“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. Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth. As Thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” John. 17:14-18
A half mile down the road from my house is a Muslim Mosque. I remember when they bought the building, it was a Kingdom Hall. The building went from one false religion to another. Anyway, one thing I have noticed about the Muslims is that they do not associate too much with other Americans. They send their children to Islamic schools, and I often see groups of them together at the stores. I rarely see Muslim girls, with the head dress on, hanging around with other girls in their neighborhood. I have even noticed that many Muslims are buying up certain neighborhoods close to their Mosques. The same with the Amish / Mennonite communities. They go through great effort to disconnect from American society. This is understandable that they should be this way. They are trying to preserve their culture, traditions and religious beliefs. The less they mingle with those of other religious beliefs and cultures, the less impact it will have on their people.
I am in hearty agreement that we Christians must be careful who we associate with and who and what we allow into our children’s lives. This world is a dark place, and the darkness is increasing by the day. However, one of the major differences between Christianity and other religious groups is that Christians are the only people that are promised that they can be in this world and not be overcome by it. Instead of being on the run or go in hiding, we can go out into this world and make an impact on its citizens. As other religious groups fear being impressed and demanded upon, to conform to this worlds system, the Christian can walk amongst it with confidence and boldness.
Jesus did not pray for the Father to take us out of this world, He prayed that God would keep us from the evil of this world. We must never go out into this world with the hope we can be satisfied by this worlds delicacies, nor shall we partake in her evil, but be encouraged to know that the devil can do a surprise attack on you with all kinds of evil and yet you can stand strong. You can even do more than stand strong, you can overcome him. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11) What makes it hard for a believer to overcome in this world is when he loves this present life. If we love not our lives unto death, this world will have no pull on us. You don’t have to fear it.
We are given the ability to overcome this world, we are blessed with peace in the midst of a world filled with tribulation. We can overcome because Jesus overcame this world. “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.” (John. 16:33)
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1John 4:4)
We have more than the ability to be in this world and not be overcome by it, but we are demanded of, by Jesus, to go into this world and make disciples of all nations. John recorded these words of Jesus, “even so have I also sent them into the world.” Jesus sent us into the world, not as lambs to the slaughter, but as bold proclaimers of the gospel of truth. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
Imagine if Jesus went and gathered Himself a few disciples and then went and found a little place in the wilderness to hide out in. Lazarus would have never had his grave clothes removed. Blind Bartimaeus would have remained blind Bartimaeus. The lady with the issue of blood would have never been emboldened to burst through the crowd to get to the hem of Jesus’ garment. The woman from the city, known by all as a sinner, with broken alabaster box in hand, would have never heard those precious words, “thy sins are forgiven.” As long as the devil can keep the church fearing this world, he will not have to deal with the church impacting this world. We’re not lost, the world is; we don’t need to hide, sinners are the ones who hide in darkness.
I don’t advocate that we take young believers and thrust them out into this world. They must sit at the feet of Jesus for a season, so they can grow in the grace of God. However, once they have been grounded, they too must make their presence known in this world. Another very important factor, which is so imperative if the church is going to affect this world; we must be filled with the Spirit. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18)
Jesus would not let His well-trained disciples leave Jerusalem until they received power from on high. When they did receive it, the world couldn’t handle them. Church, we need power from on high if we are going to be true witnesses who can overcome this world. The mistake isn’t letting the church go into this world and witness the evil for themselves, the mistake is in sending them out there without that baptism of power. I used to belong to a religion that had no power, this religion was accepted by the world because it did not confront the world.
Saint of God, understand that you will not be accepted, you’re not supposed to be. “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” (1John 3:13) Receive the Spirit, become full of God, and then go boldly into this world.