Friday, September 26, 2014

The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness

The sin of worldliness is something you rarely hear anything about any more.  It’s as if this sin has vanished, because you don’t hear anyone preaching against it these days like they used to.  That's why I've called it the forgotten sin. Yet the Word of God has many warnings for us about worldliness, and we would do well to pay attention to them. 

Benson Idahosa
I recently heard a Nigerian boy named Samuel Oghenetega testify that when the Lord took him to hell and back, he saw a famous Nigerian preacher there in hell, named Benson Idahosa (see video beginning at 12:00).  This man had been a Pentecostal, power-and-prosperity preacher that started a denomination, a primary school, a secondary school, Benson Idahosa university, a hospital, and a television ministry with a potential viewing audience of 50 million people. He helped many people, preached in 125 nations, and had many followers.  He claimed to have raised nine people from the dead, and was said to be the leader of over seven million Jesus people worldwide.

According to an article by a Nigerian Baptist minister named Israel Oluwole Olofinjana, "[Idahosa] dressed flamboyantly, used the best cars and pursued big projects with big budgets."  I have listened to some of his messages and read that Idahosa used to say "If your Jesus is poor, my Jesus is rich."

When Jesus showed this man to Samuel in hell, he referred to him as His son. But Samuel said part of the reason he ended up in hell was covetousness and worldliness.  He was not the only person to see Archbishop Idahosa in hell.  Another pastor named John Noah from Bayelsa, Nigeria also saw him there (see video).  Still another Nigerian brother, named Ibrahim, a born again believer in Jesus Christ, who was shown a vision of hell after a forty-day fast, saw Idahosa along with other top Nigerian pastors in hell (see article). Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses (see 2 Cor 13:1; Mt 18:16; Deut 19:15), and three credible witnesses have duly established this matter.

Archbishop Margaret Benson Idahosa
That should wake us up!  If worldliness can cause you to miss heaven, then we’d better know what it is and avoid it by the power of the Spirit.  Let’s first look at what the Scriptures teach us about the world, and then define worldliness on that basis.

In the Bible, the Greek word for "world" is "kosmos," meaning “orderly arrangement, that is, decoration; by implication the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively [morally]): - adorning, world.” (Strongs).  Here are some Scriptures where that word is used:

No Profit in Gaining the World
Jesus said, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mat 16:26)

"For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luk 9:25)

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mar 8:36)

Religious People of this World
He once spoke to the Jews who did not believe in Him.  And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (Joh 8:23-24)

Even today there are religious people who consider themselves children of God, but they are of this world.  Therefore, they will die in their sins unless they believe that Jesus in the Christ, and follow Him as their Lord and Savior.

Hate Your Life in this World
Have you ever heard anyone say, "I'm lovin' life!"  Others may not say that, but they are still seeking to make an enjoyable life for themselves.

Jesus said, "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. (Joh 12:25)

The World Cannot Receive the Spirit of Truth
“That is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (Joh 14:17)

We Are in the World by Not of this World
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (Joh 15:19)

"I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."  (Joh 17:14-16)

The Kingdoms of this World
"Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;" (Mat 4:8)

At the appointed time, the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.

"Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.'"  (Rev 11:15)

Until then, the kingdoms of this world belong to satan.

God’s Kingdom is Not of this World
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."  (Joh 18:36)

The Wisdom of the World
Paul said the world in its wisdom did not come to know God:

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater 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 come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1Co 1:20-21)

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS";  (1Co 3:19)

The spirit of the World
Many times people talk about catching the spirit of something like a holiday or a sporting event or a celebration.  They are talking about the spirit of the world.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,”  (1Co 2:12)

The Ruler of this World
Jesus said that satan is the ruler of this world, who has been judged, and he will be cast out of the world he rules:

"Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.  (Joh 12:31)

"I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;  (Joh 14:30)

“And concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”  (Joh 16:11)

The World is in the Power of the Evil One
We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.  (1Jn 5:19)

Using the world
Sometimes we have to use the world, such as a laptop, a phone, or a car.  Paul said those who use the world should do so as if they did not make full use of it.

“And those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.”  (1Co 7:31)

Concerned for Worldly Things
“But one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” (1Co 7:33-34)

Paul warned against becoming worldly in your concern about how you can please your spouse. If you are married, please see A Warning for Married Christian Couples.

