Overcoming the World

by Mike Ratliff

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”(John 15:18-19 ESV) 

After the economy issues hit last month followed by the surge by the Presidential campaign of Barak Obama then his victory on the 3rd of November 2008, I found it very interesting who was celebrating and who was sorrowful. In response to that, I wrote a post called “What Now?“. The comments I received dealing with this was just as interesting. Some confessed that they had been in mourning for the last several months just as I had been. Some misunderstood the focus of that post thinking we were viewing the United States as a Christian country, et cetera. No, that was not even close to the focus of that post. The message of that post was that the Church had better prepare itself for reality as the powers of darkness that hate the light attempt to squelch the exclusivity of the real Gospel that we hold and preach.

Other professing Christians revealed that they supported Obama and his liberal agenda. I did not post those comments because all that would do is incite arguing and lead to evil. However, if you carefully read that post you will see that the real focus of it is to encourage Christians to pray and get serious about their walk with Christ for it is only in this that we overcome the world. On the night before His crucifixion, our Lord poured Himself into His disciples to prepare them for what was coming. Let us look at part of that discourse.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.'” (John 15:18-25 ESV)

The Greek word John used here for world is κόσμος or kosmos. The meaning of this word is determined by the context. In this context, John is referring to the sum total of persons living in the world. Therefore, when our Lord says the κόσμος hates Him and His followers, He is referring to the hatred of all those who are not regenerate. The word ‘hates’ here is μισέω or miseō. This is a present, indicative verb in active voice. That means the action it describes is going on right now. The action is ‘detesting with an implication of persecution.’ This is described in Romans 1 where we see that the natural (unregenerate) man knows the truth about God in his or her heart of hearts, but suppresses it and does all they can do to put it out of mind. This denial of the truth takes many forms, but it is all wrapped up in hating God, Christ, and His followers. Remember this hatred is ‘without cause.’ Since they hate the truth and God, they will hate genuine Christians as well.

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.” (John 15:26-16:4 ESV)

The Helper is, of course, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-33), came in new power into the world in obedience to God the Son. The Holy Spirit also comes in obedience to the directions of God the Father. As Christians bear witness about Christ, the Holy Spirit is working silently and invisibly through their words. Jesus’ words spoken to His disciples and to us through the Word of God are given to keep Christians from falling away. This is profound my brethren. Do you see how vital it is to immerse yourself in the Word of God? This is also why those “churches” that do not emphasize the Word of God in the lives of their members are part of the compromised church. This is what we see in those who have succumbed to liberalism as well. Never forget my brethren, people can ‘fall away’ yet remain religious. This work of the power of God’s Word in the Church is to strengthen believers so they will stand firm regardless of the persecution that is spawned by the hatred of those who despise God’s truth. Notice the persecution will at times escalate to martyrdom. When persecution comes my brethren let us never forget that those doing it do not know the Father or the Son.

“But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16:5-11 ESV)

Let us never forget my brethren; we have God the Holy Spirit living within. What is it that the Holy Spirit does in the world? He convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. The Greek word translated as ‘convict’ is ἐλέγχω or elegchō. This word means to reprove, rebuke, or admonish one who is an offender. In this usage, it is in future tense because when our Lord spoke these words it was in a prophetic sense. Notice also, what form the conviction takes. When one is convicted of sin, it is done in a rebuke of the guilty party’s unbelief. These convictions gives us hope that many who are in “the world” will not be part of it forever but will repent of their sins and believe in Christ. The Holy Spirit does this conviction in our time because Christ is now with the Father. Who is the ruler of this world who is judged? This is Satan. What does it mean that he is judged? In Greek, this word means that the one judged is condemned. It is in perfect tense in Greek, which tells us that Satan has been judged and continues in the state resulting from that judgment.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:12-15 ESV)

What a blessing it is to have the Holy Spirit! It is very interesting to me when I get email and comments from professing Christians who say things that are blatantly opposed to what the Word of God clearly says. How is it that we know what direction to go and what to say and what not to say? How is that we can read the Word of God and know the truth from it? It is because the Holy Spirit teaches us in direct obedience to the Father and the Son. He takes what is Christ’s and declares it to us. What a blessing!

