You and Me Against the World

I know that living in this world is difficult for a believer. The “world” seeks to persecute and ridicule all that we embrace and into which we have put our faith and eternal destiny. I received a call before our Leadership Seminar last night from a woman in tears fearing that Jesus had left her. Her spirit was defeated and discouraged; her world had fallen apart. She had made some mistakes, had a recent breakup with her fiance, was actually involved in a lot of ministry and was quite familiar with the teachings of the Bible. After a while I found her to be a delightful woman who is truly seeking after God. Her story is one that should bring encouragement to the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). How passionate are we when it comes to seeking God? (Jeremiah 29:13, 42:1).

She seeks to follow the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and focuses on the command to obey all that I have commanded you. For her, all means all. I love her confident faith and sincerely desire to be an obedient follower of Jesus. Her passion is to be one of Jesus’ sheep, and not be brushed aside as a goat (Matthew 25:32-33). I challenge each of us to read a command of Christ and become obedient to it, and only then move on to another command.

Another issue discussed was the persecution that believers face in the world. There is an evil that seeks to bring the faithful down. I’m not one looking for demons under every rock or the devil behind every mishap, but the Bible is clear when it comes to our citizenship is not of this world (John 18:36, 17:14, Philippians 3:20, James 4:14, 1 Peter 5:10). My study takes aim at the world and how God and we relate to it.

Our relationship to this sinful world:

How we relate to the world:

  1. We are in it (John 17:15, 2 Corinthians 10:3)
  2. We are strangers in it (1 Peter 2:11)
  3. We are not of it (John 15:19, 17:14, 16, James 4:4)
  4. We must not adopt it’s standards (Romans 12:2, Titus 2:12, James 1:27)
  5. We must not love it (2 Timothy 4:10, 1 John 2:15-16)
  6. We must be crucified to it (Romans 6:6, Galatians 6:14)
  7. We must overcome it (John 16:33, 1 John 5:4-5)
  8. We must proclaim the gospel to it (Matthew 24:14, 28:19, Mark 16:15)
  9. We will one day judge it (1 Corinthians 6:2)

How the world relates to us:

  1. The world hates us (John 15:18, 17:14, 1 John 3:13)
  2. The world persecutes us (John 15:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:12)
  3. The world has false prophets (1 John 4:1, 3, 2 John 7)

God’s relationship to a sinful world:

The Father:

  1. He loves it (John 3:16
  2. He sent the Son to save it (John 3:16, 17, 17:18, 23)
  3. He reconciled it through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19)
  4. He holds it accountable to him (Romans 3:19)
  5. He will judge it (Psalm 96:13, 98:9)

The Son:

  1. He is the light (John 3:19, 8:12, 9:5)
  2. He takes away it’s sin (John 1:29)
  3. He is it’s Savior (Luke 2:10-11, John 4:42, 1 Timothy 1:15, 1 John 4:14)
  4. He gave his life for it (John 6:33, 51)
  5. He has overcome it (John 16:33)
  6. He will judge it (Acts 17:31)

Application: We are truly to be in the world but not of the world. We are set apart, sanctified for a greater purpose.

  1. How have you embraced the mission of Christ as your own?
  2. What areas of temptation are aimed at derailing your life and witness?
  3. In what ways do you need to get the world out of your life?
  4. What is holding you back?
  5. How are you investing in another man, or is another man investing into you?
  6. In what ways have you been persecuted for the sake of the gospel?
  7. What worldly standards have you allowed to creep into your life, marriage or family?
  8. How will you combat this tendency and stand strong in your faith?

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Ancient Astronaut Theory?

