under a special agreement with
presents "New Life in Christ" Course 3
under a special agreement with
Every Christian is called to warfare! It is a spiritual warfare. The Bible speaks of three terrible enemies that war against the Christian—the flesh, the world, and the devil. We have already considered the flesh, so in this lesson, we will study about the enemy called "the world."
The Bible uses the word "world" in three different ways. First, it can refer to THE EARTH which God created.
"God that made the world and all things therein…" Acts 17:24
Next, it can refer to PEOPLE as in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…"
A third use is found in 1 John 2:15, where the child of God is warned, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world."
Here, "the world" refers to the WORLD-SYSTEM, which is a deadly enemy of the child of God. This is the sense in which we will be using the word in this lesson.
What is the World-System? How did it come into being? Who controls it? How does it affect the unsaved person, and how does it affect the Christian? These are important questions, and we are going to learn the answers in this lesson.
To understand how the world-system came into being, we must go back to the beginning of things.
The first man, Adam, was created in the image of God and was given the rulership of the earth. But Adam rebelled against God. When he did this, he actually took sides with Satan and came under the rule of Satan. Adam brought the whole human race into the kingdom of darkness and under the power of Satan. Thus, the rulership of the earth passed out of Adam's hands and into Satan's hands. This is why the Bible calls Satan
"the god of this world." (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Even though Satan had the human race in his kingdom, he still had a problem. His problem was how to keep people in his kingdom. There was a way to escape. Those who turned to God in repentance and faith escaped from Satan's rule. Of course, Satan did not like this, so he came up with a plan.
What did Satan do? He organized the human race into a "world-system" based on pride, ambition, selfishness, greed, and sinful pleasure. You can see that there is nothing of God in these things. What is "the world"? It is HUMAN SOCIETY WITH GOD LEFT OUT.
Satan's world-system includes commerce, politics, religion, education, entertainment, world kingdoms, world organizations, and many other things. Through his world-system, Satan can offer people power, riches, possessions, worldly honours, intellectual achievement, and social prestige as well as all kinds of sinful pleasures.
Satan can give people just about anything they could want and thus make them satisfied to remain under his rule and to leave God out of their lives.
Who then is the RULER of the world-system?
We see that the ruler is Satan himself. This will come as a surprise to many people, but the Bible makes it clear that "the course of this age" is governed by Satan. Satan allows men to be in charge of things but he himself is the real ruler behind the scenes. The Bible says,
"…the whole world lies in the power of the wicked one." 1 John 5:19 (NKJB)
In saying this however, let us keep in mind that God is the sovereign Ruler of the universe. Satan rules the world-system only because God permits him to do so.
What is the CHARACTER of the world-system?
Its basic character is hatred against God and against His Son. The Bible says,
"The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His Anointed." Psalm 2:2
At the crucifixion of Jesus, those in Satan's world-system showed their hatred toward God's Son when they cried out,
"We will not have this man to reign over us! Away with Him! Crucify Him!"
What is the PURPOSE of the world-system?
Its purpose is to draw men's hearts away from God and from doing His will. Satan has something attractive and appealing to offer each person. He deceives the unsaved people into thinking that the things of this life are all that matter. He wants them to spend their lives seeking after these things so they will never have time to think about their need of being saved.
What about Christians? Can Satan deceive us? Yes, he certainly can! Satan uses the attractive things of the world to turn our hearts from God and from doing His will. This is why the Bible warns us,
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 John 2:15
The Lord Jesus Overcame the World
The Lord Jesus came into the world to deliver us from the power of Satan. Though He was in the world, He was not of it; that is, He was not part of Satan's world-system. He said,
"…the prince of this world [Satan] approaches. He has no power over me…" John 14:30
The prince of this world did come to tempt Jesus, but the Lord Jesus overcame Satan and his world-system. Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of this world if He would only fall down and worship him, but Jesus refused this temptation. Instead, He chose to go to the cross, where He died for our sins.
On the third day, God raised Jesus up from the dead and gave Him all power in Heaven and in earth. God made Him to be the Head of a new creation.
