Brothers Do not be Surprised that the World Hates You

by Mike Ratliff

[13] Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. (1 John 3:13 ESV)

There are many ministries in our time that are run by people who have either forgotten that friendship with the world is a sin or they are deliberately overlooking it. If a ministry operates in such a way that the world loves it then there is at least one missing component in it, which is obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture is clear that Christians cannot be friends of the world. Why? Satan is the one who dominates the evil world system, which is in rebellion against God (John 14:30). Therefore, the world not only hates Jesus, but also those who follow Him. This hatred is also focused toward the Father because He sent Jesus to testify against it. Now, since this is true and clearly taught in Sacred Scripture, what does this say about those ministries who work overtime to accommodate the secular and to appeal to temporal ways and means?

18Εἰ ὁ κόσμος ὑμᾶς μισεῖ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐμὲ πρῶτον ὑμῶν μεμίσηκεν. 19εἰ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἦτε, ὁ κόσμος ἂν τὸ ἴδιον ἐφίλει· ὅτι δὲ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου οὐκ ἐστέ, ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ ἐξελεξάμην ὑμᾶς ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου, διὰ τοῦτο μισεῖ ὑμᾶς ὁ κόσμος. (John 15:18-19 NA28)

[18] “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. [19] 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)

The word hate in this passage translates the Greek verb μισεῖ (misei), the Finite, 3rd Person, Singular, Present, Indicative, Active case of μισέω (miseō), which means “to hate or detest.”  Jesus is telling us that those who hate Christians actually “detest” them. This hatred is prone to lead to persecution. He then tells us that those who μισέω Christians hated Him first. Who hates Christians and our Lord? It is the world. This is the Greek word κόσμος or kosmos. This word refers to space not time. The κόσμος is the sum total of the material universe, the beauty in it; the sum total of persons living in the world.  In other words, this is the temporal or secular.  It is the world system. Jesus is saying here that those who belong to Him are no longer part of κόσμος. No, they are now new creations and have been saved out of it. This is why it is so tragic for Christians to be in love with the κόσμος to the point they take on its ways and mind set.

Jesus tell us that the κόσμος loves those who are part of it, but since Christians are not they are hated because Jesus chose them out of it. The word “chose” translates the Greek verb ἐξελεξάμην (exelexamēn), the Finite, 1st Person, Singular, Aorist, Indicative, Middle case of ἐκλέγομαι (eklegomai). This is an interesting word. It means to speak intelligently; to choose, select, choose for oneself, not necessarily implying the rejection of what is not chosen but giving favor to the chosen subject, keeping in view a relation to be established between him and the object. Jesus says the He has ἐξελεξάμην believers “out of” the κόσμος. The Greek word translated as “out of” is ἐκ (ex). This speaks of the primary object formerly being in one one object, but is now separated from it either in respect to place, time, source, or origin.  What is this saying that salvation causes for the believer? We must never overlook the fact that our salvation came as a result of Christ choosing us out of the world. Salvation has actually separated us from being part of the world. We are no longer “of the world.”

20μνημονεύετε τοῦ λόγου οὗ ἐγὼ εἶπον ὑμῖν· οὐκ ἔστιν δοῦλος μείζων τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ. εἰ ἐμὲ ἐδίωξαν, καὶ ὑμᾶς διώξουσιν· εἰ τὸν λόγον μου ἐτήρησαν, καὶ τὸν ὑμέτερον τηρήσουσιν. (John 15:20 NA28)

[20] 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. (John 15:20 ESV)

The word servant here translates the Greek noun δοῦλος (doulos). A δοῦλος is one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another. His or her will is altogether consumed in the will of the master. The work “master” in v20 translates the Greek noun τοῦ κυρίου (tou kyriou), which is the Genitive, Singular, Masculine case of ὁ κύριος (ho kyrios),”the Lord, owner, ruler, sir, master.” This is the word most translated as “Lord” in the New Testament and in the Septuagint. Jesus is the κύριος of His δοῦλος, and they should not expect that they would escape persecution if He is persecuted by the κόσμος. Conversely, those who listen to Christ will listen to His disciples as well.

[21] But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. [22] 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. [23] Whoever hates me hates my Father also. [24] 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. [25] But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ (John 15:21-25 ESV)

No one is sinless my brethren. If Jesus had not come those who rejected Him would not be sinless. Our Lord is telling us that His coming incited the most severe and deadly sin, which is the rejecting and rebelling against God and His truth. Their rejecting of Him as the Messiah was deadly for them. They hated our Lord without a cause. The κόσμος hates His people without a cause as well.

