NOT OF THE WORLD

Scripture Reading:  John 15:18-25

“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)

The word “world” in the Bible has at least three different meanings:  the material world, the whole human race thought of as a world fallen into sin and in need of redemption, and the unbelieving, pagan society, the system of evil that opposes God.  In this passage Jesus is referring to the world in this third way, as that system of evil that stands against God and His people.  It is the environment that brings out the worst of fallen human nature.

Thus Jesus said:  “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own.”  If we were in compliance with the evil system that opposes God, we would be accepted by those who do likewise.  We would fit in, be accepted and be “loved” by the world.

But we are not of the world, because Jesus chose us out of it.  He rescued from it and placed us in His Kingdom (Colossians 1:13-14).  Christ’s Kingdom runs counter-culture to the world.  We simply don’t fit into the world’s pattern, life-style, values or culture.  We are different because we “do not love the world or the things in the world” (I John 2:15).  We have come to realize that “the world is passing away along with its desires” (I John 2:17).

Because we do not accept the ways of the world, the world hates us.  We are seen as those who refuse the values of the world and therefore we are easily misunderstood by those who have a worldly mindset.  Some of them view us as being self-righteous, narrow minded, judgmental, uneducated, narrow-minded and unsophisticated.  We must expect opposition and hostility from them.

The problem is that the world does not know our Heavenly Father or His Son Jesus:  “But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know Him who sent Me” (v. 21).  Worldly people have been blinded to the beauty of the gospel:  “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (II Corinthians 4:4).

We must always be on guard, for the world is constantly appealing to us.  It seeks to draw us away from God and to seduce us into its temporary pleasures.  It is a powerful enemy against us and we must not fall into the trap of the temptations it places before us.  The world is a dangerous place for us.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions — is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:15-17).

Lord Jesus, thank you for choosing me out of the world.  Keep me from loving the world or the things in the world.  May I be on guard today and resist its appeal.  Let me love You enough to refuse to fall into the ways of the world.

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