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NOTES ON DISCIPLESHIP
by Dr. Fred Wittman
THE CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP (cont.)
The Disciplined Life 3 (Luke 9:23-25; 14:25-33)
“And He was repeatedly saying to the face of all, If (and it is true) anyone determinedly wills to come after Me, he is to utterly deny himself! And he is to carry off his /cross daily! And he is to continually follow Me! 24For who ever determinedly will to save his natural life shall lose [destroy or perish] it; but who ever lose [destroy or perish] his natural life for My cause, this one shall save it. For what is a human being profited by gaining the whole world, but losing [destroying or perishing] or suffering loss of himself?” . . . Then large crowds journeyed together with Him. And he turned and said to them, 26If (and it is true) anyone comes to [the face of] Me and does not hate the father of himself and his mother and his wife and his children and his brothers and his sisters, yet in fact even the natural life of himself, he is not able to be My disciple. 27And whoever does not bear his /cross and continually come after Me, he is not able to be My disciple. 28For who out of you &, determinedly willing to build a tower, certainly after sitting down first, he calculates the expense, does he not? if (and it is true) he has the~ things for the purpose of completion that lest ever, after he laid down a 0foundation in fact he is not prevailing to finish out, all the ones observing begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘‘This /human began to build and he did not prevail to finish out.’’ 31Or what king, journeying to engage another king in war, certainly after sitting down first, he deliberates with himself, does he not? If (and it is true) he is powerful by means of ten thousand to meet up with the one coming against him with twenty thousand. 32Otherwise indeed while not being yet far distant from him, he sends[with commission] an embassy and asks the~ things toward peace. 33Therefore in this way every one of you& who does not bid farewell to all the possessions of himself, he is not able to be My disciple” (Lk. 9:23-25; 14:25-33 APT).
Introduction: The Lord Jesus Christ set forth rigid conditions for a person to be a disciple of His. In an agriculture and farming economy it is not as difficult to get people to comply as it is in an advanced technology economy which has swept most of the world today. Nevertheless Jesus maintained an expectation of rigid conditions for His disciples throughout the ages as reflected throughout The New Testament. We noted in the introductory message to the Life that counts that The Bible equates the term disciples with Christians (Acts 11:26), a term that lost its significant meaning in the twentieth century (see What Is A Christian? on our website, click here). But just what does the Disciplined Life, the life that counts, entail? Three conditions of discipleship: Denial of Self, Reckoning Self to be Dead, and Determined Steadfast Following.
I. In Denial of Self “. . . he is to utterly deny himself!” (Lk. 9:23).
This was covered in detail under THE CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP, The Disciplined Life 1 (which see under PAPERS on DISCIPLESHIP on our website, click here).
To be a disciple of The Lord Jesus Christ, in addition to being disciplined in denial of self, we must go to our death.
II. In Death - Reckoning Self Dead “. . . he is to carry off his /cross daily!” (Lk. 9:23).
The first two aspects of this is:
A. Dying to Self and
B. Dying to Sin was covered in detail under THE CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP, The Disciplined Life 2 (which see under PAPERS on DISCIPLESHIP on our website, click here).
The third aspect of Reckoning Self Dead to the World is discussed herein. The third condition which Jesus gave to His disciples in the introductory text above (Lk. 9:23-25; 14:25-33 APT): Determined Steadfast Following will be considered in the next paper entitled, THE CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP, The Disciplined Life 4.
In Jesus' time, when someone carried off his cross, he was going to his death, a horrible, agonizingly painful death of crucifixion on that cross he was carrying. Jesus took up the cross and carried it to Calvary where He willingly died in agony for us. Taking up the cross was the act of showing He was willing to die for us. When you take up your cross you show that you are both willing and going to die to self for the Lord Jesus Christ. Crucifixion is a death of homicide, not suicide. You cannot crucify yourself, but you can submit to being crucified. And that is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, ‘‘Take up the cross’’ (Mk. 10:21). Though actually crucifixion is a one time act, the willingness for self to be crucified is an on-going attitude spiritually, therefore carrying off the cross is a daily demonstration to the Lord Jesus Christ, to His disciples, and to the world that crucifixion has taken place in one’s life. This is done by “continually putting to death the practices of the body” (Rom. 8:13 APT). If anyone is to become The Lord Jesus Christ’s disciple, he or she must be willing to and truly go to his or her death by means of crucifixion, not necessarily physically (although that may be one’s ultimate experience) but spiritually. Not only must we die to self and to sin, but we must also die to the world.
C. Dying to the World. The Focus is upon one’s Involvement.
Paul declared that he is not only dead to self (Gal. 2:20; 5:24) and to sin (Rom. 6:8), but also dead to the world. “But may it never be for myself to boast except in the cross of The Lord of ours, Jesus Christ, through Whom 0world is crucified to myself and myself to the world” (Gal. 6:14 APT).
What is this world to which Paul was crucified through his identification with The Lord Jesus Christ in His crucifixion and which was crucified to himself? Our English Bibles have used the word ‘world’ to translate three different Greek words. Therefore it is necessary to identify the meaning of ‘world’ in order to answer this question. According to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, English speaking people use this noun in fourteen different ways. This makes it difficult to get a clear understanding of what Scripture teaches by simply reading Scripture. We need to study the meanings of the Greek words in order to understand just what it is that The God intends to say to all people (especially to us).
1. Scriptural Definition of ‘World’
In addition to so many uses of the word in English, confusion is increased by three different Greek words unfortunately being translated ‘world’ instead of the translators delineating between the three. Therefore it is necessary to examine the meaning of these Greek words. This shall be done alphabetically.
a. αíών - refers to three similar but different ideas:
(1) “an indefinitely long period of time translated ‘age’ (Acts 3:21; Eph. 3:11; Heb. 11:3);
“Whom it is absolutely necessary for 0Heaven so to hospitably receive until [spaces of] 0time of complete restoration of all, which The God spoke through 0mouth of all His holy prophets [away]from 0an age” (Acts 3:21 APT).
