|We shall begin this lesson
with the verse we were studying last night: James 4:4. And I desire
especially that everyone shall look at the verses himself and study
carefully what they say. In the times in which we are and the place to
which we have been brought by the evidences that we cannot avoid and
against which it is impossible to shut our eyes, I know that I never
entered upon a Bible study in my life as I do upon this one tonight, and
I desire that all shall surrender every faculty to the guidance of God’s
Spirit, with the whole spirit surrendered to God, that He Himself may
lead us where He wants us to go.
Ye adulterers and adulteresses,
know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?
Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of
We wish to notice particularly the
question, "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity
with God?" It follows therefore that the only possibility of any
soul in this world ever being separated from this world and thus from
Babylon is to have that enmity destroyed. For, I say again, the
friendship of the world is not at enmity with God. If it were, it
could be reconciled to God by taking away that which had put it at
enmity with God. But it is not that; it is the thing itself—it
"is enmity." And that enmity against God, that which is
enmity with God, puts us at enmity with Him. Men may be
reconciled to God by having the enmity taken away, but the enmity itself
can never be reconciled to God. And mankind, whom the enmity puts at
enmity with God, are reconciled to God merely by taking away the enmity
We have the key to the whole situation
in the fact that the friendship of the world is enmity with God.
"The friendship of the world," and "the enmity" are
identical; a man cannot have the enmity without the friendship of the
world, for that is it—the friendship of the world is in it.
Therefore I say yet again: The only
hope of a man’s being separated from the world as the Scriptures
demand and as our times demand as never before in the world (if there
could be any difference) is by having that enmity taken away. That is
all we are to seek for; that is all there is to be done, for when that
is gone we are free.
In the eighth chapter of Romans this
same thing is referred to, beginning with the seventh verse.
"Because the carnal mind" or as it is literally in the Greek,
"The mind of the flesh is enmity against God: for it is not subject
to the law of God, neither indeed can be." That makes emphatic the
thought presented in connection with the other text, that there is no
possibility of that enmity being reconciled to God. Nothing can be done
with it but to take it away, to destroy it. Nothing can be done for
it at all; something may be done with it, but nothing can be done
for it: and for the reason that it is against God; it is not subject
to the law of God, neither indeed can be. It cannot be
subjected to the law of God. God Himself cannot make the carnal mind the
mind of the flesh, subject to His law. It cannot be done. This is not
speaking with any irreverence toward the Lord or limiting His power, but
it cannot be done. God can destroy the wicked thing and all that ever
brought it, but He cannot do anything for it, to reform it or
make it better.
"So then they that are in the
flesh cannot please God." Yet this world is of the flesh
altogether: "But ye are not of the world" "for I"
says the Lord "have chosen you out of the world." He has
separated the Christian from the flesh, from the ways of the flesh, from
the mind of the flesh and from the rule of the flesh. This separates
from the world by separating us from that which of itself holds us to
the world. Nothing but the power of God can do that.
When God made man …
Now let us trace a few moments the
record of the time when God made man. Genesis 2. When God made man, God
Himself pronounced him, with all the other things He had made, not
simply good but "very good." Then man, the first Adam, Adam as
he was, was glad to hear the voice of God. He delighted in His presence;
his whole being responded joyfully to His call.
But there came another one into the
garden and cast distrust of God into the minds of these. The serpent
said unto the woman, Humph! Has God said you shall not eat of every tree
of the garden? She said, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the
garden, but of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God said Ye
shall not eat of it neither shall ye touch it lest ye die. The serpent
said, "Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day
ye eat thereof, ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil." That is
the Hebrew of it, and the Jew’s translation of it also and the Revised
Version, if I remember correctly.
The insinuation was to this effect: God
Himself knows that that is not so, and He knows that it is not so that
He has told you; this shows that there is something back of that. It
shows that He is not dealing fairly with you. He does not want you to be
where this will bring you. He does not want you to have what this will
give you. He knows what this will do for you and not wanting it to be
so, that is why He says, Do not do that. His suggestions were taken and
as soon as they were entertained, she thought she now saw what before
she did not see and that which in fact was not true. As the Lord made
them and intended they should remain, they were to receive all their
instruction and all their knowledge from God. They were to listen to His
word, to accept that word and allow it to guide them and to live in
them. Thus they would have the mind of God; they would think the
thoughts of God by having His word, expressive of His thoughts, dwelling
in them. But here another mind, directly the opposite, was attended to.
Other suggestions were accepted. Other thoughts were allowed. Other
words were received, surrendered to, and obeyed so that "the woman
saw that the tree was good for food." Was the tree good for food?
No. But by listening to those words she saw things that were not so. She
saw things in a way that they were not seen before and never could have
been seen in the light of God. But yielding to this other mind she saw
things in a false light altogether. She saw that the tree was good for
food and a tree to be desired to make one wise. It was no such thing.
