What could be more dangerous than Satan and his demons? What could be threatening our very homes with a daily onslaught of Failure Philosophies? Join AMBrewster as he helps Christian parents understand how the world system is Satan’s infiltrator force right into our children’s minds.
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“Are There Failure Philosophies in Your Home?” (episode 61)
“The Most Destructive Thing about Your Entertainment is Not What You’d Think" (episode 170)
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Last time we learned that demonic forces are real, possession is a thing that must not be dismissed, demons have the ability to affect Christians physically, and yet I said that they are the least of our concerns when it comes to spiritual warfare in our homes.
Today I hope to prove that point whilst I simultaneously introduce us to an even greater threat all the while helping us to remember that our family members are not the enemy.
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Okay, if demonic forces are the Frontline Enemy, then who is this Infiltrator Enemy?
Ephesians 6 has been our starting point for this discussion, but I want to begin today in Ephesians 2:1. In this verse Paul mentions all three of our spiritual enemies when he reminds us of our former state, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”
Last time we talked about the Prince of the Power of the Air, but today we’re going to unravel the ‘course of this world,” and — more specifically — what the Bible means when it talks about “the World.”
The biblical concept of the “world” must be understood within its unique context and usage from one passage to another. In John 3:16 we’re told that God loves the world — the Greek word kosmos — but in I John 2:15, John uses the same Greek word when he says, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
As we’ve seen on many occasions, words can have meant something they no longer mean today, and they can also be used with fluidity within the Scriptures. The key is not to read our understanding into the vocabulary, but to seek for God’s understanding of how He intended the word to be used when He used it.
“The World” in Ephesians 2:1 and I John 2:15 refers to the facets of culture and society that oppose the Lord. There are an ungodly panoply of trends and Failure Philosophies in the world — materialism, naturalism, the desire for instant gratification, individualism, all forms of marxism, and many more. Paul tells us that these once ruled our passions but now they’re defeated in Christ. They no longer are our ruler. However, since the World still appeals to our remaining sin, we need to maintain our guard lest we fall back into bondage.
And it’s this “World” that is the topic of today’s show. And — like I mentioned far too many times on our last episode — today’s show is primarily about understanding the enemy. We’re going to dedicate a future show to discussing how to fight the enemy that is the World System.
So, what exactly is “the World,” and why is it more dangerous than the demons?
1. The World represents all that is opposite of God.
Let’s read I John 2:15 again, but this time add verses 16 and 17 — “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
The Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life (three concepts we’ll discuss in more detail later) are described as being all that’s in the World and also not what comes from the Father.
Verse 17 then told us that all that’s in the World is passing away. None of it will be redeemable in the new Heaven and new Earth.
Since the World System is contrary to God . . .
2. The World System hates God’s followers.
John 17:14 shows us that we don’t belong to the World and so, therefore, will be hated by it. Jesus prays to the Father, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
He told His disciples the exact same thing in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”
And it shouldn’t surprise us that the World is antithetical to the things of God because . . .
3. The World System is under the authority of Satan.
Ephesians 2:1 and 2 said, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”
And II Corinthians 4:3-4 tells us “even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
“But, Aaron, if Satan is the god of this world, then wouldn’t he be more dangerous to us than the World?”
That’s a good question, and I hope to answer it soon. Just stick with me.
For now we know that the World System is antithetical to God, hates Christians, is under the authority of Satan, and because of all of this . . .
4. Christians are to reject the World in their lives.
In Romans 12:1-2 we read, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Titus 2:11-14 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
We are called to live a life that is diametrically opposed to all for which the World stands.
Mark 8:36 asks a sobering question: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”
What could the World and its Failure Philosophies possibly have to offer us? Born again believers may struggle with temptation from the World, but ultimately, they will not be conformed to its image.
In fact, to be friends with the World is to be enemies with God. James 4:4 — “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Now, it’s time to take a sharp turn and ask an obvious question. Does God’s command that we reject the lifestyle of the World mean that we go to war with the individuals who make up this World System?
There is an important dichotomy necessary to answer this question biblically, and I think misunderstanding our next point has hurt the cause of Christ more than we can possibly begin to imagine.
Yes, the World System is made up of individual people who embrace its Failure Philosophies and reject God’s Truth. But we must not ever forget that our conflict is not against flesh and blood.
