We’re Not Of the World

John 17:12-19 ESV

“While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

Jesus Christ prayed this prayer to God the Father right after Judas went out to betray Jesus and right before Jesus was falsely arrested, put on trial, and put to death on a cross. This prayer which Jesus prayed for his disciples actually begins in verse 6, so I encourage you to read the entire prayer.

Jesus knew that his time on this earth was coming to a close and that he was about to be put to death on a cross, and so he was praying to God the Father for him to watch over his disciples because Jesus would no longer be here to do that, although he did rise from the dead, and he did visit with his disciples for a short period of time after his resurrection before he ascended back to the Father in heaven. So, he did have a little more time with them.

But this prayer wasn’t just for them, for I believe it covers all the Lord’s true disciples from the time right before Jesus’ crucifixion to our present day and beyond, until Jesus returns for his bride and he takes us to be with him for eternity, which is when our salvation will be completed, and not until then. And this is provided that we walk in obedience to our Lord, and not in sin, and that we live holy and righteous lives, to the glory of God, in his power and strength, until the day we go home to be with Jesus.

It is encouraging to know that God is watching over us and that we are not on our own, make it or break it. But we have to cooperate with God’s work in our lives. We have to walk in obedience to his commands. He doesn’t do it for us. He empowers us to live godly lives, but he doesn’t turn us into puppets on a string, and he pulls the strings, and therefore we perform. By God’s grace we must walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. For if we walk in sin, instead, we don’t have eternal life with God.

Now Jesus Christ has given us his word, too. In fact, we have the written word of God that we can pick up and read for ourselves, at least here in America we do. And I know not everyone has that. But with the internet, I would think that the Scriptures would now be more readily available to more people. At least, I hope they are. But for those of us of genuine faith in Jesus Christ, we have the Word living within us in the person of the Holy Spirit who was given to us to teach us all things pertaining to the Word.

But because we have the Word living within us, and because we have the written word of God, and because we are applying the truths of God’s word to our lives, and we are walking in obedience to our Lord, and many (or some) of us are sharing the truths of God’s word with others, the ungodly of this world who are still walking in sin are likely to reject, hate, and even persecute us for righteousness’ sake. And many of the ungodly are those who also profess faith in Jesus Christ, some of whom are pastors.

Now, I think this next subject can be a little confusing if we do not explain it well. Jesus has sent us out into the world to love the people of the world and to share the gospel of our salvation with them, i.e. to be Christ’s representatives to the people of the world. But we are not to be of the world. We are not to participate in what is evil and wicked and ungodly. We are not to be like the world. We are not to immerse ourselves in our culture. But we are to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ, if indeed we are.

So, being separate from the world is not a physical separation but a spiritual separation. The physical aspect of it would only be in the sense that we are not to be partners with the world. We are not to be in fellowship with the world. We are not to join in with the world in agreement with them and their philosophies and beliefs and practices. We are to live in the world, and we are to associate with the people of the world, but we are not to be like the world in thought, character, and deed.

So, Jesus’ prayer to the Father was not that he physically take us out of the world, but that we would be kept from the evil one. For when we live among the people of the world we are going to be exposed to all sorts of evils which we must guard our hearts and minds against, and which we must refuse to be party to. There will be all kinds of temptations thrown our way, but we must resist them in the power of God’s Spirit, and by God’s grace we must continue to walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

And then Jesus’ prayer for his disciples was that we would be sanctified (made holy, purified) by the truth of God’s Holy Word. And this indeed is what we are to be, God’s holy people. And “holy” means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. And so it is critical that we are in the Word, drinking in from the Word the truths of the gospel of our salvation, and that we then, by God’s grace, are living out those truths in our daily lives.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Full Release

An Original Work / April 15, 2012

Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.

Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
through salvation,
By His Spirit, from above.

Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.

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