Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
Our Lord intends that we live in close fellowship and communion with Him. That is where peace and joy and security only are to be found. James tells us, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Today, may we draw near to our Lord. Draw near to Him in prayer and in his word. And he will draw near to you. If you are struggling with uncertainty, fear, or anxiety today … draw near to your Heavenly Father and he will assuredly draw near to you.
- TONIGHT we will meet at the VanTubergen’s home at 7:00 to continue our study in Galatians. Their address is 8803 Catawissa Drive, Houston, 77095.
- ALSO TONIGHT the North Houston study will meet at the Shimeall’s home to study RC Sproul’s “The Holiness of God.” Their address is 28619 Hidden Lake W, Magnolia, TX 77354.
- Please contact Roxanne Thompson or Abbey Touchette if you are willing to help serve in the nursery.
- Our Spring retreat with Providence OPC will be April 23-25. See here for info and to register: http://providencepres.com/retreat/.
- Note the dates for the OPC summer youth camp: June 22-27. See here for more info: http://www.opcsouthwest.org/summer-youth-camp/.
- Finally, this week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from 1 John on worldliness.
God bless and I look forward to worshipping with the body of Christ this Lord’s Day!
From the Pastor’s Desk
1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world.”
After God completed the creation week, he declared his creation ‘very good’ (Gen 1:31). But then Genesis 3 tells the story of man’s fall into sin and of God’s curses upon this sin-stained world (Gen 3:1-19). Thus we now live in a world under the curse and in bondage to sin. It is this ‘world’ – the world in sin – the fallen world – the world in hostility to Christ, that John often refers to in his writings (Gospel of Jon, 1-3 John, and Revelation; see, e.g. John 1:10; 12:46; 15:19). And it is this ‘world’ that tempts us away from the Lord. It is this ‘world’ for which we need to be on guard. As the Apostle John states: “For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16). In John’s usage the ‘world’ is personified to signify all that is opposed to the Lord.
We can see the temptation of the world and the hostility of the world to Christ in two pivotal and parallel episodes in Scripture. The first episode is Eve’s temptation in the garden. As Satan points Eve to the tree from which she was forbidden to eat, we read, “So 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 to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit of ate” (Gen 3:6). Note the overlap with John’s description of worldliness from 1 John 2:16 … Eve saw the tree was good for food (‘desires of the flesh’); it was a delight to the eyes (‘desires of the eyes’); it was desired to make one wise (‘pride in possessions’). And sadly we know the rest of the story … Eve disobeyed the word of God, listened to the prompting of Satan and fell into sin.
The second episode is the Lord Jesus Christ’s temptation in the wilderness. Luke records the three temptations hurled by Satan at Christ: “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread” (Luke 4:3) … “If you, then, will worship me, [all the kingdoms of the world] will all be yours” (Luke 4:7) … “If you are the Son of God, thrown yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angles concerning you’” (Luke 4:9-10). Again, we note the overlap with John’s description of worldliness in 1 John 2:16: command the stones to become bread (‘desires of the flesh’); worship Satan and receive the kingdoms of the world (‘desires of the eyes’); and throw yourself down and command the angels to protect you (‘pride in possessions’). But whereas Eve (and Adam) failed, Christ as the last Adam overcame. Whereas Eve (and Adam) disobeyed the Lord, Christ as our representative perfectly obeyed. Whereas Adam and Eve stumbled, Christ defeated the ‘world’ in its sinful hostility to the Lord.
There are two important applications we should take from this. First, in Christ the world has no ultimate control on us. In principle, we have overcome the world in Christ. But secondly, we are commanded to be in practice what we are in principle. Thus, the Apostle John exhorts us not to love the world, but to do the will of God (1 John 4:15, 17); and James tells us that friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). Brothers and sisters, resist the temptations of the world – the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and pride in possessions. Take confidence in Christ your representative who has overcome for his people. And be in practice what you already are in principle! Amen!
Rev. Robert Arendale, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), www.csopc.org