“. . . according to 0purpose for the ages which He made in Christ Jesus, The Lord of ours” (Eph. 3:11 APT).
“By faith we comprehend that the ages stand furnished [equipped] by a declaration of God, so that the~ things being seen have not come-to-being out of things which are appearing” (Heb. 11:3 APT).
(2) eternity translated ‘for ever’ and ‘for evermore’ (1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 1:18; Jn. 12:34);
“Now to The King of The Ages, incorruptible, invisible, Only Wise God, highly respected, precious value and glory for /ever and /evermore! Amen!” (1 Tim. 1:17 APT).
“The+ Absolute Living One and I became dead and lo! I am continuously absolutely living for /ever and /evermore, Amen! And I continually have the keys of the death and of /Hades” (Rev. 1:18 APT).
“The crowd answered Him, We ourselves heard out of the law that The Christ continually abides for /ever. And how are You Yourself saying, ‘‘It is absolutely necessary for The Son of /Man (The Human) to be lifted high’’? Who is This /Son of /Man (The Human)?” (Jn. 12:34 APT).
(3) a particular period of time in the world’s history translated an age (Mt.13:39,40,49);
“Now the enemy who sowed them is the devil. But the harvest is the consummation of the age and the reapers are 0angels. Therefore even as the tares are collected and utterly burned up in 0fire, in this way it shall be in the consummation of this /age. . . . In this way it will be at the consummation of the age. The angels will exit. And they will segregate the wicked ones out of the 0midst of the righteous ones. And they shall cast them into the furnace of the fire. There shall be the loud weeping and the gnashing of the teeth” (Mt. 13:39,40,49,50 APT).
thus the world at a given time - “spirit of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:12).
“[But even if (and it is true) the gospel by us is standing intently covered, it is standing intently covered among the perishing ones, in whom& the god of this /age constantly blinds the concepts of the faithless ones, in order that the illumination of the gospel of the glory of The Christ, Who is 0image of The God, not dawn upon them.]” (2 Cor. 4:4 APT).
“. . . in your gross stupid errors and in your sins; in which you& once walked according to the age of this /world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, |namely| of the spirit who is now continually effectively working in the sons of the disobedience” (Eph. 2:2 APT).
“Because the wrestling for us is constantly not against[the face of] flesh and blood, but on the contrary, against the principalities, against the authorities, against[the face of] the mighty world rulers of the dark of this /age, against the spiritual~ ones of the wickedness in the celestials” (Eph. 6:12 APT).
Two noted nineteenth century lexical scholars, Trench and Bengel, have defined it this way:
Trench: “All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitutes a most real and effective power, being the moral or immoral atmosphere, which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again to inevitably to exhale” (Synonyms of The New Testament by Richard c. Trench, p. 217 ff).
Johann A. Bengel: “The subtle informing spirit of the κόσμος or world of men who are living alienated and apart from God” (Trench, p. 218).
Thus αíών (aiōn) is an age, an indefinitely long period of time, thus the world and its culture at a given time; the spirit of this age; a particular period of time or an age in the world’s history.
b. κόσμος - ‘world’ originally signified ‘ornament or adornment’ (1 Pet. 3:3),
“Whose adornment is continually to be not the outside: braiding of hair&, and of placing around of gold jewelry, or of wearing |expensive| outer garments!” (1 Pet. 3:3 APT).
from this it became ‘order or arrangement or beauty’; later ‘the well ordered arrangement of the material universe which was visible therein’ (Mt. 13:35; Jn. 17:5; 21:25; Acts 17:24; Rom. 1:20).
“ . . . so that the~ declared |word| through the prophet be fully fulfilled, saying, I will open My /mouth in parables. I will openly declare[spew out] hidden~ things from 0world’s establishment” (Mt. 13:35 APT).
“And now, O Father, You$ Yourself glorify Me alongside Yourself with the glory which I was continuously having alongside You$ before the process of the world being!” (Jn. 17:5 APT).
“Now it is, /Jesus did also many~ other~ as great~ things, whichever~ if (and it may be) they be written one by one, I imagine not even the world itself to have room for the scrolls being written. Amen!” (Jn. 21:25).
“The God, Who made the world and all~ the~ things in it, This+ One, existing Lord of Heaven and Earth, resides not in holy places made with hands” (Acts 17:24 APT).
“For the invisible~ things of His from 0world’s creation, both His /everlasting /miraculous power and Deity, are being plainly beheld, being comprehended by His workmanships in order for them to be ones without answer in defense+ . . .” (Rom. 1:20 APT).
Then κόσμος came to mean “that external framework of things in which man lives and moves, which exists for him and of which he constitutes the moral centre” (Jn. 16:21; 1 Cor. 14:10; 1 Jn. 3:17);
“Whenever the woman give birth she is having sorrow because her /hour comes. But whenever she beget the little child, she no longer is mindful of the affliction because of the joy that a human was born into the world” (Jn. 16:21 APT).
“If (and though unlikely) it may possibly turn out, so many kinds of sounds are continuing in 0world and not one~ voiceless” (1 Cor. 14:10).
“But who ever have the world’s livelihood and observe the brother of his continually having need and yet shut the tender-affectionate-yearning of his from him, how is the love of The God abiding in him?” (1 Jn. 3:17).
“. . . and then the men themselves, the sum total of persons living in the world” (Jn. 1:29; 4:42; 2 Cor. 5:19).
“On the morrow /he sees /Jesus coming to him and he says, Behold The Lamb of The God Who is carrying off the sin of the world! . . . And they were repeatedly saying to the woman, ‘‘We are committing trust no longer because of the speech of yours$. For we ourselves have heard |Him| and we are perceiving that This+ One is truly The Savior of The World, The Christ’’ (Jn. 1:29; 4:42).