26Ὅταν ἔλθῃ ὁ παράκλητος ὃν ἐγὼ πέμψω ὑμῖν παρὰ τοῦ πατρός, τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας ὃ παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκπορεύεται, ἐκεῖνος μαρτυρήσει περὶ ἐμοῦ· 27καὶ ὑμεῖς δὲ μαρτυρεῖτε, ὅτι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς μετ’ ἐμοῦ ἐστε. 1Ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν ἵνα μὴ σκανδαλισθῆτε. 2ἀποσυναγώγους ποιήσουσιν ὑμᾶς· ἀλλ’ ἔρχεται ὥρα ἵνα πᾶς ὁ ἀποκτείνας ὑμᾶς δόξῃ λατρείαν προσφέρειν τῷ θεῷ. 3καὶ ταῦτα ποιήσουσιν ὅτι οὐκ ἔγνωσαν τὸν πατέρα οὐδὲ ἐμέ. 4ἀλλὰ ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν ἵνα ὅταν ἔλθῃ ἡ ὥρα αὐτῶν μνημονεύητε αὐτῶν ὅτι ἐγὼ εἶπον ὑμῖν. Ταῦτα δὲ ὑμῖν ἐξ ἀρχῆς οὐκ εἶπον, ὅτι μεθ’ ὑμῶν ἤμην. (John 15:26-16:4 NA28)

[26] “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. [27] And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. [16:1] “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. [2] 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. [3] And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. [4] 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)

My brethren, the κόσμος hates all who belong to Christ. However, genuine Christians have the Holy Spirit. What does He do? He proceeds from the Father. He bears witness about Christ. He causes believers to bear witness as well. The words “bear witness” in v27 translate the Greek verb μαρτυρήσει (martyrēsei), the Finite, 3rd Person, Singular, Future, Indicative, Active case of μαρτυρέω (martyreō), “testify, bear witness.” In this context our Lord is saying that the Holy Spirit testifies about Him and genuine believers testify about Christ in the κόσμος. They tell of the excellent greatness of Christ and why He came and had to die on the cross. They testify about the dire need of people to be saved from the sins. This incites the ire of the κόσμος because it is seen as a direct attack on it. Jesus does not sugar coat this. He tells us that persecution will come on all who testify about Him. This is not talking about those who have created a world friendly Jesus who accuses no one and simply wants everyone to have their best life now. No, the κόσμος loves that Jesus. However, they hate the one found in the Bible. It is Him we must preach and then not be surprised when the κόσμος μισέω us.

Soli Deo Gloria!

13 thoughts on “Brothers Do not be Surprised that the World Hates You

  1. Amen brother. This is another timely topic! A client of mine bought one of my products and I found out he is a Lutheran minister. I don´t know what he believes, doctrinally wise yet. I’m asking him questions like, “do you preach the doctrines of grace?”, to open a door to see what he believes in. If you don’t mind, I may be requesting your advice on how to proceed with such a subject if he turns out to be a liberal “minister”, I’m afraid I’m lacking in the department of apologetics. The Lord has a funny sense of humour.


  2. Well, I was shocked by the reply regarding if he taught the doctrines of grace, his reply was:

    “Salvation by grace through faith

    Sola Gracia
    Sola Scriptura
    Sola Fide


  3. Mike isn’t it interesting that the Greek word from which we get the word martyr (martyreō) means to “testify, bear witness.” In our day the word ‘martyr’ is limited to those who have gravely suffered for their faith or have died for their faith. But wouldn’t a martyr be also a Christian who faithfully testifies of Christ? A witness for Christ?

    Often today, we Christians especially in America are made to feel like second class citizens. After all, we haven’t died for our faith, we haven’t “suffered enough” for our faith. Well, excuse me. But God is sovereign and didn’t He put us here? He knows our situation; in fact He ordained us for such a time as this. We should not court persecution nor should we be looked down upon because it’s not as bad here as elsewhere. If God chose to let us live in this current situation who are we to find fault? Instead we can be faithful to share the gospel (witness) as often as possible. We should share the gospel, give toward missions, and go elsewhere as a missionary if the Lord so leads. Let us use the gifts and the freedom that we have while we still have it.


  4. Amen Julie! The Doctrine of the Good News of the Gospel is continually under attack as you well know. I often tire of having to continually go over the same old ground in defense of the truth. Our enemy is relentless. However, as you said, this is where God has put us and this is the task He has given us so let us be eternally minded and focused on God’s glory alone and not the fear mongering going on all around us right now that is intended to get us off track and focused on the temporal. God is Sovereign not the enemy. Things will undoubtedly get very rough for those who refuse to compromise, but oh the blessed hope that the faithful have!


  5. Dear Mike,
    Thanks for being an encouragement to the feeble to continue to stand…
    Blessings in Christ alone, charisse


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