The World vs. The Word
Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 John 2:15; John 1:1-5,14; Habakkuk 1:9-11; Matthew 13:22,16:24-26; Ecclesiastes 2:24-26, 5:10-11; Luke 12:22-34; 1 Timothy 6:17
Are you a little down right now? Frustrated with your life, or even feeling ashamed of what you have or haven’t accomplished? You may be listening to the voice of the world in your head. Wrapped in self-help language or encouraging you to “Seize the day!”, the world creates a false hope of success based on a false premise of reality. The world’s way of thinking ultimately leads to anxiety and hopelessness. But there is a better way.
Join Brett Clemmer as he explores the contrast between the way of the World and the way of the Word, and find hope for a future that will allow you to be at peace no matter how turbulent the times.
Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…”
The Four Voices: How to Think Like a Christian
The World vs the Word
Well, Hey guys. And welcome back to the Man in the Mirror, Bible Study. We’ve been in this series called The Four Voices. This is session three, and Pat did the introduction in the first week and this last week, and this week, we’re talking about The Voice of the World, The Voice of the World. Now, where does the idea of the four voices come from? If you read Ephesians 2:2, you see this, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which he wants walked following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that’s now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh. Carrying out the desires of the body and the mind and were by nature, children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
And so in this verse from Paul to the Ephesians, you see these three things that we actually often talk about here, is the world, the flesh and the devil. And then of course, the fourth voice that Pat introduced was the voice of the Holy spirit in your head. And so in Ephesians 2:2 and three, we see the course of this world, the Prince of the power of the air and the passions of the flesh. And so that’s where we get these four voices from along with the Holy spirit. And so today what I want to do is, Pat talked a little bit last week about the voice of the world. And the voice of the world, last week’s Big Idea was the voice… Is the world says Jesus is not enough. And of course we would say, Jesus is most definitely enough. And Pat talked about that last week.
So this week I’m going to talk a little bit more about the voice of the world and what that looks like. So, first thing we want you to do is grab your handout. If you haven’t already downloaded and printed the handout, you might want to go ahead and pause the video right now, go to the website and grab that handout. You can download it and print it. I hope you’re in a group. If you’re in a group that has questions on it as well, and have some great discussion time after you watch the video. But as we look at the world this week, what I want to do is sort of contrast a compare and contrast two words that are used in the new Testament and in the original Greek that talk about the world and the word. In English, one letter difference in Greek, two completely different words.
The world that the writers use in the New Testament is the word Kosmos, K-O-S-M-O-S, if you put it into a Western alphabet, kosmos. And of course we get the word cosmos with a C from a cosmological, we tend to think of cosmos as sort of the universe, right? But cosmos in the way that it’s used here in the Greek, it means a couple different things, but it has this connotation sort of the way things are supposed to work, a neat arrangement of how things are supposed to work. And so when the writers of the New Testament talk about, “Don’t be conformed to the world.” Like Paul says in Romans 12, what he’s saying is that the way that the world seems like it works is not as neat and arrangement as it may appear to be. The truths that the world is going to tell you are not necessarily true.
And so the world, the cosmos the world is constantly speaking into how life is supposed to work. And that can be a voice in your head, as you’re trying to figure out how to live your life and what you want to do, who you want to be. The world is giving you messages as to what your values should be, what should be important to you. And they’re really based on a faulty worldview or truth view of how reality really is, how the world truly works under the power of our creator. And so let’s look at just how these two words are used really quick. If you go to First John chapter two, verse 15, you’ll see Paul, excuse me, John talking about the cosmos. He says, do not love the world. Do not love the cosmos or the things in the world, in the cosmos.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. So John is very clearly putting this distinction that you can’t love. The cosmos the way that the world tells you things work and love God at the same time, they are opposed to each other. And then also in John 1, in a very, very well known passage. And I’ll read verses one through five, and then verse 14, John uses the word Logos or Logos that’s translated as the word, right? So in the beginning was the word and the word was with God. And the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. And without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
And the Word, verse 14, and the Word Logos became flesh and dwelt among us. This is Jesus, right? The word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we have seen his glory, glory as of the only son from the father full of grace and truth. So the Logos is full of grace and truth. That cosmos is a darkness, it’s where the dark… it’s part of the darkness, John is saying here. And so let’s look at what that looks like in our society, and then what it looks like in scripture. So I don’t know about you. I love Robin Williams. He’s a great actor and so sad when he took his life, as he was struggling with the effects of Parkinson’s and one of the forms of dementia that comes with that. It was very sad when he took his life, but he’s a great actor, a great comedian, sort of a broken man who was very honest about his brokenness.