“How that 0God was in Christ, reconciling 0world to Himself, not reckoning to them the gross stupid errors of theirs and for Himself also placed in us The Word of the Reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19).
“and then upon this, and ethically, all not of the εκκλησία, alienated from the life of God and by wicked works enemies to Him” (1 Cor. 1:20,21; 2 Cor. 7:10; Jas. 4:4) (Trench, pp. 214-216).
“Where |is| a 0wise+ one? Where |is| a 0scribe? Where |is| a 0debater of this /age? The God made the wisdom of this /world foolish, did He not? For inasmuch as in the wisdom of The God, the world did not know The God through the wisdom, The God delighted to save the ones committing trust through the foolishness of the proclamation as an herald” (1 Cor. 1:20,21).
“For the sorrow according to God performs repentance unto unregretted salvation, but the sorrow of the world performs death” (2 Cor. 7:10).
“O adulterers and adulteresses, you& are aware that the friendship of the world is enmity with The God, are you& not? Therefore who ever be desirously willing to be a friend of the world is continually appointed to the position of 0enemy of The God” (Jas. 4:4).
Therefore κόσμος is the world system, wicked and alienated from The God, yet cultured, educated, powerful, outwardly moral at times, the system of which Satan is the head, and all humans are his subjects (bondslaves), while fallen angels - the demons are his servants. What is encompassed by these meanings in the Scriptural use of the word “world’?
(1) Included are those people alienated from The God, their pursuits, their possessions, their pleasures, their purposes, their popularity, their position, their prominence, and the places they frequent where The God is not welcome nor wanted.
(2) Also included are governments, politics, facts, customs, lusts, pleasures, and the values that this system which has man as its center desires, and around whom it revolves.
c. οίκουμένη - “inhabited globe” in our English Bibles has been rendered ‘world’ fourteen times and ‘earth’ once (examples: Mt. 24:14; Acts 17:31; 24:5; Rom. 10:18; Rev. 12:9). The term derived from this Greek word is ecumenical. It refers to the whole inhabited Earth or Globe with its peoples everywhere.
“And this /gospel of the Kingdom shall be proclaimed as an herald in the whole inhabited Globe for a witness to all the nations. And at that time the end shall arrive” (Mt. 24:14 APT).
“Be repenting! for the reason that He established a day in which He is about to judge the inhabited Globe in righteousness by means of 0 Man Whom He designated, effecting faith in all people by resurrecting Him out of dead ones. . . . For after finding this /man a pestilence and a rebellion-mover among all the Jews, the ones throughout the inhabited Globe, and 0ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 17:31; 24:5 APT).
“But I say, |It is| not they did not hear, is it? Yes indeed rather, The utterance[produced sound] of theirs exited unto all the Earth and the declarations of theirs unto the utmost parts of the inhabited Globe” Rom. 10:18 APT).
“And the Great Dragon, the ancient serpent being titled, The Devil and /Satan, who continually deceives the whole inhabited Globe was cast onto the Earth and his angels were cast with him” (Rev. 12:9 APT).
2. The Distinction between These Three.
a. Distinguish Between Age - αίών, System and Adornment - κόσμος, and Habitation - οίκουμένη.
The difference between these Greek words which translators failed to mark is that κόσμος refers to aspects of space, system, and adornment; while αίών refers to aspects of time and the prevailing spirit operative throughout an era of history, and οίκουμένη (the word from which ecumenical is derived) refers to the realm of habitation on the entire globe.
The Scriptures make a distinction between these aspects by the use of three different and distinct Greek words and so should all regenerated children of The God. There was not a problem for those regenerated ones in the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries even though the translators did not make the distinction in the text. The Bible scholars in those days clarified the meanings in their teaching and preaching. We have seen the distinction clearly indicated by Bengel and Trench above. Only since easy believism and neo-evangelism has spread throughout the world by means of electronic media and the age of: tolerance, entertainment, lethargy, and compromise has the distinctions faded into insignificance, so that there is little difference between church people who claim salvation and religious people who do not. Much less is there a clear distinction between worldlings outside as well as among the church people who claim salvation and the true disciples of the Christ, between those who “claim” to be Christians and those who live out and out for The Lord Jesus Christ. But there should be a clear distinction according to The Lord Jesus Christ in His High Priestly prayer on the way to the Garden of Gathsaymehnáy on the night He was betrayed and according to the Scriptures written by Paul, John the beloved disciple, and Jude, the brother of The Lord Jesus Christ.
b. Distinguish Between: The Lord Jesus Christ’s Disciples and Worldlings; those “of The Christ” and those “of the world.”
(1) Jesus made such a distinction (Jn. 17:7-9,11-18).
He prayed specifically for the ones The Father gave to Him. He distinctly stated that He is asking not for the world (v. 9). He also prayed for those committing trust unto Him through the word or judicial witness (Acts 1:8) of His disciples. We know that John understood that He was referring to His disciples because he began chapter 18 with, “After Jesus said these things, He went forth with His disciples.” The Lord Jesus made a clear distinction between “His own” and the world in His praying and in His association. He persistently endeavored to communicate truth to those of the world, but He did not partake with them in their sins nor in their deeds of worldliness.
