In light of the war on terror and recent world events, many of us have spent a good deal of time reading the news and learning about all the ins and outs of what has and may take place. There is no shortage of news items on nearly anything imaginable on the internet, television and radio. One could literally spend days on end looking for and reading information on the internet and never have to read the same article twice.
To this, I offer a word of caution. I have learned that one can get too caught up in hearing the words of the world and hearing the latest event and its subsequent analysis and neglect the reading of the GOOD news, the words of Yahweh. While it is important to "watch", it is times like this that we need to be turning to Yahweh and His word for understanding. It is times like this that we need to be examining ourselves and preparing ourselves spiritually for any event that may take place. We do not need to fear, for through it all: Yahweh is STILL Elohim.
I would like to share what scripture has to say about "the world", who it really belongs to and how we should relate to it. This is a rarely discussed topic, but I believe it is quite important one. So let's begin by considering a few questions…
To Whom does the world belong?
The world belongs to Yahweh, although some act as if it was theirs. What will eventually happen to the world?
Psalms 50:12 - If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
Psalms 9:8 - And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
Isaiah 13:11 - And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
John 16:7 - Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 - And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 - Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 - Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 - Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.Yes, with all the talk of justice and judgment, the people of the United States, and ultimately the whole world will be judged. The righteous will one day take part in it:\
1Corinthians 6:1 - Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 - Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
What should be the attitude of a believer toward the world? First and foremost, it is to keep ourselves clean from it:
But does this mean that we need to go out of the world?
James 1:27 - Pure and undefiled religion before YAHWEH the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
We should be more wary of the world being in the brethren than the world being in the world. But we are not to love the world, rather we are to overcome the world:
1Corinthians 5:9 - I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 - Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 - But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 - For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 - But them that are without YAHWEH judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
But didn't Yahweh 'so love the world'? Yes.
1John 5:4 - For whatever is born of YAHWEH overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. 5 - Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Yahushua is the Son of YAHWEH?
Do not love the world in the sense that you long to do the things they do, but do love the world in the sense that you desire that they would do as Yahweh commands and as Yahushua did. But this doesn't mean that we should follow after the world. If we were to follow after the world, then we are in danger:
John 3:16 - For YAHWEH so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 - For YAHWEH sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
We must beware! For the world will claim to give peace, but it does not:
Revelation 13:3 - And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.
How much time do we spend seeking the things which do not give peace? If we want to know what a person has in their heart, watch how the time is spent. For instance, how much time do we spend on worldly entertainment or things of the world as opposed to things of the Spirit? Do we read more about movie stars, sports teams and players, musicians and politicians than we read about Yahweh? Do the scriptures collect dust while we rot away in our easy chair? These are questions of this age and Scripture has something to say about that:
John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
1 Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
Brethren, these things are bondage! Yahweh is jealous of this time spent with the world, Let's free ourselves of the double mind:
James 4:4 - Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with YAHWEH? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of YAHWEH. 5 - Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?
James 4:6 - But He gives more favour. Therefore He says: "YAHWEH resists the proud, but gives favour to the humble." 7 - Therefore submit to YAHWEH. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 - Draw near to YAHWEH and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 - Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Surely, the world has plenty of things to take our eyes off Yahweh.
Our brother Shimon Kepha (Peter) wrote:
1John 2:15 - Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 - For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 - And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of YAHWEH abides forever.
We are to have already escaped the corruption that is in the world. Time spent not doing the work of Yahweh and seeking His ways is wasted time.
2Peter 1:1 - Simon Kepha, a bondservant and apostle of Yahushua the Messiah, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of YAHWEH and of our Savior Yahushua the Messiah: 2 - Favor and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of YAHWEH and of Yahushua our Master, 3 - as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and reverence, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 - by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
This is such an awesome moment in history. Never before have the scriptures been so readily available. We can search the scriptures and go to the verse we want by a few simple keystrokes. In this country and in many countries throughout the world, there is the freedom to proclaim the good news to all nations. Consider this. Will we squander it all sitting in front of a television set, playing games, following sports, sipping strong drink and spending excessive time at work trying to chase that dollar bill? All the while, the scriptures collect dust and our spiritual lives as well as the spiritual lives of our families suffer. Let it not be so! Let's ask ourselves, what would Yahushua be doing in this age? I say to you that time spent not seeking the will of Yahweh is wasted time. And now that more troublesome times have come, we have an opportunity to share the truth and good news of Yahushua the Messiah.
Let's be zealous of good works, rather than works that do not profit. Let's live soberly in this present world. This is not a time to sit back every evening and be entertained or drink the drink, it is a time be sober and be ready for His coming:
Titus 2:11 - For the grace of YAHWEH that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 - Teaching us that, denying wickedness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and reverently, in the present age; 13 - Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great Elohim and our Saviour Yahushua ha Mashiach; 14 - Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 15 - These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
In some ways, good things can come our of troublesome times. Times of prosperity can also be a time when spiritual drunkenness can occur by digging into all kinds of strange and false doctrines. We must beware in times of prosperity and fullness of bread. There are many false prophets teaching strange and outlandish doctrines and many are gone after them.