The people from that fake church, Westboro Baptist Church have interpreted the biblical injunctions to deny the worldly desires and not love the World or be friends with the World to mean that we have to hate and fight the individuals who make up the World. If you know nothing about Westboro, you’re a blessed individual, but if you know what I’m talking about, then you understand how easy it is for some people to hate the world around them.
1980’s and 90’s fundamentalism had a similar fault. Now, please understand that I consider myself a fundamentalist because I believe in the original definition of the word and the original goals of the movement. However, in an attempt to conform our lives to the Lord instead of the World, many fundamentalists have made the individuals that make up the World System the enemy.
But that flies in the face of not only Ephesians 6:12, but also countless passages where we’re commanded to love our neighbors and do good to those who hate us.
Again, we’re going to flesh out this difficult understanding later, but for now, please understand that I’m saying that the individuals that make up the World are not our enemy. The World System itself is our enemy. It must be rejected as we move closer and closer to Christ.
This may appear contradictory or at least difficult to accept at this moment, but I admonish you to pray about this and join us for Part 10 where we look a how God expects us to engage the World.
And it’s here that we need to understand — if the World is not the people in the world — what is it?
I have to admit that I’ve made my job more difficult by teaching about our three spiritual enemies in order from least dangerous to most dangerous. Had I started with the most insidious of spiritual enemies and worked outward, it would have made all the sense in the world — no pun intended.
And I do plan on tying them all together soon.
For now, though, we need to understand that the World System refers to a collection of Failure Philosophies. If you want to learn more about Failure Philosophies, you should check out episode 61, “Are There Failure Philosophies in Your Home?" I’ll link that in the description if you’re interested.
For now, think of it this way, the men who created the atomic bomb were likely decent people. They may have had wonderful home lives and been the life of the party. They were scientists — many of whom may have been dismayed that their findings were later weaponized. But it was their collected thinking that became a weapon of mass destruction that has claimed nearly 200,000 lives and frequently threatens the lives of billions more.
We might argue that the men themselves were not the enemy; their creation was the enemy.
In a similar way, the individuals in the world are not our enemy. These are the people for which Christ died! These are the people we’re commanded to love and with whom we’re to share the Gospel. All current believers were formerly part of the World System.
So, it’s the false beliefs and sinful ideologies that makeup the spiritual enemy we’re discussing today.
Now, this may all sound like semantics to some of you. You may believe with all your heart that the terrorists are the enemy more so than their ideology is. I’m not going to argue that just yet.
The only point I want you to consider is this — would the terrorists be our enemy if their terrorist ideology didn’t exist?
Is it better to remove our enemies by killing them or by introducing them to Christ wherein they become our brothers? Those are two very different tacts with two very different outcomes — though both result in us having fewer enemies.
Now, let’s take what we’ve learned and talk about why the World System is a more dangerous enemy than the Demonic Forces even though Satan himself is said to be the god of the World System.
It’s true that Satan was the original mastermind. And it’s true that demonic forces can manipulate unbelievers and tempt believers to sin. But Satan doesn’t possess the ability to actually control my thinking or behavior. He can tempt me, and I can give in, but he cannot control me.
So, he exercises his deceptive power and uses everything he can to seduce us into sinning against God. This involves the collected Failure Philosophies which surround us and permeate our living spaces from day to day.
Look at it this way: Hitler was a bad dude who was the spark that started a tragic and abysmal fire that has marred history. However, if I were fighting in WWII, I would be far more concerned about the Nazi foot soldier desperately trying to stab me with his bayonet than I would Hitler. Sure, the guy trying to kill me may be taking his orders from Hitler, but Hitler himself will not be the instrument of my death if I’m unable to overcome my Nazi antagonist.
Yes, Satan may be an orchestrating force behind the World System, but Satan himself is likely never going to interact with my family directly. His demons may also be afraid to cross the threshold of my home. But — if I’m being honest — the World has been invited to prop its feet on my coffee table. It’s the antagonist coming face to face with your family absolutely everywhere you go — including your own home.
The world’s Failure Philosophies are woven into every song, story, movie, conversation, political debate, tweet, YouTube video, and class that our family members encounter.