The Sorrow of the World
"For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death."  (2Co 7:10)

Many songs express the sorrow of the world, but the Bible says that kind of sorrow produces death.  Likewise the funerals of those who are spiritually dead also express worldly sorrow.   The same is true of many novels and secular TV programs.  The one kind of sorrow that is good is repentance from sin, which leads to salvation!

Crucified to the World
"But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."  (Gal 6:14)

The Age of this World
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. (Eph 2:1-2)

The Elementary Principles of the World
There is something known as the elementary principles of this world, which are manmade rules and traditions, based on their philosophy.  We don’t live by these empty deceptions, or submit ourselves to them, but have died to them.  We live according to Christ and are captive to Him.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”  (Col 2:8)

“If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,”  (Col 2:20)

Keep Yourself Unstained by the World
There is such a thing as pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God.  It involves keeping yourself from becoming polluted by the world.

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”  (Jas 1:27)

Escaping The Corruption in the World
The apostle Peter spoke about escaping the corruption that is in the world: “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”  (2Pe 1:4)

“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.”  (2Pe 2:20)

Friendship with the World
Unfortunately many Christians today have become adulterers, because they were betrothed to Christ alone as His Bride, but they are in bed with the world. They have become friends with the world.  “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”  (Jas 4:4)

Do Not Be Conformed to the World
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Rom 12:2)

Do Not Love the World
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”  (1Jn 2:15-16)

The World Doesn’t Know Us, It Hates Us
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”  (1Jn 3:1)

“Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.”  (1Jn 3:13)

Since the world did not know Jesus, it does not know us, but hates us. Everyone who seeks to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  If you are not being persecuted and the world doesn’t hate you, then you need to examine yourself to see if you have become a friend of the world.  Woe to you when all men speak well of you.

Greater is He that is in You Than He That is in the World
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  (1Jn 4:4)

From the World
“They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.”  (1Jn 4:5)

Overcome the World
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”  (1Jn 5:4-5)

Defining Worldliness
The modern term “worldliness” comes from the biblical expression “of the world.”  That is a very broad term -- as broad as the world is, since it means being friends with the world or being like the world or loving the world or the things of the world.  It may involve going along with the spirit of the world, catching that spirit, agreeing with it, and living in accordance with it.  It may involve making full use the things of the world.

Anytime a disciple of Christ becomes concerned with the things of this world, their interests are divided between Christ’s interests and the world’s.  So we must be very careful not to let those concerns take us away from serving the Lord. It is best not to be divided in our interests, but to be devoted.

Jesus was in the world but He was not of this world.  And he said the same about His disciples, too.  We are in this world but not of it.  Others are from the world, and they speak as from the world.  Therefore the world listens to them.

It would be impossible to list every thing that is in the world that one could possibly love.  But some of the things it includes are what we call society and culture, along with its language – both verbal and non-verbal, its expressions, arts, entertainment, recreational activities, sports, competitions, hobbies, leisurely pastimes, politics, wealth and riches, images, icons, idols, literature, fables, fairy tales, myths, legends, educational institutions and programs, other institutions, networks, clubs, technology, social and other media, websites, fashions, styles, decorations, adornments, costumes, world order, thrones, titles, organizations, arrangements, values, principles, ideas, concepts, structures, systems, fraternal orders, secret societies, pursuits, holidays, parties, celebrations, festivals, events, awards, ceremonies, customs, religions, rituals, and rites.

There are simply too many specific things to possibly list in those general categories, but they include secular movies, secular television, cartoons, video games, recreational use of alcoholic beverages, smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products, idealism, omnism, liberalism, racism, humanism, individualism, intellectualism, universalism, hedonism, tourism, commercialism, materialism, wealth, luxury, jewelry, gambling, tattoos, body piercing, worldly hairstyles and clothing, as well as dancing and secular music, such as rock, rap, and reggae.  Even vehicles can be considered worldly treasures, and can even become idols. Therefore it is impossible to fully define the sin of worldliness.

Putting it All Together
From these Scriptures we’ve learned many things. I trust that the sin of worldliness will no longer be a forgotten one for those who read this post and take to heart the things written in it.  The devil who is satan is the ruler of this world, and he doesn't want you to know or believe that the sin of worldliness exists.  He is the prince of the power of the air, and the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. His kingdom is of this world, and the glory he has is the glory of those kingdoms. He already stands condemned and will one day be cast out.

