly check yourself with unceasing prayers and watchful mind, you can realize such things through the Holy Spirit.
I hope you will cast off all the meaningless boastful pride of life.
I urge you to cultivate the heart with which you can humble and sacrifice yourself; to consider others better than yourself; to rejoice together when others are recognized and praised; and to desire to reveal the glory of God only and to truly say that you are an unworthy servant.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Adam and Eve, who were living in the Garden of Eden, sinned because they were tempted by the serpent.
Genesis 3:6 says, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”
The lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, which make people take the world, are all expressed in this single verse.
‘It was good for food’ is the lust of the flesh, ‘it was a delight to the eyes’ is the lust of the eyes.
‘It was desirable to make one wise’ means she wanted to be lifted as highly as God, and it is the boastful pride of life.
Actually, Eve did not have any intention to eat from the tree of the knowledge in disobedience to God’s order.
But when she accepted the temptation of the serpent in her freewill, she wanted to eat the fruit, and she finally did it.
The lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life are the sources that make us commit sins by making us feel sins are good and lovely.
If you do not want to cast off the world or the lust of the world, it is because you feel it is good and it is wasteful to cast it away.
If you feel this way, I challenge you to seriously think about whether it is really something good.
No matter how good it feels to satisfy your lust, it is only momentary satisfaction. There is no true joy or true satisfaction.
To the extent that you take in flesh, your faith cannot grow up, and you cannot hope for a better heavenly dwelling place.
You cannot be confident before God, so you cannot ask Him for any blessings. If there is a problem, you cannot rely on Him to solve it.
You have seen so many works of God’s power. But, when you have a problem yourself, you have to rely on the world just like the worldly people. How pathetic this is!
If you just cut off the world and cast away flesh, your heart will be filled with God’s love and you will be full of grace and strength.
Above all, to the extent that your heart is filled with spirit, greater glory in Heaven will be given to you.
I urge you not to cling to the meaningless and perishing things of the world but cast them away quickly.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will fill your heart only with the things of the spirit that belong to God and enjoy eternal happiness and glory.