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017 Kernels of Wheat – Why the Impossible Is Impossible

Show Notes by Jim Kerwin for Kernels of Wheat Podcast
Episode 017 – Why the Impossible Is Impossible

Sign that reads "impossible"

Not a “sign from God” (but just as obvious)

Review of Last Week’s “Worldly” Word Study

The Command in 1 John 2:15-17 and the Reason for It:

  • Don’t love the world-order or its things
  • If you love the world-order and its things, the love of God isn’t in you.

All that is in the world-order” – what’s included in “all”?

  • The word for lust – Greek = epithumeia (noun) and epithumeo(verb)
    • Doesn’t always mean “sexual lust”
    • The basic meaning is strong desire (legitimate or not), as in:
      • 1 Thessalonians 2:17—”…eager with great desire [epithumeia] to see your face.”
      • Luke 22:15—[Jesus] said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Literally, “With great desire I have desired” (not “with great lust have I lusted”), using both the noun epithumeia and the verb epithumeo
  • Lust/strong desire of the flesh
    • Oftentimes – Legitimate urges gone bad
    • Literally, lusts of the flesh; that is, the sin nature, the old man: Galatians 5:19-21 (from Stern’s Jewish New Testament and E.H. Peterson’s paraphrase [not straight translation, and certainly not a “transliteration,” as I accidentally called it in the audio] called The Message)
  • Lust/strong desire of the eyes = Covetousness
    • “Evil eye” – idiomatic expression for stinginess, selfishness, greediness, miserliness, jealousy, someone who is a “taker,” not a giver.
    • Single eye or healthy eye or “good eye” – idiom for generosity
    • Examples of both:
      • Matthew 6:22-23
      • Proverbs 23:6—Don’t eat the food of “an evil eye” (literal Hebrew), that is, “a selfish man” (NASB).
      • Proverbs 28:22—A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth and does not know that want will come upon him.
      • Matthew 20:15—“Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious [lit. evil] because I am generous [by implication, “because my eye is single/healthy,” i.e., generous]?”
      • Mark 7:21-23—see v. 22, where “envy” is the translation of the literal “evil eye.”
      • Luke 11:34-36
  • Pride of life—alazoneia tou biou
    • Perhaps best understood as “pride of possessions” (echo of Revelation 3:17?)
    • bios = life (“biology”) but it usually meant more along these lines:
      • day-to-day life
      • manner of life; conduct
      • possessions, property, what one lives on
      • Example: Mark 12:42-44 (|| Luke 21:1-4)—the widow with the two “mites”
    • The “American Dream” – house, car, better job, vacations, investments, retirement – “I’ve got it made!”
  • Other summations:
    • J.B. Phillips:
      • primitive desires
      • greedy ambitions
      • “the glamour of all they think splendid”
    • My own list of the three:
      • pursuit of pleasure
      • pursuit of possessions and position
      • pride of possessions and position
  • Bible examples of loving the world:
    • Eve: Genesis 3:6
      • Lust of the flesh – “The tree was good for food.”
      • Lust of the eyes – “It was pleasant to the eyes.”
      • Pride of life – “A tree to be desired to make one wise.”
    • Achan: Joshua 6 and 7
      • Intro: Everything in Jericho was declared cherem, i.e., “devoted to destruction,” and what could not be destroyed was to be given to the treasury of the Lord. The Greek word used in the Septuagint (LXX) to render cherem is anathema (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:22). See Joshua 6:17-19.
      • Defeat of Israel at Ai (Joshua 7:1-5)
      • Achan’s confession (Joshua 7:20-21)
      • Because Achan took the cherem, the items devoted to destruction, he himself was cursed with God’s curse of Jericho (a curse that wasn’t lifted until hundreds of years later – 2 Kings 2:19-22).
      • Putting ourselves under the curse of the world-system? “The world-order is passing away, and its lusts; but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
  • Bible examples of overcoming the world-system:
    • Jesus in the wilderness: Matthew 4:1-11
      • Strong desire of the flesh – stones to bread
      • Strong desire of the eyes (but sort of in reverse order, as in “Look at Me!”) – temptation from the temple pinnacle
      • Strong desire of “boastful pride of life”/“pride of possessions” – all the kingdoms of the world-order
    • Truly born-again Christians: 1 John 5:4-5

Why does this matter?

  • If any person loves the world-system or the things in it, God’s love is not in him.
  • The operative word is love, agapeo.
    • Remember the context of the epistle: the goal is unbroken communion, a continual love-feast with the Godhead (chapter 1).
    • James is the one who casts the situation in a very down-to-earth light of marital love versus adultery in James 4:4-5
      • The concept of adultery means that James is casting our relationship with God as one of marriage.
      • The “Archie Syndrome” – Betty or Veronica? Archie will have to make a choice one day.
      • How faithful do you expect your spouse to be? 50% faithful? 75% faithful? 99% faithful?
      • It’s impossible to be committing adultery and be faithful to a partner in a marriage. The impossible is impossible by definition.
    • Adultery is the only allowable cause for divorce. Does God have grounds for divorce from you?
    • Adultery is under the death penalty according to God.
    • God’s jealousy – James 4:5
  • Therefore “the love of the Father is not in him.”

Having a serious change of mind about the world-order and its “things”

  • Most North American Christians have no idea just how influenced and compromised they are by the world-order. Our view has been warped from birth by Hollywood, Madison Avenue, politics, print media, digital media…
  • Hebrews 13:5— Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.”
  • Vance Packard—The Hidden Persuaders vs. “be content with such things as you have.”
  • The price of following Jesus – “all that he hath” – Luke 14:33 (in the context of 14:25-35): Amplified Bible: So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple.
  • Jesus’ declaration (Matthew 6:24): “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Not…
    • “You shouldn’t do it.” (Although that’s also true.)
    • “It’s very difficult to do, but some people manage it, so maybe you can, too.”
  • A new definition of repentance
  • “The world-order is passing away…but whoever does the will of God abides forever” – that is, whoever:
    • Has only one Master
    • Doesn’t covet the world-system and its cherem.
    • Is faithful to the Heavenly Bridegroom
    • Is more than content with God alone, God Himself, counting intimate communion with Him of inestimable value.

Related Messages:

Kernels of Wheat Episode #16—If ‘God So Loved the World,’ Why Am I Not Allowed To?


  • Read through the First Epistle of John once a week
  • Remember to substitute the phrase “the Anointed One” for Christ or Messiah for the next few weeks, to get in practice.

Next Week: Unhappy Heresies


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More teaching by Jim Kerwin and others can be found on the Finest of the Wheat website.

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