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The Cardiology of Worldliness B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
June 13, 2022 4:00 am

The Cardiology of Worldliness B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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June 13, 2022 4:00 am

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We'll be right back. But what makes sin so alluring and what can you do about its power? Find out today as John MacArthur helps you resist sin, continuing his series on grace to you titled, The Love God Hates.

And now here's John. First John 2, 15 to 17, 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. And the world is passing away and also its lusts. But the one who does the will of God abides forever.

I want to focus a little bit on diagnosing the cardiology of worldliness. All that is in the world, the sum of it is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life. None of that is from the Father, all of it is from the world. Now just a few questions to sort of frame up the big picture. Let's ask the question, What is sin?

And the answer is simple. First John 3, 4, Sin is the transgression of the Law. Now what is sin's nature? Going beyond just a simple definition of what it is, what is its nature? That is to say, what is its characterization, or what are its essential components?

What is it like? How is it described in the Bible? And first of all, sin is defiling. It is not just an act of disobedience, it is an internal pollution. Secondly, sin as to its nature is rebellious.

It is rebellious. It isn't just that you slip up and break the Law of God, it is that there is in you a will to rebel. Thirdly, we could say about sin that it is ingratitude. Further, sin is incurable.

It is incurable. Man does not have in himself the capacity to do anything about his sin. He is sin to the bone and he cannot alter that. And then we need to add that sin is deadly because the Bible says that soul that sins, it shall die. The wages of sin is death. The next question you might ask about sin is, How many people are affected by sin? And the answer to that is everybody. All, Romans 3 says, have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3, 10 says, there's none righteous, no, not one. No one escapes sin.

No one. Sin overpowers man, brings him under Satan's control, brings him under God's wrath, subjects him to all the miseries of life, and ultimately jams him to eternal hell. Now that leaves a final question that finally gets us to our text.

Here's the final question. Given that this is our condition, we're talking here about humanity, not Christians, talking about the world. Given that this is our condition and it's so systemic and so endemic and so deep, so profound, so incurable, what does the world do, what does the world appeal to to draw out our sin? That question is what's answered here. All that is in the world, remember the world is the system of evil, overseen by Satan, energized by demons.

What does that system appeal to in us? What is the matrix of fallenness, the pathology of fallenness, the cardiology of the unregenerate that the world appeals to? It is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Those are the three gateways to which the world system finds its way into the fallen heart and generates sin. All that is in the world, the world is the anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-Scripture, anti-righteous, deceptive order controlled by Satan. The world is synonymous with the kingdom of darkness. It is dangerous, it is deadly, it is designed by Satan to appeal to these three avenues into the fallen heart.

Let's look at these three just briefly. The lust of the flesh, this is the craving of our sinful hearts, epithumia, desire, the craving of the sinful hearts, common word used in the New Testament, sometimes means good desires. The context is what you have to look at to see whether its meaning is positive or negative. This means the negative cravings of our sinful heart, our world impulses, the impulses that draw us toward the evil that is around us. So the evil in us is attracted to the evil around us, or rather the evil outside of us solicits the evil that is in us. And it doesn't mean...when it talks about lust of the flesh, immediately you think of sexual sin.

Well that's certainly included, but that's not any limit on this. It's any desire for anything outside of God's law, any attitude, any thought, any word, any action that God forbids. It's the corruption of desires. It's selfish desires of any kind, sinful desires of any kind, the gamut. And God is not saying we can't have desires, there are normal healthy desires. Nothing wrong with desiring a partner in marriage, nothing wrong with desiring to eat, but it's sinful to desire a partner outside your marriage, it's sinful to become a glutton, obviously. Nothing wrong with enjoying a good time and having fun, it's wicked to be consumed with pleasure and irresponsible regarding duty. Nothing wrong with being comfortable, it's sinful to become a slave to luxury.

Everything can be perverted. The lust of the flesh is a slavish kind of relentless gratification of all desires outside of God's limits, or exceeding God's limits, oblivious to what is good and reasonable and righteous. That's the lust of the flesh. It's wanting what you want and you could care less what God has to say.

What are these lusts? Well, as I said, they're not just acts of immorality. Galatians 5 19, the deeds of the flesh are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and things like these.

