Saturday, August 27, 2011

# 311: The Battle the World is Winning

Living the Christian life as the New Testament requires is the loftiest quest (Holy Grail) that all genuine Christians will/must strive for until our dying day. The reason we must continually exert ourselves toward perfection and holiness is because if we were to settle for anything less (secularism), that would leave the door open wide for sin to thrive.

Some may ask, “What is Christian perfection and holiness?” There are several answers to that question: A) Christ sees us with His perfection, which He graciously has given/will give to us free of charge. If we truly believe He sees us as perfect and holy, we will always attempt to live that way. B) Then there is the perfection and holiness we ourselves are continually striving for. This tells God that we mean business, and it will take every effort that we can muster up.

The greatest hindrance that keeps us from our goal of perfection and holiness is the physical world and all the so-called goodies that it has to offer.

We must remember this: All that the world offers is here because of popular demand by ungodly people who did not/do not know God. Genuine Christians had/have very little, if anything, to do with what is now offered by the world.

Therefore, whenever the word “world” is mentioned in the New Testament, it means things, desires, and attitudes, etc. that have been formed over the years because of the demands of worldly people who do not know God, and have nothing to do with glorifying God.

Here is a perfect example of the supply and demand mentioned above: When the ratings of a certain TV program are low, guess what? It is canceled. That theory is the same with everything in the world. When something is unpopular, regardless of how good it is, it disappears.

This supply-and-demand principle is strongly indicative that everything in the world remains here because of the demand of worldly people.

Let us mention just a few of the things, desires, and attitudes that are prevalent in this world that multitudes of people who believe they are Christians engage in: On the top of the list is entertainment of all sorts. The list of popular entertainment could be endless. Here are just a few: 1) Sports of all types, either participant or spectator. 2) TV movies (all are make-believe) in all forms being viewed by “christians.” 3) TV-viewing in general, except the national news, so that real Christians won’t seem like ignoramuses when witnessing/visiting with worldly people. 4) All other forms of entertainment, like having parties where drinking alcohol is the norm. 5) Gatherings and parties of all sorts where Jesus Christ is not mentioned. 6) Engaging in politics of any form. 2nd Timothy 2:4. “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer [Jesus Christ].” 7) Secular music must be avoided. 8) Do not celebrate secular holidays. 9) To believe that the gay society as acceptable is against what the New Testsment teaches. 10) Accepting that it is alright for a man and woman to live together in a sexual relationship without being married.

There are many, many more worldly things that are available that have nothing to do with genuine Christianity. They must be avoided. Of course, the most desired thing in the world is the desire to be wealthy—if one isn’t already. The problem is that when we are not fulfilled with inner wealth (Christ), we will desire material wealth in an attempt to make us feel successful and complete. To put it bluntly, the more one has in this world, the more attached one is to this sinful world.

In 2nd Timothy 1-5, the apostle Paul accurately predicts what will come in the last days. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

In 1st John 2:15-17, the apostle John gives us a sneak preview of what things are in the world that we must not engage in: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” The word “lust” is often associated only with sexual/sensual desires, but according to the dictionary, that word also means “a lust for power, and intense enthusiasm and desire.” The words “love the world,” as the apostle uses it, mean “a strong liking or interest in something” (the world).

People who may call themselves Christians, but are not really Christians, are hungry for anything that will quench that inward craving for something that will satisfy their desire to be, to have, and to enjoy the best of what this world offers. People in this category are void of anything inward that satisfies completely. Repeating: Lasting satisfaction can come only from the presence of the Holy Spirit of God actively working to promote Jesus Christ. That is the job of every genuine Christian/disciple.

The big difference between secular Christians and genuine Christians is that the secular are living to promote their own interests in the name of Jesus Christ, while the genuine are living to promote the cause and interests that Jesus Christ started, regardless of the cost to their own lives. On the surface, it may be difficult to distinguish between the two, but inwardly, the difference is so dramatic that one is secretly living like a craven animal, while the other is openly living like a living martyr, just waiting to leave this wicked world. Even though it is difficult to describe the difference, they are living in two different worlds.

