by Mike Ratliff
18 “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. John 15:18-19 (NASB)
I write this on Monday evening the day after the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. I wanted to address it in last night’s post, but decided to wait until more details came out about the shooter. The church was the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Sutherland Springs has a population of around 400. It is about 30 miles S.E. of San Antonio. The shooter, Devin Kelley, was from New Braunfels, a suburb N.E. of San Antonio. At first the reporters on the scene could not understand how someone would randomly drive from a town like New Braunfels about 35 miles into the country to this little town, park his car across the street from a church as services were going on, walk over there and just start shooting it up, killing as many people as possible. However, as I watched their coverage I knew there would eventually be some sort of connection and today it was learned that the shooter was a very troubled individual with connections to people who were part of that church.
At a younger age he professed to be a Christian. He even helped teach children in VBS. He married. His wife was from Sutherland Springs and her parents attended that church. However, things have started to surface that he was a trying to date younger girls even while he was married. While in the Air Force he was stationed in Colorado and was court-martialed for assaulting his wife and child. He was put in confinement for 12 months and was dishonorably discharged because of his behavior. Sometime during this period he was divorced.
He was separated from the Air Force in 2014 and since that time he remarried and became a professed atheist. Even though it should have been illegal for him to purchase firearms he was able to acquire the AR15 he used in yesterday’s shooting. I saw some of his links he had on his Google site and all I can say is they were all proponents of his atheism or extreme Liberalism. The only link that was not associated with that move into darkness was one to CNN, but there are many of us who refuse to go there as well for other reasons. In any case, this man was devolving, spiraling down into a condition where there is only darkness, no hope, and all he had was a heart full of hate. He hated his parents. He hated his ex-wife and her family, and he hated God even though he professed not to believe in Him.
Yesterday, he drove to their church and attempted to “get even.” All he succeeded in doing was killing some children, some men and women who were there to worship their Savior and as he left a plumber who lived close to the church met him with his own AR-15 and would not let him get away cleanly. He shot him. He and another man pursued him at high speed while calling 9-1-1, telling the police what was going on. The shooter eventually drove off the road and they found him dead, slumped over the steering wheel.
As I have mediated over this I have become certain that this most certainly will not be the last incident like this. Our enemy hates us just like he hates our Lord. Are we to fear then? Our Lord warned us about this and told us not to fear. Let us look at some encouragement from Him about how we are to walk through this dark place that our world has become.
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.
18 “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. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ John 15:18-25 (NASB)
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.
26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
1 “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. 2 They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 3 These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. 4 But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. John 15:26 – 16:4 (NASB)
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.
5 “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 But 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. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. John 16:5-11 (NASB)
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.
12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. John 16:12-15 (NASB)
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!
16 “A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.” 17 Some of His disciples then said to one another, “What is this thing He is telling us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, “Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. 21 Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
23 In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. John 16:16-24 (NASB)
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.’
25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.”
29 His disciples *said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. 30 Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:25-33 (NASB)
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!