“A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:16-24 ESV)

In this passage, we have two “little whiles.” The first one refers to those few days after our Lord’s crucifixion and His resurrection. His disciples were full of sorrow during that time. However, they rejoiced when they beheld the risen Saviour. The second reference by our Lord refers to that period between His ascension and His second coming. He compares His crucifixion to the sorrow of a mother giving birth to a baby. It is painful and unforgettable, but afterwards the joy of the new baby lessens the sorrow of the travail. We are in that second “little while.” During this period, ‘this age,’ we have the promise of our Lord that if we ask God in our Lord’s name that we will receive and our joy will be full. This is not asking for selfish things. No, it is asking for things according to the Father’s will. When our Lord does return and judges the world, we will enter the ‘age to come.’ 

“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:25-33 ESV) 

At our Lord’s trial and crucifixion, the disciples were scattered. The sheep deserted the shepherd. However, there is forgiveness for those who believe and repent. In this is found peace. This is supernatural peace because all those who seek to live righteously will find tribulation in the world. However, all believers must take to heart the fact that our Lord has overcome the world and it has no power over us at all. It may rob us. It may persecute us. It may even kill us. However, we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ who has overcome the world. If we stand firm and never give in to the forces of darkness then we will find peace in Him and overcome the world as well.

Soli Deo Gloria!

















9 thoughts on “Overcoming the World

  1. ‘Never forget my brethren, people can ‘fall away’ yet remain religious. This work of the power of God’s Word in the Church is to strengthen believers so they will stand firm regardless of the persecution that is spawned by the hatred of those who despise God’s truth’.

    Well said Mike. We have seen this time and time again. It is SO sad. We keep praying. People are going to be suprised when they find out that they are here during the great tribulation.


  2. Pingback: Overcoming the World - Reformata

  3. Thanks for the article Mike!

    I’d like to throw this verse in along with what you said:

    Philippians 1:29 ESV For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake

    Two very important things are seen here. First, it has been granted to Christians to believe in Christ. The verb “granted” is exaristhay, which is in a passive form. This means that the action of “granting to believe” was done to us as opposed to being done by us. Salvation is God’s work and He does it to us – it is not something that we do or initiate.

    The second point of the verse is that Christians – the true ones – will suffer. This is proven throughout history, and today it is no different. The world hates Christ, and it hates those who shine the light of Christ. Jesus said we would be hated by all people (Mat 24:9). I do expect the coming administration with the current Congress to pass some kind of law similar to what is already law in Canada and in Europe, and that is making it a hate crime to say anything perceived as negative about homosexuals. If we exposit Romans 1, 1 Cor 6, 1 Timothy 1, etc., that could be trouble.

    The good news is that God is still in control, and He’s the One who appoints all leaders. His purposes will stand no matter how bleak it looks. He will bring our salvation to completion and nothing can take that away from us. While I can’t say I’m thrilled about the idea of being persecuted, God will give strength. Perhaps the Church will be purified through this…hallelujah!


  4. Its refreshing to see that some people are aware that we will be here during the tribulation. The ones who think we won’t be, well I guess we will need to comfort them and tell them why we are still here. Like what you are doing Mike. Its not going to be a picnic for sure but we need to know these things. Its so important. We learn new things from you all the time Mike. Which I’m sure will help later on. Thanks.


  5. “Love Not The World”

    ”For the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”(I John 5:19)

    Rather simple to “see” what the world is, for those with “eyes to see”? The Messiah declared the world to be wicked, and i believe it rather simple to “see” that the world is that ‘place’ where money is ‘god’, and ‘god’ is money. That ‘place’ where The Only True GOD’s Order, which is HIS Will, has been cast aside, replaced by the “imag”ined systems of mankind, and especially the religious systems which create but confusion, dis-order, and every evil work. Yet to those who are of this world, such a ‘place’ is a paradise. And what better represents such a ‘place’ than that which is called the u.s. of a.?

    “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world will pass away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of The Only True GOD will abide for ever.” (I John 2:15-17)

    “If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his Master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:19-20)

    “Where do wars and fighting among you come from? Do they not come of your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is to be at enmity with The Only True GOD? Therefore whoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of The Only True GOD.” (James 4:1-4)

    “The world cannot hate you; but the world hates Me, because I testify that the works of this world are evil.” (John 7:7)” and “The Messiah gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of The Only True God, Our Father.”(Gal 1:4)

    The Messiah testified: “If the world hates you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”(John 5:18) Truly, Truly, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life in this world shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall have it unto life eternal.” (John 12:24-25)

    John testified: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hates you.” (I John 3:13) “ James testified, “Whoever would be a friend of this world is the enemy of GOD”(James 4:4)

