“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19)
Scripture Reading – Titus 2:11-14
When we think about living in a worldly manner, we tend to define worldliness in outward forms. Worldly people wear mini-skirts, drink alcohol, or watch movies. It’s comfortable for us to define people as either inside or outside of our group, based on what we deem to be appropriate behavior. But that’s not what the Bible means by “the world”. It has a much deeper meaning. The world is humanity’s outlook apart from God, and how their thoughts and actions are enslaved to Satan. Being part of the world means to give allegiance and conform to the pattern of this age. The world is the evil system established to deceive us into thinking that people are gods. It’s based on the principle that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. Many think if they’re religious and diligent in performing their external religious duties, they will make themselves good enough to enter paradise. And, the world teaches that people’s opinions are just as equally valid as the opinions of God. It redefines sin as mistakes you make that can easily be corrected by a little remorse. But as we know, Judas was remorseful after selling Jesus, yet his remorse could not remove his sin.
Because we are not of this world, we must reject the temporal and material things that can ensnare our hearts in sinful pursuits. Instead, we live for that which is eternal and spiritual. Our decisions and actions need to reflect God’s priorities. “The wisdom of this age” (1 Cor. 2: 6-9) is a deception that can no longer be followed. Nothing that the world offers us can solve our problem of sin. The world tells us to put our hope in the tremendous technological advances yet our hearts are still enslaved to sin. Or we fall sway to the world’s deception that wealth and prosperity will solve our problems. “The rich(es) of this present age” (1 Tim. 6:17) can cause us to trust in other things rather than in the Giver. The world uses wealth to numb us to the reality that those who follow the world are under judgment.
We need to take our example from the “Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil age” (Gal. 1:4). Jesus didn’t live for earthly comforts, and He didn’t think anyone could save themselves through their good works. He knew that there was no other way to redeem those loved by God except by giving of Himself as a sacrifice for sins. In doing so, He destroyed the power of Satan over us so we can live in light of eternity instead of being enslaved to sin. Now we are Christ’s. He has ransomed us. And when the world sees what He did, the world reacts—and at times violently so. They cannot stand to lose one of their own. The world doesn’t want to accept that Christ has defeated Satan, so the world hates us because we have given our allegiance to Christ and not to the world.
Christ has prepared us for the world’s response. While He doesn’t remove us from the world, He sends us out into this hostile environment to bear fruit. Why? Because angry people also need to hear the gospel. In fact, the context of our ministry is adversity. We can confidently go into the world because we know that Jesus’ love will defeat the world’s hatred. Be clear about this: It’s not easy to bear fruit. The sun is hot and bears down on the vine and its branches, but as long as the life of the vine flows through the branches, they will not wilt in the heat. All the hatred of the world was poured out on Christ as He was crucified, but He came forth from the grave victorious—His resurrection power is with us as we face the world too. Are you following the example of Christ or are you giving in to the world’s deceptions?