The church and the world have not always gotten along. Actually, a church that follows God can never get along with the world (John 15:18-20; 1 John 2:15-17). The word “church” literally means the “called out.” Called out of what? Out of the world! That means separate, distinct and different from the world (1 Peter 1:13-19; 2 Peter 1:1-11).
Despite the stark contrast desired by God between the church found in the New Testament and the old dying world (Philippians 2:12-16) there are churches today that the world loves because the love of the world is rooted deeply within them. Some have gone as far as to send out surveys on how to make the church more “attractive” to the public! A warm relationship between a church and the world is usually an indicator of a cold relationship between that church and God.
“O you who are false to God, do you not see that the friends of this world are not God’s friends? Every man desiring to be a friend of this world makes himself a hater of God.” (James 4:4 – Basic English Version)
The church that Jesus loves and the church that the world loves are two different churches in holy behavior and sincerity. Many may disagree but the second and third chapters of Revelation clearly show this to be true when Jesus talks to His churches. The gospel of Christ is meant to be preached with love but also with a call for repentance and separation from the ways of the world (2 Corinthians 6:17,18) and the scriptures plainly teach that the church and the world are meant to be on two visibly different courses (2 Timothy 2:19; Titus 2:11,12).
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
The church is not taught to withdraw itself from the world in love, concern, mercy, guidance and compassion so that the gospel of Christ is kept hidden from the lost but we are taught to withdraw in a way so that the lost can see a difference in the desires of the church and in the desires of world. What I am saying is that the Bible teaches that the church is called to love the individuals of the world, but churches have confused that with wanting to be loved by the world. When the world loves a church there is something wrong with that picture.
A church that the world loves is one that is consumed with selling the cross instead of using it to reveal God’s grace and call for repentance and service (Luke 9:23).
A church that the world loves is one that places a priority on getaways and vacations instead of works which seek the benefit of lost souls (Titus 2:14; Ephesians 2:10).
A church that the world loves is one that preaches the prosperity of the world instead of the riches of Heaven (2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 3:18-20).
A church that the world loves does not confront sin but rather winks at it under the guise that nobody is perfect (1 Corinthians 5:11-13; Ephesians 5:8-11).
A church that the world loves does not challenge its members to grow in faith but rather allows its members to grow ignorant by ignoring the transforming power of God’s Word (2 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 5:10-14; 2 Peter 3:18).
A church that the world loves is one that exchanges the commands of God for the traditions of men and women (2 Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 1:7-14; Colossians 2:6-10).
When the world comes to a true love for Jesus Christ because of the church, then that church is loved by God, but when the world comes to a love for the church but not for the calling, commands or kingship of Jesus in the individual’s life then that church has lost its “leading light” and while it may be loved by the many, it has forgotten that the love of One is what saves us (Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 2:15; Revelation 2:4,5).
Let us eagerly ask, “Who loves us more?” E.A.
“Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” “ I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”” 2 Corinthians 6:17,18