All Affection Belongs to JESUS Part 1
Sunday Afternoon, September 26, 1999
(excerpt, from a time in Australia, in answer to a question)
If a person loves the world, they’re an enemy of God. Plain fact. No way to dispute it, nor any desire to do so. God said it, so ‘tis. Now, carry this to the reasonable application? If we befriend the world and give our affections away to those who love the world, what have we done? We’ve made friends with those who are enemies of God. Whether they are a physical relative, a co-worker, or a neighbor, if someone is part of the world and we give away our affections to them, then we’ve really made a serious blunder that has substantial consequences. “Bad company corrupts good character.” “A little leaven leavens the whole batch.” If we make friends with the world—if we walk, laugh, and talk with them just as if they were born a second time—then we befriend enemies of God. How could it ever be??!! These are important issues because they are tied into how we live for one another. They are also tied into our value system, and our perspective of what it means to be born a second time.
Isn’t there a difference between a person who is born a second time and a person who is not born a second time? Is it just that “I’m going to heaven, and they’re not”? Or is there something else going on? The Scriptures say that a person who is born a second time has been called out of darkness into His marvelous light. Out of the “flames.” Out of the “corrupted flesh.” Out of “depravity” and “filth.” They are now born of water and the Spirit. They’re now a child of God Himself. And let’s not overlook this: John, the Apostle, said that all people who are not children of God...are children of the devil.
Now, if we look at a person and we see them only after the flesh, we’re going to see their size and shape and education and color. We are going to see how witty they are, how attractive they are, their personality, their interest level, how old their children are, or how close they live to me. We are going to see all these nonsensical, irrelevant issues of wealth and “interests” and education and age and race. However, if we “see no man after the flesh,” then we will see one person as a child of God—and another as a child of the enemy, the devil. There is no middle ground, according to Scriptures.
The Truly Converted
A lot of things start making sense if we can see people the way God sees them. If we will refuse to see men after the flesh, then we will treat people differently. We are going to treat people who are truly converted differently because we see Jesus in them. I am speaking of the truly converted, not just everybody who says they are a Christian. Jesus said “MANY” will claim to be Christians who are not. Yet, if folks are living heart, soul, mind and strength for Jesus (rather than just dabbling around in that lukewarmness that makes Jesus sick), then that will affect how we see them and how we talk to them. The truly converted people have “put on Christ” and that’s going to affect our respect for them. It’s going to be quite difficult to NOT “consider others better than ourselves” if we see Jesus in them!
If we see a person who has Jesus in him, who is “clothed with Christ” according to Scripture, then we see him seated with Christ in Heavenly Realms! If we really see no man after the flesh, then we’re seeing the spiritual life of that person. We’re seeing Jesus. We’re seeing the transfigured inner man. Stephen’s face shone like that of an angel. And Jesus, on the Mount of Transfiguration, shone like the noonday sun!
The Flip Side
All right, perhaps we see that a true believer is one who has put on Christ. The flip side, according to the Scriptures, is that an unsaved person is a child of the devil. The very offspring of the devil! You may think, “Oh, no, no, they have a good heart.” Come on. Enough psychology, please. Enough humanism, please. That doesn’t mean that Jesus doesn’t love them and want to redeem them. But, He is buying them back from something, isn’t He? Yes! He’s buying them back from slavery. He’s buying them back from darkness and depravity. Paul said, “I was all those things...I was depraved. I was unrighteous.” Paul was a lunatic and a murderer and he didn’t even know it at the time. He was dead in his transgressions and sins. He was a walking corpse, spiritually speaking, and then he was raised to life.
There’s no way around it. There’s no middle ground. There’s no “mild case” of being a corpse. You either are or you’re not. You’re either born a second time or you’re not. Jesus said, “Few will be those who find it.” Few will be born a second time. Those who are born a second time have put on Christ. They are clothed with Christ. Christ lives in them and they in Him. It’s a beautiful thing. And we need to make our eyes see that beauty. But the flip side of that coin is that we’ve got to make our eyes see that people who are not born a second time and genuinely converted, are offspring of the devil. They need to be redeemed and bought back.
