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:
- We are in it (John 17:15, 2 Corinthians 10:3)
- We are strangers in it (1 Peter 2:11)
- We are not of it (John 15:19, 17:14, 16, James 4:4)
- We must not adopt it’s standards (Romans 12:2, Titus 2:12, James 1:27)
- We must not love it (2 Timothy 4:10, 1 John 2:15-16)
- We must be crucified to it (Romans 6:6, Galatians 6:14)
- We must overcome it (John 16:33, 1 John 5:4-5)
- We must proclaim the gospel to it (Matthew 24:14, 28:19, Mark 16:15)
- We will one day judge it (1 Corinthians 6:2)
How the world relates to us:
- The world hates us (John 15:18, 17:14, 1 John 3:13)
- The world persecutes us (John 15:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:12)
- The world has false prophets (1 John 4:1, 3, 2 John 7)
God’s relationship to a sinful world:
- He loves it (John 3:16
- He sent the Son to save it (John 3:16, 17, 17:18, 23)
- He reconciled it through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19)
- He holds it accountable to him (Romans 3:19)
- He will judge it (Psalm 96:13, 98:9)
- He is the light (John 3:19, 8:12, 9:5)
- He takes away it’s sin (John 1:29)
- He is it’s Savior (Luke 2:10-11, John 4:42, 1 Timothy 1:15, 1 John 4:14)
- He gave his life for it (John 6:33, 51)
- He has overcome it (John 16:33)
- 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.
- How have you embraced the mission of Christ as your own?
- What areas of temptation are aimed at derailing your life and witness?
- In what ways do you need to get the world out of your life?
- What is holding you back?
- How are you investing in another man, or is another man investing into you?
- In what ways have you been persecuted for the sake of the gospel?
- What worldly standards have you allowed to creep into your life, marriage or family?
- How will you combat this tendency and stand strong in your faith?