By C. W Scott
The church of the New Testament was planned by the Lord to be a most glorious institution and one that should ever challenge the attention of men and women. Jesus Christ gave Himself in death upon the cruel cross on Calvary’s brow that He might purchase and gain for Himself a bride-the church, holy and unspotted by worldly things. Paul wrote to the Ephesian saints (chap. 5:25-27), “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” And Timothy was admonished and warned, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves . . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away” (1 Tim. 3:1-5).
On the one hand we view the beautiful bride of Christ, his church; it is a glorious institution, without spot or wrinkle, holy and unblemished by sin and its damnable influence. Then we behold the “perilous days” when men would be infatuated with worldly pleasure and thereby crowd God’s and heaven’s ways out of their hearts. They have “a form of godliness’ but deny the power and radiating influence of a righteous and godly church of Christians-the Lord’s righteous servants. The former picture is pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ but the latter view of desertion and apostasy is most damning, to the souls of men and most grievous in the eyes of the Lord. Therefore, only those who have been sanctified and cleansed “with the washing of water by the word,” and who “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,” may expect eternal redemption and communion in the heavenly home with God the Father, Jesus Christ and all of the redeemed of time.
The writer is aware that there is no such thing as “little sins and big sins” with God but more than a half century of personal observation forces me to proclaim that worldliness is truly one of the greatest of evils and a most challenging problem confronting Christian men and women along with young people today. The purity of the church in too many places is being corrupted and its pristine identity is being destroyed by pleasure-mad and thrill-seeking members. It is not a rare thing to find preachers condoning and even engaging in practices that have destroyed the spiritual life and power of so many Christians. Regardless of whether or not the writer can convincingly-establish the cause or causes of this harmful and calamitous condition, it is nevertheless a fact, an unquestionable fact, that the church of our Lord, in far too many places, is being overrun by pleasure-seeking worldlings who are unhindered by the united opposition of both elders and evangelists. Loyalty to Christ and zeal for the salvation of lost souls should awaken every faithful child of God to militant action against all sin in order that the children of God may no longer be hindered in their march of righteousness in conquest of everlasting life.
Worldliness is the Carnival of Death
Worldliness has been designated the “Carnival of Death” and Judas Iscariot in both his fall and tragic death justifies the title. “Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him (Christ) unto you? And they convenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver” (Matt. 25:14-15). It is the ugly picture of Judas selling his Lord and Savior. Silver looked very good to him and his worldly lust prompted him to trade off Jesus for thirty pieces of silver which would be today about half as many dollars. From that day to this the name Judas and “traitor” have become synonymous and men and women the world over have been made to despise his wicked actions. The name Judas no one choose to wear today. And his carnival in life ended with suicide as he hanged himself! How sad and how tragic an end to experience instead of victory in righteousness.
Reader, is there something in your life that’s drawing you away from Christ? Think and search your heart and life carefully. Are you engaging in pursuits and pleasures that are of the world, rather than those things that prepare you for the world to come? Brother or sister, are you seeking gain for time instead of for eternity? If this be true, is not the thing that is leading you apart from “the way of holiness” your selling price?
Lest any be deceived by the wily and crafty way of Satan, I desire to pull aside the curtain that your eyes may behold the scenes in the Carnival of Death to Spiritual Life. First, we behold Earthly Desire with its excessive longing for riches or the stuffing of the body to the starving of the soul. Riches are all right when used rightly but when “sumptuous living” is our main goal in life we are headed for certain destruction.
We are counseled by the Great Teacher, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things (necessities of life) shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
“A certain rich man” lusted for worldly earthly ease. In anticipation of his new and larger barns being filled to overflowing spoke to himself saying, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21). The rich man, also, participated in a carnival in life unto death. Beware! It does not pay to center one’s thought wholly upon worldly gain and carnal pride.
Look at the merry-go-round of Fleshly Desire of the Carnival of Death. The depraved lust, passion and appetites must be satisfied! Beer, whiskey and tobacco are main items in the daily menu of some professing Christians. One may hear them profess that they are saved but those hearing the claim really feel like replying, “Saved from what?” Father drinks the intoxicating beverages and “the weed” provides him with the opiate rest from the pain of dissipation. Mother follows his conduct with the endorsement of so-called “good society.” How can we expect anything good or worthwhile from the children of such a union?
The Holy Spirit and the apostle Paul warmed against such carnality in language no one can misunderstand. Will you carefully read and consider with me again the following words? “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption” (Gal. 6:7). Hear another of the apostle’s admonitions! “Dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man–(read it again) If any man defile or destroy the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:17).
Fellow Christians, Worldliness is the Carnival of Death to spiritual life! Let not the carnal and fleshly things of the world turn us aside from our high and holy calling in Christ Jesus. (Continued next issue)
Truth Magazine, XX:13, p. 6-7
March 25, 1976