“Now they stand knowing that all~ things as many as You$ permanently gave to Me are continuously from alongside You$ because I permanently gave to them the declarations which~ You$ permanently gave to Me. And they themselves received |them|. And they truly know [from experience] that I exited from alongside You$. And they committed trust that You$ Yourself sent[with commission] Me. I Myself am asking concerning them. I am asking not concerning the world but concerning |those| whom& You$ permanently gave to Me because they are continuously Yours$. And all~ the~ things belonging to Me are continually belonging to You$ and the~ things belonging to You$ |are| belonging to Me. And I stand glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world and yet these are continually in the world. And I Myself am coming to You$. O Holy Father, keep them, whom You$ permanently gave to Me, watchfully secure in Your$ /name in order that they continually be one~ according as Ourselves! . . . When I was continually with them in the world, I Myself was continually keeping them watchfully secure in Your$ /name. I protectively guarded | the ones | whom& You$ permanently gave to Me. And not one + of them perished of himself, except the son of /perdition, in order that The Scripture be fully fulfilled. But now I am coming to You$. And I am speaking these~ things in the world in order that they continually have the joy which belongs to Me permanently filled in themselves fully. I Myself permanently gave Your$ /Word to them. And the world hated them because they continually are not of the world according as I Myself continually am not of the world. I am not asking that You$ carry them off out of the world but that You$ keep them watchfully secure out of the wicked+ one. They are not of the world according as I Myself am not of the world. Sanctify them by means of Your$ /Truth! The Word |namely| The One belonging to You$ is 0Truth. According as You$ sent[with commission] Me unto the world, I also Myself certainly soon shall send[with commission] them unto the world” (Jn. 17:7-9,11-18 APT).
(2) Paul made such a distinction (1 Cor. 5:9-11,13; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 1 Cor. 7:31; Gal. 1:4).
Paul wrote four epistles (that we know of) to the Corinthian church. Two letters that Paul wrote to the Corinthians were not preserved. He mentions each as interspersed between his first visit and what we know as 2 Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9 and 2 Cor. 7:8). However only the second and fourth of these epistles were accepted in the canon of Scripture. It is not known what happened to the others. The Corinthian assembly or congregation was a mixed multitude of people: some spiritual, some carnal (worldly) and some babes (1 Cor. 3:1). Paul indicates that another epistle preceded 1 Corinthians (5:9).
“I wrote to you& in the epistle not to mingle together again with sexually immoral ones, and yet by all means not with the sexually immoral ones or with the covetous ones or with greedy plunderous ones or with idolaters of this world, or else you& really are obligated to exit out of the world. But even now I write to you&, Stop mingling yourselves together again! If (and it may be) anyone who is being named Brother be a fornicator or a covetous one or an idolater or a or a reviler or a drunkard or greedy plunderous one. Stop even eating together with the such like one! . . . In fact you yourselves shall extract the wicked one out of yourselves [cf. De. 13:5]” (1 Cor. 5:9-11,13 APT). “So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee” (De. 13:5).
In this letter he told them not to mingle or even to eat with fornicators. But he distinguished between those of the world and those claiming to be or are called ‘brother.’ He makes it plain that we would have to exit out of the world to avoid fornicators of the world. But immoral people in the assembly or congregation are wicked and are to be extracted from the church. However they did not heed his exhortation. Therefore another letter was written before 2 Corinthians was written (2 Cor. 7:8). Then he wrote again (2 Corinthians) and severely reprimanded and charged them to separate from faithless and unclean ones and quoted words spoken by The God in Leviticus 26:12 and Isaiah 52:11 LXX (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).
“ Stop becoming& unequally yoked with faithless[refuses to commit trust] ones! For what association |exists between| righteousness and lawlessness? Then what partaking by sharing[fellowship] |exists| with light toward dark? But what compatibility |exists| with Christ in accord with Behleéahl? Or what share |exists| with a faithful one in association with a faithless[refuses to commit trust] one? Now what agreement |exists| with 0Holy Place of the Temple of God in company with idols? For you& yourselves are a 0Holy Place of the Temple of 0Absolutely Living God according as The God said, I shall indwell in them and I shall walk about in |them| and I shall be their God and they themselves shall be My people. Wherefore 0Lord is continually saying, Exit out of midst of them at once! And be& segregated at once! and, Stop embracing an 0unclean one! And I Myself shall welcome you& in and I shall be as 0Father to you& and you & yourselves shall be as sons and daughters to Me, says 0Lord Almighty. Therefore since having these /promises, O beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves away from every kind of filthiness of 0flesh and of 0spirit, in result perfectly accomplishing holiness in 0fear of God” (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1 APT).
Paul also wrote to the saints in Rome,
‘‘Stop fashioning [conforming to the fashion] yourselves together to this age, but on the contrary continually be being transformed by the renewing of your& comprehension! in order for you& /to approve[ after testing] what the beneficially good and well-pleasing and perfectly complete, determined will of The God |is| (Rom. 12:2 APT).
He also wrote to the Galatians,
“Who gave Himself on behalf of our /sins, so that He extricate us out of the standing impending wicked age according to the determined will of The God and our Father” (Gal. 1:4 APT).
(3) Jude made such a distinction in A.D. 67? (Jude 1,4,12,13,22,23). Concerning the worldlings and apostates imbedded in the congregation he stated,
(a) “they crept in stealthily” (v. 4 APT);
(They claimed to be believers and pose themselves as such with seemingly acceptable spiritual terminology.)
(b) “they are hidden sharp-edged rocks in the love-feasts of yours&, repeatedly banqueting together with you” (v. 12 APT);
(‘Hidden sharp-edged rocks’ is a term used to describe undetected huge sharp-edged rocks submerged just beneath the surface of the sea outside the harbor. These hidden sharp-edged rocks cause shipwreck to some ships piloted by unwary helmsmen.)
(c) “ones of themselves persistently pasturing [shepherding: to lead to pasture] fearlessly” (v. 12 APT);
(The reflexive pronoun influences the meaning of the substantive participle. One does not shepherd himself, but he does lead himself to pasture. These, who crept in stealithy, who are banqueting together with the summoned and sanctified ones, are also fearlessly listening to God’s Word without being affected by it.)
(d) “late-autumnal, unfruitful living trees who died off twice, being uprooted” (v. 12 APT);
(In the last days of harvest, at the end of the fruit bearing season, the latest time when fruit may be expected, these are barren and worthless. Therefore they are uprooted, doubly dead: fruitless and rootless. He died off in his sins and died off the second time in departing from the faith, to which he professed to belong.)
