15.06.2019 FAMILIES OF FAITH
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1, 2
Our lesson this week addresses the issue of how Christians and Christian families must live in a world that is dominated by the principles of Satan – love of self and selfishness. The cultural norms of the world are rooted in a system that is ruled by Satan. In these last days, Satan is enraged, knowing that his time is short and so he seeks to deceive God’s people into following his principles (Revelation 12:17).
In contrast, Christians are specifically called to have a counter culture – the culture of God’s kingdom. Counter culture is defined as ‘a way of life and a set of ideas that are completely different from those accepted by most of society’. Christians are called out of the world ruled by Satan and transferred to kingdom of God’s Son (Colossians 1:12-14) and are called to live by the principles of God’s kingdom – faith, love, humility, self- denial and the righteousness of God. We are ‘in the world, but not of the world’. Jesus made this counter culture clear in the Sermon on the Mount…’You have heard it said…but I say unto you’. Later, John the Apostle calls Christians to ‘Love not the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.’ John 2:15-18
This counter culture must not only be revealed in our individual lives; it must be revealed in our families and in the church. We must be like Abraham of whom God testified, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” Genesis 18:19. Note the promise – when we keep the way of the Lord, God will fulfil His promises to us.
Love Not the World
John is telling the believers that if they love the things of God, because they belong to the kingdom of God, they cannot at the same time love the
things of the world, because the principles of the kingdom of this world are diametrically opposed to that of the Kingdom of God.
What does John mean by ‘the world’? John is primarily concerned with the World system or order that is governed by Satan. Worldly affairs, riches, goods, pleasures, advantages, which though we know are transitory, nevertheless seduce us away from God.
‘Things that are in the world’ 1 John 2:15.
‘the world’s goods’ 1 john 3:17
‘gain the whole world and forfeit his life’ Matt 16:26
‘worldly lusts’ Titus 2:12
‘the spirit of the world’, ‘the wisdom of this world’, ‘the fashion of
this world’ 1 Cor 2:12, 1 Cor 3:19, 1 Cor 7:31
‘the corruption that is in the world’ 2 Pet 1:4
‘lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the
Father, but of the world’ 1 John 2:16
The Christian is to keep himself ‘unspotted from the world’ James
We are called to be good stewards of this planet, and to love its inhabitants as God does. But we are not to be attached to the principles of a world that is alienated from God.
Since the Fall, when man chose to live apart from God, the world order is also alienated and hostile to God. 1 Corinthians 1:21 ‘the world knew not God’
John 15:18 ‘the world hated Christ’
John 14:17 ‘the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit, because it neither sees or knows Him’
John 7:7 ‘the works of the world are evil’
James 4:4 ‘the world is at enmity with God’
John 18:36 ‘Christ’s kingdom is not of this world’
Who is the intelligence or the mind behind the world system?
John 12:31, 14:30,16:11. ‘The prince of this world’
1 John 5:19 ‘ the whole world lies in the evil one’
Eph 6:12 ‘kosmokrators’ – Satan and his angels are the rulers of this world system.
The Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of this worldSatan
Principles of Government
Children of the devil
Character of citizens
Children of GodAgape love
No condemnation (vindication)
Eternity Oblivion‘the kingdoms of the world will become the kingdom ofOur Lord and of His Christ’ Rev 11:15.
To all who understand the gulf between the 2 kingdoms, John is stating the obvious when he says:
‘You cannot love the kingdom of this world (that is ruled by Satan) and love God as well. You cannot desire either its principles or the things that it prizes’. 1 John 2:15, 16
For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]–these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. 1 John 2:16 Amplified.
Satan offered both Eve and Christ all of the above when he tempted them. Eve succumbed, but Christ overcame. In accepting Him, His victory becomes ours and our converted minds should not desire any of the above that the world offers.
