Welcome back to Coach's Corner. I hope you have had a chance to follow through on last week's game plan. As we continue our study about the battles we face, we will look at the next opponent, the world. Remember that in order to defeat an opponent, we must understand how that opponent works. That will be our goal today, to get a better understanding of the world that we live in, how it operates and why we consider it an opponent.
You may think it strange to consider the world as an opponent, but the bible shows us clearly that it is. First, we need to look at what the term, " world", means in a biblical sense. The Greek word, used over 150 times in the New Testament, is kosmos. According to Vines New Testament Dictionary, this word does not speak so much of the created world as it does the order or arrangement. In the passages that speak of the temptations of the world, it is really speaking of the world system. This system, as we will see, is diametrically opposed to the desire of a Christian to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. That is why it is our opponent. You might be thinking, "wait a minute, if God created the world and said it is good, how can it be opposed to Him"? Good question. Let's take a look at some scripture that will help us understand.
In Genesis 1 we see that God gave mankind, through Adam and Eve, dominion over the earth and all that was created. God would provide for all of man's needs. All they had to do was be obedient to God. But when Adam and Eve sinned, man's control of the earth ended. We were now under the curse. Read Gen 3:14-19. Who then gained control? The very one who deceived Eve, Satan. How do we know this? Look at Matthew 4:8-10. When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, he offered him all the kingdoms of this world (world system). Notice that when Jesus answered Satan, he did not argue about who had control of these kingdoms! Satan does have the control of power in this world. He is even called the Prince of this world. (John 12:31, 14:30 and 16:11) That is why Jesus speaks so much about coming into the
world (kosmos) to save us. In Chapter 5 of Revelation John weeps because no human could open a scroll. This scroll represents the Title Deed to the earth. No man could open it because man forfeited his right to it because of sin. Only Jesus could open the scroll and the seals of judgment contained in it.
This is why there are so many scriptures that speak of the opposition of the world to the Christian. (Get a concordance and look up the phrase, the world, and you can find them) Jesus said the world would hate His disciples because it first hated Him. In reality, Satan uses the world system to oppose Jesus and thus oppose us as believers. Jesus came to reconcile the world to God and those who accept Him are reconciled. Those who do not are still under the power and influence of a world ruled by Satan. The sad part is that they do not realize this fact. That is why they fall into line with whatever the latest world standards are.
OK, I hope you are convinced that you are in a battle with the world system. What does this look like in a practical sense? How does the world try to undermine Christians and Christianity? Well let's look at some of the philosophies that the world embraces and ridicules those that don't buy in. These philosophies attempt to lead people away from God.
EVOLUTION: Man's attempt to explain origins and existence with the presupposition that there is no creator or God. This has spawned the atheist movement and led to the following philosophy.
RELATIVISM: The belief that there is no absolute truth, what is true for you may not be true for me. This belief cannot exist if there is a God to whom you must be accountable. This also gives way to the world view that "all religions lead to God"
HUMANISM: The belief that man is evolving and with enough education can bring the world to perfection. No belief in anything supernatural.
These are beliefs that dominate much of the western world today. They certainly dominate the educational system in America today and any dissent is not tolerated. Maybe you haven't really thought about how much these world views affect your own thinking. But these philosophies deny the existence or relevance of God. How could they possibly fit into a Christian world view? They cannot and must not! You might be thinking that some really smart people you know believe in these philosophies, so how can I say that I know better. Well, remember that people that are not born again of the Spirit cannot see spiritual truth. They are easy prey for Satan to puff up with intellectualism. 1st Cor 1:20-21 says "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe." In verse 19 Paul says that God will destroy the wisdom of the wise paraphrasing Isaiah 29:14. Don't allow the world to dictate your thinking rather than God. Even though you will be mocked, remember who is behind it all. It is a battle because no one wants to be made to seem foolish. The reality is though that it's the wisdom of the world that is really foolish and it leads to everlasting destruction. Not only that, it has led to plenty of problems in our world today. Western society has eroded tremendously since the rise of secular humanism. The breakdown of the family, moral absolutes and accountability for our actions has led to rising crime, divorce, sexual deviance, drug addiction, child abuse and spiritual poverty. Even with all the knowledge and technological advances we have made, we still have not made a dent in solving poverty in the world.
John summed it up this way "Do not love the world (world system) or anything in it…The world and it's sinful desires will pass away but the man who does the will of God will live forever".
OK, we have scouted out this opponent. Now we need a Game Plan on how we will defeat this opponent!
- List some ways that you can see that the world may have influenced your thinking. Remember to ask the Holy Spirit to help you.
- If you have been afraid to stand up for what you believe because of the fear of being mocked, confess that to the Lord and receive His forgiveness. Ask for boldness.
- Get into an in depth study of God's Word. The more you know, the more confidence you will gain when you are in a discussion with someone about world views.
- Pray for at least one non believer who you know is caught up in the wisdom of this world.
May God bless you as you get in the game this week,