(e) “wandering stars for whom the thick darkness of the gloom stands kept watchfully secure for ever” (v. 13 APT).
(For centuries before technology developed, navigation on the high seas depended upon the fixed stars. Wandering stars or comets give off light that is deceptive and misleads any sailor who navigated on the high seas by setting his course according to them. He was soon without guidance. Darkness prevailed to obliterate all hope. Those who offer guidance without The Light of the World are like wandering stars providing deceiving light that leads into the thick darkness of the gloom in the Lake of Fire.)
(f) “sensual [soulish] ones not having 0Spirit” (v.19 APT)
(These are worldly-minded, controlled by natural unrestrained appetites: sexual immorality including fornication, adultery, remarriage divorce, and pornography; possessions; pleasures; over-eating; sports; and lusts of the flesh).
(g) “discriminate for yourselves” (vs. 22,23 APT).
“And on the one hand, while discriminating for yourselves, be merciful to some, but on the other hand be ever [static present]saving some in fear by snatching |them| out of the fire, while hating even the undergarment standing stained by the flesh” (Jude 22,23 APT).
(Just before Jude closes his brief Epistle describing the worldlings and apostates who have crept into the local congregation, he exhorts the summoned and sanctified ones to discriminate between the worldlings and the apostates. Some worldlings may be brought into a salvation-regeneration experience by presenting the teaching of The Word. However apostates have abandoned The Truth and The Faith. There is no hope of reclaiming them.
4. John, the beloved disciple also made such a distinction in A.D. 90-94 (1 Jn. 2:15-17; 4:4-6,17; 5;4,5,19).
“Never love the world, nor even the things in the world. If (and it may be) anyone love the world, the love for The Father is continually not in him. Because the everything in the world: the passionate lust of the flesh, and the passionate lust of the eyes, and the arrogant display[of life without The God] of the manner of life is continually not of[source] The Father, but on the contrary, it is of the world. In fact the world is progressively passing away and the passionate lust of it, but the one continually doing the determined will of The God is continually abiding for /ever” (1 Jn. 2:15-17 APT).
“And every spirit which is not repeatedly confessing, Jesus The Christ has come in 0flesh, is not of The God. And this is the |spirit | of the Antichrist, which you& have heard that it is coming and now already it is in the world. Little children you yourselves are continually of [source] The God. And you& have overcome them because The One in you& is greater than the one in the world. They themselves are of [source] the world. Because of this they are continually speaking in accordance with the world and the world continually hears them. We ourselves are of [source] The God. The one continually knowing [from experience] The God continually hears us. He, who is not of [source] The God is continually not hearing us. By means of this we know [from experience] The Spirit of The Truth and the spirit of the error. . . . By means of this, the love in midst of us is perfectly completed so that we have boldness in The Day of The Judging. Because according as That One is continuously being, we ourselves also are being in this world: (1 Jn. 4:4-6,17 APT).
“Because everyone who stands begotten of [source] The God is continually overcoming the world. And this, |namely| the faith of ours is the victory which overcomes the world. Who is the one continually overcoming the world, except the one continually committing trust that Jesus is continuously The Son of The God? . . . We perceive that we are continually of[source] The God and the whole world continually lies in the wicked+ one” (1 Jn. 5;4,5,19 APT).
John’s distinction makes it clearly imperative to distinguish: between The Lord Jesus Christ’s disciples and worldlings, between those who are regenerated and continually overcome the world and those who are lying in the wicked one, between the ones who readily hear the teaching of The God’s bondslaves who continually speak the Truth and those who are of the world, who continually speak of the world and do not hear or give heed to The God’s bondslaves.
5. Also Trench and Bengel made such a distinction (see 2.a and b above ).
Each of these make it clear that the wrong choice of involvement with the world rather than with The Godhead: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit brings drastic eternal consequences. The proper involvement depends upon one’s devotion to The Lord Jesus Christ and The Father.
3. The Devotion (1 Jn. 2:15-17; Col. 2:20-3:5; Col. 4:14 cf 2 Tim. 4:10).
The meaning of devotion is “ardent love.” To devote is “to give up to or give over wholly to.” John clearly stated the reason why we must die to the world (1 Jn. 2:15-17 APT; see B.2.d just above). The reason is because of the conflict in devotion between the world and The God. Our devotion is totally either, to the world or to The God, to one or the other! This is borne out by the Scriptures which we shall consult to demonstrate the difference between love and hate.
To what category or characteristic of a personality are love and hate attributed? The five characteristics of a personality are: self-consciousness, intellect, will, moral nature, and emotions which include affection. There are six Greek words on the continuum of positive affection, beginning at the lowest end of the vertical continuum with base love, ehrohs -- passionate sexual lust, and ending with the highest kind of love, ahgahpáy -- the sovereign preference of another over self and others. In Scripture love is contrasted with hate. Both words are both a noun and a verb. Each expresses extreme emotion; love positively and hate negatively. One’s understanding of the meaning of hate depends upon the viewpoint, man’s (a human’s) or God’s viewpoint. Hate is generally the English word used to express extreme dislike. Hate is often the word used by someone spurned in order to express lack of sovereign preference for oneself. But Scripture uses “not continually loving” instead of “hate” to express that concept (1 Jn. 4:20). ‘Hate” is more than “a lack of sovereign preference for one person above others and oneself”; and it is much more than merely ‘loving less.’ But Scripture uses the word ‘hate’ in an entirely different sense. Just as ‘love’ in the Scriptural use is “the sovereign preference for another over self and others,” so ‘hate’ in the Scriptural is “the sovereign preference against one over others.” This is reflected in and borne out by The Scriptures that contrast ‘love’ and ‘hate.’