Of course, there is a multitude of daily chores/obligations that need to be done every day that have nothing to do with glorifying God, like having to go to work every day. They are necessities that are acceptable to God, and have nothing to do with being part of the world. If possible, we should attempt to minimize those “must-do” requirements so that we can have more time in doing the things of God. And then, to incorporate some of those chores with Godly matters, one can be listening to the New Testament at the same time. I have done this every day for years; it has been a blessing to me and to others.

The signature mark of all real Christians must be the following: Matthew 5:48. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” And 1st Peter 1:16: “for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” It is absolutely impossible for anyone who is involved in worldly values to strive for holiness and perfection in the sight of God. We must be obedient to this command. 1st Corinthians 15:58. “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. ALWAYS give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Disobedience to verses like this would disqualify anyone from calling themselves genuine Christians. No excuses!

The apostle Paul gives us an even better reason why we cannot engage in anything that Jesus Christ would not engage in Himself. 1st Corinthians 2:16. “. . . But we have the mind of Christ.” Do we have the mind of Christ or the mind of the world that is controlled by the evil one? Please ask yourself this question in all honesty; your destiny may depend on it. We are not fooling around with words to make a point, but to openly display what has mostly been kept silent; the price is loss of eternal life.

Here is the best way everyone can tell if what they are engaging in is worldly or from God. When whatever one is doing, has, or desires, does it bring glory to God through Jesus Christ? And, at the same time, is one’s relationship with Jesus Christ being enhanced? If not, it is worldly. But mark this: The Biblical words in this post will NEVER be preached in any religious establishment. Some may be asking, “Why not?” The answer is that it will never be accepted by run-of-the-mill Christians. These Godly words are laced with thorns; who wants to live with thorns? Only those who are crucified with Christ. The apostle Paul says it all too clearly in Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Does Christ truly live in modern church-going Christians? If not, why not?

Here are a few New Testament verses that mention the harm the world can do to our devotion to Jesus Christ:

Matthew 18:7. “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”

Matthew 6:31-32. “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.”

John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Romans 12:2. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

1st Corinthians 2:12. “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”

2nd Corinthians 10:2-4. “I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.”

Ephesians 2:1. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”

Ephesians 6.12. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

2nd Timothy 4:10. “…for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.”

Colossians 2:20. “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules...”

James 1:27. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

James 4:4. “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

2nd Peter 1:4. “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

1st John 2:15-17. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

1st John 5:4-5. “And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.”

1st John 5:19. “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” [and lives accordingly].

All New Testament verses are taken from the New International Version 2011 edition.

In conclusion: Leaving the desires of the world for the desires the New Testament adamantly requires will be the most distasteful and difficult undertaking that anyone can be asked to achieve. In all truth, it is absolutely imperative.

17 comments:

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Gellie said...

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Gellie said...

Thank you for your blog! It is really helpful for us struggling true Christians. :)

Gellie said...

Thank you for your blog! It is really helpful for us struggling true Christians. :)

Gellie said...

Thank you for your blog! It is really helpful for us struggling true Christians. :)

Gellie said...

Thank you for your blog! It is really helpful for us struggling true Christians. :)

Gellie said...

Thank you for your blog! It is really helpful for us struggling true Christians. :)

Gellie said...

Thank you for your blog! It is really helpful for us struggling true Christians. :)

Gellie said...

Thank you for your blog! It is really helpful for us struggling true Christians. :)

Gellie said...

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Gellie said...

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Anonymous said...

I have read your blog and honestly believe it to be what is truly needed for many of us to seek YAHWEH in spirit and truth to live the life HE planned for us and be used as vessels for HIS glory. One question I do ask is (after honestly studying and desiring so much more of my FATHER and HIS truth) how can we do this if we are not saved in HIS SON's real name...YAHUSHUA. The bible clearly states "there is no other name for which man can be saved" but we (humans) have had the arrogancy to change HIS true name to Jesus? There is only power in knowing our FATHER's (YAHWEH)and HIS SON, our SAVIOR's true name and that is YAHUSHUA. And I guess another question is if many bible scholars know this truth and have admitted this truth, and since they are scholars having read the WORD for themselves know that there is power in HIS name, then why would they or we continue to call HIM Jesus Christ (which doesn't even translate) and think we are truly saved if true salvation comes from being saved in HIS true name? Demons will only tremble in HIS true name and from studies Jesus is not HIS name...which is probably why there isn't much trembling

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