Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Believer's Battle - Part 2

This is a synopsis of a message given by Pastor Chuck Rawsthorne on 6/10/12.

One of the key enemies we are called to do battle with is the world. 1 John 2:15 tells us not to love the world or the things in the world. James 4:4 tells us that being a friend of the world makes us an enemy of God. Romans 12:2 lets us know that we should not let the world squeeze us into its mold.

So as we get started, it's important to define what we mean by the world since the term can be used for different things. It can be used to refer to the planet or it can be used to refer to the people in the world. For the purpose of this message, we define the world this way:

1.  The age in which we live
2. The system of fallenness ruled by Satan
3. Living without God; i.e.  apart from God, alienated from God and being against God

Sometimes after we define a term it is still necessary to describe it in a way that brings it more clearly to our minds as to what we are referring to.  The world consists of what the Bible calls Principalities and Powers. This is referring to spiritual powers such as Satan and his demons. So our battle is not so much with physical entities, but with the spiritual world that influences the desires and aspirations of the world system.

The world consists of passions and pursuits. It is the pleasures that this world dangles in front of us and lures us to lust for things and positions of pride and power.

The world has its own philosophies and perspectives. It has a worldview that is contrary to the worldview presented by Jesus Christ.

The world has its own practices and patterns. It has its way of doing things that is contrary to the way God would have us to approach life. There are habits and methods which go against the way God would want us to live and so we need to watch out for these trends.

And finally the world establishes priorities and principles that are totally opposed to what God is focused on for His glory.

The difficulty is knowing how we are to deal with the world. Since we live here and have to function within the system somehow, how are we to respond?  I think the Bible gives us several principles that we need to keep in mind.

First we are to live in the world but not be of the world. Jesus emphasized this in John 17. We are not to be overly entangled with the things of the world, because we belong to a heavenly country in a sense.

Second, we are not to love the world or the things in the world. He's not talking about people, but loving the system and all of the stuff it offers to provide for our satisfaction.

Third, we are not to be conformed to the world. We are to look and behave in a distinctively different way from the way the world looks and behaves.

Finally, we are to reach the world for Christ. In doing so, we should love people. We should want to see people come to Christ as Savior. As we live in the world and attempt to reach the world, we should enjoy the world in the sense that we enjoy all that God has given us that is right and good. Every good gift is from above and God has given us richly all things to enjoy. We should not go around looking like we are sad and frustrated all of the time.  Next, we should engage the world. In other words we should live in it and engage in conversation and commerce in the world so that we have contact with people.  In the process we should evangelize the world, giving them the good news that Jesus came to die for sinners, and let them know that if they would repent of sin and trust Christ He would save them for eternity.

If you would like to listen to a podcast of this sermon from Faith Baptist Church, you will find it here.

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