The Company You Keep#2 “Friendship with the World.”

The Company You Keep#2 “Friendship with the World.”

A friend of mine told me of a very unusual church service he attended. He said that there was no sign outside the building indicating who they were or when they met, and that the church building had no windows. But he said that the strangest thing occurred when the service was about to get under way. It was then that one of the men got up and bolted the door. The message was obvious, those who were in, were in, and those who were out, were not welcome. They were a closed community of believers.

One of the scriptures used to justify such behaviour is James 4:4 -“You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility towards God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”Armed with such verses they present the congregation as an exclusive group of friends of God who see all outsiders as enemies of God, thus enemies of them.

Of course, James is in no way suggesting that Christians have no contact with those outside of the church. He would agree with Paul, who says that we would have to leave the planet to do that (1Cor.5:10). Paul also says that Elders must have good reputations with outsiders (1Tim.3:7), which necessitates contact with those beyond our fellowship.

James is speaking to Christians who have brought their worldly ways into the church with them. He is liking his troublemaking, lusting, envying, evil-motivated, pleasure seeking readers (Jm.4:1-3) to an adulteress who brings her evil ways into the covenant relationship. It is one or the other. Righteousness cannot co-exist with evil.

If you are seeking the most miserable man in a church, look no further than one who is trying to be a friend of God and a friend of the world at the same time. “Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

John Staiger

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