Christians and their Relationship to the World

 

 


 

Abide-9

 

TITLE: Christians and their Relationship to the World.

TEXT: John 15:18-16:1-4

TONE: Encouragement

TARGET: Believers

TASK: To encourage believers to expect opposition from the world, as they seek to live separate from the world.

TEACH:  ADDRESSING a national seminar of Southern Baptist leaders, George Gallup said, “we find there is very little difference in ethical behavior between churchgoers and those who are not active religiously…The levels of lying, cheating, and stealing are remarkable similar in both groups. Eight out of ten Americans consider themselves Christians, Gallup said, “yet only about half of them could identify the person who gave the Sermon on the Mount, and fewer still could recall five of the ten commandments. Only two in ten said they would be willing to suffer for their faith.[1]

 

Yet, in this section we see the Christians relationship to the world.

 

TRUTH: These section is highlighted by two important themes: the opposition of the world against the church, and the ministry of the Spirit to and through the church. Jesus talks to His disciples about the hatred they should expect from the world. It seems incredible that anyone would hate Jesus Christ and His people, but that is exactly what the situation is today, and some of the hatred comes from religious people. In a few hours, the religious leaders of Israel would be condemning their messiah and crying out for His blood. Our Lord openly taught his disciples that one day persecution would come. Until the Lord returns or until we die, we must live in this hostile world and face continued opposition toward Him.

 

Thus, our relationship with the world is…..

 

I.                             Our Relationship to the World is one of Separation.

a.        In every age of the church separation from the world has always been one of the grand evidences of a work of grace in the heart. The world is a source of great danger to avoid. When the Bible speaks of the world, its means those people, programs, and ideologies who think chiefly of worldly things and neglect the world to come. People who always think more of earth than they do of heaven. They care more about their body than they do their soul. They are more concerned about pleasing man than they are honoring and serving God. The world is an enemy to the soul.

 

b.        See Rom. 12:2; 1Cor.2:12; Gal.1:4; Eph. 2:2; 2Tim.4:10; Ja. 4:4; 1John 5:4; 5:19; Matt. 13:22. What is it specifically we must separate from?

 

                                                                                             i.         The cares of the world.

                                                                                          ii.         The fears of the world.

                                                                                       iii.         The business of the world.

                                                                                       iv.         The money of the world.

                                                                                          v.         The pleasure of the world.

                                                                                       vi.         The desire of the world.

 

c.        These are the great rocks that many a lives and souls have shipwrecked their faith upon. Typically, these people do not deliberately choose evil and openly rebel against God. They hope somehow to get to heaven at last and they think it proper to have some form of religious beliefs. Yet, they cannot give up their idol, they won’t give it up. They must have part of the world. On the last day the world will show just how man souls in has slain.

 

d.        But what constitutes separation? Sometimes you will see sincere and well-meaning Christians doing things which God never intended them to do in a manner of being separate from the world. It is possible to be sincere and wrong at the same time.

 

                                                                                             i.         Paul did not mean Christian’s ought to give up all worldly callings, trades, professions, or businesses. He did and does not forbid soldiers, lawyers, doctors, merchants, and tradesmen. The right plan is to carry out one’s mission in our business.

 

                                                                                          ii.         Paul did not mean that Christian’s ought to decline all interaction with the unconverted. There is no warrant for such conduct anywhere in Scripture.

 

                                                                                       iii.         Paul did not mean that Christian’s ought to take no interest in anything on earth except religion. To neglect science, art, literature, and politics -to read nothing which is not directly spiritual -to look at a newspaper -and care nothing about the government of one’s country -this is a neglect of duty.

 

                                                                                       iv.         Paul did not mean that Christian’s ought to retire from the company of mankind and shut themselves up in solitude. Holiness is not obtained by such practices, Jesus prayed, “I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” We cannot keep the devil out by hiding in holes.

 

e.        So what is Separation?

                                                                                             i.         Refuse to be guided by the world’s standard of right and wrong. For most of mankind people just go with the flow. True Christians will not follow, but instead will ask what does the Bible say?

 

                                                                                          ii.         Be careful how you spend your leisure. Honorable occupations and lawful businesses are a great safeguard to the soul, many find the least danger here. The devil finds it hard to get the hearing of a busy man. But when the day’s work is over and the time for leisure arrives then comes the hour of temptation.

