[1 John 2:15-16]
 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves 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 boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the ninth session of the 1 John lecture series.
In the last session, I explained that there are differences in the measure of faith of each person, beginning with the faith of little children to the faith of fathers.
Our faith grows up to the extent that we cast away sins and evil and replace them with the knowledge of truth to resemble the image of God.
The reason why God made Adam and He has been cultivating human beings until today is to gain children who have reached the faith of fathers.
He wants to gain true children who truly love God and are loved by God.
What do we have to do to become such children- We have to cast away sins and become sanctified.
We enter into spirit as we cast away flesh.
I have explained so many times the ways to become sanctified, but some people ask the same question.
They say, “How can I go into spirit- How can I become sanctified-“
If you are one of these people, please listen to this message carefully and keep it in mind, then, you will be able to put the way into practice.
Through the message, I urge you to cast away useless flesh, long for spiritual things, and reach the measure of faith of fathers who love God the most.
1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
The ‘world’ here refers to the world that is under the control of the enemy devil and Satan.
God created the world in goodness.
But after the fall of Adam, all things were cursed along with Adam.
From that time on, the world has been under the control of the enemy devil and Satan.
In Luke 4:6, while showing to Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth, Satan said, “…it has been handed over to me.”
If somebody says he believes in the Lord and he is a child of God, but still loves the world and commits sins, then it means he still belongs to the world.
He is still a slave of sin and he is one who is still bound by the enemy devil and Satan.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Suppose one master tells the slave to go to the east while the other master tells the same slave to go to the west, then, how can the slave obey two masters-
We have to either love God, and become a slave of righteousness; or we have to love the world, and become a slave of sin.
If we love the world and do not cast away the worldly things and yet say that we love God, it means we are lying.
If we really cherish the love of God who has given us His one and only Son, we will definitely cast away our love for the world.
If we keep on loving the world, we will be more and more distanced from God’s love. I believe some of you have experienced it.
Just as a magnet draws iron, flesh will draw flesh.
If you begin to love the world and take in the fleshly worldly things, you will have increasing desire to take more and more of the flesh.
You cannot just quit them and cut them off right away saying, “I’ve had enough of the worldly things. Now, I am going to fill up my heart with spiritual things.”
Let me give you an example.
Suppose you like TV dramas and you watched the dramas all evening before the Daniel prayer.
It’s almost time to go to pray, but the drama is reaching its climax.
Then, can you just say, “I’ve watched enough”, turn it off and leave the house immediately-
It’s a fortunate case if you can, but in most cases you cannot.
Because the drama is still going on, you want to watch just a little bit more, and consequently you are late for the prayer time.
Even though you come to pray after the drama is over, you will be reminded of the drama constantly during the prayers.
You wonder what the next episode will be like as you think about what you have watched. Then, these thoughts will disrupt you in your prayers.
The next day you will be sitting in front of the TV to watch the drama on time.
As you keep on doing that, you will constantly be late to the prayer, and you may also be late to the worship services as well.
As these things go on repeatedly, your fullness of Spirit and grace will disappear and your faith will cool down.
You will not long for the prayers or the worship service, and you will become just lukewarm in faith.
Even though you want to love God, you cannot receive the strength to do it as long as you keep on taking in the worldly things.
The focus of life has to be loving God more, working for Him more faithfully and becoming sanctified. But you cannot do that.
I explained with an example of a TV drama, but the same goes with all things that belong to this world.
The word ‘world’ refers to dating somebody, money, fame, social power, or anything that you love more than God.
By any chance do you have less grace in your heart and less fullness of Spirit than you had before-
Then, you should check whether you are really focusing on loving God and how much you are actually trying everyday to cast away sins and to get into better heavenly dwelling places.
What I mean is you have to check the thing that draws your heart and what pulls your love for God away from Him.
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, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”
Here, the ‘world’ refers to the world that is under the control of the enemy devil and Satan.
Those people of flesh who live in this world of darkness are also under the control of the enemy devil and Satan.
When God first created man, God put only the contents of spirit in man.
He taught him only integrity, love, gentleness, peace, service and other knowledge of truth and filled man’s heart with these things.
But from the moment of the fall of Adam, the enemy devil and Satan began to plant the knowledge of untruth in the hearts of people.
Satan poured hatred, falsehood, envy, jealousy, anger, greed, adultery, etc. into the hearts of all people.
To that same extent, the contents of spirit that God planted in Adam leaked from their hearts.
As time passed they lived in this world that is under the authority of Satan. The contents of flesh were planted in people more and more.
Today’s reading passage explains these contents of flesh of the world in three categories.
It says that everything that is from this world is ‘the lust of the flesh’, ‘lust of the eyes’, and ‘the boastful pride of this life’.
Let us delve into these three things in more detail.
First, the lust of the flesh is the desire to follow the flesh and commit sins.
As you have heard in the sermon series, ‘Spirit, Soul and Body’, the flesh is the body of man combined with sinful natures.
Here, the body is the body of man from which the knowledge of spirit leaked out after the fall of Adam.
The ‘lust of the flesh’ is the sinful natures in heart that are trying to be revealed externally. In other words, it is the desire to commit sins.
The lust of the flesh is the desire to commit adultery, get angry, steal, hate others, and commit various sins.
If you have these natures of flesh in your heart, your desires are to follow those natures.
Those who have envy will feel good only after they demonstrate their envy and bring down others.
If they have the nature of judging and condemning others, they feel that it is fun to spread rumors and judging others.
Those who have hot tempers feel good only after they vent their anger whenever they feel angry.
If they want to suppress it, they feel very uncomfortable.
