Monday, September 1, 2014

Being Friends With the World

“Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world's friend becomes God's enemy” (James 4:4 HCSB).

Brethren, this message is from God and it is serious. Don’t take it lightly; it is a warning! In previous articles (specifically Worldly Dressing, Appreciating the Way You Look, and Women in Pants and External Adornments), we have shared with you from the Lord that makeup and worldly dressing is worldly and goes against the Christian way of life, which is holiness and non-conformation to worldliness (Romans 12:1-2). Our message is a word of correction from the Lord.

This article on worldliness is a reminder from the Lord to Christians to stop embracing worldly principles and practices and to live as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).This article is being presented to show that some things that Christians consider as normal are indeed worldly. We will therefore use Scriptural evidence to lead our convictions as well as some warnings we received from the Lord regarding worldly behaviour.

Satan, the god of this World

In order for us to understand Satan’s role in this world, we must acknowledge what the Bible says regarding him. Unfortunately, some people don’t believe in Satan’s existence and as the god of this sinful world (1 Corinthians 1:28). This rests entirely upon their faith as it requires faith to accept the Bible’s evidence and testimony about the devil. In this brief study, we will examine a few scriptures to satisfy ourselves with truth relating to Satan’s being and behaviour. The Bible says: “Regarding them: the god of this age (World) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:31).

From the above Scriptures, Satan is seen to be blinding people spiritually, so that they ignore the gospel of salvation. He is also the one using the various resource of the world to tempt and make us submissive to him (Matthew 4:8-9; Job 1:7). He is always at work in this world to destroy both the believing and unbelieving (1 Peter 5:8-9), again only faith and obedience in Christ alone gives us victory against his war for our souls (James 4:7). He is in the world not to make life easy for the human race, but to kill and destroy us (John 10:10), which reflects the current situation in the world today (Romans 1:20-32) He is a master deceiver and skillful in spreading lies and divisions between God and man (Genesis 3:1-5; Revelation 12:9).

Furthermore, Satan claims victory over those he controls and the end result is death (John 8:44-45; Ephesians 2:2; Romans 6:23). The ways of this world are sinfulness and the gratification of our carnal nature (Galatians 5:19-21; Romans 8:6-7). As it is, victory over Satan and sin is only through Christ Jesus, by faith in His redemptive work (Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 4:4; Revelation 12:11). We can only be more than conquerors if we don’t follow the ways of the world, which the above Scriptures declare as chasing after fleshly desires (Romans 8:37). Brethren, though some of our labour here is for the flesh, are we using the things here to control us or are we also working for The Lord and giving Him the glory (Luke 19:13-26)?

Remember, Satan operates through the spirit of lust, greed, selfishness and hatred, leading people in opposition to one another. To prove this, just read today’s sports headlines and business ads, "We are the best! We have more". Frankly, this is worldliness at best and this same spirit has made its way into the church. Christians and churches are now divided and are at war with one another for money and souls in order to attract more people and attention to themselves (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). This is not Christ’s way and command to the Church. His will is to unify and build the body up in perfect love and fruitful labour for the glory of God (Ephesians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 2:14-18).

Are You Friends With the World?

Broadly speaking, friendship with the world involves following the ways of the world through a continuous appetite for more and more worldly things (1 John 2:15-16). In addition, Christians have become very comfortable with many worldly activities and some of these activities are being celebrated in the Church today. In these celebrations, the Church practices being seen as ‘seasonal’, using relevant Scriptures to highlight such events. The point is: do such events promote obedience to Christ Jesus, or do they make the Church conform to the world and become relevant to the overall goal of the world leaders?

Like we shared in a previous article, the Lord considers every wrong thing we do as worldliness. Biblically, wrong things involves all things that goes against the Scriptures (James 4:17). Therefore, worldliness is anything that encourages us away from the Lord and leads us into some form of idolatry and habitual sinful desires (Colossians 3:5; 1 Peter 4:3).

We will consider some corrections on worldly behaviour from the Lord to us as a ministry and to others. Some few years ago, I was due to attend a meeting with my former pastor, so we asked the Lord what message I should take with me to the pastor. The Lord said that I should tell the pastor what things are permitted in the church and what should not be permitted. The Lord was referring to some incidents of worldly dancing and worldly music that were being performed in the church. There were also some plays that highlighted violence, drugs, and sexual lust. These scenes are all worldly and increase the appetite of the flesh.

While we understand that this message is intended to warn us against such behaviour, involving the perceptive senses to hear and visualize such events also brings desire. As it is, we make our message acceptable to the youth by depicting real life situations, when they already see all that on television and movies. Furthermore, worldly events like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Spring Day, Halloween, etc. are all designed to take attention from Christ and the cross, but bring focus to the celebration and idolizing of nature and persons. This also applies to worldly excursions, vacations to worldly places and beaches, or cruises which promote lust. Oftentimes, Christians who go on these journeys or vacations have little to no time for Bible reading and prayers. It ends up being a vacation from the Lord, while the Bible says that we should meditate on the Word day and night (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:97) and “Pray without Ceasing” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17). I challenge every Christian: how do these events bring glory to Christ? And how do they benefit you spiritually to stop sinning? You might say that it draws attention to our church or message; yes it does, but was Jesus Christ really seen and glorified in this? (Matthew 5:14-16).

Worldliness in the Church

Moreover, there are many pastors who don’t find it worldly to sing worldly songs from the pulpit, or worldly songs masked as Christian songs. Not only are they doing that to become popular especially with the younger generation, but they also encourage their church members that it is not wrong and that such music does not interfere with our salvation. In truth, it does interfere with our salvation; anything that gives pleasure to the sinful nature is not from faith, and it is therefore sin (Romans 14:23). The God of the Bible, the One speaking to us, has warned several Christians against listening to worldly music, watching secular television and movies, and attending ungodly parties, indicating that doing these activities is being worldly. Surely, you know these appeal to the senses, leading to desire; this is an indulgence to the gratification of the flesh, isn't it? In this, does it show the nature of Christ in us or does it encouragement us to sin, for desire leads to fulfillment?

Finally, leading a worldly lifestyle is not acceptable to God. I have heard many pastors sharing dreams of luxury cars, magnificent buildings, and other worldly things this they believe will draw people to God because people will see how God has blessed them and "prospered" them, so they can desire the same things. Their sermons often manipulate Scripture to only focus on what "itching" ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3), such as God's "blessings" and "grace" for us to just live happy here on earth and have the best life here (John 16:33); they rarely mention living holy (1 Peter 1:13-16), Christ's soon return (Revelation 22:12), or God's judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10). This clearly portrays God wrongly! God's message of holy living and obedience is being exchanged for worldly things to show off; we cannot serve both God and material wealth (Matthew 6:24). While it is good to show how God blessed us with things, it should never be the motive to draw us to Him. This is exactly the ‘bait’ that the prosperity teachers are using (1 Timothy 6:10). They are pulling the masses to gain fame and enrich themselves through the tithes and offerings, all these being done at the expense of their member's salvation!

In conclusion, being friends with the world is accepting Satan as your ruler and father. If we make friends with people to just socialize with them on worldly terms, and not to fellowship in Christ, our union with them is benefiting our (and their) sensual needs for the "feeling good" of our nature like lust or desire. In Christ, however, we feed on what builds us up in Him (Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:1-2; John 14:15) in our daily quest to crucify the sinful nature. Choose your friends for the good of the gospel and their salvation.

So, have you been focusing on being friends with the world, or would you like to be a true friend of Jesus Christ? If you desire to be friends with The Lord, please pray this Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started in this beautiful journey. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed Love,
Brother Glenn.