 

                                                                                       iii.         Determine not to be swallowed up and absorbed in the business of the world. A true Christian will strive to his duty in whatever station or position he finds himself and do it well. He will not allow anything or anyone to get in between him and Christ. If he finds his spiritual duties being eat up by work and leisure, he will say “Stand Back.”

 

                                                                                       iv.         Be careful how you allow in friendships, intimacies, and close relationships with worldly people. Yes, we need to treat the lost with the utmost respect, courtesy, kindness, and charity whenever we meet them. But acquaintances in one thing, while friendship is another. The cultivate such intimacies is dangerous to the soul. Human nature is so constituted  that we cannot be much with other without effect upon or character.

 

Prov. 13:20 “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” If you are a true Christian you will soon see their thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are their ways or ways.

 

II.                         Our Relationship to the World is one of Opposition.

a.        Even though the United States is arguably the freest nation on the planet and offers 1st amendment protection, Christians still face increasing persecution here. We need to recognize it and prepare for it to worsen.

 

b.        Some believe the term ought to be reserved for the most horrific acts: burning at stakes, beheadings etc… But this understanding has a major problem. First, that not what the word persecution means. The definition includes hostility and ill-treatment. Jesus clearly taught that persecution can and will take on many forms that don’t result in death.

 

c.        What form will persecution take in America?

 

                                                                                             i.         Suppression Via Technology: People will see it as a threat to national security.

                                                                                          ii.         Violent National Ideologies: This will produce violence against Christians.

                                                                                       iii.         Growth of Islamic Extremism: More groups will emerge hell bent on destroying the west.

                                                                                      iv.         Heightened Propaganda and Disinformation:

                                                                                          v.         Weaponizing Religion:

                                                                                       vi.         Spread of Organized Crime: Cartels etc…

 

d.        We are specifically commanded not to love this world or to be conformed to this world (1Jn. 2:15; Rom. 12:2). Jesus said that the world hard him and would hate us. Satan, in fact, rules over the fallen world (Jn. 14:30, 16:11). James goes so far as to say that when we are friends with the world, we are committing spiritual adultery, making over selves an enemy of God (Ja. 4:4). As A.W. Tozer said, “A Whole new generation of Christians has come up believing it is possible to accept Christ without forsaking the world.”

 

Illustration: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego give us a good example of how today Christians should relate with the world. The four friends lived in Babylon, worked diligently with all honesty, excelled, and were evaluated but never lost track of who they were -they were in the Babylon system, but not of the system. Christians are simply in the world -they are simply in the world -physically present -but not of it, no part of its values.

 

III.                      Our Relationship to the World is one of Commission.

a.        The secret of witnessing the world are as follows:

                                                                                            i.         Right Heart: Regenerated; Renewed; Sanctified; Fully in love with Jesus.

 

                                                                                         ii.         Lively Faith: The victory that overcomes the world our faith (1John 5:4). We must put the invisible before our eyes as visible. To set before our eyes the grand realities:

 

1.        Our Souls

2.        God

3.        Christ

4.        Heaven

5.        Hell

6.        Judgment

7.        Eternity

 

We must cherish the conviction that what is unseen is just as real as the seen, yet ten thousand time more important.

 

                                                                                       iii.         Habit of Boldly Confessing Christ: Come out from the world and show your true colors, act and speak like men who are not ashamed to be identified with Christ. Habits produce settled character.

 

TAKE-AWAY: In conclusion let me ask you a question, provide you with some counsel, and encouragement.

1.        Question: Are you overcoming the world, or are you overcome by it. Awake from this peril.

2.        Counsel: If you want to come out of the world begin by telling your story to Jesus, keep nothing back. Tell Him you are sinner wanting to be saved from the world.

3.        Encouragement: If you have come out of the world then take comfort and persevere you are on the right road. You have no cause to be afraid. The everlasting hills are in sight.

TIE-UP:

        1. WE ARE DIFFERENT- New Identity 
        2. WE ARE TO BE DIFFERENT- New Purpose
        3. WE ARE TO FULLY EMBRACE OUR DIFFERENCE -New Power 

 

 

 

 



[1] https://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/w/worldliness.htm

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