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A Sermon by Dr. C. L. Cagan

Deacon at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles,
Lord's Day Morning, May 11, 2003

"And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness" (I John 5:19).

There are two kinds of people: those who are real Christians - and those of you who have not yet been truly converted. In the original New Testament Greek, these two groups of people are called the "kosmos" on the one hand, and the "ekklesia" on the other. Look again at our text in I John 5:19, "We are of God" - "the world lieth in wickedness." "We" refers to the church. "The world" refers to the "kosmos" - everyone that is not truly part of the church!

Almost everyone in Los Angeles belongs to the group called the "kosmos" - which is translated from Greek as "the world." The Bible says that people who are not converted through Jesus Christ are part of the "world." It refers to the present world system - the people of this world and the way they live.

A small number of people in Los Angeles belong to the second group which God calls the "ekklesia" - the church. When a person comes to Jesus, God transfers him from one group into the other - from the world into the church. The Greek word translated "church" is "ekklesia," which is formed from the preposition "ek," meaning "out," and the verb "kaleo," meaning "to call." So the "church" is the people who are "called out" of the "kosmos," out of this world system.

Which group are you a part of? Someone says, "I'm really part of the church - but I just don't go to church on Sunday. I just can't. I have other things to do." Rubbish! A faith that doesn't take a person into church on Sunday will not take that person into Heaven! If you don't go to church, you are not a part of the church.

The two groups - the world and the church - are different. They think differently. They speak differently. Why? Because the world does not know the forgiving love of Jesus Christ, but the real Christians in the church do know Jesus Christ and have experienced His love. The Bible says,

"In this was manifested [shown, made clear] the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins…We love him, because he first loved us" (I John 4:9-10, 19).

That's why Christians can go through terrible persecution for Jesus, as they do right now in Muslim lands and in places like Vietnam and North Korea. The Bible says that Christians like these are the greatest living heroes.

"If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?… We are more than conquerors [literally in Greek, super-conquerors] through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:31-32, 37-39).

The Christian faith produces the greatest heroes of all. Yes, there are heroes in this world - such as the soldiers who risked their lives in the war against Iraq to fight for the right. But the Christian who loves and serves Jesus, the Saviour who died for him, is the most heroic of all! Come to Jesus Christ and be washed from your sins by His Blood. And then, stay in the church and live like a hero for Him! Don't just come to church once in a while! Come all the way into the church and go to work for Jesus. Live an heroic life for Him!

This morning, I want to talk about four ways that the church and the world are different, to help you decide which group you belong to - and whether you're interested in changing sides if you are in the world.

I. First, the world and the church are different when it comes to
your relationships with other people.

Let's face it. Let's get down to basics. Life in the world is a story of leaving and being left. Sometimes you leave another person. Sometimes the other person leaves you. But it's always leaving and being left.

Families break up all the time. Many of you have parents who are divorced. One of them is here, and the other is somewhere else.

People move all the time - and you've been caught up in that movement. People change schools and leave their friends behind - again and again. People move from one place to another and leave their friends behind - again and again.

You may have a boyfriend or a girlfriend - or maybe you used to have one, or maybe you've had one after another. You know what happens - people break up. Sure, you will probably get married, but your marriage will probably break up, and you will be hurt, and left alone - again. If you have children, when they grow up they will move on too as they try to set up their own lives. You will be left alone - yet again. In the end you are alone, alone, alone.

Loneliness is a tremendous problem for young people today. This city is a very lonely place. But you don't have to be lonely! There's a different way to live - in the church! You see, life for Christians in the church isn't a story of leaving and being left! Life for Christians in the church is a life of coming and staying.

If you're a real Christian and you get married, you come into marriage, and you stay! The Bible says,

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife" (Genesis 2:24).

"Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6).

In the church there are a lot of people who want to be friends with you. When you come into the church, you quickly make friends and you stay friends with them! People out in the world move around, but the church doesn't move! We'll still be here when you graduate from school! We'll stay right here to be your friends, and care about you in Christian love, because the Bible says:

"This is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another" (I John 3:23).

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God" (I John 4:7).

You see, there is no real love without staying! A love that doesn't stay with somebody isn't real love at all! You know that already. A boy will say to a girl, "I love you," but he doesn't stay with her. Instead he leaves her and hurts her terribly. People are always leaving each other in the world when they should be staying.

But it's different in the church - in the "ekklesia." Come and make true friends! First, you come to church, you make friends in the local church, and then you stay with them - and they stay with you! The Bible says the early Christians came to church and they stayed:

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers...And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:42, 46-47).

They came and they stayed! And the Bible tells you to do the same thing:

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is" (Hebrews 10:25).

They came and they stayed! You come and you stay! And other people will get to know you and stay with you too! Coming and staying! It's so much better than leaving and being left! Haven't you had enough of leaving and being left all the time - over and over again? Come out of the world - come out of its ways of leaving and being left! Come into the church - come in and stay! Stay with the church! Stay with the people! They will stay with you! Why be lonely? Come home - to church! And come to Jesus Christ! He will stay with you forever! He said that He would never leave you to lose your soul if you trust Him:

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And  I  give  unto  them  eternal  life;  and  they  shall  never  perish, neither  shall  any  man  pluck  them  out  of  my  hand" (John 10:27-28).

In the world, people are leaving each other all the time. But God told us, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5). That's different from what you've experienced in the world, isn't it? I say, you don't have to go through your life leaving and being left. Come into the church - and stay! Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus!

