by Mike Ratliff
Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. (1 John 3:13 ESV)
My pastor and I and a good friend at church had a very good discussion this last Sunday about the vast difference between the wisdom of the world and that of the Spirit. What I mean is that no matter how profound or emphatic or pious sounding an enemy of the truth is, it is almost laughable how easy it is to spot their error and observe their self-importance as they attempt to belittle those who stand firm in the midst of God’s truth. I have a set of rules for governing comments on my blog. I had to implement them because there are certain people who think it is their job to disrupt or shout down God’s truth. The rules are really quite simple. If anyone desires to dispute what I have taught or what a commenter has said then they must do so by using the Word of God alone as the source of their proof. It was amazing, and still is, how many comments never make it through moderation because the commenter was attacking what I had taught or what someone else and said, but their point of contention contained no truth. All they could come up with is innuendo or accusation, but no grounds for complaint. I can understand that coming from atheists or people from another religion, but these are professing Christians who have a huge problem with the literal interpretation of Sacred Scripture.
These same people consider that they are the ones “in the know” about Jesus while those of us who search for Him in the pages of Scripture know nothing at all. You see, there are several of you reading this who think I’m talking about you. Well, if that fits you then here is my challenge. If you want to complain about what I teach here then for your complaint to be posted you must follow the rules for commenting here. That means that you must use the Bible as your proof. If all you have is what your favorite false teacher has spouted then forget it. By the way, that Jesus you keep telling me is so cool and so far advanced from the Lord Jesus we teach here is not the real Jesus Christ. We know this because your jesus ignores the very words of Christ in the Bible. He leads you to do and say things that may sound cool, but they are only noise and foolishness and cannot be supported biblically.
I was given much comfort from several people this week who have, just at the right time, contacted me in midst of my fiery medical trials, to tell me that God spoke to them through one of my posts. You see, I don’ t do this to make a big splash or to promote Mike Ratliff. No, I’m just a Bible Teacher who has been given the Spiritual Gifts that God ordained before the foundation of the World to use just this way at this time. When you are blessed by what you read here it is God speaking through His Word to you, not me. That is why it is so perplexing to some of us when those of you who like to carp about what we teach and discuss here attack what we are doing since all we are doing is nothing more than mining the pure gold from God’s Word for the sheep of His hand. However, our Lord Himself told us that we should not be surprised when this happens.
“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)
This is very clear. The real Jesus Christ is hated by the world. Why? He stands in opposition to it at every point. It is fallen, He is not. Our enemy is a counterfeiter. He also knows that genuine believers are not perfect and must still work through progressive sanctification. They are not holy…yet. Therefore, he works very hard at presenting false Christs and false teachers in such a way that many will possibly be drawn from the light into darkness. Many will fall into these well laid traps thinking they are following a very cool Jesus or a very cool preacher who has a way with words. I find it very interesting how these super cool preacher dudes have a huge problem with the real Jesus and Him crucified. They also have a problem with any teaching about being submitted to His Lordship and obeying Him in all parts of their lives. No, that is not cool enough for them. Instead they point to their neon Jesus and say they are true Christians because they are emulating him. Okay, but why is it such a problem for you that we serve our risen Lord as He prescribes? Notice in the passage the indictment against those who refuse to bow the knee to His Lordship and serve Him as their Saviour and Lord. Also, since they hate the real Jesus, they prove that they hate God the Father as well. Therefore, as we serve our risen Saviour, we should not be surprised when the seed of our enemy tries to stop us one way or another.
“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. (John 15:26-16:1-4a ESV)
My brethren, if the world loves you and your ministry then there is a problem. God has given us the Helper (παράκλητος). This Greek word is also translated as “Comforter.” This is the Holy Spirit who will guide true disciples into all truth (John 16:13). He will indwell Jesus’ followers forever, functioning as Jesus’ emissary in His physical absence. In this ministry, the Holy Spirit, our παράκλητος, leads us into the truth. As we seek the truth about certain teachings and those who espouse them, He will lead us to know that what is being taught by them is either biblical or not. You see, this is the criteria. This is why those who want to interject extra-biblical “stuff” over what God leads us to teach directly from His Word, we must withstand. Yes, this will cause a certain level of persecution from some of them. No, it is never pleasant, but it sure is comforting to see God’s truth carried out right before our eyes showing how much the world hates God’s truth and those who teach it.
My dear brethren, our Lord Jesus is still on the throne. Until He returns, we are to obey Him in all things. He is our Sovereign Lord. Those of us ordained to teach the truth must continue to do so no matter who doesn’t like it. Therefore, those of you who believe it is your mission to stop me or somehow intimidate me into silence, I serve a mighty, risen Saviour and I will obey Him even to my last breath.
Soli Deo Gloria!