THE CHRISTIAN'S RELATIONSHIP TO WORLDLY SOCIETY

 

1. Christians do not belong to this world (society):

                Jn.15:19                Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world

A. We are citizens of Heaven:

                Heb.11:14             They...declare plainly that they seek a country

                Heb.11:15,16       Now they desire a better country...an Heavenly

                Heb.13:14             Here have we no continuing city...we seek one to come

                Jn.14:2,3               I go to prepare a place for you...that where I am, there ye may be also

                (See also Jn.18:36)

B. We're sojourners in this world, pilgrims passing through:

                Heb.11:13             Confessed they were strangers & pilgrims on the earth

                Psa.39:12b            I am a stranger with Thee, & a sojourner

                Psa.119:19a         I am a stranger in the earth

C. Earthly lands & homes are only temporary:

                Lev.25:23b           The land is Mine (God's); for ye are strangers & sojourners with Me

D. Our life on earth is brief, so we do not settle here:

                1Chr.29:15           We are strangers before Thee, & sojourners...our days on the earth are as a shadow

                1Pet.1:17               Pass time of your sojourning here in fear (of God)

                (See also Psa.39:4,5)

E. Guard against thinking this world is your permanent home:

                Psa.49:11,12        Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, & their dwelling places

 

2. Though in this world, we are not to be part of it:

A. Christians are not part of this present worldly society:

                Jn.17:14-16          They are not of the world, even as I (Jesus) am not

                Rom.12:2a           Be not conformed to this world

                Eph.2:2,3              In time past ye walked according to the course of this world

                Gal.6:14                The cross of...Christ, by whom the world is crucified (dead) unto me, & I unto the world

                Phi.2:15 The sons of God...in the midst of a crooked & perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world

                1Jn.4:4-6               They are of the world...we are of God

                1Jn.5:19                We are of God, & the whole world lieth in wickedness (malignant evil)

                (See also 1Pet.2:9)

B. We are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers:

                2Cor.6:14              Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?

                2Cor.6:15              What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

C. We are not to have close friendship with the Christ-rejecting worldly:

                Pro.1:15 My son, walk not thou...with them; refrain thy foot

                Pro.24:1 Be not envious against (of) evil men, neither desire to be with them

                1Cor.10:20,21      I would not that ye should fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, &...of devils

                Eph.5:11               Have no fellowship with the...works of darkness

                (See also Pro.4:14-17; 13:20.)

D. We are to be separate from the worldly:

                Isa.52:11               Go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of [them]; be ye clean

                2Cor.6:17              Come out from among them, & be separate...touch not

                Rev.18:4               Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers

E. Do not become entirely separate; we must witness:

                Jn.17:15                Not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but ...keep them from the evil

                Jn.17:18                As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world [to witness]

                Mk.16:15              Go ye into all the world, & preach the gospel

F. Marriage with the unbelieving & worldly is discouraged:

                Deut.7:3,4             Neither shalt thou make marriages with them...for they will turn away thy son from following Me

                Josh.23:12,13       If ye do in any wise...make marriages with them...they shall be snares & traps unto you

                1Ki.11:1-8            King Solomon loved many strange women...his wives turned away his heart after other gods

                Neh.13:26,27       Solomon...was beloved of his God...nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin

                1Cor.7:39              She is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only [let her marry] in the Lord

                1Cor.7:12-16        [If already married to an unbeliever, have faith, you may yet win them by your Christian example]

                (See also Gen.26:34,35; 27:46; Judg.14:1-3; Ezra 9:1,2; Mal.2:11,12.)

