By: Tim Sader
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Through the years I have heard many sermons telling us to, be in the world but not of the world. Usually this means we are stuck here in this un-godly place so we need to separate ourselves from it or God will be mad at us. We need to make sure we’re not seen where the world’s at because “Christians” just don’t associate with things like that. This thinking to me is in opposition to how God really wants us to associate with the world. To me when I hear, be in the world but not of the world, I hear it for exactly what it says; not some hidden meaning telling us to hide from the world. When I hear this, the first part stands out to me the most, be in the world. As Christians I believe we are to simply do that. We need to be out there with the lost and hurting showing them love and teaching them the message of the Gospel. We are to be in the world not hiding from the devil in our church pews. Secondly this piece of scripture says, but not of the world. Our final destination is not this world if we believe in the Lord we belong to the Kingdom of Heaven. This means we are not of the world because we belong to God. Nowhere does it say hide from the world so it won’t corrupt you. It doesn’t say you are my children so act better than others and I’ll reward you for ignoring the lost. It simply means we are children of God, yes we should act differently and they should know we belong to Him. Never be fooled into thinking we are better because all have sinned. The Lord expects us to be out there In the World showing it who He is.
Christ didn’t come to condemn the world we to must be careful when trying to be Christ’s example so we aren’t condemning our fellow man. All Christ wanted to do was save the world and He did His part (John 3:17). Christ instructs us to go into the world and preach the gospel so we must be in the world (Mark 16:15). When Christ came to earth he was truly first to be in the world but not of it. The scripture says we were in the world but he was not (John 8:23). If we are in Christ and he makes us a new creature we are as He was in the world before His death (2 Corinthians 5:19). We are therefore no longer of the world; we are joint heirs in His Kingdom. In this week’s verse we see that, “if ye were of the world, the world would love his own.” This shows us that Christ was in the world but still was not recognized and because of this all did not love him since he was not of the world. In John 5:19 we are told we are chosen out of this world so just as they couldn’t recognize him and love him, the same may be true for us who are not of the world. We should not fear being hated; if the world hates us we should remember it hated Him first. If Christ prayed we’d be one as He is one with God then the Spirit will guide us and His “will” will be done. Christ wanted us to be protected from the evil in this world since he sent us out into it as strangers in a foreign land. He sanctified himself so we could be sanctified and proclaim this truth in the world (John 17:11-19).
Sometimes we wonder, how is it possible to be in the world but not of the world? Well in 1 John 2:15, 16 is an answer to this question. It says not to love the world meaning the ways of the world and the things that make it worldly. We must continue loving others or we do not love Him. Then verse 16 tells us, “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” To not be in the world we must not do these things and sin against God. We are in the world but not of the world if we are doing the will of God and 1 John 2:17 says if we do his will we abide forever. If not it says the world passes away because it is not following the will of God. Jesus came to the world and returned again to the Father so he can prepare a place for those who believe in the gospel (John 16:28). The Kingdom of our God will truly abide forever. Which kingdom do you belong to? Are you in the world but not of the world today? We need to be doing our part as believers showing the world what 1 John 4:4 says, “greater is he that is in me, then he that is in the world.” It is our job to be out there in the world doing as Christ commanded us, loving the church and preaching the gospel to all people. In Matthew 24:14 it says, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Until we are in the world preaching to all nations the end will not come.
We are not of the world and we should not act like we belong to it. If Christ sanctified us and set us free from the law of sin and death we need to be in the world sharing the kingdom with others. We are truly in the world but not of the world, we are separate but still equal with our fellow brothers and sisters. The only separation is Christ and only in him we can be a new creation. This does not mean we are better than them but rather it should make them want to be part of the kingdom of the Most High, the Living God. Today and every day we should be in the World but not of the World!