by Mike Ratliff
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. John 15:26-27 (NASB)
There was a time when I sat under the teaching of men who taught that the only difference between a lost person and a saved person was the presence of the Holy Spirit. While only Christians have the Holy Spirit there are other differences. The Christian is Born Again. He or she has been regenerated unto a New Creation. The Christian has faith that the unregenerate do not have. This faith, working in the regenerate heart believes God and has the ability to cause the believer to obey God. The regenerate can repent, but the unregenerate (the lost) cannot. However, all living Christians still must coexist with their sin nature. Also, they live in a world that is hostile to God and all genuine Christians. These two facts seem to stack the deck against the believer ever being able to live in victory in this life.
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.’
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. John 15:18-27 (NASB)
This statement by our Lord is part of His last words to His Apostles before going to the cross. In v18 Jesus makes it clear that the world hates God and all those who are of God. The Greek word translated “world” in this passage is κόσμος (kosmos). This word can be referring to the Universe or its beauty. However, since Jesus is referring to people here we know that He is using this word to refer to the sum total of persons living in the world. The word “hates” in v18 translates the Greek verb μισεῖ (misei) the third singular, present active indicative case of μισέω (miseō), which means to hate or detest. The word “if” at the beginning of Jesus statement can be translated as “forasmuch.” We might use the word “since” in place of “if” here. Jesus is telling His Apostles the fact that all people who are not of God detest them and detest God. Aren’t we seeing this playing out big time our culture right now as secular humanism seems to be the new religion everywhere?
The verb grammar structure of “hates” and “hated” are such that it reveals facts that are true now, always have been true and always will be true. Christians are those who have been saved out of the κόσμος. We see that in v19. Regeneration so changes a Christian that they are no longer part of the world. The word “chose” in v19 translates the Greek verb ἐξελεξάμην (exelexamēn) the first singular, aorist middle indicative case of ἐκλέγομαι (eklegomai). It means the one doing the action gives preference to one from among many. Our Lord has chosen His people out of it. What a blessing to know that my Lord chose me and all other believers individually out of the world.
However, because Christians are so marked as being of God and not of this world, they will suffer the same persecution that Christ did when He was among us. Actually, the real Jesus is still the most maligned and persecuted person who ever existed. No one has had His name trampled on and character assassinated as our Lord. Also, there are innumerable false Christs pretending to be Him, but who are just man-made christs that lead people to destruction. Then there are professing Christian leaders who preach a different Jesus than the genuine. Their Jesus came to Earth to preach only peace and love or health, wealth, and prosperity. Never do these false prophets stray into Jesus’ real words in context. Instead, they pull a little truth from here and there then mix it together with their false gospel that saves no one. Forasmuch that Christ is treated like this, why do we cry out in anguish and pain when we suffer the same thing at the hands of these false prophets and their mouthpieces? Carefully read vv20-25. Isn’t Jesus telling us that anyone who persecutes those who bear God’s truth does not know Christ or the Father? These people may be very well known Christian leaders or those close to them. However, when the truth from God’s Words cuts through their lies, because it is sharper than any two-edged sword, don’t those who refuse to submit to it attack us in their rage and false humility?
From vv26-27 we see one of the major roles of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a genuine Christian. What is it? He bears witness about Christ. His work in those who truly know Christ will enable them to proclaim the Gospel with power no matter how much the world hates and persecutes them.
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.
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.
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 16:1-15 (NASB)
Carefully read the passage above. Jesus tells us plainly that we will be misunderstood and hated by those who believe they are serving God. When I left our old church in Olathe, KS in 2006 because of the leadership there going Purpose Driven, I was stunned at the dedicated spiritual blindness within them. The more I spoke the truth the more they resisted. Of course, they had already been indoctrinated into the Church Transitions so I was seen as a troublemaker and resister. So, they simply tuned me out. I had all of my responsibility taken away. Instead of waiting to be asked to leave, I simply left. I was a Deacon at that church, but I received no calls or contact from anyone there for about a month. Then we got a letter from my pastor accusing me of being a Hyper-Calvinist. My wife was still very confused about what was going on, but as she read that letter she told me that it was her sign from God that it was okay to leave that church. If he had been serious about ‘restoring” me wouldn’t he have called or set up a time we could discuss this instead of making empty accusations like that? When I read this passage, those circumstances replay in my mind in vivid detail. What were those leaders at that church really resisting? Wasn’t it the truth?
How come I was totally convicted that the Purpose Driven Church is not biblical, but those leaders at that church could not see it? Their reasoning was to make the church an outreach ministry to the unchurched. My reasoning is that a church is supposed to be a sanctuary for the sheep given to the Pastor to shepherd. He and the leadership at a church are supposed to disciple the sheep as well as minister to them. Their reasoning is to never preach the whole Gospel because it is offensive to people. Instead, tone it down and make it easy for them to believe. My reasoning is that the Holy Spirit is ready to use us to save people if we will just be obedient to preach the truth. Where do they get their reasoning? Is it from the Bible? My reasoning is from the Bible, but theirs comes from a book written by Rick Warren. Those who choose to join the ranks of the Purpose Driven are doing so outside of the whole counsel of God.
Of course, those events took place 16 years ago and things have certainly changed. What we call them has changed, but the attacks on the Gospel, and inside moves by our enemy are very much the same. Here in 2020 we have the Critical Race Theory coupled with Intersectionality, which are nothing but a destruction of God’s model for how we are to interact as humans. From that base of lies those behind it are trying to turn the Church into a Social Justice program instead of place to disciple Christians who share the Gospel with the world and thereby create more disciples, which is the model our Lord gave us in His Great Commission.
Yes, that attack is still going on yet we still have those Mega-Churches out there who are infected with the PDC/PCL virus. You know, never preach the full Gospel because you might hurt someone’s feelings. When I started working on this post I never intended to get into the PDC/PDL, however, let’s consider something peculiar. We know that when we are obedient to God and share the Gospel as we are supposed to that people believe and are saved as God wills. We also know that we could preach the truth continually for who knows how long with no visible results. Then we look at those Mega-churches and they appear to be dynamic and growing. Is it that the Holy Spirit has “moved on?” Is he now empowering the soft-sell model and not those who faithfully proclaim the whole truth? Could it be that there is another power in play in those churches other than the Holy Spirit? If so, then all those conversions are not unto salvation. Some may be, but how can so many people be saved if they never hear why they must be saved? I mean, they never preach about judgment and hell and sin. Instead, they preach about allowing Jesus to come into their life so He can improve the quality of it. That is not the Gospel. If it’s not the Gospel then the Holy Spirit isn’t in it if we take Jesus’ words literally from John 15-16.
Take heart my fellow believers.
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 16:32-33 (NASB)
Let’s take that to heart and quit worrying about pleasing men and, instead, get busy obeying God.
Soli Deo Gloria!