I always appreciate guys that are willing to be open about their brokenness. And one of my favorite movies that Robin Williams was in was a movie called Dead Poet Society. Have you ever seen Dead Poet Society? If you haven’t go rent it. It’s a fascinating movie. It’s about a man who is a teacher at a boarding school, probably in the 50s and a boys boarding school. So obviously it’s well to do a young men that are at this school, and he’s a little bit of a rebel. He doesn’t really teach the boring way that many of the older professors at this school teach. He’s sort of avant garde. He’s trying to get the boys to come alive. That’s really what you can feel with him. He really wants them to come alive. And there’s the scene towards the beginning of the movie where he’s got the boys in they’re in the hallway of the school.
And they come to the trophy cases. And in the trophy cases are pictures of past victorious athletic teams and the trophies that they won. And he’s showing the boys these trophy cases, and he’s going to use it for an object lesson. And here’s the object lesson that he gives them. This is what he says, as he’s showing them these trophy cases. And they’re looking at these pictures, he says, “They’re not that different from you. Are they? Same haircuts full of hormones, just like you, invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things. Just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope. Just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them with spirit whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in, listen, do you hear it?
Carpe. Do you hear it? Carpe. Carpe diem, seize the day boys make your lives extraordinary.” Yeah, that sounds pretty cool. Doesn’t it? Carpe diem, seize the day. And in certain situations we do need to carpe diem, we do need to take advantage of opportunity when it presents itself, we do need to accomplish the task that’s been put in front of us. And Carpe diem in that sense is a great encouragement, but carpe diem as a worldview is empty. And this is what the world tells you. It tells you, you have to seize the day. You have to make the most of the opportunities that are given to you and it’s all up to you. And so that brings us to the Big Idea for this session is that; The world says, “This is all there is, you are all you have.” And that is a lie. The world says, this is all there is you are all you have.
And guys, that is a lie. So where does this come from? What happens when you believe this? Well, the way you see this, is you see the way that our culture celebrates accomplishment and status, wealth and power, right? And this isn’t new. The idea that accomplishment and status, well power will make you happy. This isn’t new at all. And in the Old Testament we read a description of the Babylonians, this is sort of towards the end of the description, just the last couple of verses Habakkuk 1:9 through 11 says, “They all come for violence. All their faces forward. They gather captives like sand. At Kings, they scoff. And at rulers, they laugh. They laugh at every fortress for they pile up earth and take it. Then they sweep by like the wind and go on.” And listen to this, guilty men whose own might is their God.
And guys that’s the world it’s full of guilty men whose own might, whose own power, whose own accomplishment is their God. And that’s the voice of the world telling you that this is all there is you are all, you have. Carpe diem, man. You’ve got to go get it. You’ve got grab the brass ring. So what do you do when you believe this? What do you do when you believe this worldly truth?
And in your first circle, in your handout, I would write worldly truths and put truths in quotation marks because Carpe diem is a worldly truth. Your value is based on your wealth and your power, your status, and your accomplishment. That’s a worldly truth. It feels good in the moment. And it makes sense if this is all there is, it makes sense if you are all you have, but what it leads to is just working harder and harder and harder.
It leads to an attitude of, I’ve got to take, not give. I mean, I might give if it helps my cause. I might give, if it helps me accomplish my purpose. But for the most part, if I’m really listening to the voice of the world, I am acquiring. Because the more I acquire the happier I’m going to be. That’s the lie that the world tells you.
THE WORLD’S TRUTHS LEAD ONLY TO DEATH
So in the second circle, then let’s write this. The world’s truths lead only to death, the world’s truths lead only to death. What do I mean by that? Well, the world’s truths choke out the truth of God. The light that God wants to share with us in Matthew 13, is the parable of the sower. And Jesus talks about how the farmer sowed seed on four different soils, right? The path, the rocky soil, the soil that was full of thorns and thistles. And then the good fertile soil that grew up and reproduced itself, 30, 60 or a hundred times over.