She saw it so, though.
The power of the deception …
This reveals the power of deception
that there is in the words and the ways of Satan who made those
suggestions at that time. As certainly as one inclines his mind that way
or has anything in his mind that would of itself incline that way, this
gives Satan a chance to work and cause that person to see things in the
wrong way, to cause him to see things as being the only necessary
things, which are not true at all and not only are they not necessary,
but are absolutely false in every respect.
When Eve "saw" all this, it
was only the natural consequence. "She took of the fruit thereof
and did eat and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did
Look at the record a little further.
Eighth verse: "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in
the garden in the cool of the day and Adam and his wife hid themselves
from the presence of the Lord God." What was the cause of that?
There was something about them that would avoid the presence of God,
something that was not in harmony with God and caused them to hide
themselves rather than to welcome Him.
"And the Lord God called unto
Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice
in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked?" Now the question:
"Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou
shouldest not eat?" And he said, Yes, I have, and I am inclined to
think that it was not exactly right and I am sorry. Did he? Oh, no. The
question is, "Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee
that thou shouldest not eat?" Hadn’t he eaten of it? Certainly he
had. Why didn’t he say, Yes? As to that "why," I will go on
a little further with the lesson and then ask this question again and
then we can all see why.
He did not answer, Yes. Though that is
all the answer there was any room for. But he said, "The woman whom
thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
It came in at last, admitting that he was involved in it. But
whereabouts did he come in? The last possible place. The woman, and even
the Lord Himself, must come in for the blame before the man could allow
himself to come into it at all. In all this he was simply saying, in
substance, "I would not have done it if it had not been for the
woman, because she gave it to me; and if the woman had not been here,
she would not have done it; and if you had not put the woman here, she
would not have been here. Therefore if she had not been here, she would
not have given it to me, and if she had not given it to me, I would not
have done it. So, of course, as a matter of fact, I did eat, but the
responsibility is back yonder." What was it in him and about that
that would lead him to involve everybody else in the universe before
himself and before admitting that he had any part in it at all? Nothing
but love of self, self-defense, self-protection.
"And the Lord said unto the
woman"—another clear question: "What is this that thou hast
done?" And she said, Oh, I took of the tree and I ate of it and I
gave it to my husband and he ate and it is too bad. No. She said no such
thing. Mark: Still answering the question, "What is this that thou
hast done?" (He did not ask, "Who did it?" but
"What is this that thou hast done?") "And the
woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." She answered
the question the same way that he did. The same thing caused her to
dodge the question and involve somebody else that caused Adam to do
that. Everybody else must come in but themselves.
Now I ask again, Why did they not
answer the straight question straight? They could not do it. And
they could not do it because the mind with which they were actuated,
which had taken possession of them, which held them in bondage and
enslaved them under its power is the mind that originated
self-exaltation in the place of God and never will allow itself the
second place even where God is. We all know that that is the mind of
Satan, of course. But back when he started we know that the thing that
caused him to reach the position where he stood at this time was
He turned away his eyes from God and
looked to himself, gave himself credit for great glory, and the place
where he was was not large enough for him and he must exalt himself.
"I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. . . . I will ascend
above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High."
That was sin. The Lord called upon him to forsake his sin and his wrong
course, to turn to God, to accept the ways of God once more. We know
that that is so, because it is written, "God is no respecter of
persons." There is no respect of persons with God. And as the
heavenly family and the earthly family are all one family, as God is no
respecter of persons, and as when man sinned, God gave him a second
chance and called upon him to return—as certainly as there is no
respect of persons with God, so certainly God gave to Lucifer a second
chance and called upon him to return. That is settled. He might have
forsaken his course; he might have forsaken himself and yielded to God.
But instead of yielding he refused that call, rejected God’s gift,
refused to turn from his ways and to surrender to God once more. And in
that he simply confirmed himself, in spite of all that the Lord could do
in that self-assertive course. And thus the mind which is in
him, thus confirmed in sin and rebellion against God is enmity—not
simply at enmity; it is enmity itself: "It is not subject to the
law of God, neither indeed can be."
Now that mind was accepted by
Adam and Eve. And being accepted by them, it took in the whole world,
because they, in that acceptance, surrendered this world to Satan and
thus he became the god of this world. Accordingly that is the mind of
this world; that is the mind that controls the world. This mind of
Satan, the mind of the god of this world, is the mind that controls
mankind as mankind is in and of this world and is in itself
"enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be."
Now that is why Adam and Eve could not
answer that straight question straight. Men could answer that question
straight now. But at that time they could not, for the reason that Satan
had taken them under his dominion and there was no other power to
control them. His control was absolute and there at that moment
was "total depravity." But God did not leave him there. He did
not leave the race in that condition. He turns next and says to the
serpent, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between
thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise
his heel." Thus there are two enmities in this world: one is
from Satan and is enmity against God; the other is from God and is
enmity against Satan. And through these two enmities come the two
mysteries—the mystery of God and the mystery of iniquity.
