Ed Cornock - Worldliness - Denver, Colorado Convention - 1965

There are a few things that have been in my heart for some time and I'd like to speak about them this afternoon. I have been reading and thinking about some things in Paul's Epistles to Timothy. Chapter 6:6 of ITimothy has fastened itself on my mind. "Godliness with contentment is great gain." These are the words of an old ser­vant of God, who was soon to leave this earthly scene. This was something he had learned through experience and these words were written to meet a need among God's people then and now.

It was an evil world in which Paul lived and labored and these evil influences were having their effect upon some of God's people; but it was no worse then than it is now. Its influences have never been conducive to spirituality. We should never forget that this world in which we live is the world that crucified Christ. It hasn't grown better with the passing of the years but rather worse. "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse" etc. II Timothy 3:13.

Paul mentions some things that were happening among God's people. Satan is luring God's people away from the right path. Satan is just as busy now as he was then, trying to destroy God's children. That is why Paul speaks of "seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." 4:1. In 5:15, we read that some had already turned aside after Satan. He tells us also that some had come to the place where they supposed that gain was Godliness. Some, because of the love of money, had turned aside and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. The servant of God could not see such things happening without being distressed in his soul. Again I want to remind you that the influence of this world will destroy the Christ in you, if you do not guard against it.

Some things I see among us distress me deeply and I'm concerned for the welfare of all God's people both young and old. I don't know how much longer God will permit me to be among you, but while I'm here, I want to admonish and encourage you to follow after righteousness as God's servants did so long ago. We need to recognize that there is no substitute for a definite choice and true purpose to walk with Jesus. The tendency of human nature has always been to try to be on both sides of the fence at the same time, "believing" in the Lord but living to please ourselves. God's people have always found it easy to go astray this way. This, I believe, was what constituted Baal worship in Old Testament days.

Salvation comes as a result of men accepting Jesus, the only Saviour as our Lord and Master, and gladly submitting to His control. "Godliness with contentment is great gain." Baal means, lord, master, possessor, owner. His worshippers professed to believe in God as their Saviour but walked and worshipped as they pleased, refusing to recognize the Lord's control in their lives. This is what false religions teach in the world today. This is the wide gate and the broad way. It is easy for people to believe this and go that way. God's people are not beyond being tempted to believe this is all right.

Paul encouraged God's people to cling to the teachings of Jesus: "wholesome words," "life-giving words." Today we encourage you to do the same. Among the things that Jesus taught us is that "we cannot serve God and mammon." We cannot serve the Lord and live to please ourselves. We cannot live to please the world and have God's approval.

I feel sure that all of God's children want God's blessing. I'm glad that blessing is within our reach, but there is a price to pay. May God help us to be willing to pay that price. Jesus said in life there was one thing needful, learning how to please God and doing it. These are wholesome words. Mary chose that better part. May God help us to choose this, too. If we really want God's blessing we can have it, but we must plan our lives so that God can bless us. We shouldn't find this price too great to pay. Those who in by gone days had God's blessing let God plan their lives. This is the privilege of God's children today.

We are glad to tell those of you who are young, that there are two wonderful possi­bilities before you. The greatest and best is to put your life on God's altar where it can be used wholly in the service of others. Let God make you a fisher of men, a minister of Christ's Gospel. Not all are called to do this, but I'm sure if our young people were all letting God plan their lives there would not be such a dearth of laborers in the great Harvest Field. The need was never greater. God is still calling. Don't turn a deaf ear to that call.

Second to this is the possibility of being a saint and possibly having a home that could be used in the service of God. Some of you say you want a home. Nothing wrong in this if God has not called you to fill the first and best place. Be sure of this my dear young friends, for unwise choices and selfish planning can bring a lot of regret and sorrow later on. If you are planning to have a home, of course, you are planning a Godly home. You are letting God plan your life and your home also, and God doesn't ever plan that your home should be a divided HOME. God planned the first home. It was not a divided home and God's children are admonished to marry "only in the Lord." II Corinthians 7:39. So if you want a Godly home, you'll want a Godly partner, and the best way to attract a Godly partner is to be a Godly person.

When God created Adam, He created a man. Gave him manly qualities. When he created Eve, He created a woman. Gave her womanly qualities. Those qualities were given so that Adam and Eve would find it easy to respect and love each other. God intended that those qualities should always be retained. In Deuteronomy 22:5, we are told that a woman should not wear men's clothing; neither should a man wear woman's clothing. God wanted men to be manly and women to be feminine and womanly. An effeminate man and a masculine woman are an abomination in God's sight. It was so then and it is still so.

