In this lesson we are going to be looking at how God views the world and what the Christian’s perspective to the world should be. This is a very important lesson as we will see how it is that we are to relate to the world and its pressures.
In one sense God loves the world so much that He sent His only Son to die for the sins of the world – John 3:16. In another sense the world is His enemy. This is the domain that Satan controls of which he sets his deceptive traps to lie and deceive the people of the world and of which he tries to influence God’s people.
1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. 2 Corinthians 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
II. We Are Not of the World.
The first part of our perspective of the world should be that we have a good understanding of is that we are not of the world.
We Are in the World, but Not of the World.
John 17:15-16 "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16"They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (See vss.11-14 as well) When we are born again, we are translated from Satan’s kingdom (the world) into God’s kingdom. This means we are no longer of the world, which is Satan’s kingdom and domain. We are delivered from the power of Satan’s kingdom and translated into the kingdom of the Son.
Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love... When we say we are not of the world, what we are really saying is that we no longer belong to Satan’s kingdom, because he is the god of this world. (See 2 Corinthians 4:4)
The whole world lies under the sway or control of the evil one, which is why we as Christians should desire to have no part of the world.
1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
We Are a Chosen Generation, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, God’s Own Special People.
We are of God’s kingdom, a totally separated kingdom, a holy nation planted in the world, but not of it. Even though we live in the world we operate and live by the principles of God’s kingdom rather than those of the world, therefore we are in the world, but not of it.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
We Are to Be Crucified or Set Apart from the World.
If we are no longer of the world it will mean we will have to put to death the world in our lives. The world must become dead to us, meaning it simply no longer exists as far as we are concerned.
Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
We Are to Comeout from Among the World and Be Separate.
There is no fellowship between light and darkness. We must crucify the world by becoming dead to it.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." 17Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 18"I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty."
Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
IV. We Are Not to Love the World.
We Are Told Not to Love the Things of the World.
The love of the world will steal the love of the Father away from us and cause our hearts to grow cold towards the Lord.
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world. 17And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. There is a tendency to get distracted by the world when things are not going well in our lives. When pressures and difficulties come it is often easy to be enticed by the world. Remember the Israelites in the wilderness. Because of the hardness of the way they longed for Egypt once again. (e.g. Parable of the Sower - Matthew 13)
Our Conduct Should Be Without Covetousness.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Covetousness will lead us into temptation and an opportunity for the enemy to try to get us to stumble and fall. It is very dangerous ground to give to the enemy.
The Psalmist writes as to how covetousness caused him to almost stumble.
Psalms 73:1-3 Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart. 2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. 3For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Psalms 73:16-17 When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me;17Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.
Friendship with the World will affect our Relationship with God.
When we make friendship with the world by loving the things of the world, we become an enemy of God, because Jesus said, “if your are not with Me you are against Me “.
James 4:4-10 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? 6But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 7Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Our Perspective and Relationship to the World is a Choice.
Moses chose to suffer affliction with God’s people rather than enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. We should do the same.
Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
V. We Are Not to Be Conformed to the World.
We are strongly exhorted not to get entangled in the affairs of the world.
The world is trying very hard to squeeze the Christian into its mold. It comes at us in every conceivable way with its lusts and pleasures.
2 Timothy 2:4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. In our day there is a compulsive pressure of sin and ungodliness that is bearing down upon God’s people that we need to resist by presenting ourselves to God as a living sacrifice.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The Love of Many Shall Wax Cold Because of the Increase of Sin.
Matthew 24:12 "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. The pressure to be conformed to the world will become stronger and stronger. We must resist the squeeze of the world, which we can do by becoming less attached to the world and by denying ourselves and presenting our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. The Word must now be the standard that we conform to.
VI. We the Can Also Expect to Be Hated by the World
Because of the fact that we refuse to be conformed to the world’s philosophy and participation in their sins, we will be hated by the world. (John 17:14)
John 15:18-19 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
As Christians we need to learn how to accept rejection instead of compromising our stand for Jesus to gain acceptance in the eyes of the world.
2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. John 15:20-21 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 1 John 3:13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
We Are to Be Lights To The World.
Let your light shine and don’t hide it. The world needs to see your light so that they can see Jesus in you.
Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15"Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.16"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. We are to shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Your light should dispel the darkness of the world.
Philippians 2:15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world...
VIII. Concluding Remarks.
If we are to have an on fire relationship with God our Father through Jesus Christ, His Son, then we must not allow ourselves to be contaminated by the world. The threat of worldliness in the lives of Christians is becoming stronger and stronger all the time, and will only get worse as the Day of the Lord hastens. By keeping our eyes on the Lord and His kingdom, we can keep ourselves pure in a sick and demented world.
Colossians 3:1-3 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Matthew 24:12 "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.