This enmity against Satan is the
righteousness of God, of course. In this saying, "I will put enmity
between thee and the woman," God broke the bond of Satan over the
will of man, set man once more free to choose which authority he would
follow, which king and which world he will have. In this word God broke
the absolute dominion of Satan and set the man free to choose which
world he will have. And since that time the man who will choose God’s
way and yield his will to the control of God can answer a straight
question unto the Lord, so that when the Lord comes and asks, Did you do
so and so? he can answer, Yes, without bringing anybody else into it at
all. This is confession of sin. And thus came the ability to confess sin
and reveals the blessed truth that the power to confess sin—repentance—is
the gift of God.
Now the mind of Satan being the mind of
this world, the mind that controls the natural man, is enmity against
God, and it puts man at enmity with God. It cannot be reconciled
to God, "for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed
can be" The only thing to be done is to get it out of the way in
some way. If that can be done, then the man will be reconciled to God,
then the man is all right. He will be once more joined to God and God’s
word, God’s thoughts, God’s suggestions can reach him once more to
be his guide and his all-controlling power. And as the thing
cannot be reconciled to God, the only thing that can be done with it is
to destroy it. Then, only then, and by that means can men be at
peace with God and separate from the world. And thank the Lord He has
given us the glad news that it is destroyed.
As to how it is done and how we can
have the benefit of it, that will come in other studies. I count it glad
news that God sends us that the thing is done. Then as to leading us
into the benefit of it, the joy of it, the glory of it, and the power of
it, that will be for the Lord to lead us. We know that this enmity—this
mind of self and Satan—separated man from God, but God opened the way
for man to return. The Lord gave man a chance to choose which world he
will have. And this is the whole subject of our study. We are to leave
this world if we are going to get out of Babylon at all. It was to give
man a chance to choose which world, that the Lord said to Satan, "I
will put enmity" between thee and the seed of the woman. And
therefore the only and everlasting question is—which world? Which
world? Which world shall a man choose? And when God in His wondrous
mercy has opened the way and given us the power to chose a better world
than this, why should there be any kind of hesitation?
Turn to the second chapter of Ephesians
beginning with the first verse and let us read the good news that the
enmity against God is destroyed so that all may be free. Beginning with
the first verse:
And you hath he quickened who were
dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked
according to the course of this world, according to the prince of
the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of
We walked according to that spirit.
What spirit is it that rules in the children of disobedience? The spirit
that controls the world, the mind that originated the evil in the garden
and that is enmity against God. Who is the prince of the power of the
air? The spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience, the god of
this world—who has nothing in Jesus Christ, thank the Lord.
Among whom also we all had our
conversation [our way of life] in times past, in the lusts of our
flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
The mind of this world, being of this
world, naturally falls into the ways of this world. "And were by
nature the children of wrath, even as others." We were.
Before reading further in Ephesians,
turn to Colossians 1:21. You "were sometimes alienated and enemies
in your mind." Then where did the enmity lie that made us enemies?
In the mind, the fleshly mind. The mind of the flesh is enmity and it
controlling us makes us at enmity and enemies—"By wicked
Now Ephesians 2:11: "Wherefore
remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles is the flesh, who are
called Uncircumcision"—by the Lord?—No, but "by that which
is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands." Then here
are some men in the flesh calling other men in the flesh certain names,
making certain distinctions between themselves.
That at that time ye were without
Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers
from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the
Another passage in connection with that
is in the fourth chapter, 17th and 18th verses, which we will read
before reading further here:—
This I say therefore and testify in
the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the
vanity of their mind, [that is, in the idolatry 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.
Those who are in the flesh, far off
from God, are walking in the vanity of their mind, are alienated from
God and are separated from the life of God. Enemies in the mind; that is
what we were. Reading again in Eph. 2:13: "But now"— When? I
mean that. I mean we who are now here studying the scriptures, we are to
yield ourselves to the word of God exactly as it is, that it may carry
us where He may want us. Therefore I ask, When?—Now, right where we
"But NOW, in Jesus Christ,
ye who sometime were far off." Far off from whom? Far off from God?
or far off from the Jews? The previous verse says far off from God,
"without God," alienated from the life of God. "Ye who
sometime were far off [from God] are made nigh" to whom? To
God? or to the Jews?—Nigh to God of course.
"Ye who sometimes were far off are
made nigh to God by the blood of Christ. For He who is our peace, who
hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us—that was
between us—having abolished in his flesh the enmity."
Thank the Lord. He hath "abolished the enmity" and we can be
separated from the world.
