This guide is for the discussion of what the biblical term "world" means and a young Christian's role in it.
JOHN 8:23 And He [Jesus] said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world."
JOHN 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."
ROMANS 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind….
1. From the scriptures cited above, how would you define the word "world?" Is there a spiritual dimension to the term "world?"
COMMENT: The New Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus defines world as: "The Earth and its inhabitants." It defines "worldly" as: "Relating to the world: engrossed in temporal pursuits; earthly; mundane; carnal; not spiritual." So from these definitions, we see that there is a definite contrast between "being of the World" i.e.: carnal, mundane, and earthly and being "not of the World" i.e.: spiritual. Now let's consult a higher authority.
I JOHN 2:16 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.
2. What does the term "lust of the flesh" mean?
3. What does the term "lust of the eyes" mean?
4. What does the term the "pride of life" mean?
5. What does this passage tell us about God's place in this world?
COMMENT: It's clear this World is not the environment God intended. The problems of today's society lie in the "way" it has chosen. In other terms, worldly ways of today's society are not of God, but chosen by man.
6. Being a young person in today's society can be difficult. What are some of the things young people face in today's world?
7. What are some of the short-term decisions facing youth today?
8. What are some of the long-term decisions facing youth today?
When considering these decisions in an uncertain and disorderly environment—a "problem" society—the plight of youth can seem hopeless and overwhelming. Today's world is not exactly the easiest environment to get along in. But, throw into the mix, being a young CHRISTIAN in today's society … that is even harder!
I JOHN 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
1. Who do you think is the "wicked one?"
2. How does he sway the world? Consider Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×.
3. How could being a Christian complicate some of the decisions mentioned above?
4. What could be some added decisions or choices a Christian would have to face that a "worldly" person would not?
What are some of your "spiritual goals?"
6. What can we do to stay close to God and not come under the "sway of the wicked one?"
MATTHEW 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden."
7. We are to come out of this world and yet live in it. Explain the concept of being a "light" in the world.
COMMENT: We are the hope and representatives of the World to come, God's kingdom. The choices we make should reflect God's way and be an example to the rest of society.
8. How could some of your decisions be a positive reflection of Christian values?
9. How could our relationships with friends, not in the faith, be an opportunity to "shine?"
As young people, obtaining a certain level of success in this society is not wrong or impossible—as long as you put God first. Success in your education, future careers and families are good and noteworthy goals. Your success will be a good example for others because it will demonstrate that God's way works. After all, is that not your role—to be an example to society, a foreshadow of the good that is to come? The key is to strike a balance between being a successful member of society and, yet, still rejecting the ways of this world. It can be done. It can be done through hard work, through keeping a close relationship with God and by never compromising your beliefs.
1. List some ways the world is attractive. Which ones are compatible with biblical teaching?
2. How can we discern what is of the world and what is of God?
3. Do you think man's "ways" have worked?
4. How can young Christians be productive participants of society and not be "of society?"