• Leaving Evangelist, Christian and Faithful head for Vanity Fair with Evangelist’s words ringing in their ears: “One of you must seal with blood the testimony that you hold. But be faithful unto death, _and the King will give you a crown of life_.”
Vanity Fair is Bunyan’s amazingly accurate picture of the world and its character-istics. What is worldliness? What is the world? This lesson will answer these ques-tions by giving a seven–fold description of Vanity Fair. (Note: when we use the word world in this lesson, we are not referring to the planet earth or its geographic features. Rather, we are referring to the world system. The following description will make this point obvious.)
The World Is Vain
• How does the dictionary define vanity? _worthless pleasure of display; lack of real value_
• Why is Vanity Fair given such a name? _The town in which the fair is located is lighter than air, and all that’s sold there or comes from there is worthless._
• Read Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14;
Isaiah 40:17. List all of the things that Solomon, the wisest man, called vain. _all works under the sun, pleasure, wine, wisdom, folly, great works, houses, vineyards, gardens, orchards, trees, pools, servants, maidens, herds and flocks, silver and gold, singers, music, all of his labors, sorrowful days, all nations_
Worldliness is anything that is empty or meaningless.
• On what empty, meaningless things do you expend a lot of your time and energy? What should you do about it? _Answers will vary._
The World Is Nonstop Temptation
• The world always tempts the Christian. It never lets up. How does Bunyan illustrate this fact? He says that Vanity Fair was kept open and operating all year long _
•Think of it. Almost every minute of every day, the world’s philosophy, attitudes, fads, styles, and way of life are pressuring us, trying to get us to conform. What does
Romans 12:1–2 command us not to do?_not to be conformed to the world_
Someone has paraphrased that passage this way: Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold!
• According to these two verses, how can you keep the world from molding you to its shape? by being transformed by the renewing of our mind_
• According to
Romans 8:29, to what, instead of to the world, are we to be conformed (molded)? _Christ’s image_
Therefore, worldliness is anything that would keep you from being conformed to His image.
The World Is Ancient
• How does Bunyan express this point? _This fair is not new; it is actually quite old. Almost five thousand years ago, pilgrims were walking to the Celestial City._
Since the beginning of time, Satan has used the world to entice men and women from Christ. Teenagers, you are not the only ones who have had it rough. The world has been just as active from creation as it is today.
The World Is Sinful
Bunyan describes the merchandise to be sold at this fair. He lists thirty–four spe-cific products. Study these items, noting the seven types of sin.
Four Covetous Sins
1. _houses _
2. _lands _
3. _occupations _
Four Sins of Ego, or Pride
Three Sins of the Flesh
Three Sins of the Cares of Life
Eight Sins of Wrong Values
8. _precious stones_
Satan traps Christians today by getting them tied down by daily cares and busy schedules. He tempts us with a wrong set of values. He devalues the life and the soul of a lost person and devalues Christ’s blood. Gradually, believers get so involved with their own problems that they lose both whatever burden they might have had for the lost and their “love and esteem for the blood of Christ.”
Eight Sins of Frivolity
1-8. _juggling, cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, rogues__
Four “Blood–red” (Crimson) Sins
1-4. _thefts, murders, adulteries, perjury_
• In these seven categories of sins, we see seven ways in which the world tempts the Christian. Review these seven types of sins and note how Christians today are still tempted by the same things. To which of these types of sins are you most susceptible? _____________________________
• List the specific ways in which you are tempted by each of these seven types of sins:
1. Covetousness _________
2. Pride/ego ________________
3. Flesh ____________________________
4. Cares of life ____________________________________
5. Values ___________
6. Frivolities _________
7. Crimson sins ___________________
Worldliness is involvement in any of the seven types of sins.
The World Is Universal
• How does Bunyan show that worldliness is a problem wherever a person lives? _by telling of rows and streets where wares are sold and every country has its own specialty: British row, French row, Italian row, Spanish row, etc._
Lesson: you cannot hide from the world. You might go to a Bible–preaching church, attend a Christian school, and socialize with only Christian teens, but you will still be influenced by the world.