And when you consider that every single thing ever communicated by any human being to another is either going to be 100% Truth, 100% a lie, or some mix of the two (which really isn’t much better than a 100% lie), and when you consider how many people are influencing your family members on a daily basis and how many of those people cannot be trusted to be speak Truth into their lives . . . you start to realize that the World is a massive force with which to be reckoned. Our homes may see very little to no demonic influence, but I can say with all certainty that the World has infiltrated our home like a tank crashing through the front door.
In fact — if you’re anything like I — you often invite the World right into your home.
Now, the biblical response is not to remove ourselves from the World. Jesus says that would be impossible, and He doesn’t want us to do that (John 17:15). The answer isn’t to encase our families in bubbles that filter the World out of the very air we breath.
The answer is to prepare our children to engage the World. That’s the topic of Part 10 of this study.
For now, though, I hope you can see how the World’s ideas are constantly swirling around us. There’s no escaping them. I have no reason to believe that demons are omnipresent, and I don’t believe they’re always around every corner, but I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the World System is an ever present temptation in our families.
Hollywood injects their Failure Philosophies into everything they make. For example: my family and I really enjoy Star Trek, but whether it’s the original series or the newest iteration, they very often espouse concepts that fly in the face of God’s revealed Truth. VidAngel and ClearPlay have plenty of things to filter out — especially when it comes to the modern series.
But even the most trusted children’s authors are dangerous because though their imaginary worlds don’t have swearing and murder and homosexuality, they do completely leave God out of the equation. Ponies and birds make friends and save squirrels and pass their forest classes without ever once having to consider whether or not they have a relationship with their Creator and what it would mean if they did. That kind of reality is a lie. It may be free of obvious objectionable elements, but it’s also devoid of Truth.
I encourage you to listen to episode 170, “The Most Destructive Thing about Your Entertainment is Not What You’d Think” to learn more about this concept. I’ll link it in the description.
This is why the World is the Infiltrator Enemy. This is why it’s far more troublesome than demons. The World has gotten into our homes, and most of us don’t even recognize it anymore. In fact, we like it there.
The World has told us a lie, convinced us to accept its contradictory explanations of reality, and persuaded us to believe that what it’s saying is true. The course of this World is an enemy to be fought, and I look forward to learning how to do that with you.
I really appreciate the time you invest with us.
TeamTLP and I make these episodes because God’s Word has everything we need for parenting and godliness. I hope they’re a blessing, and I really appreciate those of you who take the time to send us emails, leave comments, and post reviews.
Recently, I’ve been struggling with my own temptation. The road required to start a new ministry is fraught with many stumbling blocks and hazards, and I’m not immune to them. But the Lord has used you to providentially encourage me when I needed it most.
During one of my bouts of discouragement, I received this email: “I wanted to take a few moments to let you know how thankful our family is for TLP. The bible centered, gospel proclaiming ministry of TLP has been a blessing in my life since I started listening 2 years ago. I have shared multiple podcasts with our Home Group families and both my husband and I listen to the podcasts even though the majority of our kids are out of the home. The information is so rich, applicable and doctrinally sound. What a resource for my daughter and her husband who are married but do not have their own children yet. :) I have often remarked that I wish TLP was around when I was raising my children 18+ years ago!!
“Since the Shelter in Place order started 3+ weeks ago, I have found my self homeschooling my 6th & 9th grade boys for the first time, I quickly endeavored to add a ‘BIBLE’ class to their home school curriculum and the James study popped up at the perfect time! Praise the LORD!! What a blessing it has been to walk through the book of James with the Brewster family. We felt like we were part of your family for the 2 weeks as we virtually worshiped at your kitchen table!
“May the LORD continue to bless this ministry and the families which it serves to proclaim the gospel.”
Thank you for your encouragement. You will never know — because I will never be able to communicate it well enough — how God used your email to reorient my mind to the Truth of His Word.
If any of you are struggling with the current shutdown or with parenting and marriage in general, please sent a note to Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com. We would love to help you discover God’s will for your life.
Remember, if we want our children to grow up into Christ, we must parent in truth and love. The World System is never going to provide them that Truth or that love.
To that end, join us next time as we discover our family’s insidious “Double-Agent Enemy” in our spiritual warfare.
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