Now, let us look into the process of the lust of the flesh being motivated and revealing itself externally.
If men have sinful natures in their hearts, they will have thoughts of untruth based on the sinful natures.
Namely, to the extent that they have flesh in heart, they will have fleshly thoughts.
As they begin to have fleshly thoughts, the lust of the flesh is motivated.
Let me illustrate the example of ‘envy’. Suppose a person has envy.
When his colleague was praised by his boss, he begins to have fleshly thoughts that are derived from the nature of flesh called ‘envy’.
He thinks, “What did he do so that the boss is praising him- He didn’t really do anything better than many others, but the boss has been praising him publically and praised him many times. If the boss keeps on doing that, he will start thinking he really is more excellent than others. It is not fair and it is not right.”
So many others thoughts of the same kind will continue to come into his mind.
As these fleshly thoughts progress and accumulate, his lust of the flesh will soon be agitated, and this in turn will motivate his envy.
He feels uncomfortable and his face becomes rigid and cold.
When he talks to his colleague, he cannot talk in a nice way. He may complain about the person or even slander him before others.
Now, what do we have to do to prevent the lust of the flesh from motivating the envy-
First, we have to cut off the fleshly thoughts.
When your coworker is being praised, if you begin to have such thoughts as, “Why is he being praised- He didn’t really do anything exceptionally well. It’s not right” then, you have to stop such thoughts right there.
But sometimes even though you try to stop such thoughts, they just keep coming into your mind.
In this case, you have to change those thoughts into good thoughts rather than trying stop thinking.
Not just the thoughts, but you have to change the feelings, too.
When others are praised, you have to change the uncomfortable feelings into good and happy feelings.
You should begin to have good thoughts and feelings thinking, “I am happy and grateful that he is being praised, and loved, and encouraged by his boss.”
Along with this kind of effort, there is something more important.
You have to get rid of the sinful nature. You have to cast off the sinful nature from your heart.
In order to pull out the sinful nature called ‘envy’ from your heart, you have to remember your attitude of mind and feelings that you had at the moment of feeling envious. Then you have to pray about it.
You have to pray fervently until those feelings and thoughts of envy disappear completely.
According to the temperament of each person, some have strong envy and jealousy, while others have relatively little envy and jealousy so that they pull them out easily.
Also, when people cannot enjoy and have what they want to enjoy and have in their lives, envy and jealousy may grow strongly because they store up sorrow and resentment in heart.
But in any situation, if you are always thankful and think in goodness, you can stop storing up more of envy in your heart.
But if you become resentful because others have what you don’t have, and if you have uncomfortable and hard feelings against them, your envy will only become stronger to the extent that you accept such evil feelings.
However, anybody can cast away such sinful natures if they have the determination and try to change themselves by asking God for His grace and strength.
The important thing is that you have to realize how much God hates such an evilness of heart.
Also, as said in Proverbs 14:30, “A tranquil heart is life to the body, But passion is rottenness to the bones,” you have to thoroughly realize how harmful envy is for you.
To that extent, you will cling to God, and you will try to have good heartedness and good thoughts.
When God sees the effort, He will help you.
You will be able to feel that your sinful natures are cast away through the grace and strength of God and the help of the Holy Spirit.
As you cast away the sinful natures one by one, if you experience the happiness and joy of casting away sins, the speed of sanctification will accelerate.
There is one more thing you have to remember in the process of casting away flesh.
To cast away the flesh that is in you, you must not accept any more flesh from the world.
Namely, you have to cut off the lust of the eyes.
The ‘lust of the eyes’ is the nature that agitates our heart and makes us follow fleshly things through what we see and hear.
If you store something in your heart with a good feeling, then you will remember the same feelings when you hear or see something that can remind you of the same thing.
For example, when a person sees a picture of a red apple, those who previously enjoyed a red apple will remember the taste and feeling of enjoying it.
They will remember the refreshing and sweet taste, the feeling of the cracking as a bite is taken, and they will have the desire to eat one.
If that desire becomes stronger, they may actually eat one.
But those who have never tasted an apple before will not really have the desire to eat it when they see the picture of a red apple.
It’s similar with the lust of the eyes.
Those who enjoyed the world with a good feeling would want to enjoy the world again when they come in contact with things that remind them of those feelings.
In order to avoid such temptations, they have to remove the things from around them that can give them such temptations.
They must not see, hear, or be in the proximity of such things.
Suppose a person who is trying to quit drinking goes to a bar. He sees others drinking and smells the liquor.
Then, thoughts like, ‘It smells good. I think I’d like to have just one too!’ will be stimulated.
His desire for liquor that he suppressed will become much stronger.
So, he must not even go near any liquor.
In the same way, if some students want to do away with computer games, they have to get rid of the computers.
Those who want to cast away anger must not watch violent movies. Those who want to cast away an adulterous mind must not put themselves in any adulterous situation.
Namely, they must not put themsevles in any situation that can agitate their lust of the eyes.
If they keep on accepting the lust of the eyes, finally, their sinful natures will be agitated.
For example, suppose you have besieged a city and are trying to conquer it.
You attack diligently and establish a blockade of the city. But, one point in the blockade you open it so that the enemy can be supplied with weapons and food.
Then, the enemy force in the city can keep on resisting, and the battle will go on fiercely for a long time.
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 supplies and 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 away sinful natures.
You will only have more and more struggles of the heart.
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.
In the same way, to cast off the sinful natures from your heart, you must not see, hear, or even go near to fleshly things.
Namely, you have to cut off the lust of the eyes.
You have to try to see only good things and hear only good things.
I will continue to talk about the boastful pride of this life in the next session.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 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.