 

3. Our attitude toward worldly values:

A. Caution not to love this present world:

                Jam.4:4 The friendship of the world is enmity with God

                1Jn.2:15,16           Love not the world, neither the things that are in world

B. The pilgrim's attitude:

                1Pet.2:11               As strangers & pilgrims, abstain from fleshly [worldly] lusts, which war against the soul

                Tit.2:12,13            Denying ungodliness & worldly lusts...live soberly...in this present world; looking for that blessed hope

                Heb.11:24-27       Moses...choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God...forsook Egypt

                Jam.1:27               Pure religion...to keep unspotted from the world

                1Pet.1:17               (God) judgeth...every man's work, [so] pass the time of your sojourning here in fear

                2Pet.3:11,14         Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be

                1Jn.2:16,17           The lust of the flesh, & the lust of the eyes...is of the world. And the world passeth away

C. We should resist being influenced by trends, fads & media:

                Exo.23:2a             Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil

                Psa.1:1   Blessed is man that walketh not in counsel of ungodly

                Pro.1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not

                Rom.12:2a           Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed

                1Cor.7:31b           The fashion of this world passeth away

                Col.2:8   Beware lest any man spoil you through...vain deceit (See 1Pet.3:2-4 re: fashions.)

D. Warning against indiscriminate worldly entertainment:

                Psa.101:3              I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes

                Psa.119:37            Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity

                Isa.33:15               He that walketh righteously...shutteth his eyes from seeing evil

                2Ki.17:15b           They followed vanity, & became vain, & went after the heathen that were round about them

E. The detrimental effect of this wicked world on believers:

                2Pet.2:7,8              Lot...in seeing & hearing [filthy Sodomites], vexed (tormented) his righteous soul...with their unlawful deeds

                2Pet.3:17               Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your steadfastness

F. Peer pressure & influence:

                1Ki.12:3-16          [King Rehoboam foolishly followed the counsel of] the young men that were grown up with him

G. Don't compromise or tolerate worldly ways:

                Exo.23:32             Make no covenant with them, nor with their gods

                Exo.23:33             They shall not dwell in thy land...for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee

                1Tim.5:22             Neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep...pure

H. Avoid wanton worldly parties & activities:

                Rom.13:13,14      Not in rioting & drunkenness, not in chambering (licentiousness)...fulfil [not] lusts

                1Pet.4:3,4              [We are not to indulge in drunken parties & revellings]

                (See also Eph.2:2,3; Tit.2:12.)

I. But don't go to the opposite extreme:

                Mat.9:9-13           [The self-righteous demanded:] Why eateth your Master with publicans & sinners?

                1Cor.10:27           [We can accept invitations to banquets & feasts]

 

4. If possible, live peaceably with others in order to win them to the Lord:

A. Peaceable relations with others are preferable:

                Rom.12:18           As much as lieth in (depends upon) you, live peaceably with all men

                Pro.16:7 Lord...maketh even his enemies to be at peace w/ him

                Jer.29:7  Seek the peace of the city...& pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace

                Mat.5:25               Agree with thine adversary quickly...lest at any time

                Col.4:5   Walk in wisdom toward them that are without

                1Tim.2:1,2            [Pray] that we may lead a quiet & peaceable life

B. Try to relate to their way of thinking, in order to win them:

                1Cor.9:19-22        Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews. I am made all things to all men

                1Cor.10:32           Give none offence, neither to Jews, nor to Gentiles

                1Cor.10:33           I please all men...that they may be saved

C. Identify with them by giving your secular background & credentials:

                Acts 22:3               I am a man...brought up in this city...taught according to the law of the fathers...as ye all are

                Acts 21:39            I am...of Tarsus, a citizen of no mean city

                (See also Acts 16:36-38; 22:25-28.)

 

5. Caution against compromising with the world:

                Gal.1:10                Do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ

A. Caution against pleasing to the point of compromising:

                Lk.6:26  Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you

                2Ki.5:17,18          In this thing the Lord pardon Thy servant, that...I bow myself in the house of Rimmon (a heathen god)

B. We should stand up for, & not be ashamed of, our faith:

                Mk.8:38                Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me & of My Words in this ...sinful generation; of him shall (I) be ashamed

                Rom.1:16              I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ

                2Tim.1:8a             Be not thou ashamed of the testimony of our Lord

                1Pet.4:16               If any suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed

C. We are not of this world, & it hates us for that:

                Lk.6:22  Men...shall separate you from their company, & reproach

                Jn.15:18,19           Because ye are not of the world...world hateth you

                1Pet.4:4 They think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you

 

6. The importance of an honest, sincere example:

A. Be a good example:

                Mat.5:16               Let your light so shine...that they may see your good works, & glorify your Father in Heaven