The Lord Jesus not only overcame Satan's world-system, but He also delivered us from it. The Bible says,
"(Christ) gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil world…" Galatians 1:4
How did Christ deliver us from the world?
By His death on the cross. He not only died for us, but we died with Him. We were in Him when He died, we were in Him when He was buried, and we were in Him when He rose again as Head of the new creation.
By our death, burial, and resurrection with Christ, we have been delivered from Satan's world-system. We are in the world, but we are not of it! The Bible says.
"…always thanking the Father…who has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness, and… has brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son." Colossians 1:12-13 (TLB)
The Christian in the world
Though the Lord Jesus has delivered us from Satan's world-system, He wants us in the world. He prayed to the Father,
"I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one." John 17:15 (TLB)
Why has the Lord Jesus left us in the world?
He has left us in the world that we might take the gospel to the unsaved. We have a message that can set people free from the power of Satan. The Christian who is faithfully witnessing for his Lord can be the means of winning many people to the Lord Jesus Christ. This means that we are a potential threat to Satan's kingdom; therefore, Satan hates us and tries to destroy us. You can understand now why we say that the Christian life is a warfare.
What is Satan's strategy against us as Christians? Satan's strategy is to make us of no effect in the battle against him. Satan wants to neutralize us so that we cannot fight effectively against him.
Satan tries to make us CONFORM to the world. He wants us to think as the people of this world think, to seek after the same things they seek after, and to do the same things they do. Satan tries to deceive us into living for the things of this world instead of living for God.
What happens when we conform to the world? Two things: We lose the joy of being a Christian, and we lose God's power in our life. A great man of God once said,
"You can go where the people of this world go, and you can do the things they do but you won't have any power with God."
This is true. God does not bestow His power on those who conform to the world.
How can we keep from being DECEIVED?
To keep from being deceived by Satan, we must know the truth. We must have our minds renewed so that we see things as God sees them. The Bible says,
"Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2
What does God want us to see concerning the world? First, God wants us to see that THE WORLD-SYSTEM IS CONTROLLED BY SATAN. The Bible says,
"…the whole world lies in the power of the wicked one." 1 John 5:19
"For 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." 1 John 2:16
Since the world is controlled by Satan, to be a friend of the world is to be the enemy of God. The Bible says,
"Don't you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God?" James 4:4 (TLB)
This world crucified our Lord; its ruler is the enemy of God. With the Apostle Paul the true Christian will say,
"God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…" Galatians 6:14
Second, God wants us to see that THE WORLD-SYSTEM HAS NO FUTURE. It has been condemned by God. Satan's world-system is like a criminal who has been sentenced to death; though he is still alive, he has no future. He is condemned to death.
Likewise, Satan's world-system is under the sentence of death. It has no future so far as God is concerned; therefore we should not live for the things of this world. The Bible says,
"And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God you will live forever." 1 John 2:17
The Bible tells us that one day Satan's world-system will be replaced by the kingdom of God's Son. The Lord Jesus Christ will reign over the world as its rightful Ruler. The Bible says,
"The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever." Revelation 11:15b
Now we know the truth, so the question is, What will we do with it? We have seen that the world-system is controlled by Satan. We have learned that it is condemned, and that it will soon pass away. Now that we know these things, will we continue to live for the things of the world, or will we live for God?
Has God shown you in this lesson that you have been living for the wrong things? Do you want to come back to Him and have His blessing on your life?
Obedience is the way of blessing. Confess your sins to God. Ask Him to forgive you and to make you clean through the blood of His Son. Turn your back on the world and the things of this world.
What do we mean by "turn your back on the things of the world"? Someone has expressed it like this:
"Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn from it."
What are the rewards? Fellowship with the Father, the blessing of God on our life, and the privilege of leading others to Christ—these are just a few of the priceless rewards that come to those who live for the Lord.
Satan wants us to live for the things of this world, but this world is not our home. Heaven is our home. The Bible says,
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV)