The World In Our Churches

June 27, 2012

The World in Our Churches

            Many times the people of this world don’t understand Christians when they talk about the world.  We need to clarify ourselves so we will be better understood.

The word “world” is found in John 3:16 where we read “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  In that verse, the word “world” has to do with the people in the world.  When we read in Acts 17:24 “God that made the world and all things therein…”, it obviously has to do with the creation of material things.  The same Greek word (kosmos) is found in I John 2:15.  “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

In this verse the word obviously has a different meaning.  There is no reason why we shouldn’t love the people of the world or the material world.  Therefore, what does the word mean in this verse?  II Peter 1:4 talks about “the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  In this verse the word “world” has to do with the ethically bad sense of the word.  The Scofield Bible has a note on the word “world” under Revelation 13:3.  Dr. Scofield says that it “refers to the order or arrangement under which Satan has organized the world of unbelieving mankind upon his cosmic principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition and pleasure.”  He goes on to say “This world system is imposing and powerful with armies and fleets; is often outwardly religious, scientific, cultured and eloquent…”  In reality, it’s a philosophy or attitude that says that carnal satisfaction should have priority.  This satisfaction is fulfilled by our material possessions and carnal pleasures.  The here and now takes priority over eternal values.  It is the opinion that what can be seen is of greater value than that which has to be accepted by faith.

This worldly attitude motivates us to be identified with and the desire to be accepted by those who think the same way.  The result is that we want to follow their example in the way we talk, dress, and entertain ourselves.  This is what the Apostle John spoke of when he said “Love not the world.”  It troubles us when we see this attitude prevailing in our churches.  The church should be composed of people who really love God.  James 4:4 says we can’t love God and the world both at the same time.  “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

Worldliness creeps into our churches because, first of all, it enters into the lives of those who attend the churches.  Churches lower their standards to accommodate the people who attend the church. We need to be on guard to keep the world from entering into our way of thinking.  Mark 14:38 says “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.  The world finds various means of entering into our lives.

The world’s music has a powerful impact on the way we think.  Music is a form of universal expression.  The words of a song are carried along by the melody and they keep ringing in our ears.  Music, in itself, is neutral.   That means  that it can be used for good and bad purposes.  If we listen to the world’s music we will think like the world thinks.  Some mistakenly think it’s alright to use the world’s music in the church as long as the words are changed.  Unfortunately, it results in a mixture of the profane and the sacred.  It is neither nor.  As a rule, the world’s music tends to excite.  Sacred music should be reverent.

Radio and television are channels by which the world enters into our lives.  It’s not a sin to have a radio or television, but they can lead us into sin if we don’t know how to control them.  In some homes the radio or television is on all day.  Many think, “It’s alright.  Most of the time I’m not listening.” If that is the case, why does it need to be on?  Without realizing it, our subconscious mind picks up some of the words and thoughts that are expressed.  Unless you have your radio tuned to a good Christian station, most of what you hear is anti Christian.

Another channel by which the world enters into our lives is by the way we dress.   Christians should manifest to the world that they are the children of God by the way they dress.   I Timothy 2:9 says that women should “adorn themselves in modest apparel.”  Modern men choose to dress in the way that is most comfortable for them.  There is a time and place for wearing blue jeans, but there is also a place for dress clothes.  The church is the house of God and should be a place for dress clothes.

Some churches try to keep the world out by making lists of unacceptable behavior.  To a certain extent they are necessary, but the best preventive is to urge the believers to have the right relationship with God.  If our relationship with God is what it should be, we will pray like David.  He prayed “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).”Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” (Psalm 86:11).

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