September 17, 2016
Let’s begin with Danny’s opening words….
We can hear sermons about persecution and how hard it is to live our faith in the world as we know it, so we take verses such as, ‘Be in the world but not of it’ to the extreme where we become isolated, insulated and focusing only on our sanctification…. so our faith can never be tainted by the world.
We come together into our holy huddles called church and purposely go out of our way to be separate from the world and its people! If I am separate I can never get dirty.
And the other extreme is this….
We need to be so connected to the people who we are trying to reach, we need to speak their language, be involved in their culture ‘to be all things to all men’ and then miss the point, because our lives look no different to those we are trying to reach!
And then we become just as unproductive, just as isolated from what Jesus is calling us to be in this dark world!
Discuss the above extremes and what would a balance between the two look like.
What does God’s Word tell us about where we were at, before we became a Christian?
Read Ephesians 2:1-3,5
What does v.3 tell us about our sinful nature and God’s anger? See John 3:18b, 36b.
When we heard God’s call and came to Jesus what happened?
Because of this who do we now belong to and how are we called to live? Romans 14:7-9, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
What is our body now? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 3:16-17.
What does the following tell us about not loving the world?
1 John 2:15-17. What are the three areas mentioned?
Discuss the following in your group….
By contrast (to these three areas) God values self control, a spirit of generosity and a commitment to humble service. It is possible to give the impression of avoiding worldly pleasures while still harbouring worldly attitudes in one’s heart. It is also possible, like Jesus, to love sinners and spend time with them while maintaining a commitment to the values of God’s Kingdom. What values are most important to you? Do your actions reflect the world’s values or God’s values? *
Partnering with those in the world? (eg: business, marriage, etc.) 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1. Consider the following and discuss in your group.
Paul urges believers not to ‘team up’, that is form partnerships with unbelievers because this might weaken their Christian commitment, integrity or standards. It would be a mismatch. Earlier Paul had explained that this did not mean isolating oneself from unbelievers (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-10). Paul even urges Christians to stay with their unbelieving spouses (1 Corinthians 7:12-13).He wanted believers to be active in their witness for Christ to unbelievers but not lock themselves into personal or business relationships that could cause them to compromise their faith. Believers should do everything in their power to avoid situations that could force them to divide their loyalties. These verses also have strong application to marriage. Paul did not want single believers to enter into marriage with unbelievers. Such marriages cannot have unity in the most important issues in life-commitment and obedience to God *
How do we live in the world but not have the world living in us? What scriptural principles and boundaries to we need to put in place to protect ourselves from the enemies of ‘the world, the flesh and the devil?’
Read and discuss.
As we live in the world and rub shoulders with those who are not Christians who are now like what we once were what does Jesus say for us to be? Matthew 5:13-16. How do we do this? What are some ways you can?
Discuss how you apply the following.
We are to witness by life and by lip.
Witness by Life. Philippians 2:14-15.
Our lives should be characterized by moral purity, patience and peacefulness, so that we will “shine brightly” in a dark and depraved world. A transformed life is an effective witness to the power of God’s Word. Are you shining brightly, or are you clouded by complaining and arguing? Don’t let dissensions snuff out your light. Shine out for God. Your role is to shine until Jesus returns and bathes the world in His radiant glory. *
Witness by Lip. Colossians 4:5-6, 1 Peter 3:15-16.
With the above study in mind read again Danny’s introductory words and discuss how you get the balance right of living ‘in the world’ but not ‘of the world’?
* Taken from ‘Life Application Study Bible’