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Scripture Reading:  James 4:1-6

Do not be Conformed to this World


1.  Conformity to this world is a major problem among Christians; the line of demarcation is disappearing!

2.  Church (called out); Saints (set apart; holy ones): 1 Ths 4:7; 2 Cor 6:17-18; Jas 4:4.

3.  Rom 12:2: What is “this world” & how do we keep ourselves from being conformed to it? Address some misconceptions about worldliness.



  A.  Various Meanings (Usages) of AION (age, world):

    1.  Forever (an unbroken age, eternity), Gal 1:5.

    2.  The universe, Heb 1:2.

    3.  This present time (before Christ’s return), Lk 20:34; Eph 1:21.

    4.  Time after Christ’s return; eternal kingdom/life, Lk 20:35; Mk 10:30.

    5.  The times; the spirit of the age; the moral & spiritual climate in which people live, Mk 4:19; 2 Cor 4:4; Gal 1:4; 2 Tim 4:10.

  B.  The System of Evil that Opposes God, 1 Jno 2:15 (kosmos).

    1.  Dominion of Satan, Jno 12:31 (2 Cor 4:4, age) 1 Jno 5:19 (kosmos)

    2.  Its cares choke God’s word (Mk 4:19, age).

    3.  Evil (Gal 1:4, age).

    4.  Blind, unbelieving & perishing (2 Cor 4:3-4).

    5.  To love it is to not love the things of God (2 Tim 4:10).

    6.  Do not be conformed to this world (age), Rom 12:2.



  A.  Living like the World: To Accept & Live by the Standards this World Accepts & Lives by, Eph 2:1-3 (kosmos).

    1.  Conform: to fashion or shape one thing like another; “to conform one’s self (i.e. one’s mind and character) to another’s pattern, (fashion one’s self according to)”

         a.      The course (aion, age) of this world (kosmos), 2:2:

         b.      Trespasses & sin, 2:1.

         c.    Approved by Satan; Disobedience, 2:2.

         d.      Fulfills the desires of the flesh & mind (LUST); Self-willed, 2:3.

    2.  Result: Death (2:1); Wrath (2:3) -- LOST!

  B.  Loving this World (& the things of the World), 1 Jno 2:15-16.

    1.  The “world” is not the flesh, eyes or life – It is the LUST of these things, 2:16.

    2.  One who satisfies these lusts instead of doing God’s will – Loves the world & does not love God, 2:15 (cf. 2 Tim 3:4).

    3.  This makes it impossible to serve God, since the essence of loving God is obeying Him, 1 Jno 2:5; 5:3 (Jno 14:15; 15:10).

    4.  Worldliness = Not loving & not obeying God.

  C.  Lusting after this World: Unlawful Gratification of Desires, 2 Pet 1:3-4 (moral decay).

    1.  Conduct opposed to the divine nature (2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:22-24; 5:25-27).

    2.  Corruption in the world (kosmos) through lust: By indulging lusts of flesh, our moral & spiritual life is corrupted, 1:4; Jas 1:13-15.



  A.  “Only sins like adultery, drunkenness & homosexuality constitute worldliness.”

    1.  We constrict the definition of worldliness until it excludes us!

    2.  Gal 5:19-21: General list: “and the like.”  Note: hatred, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions are also “works of the flesh.”

    3.  Wrong heart amounts to worldliness, too, Matt 5:21-22, 27-28.

  B.  “A practice must be specifically condemned before it can be regarded as worldly.”

    1.  Silence gives consent is false! (cf. instrumental music in worship)

    2.  Must have God’s authority for every action (1 Ths 5:21; Col 3:17).

    3.  This view of worldliness loosens the bands of restraint.

  C.  “Those in the world set the standard for what is judged to be worldly.” Jno 17:17

    1.  Prevalence of a practice: “No one pays attention.” (“If it doesn’t shock the world, then it must be all right!”  WRONG!)

    2.  cf. Modesty, entertainment, social drinking, language, gambling, etc.

    3.  Worldliness is defined by God, not the world.

  D.  “Things of the world are okay if done in the privacy of one’s own home.”  Eph 5:11-12

    1.  Would that be our approach to fornication, idolatry or murder?

    2.  If it is “of the world,” then “where” has nothing to do with its sinfulness!

  E.  “How my behavior affects another person does not condemn me for what I am doing.”

    1.  Yes it does! Matt 18:6-7 (Stumbling block, evil influences are worldly, including ours if we live like the world!) 1 Pet 2:11-12.

    2.  You are your brother’s keeper!



1.  When we obey God’s word we are “not of this world,” Jno 17:14-17.

2.  When we hold, speak & live the world’s values, we are “conformed to this world” (1 Jno 4:4-6).

3.  Beware, lest we are overtaken by temptation & sin (1 Cor 10:13).