The Greek word for ‘church’ in the NT is ‘ekklesia’ – the ‘called out’. We have been called out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of grace. We should not be like Lot’s wife looking back at what we have left, or the children of Israel, pining for what they had left in Egypt.
This is particularly true also when we consider raising a family. Are we ruled by worldly principles, or by God? Do we seek the best for our children in ways that are pleasing to God, or are we influenced by what the world considers best – wealth, influence, power?
How shall we then raise families in a world that is dominated by sin and selfishness?
As Christ did… For the sake of the world’s redemption and salvation, He humbled Himself to total obedience to God’s will. If we are truly concerned about the eternal salvation of our families, we will also seek to follow God’s will in the raising of our children and the principles of family life laid down in the Bible.
Always conscious that we are children of God and citizens of His kingdom.
In Christ, we have died to the world and live unto God. Rom 6:1-14, Gal 6:14
In Christ, we have overcome the world, and abiding in Him, His Spirit will empower me to stand against the wiles of the devil. John
16:33, 1 John 4:4, Eph 6:10,11.
Detachment to the world through intense preoccupation with Christ
(the relationship). When you fall in love, you automatically attach yourself to the beloved and become detached from persons and things that once held your attention.
Remember always that this world is under the sentence of death John 12:31. There is no future in it.
6. Remember that Jesus is praying for you…‘that your faith fail not’Luke 22:32. Here is His prayer for us: ‘Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You, Holy Father. Keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one, as we are…I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.’ John 17:11, 15
Verse 18: The Promise
The world is passing away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever.A Blessing to the World
‘You are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world’ Matthew 5:13, 14
Christian families who live by the will of God are a blessing to the community they live in. They are both light and salt to the community. They reveal the light of God’s love to those around them and as salt, they enhance the flavour of the gospel of Christ and play a part on preserving the society they live in from moral decay.
1. Since we live in the world, we are always ‘touching’ the things of this world. Are you aware of any worldly principles (as opposed to Christian principles) being promoted in the following areas?
• Medicine/health professions
• Language & Literature – does current language teaching help or hinder
the reading of the Bible?
• Media – though we practice Christian principles in our personal lives,
are we content to watch TV content that is full of immorality, violence,
greed and selfishness.
• Music and Art – with the denial of God, has music and art lost its
• Commerce• Agriculture
2. In Luke 17:26-28, Jesus described the state of the world in the days of Noah and Lot.
They were doing perfectly normal things – eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building. But their preoccupation was with these things rather than the things of God.
Is this true of my family life?
The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth. It was designed to be a blessing to mankind. And it is a blessing wherever the marriage covenant is entered into intelligently, in the fear of God, and with due consideration for its responsibilities. Every home should be a place of love, a place where the angels of God abide, working with softening, subduing influence upon the hearts of parents and children. Our homes must be made a Bethel, our hearts a shrine. Wherever the love of God is cherished in the soul, there will be peace, light and joy. Spread out the word of God before your families in love, and ask, “What hath God spoken?”
Society is composed of families, and is what the heads of families make it. Out of the heart are “the issues of life”; and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household. The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences. The elevation or deterioration of the future of society will be determined by the manners and morals of the youth growing up around us. As the youth are educated, and as their characters are moulded in their childhood to virtuous habits, self-control, and temperance, so will their influence be upon society. If they are left unenlightened and uncontrolled, and as the result become self-willed, intemperate in appetite and passion, so will be their future influence in moulding society. The company which the young now keep, the habits they now form, and the principles they now adopt are the index to the state of society for years to come… God would have our families symbols of the family in heaven. Let parents and children bear this in mind every day, relating themselves to one another as members of the family of God. Then their lives will be of such a character as to give to the world an object lesson of what families who love God and keep His commandments may be. Christ will be glorified; His peace and grace and love will pervade the family circle like a precious perfume.
The first work to be done in a Christian home is to see that the Spirit of Christ abides there, that every member of the household may be able to take his cross and follow where Jesus leads the way. Adventist Home: p 15-20