Just fill in your own list. Anything done to satisfy your yearning that violates the law of God. The world is made up of these things. That's essentially what the world system is. And the world on the outside, the world system on the outside that Satan rules is simply an external projection of the heart of men. The world really appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life because the world is made up of sinners who run on that basis, who function on that basis. The second that he mentions is the lust of the eyes. It's not just what you feel.

It's not just those impulses and compulsions that you feel down inside toward self-fulfillment against the will of God. It's also what you see. It's also what you see. Eyes, Proverbs 20 12 says, are a gift from God.

What a blessing, what a wonderful grace to be able to see the beauty of God's creation, to see all the people that you know and love and all the wonders of life. But the evil of the heart twists and perverts the eyes. And Jesus says, if you look on a woman to lust after her, you've committed adultery in your heart. And what God gave you to appreciate His beauty can come a point of terrible, sinful pursuit. Lot's wife misused her eyes and perished, killed by God.

Achan saw with his eyes and coveted and took. Samson saw something he wanted with his eyes and it cost him his eyes. David was walking on his balcony and with his eyes he saw a woman who was another man's wife and he paid profoundly for that iniquity the rest of his life. That's why the psalmist said, please, Lord, keep my eyes from beholding vanity.

That's why Job said, Job 31, I made a covenant with my eyes. The lust of the flesh is the allurement that comes from the bodily impulses, the impulses of the mind and the body. The lust of the eyes is what is the lure of the outward appearance. It's a form of covetousness. The third component in this matrix is the boastful pride of life, boastful pride, alazoneia. It's not just pride, it's the braggart, it's the loud-mouthed boaster.

In fact, the alazan was the braggart. This form of worldliness, this component of our fallenness, this piece of the matrix in which fallenness functions that gets projected into the world and then appealed to by the world, this is at the base of all sin. The boastful pride of life is the desire to be better than everybody else, the desire to tell everybody how much better you are. It is the desire to exceed everybody else, boastful pride of life, to make your life more important than everybody else's life.

There you have it, that's really the cardiology of the worldly heart. It is driven by sensuality, covetousness and pride. Sensuality, further defining a little bit, is the corruption from the lower part of man's nature, gratification of bodily desire in forbidden ways. Covetousness is the corruption of a nobler part of man's nature, unlawful abuse of God's creation. Pride is the corruption of the noblest part of man's being, the self-exaltation of his spirit made in God's image. Lust of the flesh, that's just base desire, gratification. Covetousness, that's a little bit higher on the scale. You see something, you recognize the attractiveness of it and you want it for yourself. And so there comes envy, covetousness, jealousy.

It sometimes leads to murder, James says. Pride is the corruption of the noblest part of man's life, that is his imagiodae, his mind, his rationality. What exalts man above all the rest of the creation is that he is made in God's image. Instead of being humbled by that, he seeks to fulfill things that glorify himself and not God. In sensuality he functions lower than an animal. In covetousness, he seeks to have everything that his fellow man has. In pride, he defies God. Sensual, he's like an animal.

Covetous, he's like all other men, desiring to have what they have. But in pride, he defies God. He rears up to replace the sovereign God Himself, he like the devil who was lifted up with pride. Therein is the web of sinful impulse, provides the beachhead for the system's temptations to land and conquer the sinner's heart.

Now that's so far a bit of an abstraction. Let me give a concrete conclusion by having you turn to Genesis 3. Here is the first temptation, the first sin in the fall of the human race. Genesis 3, 1 to 7, Satan comes along. He finds the woman Eve in the garden, verse 1.

He approaches the woman. He says, indeed, as God said, you shall not eat from any tree of the garden. That's the first question in history, by the way, designed to start Eve on the path to distrusting God. He wants Eve to doubt the character of God. He wants Eve to disobey God. He wants Eve to believe that God is a liar and that God is restrictive needlessly and wants to put her in bondage. So here for the first time, he offers Eve the option of subjecting God's Word to human judgment.

This is a sad moment. This is the first time anything God said was subjected to human judgment. As God said, you shall not eat from any tree of the garden. Satan in the way he poses the question turns the positive into the negative. God originally said you can eat from anything in the garden, everything in the garden except that one tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Satan turned it into a negative. As God said, you shall not eat from any tree of the garden, emphasizing the negative, forcing Eve to contemplate the fact that God is restrictive. He turns what was a provision with only one small limitation into what is a prohibition, setting her up for the main assault on God. He is implying God is restrictive, God is narrow, God hampers freedom, God wants to rain on your parade, God doesn't want you to have something that's really good, He wants to limit your enjoyment, He wants to limit your pleasure. On the other hand, he implies, I am devoted to your full fulfillment.

