Introduction: This is our last study in our series about religion and
relationships. When Christians speak of “the world,” aren’t they
referring to sin? Should we embrace sin? What kind of relationship,
if any, should we have with the world? What is God’s mission for us
in the world? Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. The Purpose

    1. Read Mark 2:15-16. Jesus is mingling with the “world” and
      the teachers of the law see it. What question do they

      1. Why do you think they asked this question?

      2. What answer do you think Jesus’ disciples should

    2. Let’s read Mark 2:17 to find the answer Jesus actually
      gave. What do you think about Jesus’ answer?

      1. Would this answer also apply to the issue of whether
        you should “embrace the world?”

      2. Perhaps they never heard of “preventative medicine”
        back then. Should we only work with the “sick?” (I
        hope not. GoBible is aimed at people who already know
        something about God’s word. I guess this is a study
        for the “recovering.”)

      3. To what extent did Jesus “embrace” the world in this
        situation in Mark?

  2. In, But Not Of ….

    1. John 17 contains Jesus’ prayer for His disciples just
      before He was arrested and crucified. What a wonderful
      insight into our God! In this difficult time of His life,
      Jesus is thinking of His disciples. Let’s read John 17:12.
      Jesus protected the disciples and kept them safe from

      1. When Jesus says He kept them safe “by that name you
        gave me,” what name is that? (The New Bible
        Commentary says that the “name” refers to God the
        Father and the “natural understanding” of the Greek
        is that being safe by the name means to act in
        accordance with the character of God.)

    2. Read John 17:13-14. Why does Jesus say the world hates His
      disciples? (They are not of the world.)

      1. What do you think it means to be “not of the world?”
        (Not a participant in its character.)

      2. According to verse 14 Jesus gave His disciples a
        special gift. It seems it is a new gift of
        protection. What is it? (The gift of God’s word –
        God’s directions for life.)

    3. Read John 17:15-16. Jesus seems to be saying that “the
      world” is a dangerous place. Why not take them out of the
      world? Why not remove them physically? (Jesus gave His
      disciples the word of God. It is now the mission of the
      disciples to pass this word unto the world. This is
      exactly like Jesus’ mission to the “sick.”)

    4. Read John 17:17-19. Sharing God’s word with the world
      seems to have an effect on the disciples. What is it? (The
      truth that they have sanctifies them too. It seems
      sharing the truth of God’s word with others has a
      sanctifying effect on us. The world is a dangerous place,
      but sharing God’s word with the world makes us better

    5. Read John 17:20-21. Is the goal for us to become one with
      the world? (No. The goal is for us to become one with
      those who are rescued from the world, those who believe
      God’s word.)

    6. Read John 17:25-26. As we get to know God better, what
      happens to us? (God’s love grows in our heart.)

      1. How can you explain the contrast between John 17:14 &
        26? The world hates the followers of God even though
        the love of God is in the followers. How is that
        possible? (The world hates the followers of God
        because they are not part of the character of the
        world. On the other hand, as someone learns more
        about God, God’s love fills their hearts. It appears
        to be a process in which those coming out of the
        world become more like God and are filled with more
        of His love.)

        1. What do you conclude from John 17 is the key to
          winning over the world? (Teach the world about
          God. Give them His word. Teach them about His

  3. The Prod

    1. Read 2 Corinthians 5:10-11. What do these verses suggest
      is an important part of fearing God? (Realizing that God
      has a judgment and that we will be judged.)

      1. What is the result of knowing about God’s judgment?
        (Verse 11 says that we “try to persuade men” about
        the fact of the judgment. This is a “prod” to bring
        us to action.)

      2. Is this how you like to relate to the world? “Let me
        tell you what awaits unless you make changes in your

      3. In John 17 we learned that God fills us with His
        love. Is it love to tell people they are going to
        burn up? (If you warn a person driving a burning car
        that their car is on fire – that is love.)

    2. Recently, I was in a book store looking over a new book by
      Tony Campolo. Some of Tony’s teachings are troubling to
      me, and so I was skimming over the chapters to see what he
      was up to. One section of the book discussed the final
      judgment and Seventh-day Adventists. It said that most
      Christians believe in a judgment of an eternally burning
      hell for those who are lost. Adventists, Campolo noted,
      believe that judgment for the wicked involves burning –
      but being burned up – eternal extinction. Campolo
      suggested people fear the total loss of identity, total
      extinction, more than an eternally unpleasant life. What
      do you think about presenting to the world the message of
      a judgment of personal extinction?

    3. Read 2 Corinthians 5:12. What is the attitude of the
      world? In what does the world take pride? (In what is
      seen. The world lives for self by accumulating those
      things that can be seen. This gives the world pride.)

      1. If the attitude of the world is to take pride in what
        they can show to others, how terrible a fate is total
        extinction? (The attitude of the world is “I am
        important. Look at me.” Total extinction should be
        the worst thing for that kind of attitude. Christians
        have the way out of total extinction.)

  4. Our Tools

    1. If we have the opportunity (and obligation) to engage the
      world to persuade them to believe, what tools do we need?
      Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-2.

      1. What is not necessary? (Eloquence or superior

      2. Why is “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” such a
        powerful tool of persuasion? (Look back at the
        motivation for our message: a coming judgment. Jesus’
        life, death and resurrection on our behalf is the way
        out of being condemned in the coming judgment. This
        is the central “word” that Christians have for the

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 2:3. Is this how you feel about public
      speaking? About sharing the gospel?

      1. Should fear and trembling deter us from sharing God’s
        word? (Look at what a great witness Paul was – yet he
        confesses to weakness, fear and trembling. When I was
        first arguing a case before a court an older lawyer
        told me something I have never forgotten: “Being
        nervous is normal.” In fact, having some nervousness
        makes me a sharper speaker.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 2:4-5. What is more important than
      wise and persuasive words? (The power of the Holy Spirit.
      The power of our message comes not from man, but from
      God’s Spirit. I was reminded the other day of the
      inadequacy of my own powers of persuasion. I like to think
      that, as a lawyer, I have the power of persuasion. Each
      week the GoBible lesson goes to at least 15,000 people.
      Yet, I have trouble witnessing to my neighbors. I’ve lived
      by one neighbor for 20 years. He is getting old. Recently,
      I determined that I must make a specific effort to share
      the gospel with him. One night I went over to speak to
      him. He is my friend, but the conversation went terribly.
      How can I speak to thousands each week about the gospel
      but be unable to adequately speak to my neighbor? The
      answer must be that my “talents” are not what determines
      the outcome of this kind of conversation.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 2:6-7. If we don’t need real sharp
      brains and real sharp tongues to share God’s word, does
      that mean that we do not have an intelligent message?
      (Paul tells us that we are sharing the most important
      wisdom: the secret wisdom of God!)

    5. Friend, we have a secret to share with the world. A secret
      which will give the world true wisdom. Are you willing to
      be “of, but not in” the world to share God’s word?

  5. Next week: We start our study of the book of Daniel.