And he’s explaining to the disciples later in the chapter, what each of those soils are. And this is what he says to describe the thorns and thistles soil. He says, verse 22, “As for what was sown among the thorns. This is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Listening to the voice of the world. You will give into or you will be. You will be tempted by the deceitfulness of riches, the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. And the word gets choked out. That’s death, guys. And if you look at your life, how can you tell if you’ve maybe bought into this cosmos way of living your life, this Carpe diem way of living your life?
Well, are you worried all the time or are you anxious? You might say, well, Brett, there’s a pandemic going on. There’s an economic crisis going on. There’s all this racial unrest. Well, there’s been economic crisis before. There’s been health crises before. Maybe not like this in our lifetime, but there’ve been plenty of health crisis before. There has been racial inequality for 400 years in our country. And we have to work hard to erase that and to be against racism and to make sure that all people are treated equally, but are you anxious? Are you consumed by it? You’re listening to the voice of the world if you’re consumed by it. Do you trust nobody but yourself? Do you have that attitude of like, I like people and I’m sure they mean the best, but really at the end of the day, the only person you can really trust is yourself.
The only person I can really depend on to get things done right, or to do the right thing or think the right thing, I can only rely on myself. That’s the voice of the world. The world says, this is all there is you are all you’ve got. And guys that’s a lie. And let me tell you what that leads to because it really… I think this cosmos worldview leads to inevitably some of the biggest ills that we have in our society – pornography. Hey, if I’m supposed to seize the day of I’m supposed to make my life, the best it can be. If my pleasure is my own responsibility, if my accomplishment is my own responsibility. Of course, I’m going to objectify other people. I’m going to use them to help me get what I want.
Now, most of the time that’s going to look pretty innocuous. It’s going to make you look like, me doing my job in a certain way that maximizes other people’s inputs and make me be successful. And if I’m a business owner, that’s actually the way it’s supposed to work, right? But if you take that to, it’s sort of twisted extreme. If you take that all the way out into the darkness, what you get is men who will use women to make themselves feel better. And so you end up with pornography. And the more a guy is looking at this, I’m responsible for myself. This is all there is. I’m all I’ve got. Other people just become tools to use for my own pleasure, my own accomplishment, my own success. And you’re a miserable person to be around. If you are listening to the voice of the world, over the voice of the Lord, you are not going to be a very nice person to be around ultimately.
You can put patina on, you can try to make it look like you’re a good guy, but ultimately people are going to see through the cracks. And they’re going to see that you use people for your own desires. And that leads to things like pornography. If this is all there is, and I’m all I’ve got, you’re all you’ve got. I think that’s where things like classes and racism come from. It’s interesting because the world right now is acting like, is using a lot of language about racial equality. But the racial inequality comes from people listening to the voice of the world. People saying, this is all there is therefore, I’m just got to make the most of it. And if other people get hurt in the process, or if I have to push other people down, then I’m going to do that.
And man, if I could get a whole group of people and get them shunted aside or use them for my own purposes all at once, well, I guess that’s just the price that you pay. And that is from the pit of hell and smells like fire. Like Steve Brown would say. That is a horrible, horrible ramification down the road of believing that this is all there is in believing that you are all you’ve got. And therefore you’ve just got to make the best of it at everyone else’s expense, if that’s what it takes. Now, that may sound extreme and it my sound over the top. But I honestly, I believe without the gospel, without the light of the word of the Logos, that’s where men and women are going to end up. And it’s going to look all kinds of different ways. And for some people it’s going to look like things like pornography and racism.
THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL: GOOD NEWS
So what is the answer? Well, the answer is the truth of the gospel. If you’re not going to listen to the cosmos, to the way the world says that things are supposed to work, you have to listen to something else. And that’s what the gospel is. The gospel is the good news, that that is not the way that the world has to work. If you look at Matthew 16, you see a direct repudiation of this idea. This idea that this is all there is, then Jesus told his disciples. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Or what shall a man give in return for a soul? Why does it matter? It matters because your soul is eternal. This is not all there is.
And Jesus is saying, you’re not all you’ve got. In fact, you’ve got to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me wherever I lead. And where does Jesus lead? He leads us to sacrificial love. He leads us to putting his life on the line to sacrificing his life, to save other people. That is not the way the world works. The world works under the assumption that this is all there is that you’re all you’ve got. That the Logos, the truth of God’s gospel works. That God is all we’ve got. That we are here for each other, and that God will take care of us. The world says that success is the most important thing, right? But the Bible gives us a different way of looking at success. In Ecclesiastes Two in verse 24, it says, “There is nothing better for a person than he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also I saw is from the hand of God. For apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment.
For to the one who pleases him, God has given him wisdom and knowledge and joy. But to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God, this also is vanity and a striving after the wind.” Now this is a great point here that the writer of Ecclesiastes is making. When he says, it’s nothing better for a person than he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. So it’s not saying that you shouldn’t work. It’s just saying that you should find enjoyment in it, not meaning and purpose. There’s a difference. And so yes, enjoy the fruit of your labors, work hard and enjoy what you’re able to have for you and for your family as result of that. But don’t put your meaning and value there. Don’t put your worth there. Because once you put your worth there, then that becomes the focus. You got a nice boat. Well, I guess I need a bigger boat. You got a nice house. Well, I probably need a bigger house. Maybe another house, maybe a vacation house, maybe a bigger vacation house.
It’s this never ending thing. And if that becomes your purpose, you’re going to have to step on people to get there. And many, many guys do that. Do exactly that. They step on people to get there. Ecclesiastes 5 says, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money. Nor he who loves wealth with his income. This also is vanity.” When goods increase, they increase who eat them and what advantage has their owner, but to see them with his own eyes. And so Solomon is just reinforcing the idea that wealth and riches, acquisition, accomplishments, these things will not truly make you happy. And you can enjoy them in the moment, but they are chasing after they’re vanity, they’re vapor. And so the Logos gives us a better way. So then if this is not all there is, and you are not all you have, and then what’s the alternative. Well, your soul is eternal, that’s the first alternative to remember.
And then the second thing is that God will take care of you. You remember I said, how can you tell if you’re living according to the world’s worldview, if you’re anxious, if you’re worried if you’re struggling to really find meaning and purpose or to believe that your life matters. These are often indicators that you are listening to the way that the world is the things that the world is telling you. Listen to the word of God, listen to this. And Luke 12 verse 27, “Consider the lilies how they grow. They neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven. How much more will he clothe you? Oh, you of little faith. And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried for all the nations of the world seek after these things. And your father knows that you need them. Instead seek his kingdom. And these things will be added to you.”
And so in closing, what I wanted to just say is that God doesn’t want your toil, he wants your trust. He doesn’t want you to work harder and harder and harder to prove to him that you’re industrious. To pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. He wants you to trust in him for your provision. It doesn’t mean that you don’t work. It doesn’t mean that you don’t take care of your family and you don’t even… It doesn’t mean that you don’t enjoy the things that he gives you. Certainly, enjoy those things, but don’t put your trust in them. Put your trust in the Lord. In first, Timothy 6:17, Paul has a word to people who have wealth. He says, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world, not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches. But on God who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”
So guys, we have a choice. We can live in a cosmos way, or we can live in a Logos way. We can listen to the voice of the world, telling us to acquire, to accomplish, to strive. Or we can trust in the Logos who does not want us to strive, but wants us to thrive the world or the word, the lies or the good news. If you listen to the world at the end of your life, you will just be fertilizing daffodils. And the best you can hope for is for your picture to be in a trophy case, to motivate people that come long after you, to maybe accomplish a little bit more in their existence here on earth. But if you live according to the gospel, you don’t have to seize the day. You can seize these eternity.
Let’s pray. Father, it’s so easy to be caught up in the messages that the world sends us about wealth and possessions in the messages that the world sends us about power and status. Lord, these cause us to put our hope in objects to treat people like objects, Lord, just so that we can acquire more so that we can feel better about ourselves. Lord, we know that this is not all there is, and that we are not all we have, that we have you and we have eternity. So Lord, would you help us to live that way. Lord, help us to see the short sightedness of carpe diem of seizing the day and Lord to take the long view and to seize eternity with you forever. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen. Thanks guys. I love you. Have a great week.