I watched a show on the History Channel this evening because the topic aroused my curiosity; it was called Ancient Aliens. Here is a brief summary about the program:

Unearthly visitations… Heavenly messengers… Close encounters… Accounts of humans interacting with celestial beings have existed since the beginning of mankind. Many of these encounters resulted in moral, philosophical and artistic inspirations. But did these contacts involve ethereal beings from heaven or extraterrestrials from other worlds? Are holy books the word of God, or guidebooks passed down by more advanced civilizations? Who told Joan of Arc how to defeat the English Army–saints or extraterrestrials? Could a young boy from India have learned advanced mathematical formulas from a Hindu goddess? What message did an American serviceman receive while touching an alien aircraft? If the Ancient astronaut theory is correct, then are beings from other worlds communicating with us for our benefit… or theirs? Just what is the purpose of these alien contacts?

Ancient alien theory grew out of the centuries-old idea that life exists on other planets, and that humans and extraterrestrials have crossed paths before. The theme of human-alien interaction came into view in the 1960s, driven by a wave of UFO sightings and popular films like 2001: A Space Odyssey. The space program played a part in this as well: If mankind could travel to other planets, why couldn’t extraterrestrials visit Earth?

In 1968, the Swiss author Erich von Däniken published Chariots of the Gods?. He writes that thousands of years ago space travelers from other planets visited Earth, where they taught humans about technology and influenced ancient religions. He is regarded by many as the father of ancient alien theory, also known as the ancient astronaut theory.

Most ancient alien theorists point to two types of evidence to support their ideas.

  1. The first is ancient religious texts in which humans witness and interact with gods or other heavenly beings who descend from the sky (sometimes in vehicles resembling spaceships) and possess spectacular powers.
  2. The second is physical specimens such as artwork depicting alien-like figures and ancient architectural marvels like Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt.

If aliens visited Earth in the past, could they make an appearance in the future? For ancient alien theorists, the answer is yes. They believe that, by sharing their views with the world, they can help prepare future generations for the inevitable encounter that awaits them.

The pyramids, Stonehenge, Atlantis, the Mayans… all advanced for the times. The program mentioned another example of an ancient alien visit; a mythical island called Brazil, or Hy-Brazil (sometimes called the other Atlantis). It is a phantom island mentioned in many Irish myths. It was said to be cloaked in mist, except for one day each seven years, when it became visible but could still not be reached.

From a non-biblical perspective, they would have us believe that the encounters we read about in the Bible where angels (or a pre-incarnate theophany) are visiting God’s faithful would actually be encounters with E.T. For example:

  1. Noah (Genesis 6:13): God approaches Noah about destroying the world by a flood. The Gilgamesh Epic records that he is to transform his own house into the ship he would save himself and the animals; it’s even shaped like a cube (could it be Borg? Resistance is futile). The point is that alien technology (far more advanced than the times) was utilized to save mankind.
  2. Abraham (Genesis 18:1, 2-3, 19:1): God visits Abraham at his tent, and some angels go to visit Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah.
  3. Job and Isaiah (Isaiah 40:22, Job 26:7): When Isaiah wrote this verse he used a Hebrew word to describe the shape of the earth. Although the word is commonly translated into the English word “circle,” the literal meaning of this word is “a sphere.” In the Job passage, when we consider that twenty-eight centuries ago the prevailing view of the earth was that it was flat and resting on the back of an animal or Greek god, the biblical view of a spherical earth suspended on nothing is astonishing. The point is, how would this be known unless these men were taken up in a spaceship to see the Earth from orbit?
  4. Moses (Exodus 3:2, 34:29): The burning bush experience and the shining face from being with God up on the mountain.
  5. Joshua (Joshua 5:13, 14, 15): The captain of the Lord’s army with a drawn sword.
  6. Paul (Acts 9:3, 4-5): Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.

Why is it so difficult to accept the fact that God actually exists, yet it is so easy for someone to promote the notion of extra-terrestrials from other planets? The Christian seems to be the one with a foolish belief system? The origin of life coming from alien DNA makes more sense than the supernatural creation of God? If people can be convinced about the existence of aliens coming back to earth, what better explanation for the rapture, when Jesus returns and takes his faithful home?

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