In The World Not Of It!
Sermon Summary
This message deals with a question all followers of Christ should ask: How can I be in the world and not of it? God does not want us to isolate ourselves from the world, but we do need to be insulated and protected from the corrupting influences of the world. How can this be accomplished? A careful look at the prayer Jesus prayed just before His arrest and crucifixion reveals at least seven concepts which can help us maintain a healthy spiritual atmosphere. We must remember, however, it is not just maintaining our spiritual bubble that matters, it is also important that we reach out to those who are drowning in the wickedness of the world by introducing them to our Savior and His life giving principles. God saves us from the world and yet leaves us in the world so we can make a difference in other’s lives.

Small Group Discussion Guide

1. Did the “insect under water” analogy work for you? Why or why not?

2. What are some of the reasons it is so hard to be in the world and yet not of the world?

3. God has given us His Word in written form, and we now have copies of God’s Word available on our portable electronic devices such as smart phones and computer tablets. How can this help us in our quest to be in the world yet not of the world?
Psa 119:9  How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.
Psa 119:10  I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
Psa 119:11  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psa 119:12  Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.
Psa 119:13  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
Psa 119:14  I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
Psa 119:15  I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
Psa 119:16  I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

4. The message spoke of being insulated, but not isolated. Explain your understanding of this concept and how it related to our God-given mission in this world.
John 17:18  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.


Full Sermon Notes
In the world not of it!
John 17

In the world not of it! An interesting concept. How can a person be in the world and not of it? Did you know that many insects when submerged in water can survive for hours at a time. Why? They are designed so they can create an air bubble, their own little atmosphere.

Scientist have long known about this, but it was only recently they discovered exactly how this works. The details are truly amazing! Here's some of the details from a New York Times article on new MIT research.

"Similar to lotus leaves and Gore-Tex fabric, the abdomen of an underwater-swimming insect is rough and waxy, which repels water molecules. With the water repelled, a thin layer of air is trapped along the abdomen. The roughness comes from tiny hairs, about 100 microns long and 1 micron wide and spaced 10 microns apart.

As insects breathe in and out through tiny holes in the abdomen, oxygen decreases in the bubble and carbon dioxide increases — but the changes in pressure draw oxygen from the surrounding water into the bubble and push out carbon dioxide."

The more we learn about nature, the more we see the evidence of The Creator's design. But that's not why I told you about the insects ability to create it's own atmosphere under water.

I told you about this because I believe followers of Christ, in order to be in the world and not of it, must carry a Godly atmosphere with them everywhere they go. Notice I said everywhere they go! I don't believe it is God's will for us to isolate ourselves from the world by going to a remote part of the world and building a

nice little Christian community to wait for Jesus to come back. No, God doesn't want us to be isolated, but insulated. Just as God has designed a way for insects to breath under water, He has designed ways for us to live in this world and yet maintain our Christian character and convictions.

I mentioned to you in our message last week if God didn't have a purpose for us to fulfill in this life, when a person accepted God's offer of salvation, they would be immediately taken up to heaven. But that's not the way God does it. He leaves us in the world in order to accomplish things of eternal value!

This means we are a people who have had our eternal spiritual address changed. We are no longer a part of this world in the same way we were before. In fact, God's Word puts it this way when talking about some of it's heroes of faith...

13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.
15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Folks, this is one of the secrets to living the Christian life! This world is not our home. We are only sojourners, strangers in a forgien land, just passing through, but passing through with a purpose! This is why we can live the principles of God's Word.

This is why we can live the principle "It is more blessed to give than receive!" Why? Because we're not laying up treasures on this earth. This is why we are not distraught when we realize our lives here on earth are temporary. We cherish every moment of life we're given here. Every moment, every breath is a gift from God! But it's not home.

We can have peace in this world no matter the circumstances because this world is not our eternal home. Praise God!! But while we live here, we are to live our lives with purpose, on purpose, for a purpose! God's Word gives us guidelines for this life. It's a powerful word, a good word, a helpful word,

In a few weeks we will begin a series that will look at the principles we are to live by as followers of Christ. In fact, today's message and next weeks message will set the stage for that series.
Let's pray and ask God to teach us how to be in the world, but not of the world! PRAY!!

The most clear explanation of "in the world not of it" is found in The Lord's Prayer! Not the Lord's prayer your thinking about. The prayer most often referred to as the Lord's Prayer is really the model prayer. Jesus gave the model prayer in His sermon on the mount...

