Saturday, November 28, 2009

# 291: What Is Meant By the Word “World”?

In this post, I will bring out the truth concerning New Testament (NT) verses that are not very popular, and thus are not often—if ever—preached on. The reason is because not many understand or desire to hear about this intricate and seemingly troublesome part of Christianity. Many may be infuriated and hate this blog (and me) even more. That is okay—I am not out to win a popularity contest—but I want to tell the whole truth to as many people as possible.

The word “world” is mentioned in a derogative manner over 40 times in the NT. The word “world” does not mean the physical earth itself, but the ordinary and ungodly people who live in this world. The physical world without people inhabiting it is, in reality, a nice place (with the exception of a few natural disasters like earthquakes, etc.).

Following are some activities that are associated with the word “world” when it is mentioned in the NT. This list does not include many of our necessary obligations and daily chores such as jobs, must-do things around the home, morning care of self, and many other menial duties. It does include all sorts of entertainment/amusements that have nothing to do with the gospel message: watching/playing sports; attempting to keep up with the Joneses; after accepting Christ as Lord (Boss), still hanging out with the same old friends who say they are Christians but don’t adhere to Biblical principles; watching programs on television/DVDs that entice viewers to be participants in trash; watching educational and documentaries that have nothing to do with Christ (an exception could be watching the national news to know what is going on in the world, to avoid being called ignoramuses).

Another type of entertainment/amusement that has nothing to do with the gospel message is celebrating all the worldly, manmade holidays that ordinary people celebrate, such as the commercialized glorification of Santa Claus with hardly a mention of Jesus Christ, where most eat until it is coming out of their ears and go in debt over their heads buying presents (actually, no one knows what day or month Christ was crucified, or even the exact year); the commercialized glorification of “Easter Bunny Day”—it is a disgrace to eat so much when half of the world is starving and a large amount of money is spent on new clothing; “Turkey Day,” again when overeating is the norm, and we give thanks for many things we don’t really deserve, especially when many worldwide are without the bare necessities; New Year’s Day, when more liquor is consumed than at any other time of the year, drinking until they are pie-eyed. Their mantra is “Let’s live it up while we have a chance” and they drive home half-drunk. There are a dozen other manmade holidays that are celebrated, and these holidays have nothing to do with Jesus Christ; thus, they are a part of the world society.

Someone might ask, "Why can't Christians engage in these so-called forbidden activities, etc., which we have enjoyed all our lives?" The answer is short and not so sweet: When we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord (boss) and Savior, we became his property (e.g. we now belong to Him). 1st Corinthians 6:20. "You are not your own; you were bought at a price." Our time is now His time; His desires are our desires. How dare any Christian spend Christ's time on aforementioned ungodly activities, when we should be using it for constructive activities that further His cause?

Getting back to holidays. At this time, I personally don’t celebrate holidays; I don’t need them. Of course, when I was young and had small kids (and didn’t know better), I did celebrate many holidays, and that was the norm. I believe that most people are not aware that the main reason for holidays is the general public’s lack of satisfaction in their lives (they need a break from their work and the monotony/boredom of their lives). And I can understand; I was there once, until Christ took over my life.

When Jesus Christ is living in one’s life, things change. The overwhelming, unpretentious joy that is ever-present makes every day a holiday. This joy has to be experienced to be known.

When the word “world” is mentioned in the NT, it doesn’t mean only criminals or the overtly sinful; it means those who live by the social standards of the present time, and not by the standards of the NT. These social, friendly people might have high standards of ethics, prominent positions in the community or state, be well respected, and even belong to a church. But with these people, when Christ is not in their foreground, they are living by the standards set by man.

Once people become Christians, they are (supposedly) to be no part of this world.

The main activity that people of the world do is totally normal: taking care of “number one.” When they become Christians, that “survival of the fittest” mentality must change. At that time, the new motive for life must be to love others in need and to love God through obedience and faith in Jesus Christ.

The only problem is that many people who become Christians are not taught, in a practical manner, that all-important virtue of love by their church leaders. And to complicate things, they may not be familiar with the NT, which teaches love for God and neighbors, and de-emphasizes one’s care for self until it is at least equal with the love one has for their neighbors. That love for neighbor, by all means, is the most difficult part of living the Christian life.

Of all the many commands in the NT, loving your neighbor as yourself is the second most important commandment. If one disagrees with that commandment, it is better to forget Christianity and live like an unbelieving pagan (“Hurray for me, and boo for you”). That principle of self-love is what makes the people of world ungodly. That self-love is the main reason the people of the world were labeled “sinful” by Jesus Christ.

