This Sunday we looked at the last of three relationships that Jesus tells us are essential; our relationship to the world. By world, scripture means the system of organized society that is hostile to God and constantly trying to squeeze us into it's mold. Christians in the west, especially in America, have not had much experience with serious worldly hatred or persecution but our fellow believers in other parts of the world testify to a very different experience. Many say there is more hatred and persecution of Christians today than any other time in history.
For more info on persecution check out these links: Voice of the Martyrs - Open Doors - Christianity Today
Our relationship to the world should be characterized by how Jesus interacted with the world.
- Grace and mercy - knowing we have been chosen out of this world and belong to God's Kingdom
- Remembering Jesus words ....‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also (John 15:20). There is a false gospel popular in American Christianity that promises health, wealth, and prosperity for all but the reality is we can expect and should not be surprised when we are hated and persecuted for Christ.
- Knowing the whole world lies in the power of the evil one we can understand the world's hostility toward us and like Jesus we can pray from the heart... "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)
- We must be witnesses to God's love and mercy to a world whose only hope is Jesus. Be the salt and light God intends us to be wherever we are.