I am in the freedom business. God may even be cruel and uncaring if He restricted you from that tree. God's pro-bondage, I'm pro-freedom. Well the woman answered the serpent and said, from the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, you shall not eat from it or touch it. God didn't say that. God didn't say that.

By adding those words, or touch it, she's saying, yeah, you know, you might be right. And she's starting to add restrictions to what God said, feeling the weight of Satan's approach. There's no defense of God here. She doesn't say, how dare you question the Word of God.

You didn't get it right. It was a provision with only a minor restriction, not a prohibition. She doesn't defend God at all. She says, yeah, you shall not eat from it or touch it lest you die. God didn't say that. But she is beginning to buy into this idea that God is restrictive, so she throws in a restriction of her own.

Her heart has set its course and she fell really at that moment, the moment she didn't defend God. And Satan knew it, so in verse 4 he went all the way. The serpent said to the woman, you surely shall not die.

He knew where she was. God said, you'll die. Satan said, no you won't. And by saying that, Satan said, God is a what? He's a liar. He's not only narrow.

He's not only restrictive. He not only wants to rain on your parade. He not only wants you to keep from enjoying the pleasure of that tree, but He didn't tell you the truth. I'm telling you, He lied to you. You won't die.

That's a lie. Well, why would God lie? Why would God say, I'll die? Verse 5, because God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be open and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. The reason He doesn't want you to eat is not because He loves you and you'll die, it's because if you eat, you'll be like Him and He hates competition. He doesn't want anybody equal to Him.

He's jealous and it's an evil jealousy and it's a narrow jealousy and it's a restrictive jealousy. She was gone in her mind. She had fallen but she hadn't yet sinned. She was in a fallen condition. She hadn't yet sinned.

What is the matrix in her fallenness that's going to literally cause her to sin? Verse 6 tells you, follow this, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, what's that? Stomach, bodily appetite, lust of the flesh. It wasn't related to hunger. She had all kinds of things to eat. It was the idea that there was some satisfaction being withheld from her. It was good for food, lust of the flesh, fulfill some desire, some appetite. Secondly, she saw also that it was a delight to the eyes.

That's the lust of the eyes. It not only excited her sort of basic desire for the sensual joy of food, excited her otherwise noble appreciation of beauty. So it went from her physicality to her emotion. And she saw that it was a beautiful tree and that made it desirable. She could appreciate beauty and so she was seduced by her hunger and she was seduced by her vision. And then she also saw that the tree was desirable to make one...what?...wise.

What was that? Pride of life. That's the matrix that sin works on, the baser desires and appetites of the body, the nobler visions of beauty and form and the highest of all, the ability to know wisdom. Because you're made in the image of God comes a point of pride. There was physical impulse, there was an emotional impulse, there was an intellectual impulse. That is the matrix of temptation, comes in that way.

It did it that first time and it always has since. One closing illustration, Luke 4. In Luke 4, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and led by the Spirit in the wilderness, Luke 4 verse 1. He was forty days in the wilderness tempted by the devil. Well wouldn't you love to know how the devil tempted Jesus?

You do, he's revealed it here. He ate nothing during those days. When they ended, he became hungry. He was being tempted the whole time.

And here we get an indication of how the devil worked on him. The devil said to him, if you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread. Forty days of not eating, you can imagine he was hungry, right? Make some bread out of those stones. You have the power, turn those stones into bread. Fulfill that hunger. Jesus said, it's written, man shall not live on bread alone.

He didn't fall to that. So Satan let him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world. Take a look. All that your eyes can see. And he went at him on the lust of the eyes. And the devil said to him, I'll give you all this domain and its glory. Look at it all, all the wonder of the created world. It's been handed over to me, he said, and I give it to whomever I wish. He is the prince of this world. And if you just worship me, it will be yours. Look at it all.

Wouldn't you like to have that? You who have nowhere to lay your head, who have only the clothes on your back, you who are the Messiah of God, impoverished. And Jesus answered and said to him, it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only. I can't serve you.

I can't worship you. Temptation to the lust of the flesh, he met with Scripture from Deuteronomy. The temptation to the lust of the eyes, he met with Scripture, again from Deuteronomy.

