Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

A Christian's Life in the World- Facilitator's Guide

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This Facilitator’s Guide is intended to assist the facilitator in leading the discussion of a group on the following topic.  It is not meant to give an exhaustive review of the question, but rather give pointers from the Bible.  To that end we have inserted a few comments and Bible verses that are relevant to the discussion – this may help get the discussion started. For a more comprehensive study of this topic see the related online resources at the end of this guide.

Introduction

A group of teens studying together. This guide is for the discussion of what the biblical term “world” means and a young Christian’s role in it.

The World

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?”

· World = age/period/society/customs

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?

· To satisfy the body. American Heritage dictionary defines lust as an intense or unrestrained sexual craving (dictionary.reference.com/browse/lust).
· “Lust of the flesh” is a wrongful, unchecked desire, Galatians 5:19 Galatians 5:19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
American King James Version×
.
· Romans 13:14 Romans 13:14But put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
American King James Version×
tells us to “make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

3. What does the term “lust of the eyes” mean?

· To satisfy the mind – things to see and to have others see (status).
· Proverbs 6:25 Proverbs 6:25Lust not after her beauty in your heart; neither let her take you with her eyelids.
American King James Version×
, 32

· 2 Samuel 11:2-4 2 Samuel 11:2-4 2 And it came to pass in an evening, that David arose from off his bed, and walked on the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look on. 3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? 4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in to him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned to her house.
American King James Version×
This passage helps explain “lust of the eyes”
· What other verses expound on “lust of the eyes?”

4. What does the term the “pride of life” mean?

· To satisfy the ego (diva-ism, over self-worth, caving into wrong peer pressure)
· Want versus need.
· 1 John 2:16 1 John 2:16For 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.
American King James Version×
– pride.
· Romans 12:3 Romans 12:3For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.
American King James Version×
, “Do not think more highly of yourselves than you ought to think.”

5. What does this passage tell us about God’s place in this world?

· God has been replaced as the priority.
· 2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×
– there is another god promoting a different way of life.

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?

· I Corinthians 15:33 evil company
· Premarital sex or sexual relations, drugs, underage drinking, lying to others especially parents, cheating in school, and so on.
· Making good decisions; where to go to college, what career to be in, who to marry and share this wonderful journey with and so forth.
· What are some other verses to back up these points?

7. What are some of the short-term decisions facing youth today?

· Choosing friends, extracurricular activities, hobbies, how to react to instruction/discipline, fads to follow or not, how serious they approach learning in school as well as from the Bible

8. What are some of the long-term decisions facing youth today?

· Getting a useful education
· Find a challenging occupation
· Preparing for baptism
· Finding a spouse
· Moving out of childhood home
· Establishing retirement goals, saving money/investments. 

Christian living

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?”

· Wicked is defined as being evil, lawless, or morally bad.
· Satan is the “lawless one,” 2Thessalonians 2:9-10.
· 1 John 2:13-14 1 John 2:13-14 13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. 14 I have written to you, fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God stays in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.
American King James Version×

· What other verses show Satan as the “evil 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×
.

· “Sway” is defined as a dominating power or influence. It causes a person’s mind or emotions to incline or turn in a specified way.
· Ephesians 2:2 Ephesians 2:2Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
American King James Version×
, John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×
.

3. How could being a Christian complicate some of the decisions mentioned above?

· Choosing friends that will create negative influences
· Choosing hobbies and extra-curricular activities that conflict with God’s instruction
· Taking a combative approach to discipline (contrary to Proverbs 12).

4. What could be some added decisions or choices a Christian would have to face that a “worldly” person would not?

· Keeping any of the Commandments in the spirit of the law.
· Not putting your own desires ahead of God – such as…?
· Other choices would be: appropriate dress, appropriate speech, and outwardly showing love towards others.

5. What are some of your “spiritual goals?”

· “Assignment” for participant(s)

6. What can we do to stay close to God and not come under the “sway of the wicked one?”

· James 4:7 James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
American King James Version×
– submit to God, resist Satan
· What other verses reflect this statement?

MATTHEW 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

· To let your light shine means to live your life according to God’s commandments, keep His Holy Days, to love one another, and so on.
· Why are lighthouses placed where they are?

7. We are to come out of this world and yet live in it. Explain the concept of being a “light” in the world.

· Isaiah 49:6 Isaiah 49:6And he said, It is a light thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth.
American King James Version×
– We are to come out of the world, but we are not to isolate ourselves from the rest of humanity.
· Elaborate on physical properties of a light (i.e. lightness and darkness cannot occupy the same space simultaneously.)

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?

One decision that would be a positive reflection of Christian values would be the decision to observe God’s weekly and annual holy days. Another would be the decision to outwardly show love towards your neighbor as mentioned in Romans 13:9 Romans 13:9For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
American King James Version×
. There are numerous decisions that would create positive reflections of Christian values; these are only a couple.

9. How could our relationships with friends, not in the faith, be an opportunity to “shine?”

· Be a visible, positive example to others of God’s way of life.
· Philippians 2:15 Philippians 2:15That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the middle of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world;
American King James Version×

· Performing a good deed for others would be another opportunity to let our light shine.

Summary

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?

· Opportunities
· Education
· Entertainment
· What are some others?

2. How can we discern what is of the world and what is of God?

· We can discern what is of the world and what is of God by examining His Word.

3. Do you think man’s “ways” have worked?

· Have wars brought lasting peace?
· Have governmental social programs erased hunger, disease, etc.?
· Has man’s effort to solve problems reinforced or rejected God’s instruction?

4. How can young Christians be productive participants of society and not be “of society?”

· Being hard workers, courteous and well-mannered.
· Live God’s commandments
· Other examples?