                Rom.13:3b           Do...good, & thou shalt have praise of the [rulers]

                1Thes.5:22            Abstain from all appearance of evil

                1Tim.4:12             Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity (love)

                1Pet.2:13,14         Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake...for the praise of them

                1Pet.2:15               With well doing...put to silence ignorance of foolish

                Lk.6:27  Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you

B. We are commanded to be honest in our dealings:

                Rom.12:17b         Provide things honest in the sight of all men

                2Cor.8:21              Providing for honest things...in the sight of men

                1Thes.4:12a         Walk honestly toward them that are without

                Tit.2:10a               Not purloining (stealing, pilfering), but showing all good fidelity

                1Pet.2:12               Having your (way of life) honest among the Gentiles

                (See also Rom.13:13a; Heb.13:18.)

C. Do not bring reproach upon the cause of Christ:

                Rom.14:16           Let not then your good be evil spoken of

                2Cor.6:3                Giving none offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed

                1Tim.5:14b           Give none occasion to adversary to speak reproachfully

                (See also Rom.2:23,24; 1Tim.6:1; Tit.2:5.)

D. Be blameless & innocent:

                Mat.10:16             Sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, & harmless (innocent) as doves

                Phi.2:15 Blameless & harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke

                Tit.1:6    Blameless...having children not accused of riot

E. Don't let your liberties become a "stumbling block" to others:

                Rom.14:13-21     No man put a stumblingblock...in his brother's way [that we may be]...approved of men

                1Cor.6:12              All things are lawful...but all things not expedient

                1Cor.8:8-13          Take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak

                1Pet.2:16               Not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness

 

7. Secular work & employment:

A. Christians are instructed to do honest work:

                Eph.4:28               Let him labour, working with his hands the thing (profession) which is good

                1Thes.4:11,12      Work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may have lack of nothing

                2Thes.3:10-12      If any would not work, neither should he eat

                Tit.3:14  Let ours learn to maintain good works (profess honest trades) for necessary uses

B. We must keep our priorities straight:

                Acts 20:35            Labouring ye ought to support weak...blessed to give

                Eph.4:28               Let him labour, working...that he may have to give

                1Cor.7:31              They that use this world, as not abusing it

C. Don't labour to be rich, but merely for your needs:

                Lk.12:15               Beware of covetousness...a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth

                1Tim.6:8               Having food & raiment let us therewith be content

D. Consider the fate of those who covet riches:

                Psa.49:16-20        [The fate of those who seek riches in this world]

                Mk.10:24,25        How hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter

                1Tim.6:9,10          They that will (desire to) be rich fall into...snare...erred from the faith...pierced with sorrows

                Jam.1:10,11         The rich...is made low...withereth...perisheth

                (See also Jam.5:1-4)

E. Warning regarding wrong attitudes:

                Job 31:24,25,       If I have...said to gold, Thou art my confidence...I should

                28           have denied God that is above

                Hag.1:6b,9            It came to little...because ye run every man unto his own house [& neglected God's work]

                Lk.12:19-21         Soul, thou hast much goods laid up...take thine ease

                1Tim.6:10             The love of money is the root of all evil

                Rev.3:15-18         Thou sayest, "I am rich, & increased with goods, & have need of nothing." Thou art wretched, poor, naked

 

8. The work of pastors, full-time Christian workers & missionaries:

A. The compensation of pastors & teachers:

                1Tim.5:17,18       They who labour in the Word & doctrine...the labourer is worthy of his reward (wages)

                1Cor.9:6-9            Who feedeth a flock, & eateth not of the milk of flock?