There is a spirit of this world, which the world embraces.  They have their wisdom, their elementary principles, and vain philosophies.  They may hate certain aspects of the evil empires, and seek to avoid involvement in those things.  But they do not accept the Spirit of Truth.  In fact, they cannot receive Him.

This world is full of corruption.  Just as surely as it’s iron gates and pipes and vehicles are rusting away, so too the world itself is undergoing decay from it’s corruption.  That’s why we need the Lord Jesus Christ in order to escape the corruption in the world, since the world will be condemned with its ruler and destroyed.

Worldliness is a deadly sin!  What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his own soul? So many believers today have become friends with the world.  They have become so enamored with the world that they have lost their first love for the Lord Jesus Christ.  In fact, they don't even realize any more what they are doing that is actually worldly or what it means to be worldly. 

We need to keep ourselves from being stained by these things.  We need to hate our lives in this world and follow Jesus. Rather than being of the world, we are supposed to overcome the world by our faith.

If you will ask the Lord, He will expose any worldliness that you have allowed to creep into your life.  If you have committed adultery with the world, then repent.  Cry out to Him for mercy and forgiveness.  Ask Him to draw you back to Himself and deliver you from those traps of the devil.

Come out from among them and be separate from the world.  Let us return to the Lord and He will heal us.

"Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon." (Is 55:6-7, NIV)

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.
 
Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Separation from the WorldHoly Living in a Perverted World, Come Out of Her, What's Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel?, Garments of Godliness, Keeping Your Body Pure and Holy, Keeping Sundays HolyFaith Works!Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Rock, Rap, and Reggae Music -- Three Divine Revelations, Tattoos and Body Piercing, Zipporah Mushala’s Third Testimony of Hell, Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetega, brahim's Experience in Hell, Demonology 301, and One Thing. I highly recommend reading, Only the Holy -- Three Shocking Testimonies, Restored Truth, and Holy Fire Baptism. You may find the Main Directory for this blog at Home, and also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Knowledge of the Holy

The wise King Solomon of Israel once wrote:








"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Pro 9:10).

The knowledge of the Holy One is not something that many people have, and it is understood very little.  Most people who have come to know the Lord Jesus realize that there is a difference between knowing about Him and actually knowing Him.  But very few go beyond knowing Him casually as Savior and Friend to knowing Him deeply and intimately as the Holy One.

When we spend time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer, we will come to know the Holy One Himself.  When we get a glimpse of what Isaiah saw, we too will cry, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." (Isa 6:3b).  This is true understanding.

But as Solomon taught, it begins with the fear of the Lord.  It's wise to fear the Lord, since He is holy, awesome, majestic, and mighty.  He is a consuming fire, Who dwells in unapproachable light.  Around His throne are four, fearsome, living creatures, the twenty four elders, and countless myriads of angels praising and adoring Him.  In all the universe, there is none who is His equal.  He is greatly feared in the counsel of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around Him.  His standard is high and lofty, and He will not lower it for anyone.  After He has killed the body He is able to throw the soul into hell for eternity.

When you fear the Lord, you have begun to show wisdom. And when you grow in your knowledge of the Holy One, you gain understanding. Make it your aim to fear the Lord and grow in the knowledge of the Holy.  It's high time we sought holiness and consecration to the Lord, but not just for a day or a week -- make holiness your lifelong pursuit. In the note below, I have included some articles to help you in your pursuit of holiness.  For mercy is only available while you are on earth.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Author's note Also see Garments of Godliness, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, Rock, Rap, and Reggae Music -- Three Divine Revelations, Faith Works!, Avoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Called to be Blameless, Only the Holy -- Three Shocking Testimonies, Keeping Sundays Holy, Salvation with Fear and Trembling, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, and Holy Fire Baptism.

You may find the Main Directory for this blog at Home, and also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Separation from the World

You’ve most likely noticed that oil and water do not mix.  If you pour some olive oil into a glass of water and leave it for a few minutes you’ll find that they separate distinctly like you see in this photo.  The inability of two fluids to mix is called immiscibility.

But there is a way to artificially force oil and water to mix together, either by using soap (surfactants) or by adding particles and then shaking up the mixture vigorously, which creates an emulsion. This kind of mixture is a mingling of two substances that normally remain separate from one another.

