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Thursday: Unlike the World — 11 Comments

  1. In a generation when there is pressure from non-believers and encouragement from some fellow believers to conform to the cultural practices of the world, and severe rebuke is reserved for those who dare to resist, the faithful are challenged to remain on the narrow way (Matthew 7:13, 14).

    We are not called to separate from the world (James 4:4; 2 Corinthians 6:17) and to avoid its customs (1 John 2:15, 16) just to be different. The Spirit knows where the trends of the world lead, and it is not where we hope to go. The fashions of the world may seem harmless, and even attractive, but the end is sad (Proverbs 16:25).

    When counseled to be cautious about some things we do well not merely to retort, “I don’t see anything wrong with it,” but to prayerfully invite the Holy Spirit’s direction, for it may be a case of lacking eye salve (Revelation 3:18). Failing to heed counsel eventually leads to calling good (adherence to truth) evil, and evil (that which God forbids) good (Isaiah 5:20).

    The Lord is trying to purify His people and the things of the world often get in the way. It becomes us to consider the subtle influences of the world (1 Peter 5:8) and set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:1, 2). Make no mistake, such will be ridiculed and opposed, but love overcomes same.

    Although in some measure we may identify with those in the world we do not win them by becoming like them. One compromise only calls forth more concessions. Rather we call them from what they have and are to something different and better, even as we were called (Matthew 4:19, 20).

    The things of the world fade as we grow. Think about what it must have been to live like the pure Jesus, counter-cultural and radical, yet loving. Are we willing to even set our thoughts in that direction?

    • Beautifully written. Sometime we forget that its not the accumulation of truth we know but how we live it. I really appreciated how simplistic the lesson as well as your response was because it truly reaches and the explains the core of the matter. We were called out of darkness to call other into light, if we cannot show this light to others how can we expect anyone to take the power of the Lord seriously? This lesson as were all the lessons for this week were really sobering because our faith is not for us to harbor, it is for us to share.

  2. I loved this comment from the lesson by Ellen G. White:

    The more our sense of need drives us to Him and to the word of God, the more exalted views we shall have of His character, and the more fully we shall reflect His image." Steps to Christ.

    God is so loving and kind to each of us. I know in my own life He has been guiding me and if I follow his leading, I feel and am richly blessed. I have experienced this, but on the other hand when I didn't follow Him, I felt unclean and not blessed at all. It wasn't that God didn't want to show me His love. It was because He wouldn't force His love on me or my obedience to Him. He is gently wooing me to Him and this is a God that I am coming to know-a God that doesn't force or coerce me into fellowship with Him, but one who loves me even to the point of death. This is the God that loves me and everyone here on this earth.

    • Is feeling good about an experience in life the criteria for whether it was a God led thing or not? Aren't trials that vex the soul a part of the sufferings of Christ? I know when I eat something that doesn't agree with me, I also know that if I strengthen my immune system through exercise less things offend my system. Taking the road less traveled, the narrow road that leads to life, might mean that we rely on grace instead of self.Sometimes God will lead us in a way that is different than he does someone else, no?! Conformity to the religious practices of the scribes and the Pharisee's did not save anyone from the fiery trials of a life in hell. Why not accept the gift of unconditional love and share it with the world around you where ever you are?

  3. Just because EGW says that, "...the more fully we shall reflect His Image," S.C.p65, does not mean that she is saying here, or anywhere else that this side of Jesus' second coming His true people will reflect His Image absolutely, flawlessly and perfectly sinless because she also says in II Selected Messages p 356, "When the conflict of life is ended, when the armor is laid off at the feet of Jesus, when the saints of God are glorified, then and then only will it be safe to claim that we are saved, and sinless."

    • Pete, to me a better quote to use would be to go to the original source of the quote in 2 Selected Messages which is The Signs of the Times, May 16, 1895 and use the the very next sentence instead, "True sanctification will not lead any human being to pronounce himself holy, sinless, and perfect."

      The problem with using the quote you have chosen is that it might lead someone to think that he/she can't claim Jesus' promise of salvation and by faith say that he/she is saved. As John said of his epistle, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God" (1 Jn. 5:13 NKJV). That is not a iffy, weak statement of faith but one that grabs the promise and clings to it.

      • Tyler,

        Thanks so much for this quote, which supports so many scriptures. 2 Selected Messages, Signs of the Times, May 16, 1895, "True sanctification will not lead any human being to pronounce himself holy, sinless, and perfect."

        Currently, I know Christians who think they do no wrongs and I've heard them say, "I could/would never do that". And some that look at their lives at the end of the day and are so pleased that they did no wrongs.

        Elliot J. Waggoner wrote, " Man looks only on the outward act, but God looks at the heart; and in His eyes the man whose heart is impure is equally guilty with the one who commits the open sin."

        The Bible tells us the heart is deceitful and wicked and our only hope is a new heart that Jesus gives us and that He lives in. Thank God that we can live above self and the "world" that the self loves.

  4. I think a good summary of this lesson would be, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Lk. 12:34 NKJV).

  5. Jesus did say"If you would save your life, you shall loose it, but he who looses his life for my sake shall find it." Maybe some will deny that motive has a lot to do with what one does about Jesus. I personally believe that if He were living in today's society that he might surprise us all as he did then. A personal relationship with the living God made possible only through Jesus sacrifice has brought me to a place where "all things are lawful". Or perhaps put another way, I don't worry but pray, nor do I care if I live or die, I do care about doing the will of my Father. If that leads me to places where they cut off people's heads for non conformity to God be the glory, if it leads me to a gym where rock music is played and I can be a witness of the unconditional love of God, I will go there. God knows everything about everyone, wouldn't it make sense for us to start believing that He loves sinners where they are, and goes where they are in order to affect a change in their thinking? Forget saving my life okay, Christ already did that!

  6. "Despite the fact that Jesus and the earliest Christians had a diet and lifestyle quite different from the Gentile world around them, these practices never kept them from sharing their faith." I can see where the lesson is going with that statement and I can agree with it on those grounds but I think it is missing the real point. To me being not of this world doesn't mean simply having a different diet and lifestyle, it means having an entirely different attitude and philosophy of life concerning our relationship to God and His government. Diet and lifestyle are only outgrowths of that much more basic philosophy.


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