• Name various ways in which the world influences a Christian although he might be almost isolated from it by his home, school, and/or church environment. _Answers will vary._
The World Is Inescapable
• How does Bunyan illustrate this truth? _He says that the way to the Celestial City goes through the town that has Vanity Fair; there is no other way but to go right through it._
The World Is Controlled by Satan
• How does Bunyan illustrate this truth? _He says that Beelzebub is the chief lord of the air._
How to Escape the Effects of the World
Remember, we can’t escape the world; it’s all around us. What we are to avoid is surrendering to its influence. How can we do this? List in the following spaces the three major definitions of worldliness as given in this lesson.
1. _anything that is empty or meaningless_
2. _anything that would keep us from being conformed to Christ’s image_
3. _any of the seven types of sinsAnswers will vary._
Attack each of these three definitions as follows.
1. Fill your life and time with things that count for eternity. Bible reading, Scripture memorization, meditation on the Word, soul winning, and reading Christian books—these and other worthwhile projects should fill our time so that we have no free time to be tempted by empty, meaning-less activities.
2. Avoid anything that presses you out of God’s shape (and into the mold of the world).
• List TV programs that you must quit watching if you are to accom-plish this goal. ____________
• List books and magazines that you now read that you must stop read-ing. __________________________________________________
• List the worldly friends whom you must drop. ___________
• List any other things (movies, hangouts, music, etc.) with which you must deal. ____________
3. Confess any of the seven types of sin of which you are guilty, and avoid the thousands of ways by which they sneak up on you. Pray about the things you’ve listed. Ask God to fill your life with things that are good, wholesome, and worthwhile and that will count for eternity.
notes from the teacher’s lesson
What the World Isn’t
• Things We’re ____________________________________________
• Specific _________________________________________________
What It Is
Attitude (1 John 2:16)
• Lust of the ______________________________________________
• Lust of the ______________________________________________
• Pride of _________________________________________________
Any influence that limits, prohibits, or takes prior claim to godly service.
How to Overcome the World
• Do the ________________________________ of God
(1 John 2:17)
• Love the __________________________________
(1 John 2:15–17)
• Live by ____________________________, Not Feelings
1. Skim through Steve and Ruth Bennett’s little book 365 TV–Free Activities, and list at least ten interesting, enjoyable, and worthwhile activities with which you can replace TV viewing in your home.
2. What role do friends and companions play in a believer’s success or failure in avoiding worldliness and living a life based on eternal values? In prepar-ing your answer, refer to chapter three (“Friends That Sharpen”) of Donna Morley’s book Choices That Lead to Godliness.
3. Conduct a study of how Joseph successfully resisted temptation and thereby was able to achieve God’s purpose for his being in Egypt. (An especially good source of information on this topic is Robert E. Reccord’s book When Life Is the Pits: A Bible Study on the Life of Joseph. Pay particular attention to chapter three, “The Devil Made Me Do It.”)
4. Read chapter 23 (“The Sanctification of Our Minds”) of A Treasury of A. W. Tozer. Then explain the following statement: “Feats of thinking may create reputation, but habits of thinking create character.” Apply the information in this reading to your life in your efforts to oppose the influences of worldliness.
5. Read and summarize Love Not the World by Watchman Nee. In chapter one, who does Nee say is “The Mind Behind the System”?
6. Explain, illustrate, and apply the following statement from Hannah Whitall Smith’s classic The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life: “One of the most fatal things in the life of faith is discouragement; one of the most helpful is confi-dence.” (See specifically chapter ten, “Difficulties Concerning Temptation.”)
7. Read chapter thirteen (“Amusements”) of R. A. Torrey’s book How to Succeed in the Christian Life. List Torrey’s seven rules for determining activities in which you as a believer should not be engaged. Apply these seven guidelines to your own activities.