Thursday, December 4, 2014

Spiritual Warfare's 3 Common Enemies: The World

Ephesians 6:10-11 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil."

John 2:16-17 "Do not love the world nor 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 and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world."

Today's post continues this short series that we have entitled: Spiritual Warfare's 3 common enemies. In the opening passage above we see them underlined: the Devil, the world and the flesh. The contexts of both scriptures indicate the following:

1. Common Enemy in spiritual warfare is The Devil.

2. Cravings that contribute to our spiritual warfare is the flesh.

3. Context in which our warfare occurs is the world. 

Today's post will explore that enemy that is the context of the battle: the world

What in the world is meant by the "world"?
1 John 2:16 warns us about not loving "the world". The Greek word behind this word (kosmos) is the word from whence we get our terms "cosmetics" and "cosmology" and "cosmopolitan".  A "kosmos" or "world" refers to a certain orderly arrangement or system, hence for example, cosmetics are products designed to help someone arrange the colors and appearance of their face. I someone were to take up the study of "cosmology", they would be concerned about studying the arrangement of things in our universe. When reference is made to a "cosmopolitan person", that person is typically a traveler, a "person of the world" who dresses in the finest clothes and keeps up with the trends of things worldwide. 

Whenever the Apostle John refers to the term "world", he is talking about the organized system of thought that is under the authority of Satan. We have seen in this study that The Devil is the common enemy of the believer. Other than Adam, Job, King David and Jesus, no other person has ever had to deal with Satan directly, but moreso indirectly. Satan wields his influence through his vast network of demonic hosts (Ephesians 6:12) and through the network system known as the world.

The physical body gathers its understanding of reality through the five senses, and this is how the influence of the world makes its way through if unchecked by the vigilent Christ follower. This is why John warns his readers to "not love the world". Elsewhere in the New Testament we read about the influence of the world and the need to be cautious of it. Romans 12:2 states -  "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." James 1:27 gives this insight: "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." Jesus gave this simultaneous warning and encouragment in John 16:33 - "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

At this point it is important for us to realize that we have not been called to compete with the world. The world and all it has to offer caters to the flesh. The flesh, if you will recall from yesterday's posting, has to do with the cravings that work in our spiritual warfare. Just as a magnet can influence a piece of iron, the clever machinations of the believer's common enemy, Satan, has orchestrated the world's resources to appeal to and influence the flesh. Thus the world is the arena and context of our warfare. 

Jesus in Matthew 4:8-10 dealt head-on with Satan with regard to worldly temptation - "Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Jesus underwent this battle and won for the believer's sake. The resources available to the Christian to defeat the influences of the world are straight from Jesus Christ by faith. 1 John 4:4 "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."

More tomorrow...

No comments:

Post a Comment