The first chapter of Love Not The World (and remember that this book was a compilation of different messages given by Watchman Nee through the years) serves as an introduction to the New Testament (NT) concept of "world". There were these basic points, liberally supported by Scriptural citations:
1. In John's Gospel there was the loss of hope of Messianic military conquest of the "world," but a new hope that Jesus' death and resurrection would draw men away from the "world."
2. The NT key word for "world" was the Greek "kosmos," which meant either 'a harmonious arrangement' or 'an adornment,' and consisted of three different elements:
a. The material earth or universe,
b. The inhabitants of that world, or the whole of men alienated to God and hostile to Christ,
c. Worldly affairs, such as goods, riches, pleasures, advantages, endowments.
John liked the word "kosmos," accounting for almost half of all of the NT uses of the word.
3. The "world" is an orderly arrangement with harmonious functioning, a planned system.
4. Two key features of this system are: it's hostile to God, and there is a mind behind it.
5. Satan, the "world" system's mind and ruler, has been judged by Jesus and is to eventually be "cast out." But Satan is preparing the "world" for the conquest of his antichrist.
6. The "world" came into being after the fall of Adam and Eve, and is Satan's domain; the "world" will be supplanted by Jesus' Kingdom when He returns.
7. All of our society, business and functioning on earth is in the "kosmos." The "world" uses seductively the tools and technology of man, and actively seeks us out, even at the Church.
8. Finally, there are two questions one must ask when moving, living and encountering in the "world":
a. How does this affect my relationship with God and Jesus Christ?
b. Is this of God, or is it of the "world"? That is the one conflict of the universe.
Living in the "world" then, to avoid its pitfalls, requires our choices based on the answers to those two questions.
Comment: This first chapter seems to clearly define what Mr. Nee considered to be the "world" of which John spoke in 1 John 2:15, the source of the book's title, "Love not the world, . . ." The suggestion is that the "world" is an external, planned system which man faces on a nearly constant basis, with all of its seductions and challenges. But some of the Hebrew definitions of "world" (see the previous October blog) suggest that our heart may play a role also, that natural man may be born with some of the "world" in his heart. So can the "world," with its reliance on man's self-focus and self-sufficiency, arise from within? If so, what mind is it that runs that "world"? How is "natural man" separated from the ruler of the "world," Satan?
On an unrelated small idea, isn't it interesting that even our grooming, our eating, and our other activities of daily living are generally done in and for the "world"?
Another question which I have about this first chapter concerns Mr. Nee's ideas about the origin of the "world." Since he seems to think that Satan was the author of the "world," where does the dominion of God fit in? One would have to think that the "world" came about only, at the least, from God's permissive will, as did Job's troubles from Satan. How does that balance between God's power and Satan's governing work out? Like Job, are we subjected to the "world" in order to give glory to the Father and the Son, and to show where our hearts are?
I will look forward to hearing what others have to say about these issues concerning the "world."
10/7/2013 08:20:53 am
Quote 4. Two key features of this system are: it's hostile to God, and there is a mind behind it.
10/7/2013 09:40:05 am
In 1John 5:19, John says "We know that we are of God, and that the whole world (kosmos) lies in the power of the evil one."
10/9/2013 02:17:12 am
Just wanted to mention another resource for the study. It's the small book by Bob Mumford entitled Dr. Frankenstein and World Systems. You can order it at www.lifechangers.org or on Amazon. The book is very much along the line of LNTW, but has some very interesting perspective that explains the links between the "powers and principalities" and world systems. We had ordered several of these books but have given them out. Sorry!
10/11/2013 03:07:34 am
Harv, here's an excerpt from your outline: "Another question which I have about this first chapter concerns Mr. Nee's ideas about the origin of the "world." Since he seems to think that Satan was the author of the "world," where does the dominion of God fit in? One would have to think that the "world" came about only, at the least, from God's permissive will, as did Job's troubles from Satan. How does that balance between God's power and Satan's governing work out?"
10/12/2013 04:00:55 am
“These, then, are the matters at which we must look. Oh, I know I shall appear to some to be overstating things, but this is necessary in order to drive home my point. For "if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15). Ultimately, when we touch the things of the world, the question we must ask ourselves always is: "How is this thing affecting my relationship with the Father?"”
10/12/2013 09:37:04 am
Yes, I believe that Larry Crabb is talking about the same thing as Watchman Nee. Nee started the second chapter of LNTW by saying its not the attractiveness of sin that is the danger of the world, but its enticing system, "skillfully woven" by Satan. Nee would probably say (perhaps he does later) that 'ethics' is part of the planned world system, to trap men and women, so that "being ethical" equates with goodness and satisfaction, away from God. Even a major world Christian leader recently said that atheists are saved by Christ's blood if they do good works. That "goodness" does seem to be of the world's deception.
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Watchman Nee became a Christian in mainland China in 1920 at the age of seventeen and began writing in the same year. Throughout the nearly thirty years of his ministry, Watchman Nee was clearly manifested as a unique gift from the Lord to His Body for His move in this age. In 1952 he was imprisoned for his faith; he remained in prison until his death in 1972. His words remain an abundant source of spiritual revelation and supply to Christians throughout the world.
Love Not The World
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