In the Old Testament they were supposed to destroy their enemies and be a holy people, but instead they mingled with the world. “They did not destroy the peoples, As the LORD commanded them, But they mingled with the nations And learned their practices, And served their idols, Which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood. Thus they became unclean in their practices, And played the harlot in their deeds. “ (Psa 106:34-39)

As those under the New Testament, it is easy to think that separation was just for those in the Old Testament. We think about how Jesus was known as a friend of sinners, eating and drinking with them. The problem is that the Church has copied that part of Jesus' life without maintaining His standard of holiness and righteousness. As a result of this, the Church has gone astray and many have mingled with the world so much that they become just like the world and adopted their customs. They worship their idols, shed innocent blood, and defile themselves by what they do. By their deeds they have prostituted themselves.

John the Baptist was Separated from the World
Yet in the New Testament we do see a clear separation from the world, beginning with the life of Jesus and John the Baptist. John the Baptist lived in the desert. “And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.” (Luk 1:80)

He preached repentance. “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. “ (Mar 1:4)

He wore primitive clothing. “John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.” (Mar 1:6).  I am not suggesting we all go around in sackcloth, but I am pointing out that John was certainly not caught up in modeling the latest clothing fashions.

Jesus Taught & Practiced Separation from the World
What about Jesus? Is there any example of separation from the world in His life?

He, too, came and preached repentance. "From that time Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" (Mat 4:17)

Before He began His public ministry, He spent forty days in the desert, separated from the world, fasting and praying, and overcame all the temptations that the devil presented to Him. One of those temptations was to give to Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor if Jesus would bow down and worship the devil. But Jesus refused to do so and overcame. “Then Jesus said to him, 'Go, Satan! For it is written, "YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY."'" (Mat 4:10)

Jesus was salt and light. He was different from the world. And He warned us against losing our saltiness.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Mt 5:13-16)

Jesus also taught us that we cannot serve both God and money. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Mat 6:24)

Jesus taught us that the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction and many enter through it. He taught us to enter through the narrow gate into life. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. “ (Mat 7:13-14)

Jesus taught that when we follow Him, we even have to deny our basic desires like mourning the loss of a loved one. “Another of the disciples said to Him, 'Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.' But Jesus said to him, 'Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.'" (Mat 8:21-22)

Jesus fully approved of the ministry of John the Baptist, whom I have already mentioned was separated from the world. "Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Mat 11:11)

Jesus warned us against the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth. "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mat 13:22)

Jesus warned against eating and drinking with drunkards. ''But if that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time,' and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 24:48-51)

Today many Christians want to live at peace with the world and don't want to “make any waves.” But Jesus said, "I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." (Luk 12:49-53)

These days it is unpopular to preach repentance, because it might offend people. But Jesus preached it boldly. "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luk 13:3)

Jesus taught the need for a forsaking of all others to follow Him, even our dearest loved ones. "Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 'If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.'” (Luk 14:25-26)

Jesus taught us to give our worldly possessions. "So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” (Luk 14:33)

 In the parable of the lost son, we see an example of one who became like the world. "And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.” (Luk 15:13-16)

Becoming like the world will lead to a pigs pen.

Jesus taught how difficult it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom. "And Jesus looked at him and said, How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'" (Luk 18:24-25)

When the Jews allowed the world into the temple and He found them merchandising in God's house, He drove them out.

"The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, 'Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business.' His disciples remembered that it was written, 'ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.'" (Joh 2:13-17)

Bringing the world into the Church turns the Father's house into a place of business.

When Jesus' brothers tried to coax Him to show Himself to the world by going up to the Feast of Tabernacles with them, He refused to operate the way the world does. "So Jesus said to them, My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.' Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee. But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret.” (Joh 7:6-10)

Many Christians today hate rejection and want the world to accept them. Jesus said the world would hate us. "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.” (Joh 15:18-21)

Many Christians want to live a life of comfort and ease, but the Lord said we would have trouble. "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (Joh 16:33)

Early Church Practiced Separation from the World
In the book of Acts, we see the early disciples were not out mingling with the world. "These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” (Act 1:14)

They were devoted to a godly lifestyle. "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Act 2:42-47)

And many Christians today want their churches to be a place where non-believers can feel at ease. In order to make church seem relevant to the world, many churches adopt the world's customs, including dress, music, and holidays. But in the early Church, nobody dared to join the believers unless they had repented and put their faith in Christ.  There was no mingling of the world inside the Church.