Note the Scriptural meaning and contrast between ‘love’ and ‘hate’ (Mal. 1:2,3 cf. Rom. 9:23 cf. Heb. 12:15,16; Mt. 5:43; 6:24; Lk. 14:26,27; 16:13; Jn 15:18,19; Rom. 9:12,13; 1 Jn. 2:9,10; 4:20).
“I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau” (Malachi 1:2,3a). “According as it stands written, I loved /Jacob, but I hated /Esau” (Rom. 9:23 APT). “Continually oversee! lest someone fall short away from the grace of The God; lest any root of bitterness shooting up vex within you& and by means of this many be polluted; lest any |be| a fornicator or profane one as Esau, who rendered the& birthrights of his in exchange for one eating” (Heb. 12:15,16 APT).
The God clearly showed the contrast between ‘hate’ and ‘love’ in His viewpoint in His declaration in the opening passage in the Old Testament Book of Malachi the prophet written in 399-397 B.C. He plainly stated the contrast of his emotions for the twin sons of Isaac, Son of Abraham. But it was not until A.D. 63 that the Hebrews were enlightened as to the reason why The God discriminated between Jacob and Esau. Careful examination and research into Genesis 25:19-28:9 will provide insight to these two brothers and background for the statement in Hebrews 12:15 in which Esau is called a fornicator and a profane person. Time, purpose, and space does not permit more than a few facts that highlight the reason for The God’s discrimination.
First Esau despised his birthright and profaned it by selling it for a pot of lentil soup. Then he ignored the culture in which he was reared concerning marriage, disregarded the right of the father to agree to and arrange the marriage, and therefore committed fornication with two ungodly, idolatrous, Hittite women. In addition these women were of one of the seven nations who were under the curse by The God to be dispossessed of their land which was to be given by Him to the seed of Esau’s grandfather Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21). In addition these people were those whom The God intended to be destroyed by the Israelites 400 years later (Deut. 7:1-4). The God foreknew the devastating result of intermarriage with these heathen idolatrous people (Deut. 7: 3,4). Furthermore when Esau saw the Jacob was sent away to his relatives to get a wife of his mother’s family and that his marriages and his wives displeased his parents, he added insult to injury and went and took another third wife, this time he took a daughter of Ishmael. Thus he profaned holy matrimony. He was a profane person and a sexually immoral man who would not and did not regard these two spiritual aspects of life, birthright and marriage but rather chose to satisfy his own fleshly desires. On the other hand though Jacob was a scoundrel, he had a strong desire for God and especially these two spiritual aspects of life highly esteemed in the godly line of Seth’s offspring.
The Lord Jesus contrasted hate and love in His Sermon on the Mount as He taught His disciples the principles which He would use in governing His Kingdom recorded in Matthew’s Gospel.
“You& heard that it was declared, You$ shall love[sovereignly prefer over self and others] your$ /neighbor and you$ shall hate your$ /enemy. But I Myself am saying to you &, Continually love& your& /enemies! Eulogize&[say well of] the ones cursing you &! Continually do well to the ones hating you&! And continually pray in behalf of the ones despitefully abusing you& and persecuting you&!” (Mt. 5:43 APT).
Later in the sermon, He contrasted hate and love again,
“Not one is able to serve as a bondslave to two lords. For either he will hate the one and will love[sovereignly prefer over self and others] the other one, or he will cling to the one and will despise[treat with contempt, regard as unworthy of consideration] the other[different kind]. You$ are not able to serve as a bondslave to God and to wealth[mammōna, total assets in your trust] (Mt. 6:24 APT).
To despise is ‘to treat with contempt or regard as unworthy of consideration.’ Both The God and Christ demand absolute devotion (ardent love). Devotion for Them cannot be shared with the devil and his worldly kingdom because both demand total devotion and devotion or ardent love is “the sovereign preference for another over self and others,” Which is your sovereign preference, Christ and The God, self. Or the world? Jesus went so far as to demand sovereign preference over family, spouse, and even the soul or natural life of himself or that one could not be His disciple.
“If (and it is true) an anyone comes to Me and does not hate the father of himself and his mother and his wife and his children and his brothers and his sisters, yet in fact even the natural life of himself, he is not able to be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his /cross and continually come after Me, he is not able to be My disciple” (Lk. 14:26,27 APT).
Is Jesus advocating that His disciples hate their families? Absolutely not! He preached, taught, and proclaimed love. Scripture teaches us to love the brother.
“The one, repeatedly claiming to be in The Light and is continually hating his /brother, is in the darkness even until this present time. The one continually loving his /brother is continually abiding in The Light. And a cause of stumbling is continually not in him. But the one continually hating his /brother is continually in the darkness. And he continually walks in the darkness. And he is not aware of where he is slipping away because the darkness blinded his /eyes. . . . If (and it may be) anyone say, ‘I love[sovereignly prefer over self and others] The God,’ and he continually hate his /brother, he is a liar. For the one not continually loving his /brother whom he has beheld, how is he able to continually love The God whom he has not beheld?” (1 Jn. 2:9,10;4:20 APT).
What Jesus demanded was total commitment to Him and ardent love for Him and His Father being preeminent love even to that for one’s spouse, parents, brothers, sisters, and children, so, much so that they will claim they are being hated by that one.
After telling the story of the unjust (rather the unrighteous) steward who loved the mammon of unrighteousness, He applied the truth and reemphasized the truth He introduced in the Sermon on the Mount.
“Not one household servant is able to serve as a bondslave to two lords. For either he will hate the one and he will love[sovereignly prefer over self and others] the other, or he will cling to one+ and despise the other[different kind]. You$ are not able to serve as a bondslave to God and to mammon[mammōna, total assets in your trust] (Lk. 16:13 APT).