    The “earth” is The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”, he who is “the father of lies”, he who “has blinded the minds of those who believe not The Messiah”! All the nations of this world are under the dominion of, and serve, the evil one for he provides the fuel that feeds mankind’s “imag”ination, and mankind’s “imagination is destroying and perverting Creation(land, air, water, creatures, Truth, Love, Peace, Faith, Simplicity, .etc.) ;-(

    And the “strongest thing” in the evil one’s worldly systems? “Woman”…… yet The Truth, that which is of The Only True GOD, is stronger even than woman. (read I Esdras 3&4 of the Apocrypha) And Truth, Love, Peace, Faith, Mercy, Hope,,,etc,,, all that is “good”, is of The Only True GOD and is of HIS Spirit, not of this world. Those born of The Spirit, those born of The Only True GOD, are the brethren of The Messiah, for they received “a love of The Truth that they might be saved”. Reborn!

    And those who have received “a love of The Truth” have separated themselves from this world and those of this world, for they have taken heed unto The Call of The Only True GOD to “Come out of her MY people.” They are “in, but not of this wicked, evil world”, and The Only True GOD has received them, and is “A Father unto them, and they are HIS sons and daughters”. And they follow, and desire to be like their Master and Brother, The Messiah, He Who was “the firstborn of many brethren”. And as “The Messiah was a servant of The Only True GOD”, so also His Brethren are “servants of The Only True GOD.”

    The called out ones are not “adulterers and adulteresses”, they are not “friends of this wicked, evil world”, they do not “fornicate with the god of this world” for they know that “to be a friend of this world is to be the enemy of The Only True GOD.” They are at war against the evil spirits that possess those who are of this world.

    And they do not “allow that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach. For she teaches others to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. The Only True GOD gave her a chance to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” (Rev 2:20-21)

    “fornication” and “adultery..” in that which is recorded above signifies spiritual fornication with “the god of this world”, which is to love that which is of his world.

    Once again, the “earth” is The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”.

    Those who “love this world” all serve “the god of this world”, and play their part in the processes that seek to destroy The Creation of The Only True GOD. “And The Only True GOD will destroy them who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18)

    Global warming, polluted air, land and waters, toxic wastes, sexual perversion, evil inventions of destruction, greed, hate, carnal warfare, dis-ease ,,,etc,,, are all destructive processes that have their root in “the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life”.

    And as stated, “woman is the strongest thing of this world”. Yet stronger than woman is The Truth, which is in those who have “received a love of The Truth”.

    The Truth Is Alive in those who have been born of The Spirit for “they no longer love this wicked, evil world and it’s things, nor do they love their own lives in this world”.

    They but seek and desire The Will of GOD, their Father and Creator, as they await their final transformation. “Corruptible to Incorruptible” ndeed and Truth!

    Now “the ground was cursed for Adam’s sake” because he “hearkened unto the woman”.

    Adam listened to a woman rather than obeying The Only True GOD. Yet because of Faithful Noah, The Only True GOD “no longer would curse the ground for man’s sake” because Noah obeyed The Only True GOD! (Genesis 8:21-22)

    And the Faithful today are exhorted to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” And Faithful women are exhorted to “be in silence.” “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. For I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” “For Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11,12,14)

    A man and woman joined together in obedience and submission unto The Only True GOD are blessed indeed. All who are not obedient, all who will not submit themselves unto The Only True GOD will have to answer to HIM..period..

    Be not of those who deny and defy “The One GOD, Father of All”. Be not of those who are destroying and perverting HIS Creation(land, air, water, creatures, Light, Truth, Love, Peace, Hope, Mercy, Thankfulness, .etc.)!

    Paul testified, “The Only True GOD is The HEAD of The Messiah, The Messiah is The Head of the man, and the man is the head of the woman”. Multitudes pervert GOD’s Order because they have been seduced by ” the commandments and doctrines of men and devils”.

    Multitudes are seduced by the religious systems that are in and of this evil world. Seduced because they love this evil world and their own life in it!

    “Set your affections on things above”. Desire heavenly, eternal things. Quit serving ‘time’ in the prison that is this world and take heed unto The Call of “The Only True GOD” to ”Come Out of her, MY people!”

    Once again, “Come out” from among those who are destroying and perverting Creation and be of those who follow The Messiah on “The Way to The Truth of The Life”.

    “Come out” of the worldly systems, which are the product of mankind’s “imag”ination, especially the religious systems. “Pure religion and undefiled before GOD The Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the world.” (James 1:27)

    Simply, all other religions are impure, defiled and of this wicked, evil world!

    Faith will not create a system of religion!

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world and it’s systems of religion, for “the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one” indeed and Truth…….

    Truth is never ending…….


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