9“This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’

A great teaching on prayer, and the model prayer has application to our message today, but today we're going to focus not on the model prayer, but the Lord's prayer. The prayer our Lord Himself prayed not long before His crucifixion. It is found in John's gospel, chapter 17. If you have your Bibles and want to read along, please do so.

I'm going to read the whole prayer and then we'll go back and break it down. John 17...

1After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
2For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
4I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
6“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.
7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.
8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.
9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.
10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.
11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.
12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.
15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:
23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.
26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

So Jesus prayed that we would be in the world, but not of the world. How do we live in the world without being of the world? Is it possible to be in the world without being corrupted by the world? The answer is found in our Lord's prayer!  Let me show you how to create a spiritual atmosphere which will insulate, not isolate you.

The first way to be in the world and not of it is to get to know God personally through His Son Jesus Christ!

3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Knowing God personally is the key to being in the world and yet not of it. We're not talking about a cold religious set of laws and rituals that leave a person without any real hope. We're talking about a personal relationship with a personal God who loves you and wants to be a part of your daily life.

Paul wrote these words to the church at Galatia...

6Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
7So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.
9But now that you know God—or rather are known by God —how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?

Because we know God personally, His Spirit lives within us and we are guided by a different set of principles than the world. This is key to being in the world and not of the world. In our spiritual atmosphere we know that we are not walking alone in this world, but walking hand in hand with God almighty!

The second way to be in the world and not of it is to live according to God's Word and not the wisdom of this world!

6“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.
14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.
17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

God's Word is truth! When we obey God's Word that Word sanctifies us. It cleanses, it purifies, it guides, it helps us be in the world but not of it! The Psalmist spoke beautifully about this in Psalm 119.
Listen...

27Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.
28My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
29Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law.
30I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.
31I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD; do not let me be put to shame.
32I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
33Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end.
34Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.
35Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
36Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
37Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

The world's wisdom is so different! It teaches you to hate your enemy. Jesus said love your enemy. The world teaches us that self should be the priority no matter who gets hurt. Jesus said deny yourself and take up a cross! The world says demand your rights. Jesus said submit to one another in the Lord.

The world says if it feels good do it. God's truth says to consider the consequences.

7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

The third way to be in the world and not of it is to live with confidence in God's protection!

11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.
15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

Again I turn to the Psalmist for a description of this truth...

1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

This doesn't mean you'll never have problems or difficulties in this world, but you can trust God to protect you and provide you the strength to accomplish everything He as called you to accomplish.

The forth way to be in the world and not of it is to remember your eternal purpose!

18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

This has been powerful in my life. This truth keeps me on task and focused. I know I've been sent on a mission from God. I've been sent into the world because there are people who have been abducted by Satan and his intention is to destroy their lives. I want to get the truth of the gospel to them.

Just last week there were about seven teenagers on the back dock. Four guys and three girls. At least one of them was so high he could hardly even lift his head to look at me. My heart breaks for them. I've thought about them almost every day since then. I pray God will allow me another opportunity to try and rescue them with God's love.

I realize they may not even realize they need rescuing and they may not want to be rescued, but there are times when people reach out their hand for help and I'm able to snatch them from Satan's grip.
Listen...

22Be merciful to those who doubt;
23snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

The fifth way to be in the world and not of it is to remember Jesus Himself prayed for you!

20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,

Wow! That's you and me! When I realize that Jesus prayed for me, I have a confidence come over me. Do you think Jesus' prayer will be answered? I think absolutely yes!! This helps me have courage in this old world that no matter what comes my way, I've been prayed for by Jesus Himself. I'll be fine. Really!!

The sixth way to be in the world and not of it is to stay connected with your brothers and sisters in Christ!

21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:
23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Jesus prayed that we would be unified as the Body of Christ! He wanted us to be one in spirit and purpose. He knew for us to be in this world and yet have the strength to avoid being corrupted by the world we would need each other. Satan understands the concept of divide and conquer.

We must pray for one another, love one another and help one another. If we detach ourselves from the Body of Christ we will be quickly devoured by the world. We must love one another and be there for one another.

11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.
16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.

The seventh way to be in the world and not of it is to remember God's love and presence are in you through Jesus!

26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus said the love God had for Him is in us and that Jesus Himself would be in us! That's why we can confidently quote this verse...

13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

I will close with this instruction from Paul to Titus...

11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
15These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.