As presented in the paper entitled MISUNDERSTOOD MYSTERIES MADE MANIFEST (CLEAR) IV. THE MYSTERY OF THE SON OF A HUMAN (which click here to review), “The Lord Jesus Christ taught that before regeneration all humans are bondslaves to sin and to the devil. Everyone is either a bondslave to The God or to the devil.”
“/Jesus answered them, Amen, Amen, I am saying to you&, ‘Everyone who continually commits the sin is continually a bondslave of the sin. . . . You& yourselves are continually of 0father the devil and the lusts [earnest desires] of your & /father you & are determinedly willing to constantly do. That one was continually a human killer from beginning. And he was not continually standing fast in the truth because 0truth is continuously not in him. Whenever he speak the falsehood, he is speaking out of his own things because he is continuously a liar and the father of it[falsehood]’” (Jn. 8:34,44 APT).
Paul also instructed the saints at Rome that every one is a bondslave either to sin and unrighteousness, or to The God and Righteousness; that every one is either a bondslave to Sin and unrighteousness or a bondslave to The God and Righteousness.
“You& are aware, are you& not? That to whom you& yield yourselves bondslaves unto obedience, you& are bondslaves to whom you & are continually obeying, either [restrictive, one of two; the first naturally] to sin unto death, or to obedience unto righteousness?” ( Rom. 6:16 APT).
You cannot serve both. Each demands complete allegiance. Your devotion (ardent love) determines to whom you are enslaved.
In the upper room on the night He was betrayed about an hour before leaving for the Garden of Gathsaymehnáy, after reiterating His commandment, “Continually love one another,” He indicated a good reason not to love the world.
“If (and it is true) the world is continually hating you&, you& know that it has permanently hated Me first rather than you&. If (and it is not true) you& were of the world, the world would continually befriend its own&. But because you& are not of the world but I Myself elected you& for Myself out of the world, because of this~ the world is continually hating you&” (John 15:18,19).
Why should we have the least affinity with the world, when The Lord Jesus Christ is the object of the world’s hatred and if we truly belong to Him we will also be hated by those of the world. Is there any question of this, when the attitude of those extremely liberal politicians of our nation are demonstrating such hatred toward those who own Christ in our current times?
John told his children in Christ the reason why we must die to the world.
“Never love[sovereignly prefer over self and others] the world, not even the~ things in the world. If (and it may be) anyone love[sovereignly prefer over self and others] the world, the love[sovereign preference over self and others] for The Father is continually not in him. Because the everything in the world: the passionate lust of the flesh, and the passionate lust of the eyes, and the arrogant display[of life without The God] of the manner of life is continually not of The Father, but on the contrary, it is of the world. In fact the world is progressively passing away and the passionate lust of it, but the+ one continually doing the determined will of The God is continually abiding for /ever” (1 Jn. 2:15-17 APT).
John clearly stated the reason why we must die to the world. It is because of the conflict in devotion between the world and The God. Our love for The Father can only be acceptable to The God when and if we die to the world, its lusts both of the flesh and of the eyes and to its arrogant display of life-style that has little time for The God.
Paul exhorted the Colossians, who died off with The Christ from the fundamental principles of the world and were raised up together with The Christ, to seek the things above where The Christ is consistently sitting at the right hand of The God and continually mind them and not the things on the Earth.
“Therefore if (and it is true) you& died off in association with The Christ from the fundamental principles of the world, why, as though absolutely living in 0world, are you & subjecting yourselves to dogma [authoritative tenets of religious belief] according to the commands and teachings of the humans: Never touch! And never taste! And never come in contact! (Which things all are for corruption by destruction by means of the consumption with usage). Whichever things indeed are consistently having a saying of wisdom in determined-will-religion and in humble-mindedness and in bodily asceticism, not in any highly respected precious value toward 0satisfaction of the flesh. . . .Therefore if (and it is true) you& are raised up together with The Christ, continually seek the things above! where The Christ is consistently sitting at the right$ of The God. Continually mind the things above, not the things upon the Earth. For you& died off and the absolute life of yours& stands hidden together with The Christ in The God. Whenever The Christ, The Absolute Life of ours be displayed, at that time you& also yourselves shall be displayed together with Him in glory[exaltation with majestic radiant splendor]. Therefore put to death the members of yours &, |namely| the ones upon the Earth: sexual immorality, uncleanness, inordinate passion, evil lust, and the covetousness[greedy desire to have more], whichever is idolatry!” (Col. 2:20-23; 3:1-5 APT).
4. The Dying to the World (Gal. 6:14).
Our love for The Father can only be acceptable to The God when and if we die to the world, its lusts both of the flesh and of the eyes and to its arrogant display of life-style that has little time for The God. Paul declared that he is not only dead to self (Gal. 2:20; 5:24) and to sin (Rom. 6:8), but also dead to the world. “But may it never be for myself to boast except in the cross of The Lord of ours, Jesus Christ, through Whom 0world is crucified to myself and myself to the world” (Gal. 6:14 APT).
Paul realized the reason why Christ was crucified. He wrote to the Galatians,
“. . . our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself on behalf of our /sins, so that He extricate us out of the standing impending wicked age according to the determined will of The God and our Father” (Gal. 1:4 APT).
Discover your priority in devotion! Keep a careful record of your time in fifteen minute segments for one average week! Then calculate how much time you spend: for yourself, including sleeping, working and traveling, and family; for pleasure and entertainment including TV, videos, etc.; for social interests including the news; and for The God: in Bible reading and Bible study, prayer, attendance at church services, and in being discipled and discipling others. Add the time spent involved in the first three categories (self and family, pleasure and entertainment, and social interests); then the total time spent with The God (the last four categories) and compare how your time is spent.
How much time do you spend for The God? ________
Subtracting the time spent sleeping, how much time for yourself? ________
How much time for the world (the total of the two categories, plea-
What is the ratio between time for The God and time for world? ________
What does this reflect your priorities to be?
