Operator’s Manual

John 17: 16

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Jesus is speaking here, talking about believers. Since we are not of this world, then what are we of? I mean, if we are not part of the world, as Jesus tells us here, then what are we a part of?

Acts 1: 3 speaking of Jesus reads, “To these He also presented Himself alive, . . . speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” Jesus came preaching that the Kingdom of God had come. His ministry was about revealing this kingdom. The Kingdom of God is the New Covenant which is sealed in Jesus’ blood. So, the answer to the questions above is that we are not of the world because we are members of the Kingdom of God. We are sanctified, meaning set apart, from the world and unto God. We are called to live our lives in the Kingdom of God rather than in the world but we were raised in the world. We learned how to operate in the world system. Mostly we have learned the rules of society and how the world system works. Now we are thrust into this kingdom and we don’t know the laws which govern it, what principles it operates under or even the rules of engagement. When we are born again we truly are born anew. It’s a whole new ballgame. One may have lived on the earth for fifty years and have pretty much figured out the ins and outs of the culture. Then, in a moment, saving grace translates them from the world to the kingdom of God’s dear son (Colossians 1: 13). All of a sudden we are babes again. We don’t know the language, how to walk and we cannot even feed ourselves. We are brand new creatures (2 Corinthians 5: 17) but without a clue.

Fortunately, this new creature comes with an owner’s manual though many don’t realize it. It is called the Bible. Yep, that’s it. I guess that is one of the reasons the Bible has been so important to me over the years, I have understood it to be my “How To” book. Because of this realization, my self-interest is very invested in learning what information and wisdom it holds. Looking back over the last 35 years, especially, I can see how important and beneficial God’s Word has been. I am very thankful for the good teachers I had when I was young who taught me to value God’s Word. If I had one thing to change in my Christian walk it would be to read the Bible more. It is amazing to me to recognize how much my understanding of the Word and of the Kingdom of God has improved over the years. I think, “Wow, what if I had read the Bible everyday for all these years?” I know that my revelation would be much greater than it is today. Still, I see things in the Bible today that I didn’t see last year or the year before. I see the whole Bible fitting together now and I can see the broad picture. Not only are there specific principles at work but over time I am seeing the broad concepts emerge.

My encouragement to myself as well as to others is, “It’s never too late.” While I sometimes regret having not spent more time in the Word, I revel in the new day. Every day is January 1st and I get to start over. Let’s not beat ourselves up over what we have not done but rather encourage one another (and even ourselves) to have a good day today. Let’s do the things which will move us forward in the Kingdom of God’s dear son. 

You are not of this world and not meant to be. You are part of God’s kingdom. If you want succeed and prosper in this kingdom, you must learn how it works. The Bible is your “How To” manual. Let it guide you.

Moving Day

John 16: 33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

This is more of that red letter text from the Bible. I always like reading the red text. It seems to me that in this verse Jesus is giving us the chance of either being in him or being in the world. He is saying that we can be in him and have peace or be in the world and suffer its tribulation.

Now it may take a little meditation for some of us to wrap our heads around this concept but once you start looking at the Bible you find that this idea is all over the New Testament. Jesus is drawing a line between the world and the kingdom. We are to abide in him (John 15: 4). We are no longer to abide in the world.

Jesus taught his disciples this very lesson. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15: 19). But let’s look at more of Jesus’ words. These are from his conversation and prayer with the Father. “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were and Thou gavest them to Me (John 17: 6). “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (John 17: 16). So what is Jesus saying here? I think it is pretty clear that he believes we are not of the world. We were chosen out of and taken out of the world.

Paul really had a revelation of this truth too. If you run a search of the Pauline Epistles for the words, “In him” you will see how much this revelation had permeated Paul’s understanding. We are in Jesus rather than of the world and this is a pretty huge deal. Believe it or not this concept actually existed in the Old Testament as well. David frequently wrote about God being his hiding place and refuge. He wrote about being in the Father in a similar fashion as Paul’s writing about being in Christ. This is a major precept for living a true Christian life. We are to abide in Christ rather than living in the world.

In him, Jesus, is everything we need. Further, if we are in him and since he has overcome the world, then we abide in world overcoming victory. However, this is an elective life. Just saying a prayer of salvation does not correlate to living in Christ. This abiding in Christ is a choice we make and a choice we usually have to make daily. We are constantly given the choice of choosing the world’s thoughts, words, way of thinking and behavior patterns. To live in Christ is to be aware of the choices you make daily and to choose to live in him and to him rather than to just passively float down the river of the world. Move out of the world and into him. It is like moving into the Promised Land. In him is where there is peace and victory.