A Church 'Gone Wild'
Worldliness What Is It?

by Larry C. Hamner

August 16, 2006

The invisible Christian

Christianity is a serious call to a holy life, yet many professed Christians are enslaved by the customs and vanities of the world. It seems incredible to me that Christians can be on fire for God while at the same time look, behave and sound like the world. In church they worship and thank the Lord for his mercy and manifold blessings, but during the rest of the week they become invisible Christians. The call to Christ is a summons to live contrary to the ideologies and spirit of the world. Yet we find many a church folk that embrace and endorse everything worldly. The bible clearly denounces worldliness. Why then, do professed Christians waste time and degrade themselves with worldly frivolities? The world has deceived many by its alluring spell and the church has aided and abetted in its deception. Consider the words of Hosea the prophet.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.” (Hosea 4:6-10KJV)

Unfortunately those who have the charge of teaching the difference between the holy and unholy have themselves become indistinguishable and invisible Christians. Much of the church and its leadership have made it a major part of their persona to blend in and be indistinguishable from the world. However, the bible makes it clear and plain that, those who would live godly are to be separated from the sinful world around them, separated in actual character, conduct, and appearance.


Standards differ widely among Christians, so there are divergent views of worldliness. What the Christian church don't want you to know is that the primary reason for all the diverse views is the fact that the Christian church has rejected God's law and has established its own law. That being said let's turn our focus to identifying worldliness in the church. As Christians our goal in life should be to obtain life that is to say our main concern must be to prepare for eternity. This begins with a restructuring of priorities and values. Gone is the notion of me first or anyone or anything else for that matter.

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26KJV)

“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:34-37 KJV)

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col 3:2 KJV)

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15 KJV)

The world has many laudable and excellent things that are to be valued but none more than God. Your job, your family, your home your wife, and your children are all things of the world, therefore, to love them more than you love God is a form of worldliness. Those who are captivated or engrossed in the cares of the world such as business, an ambition for bigger and better things, or the pursuit of fame and fortune, to the extent that they neglect God and the things of God are without doubt lovers of this present world. People of God when we have so many interests in life that the most important things are choked out, we are by nature worldly. If you are too busy to pray, too busy to study, too busy to visit the sick, too busy to attend bible class, or too busy to come to church services; that's worldliness! When we say, “I don't have time,” we are saying that God didn't give us sufficient time to do His will. One might ask him or herself exactly how much time does God require of me? Ask this question of any minister or pastor of a Christian church no doubt they will give you an answer that supports the mission of their church. What they won't tell you is the simple truth.

Consider God's own words!

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:” (Exodus 20:8-9 KJV)

Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah!

“If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 58:13-14 KJV)

Wow! See how simple the answer becomes when we let God's word speak for its self. God wants one day and the remainder of the week is yours, six days for all of your worldly pursuits and pleasures; for sports, for TV, for movies, or for anything else that we want to do. However, giving God anything less than his twenty four hours is worldliness?

Although God has given us six days to do whatever pleases us, I would be remiss if I did not warn against the inherent danger in an aggressive and ambitious pursuit of the cares and pleasures of the world. The world has a way of thinking and acting that is contrary to the will of God. This way of thinking emphasizes the physical and gives little or no attention to the internal. It is characterized by an insatiable appetite for the material and temporal. Although many of life's pleasures are morally neutral, they can become harmful if we are not careful to exercise restraint. For example, excessive eating is harmful to our body and can cause many adverse health issues. Granting we are free to eat as often and as much as we want, nonetheless we should develop healthy and wholesome eating habits. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” (1 Cor 10:23 KJV) Our appetite can easily run wild, therefore, it needs to be bridled or otherwise restricted. Satan's tack is to entice us, to push something good beyond the boundary of the will of God. A need to rest becomes laziness, a desire for gain becomes greed, and self-assertiveness becomes selfishness one careless propensity or act leads to another. The point being excess is worldliness!

Trying to figure out what's worldly and what's not worldly can be very perplexing. The world has a way of making things that are death to our spirituality appear so harmless and so enjoyable. For this cause the bible encourages us to watch and pray, (“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mat 26:41 KJV), that we enter not into temptation. The works of the flesh represented in Galatians have been declared by God to be sinful. The deceitfulness of sin declares that they are good and desirable. We as people of God must recognize that there are things that are wrong simply because God says they are wrong.

“ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:19-21 KJV)

“For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:” (1 Pet 4:3-4 KJV)

The sins that are described as works of the flesh are obviously worldly. What is not so apparent is that by extension anything that presents or promotes any of these evils as being good and desirable is also worldly. What many Christians do not understand is that both the abominable thing and its broth are detested by God.

“I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;” (Isaiah 65:2-4 KJV)

Consequently anything that glamorizes, celebrates, promotes or in anyway portrays the works of the flesh as good and desirable is worldly. In this light one should readily see that the books, movies, music and places of entertainment that celebrate lying, stealing, killing, adultery fornication etc., are without doubt worldly. Pandering to things that promote or on anywise glamorizes the works of the flesh is worldliness!