If you do not enjoy spending more time with The God, His Word, and His people, how do you expect to enjoy Heaven for eternity with these three? Is it not time to agree with the reason why The Christ was crucified for you and make it a reality in your life? Should you not die off or reckon yourself crucified to the world in association with the Christ as Paul did?
5. The Decision (1 Thes. 1:9; Gen. 13:5-12; 14:12; 19:1,9)
a. The Thessalonians made such a decision when or shortly after Paul taught them.
For they themselves are reporting about us what sort of entrance we had to you& and how you& wholly turned to The God from the idols to serve as bondslaves to 0Absolutely Living and 0Genuine God and to abide expectantly waiting for His /Son out of the Heavens, Whom He raised up out of 0dead ones, Jesus, The One + rescuing us away from the coming /anger” (1 Thes. 1:9 APT).
b. However Lot, the nephew of Abraham had a choice to make between living where
the grass was greener near Sodom or away off from that wicked city. He chose to
pitch his tent toward Sodom (Gen 13:5-12). Now Sodom was a City of Destruction
by Fire and Brimstone. It represents the world in its sexual immorality and
corruption. He was aware that “the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before
The Lord” (Gen. 13:13). Though at first Lot resided off from Sodom, it was not long
before he moved into Sodom (Gen. 14:12).
c. In The New Testament another warning is given to us. All around us are people of this world ruled by the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4 APT), the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit working in the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2; 6:12 APT). We are to be in the world, but not of it. Paul had two co-workers that stood by him while he was in prison in Rome, Luke the beloved physician and Daymáhs. In mid A.D. 62 he wrote one of his prison Epistles to the Colossians from Rome. He included greetings to the church from these two. “Luke, the beloved /physician greets you&, also Daymáhs” (Col. 4:14 APT). Six years later Paul wrote to Timothy near the end of his life and his second imprisonment in Rome in summer of A.D. 68, “For Daymáhs forsook me, because he loved this now age. And he journeyed unto Thehssahlohnée-kay” (2 Tim. 4:10 APT). Since he loved the present age in which he lived, love for The Father was not in him (1 Jn. 2:15 APT see above). He did not overcome the world! (Jn. 5:4,5,9 APT see above). He forsook the work of The Lord. Therefore he was an apostate because he turned away from the faith he once professed. He returned to the world (see Jude verses 1,4,12,13,22,23 above).
d. Treason (Rom. 8:5-9; Phil. 3:17-21; James 4:4)
(also: 2 Tim. 4:10 cf.1 Jn. 2:15; Jude 1,4,12,13,22,23 see above).
These passages reflect that there are those who entered some congregations of local churches in the first century and more so today, who are serving as enemies of the cross of Christ and of The God while claiming to belong to The Christ and the family of the God.
“For the ones being according to 0flesh continually mind the~ things of
the flesh, but the ones according to 0Spirit, the~ things of The Spirit. For
the frame of mind of the flesh |is| death! But the frame of mind of The
Spirit |is| absolute life and peace! for the reason that the frame of mind of
the flesh |is| enmity against God! For it is not under subjection to the law
of The God. For neither is it possible. Now the ones being habitually in
0flesh are not able to please 0God. But you& yourselves are not habitually
in 0flesh, but in 0Spirit, if indeed God’s Spirit continually dwells in you&.
Now if (and it is true) anyone is not continually having Christ’s Spirit, this
one is not of Him” (Rom. 8:5-9 APT).
The disciples of The Lord Jesus Christ are in the world, but not of it! We are to be friends to the world, but not friends of the world (James 4:4).
“O adulterers and adulteresses, you& are aware that the friendship of the world is enmity against The God, are you& not? Therefore who ever be desirously willing to be a friend of the world is continually appointed to the position of 0enemy of The God”(Jas. 4:4 APT).
Therefore, in order to live and cease to be enemies to (“at enmity against”) The God, we must reckon ourselves to be dead indeed -- dead to self, to sin, and to the world, but ALIVE in Christ. Do you ask, ‘‘But how do I do this?’’ Refer to the chart and explanation entitled “Alive or Dead?”
Conclusion: Self denial, reckoning self to be dead to selfish interests in possessions, in pleasures, appetites and lusts of the flesh, and reckoning self to be dead to Sin and to the world, demonstrating that you are indeed crucified with Christ, all of this is an impossibility in your own strength! Apart from a cross and resurrection experience it cannot be accomplished! Death in the spiritual sense through a cross experience (true repentance and totally committed trust) is absolutely necessary to become a regenerated person, to become Christ’s disciple, and to become a true member of His true church. Jesus told the multitude that His disciple must deny self and be willing to be crucified daily. This involves death to self, to sin and to the world, but alive in Christ, and then be determinedly steadfast in following Him.
Have you considered the consequences of continuing in darkness and sin and in the kingdom of this world? Are you determined to be delivered from the power of darkness and death? Are you ready and willing to repent and unreservedly commit to The Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord and appropriate His Salvation to become His disciple? The choice is yours! Choose well! Your choice is brief, but endless!
Take the world, but give me Jesus, All its joys are but a sham;
But His love abideth ever, Through eternal years the same.
Take the world, but give me Jesus, Sweetest comfort of my soul;
With my Savior watching o’er me, I can sing though billows roll.
Take the world, but give me Jesus, let me view his constant smile;
Then throughout my pilgrim journey Light will cheer me oe’r the while.
Take the world, but give me Jesus, In His cross my trust shall be;
Till with clearer, brighter vision, Face to face my Lord I see.
Oh, the height and depth of mercy! Oh, the length and breadth of love!
Oh, the fullness of redemption, Pledge of endless life above!
Fanny J. Crosby
In the next paper entitled, “THE CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP 4”, Determined Steadfast Following will be considered.
| | understood $singular &plural +masc. ^fem. ~neut. /the
[ ]basic meaning italics = Center column reference in A Precise Translation
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