We are living in an
age where women ape men in their manners, in their hair-cuts, in their clothing, in their habits, etc. Have they gained anything by so doing, I say NO. They have lost the respect men naturally have for women. By their conduct they are contributing heavily to the un­happy conditions existing in the world today. In I Timothy 2:9, Paul tells us about the feminine qualities that God expects to see in the life of a woman professing Godliness and Peter also (I Peter 3:1-7) tells us the same thing, using Sara, the wife of Abraham as an example of Godly living. So you think Sara missed anything worthwhile by being a Godly woman? I say NO. She married the best man in the world and together they walked where led and served God. Their lives were made rich with God's blessing.

Now that you have found a Godly partner and you have a home, there are a lot of other things to be considered. Many things are seen in worldly homes that can have no place in a Godly home. I have been distressed lately to learn that some of God's children are bringing TVs into their homes. This is sad because it will not help you to be more spiritual. (A TV advertisement - "Buy TV and bring the world into your home.") Is that the kind of atmosphere you want there? When we as God's servants, visit your homes, we endeavor always to bring with us an influence that will help create a Godly home, Godly atmosphere there. We know that the TV counteracts our efforts and if you insist on having that in your home, we can only conclude that you do not want our influence there.

We have too little time at best to read and meditate and pray. Certainly we are losing out if we devote time to the trash that comes over TV. Don't make it more difficult for God to bless you. Let God shape your course in life. Let Him plan your ways and let Him guide you in your home life. We need His control in all we say and do. I hope you will accept this kindly advice from an old man who loves you and is concerned for your soul. This advice is kindly given. I hope it will be received in the same spirit.
I have been asked, "Should young people who profess to serve God, go the dances and movies?" If you do not know the right answer to this question, you do not know much. You come to meetings and mingle your voices with others of God's children as they sing the songs of Zion. Maybe you sing, "I'm satisfied in Jesus now, My restless soul is calm and still, My weary heart has found its home, My joy it is to do His will." But your words are not true, because you go out from there to indulge in all kinds of worldliness. This all adds up to the worst kind of hypocrisy. The fact that your heart is reaching out after worldly pleasures is proof that you are not satisfied in Jesus. The reason why you don't find satisfaction in Him is because your affections are divided. You are not putting Him first. You are trying to serve God and mammon and you are not getting any­thing from the Lord. Why should such a person even think of taking part in meetings when he had no testimony to give?

I am pleading with you in the name of Christ today. I'm asking you to purpose that
from now on you will truly and sincerely walk with Christ. Stand out bravely and boldly as one who is on the Lord's side and you are not ashamed to bear His name. I am here today to plead with you in Jesus' name that you will keep an open ear to the voice of God, that you will treasure in your hearts the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus. As you put these words into practice, you'll prove that you are a Godly person and gladly satisfied to be such. May God help us, young and old, to do this. We pass this way but once. We cannot afford to miss God's best.

The past few months I have been reading through Judges, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, and I and II Chronicles. These records tell us of men and women who professed to be in God's Kingdom. Not all of them were kingdom-minded. Many were seeking their own and building up their own interests. All that any man needed to do to establish himself for time and eternity was to do what was right in the sight of the Lord. This is all we need to do today. A few honestly tried to do this and God was not too exacting. He was gracious and merciful in overlooking and forgiving the faults of any who were honestly trying to do His will. He is the same today. But many of the judges and kings took their own way to get place and to secure themselves in their wrongness. Abimelech slew seventy of his brethren. Saul used a javelin to try to slay David. Others did other things equally wicked and it's an awful picture of human nature at work. It frightens me. Sometimes their schemes seemed to work for a little while, but as we read the records now, we know that those who did evil did not get away with anything. All they had when they died was the terrible record of their misdeeds forever attached to their names.

These are serious things and with all my heart, I plead with you as one who loves you, sincerely loves you. I plead with you to deny yourself and do that which is right in the sight of the Lord. I would gladly do anything in my power to help you to be right and to do right, so that you might be an honor to God's name. I do not know how many more times I may have the privilege of speaking to you. This is in God's hands.

But I will say that I'm a hundred times more sure of the rightness of what I'm telling you now, than I was 55 years ago when I started in this work. Do not be influenced by worldly people. Listen to the counsel of God. Walk humbly with Him and all will work out well. Your life will be useful and fruitful and your heritage will be sure for time and for all eternity.