Friday, November 19, 2010

Piercing the Darkness

There are so many things vying for people’s affection in today’s world. For example, there are television programs like American idol, videos, movies, clothing fashions, social networking sites like Facebook, chat rooms, discussion forums, video games, ipods, iphones, You Tube, cars, careers, houses, political power, sports, casinos and other forms of gambling, wealth, fame, popular music that does not glorify God, body building, health fanaticism, night clubs, travel, site seeing, and computers. If these do not win your affection, then there are other things to tempt you like pornography, sensuality, orgies, drugs, and alcohol. These all belong to this present world system. They may have a certain glitter, but not all that glitters is gold. It’s not as it seems to the naked eye, so if we want to understand the true nature of this world, we need to go to the Word of God. Let’s take a look and see what it says.

The Whole World Lies in the Power of the Evil One
The apostle John wrote: “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1Jo 5:19). So we know the whole world lies under the power of the devil.

Satan is the Ruler of this World
Jesus said, "I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” (Joh 14:30)

The apostle Paul taught that satan is the god of this world: “in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2Co 4:4)

The Devil Deceives the Whole World
In the Revelation, John wrote: “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Rev 12:9). So we know the devil deceives the world.

Jesus Sends His Disciples into the World
Jesus prayed to the Father in heaven for His disciples: "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” (Joh 17:18)

Those Who Follow Jesus are Not of the world
Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples: "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (Joh 17:14-17).

The Disciples of Christ Struggle Against the World Forces
The apostle Paul taught that we are not struggling against mere flesh and blood. Our struggle is against the realm of darkness that rules this world. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12). Frank Peretti illustrates this very well in his novel called This Present Darkness and its sequel called Piercing the Darkness.

Disciples of Christ Must Not Love the World
The apostle John taught us not to love the world or the things of the world. He wrote: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1Jo 2:15). If we love these things, then the Father’s love is not in us.

The World is Full of Lust and Pride
John taught that the world is full of lust in pride, which do not come from the Father. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1Jo 2:16)

The World is Passing Away
John taught that the world is passing away. He wrote: “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1Jo 2:17).

The World Does Not Know God’s Children
John wrote: “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1Jo 3:1). We learn from him that the world does not know God’s children.

The World Hates God's Children
John also taught that the world hates us, and it shouldn’t surprise is. “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.” (1Jo 3:13)

The Spirit of Antichrist is in the World
John taught that the spirit of antichrist is already in the world. “And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (1Jo 4:3).

John also wrote: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (2Jo 1:7). One of the characteristics of this antichrist spirit is that it does not confess Jesus Christ.

Conversely, “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” (1Jo 4:2). We know that a spirit is from God if it confesses that Jesus Christ came in bodily form, in the flesh.

The Spirit of God in the Disciples of Christ is Greater
The fact is that even though the spirit of antichrist is in the world, it should not frighten God’s people. If you are from God, then Jesus Christ lives in you by the Holy Spirit. And He is greater than anyone in this world. John wrote: “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1Jo 4:4)

Disciples of Christ Overcome the World
As disciples of Christ, we overcome the world through our faith in Jesus. John wrote: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1Jo 5:4-5). If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, you overcome the world.

Gaining the Whole World and Losing Your Soul
Jesus said: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mat 16:26). It’s not much good if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul. It results in a total net loss, not a gain.

The Kingdom of the World will Become the Kingdom of our God
In the end, we know that the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our God. And He shall reign forever and ever. “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.’” (Rev 11:15)

The Gospel Shall Be Preached in the Whole World
Jesus said: "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Mat 24:14). “And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mar 16:15)

So if you are a disciple of Christ, you ought to be proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ to others in any way you can and helping others who are doing so also.

Disciples of Christ are the Light of the World
Jesus said to His disciples: "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Mat 5:14-16)

God's Children Separate from the World
The apostle Paul spoke to the church in Corinth, which was a worldly church. Here is what he wrote to them:

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’ Therefore, ‘come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2Co 6:14- 7:1)

So the same message Paul wrote to the Corinthian church 2,000 years ago is still valid today. God's people should be piercing the darkness, not having fellowship with it! God desires to dwell in His people and walk among us. But He requires that you come out from their midst and be separate. He requires that you touch nothing unclean. If you will do this, He will be a Father to you. This is His promise. So we should cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates the body and spirit. In a healthy and proper fear of God, we should seek perfect holiness in our lives.

Technology, Entertainment, & Worldly Pursuits
At the opening of this blog, I mentioned numerous things of the world like technology, entertainment, and worldly pursuits. I'll just say a word about that. That which may be permissible for you may not necessarily be beneficial to you. If you use the things of this world, be careful that you don't become engrossed by them. Those who buy something should live as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away. (1Co 7:30-31)

Don't become a slave to the things of this world through addiction. Whatever you are overcome by, you actually become enslaved by it. (2Pe 2:19)

As for immorality or any impurity or greed, we should not even have to say anything. These things must not even be named among God's people. No immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead expose them. Be careful how you live your life, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

The words of the apostle Paul to the Ephesian church are still appropriate today:

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father." (Eph 5:1-20)

Putting it All Together
This world is full of pride and lust. There are many things to entice and seduce people. These are all part of the devil’s work. He’s a sinner and the ruler of the world right now. It all lies under his power. So the world is a very dark place under his leadership. He has deceived the whole world for thousands of years and used his deception to oppress people.

But disciples of Christ must not be fooled by his deception. Don’t love the world or anything in the world. It’s all passing away and does not come from the Father. If you love those things, the love of the Father is not in you. Even if you gain all those things, even the whole world, what would you profit from it if you lose your soul? It would profit you nothing, because you can’t take any of it with you when you die.

Don't become a slave to the things of this world through any kind of addiction. Those who use the world should do so as though they did not make full use of it, because the form of this world is passing away.

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead expose them. Be careful how you live your life.
Through Christ within you, you need to overcome the world. He’s greater than the one who is in the world. You overcome through your faith in Jesus.

And just as the world did not recognize Christ but hated Him, they don’t recognize His disciples either, but hate us, too. That shouldn’t surprise us. It shouldn’t stop us from doing what we’re here for either. We should not seek to please men but God.

Jesus has sent His disciples into the world to be a light for God’s glory. If you are a disciple of Christ, you are Light in the Lord; live as children of Light.

He has commanded us to proclaim the good news in all the world until He returns. One day soon, He will return and the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our God.

Let me encourage you to separate yourself from every unclean thing today, while there is still time.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the Home page for this blog, and you can also find my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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