The second chapter of Love Not The World had a little different writing style than the first, without quite as many succinct points. But here is my summary of some of the contents:
1. While openly sinful activities and topics are readily ascribed to Satanic influence, other arenas of the "world," such as the sciences and the arts, may seem in man's mind to be free of that influence. That is part of Satan's contrived, more subtle (and more powerful) enticement. "He opposes God by means of every worldly thing" (p. 23). Can we accept that?
2. But Jesus said that all of the "world" was under judgment, and John wrote that "the whole 'world' lies in the evil one" (1 John 5:19). None of the "world" is any less condemned than the other.
3. As an example of things of the "world" versus things of the Spirit, Nee points out that in the "world" human parents produce human children of like kind, but Christian parents cannot produce Christian children in the "world". The latter act requires the ongoing and active work of God.
4. The "world" is that "which can continue apart from divine activity." In its nature the "world" "moves in a direction contrary to the will of God" (p. 24).
5. Most of the rest of the chapter deals with specific examples of the trend for all activities in the "world" to move away from God, such as the government of Old Testament Israel, altruistic endeavors like charities, church-initiated businesses and medicine, and industries like agriculture, engineering and publishing. Away from God these may still provide value to man in the "world."
6. To stay as living entities, churches must have constant "impartation" from God, or die.
7. Man is delivered from Satanic influence in the "world" only by God's work of mercy, redemption and salvation, not by man's own attempts at consecration of self to things of God.
8. So the natural tendency of all things in the "world" is to move toward Satan and away from God. We must be on guard constantly to avoid getting caught up in Satan's snares and "lose the liberty that is yours as a child of God" (p.31). We must also ask ourselves as we touch things of the "world," are we inadvertently helping Satan construct his kingdom, a kingdom he thinks will own everything at the end of the world?
Comments: In this chapter a basic, unsettling thought is provided and defended to some degree: just as the natural trend of things in the "world" (including the human body) is to deteriorate and wear out physically, so also is there a trend over time for all things to move away from God and toward Satan. While Nee states that everything in the "world" does this, including activities and businesses which originally may have been based on God and Christ, only the active, continuous work of God can oppose that trend. But here are some questions that this chapter raises for me:
A. Some art (paintings of Christ, for example) and some science (for me, for example, the incredible working of every living cell, and the incorporation of trillions of such cells into living, functioning organisms) clearly give glory to God. How can we tell when such things are of the "world"? Is some of that in the eye of the beholder?
B. How do we know when Christian-initiated things (i.e., Christian missionary work) have become a thing of the "world," as it may not be obvious when such endeavors begin to oppose God's will?
C. Other than by constant prayer, how can Christian believers know that they are protected from Satanic influence as they make their way in the "world"? Didn't Jesus ask for just that in John 17? Is that part of His, and the Holy Spirit's, intercessions for us before the Father (Rom 8:26, 34)?
D. Should it be obvious to believers - is it part of the Holy Spirit's gift of discernment - when they might be helping Satan build his kingdom? This chapter warns of the subtle but serious dangers!
In this chapter Nee does not really offer proof or much Scriptural evidence to support his points. He seems to be drawing conclusions from his own experiences in China. Hopefully his points will crystallize further in subsequent chapters.
Don W (New Zealand)
10/14/2013 07:28:54 am
John 13 is an area that is under heavy pressure for the body of Christ---like living amongst believers in a world with so much darkness for so long that it has so dominated peoples thinking that "His return is expected" to a point that people turn on each other with such a clouded notation of TRUTH & LOVE. Have the things of the world become so important that a people called out of God must render unto the world worldly things, and to God gather Godliness until Christ returns ? Or is God just showing us we haven't found the way yet ? Or are we at the time when the Father is putting down all His enemies upon the earth ? Big change is upon us as His work goes on. God have mercy on us all, His love endures for ever. "Love one another as I have loved you" in total sacrifice of love as He did ?
10/15/2013 11:31:03 am
I have struggles with how to use what I believe is my gift of administration. The struggle started with school work and Kairos Outside where I was sure I could organize almost anything. I felt, for me, the weekends became less about showing the love of God to the guests and more about us. But the question Nee asks “is it about God or about the World” was not even considered. Through detoxing and led to a little more opening for the Spirit to work, I really began to struggle even more in what to do with my gift. Just sit by and let the Spirit move?
10/17/2013 09:40:24 am
Thanks for the provocative comment, Ron. Welcome to the forum... I've been considering your question for several days, and I think it is one of the most important questions out of the whole study. I believe Watchman Nee addresses it in the last chapter, so that may give us some time to meditate (chew the cud) and see just how we are to walk and talk in this "world" and even bring the redemptive work of God into those world systems. Being "in the world, but not of it!" Functioning in the gifts that God has given, but not being drawn into the corruption of the world... Hmmm!
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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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