"Hath broken down the middle wall
of partition between"—whom? Between men and God, surely. How did
He do it? How did He break down the middle wall of partition between us
and God? By "abolishing the enmity." Good.
True, that enmity had worked a division
and a separation between men on the earth, between circumcision and
uncircumcision, between circumcision according to the flesh and uncircumcision
according to the flesh. It had manifested itself in their divisions, in
building up another wall between Jews and Gentiles—that is true, but
if the Jews had been joined to God and had not been separated from Him,
would they have ever built up a wall between them and anybody else? No,
certainly not, but in their separation from God, in their fleshly
minds, in the enmity that was in their minds and the blindness through
unbelief which put the veil upon their heart—all this separated them
from God. And then because of the laws and ceremonies which God
had given them, they gave themselves credit for being the Lord’s
and for being so much better than other people, that they built up a
great separating wall and partition between themselves and other people.
But where lay the root of the whole thing, as between them and other
people even? It lay in the enmity that was in them that separated them
first from God. And being separated from Him, the certain consequence
was that they would be separated from others.
"For He is our peace, who hath
made both one." Made both who one?—God and men, certainly.
"And hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us,
having abolished in his flesh the enmity … for to make in himself
of twain [of two] one new man, so making peace."
Let us look that over again.
"Having abolished in His flesh the enmity." Now omitting the
next clause (We are not studying that in this lesson.), what did He
abolish that enmity for? What did He break down that middle wall of
partition for? Why? "for to make in Himself of twain one new man,
so making peace." Does Christ make a new man out of a Jew and a
Gentile?—No. Out of a heathen and somebody else?—No. Out of one
heathen and another heathen?—No.
God makes one new man out of
God and A MAN. And in Christ, God and man met so that they can be one.
All men were separated from God and in
their separation from God they were separated from one another. True,
Christ wants to bring all to one another; He was ushered into the
world with "Peace on earth; good will to men." That is His
object. But does He spend His time in trying to get these reconciled to
one another and in trying to destroy all these separations between men
and to get them to say, "Oh, well, let all bygones be bygones; now
we will bury the hatchet; now we will start out and turn over a new leaf
and we will live better from this time on"?
Christ might have done that. If He had
taken that course there are thousands of people whom He could have
persuaded to do that; thousands whom He could persuade to say,
"Well, it is too bad that we acted that way toward one another; it
is not right, and I am sorry for it. And now let us just all leave that
behind and turn over a new leaf and go on and do better." He could
have got people to agree to that. But could they have stuck to it?—No.
For the wicked thing is there still that made the division. What
caused the division?—The enmity, their separation from God caused the
separation from one another. Then what in the world would have been the
use of the Lord Himself trying to get men to agree to put away their
differences without going to the root of the matter and getting rid of
the enmity that caused the separation? Their separation from God had
forced a separation among themselves. And the only way to destroy their
separation from one another was of necessity to destroy their separation
from God. And this He did by abolishing the enmity. And we ministers can
get a lesson from this, when churches call us to try to settle
difficulties. We have nothing at all to do with settling difficulties
between men as such. We are to get the difficulty between God and
man settled and when that is done, all other separations will be
It is true, the Jews in their
separation from God had built up extra separations between themselves
and the Gentiles. It is true that Christ wanted to put all those
separations out of the way and He did do that. But the only way that He
did it and the only way that He could do it was to destroy the thing
that separated between them and God. All the separations between them
and the Gentiles would be gone, when the separation, the enmity, between
them and God was gone.
Oh, the blessed news that the enmity is
abolished! It is abolished; thank the Lord. There is therefore now no
need whatever of our having any friendship with the world. No need of
our having any lack of obedience to the law of God. No need of any
failure to be subject to God, for Jesus Christ has taken the enmity out
of the way. He has abolished it, destroyed it. He has destroyed the
wicked thing in which lies friendship with the world, in which lies lack
of subject to God and failure to be subject to His law. It is gone; in
Christ it is gone. Not outside of Christ; in Christ it is
gone, abolished, annihilated. Thank the Lord. This is freedom indeed.
That has always been good news, of
course. But to me now, in view of the situation which God has shown us
as we are now placed in the world, this blessed news has come to me in
the last few days as though I had never heard it before. It has come to
me bringing such joy, such genuine Christian delight, that—well, it
seems to me I am just as happy as a Christian.
Oh, the blessed fact that God says that
thing which separates us from God, which joins us to the world and which
does all the mischief, is abolished in Him, who is our Peace. Let
us take the glad news tonight, rejoice in it all the night and all the
day, that God may lead us on further and further into the green pastures
and by the still waters of His glorious kingdom into which He has
translated us. "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of
great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you [unto me I
know] is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ
the Lord." Thank the Lord.
1895 General Conference
Bulletin. A. T. Jones Sermons NO. 11.
This article is also
available in PDF format. Click here