Biblical Principles and Life Application IV - Being in the World and not of the World? Posted by: administrator (Jan-31-2009)
Biblical Principles and Life Application IV - Being in the World and not of the World?
John 17: 6-18 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word…verse 9 I pray for them, I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours…verse 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world…verse 14 I have given them your word and the world hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as 1 am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”
Live in the world, influence it however do not be swayed or misled by the world’s philosophy.
Deductions from the passage
* There must be two ways or system to exist in the world – God’s way vs. World’s way
* Those who have accepted Christ are to live in God’s way though they still exist in the world physically
* To exist in the world we need to be sanctified (set apart) by the truth (God’s word – the Bible)
* Christians have a mandate to exist in the world, live God’s way and influence it (be the salt and light)
* The evil one (Satan) would try to scheme or mislead them from the word(s) that sanctify (separates) them from the world (read Luke 8: 1-15)
To fully understand Christ prayer for his disciples (Christians today are included in that category – we are joint heirs with Christ and He calls those who are obedient His friend), we must appreciate one of the main reasons He came into the world.
John the Baptist cried out in the wilderness “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand”, when Jesus was teaching his disciples how to pray He said “Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”. In John 12: 31 Jesus called Satan the prince of this world and that he is the ruler of the Kingdom of darkness. So clearly we know that there are two “World System” existing in the world, it is however also very important to note that the world physically or what I would call the real estate is still owned by God (David said the earth is God’s footstool and Apostle Paul said, He owns the cattle on a thousand hill).
System Kingdom of Heaven Kingdom of Darkness
Leader Jesus Satan
Constitution Bible Human Philosophy/Opposite the Bible
These world system exist more in the spiritual realm but both are manifested in the physical through humans, and the system adopted by each home, city, nation etc depends on the heart and belief system of the leader or people in leadership.
To understand the influence of both world systems, one needs to understand the nature and make up of humans. As I’ve shared before, humans are tripartite creation Spirit, Soul (Will, Mind and Emotion) and Body. We are connected to the kingdom of heaven through our spirit man being in unity with the Holy Spirit (Romans 5: 5, 8: 11). If our spirit man is not alive to God (John 3: 3-5, Romans 10: 9-10) then it cannot be connected to the Holy Spirit, who is Omniscient (all knowing) and Omnipotent (all powerful). In the same way, humans are connected to the Kingdom of darkness mainly through the mind (in the Soul part of our being), unlike the Holy Spirit, Satan and demons are not Omniscient and their powers are limited to those in their kingdom, so their methodology in a Christian’s life is to put thoughts in our mind to doubt God and whatever He says (Ephesians 2: 1-2). There is nothing anyone can do about having thoughts good or evil (thoughts can be controlled by what we allow into our eyes and ears), there is a lot however you can do, whether to act or not act on the thoughts, that is the function of the your “will” (the Bible says to cast down imaginations that does not exalt God).
The leader of the Kingdom of Heaven (as a system of existence in the world) is Jesus, He is our high priest, He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. To attest to his leadership of this kingdom, He said in John 18: 36 (when being questioned before his death) “My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my Kingdom is from another place”
Our leader is God incarnate, and He had to die on the cross as a sacrificial lamb and as a one time offering or atonement for our sin. His death and resurrection “guarantee” heaven for those who believe in Him (For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive). To ensures our existence in a fallen or sinful world, He gave us a “constitution” to live by, which if followed ensures living in the world and not being of the world.
The leader of the Kingdom of darkness is Satan, once the head of the choir of heaven then known as Lucifer (son of the morning). He was kicked out of heaven with a third of angels now known as demons (Ezekiel 28, Revelation 12) when he tried to question God and rebel. He stole the mandate to rule the world from man (Adam and Eve) when he tricked them to disobey God. Satan has since established a system of governance (spiritual) that now spreads across the world in form of human philosophy which dictates political governance.
The constitution of the Kingdom of heaven is the Bible, in his letter to Timothy, Apostle Paul wrote these words “All scriptures is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. The Bible as we have it today is God breath to about 40 people and written over 1600 years. It is important to note that not a single archeological finding has disputed the accuracy of the Bible, the problem people have with the Bible is more interpretation and translation (more like the movie “lost in translation”). The intrigue of the Old Testament predicting Christ and the fulfillment of many prophecies in the New Testament is simple amazing (for Christ alone over 300 prophesies were fulfilled), I doubt if the probability of such accuracy over that many years can be calculated (speaking mathematically now).
It is important to know that Satan’s best scheme is counterfeiting whatever God does. In his own way, he has inspired many men over the centuries to write philosophies that made human sense but negates God, the Bible actually says “they will come with wisdom and knowledge but they lack the power thereof” (2 Tim. 3: 5). Many people today (Christians included) believe more in human knowledge and philosophies more than God or the word of God. Some of these philosophies are based on humanism to create the illusion of goodness (there is really no goodness without Christ - John 15: 1-5).
