Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Not of This World

I'm sure you have seen the bumper stickers with these words done in a very artistic way. When I first saw one, quite a few years ago, I wasn't sure if the car belonged to a Christian or someone who someone who believed in UFO's and alien beings. Well, maybe it's a little of both. You see, in a certain way, we are supposed to live on earth as an alien. I know it may sound strange, but it is true. The Bible teaches us that though we live in this world, we are not of this world. Look at these verses:

John 17:6 "I have revealed You to those whom you gave me out of the world."

John 17:14-17 "I have given them Your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it."

John 15:19-20 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."

You can see that Jesus made it clear that we are not "of this world". This begs us to answer a couple of questions. One, if we are not of this world, what world are we "of"? The second question would be, if we are not of this world, why are we here in it? Let's see if we can answer these questions.

Jesus gave us some clues about the world we, as believers are "of." John 17:24 says "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." So we know for sure that the world spoken of here, is one where Jesus is. We also are told that it is our heavenly Father's house, with lots of rooms.

John 14:2-4 "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." The Greek word for rooms literally means residences. We don't know for sure what that looks like but we know that Jesus prepared it for us. That sounds good enough for me! All this leads us to believe that our real home is heaven, the place where God the Father dwells and Jesus sits at his right hand.

The book of Revelation gives us some more insight on what goes on in our heavenly home. Read Rev 4:2-16, 5:11-14, 7:9-12 and15-17. These give us clues about the throne room of heaven and what takes place. There is however, another interesting thought about where our eternal home really is. If you look at Rev 21 you will notice that after the great white throne judgment takes place (the event where unbelievers are judged and sent to "the lake of fire"), the apostle John sees a "new heaven and earth" and a "new Jerusalem" where God will be with His people. This seems to be where we will live for eternity. We may not know what that looks like exactly, but there is some description in verses 10-27 and in Chapter 22. We do know that there will be no mourning, crying, death or destruction and that we will be with our Lord Jesus. How awesome that will be!

OK, on to the second question. Why did Jesus leave us in the world? Jesus answered that question in John 17:18 "As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." He was speaking of His disciples specifically but then to us who would follow as well (v 20). He goes on to explain in verse 21 that the reason is, so that the world may believe that God the Father sent the son to show His love. So our main reason for being in the world is to show people the great love that God has for them as demonstrated by Jesus. Jesus showed God's love by giving His life for the world (John 3:16). While he was here on earth Jesus showed His love by healing the sick, casting out demons, even raising the dead. He gave up His life in every way imaginable to reconcile the world to Himself (Read Col 1:15-23).

The hardest part of all this, at least for me, is how to live in this world but not be of it. 1 John 2:15-17 says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." The world system has a way of luring us in, but the key to not allowing that to happen, is also contained in the verse. We can keep ourselves from getting too wrapped up in the world, by doing the will of God. 1 Peter 4:1-3 says "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. So let us not spend our lives living for this world, but instead by the power of the Holy Spirit, seek to do His will.

GAME PLAN: Using a concordance, look up every verse that contains the phrase "will of God" or "God's will."This will help you to see what God's will is for all believers.

Many people want to know what God's particular will is for their life. I think that what they really mean is, what is God's plan for my life? God doesn't usually lay it all out for us. What He expects is for us to spend time with Him in Bible Study and prayer while we continually seek his direction. In so doing He will guide you into His plan for your life. Therefore, make sure you are setting some time out each day just to spend with Him




1 comment:

  1. Like how you differentiated between God's will and God's plan. Thanks Dad.