Christians in conflict

Are they crazy? Christians in conflict with “the world”.

The Bible repeatedly makes a distinction between “the kingdoms of this world”, and “the kingdom of heaven”.

“The kingdoms of this world” are under the influence of Satan through his influence with sinful humankind:

Gal 5:19-24 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

The Bible refers to Satan as “the god of this age” (2 Cor 4:3-4), “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:1-2), “the father of lies” (John 8:44), “the lawless one” (2 Thes 2:9-12) to illustrate his influence in “the kingdoms of this world”.

The Bible states an occaison when the devil approached Jesus Christ and offered him “all the kingdoms of the world” (Luke 4:5-7) in exchange for Jesus worshipping the devil.

Christians are citizens of heaven but in this life live in “the kingdoms of the world” and this leads to conflicts.

Christians may be accused of being mad / crazy / mentally unwell through being unwilling to compromise to “worldly” moral practices and worldly (unbiblical) religious beliefs.

Some people have been accused of being mad and it instead turned out that they were highly intelligent.

This happened to writer Janet Frame, and they were about to remove part of her brain to cure her supposed madness.

The operation never happened and she went on to write very intelligent stories.

The following is a comparison of Christians and “the world” and how the Christians could be seen as “mad” for believing and living the way they do.

That kind of “madness” should be encouraged!

Are they crazy?
Christians in conflict with “the world”.

Christians can often be wrongly interpreted as being mad.
Worldly governments (eg. communist governments) have often sent Christians to mental institutions/prisons, eg. Richard Wurmbrand.
Jesus’ own family on one occasion decided he was mad, and the church leaders decided he was possessed by a demon:

Mark 3:20-22 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

“The world” will often hate Christians, so we need to be careful about wanting the approval of “worldly” people. We may end up being rejected by God.
Churches may have “worldly” people masquerading as “Christian” in them, and we shouldn’t expect their approval as well. They are not Christian brethren, they are unbelievers who have either never known God or have become traitors.
Jesus Christ warned:

John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

John 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

John 12:25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Jesus warns about gaining “things of the world”, but losing your soul:

Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

“The world” is hostile to the Holy Spirit.
“The World’s” peace is different than God’s peace.

John 14:16-17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Jesus’ disciples (citizens of heaven) mourned when Jesus was crucified, but citizens of “the world” rejoiced.
Citizens of “The World” have the wrong attitude and beliefs.

John 16:19-22 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Jesus promises Christians they will have troubles to endure through:

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Christians must live in the world, but not become “worldly”:

John 17:14-16 I 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. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

Christians should be concerned about the truth, not what is popular or convenient.
Christians can pay the price for truth because they believe it is worth it.
“Worldly” people may not desire truth, they may prefer indulgence of “self” instead.

John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Being successful in a “worldly” way will be completely useless in times of tribulation, especially the distressing times leading up to the return of Jesus Christ to judge the world:

Matthew 24:21-24 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible.

Luke 21:26-28 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Prov 18:11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall.

Our salvation can only be completed by endurance through hardship and tribulation.
This is the only way for it to be tested and found true.

Hebrews 10:32-39 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

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