Matthew 24:48 - But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My master delayeth his coming; 49 - And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 - The master of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 - And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Ezekiel 16:49 - Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
Let not the sin of Sodom overtake us, but let's remain sober.. looking to the appearance of Yahushua the Messiah.
1John 4:1 - Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of YAHWEH; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 - By this you know the Spirit of YAHWEH: Every spirit that confesses that Yahushua the Messiah has come in the flesh is of YAHWEH, 3 - and every spirit that does not confess that Yahushua the Messiah has come in the flesh is not of YAHWEH. And this is the spirit of the AntiMessiah, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 4 - You are of YAHWEH, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 - They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 - We are of YAHWEH. He who knows YAHWEH hears us; he who is not of YAHWEH does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Let's not be ensnared by the false doctrines, rather let's over come them through the Messiah who lives in us. Let's look again at Matthew 24:
What is it about drunkenness that makes one so hateful as to smite his fellowservants? One under the influence of alcohol is not sober, thus lacks the judgment to fight or even discern the temptations that normally wouldn't overcome him. Yet, this also need not be a physical smiting of fellow servants. It is true that in times of prosperity and plenty, the tendency is to sit back and enjoy things. A lot of problems in relationships tend to pop up at these times also. But if we were all in a time of tribulation and distress, we wouldn't get offended at the little things quite so easily. Many of us saw the striving of politicians melt away once they realized there was a common enemy that they needed to unite together to overcome. I also think there wouldn't be so much strife between brethren if we all would realized that we all face a common enemy! Brothers and sisters, I tell you now that there is a common enemy even now, but he is very subtle and deceptive! Indeed, the above scripture was a good example of the seed getting choked out by the world.
Matthew 24:48 - But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My master delayeth his coming; 49 - And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
Let not the seed fall among thorns where the world chokes out the word! What a fitting description! The world simply chokes out the word of Yahweh! It is better to have never known the way of righteousness than to have known and then again be entangled with the world:
Matthew 13:18 - Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 - When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 - But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 - Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 - He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 - But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
2Peter 2:20 - For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Master and Savior Yahushua the Messiah, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 - For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 - But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."
Therefore, let's be sure that we have removed the world from our lives and let's rather be a light to the world with a righteous example! The word sown in us should overcome the world. It should bear fruit, drawing others away from the world by a righteous example. There needs to be a difference! How can we change the world if the world has already changed us? How can we turn the world upside down if we have already been turned upside down by the world? Brethren, we must be different, even at the risk of the world hating us.
John 15:18 - If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 - 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. 20 - Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 - But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
1John 3:1 - Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of YAHWEH! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
Getting caught up in the world was the mistake of Christianity when phasing Mithraism (Dec. 25th/Xmas) into their worship. They so desired to gain converts that they let the world change them, rather than them changing the world. But brethren, the word should be before us and the world should be far behind us. There is no turning back!
1Corinthians 3:19 - For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with YAHWEH. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
Remember Lot's wife! There is no turning back. We need to move on in the Spirit! But what things do we seek? Do we seek the things which are above, or the things on the earth?
Luke 9:62 - And Yahushua said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of YAHWEH.
Colossians 3:1 - If ye then be risen with the Messiah, seek those things which are above, where the Messiah sitteth on the right hand of YAHWEH. 2 - Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 - For ye are dead, and your life is hid with the Messiah in YAHWEH. 4 - When the Messiah, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5 - Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 - For which things' sake the wrath of YAHWEH cometh on the children of disobedience :7 - In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8 - But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 - Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 - And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 - Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but the Messiah is all, and in all.
These things can all be difficult to overcome, but once we recognize that we want to rid ourselves of it, we can call on Yahweh to let Yahushua the Messiah overcome these things in us:
Galatians 6:14 - But YAHWEH forbid that I should boast except in the offering of our Master Yahushua the Messiah, by whom the world has been impaled to me, and I to the world.
1John 4:4 - You are of YAHWEH, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Yahushua has overcome the world. He can overcome the world in us too, but we must be willing. Overcoming the world is necessary if we ever want to be among those who find and walk the narrow path.
John 16:32 - Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 - These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Do we seek to know the truth of Yahweh? Consider the above scripture. It is only when our mind is renewed that the transformation from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light takes place. What's more, we must have that renewed mind in order to prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of Yahweh! Therefore, let's be sure that we have the right spirit in us:
Romans 12:1 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of YAHWEH, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto YAHWEH, which is your reasonable service. 2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of YAHWEH.
So brethren, we see what is right. Now it is time to DO what is right in the sight of Yahweh our strength! Let's rid ourselves from and and all corruption from the world. Let's rid ourselves from any and all corruption from the world and let's renew ourselves to doing the work of Yahweh, seeking His ways. For when we do what is right, He will bring us the good land. The True Kingdom that does not end, where we will reign with Yahweh forever and ever. At that time, the world will be ruled by Yahweh...and righteousness will reign. He has already shown His love for us, let's show our love for Him by letting Him and His Spirit dwell in us, NOT the spirit of the world.
1Corinthians 2:12 - Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of Elohim; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of YAHWEH.