Darkness Around Us (2) – Works of this World

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See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019

Darkness Around Us (2) – Works of this World

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Philippians 2:15



Sunday, April 14, 2019 am               


We are continuing our study of the darkness around us.   In our last lesson we addressed the wisdom of this world and how it is contrary to God. We noted how the world’s wisdom is the foundation of many of the problems we see in our world today (including a lack of accountability, loose moral standards, and even hopelessness).   We also noted how to deal with the wisdom of this world as Christians.

Today we continue our study by examining some worldly behaviors.   We will do this by noting some lists of worldly conduct and see how these things are just as (if not more so) prevalent today as they were when the New Testament was penned.

I.    Works of Darkness

  1. John 3:19-20 (again) – as Jesus spoke with Nicodemus He noted the rejection of the light.  The reason, men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
  2. The New Testament gives many passages that list sinful behavior.   These often accompany the wisdom of this world, though they are not limited to such (cf. Romans 3:23)
    In these passages we find qualities that are prevalent today.

II.   Romans 1:22-32

  • Finds Paul continuing his address of the character of the worldly (the ungodly).
    He began with the wisdom of man as we noted (1:18-22).   But he then proceeds to describe the RESULT of this worldly wisdom – they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into idols and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.   Therefore, God gave them over to do whatever they wanted – then we read of homosexuality, vile passions, lusts, depraved minds to do what is not fitting.    
    So LET’S see where this worldly wisdom can lead.

III.       2 Timothy 3:1-9  – the list of selfishness

  • We have here what I describe as a list of selfishness because every quality is self-serving. We find the prideful who do whatever they want (lovers of self, proud) , they are greedy in their pursuits for things (lovers of money), they brag about sinful and immoral behaviors (boasters, blasphemers, unholy   – a word meaning to be in opposition to God and that which is sacred), they rebel against authority disobedient to parents, they are ungrateful for what they have (unthankful), blasphemous in their language, choices of entertainment and friends, unloving (KJV, NASB – without natural affection – think abortion, child abandonment and abuse, spousal abuse, etc.), slanderers,   (the word from which we get our word devil; unforgiving (not wanting peace or to even consider the other side), without self-control – addicted, brutal (violent in movies, the games they play and sometimes in their lives), despisers of good (Isaiah 5:20 – in many instances today, godly arguments and conduct are rejected and even mocked, e.g.: When a photographer or bakery owner refuses to do a wedding for a homosexual couple and they are destroyed), traitors (not loyal, one who will betray a friend, or someone into the hands of another), headstrong (stubborn, the word actually refers to one who is defiant and reckless), haughty (arrogant, conceited), lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (they choose the world over serving God, when given a choice, cf. Isaiah 30:9-10, Jeremiah 5:26-31 – the people love for the prophets to prophesy falsely), etc.
    5 – having a form of godliness but denying its power – many profess some sort of spirituality (even if its humanism)   Vs. 6-9 give even more detail of such:
    1) First, they CAN be religious;
    2) They exploit those who are gullible and loaded with sins (they look for the weak and those struggling);
    3) Even among these they are always learning – this is not people incapable of learning. In fact, many are intellectual.
    4) They may even RESIST those with the truth (as Jannes and Jabres resisted Moses – probably Egyptian magicians)
    5) They are men of corrupt minds – as we addressed last week – oven evil conduct comes from faulty wisdom and knowledge, their source of knowledge is often the wisdom of men, OR the twisting of the truth (cf. 2 Peter 3:15-16);
    NOTE how we are to respond to such – turn away from them.   Consider 1 Corinthians 15:33

IV.   Galatians 5:19-21, the works of the flesh.

  • While the previous passage reflects attitudes that govern our conduct, in this text we find various sinful behaviors.   This list includes:
    1) Adultery – unlawful relations involving one who is married to another. This could include those in unscriptural (unlawful) marriages – cf. Matthew 19:8-9, Romans 7:1-2, etc. (NOT in earlier MSS, and the NASB, etc.)
    2) Fornication – this would be ANY unlawful relations, which means sexual relations outside of a God ordained marriage – we are living in times where marriage is treated as a byproduct of sensual gratification. Adultery (also included in this term), premarital relations, homosexuality, bestiality, polygamy, etc. And whether one chooses to acknowledge this or not, it has contributed to the moral decline of our culture.   Hebrews 13:4
    3) Uncleanness – a more general word for immoral, vile or filthy behavior. It would describe something that makes one unclean.   This extend beyond the fornication and includes the behaviors such as pornography, immodest clothing, indecent exposure, filthy language and jokes, many of the dance moves we see today, etc.
    4) Lewdness – (sensuality – NASB, lasciviousness – KJV) – a word meaning unrestrained, depraved, immoral conduct.
    This is carrying uncleanness to extreme levels – something else we seem to be seeing more of today. It is also being engaged in activities and places that lend themselves to lust and sensuality. Modern dancing is often associated with this. All of the conduct just mentioned under uncleanness could devolve to this level.
    NOTE: We are living in times where the above are not only treated as normal but even encouraged in many instances. Our entertainment industry is filled with portrayals of all sorts of immoral sexual conduct. We are also living (while certainly not exclusive to here) in a mecca of immodesty with our beaches, Hollywood, and progressive & worldly mindset that has branded California.
    5) idolatry – man worshipping whatever he wants, including today – money, fame and power.
    6) Sorcery – this would certainly explicitly include the dark arts, (satanism, witchcraft, the occult, fortune telling, astrology, etc. ). This could also include the taking of drugs and alcohol which alter the mind.   As I understand, in Bible times, what we would call drug use was associated with sorcery and spells, etc.
    7) Hatred – we just see so much hateful behavior today. People are uncivil in their treatment of those they disagree with, as well as their enemies. WE are truly living in ugly times.
    8) Contentions – constant strife and disagreement.   Arguing that reaches a state of bitterness.
    ONE place many of the above are manifest is on social media where we often see the worst being brought out of people.   Contentions (just look at the news media), wrathful conduct (e.g. road rage), etc.
    9) Jealousies and outbursts of wrath – think road rage, violent crimes of passion, the ungodly attitudes that lead toward such (cf. Ephesians 4:26-27)
    10) Selfish ambitions – discussed in our previous text.   You might describe this as the “win at any cost” mentality
    11) Dissensions – just general discord, EVEN among brethren
    12) Heresies – false teaching, dividing into sects or cliques
    13) Envy – like jealousies, this is ill-will toward others
    14) Murders – the taking of a life criminally.   NOTE: We need to let God define this!   Think of the numerous abortions that occur, now in some places at a very late stage, just because the mother doesn’t want it.
    15) Drunkenness – the excessive drinking of alcohol, to the point of loss of sobriety.
    16) Revelries – (carousing – NASB) – this would be the drinking parties that lead to excess and loss of inhibitions.
    17) “And the like” – we find in this that our list is not exclusive and include behaviors that are similar to or the product of those mentioned.
    NOTE: The warning concerning such – those who practice such will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.

V.  1 Corinthians 6:9-11

  • Paul writing to these brethren describe those who will not inherit the kingdom of God – in addition to those listed above, we find more detail here – homosexuals (effeminate – KJV, NASB) & sodomites (abusers of themselves with mankind – KJV, homosexuals – NASB).   NOTE 2 words that describe BOTH parties involved in the homosexual act. In Romans 1 (previously read), this includes both men and women who leave the natural use of their bodies.
    Thieves, covetous…extortioners – those who steal from others or desire what belongs to them.  Those willing to go to whatever length, including illegal conduct, to take from others.

VI.   Colossians 3:5-8, Ephesians 5:3-4

  • Two more lists. But worthy of mention here are the idolatry of covetousness; AND sins of the tongue and attitudes – filthiness, foolish talk, coarse jesting, blasphemy, etc.   HOW many sins that man commits today begin with what we say.   Surely it is not a mystery why Jesus in describing that what comes out of the mouth begins in the heart, and that is what DEFILES a man (Matthew 15:18-20). We could also examine James 3:1-12 here.

  NOTE: In these lists, we find sins associated with human nature, but that doesn’t mean that everyone practices these things, but simply that it is the norm, and in many cases accepted, tolerated or even defended.   And if you listen to our news media, you would perceive that such things are the norm.

In this lesson, we have simply considered some lists of sins.   Written some 2000 years ago, they describe our society as if they were written yesterday, and they explain WHY our world is so full of darkness. But, it is in such a culture that we are called upon to shine as lights.   How are we doing?