II. Second, the world and the church are different when it comes to your life style.

The world says you should do things that give you pleasure - sex outside of marriage, drinking, taking drugs, going to nightclubs or "rave" parties, missing church, living only to make more and more money. "Just live for pleasure," says the world. You and your "friends" have been living like that.

But in the church we live a different life, a life of cleanliness and holiness, not a life dominated by sin. The Bible says:

"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he [Jesus] is pure" (I John 3:3).

"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit [practice] sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (I John 3:9).

"We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not [does not practice a life of sin]; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself [keeps himself back from sin], and that wicked one [Satan] toucheth him not" (I John 5:18).

Take a look around! You'll see that the Christians in this church are happier, and healthier, and more satisfied, and have more friends, and more good fun, than you are having now, or ever will have. Come on home to church! And come to Jesus Christ!

III. Third, the world and the church are different when it comes to
your self-image - how you think and feel about yourself.

People think they're good, when they're really not. There was a book written a few years ago called I'm OK - You're OK. Everyone thinks they're OK, no matter how they live. But the Bible says you're not OK, and in your own self you can never be OK. You're not good and you never can be good on your own. You're not right with God and you never can be in your own strength. The Bible says:

"The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:7-8).

Speaking of his own sinful nature, the Apostle Paul wrote,

"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do…O wretched [miserable] man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:18-19, 24-25).

You're not good in yourself - but what's the answer? The answer is not in yourself - there's nothing good there. The answer is outside of yourself, in Jesus Christ our Lord (cf. Romans 7:25). Come to Him and He will forgive your sins and give you a new life.

IV. Fourth, the world and the church are different when it comes to
your relationship with God.

God made you. He wants you to know Him. It's wonderful to be able to pray to God, and have your prayers answered. Everyone ought to have a relationship with God. But most important of all, God wants you to be ready to live with Him in Heaven when you die.

You will die some day - and it may be soon. Everyone knows that, but people in the world don't like to talk about death. But not talking about it won't stop it from happening to you. After you die, your body will be cremated, or buried in a cemetery. You will be remembered only by a few people, and soon they will be gone too. Then no one will remember you. And you're not sure what will happen to you after you die.

But true Christians do know where they are going when they die! We Christians have eternal life. When Jesus was crucified, a thief was put on a cross next to Him. That thief trusted Christ and was converted. Jesus said to him,

"To day shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).

The Apostle Paul said to the Philippian jailor,

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" 
     (Acts 16:31).

To the Christians in that same city of Philippi, Paul wrote:

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…To depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better" (Philippians 1:21, 23).

Paul wrote about what happens to the true Christian when he dies, "Absent from the body…present with the Lord" (II Corinthians 5:8).

But it will not be that way for people who live for themselves and do not come to Jesus Christ. There was a man who lived only to make money, and had no time for God. When that man died, Jesus said this about him.

"And in hell he [the man who lived for money] lift up his eyes, being in torments" (Luke 16:23).

Which will it be for you? Will you live a selfish life in this world - and go to Hell when you die like that man did? Or will you come to Jesus and become a part of the church - and go to Heaven with the true Christians? Which will it be?

How can you get to Heaven? In the world, people think you get to Heaven by being good, or trying to be good. The problem is that people are not good! Your life is not good! You have done things that are not good. And you can never really be good enough to get to Heaven on your own. But the Bible tells us that you can get to Heaven through Jesus Christ even though you are not good enough yourself. The Bible says,

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly…But God commendeth [shows] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Romans 5:6, 8-9).

The Apostle Paul wrote, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (I Timothy 1:15). Aren't you a sinner? If you are a sinner, then why not come to Jesus today and have your sins forgiven by His Blood?

Jesus died on the Cross to pay for your sins. Jesus shed His Blood to wash your sins away. He rose, physically, from the dead three days later. He is now seated, up in Heaven, at the right hand of God. Come to Jesus and trust Him - and be washed from your sins in His Blood. "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost and unforgiven? Come to Jesus Christ!"

Come to Him today. Do not wait any longer. You have wasted enough time already. You have put it off long enough. You have made excuses long enough. Today, it is time for you to come to Jesus and trust Him. Two thousand years ago Pilate asked this question:

"What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:22).

What will you do with Jesus Christ? The Bible says,

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" 
     (Acts 16:31).

I would like to talk with you about coming to Jesus. We're going to sing the last hymn on the song sheet. While we sing, you come forward and stand in front of this pulpit. After you've all come, we're going to go to the pastor's office and I'm going to talk with you about coming to Jesus Christ and having your sins washed away with His Blood. I want to listen to your thoughts and feelings. I want to answer your questions. I want to help you. You come, while we sing.


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I John 4:4-11.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Blest Be the Tie"

(by John Fawcett, 1740-1817).



by Dr. C. L. Cagan


"And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness" (I John 5:19).

(I John 4:9-10, 19; Romans 8:31-32, 37-39)

I.   The world and the church are different when it comes to your
relationships with other people, Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:6;
I John 3:23; I John 4:7; Acts 2:42, 46-47; Hebrews 10:25;
John 10:27-28; Hebrews 13:5.

II.  The world and the church are different when it comes to your
life style, I John 3:3, 9; I John 5:18.

III. The world and the church are different when it comes to your
self-image - how you think and feel about yourself,
Romans 8:7-8; Romans 7:18-19, 24-25.

IV. The world and the church are different when it comes to your
relationship with God, Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:21, 23;
II Corinthians 5:8; Luke 16:23; Romans 5:6, 8-9;
I Timothy 1:15; Matthew 27:22; Acts 16:31.

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