                1Cor.9:13              They which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple

B. The work of missionaries is preaching the gospel; they are reapers in God's harvest & are worthy of wages:

                Jn.4:35   Look on the [mission] fields; for they are white already to harvest

                Mat.9:37,38         The harvest [of souls] is plenteous, but the labourers are few...send labourers into His harvest

                Jn.4:36   He that reapeth receiveth wages, & gathereth fruit unto life eternal

                1Cor.9:13,14        The Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel

                1Cor.9:10              He that ploweth...& thresheth..should be par taker

C. Christians with secular jobs helping support the Lord's workers:

                Rom.15:27           If [they] have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is to minister...carnal things

                1Cor.9:11              If we have sown unto you spiritual things...we shall reap your carnal things

                Gal.6:6   Let him that is taught in the Word communicate (give materially) unto him that teacheth

                Lk.8:3    Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward...ministered unto Him (Jesus) of their substance

                Lk.10:7  Eating such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire (wages) (See also Mat.10:10b)

                (See 1Thes.2:9; 2Cor.11:8.)

D. God's workers sometimes hold secular jobs also:

                Acts 18:1-3           He (Paul) was of the same craft, he...wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers

                (See also Acts 20:34,35; 1Cor.4:11,12.)

E. But when possible, they should avoid time-consuming secular jobs & devote their full time to their main work:

                Jn.6:27   Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life

                1Cor.7:23              Ye are bought...be not ye the servants of men

                1Cor.9:6,7             Have not we power to forbear working [at secular employment]?

                2Tim.2:4               No man that warreth entangleth himself with affairs of this life; that he may please Him (Jesus)

 

9. A Christian's relationship to worldly governments:

A. Try to be good citizens & obey the government:

                Rom.13:1              Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. The powers (authorities) that be are ordained of God

                Tit.3:1    Put them in mind to be subject...to obey magistrates

                1Pet.2:17               Honour all men. Fear God. Honour the king

B. Most governments & laws are for our good & protection:

                Acts 21:30-35      [Roman soldiers rescued Paul from a hostile mob]

                Acts 23:10            [Romans prevented Jews from pulling Paul in pieces]

                Acts 25:15,16       It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man

C. Pray for the government & officials:

                Eccl.10:20             Curse not the king, no not in thy thought

                1Tim.2:1               I exhort that...prayers...be made for kings, & for all that are in authority

D. Perform required national & community duties:

                Mat.22:21             Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's

                Rom.13:7              Render to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute

E. However, we must obey God above all:

                Acts 4:19,20         [We are not bound to obey secular laws which cause us to disobey God, or which forbid witnessing]

                Acts 5:29               We ought to obey God rather than men

 

10. The governments of man:

A. God rules the governments of men:

                Pro.8:15,16           By Me kings reign, &...princes rule...even all the judges of the earth

                Dan.4:32,35         The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, & giveth it to whomsoever He will

                Jn.19:10,11           Thou (Pilate) couldst have no power at all against Me except it were given thee from above

 

B. God has allowed the devil a certain amount of control:

                Lk.4:5,6 All the kingdoms of the world [are] delivered unto me (Satan); & to whomsoever I will I give it

                2Cor.4:4                [Satan is called] the god of this world

 

11. Christians & secular educational systems:

A. Much modern secular education is godless or anti-God:

                Job 21:14              They say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways

                Jer.4:22  They have none understanding: they are wise to do evil

                Rom.1:28              They did not like to retain God in their knowledge

                2Cor.11:3              I fear, lest...as the serpent beguiled Eve...so your minds ...be corrupted from...Christ

                Col.2:6-8               Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy... after tradition of men, not [according to] Christ

B. The wisdom of this world:

                Jer.8:9    They have rejected the Word of the Lord; & what wisdom is in them?

                Zech.7:11,12        They stopped their ears, that they should not hear...lest they hear the Words which the Lord sent

                Rom.1:21,22        Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools

                1Cor.3:19              The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God

                2Tim.3:7               Ever learning, & never able to come to the knowledge of the truth

                (See also 1Cor.1:17-29; 2:1-16; 3:18-20.)

C. Most worldly knowledge is not profitable:

                1Cor.8:1,2             Knowledge puffeth up, but (love) edifieth

                2Tim.4:3               Heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears

D. Jesus & His disciples were not highly educated:

                Lk.1:80  The child (John) grew...& was in the deserts

                Jn.7:15   How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?

                Acts 4:13               When they...perceived that they were unlearned & ignorant men, they marvelled

                1Cor.1:26,27        Not many wise men after the flesh...are called

                (See also Psa.8:2; Lk.10:21.)

 

 

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