"At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number,” (Act 5:12-14)

In the early Church, The apostles were persecuted, because they were determined to obey God rather than men. “But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.” (Act 5:29) They were not men-pleasers and did not water down their message to satisfy the people's demands or to be popular.

When the apostles went into the homes of non-believers, it was not to drink with them and enjoy idle, leisurely conversation, or godless chatter. They went to preach the gospel and lead them to Christ, as Peter did at the home of Cornelius (Ac 10:34-40) and as Paul did in the home of the Philippian jailer. “They said, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.' And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.” (Act 16:31-34)

Paul Taught Separation from the World
The apostle Paul taught us to come out of the world and be separate. "Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "and do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you.” (2Co 6:17)

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2Co 7:1)

He taught us not to be yoked with unbelievers. "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” (2Co 6:14-15)

Paul warned us against sitting down to eat and drink and indulge in pagan revelry. "Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, 'The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.' Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” (1Co 10:6-10)

Paul taught us not to conform to the world. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12:2)

Paul taught that we would be persecuted. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2Ti 3:12).  The reason godly Christians are persecuted is because the world hates us. If we were no different than them, they would not hate us, since we would be one of their own.

Paul taught that the Church should never tolerate sin. "Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” (1Co 5:13b)

He taught us to have nothing to do with wicked people in the Church.

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2Ti 3:1-5)

He taught us not to be partners with immoral, impure, or greedy people.

"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them." (Eph 5:5-7)

We are not to associate with immoral people.

“I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one.” (1Co 5:9-11)

I want to emphasize that Paul was not at all saying that we should not associate with the immoral people of this world.  Like Jesus, we are to be a friend of sinners.  But Paul warned us not to associate with anyone who calls himself a brother, who is an immoral person.  We are to be a light while we are in the world.  And if we pull back from all association with the world, it's impossible to be a Light for Christ.

Peter Taught Separation from the World
The apostle Peter taught that we are Strangers in the world. "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.” (1Pe 1:1-2)

"I appeal to you, my friends, as strangers and refugees in this world! Do not give in to bodily passions, which are always at war against the soul." (1Pe 2:11)

John Taught Separation from the World
And, of course, the apostle John taught that we must not love the world or anything in the world.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1Jn 2:15-17)

The apostle John also received the revelation, in which he heard the call to God's people to come out of Babylon.  He wrote:

Then I heard another voice from heaven say:

“‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. " (Rev 18:4-5)

Putting it All Together
That call goes out to all of God's people today to come out from the midst of the world and be separate, so that you will not receive any of her plagues.  Don't touch anything unclean.  You are the salt of the earth. But be very careful you don't lose your saltiness, or else how can you be made salty again? Then you would no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

Don't love the world or anything in the world.  Don't allow the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth to choke the Word of God that was sown in your heart, and make it unfruitful.  Stop making the Father's house a place of business. We are in the world, but we are not of the world.  Like oil and water, we cannot mix together, except by unnatural forces.  Don't associate with immoral people in the church, who claim to be brothers in Christ. Have nothing to do with such people.  Don't eat and drink with drunkards. Don't be bound together with unbelievers. Like Jesus, we are to be a friend of sinners.  But don't compromise yourself in doing so.  Don't have fellowship with darkness. Keep yourself from being polluted by the world. Cleanse yourself from all defilement.

When the early Church did this, continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching, to the breaking of bread, and prayer, none of the rest in their community dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem.  The Church did not concern itself with whether the world considered it irrelevant. There was a respect for the believers in the community, not a casual or indifferent attitude toward the Church. That is a picture of the type of response the world will have when they see the Church return to biblical holiness and separation once again.  It's high time we sought holiness and consecration to the Lord, so that we might once again see His Name held in high esteem, and His glory regarded with reverence and awe.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Come Out of Her, Garments of Godliness, Keeping Your Body Pure and Holy, Keeping Sundays HolyFaith Works!, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Rock, Rap, and Reggae Music -- Two Divine Revelations, Zipporah Mushala’s Third Testimony of Hell, The Straight and Narrow Path, Ask for the Ancient Paths, and One Thing. I highly recommend reading, Only the Holy -- Three Shocking Testimonies and Holy Fire Baptism. You may find the Main Directory for this blog at Home, and also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.