Modesty in Dress

As Christians we are representatives of holiness and are a reflection of our heavenly father. It is important for us to understand what it means to, dress modestly. It is the responsibility of each of us as Christians to dress in such a manner as not to purposely draw attention to ourselves. We undoubtedly send messages and signals with our appearance and our clothing. As representatives of God we must make sure, very sure, that the message we send is a Godly one. If we are truly honest with ourselves most of us know what immodest attire is. Christians should always ask themselves why am I wearing or buying this outfit. If your answer is to catch the glance of an admiring eye, to satisfy public taste, to follow fashion, or simply to maintain a feeling of well-being, you have chosen for fleshly reasons. If this is not obvious, it is because your mind has been darkened by the wisdom of this world.

“ This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:17-24 KJV)

However for those who out of good conscience are truly not clear as to what constitutes modest apparel, let's use the bible as our instructor. After the sin of Adam and Eve, they became aware of their nakedness and out of their own wisdom made clothing for themselves.

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” (Genesis 3:7 NASB)

Like much of what is done today in the name of fashion and style their choice of clothing was not expectable to God. God in turn made them garments that he obviously sanctioned as appropriate attire.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21 KJV)

God commanded the priest that the altar should not be built with steps so that they would not expose their nakedness to the worshippers.

“And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, so that your nakedness will not be exposed on it.” (Exodus 20:26 NASB)

If you look at the garment God made in Genesis and the ones he commanded to be made for the priest one can readily see that garments that are sanctioned by God cover the upper body and is sufficient length as not to expose the genitals, except when an on looker is in a much lower vantage point. By extension clothing that does not cover your nakedness or that will easily expose your nakedness is definitely not modest. Modest attire doesn't call attention to the wearer. Costly jewelry, flashy jewelry and elaborate hair styles are also immodest.

“Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.” (1 Tim 2:9-10 NASB)

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:” (1 Pet 3:5 KJV)

Christians should pride themselves in matters of the heart not in how things look, when we are enamored with how things look it is very strong evidence that our pride is misplaced and of a worldly nature.

“For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.” (2 Cor 5:12 KJV&$41;

God's people should be noticed for their character not because of what they are wearing. The clothes we wear should also fit the occasion, especially in the case of church and worship services. We are commanded by God to attend worship service in the beauty of holiness, which is to say in our holy garments.

“ Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” (1 Chr 16:29 KJV) ”Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the LORD in holy array.” (1 Chr 16:29 NASB)

“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth forever.” (2 Chr 20:21 KJV)

“When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the LORD and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, "Give thanks to the LORD, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” (2 Chr. 20:21 NASB)

“Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 29:2 KJV)

“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in holy array.” (Psalm 29:2 NASB)

“O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.” (Psalm 96:9 KJV)

“Worship the LORD in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth.&8221; (Psalm 96:9 NASB)

The wear what you want, come dressed as you are teaching has never been sanctioned by God. It is God's desire that we give him the best of everything in every aspect of our lives.

“Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavoredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.” (Deut. 17:1 KJV)

“And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.” (Matt. 22:11-12 KJV)

“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.” (Eph. 5:27KJV)

God requires that his holy people be holy in every way even in our appearance. The church should adopt the attitude of come as you are but don't stay as you are for very long. God is about improving our station in this life and giving us eternal life as a bonus.

Tattoos and Piercing

Getting a tattoo has become a very popular thing to do lately, however, the Lord clearly condemns tattoos and cuttings (piercing). The Christians churches in their zeal to annul God's law have given Christians license to do whatever they please. Consequently the church has adopted many pagan customs, and habits tattoos and piercing is but another example among many. The scripture plainly state, you should not print any marks upon you.

“You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.” (Lev 19:28 NASB)

So there you have it! It's up to you to obey God's Law or rationalize it away in any fashion you desire. It's amazing how God's pronouncements have virtually been silenced by the New Testament only Christians. The disciples had an entirely different attitude about the Old Testament and Law.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16 KJV)

Anyone seeking Godly instructions must go to the scriptures (Old Testament). It's quite clear that God is not pleased with tattoos and piercing as a matter of fact, its worldliness personified!

Worldly Wisdom

The wisdom of this world is earthy it doesn't see beyond the material and temporal, having its origin in the philosophical theories of the natural man. It is inherently laden with envy, jealousy, intellectual arrogance, and selfish ambition. Worldly wisdom is predicated on the sensual and the satisfying of fleshly appetites. In essences worldly wisdom is “man's wisdom”, his opinion about the basic concepts of life such as truth, reality, casualty, freedom and existence. The result of worldly wisdom is self-deception. One can't help but notice that God takes a rather dim view of what the world calls wisdom.

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov.14:12 KJV)

“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor. 1:20 KJV)

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. ” (1 Cor. 3:18-20KJV)

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col. 2:8 KJV)

Wisdom founded on the world's standards is an arrogant and distorted view of reality; true wisdom is humble and sees matters as they really are. The wisdom of the world is easily recognized by its appeal to the senses, the emotions, and the passions; wisdom according to what feels right. True wisdom begins when man humbles himself before God and begins living according to what God says is right. “The fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His Commandments.” (Psalm 111:10 KJV) This is quite different from the worlds view of wisdom sought through philosophy and man's rationale. However foolish it may appear in the eyes of the world, wisdom that is based upon the Word of God is the only true wisdom. Truly the church has been captivated by the fashions of this world and has gone wild after the vain customs of the people. It is evidenced in the appearance and attire of church goers, in the music and songs, in the dance and expressions. Strip away the exterior of this worldliness and you'll always find worldly wisdom.

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