But remember one thing: The most unnatural virtue in existence (when it comes to actually putting it into practice) is to love one’s neighbor in need as if she/he were the one in need. It is an easy thing to just say, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But to put it into practice is seemingly the almost impossible part.

Here is a verse that needs some holy explaining: John 12:25. “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” The only way this verse can be implemented is to devalue one’s life until its value is the same as or lower than one’s needy neighbor. That may seem like an impossible task, but it really is not. Here is how it is done: When a person is actually experiencing God’s love for him/herself, that love makes a person feel VERY SPECIAL. Since she/he is so special in God’s sight, actually lowering one’s self-esteem is not a big deal. Paul teaches in Philippians 2:3 to “. . . consider others better than yourself.” We cannot ignore these extremely important commands (and others like it) and still call ourselves Christians.

There is one commandment which is even more difficult to obey, and even more unnatural. Luke 6:27. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Easily said, but when the occasion actually comes to love our enemies, that is a different story. This command must be obeyed. If we start to pick and choose which commands to obey, we join the crowd of worldly people who laugh at such absurd commands.

The only—ONLY—way we can be obedient to these hard-edged verses is to actually be empowered by the Holy Spirit. And then we might still grit our teeth.

Disobedience to many hard-edged commands has had the biggest impact on the downslide of Christianity in general. Actually, many church-going “Christians” don’t want to be reminded of those types of verses. That is one of the main reasons this blog is so unpopular to mainstream “Christians.” They just don’t want to live or hear about that type of nonsensical Christianity.

Disobedience to many of these types of verses is what makes the difference between God’s people and the people of the world. But of course, those who disobey these love commandments may still go to church on Sunday and really believe they are Christians headed for heaven. That is one of the main reasons Christianity has gone/is going in a downhill slide. And who is to blame? Mostly the clergy for not emphasizing the importance of obedience to ALL of the NT verses, regardless of how unnatural they may seem. Genuine Christianity is not natural; it is supernatural religion, empowered by the Holy Spirit of God.

Even though a genuine Christian and a fake one may look and talk alike, all one has to do is to examine their lives and activities; they are as different as a worldly demon and a heavenly angel. And yet many religions teach tolerance of all religions. Sure! These people of the world are in essence saying, “Let the demons and angels live and let live.”

The big shame is that worldly people are not aware of the satanic situation they are in. The most troubling part of it is this: Come hell or high water, you or I may not be able convince them of their pending, though deadly, situation. The world and its people pass away, but those who do the will of God will live forever. 1st John 2:17 (paraphrased). It is my personal duty to make sure everyone knows the complete will of God before boasting of his or her Christianity.

It is hard to believe that churchgoers may never learn through their church the WHOLE will of God as dictated in the NT. I have said this a dozen times in other posts, and will say it again: The main, if not the only, reason is because the whole will of God (including the tough verses that are not natural to our human nature) is not very pleasant. If churches did preach disagreeable verses and enforced them, their church buildings would be nearly empty in no time. What preacher wants to work elsewhere when he/she has it made where he/she is?

In closing, the world as described in this post is one of the biggest detriments to the whole of Christianity. And the clergy are the main culprits. Look at it this way: When any intricate part of a document (NT) is left out, or when an important part of any machine is left out, it just won’t work as designed. I pray that God will bless all who read this post and give it wholehearted credence.

Let me leave you with this reminder: 1st John 2:15. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”


Anonymous said...

I would ask you to meditate on Romans 14.

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11It is written:
" 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord,
'every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.' "[a] 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. 14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

19Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Mrs Oliver2010 said...

I agree completely with the post and anyone who is feeling disturbed or judged by this post is not judged but convicted which in turn brings change. So many people are being fed a sugar-coated version of the truth. The real Word of God is sharper than a two edged sword. It cuts and it hurts. As does this post. The Word of God tells us not to be conformed to the ways of this world. When the people ordained to teach the Word dish out a softened version to satisfy flesh they leave room for conformation instead of transformation. Continue to deliver the truth uncut and real. God will defend you.

JC said...

Dear Mrs Oliver2010,

Thanks for your uplifting comment.
You have been blessed beyond what words can describe. And you will continue to be blessed and overflowing with love. We need more Christians like you. Thank you.

You put your comment in much better words than I ever have. I will learn from you!

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