The problem and application
The biggest problem in the physical world today is that people want to exist and operate in both Kingdoms (every human physical action is precipitated by the Spirit or the Soul), practice both constitutions at the same time and serve either leader when it is convenient. It’s like living in America and wanting to practice the Nigerian constitution here? For example, marrying more than one wife (at the same time) in Nigeria would not get you any jail time, but would definitely land you in jail in America.
It is important to know that everyone on earth today is in one of the Kingdom, Kingdom of Darkness led by Satan or Kingdom of heaven led by Christ.
According to barna.org, 86% of Americans claim Christianity as their religion, but only 9% believe in the infallibility of the Bible (the constitution), also, only 68% of those who identify themselves as “born-again” Christians believe in the infallibility of the Bible. What this means is that many so called “Christians” abandon the constitution of the Kingdom of heaven when it is not convenient or they cannot explain it.
On a recent trip, I sat (on the plane) beside a gentleman who has PhD in genetics (he actually found one of the genes during the mapping process). He claims Christianity and teaches Bible study at his church. Our conversation went very well until we got to “Evolution” or “Intelligent design”, he said a lot of things and I learnt from him greatly – but then I asked him a question, “Knowing that creationism and evolution both require faith (because none of us was there), why did he choose to put his faith on evolution (specifically the big bang theory) rather than creationism which is the word of God?”. He cited some scientific evidence for evolution, but then I reminded him of something he told me earlier “Science can explain natural things, but not super-natural things” at that point he said “I don’t know”.
Many professing Christians today are like my friend, they’ll rather believe the world system when they cannot explain the Bible (without faith it is impossible to please God). To those people I’ll encourage you to meditate on Genesis 29: 29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all this law” and Isaiah 55: 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord”. Joseph would have said NO to being the Prime Minister of Egypt (he dreamt about his family bowing to him twice) if he knew the route that God has designed to get him there, and if he hadn’t taken God’s route, he would not have been matured (emotionally and spiritually) for the position.
* You are almost forty and there is no spouse in sight – do you follow God’s word of not being unequally yoked or do you compromise with someone that is good?
* Your husband is really a bad man, he has done everything bad to you, abused you emotionally, physically (separate and seek help for both of you if he beats you – you can quote me on that) and you feel like revenging – yet the Bible says love your enemy and feed him/her!
* Your wife not only hates you but has turned the all the kids against you, do you continue to love or plot vengeance against her – however you know that the Bible says to love.
* The Bible says to spare the rod and spoil the child (apply boundaries with adequate consequences, don’t discipline while still angry and don’t take corporal punishment off the table – I recommend Dr. Dobson’s material on Child rearing) – because of human philosophy made into law, many parents are now afraid of disciplining their kids, many of such kids are now unruly and many are in some trouble or another.
* Many of us today would make decisions that we know is not what God desires for us but then our back is against the wall, and we convince ourselves that a little yeast wont spoil the leaven (there is the grace of God). I still cannot understand why lying for immigration purposes is seen differently (some would even pray for the lie to be effective) by Immigrants who go to church and even serve in church weekly?
I would suggest to everyone to decide in their heart which of the kingdom they’ll be part of, is it the Kingdom of Heaven with Christ as the leader of the Kingdom of Darkness with Satan as the leader? In the book of Revelation 3: 15-16, Jesus said you should be either hot or cold, if you are lukewarm, He would spit you out.
Jesus repeated many times that those who love Him obey His commandments. In-fact if I’m asked to summarize the Bible in two words I’ll say “Humility and Obedience”. Obedience does not come cheap, there is a price to pay for it but there are tremendous blessings that also come with it.
The writer of Hebrews in chapter 11 highlighted those who obeyed God and how their obedience was counted to them as righteousness. Each one in the “Faith Hall of Fame” paid a price for obedience when they don’t even understand what they were doing, yet each one also reaped the benefit of obedience. Abraham took Isaac to Mt. Moriah not understanding what will happen, but in faith he obeyed and trusted God. David had the opportunity to kill King Saul twice, but he knew God’s law that he should not touch “God’s anointed”; at the end of his life he was rewarded greatly for his desire to be obedient to God’s law (in-spite of all his short-coming in other areas).
As humans living in a fallen world, we will sin and often fall (like David), but our desire should be that as much it is up to us nothing of reproach is found in and around us (Bribery, adultery, anger, back-biting etc) and we’ll do our best to be obedient to the word of God even when we don’t understand it (Psalms 15: 4b).
In John 15: 1-5, Christ reminded us that our job as Christians living in a fallen world is not to bear fruit, but to stay in the vine; it is now the job of the vine to give nutrient to the branch to bear good fruit. The vine is Christ, we are the branches and God is the gardener, to live in the world and not be of the world, we have to get our nutrient from the vine, any attempt to try and bear fruit without the vine is usually very frustrating. Through the many years of our lives the gardener would also prune the branch to make it bear more fruit, which is also a painful process.
May God give us the grace to live in the world and yet not be of the world?