I remember one time there was a sister whose job had her involved with doctors and other medical staff. (Since then she has changed careers because of things related to her faith.) In the process of doing her job she developed this tremendous admiration for a young doctor. He was handsome, intelligent, witty, and financially secure. She found herself beginning to give a little bit of her heart away to him, and even though she knew there was something wrong with it, she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. She had tried at different times to talk to him about Real things, but he didn’t show any interest at all in Jesus. As conversations with other brothers and sisters unfolded, there was one picture that emerged that was very helpful to her.
What this sister began to see was this...“Well, I don’t always know for sure who is saved and who is not saved. But, if a person tells me they don’t want to follow Jesus, or if they act in such a way that is inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus and they really don’t care, then I have an idea that according to the Scriptures they are not saved. And if a person is not saved, I picture them now as if they have tarantulas coming out of their eyeballs, scorpions coming out of their ears, and slugs coming out of their mouth. And I know that person needs help. I know they need to be redeemed and bought back, and they need to be washed and cleaned and brought into the House of God! I’m repulsed by the fact that they’re an offspring of the devil himself. And at the same time, I’m compassionate because I, too, used to be that way. The externals of appearance (which quickly change with age, anyway) and money and sense of humor and skill in some human field—mean less than nothing!”
Seeing no man after the flesh means that we have to see the difference between a believer and an unbeliever as clearly as God sees the difference between the two. Now, we may not always be able to know, but you’ve got to at least admit that a person who is saved shines like the stars of the universe, and a person who is unsaved has scorpions coming out of their eye sockets because they are offspring of the devil. They need to be redeemed.
That need for redemption is not the point of rejection though. “Zacchaeus, I’m coming to your house” is not a point of rejection at all. It’s a point of compassion! But, you’ve got to see it clearly. And when you see it clearly, you are not going to give your heart away to something of a different species. That sister ceased to have affection and admiration for the things of this world when she began to see. “I guess I don’t need to admire Michael Jordan quite so much, do I? I guess I don’t need to be so impressed with Albert Einstein, do I? I guess I don’t need to be mesmerized by whoever that guy was driving around in the fancy car yesterday. He’s not my hero. He’s just a man. I don’t have to be impressed with somebody who has scorpions coming out of his eyes.” I’m not going to pour my admiration out, I don’t want his autograph, and his picture’s not going up on my wall. I don’t want all that because I don’t admire a man with scorpions coming out of his eye sockets!
Seeing no man after the flesh means we have to view the world very differently. Seeing not with the seeing of the eyes, and hearing not with the hearing of the ears is our inheritance in Christ. To discern all things, and see the way God sees rather than as mere men see, is our inheritance if we have enough spiritual faith and passion to live the way God called us to live. We will be compassionate and we will extend a hand of mercy, love and kindness to those who are unsaved—but we cannot give our hearts away to them.
The Scriptures say that very early in Jesus’ life, He gave His heart to no man because He knew men’s hearts. This is very essential to our ability to go forward because a little leaven leavens the whole batch. And if you’re a friend of the world, you’re an enemy of God. And if you’re an enemy of God and I give my heart away to you, then there’s a little leaven beginning to leaven the whole batch. There’s a ripple effect in the spiritual realm if any of the body of believers gives their heart away to the world, the love of the world, the things of the world, or those who are children of the devil. To give your heart away is a very, very dramatic error that will affect your whole life. It will affect your family, and it’ll affect everyone you know. So be very careful about schoolmates, roommates, family members, and co-workers. I know they’re “nice guys.” Sure, they’re “wonderful people.” And they’re witty, intelligent, handsome, and successful, too...But, come on, guys—“SEE NO MAN AFTER THE FLESH!”
Think about it...? Examine very carefully your affections, friendships, relationships with unBelieving “family” members, as well as your telephone and business and recreation companionships? If your affections and trust, your laughter and warmth and confidences and time belong to anyone other than those who are clothed with Christ, you are violating Jesus—as surely as offering a soft drink to the sweaty soldier pounding nails into our Jesus on that most hideous of days. He is our “all in all” and we are “one with Him in Spirit.” No other suitors! Compassionately reaching across the Divide, grasping for their hands to pull them towards Messiah—YES! Affection and admiration and camaraderie? No way!