11 Question 3

Let’s look at the portion that tells us that Christians are not of this world.  It’s the Lord praying in the garden before his betrayal and death.  Amazingly, He spends much time praying for us while there in the garden.  John 17:11-16 says, “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  In this portion, the Lord says twice that we are not of the world.  Earlier, the Lord had said to His disciples in John 15:18-19 – “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 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.”  However, at one time, the Lord said to the unbelievers in John 8:23 – “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.”

We can see from this that unbelievers are of this world, but believers are not of this world.  At one point, before we accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior, we were of the world, but now, through faith in the Lord, we are not any longer.  Although we are still in the world, we are no longer ‘of’ the world.  That means we are no longer from, or are a part of the world.  We are a people that belong to the Lord.  Listen to what Titus 2:13-14 says in the New American Standard Bible, “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of [a] our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”  The KJV refers to us here in this portion as a ‘peculiar people’, but ‘a people for His own possession’ is a more accurate translation.  As Christians, we don’t belong to the world anymore, we belong to the Lord.

If I were to ask you where you live, you would probably give me your address.  More importantly for the believer, we need to understand where our citizenship truly is.  Again, reading from the New American Standard Bible, we read in Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Our home is in Heaven.  What a blessed thought.  That’s why we often use the expression of ‘going home’ when a believer passes away.  They have physically left this world and gone to their place of citizenship.  The believer who dies truly ‘goes home’ to be with the Lord.

As citizens of Heaven, we have a responsibility to those still of the world.  2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”  What do ambassadors do?  They represent their country in a foreign land.  As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are here to represent our savior.  As the verse says, we are here to urge the unsaved people to be reconciled to God.  We can’t do that if we are involved in the world and enjoying all the world has to offer.  Remember the Lord in his prayer we read in John 17:11-16, prayed that the Father would keep us from the evil.  Romans 12:1-2 instructs us, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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 God.”

So, as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are not of this world, our citizenship is in Heaven and we are ambassadors for Christ.  Still, we are in this world, and we need to have a ministry of reconciliation to all that we meet.  We should stay busy in seeking to win souls for Christ.  May the Lord burden us all with an urgency to tell others about the salvation that comes only through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.  As we read in 2 Timothy 4:2 – “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”