There's only one last place to go and that's to the pride of life. So he led him to Jerusalem, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, probably a 400-foot drop at least to the valley below on that southeast corner of the temple ground. If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. You want these people to recognize you as the Messiah, the Son of God. Remember the Old Testament says in Psalm 91, He'll give His angels charge concerning you to guard you on their hands.

They'll bear you up lest you strike your foot against a stone. Can't you imagine, Jesus, He says, can't you imagine you want acceptance, you want to be popular, you want to be somebody, you want the accolades of the world, just dive off this 400-foot precipice and the angels will all gather around you and you'll float down like a feather and you'll land and they'll all bow down and you'll be preeminent, appealing to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, now the pride of life. Jesus said to him, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test. And again He quotes from Deuteronomy. He just met every temptation with Scripture.

He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet what? Without sin. This is how the world comes, beloved, this is how the world comes. It comes at the base level of bodily desires. It comes at the nobler level of the vision of beauty. And it comes at the highest of all, the intellectual level, the desire for knowledge and wisdom and to be significant. That is the matrix of temptation.

Everything in the world works in that complex. This is the heart of man. This is how the world operates.

Back to 1 John for a minute. That's not us. We're not a part of that anymore, gratefully, all that is in the world is not from the Father and the world is passing away and also it's lust, but the one who does the will of God abides forever.

That's not us. We are not driven by the world, we are driven by the will of the Father. We don't always do it the way we should, but that's always the longing in our hearts, always the longing in our hearts. We don't love the world. We don't love the things in the world because the love of the Father is in us.

We are not of the world. We still have the residual impact of sin in us. We still can be tempted that way, but it goes against the grain of who we are. We do not love that system.

When we fall victim to it, we hate the system and we hate the sin. This is how we are distinguished as true believers. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur.

Thanks for being with us. Along with teaching every day on the radio, John also serves as chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, and he has titled our current series, The Love God Hates. Well, John, this study has made it clear the world system is going to, at times, tempt believers and seem attractive to us. So with that said, I'm wondering, what can we as Christians do in these moments of temptation? How practically can we resist worldliness?

You know, I think part of it is just knowing it and just realizing it, realizing the world is not your friend. The media is not there to increase your sanctification. The film industry is not there to make you love holiness, whether you're talking about television, music, whatever it is.

The educational system, the university system is not there to increase your Christ-likeness. It's all a part of the same system under the power of the prince of the air, and it exists to destroy and to kill, because by definition, Satan destroys and kills, and he is a liar and a deceiver. All that the world has to offer, all the systems of the world, whether they're educational systems, sociological systems, entertainment systems, whatever they are, they have one goal, that is to deceive and destroy.

And I think you have to start there. You can't play around with the enemy. You need to separate yourself from the enemy. And that's what this entire series has been about, the love God hates. You must, you must not love the world. And I don't mean you sit around saying, oh, I love all that's wrong in the world.

I mean you don't expose yourself to all of that. This is such an important series. It's available on three CDs.

That's right. It's available on three CDs, and we'll send them to you if you just contact our ministry. Very reasonable price. Contact Grace To You. Ask for the three CDs on the love God hates. Or if you choose, you can download the series free of charge. Why should you do that? Because you need to have this and to repeat it and to meditate on it and share it with others.

Do that today. Yes, friend, this study can help you accomplish a crucial life-changing goal that is recognizing worldliness and avoiding it. To download John's series, The Love God Hates, or to order the CDs, contact us today. Our web address, Again, our study, The Love God Hates, is free to download at There you'll also find every other sermon from John's 50 years of pulpit ministry, 3,500 messages total, all of them free to download. Or if you'd like to order this series on CD, go to our website or call us at 800-55-GRACE. And when you get in touch, let us know if today's lesson encouraged you.

Perhaps you've already thought of some practical ways to apply John's series, The Love God Hates. Share that with us. We also certainly would like to hear if someone you know has come to faith in Christ after hearing this broadcast.

We love stories like that. Email your feedback to letters at Once more, that's letters at Or you can send a letter to Grace To You, Box 4000, Panorama City, California, 91412. And now for John MacArthur and the entire Grace To You staff, I'm Phil Johnson, encouraging you to be here tomorrow when John looks at how you can make a difference in an evil culture. He's starting a series titled, God's Word To An Ungodly Society, with another half hour of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-05 22:04:32 / 2023-04-05 22:14:58 / 10

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