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John 15:19-25 by Robert Dean
Series:John (1998)
Duration:1 hr 7 mins 9 secs

Kosmic Thinking; John 15:19-25


John 15:18 NASB "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."


There are two things that are covered in these verses. From v. 18 down through v. 25 we have the enemy of the believer who is abiding in Christ. It is in this upper room discourse that we will see the basic doctrines that will be developed that are going to be revealed under the category of the mystery doctrines for the church age. These are truths that have never been revealed before in human history and are related to the new spiritual life that is going to be in action during the present church age. There has been a gradual development of these themes. It began back in chapter 13 with the Passover and there Jesus introduces the statement that a slave is not greater than his master. There He applied that to the fact that just as He was washing the feet of the disciples, in other words that was a symbol which represented forgiveness, so the disciples were to forgive one another. He is going to apply it in a different way in this particular passage. He revealed Judas as the betrayer and then goes on to give a new commandment on 13:34, "… that you love one another." That commandment is followed by four questions. This immediately upsets the disciples because Jesus said he wasn't going to be with them much longer and they immediately get into a discussion about what He meant. The writer John and our Lord under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit is emphasising a point, and that is the abysmal spiritual ignorance of the disciples. This is not to say that they were a bunch of dummies, it is simply pointing out the fact that apart from God the Holy Spirit even the regenerate human mind can only understand and grasp doctrine to a certain level. Beyond that the Holy Spirit has to come into play, and that is what is being brought out in this entire discourse.


In verses 18-24 we have one of the enemies of the spiritual life presented which is the world. The way to overcome the world in context is going to be through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, called the Helper. Apart from the Holy Spirit there is no way to overcomes the cosmos, cosmic thinking. Cosmic thinking is one of the largest problems facing Christians. We don't understand it, we don't know how to think, we don't know how to evaluate our thinking and we don't take enough time to think about out thinking, we are just too busy.


Our basic Greek word for "world" is kosmos [kosmoj]. When Jesus talks about this he uses the word kosmoj and not the word ge [gh], which can mean land or earth, and there are important distinction between the two. The basic meaning of kosmos is orderly or systematic. Because we know that kosmos is a term that relates to Satan's orderly, systematic antagonism to God that tells us that God's divine viewpoint is also orderly and systematic. In John 3:16, "For God so loved the world," it is not talking about kosmos as the cosmic system, which is how it is used in chapter 15, it is talking about the inhabitants of the earth. But primarily the word refers to Satan's plan, his orderly and cohesive and multi-faceted system of thinking which includes the purpose, policies and structure of authority designed to subvert the human race and to gain control over the world that he now rules. It is not just one system, it is a complex system, and they have certain basic things in common. Satan is constantly developing these philosophies and religious systems in order to appeal to man, in order to accomplish his two objectives. His two objectives are at the very core of cosmic thinking. One is arrogance, and this is exemplified in Satan's five "I wills," culminating in the fifth, "I will be like the most high" in Isaiah 14, where Lucifer uttered his desire to replace God and to be like God and to rule over the angels. So arrogance, self-assertion, independence from God (also called autonomy) is one aspect of cosmic thinking. Cosmic thinking always operates on arrogance. On the other hand, the second major characteristic is antagonism toward the truth of God's Word.


This cosmic thinking includes a variety of religions and philosophies. This is why when we come to the cosmos we realise that there is an antagonism between us and the cosmic system. The cosmic system hates Christ because the cosmic system is built on arrogance. Jesus came as a servant in humility, Philippians 2:1-8. So the cosmic system operates on arrogance and antagonism, those two principles are clearly antithetical to everything Jesus Christ taught and stood for, and so the Scripture says that "if the world hates you, you know that is has hated me before it hated you." Satan, according to John 14:30, is the ruler of the cosmic system and he is trying to bring about his kingdom of the earth in opposition to God. This can be traced throughout the Scriptures.


God has provided certain principles, though, that will provide order and stability in the human race in the midst of the antagonism of Satan's cosmic thinking. We have to be careful with this because sometimes the way this is taught it communicates the idea that there is a realm out there of neutrality. But there is no neutrality, you are either in the cosmic system, human viewpoint, or you are in divine viewpoint. James 3:13-15 says cosmic thinking is earthly, demonic and natural. So there are only two spheres, there is no in between. What establishment principles gets the human race is the level of stability and peace in their social structures so that there is an environment within which the gospel can be proclaimed. There is no such thing as neutrality.


If as a believer we believe in what the Scriptures teach we are going to see that our opinions and our views on life are 180 degrees the opposite of everyone around us. So Jesus says, "If the world hates you [MISSEO [missew], a very strong word for antagonism]." Once the believer is in the plan of God he no longer belongs to the cosmic system. We are positionally different, therefore we shouldn't think like that any more. "Verse 19—"If [2nd class condition; if, and you are not] the world would love its own; but because you are not [from the source of] the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you." The word "love" is PHILEO [filew], it would have an attraction for you. There is a natural affinity between the unbeliever, the "natural" [soulish, 1 Corinthians 2] man, and human viewpoint thinking which is also classified in the Scriptures as natural. The world loves its own. The cosmic system is very attractive to people. 

"Next to the lie itself, the greatest delusion Satan imposes — reaching to all unsaved and to a large portion of Christians — is the supposition that only such things as society considers evil could originate with the devil — if, indeed, there be any devil to originate anything. It is not the reason of man, but the revelation of God, which points out that governments, morals, education, art, commercialism, vast enterprises and organisations, and much of religious activity are included in the cosmos diabolicus. That is. the system which Satan has constructed includes all the good which he can incorporate into it and be consistent with the thing he aims to accomplish. A serious question arises whether the presence of gross evil in the world is due to Satan's intention to have it so, or whether it indicates Satan's inability to execute all he has designed. The probability is great that Satan's ambition has led him to undertake more than any creature could ever administer. Revelation declares that the whole cosmos-system must be annihilated — not its evil alone, but all that is in it, both good and bad. God will incorporate nothing of Satan's failure into that kingdom which He will set up in the earth …

"… Since in pursuing his determination to exalt himself above God Satan must oppose the divine undertakings, his opposition naturally will be exerted where God is acting at a given time. Since God has no present program which He is following along the lines of reformation, education or civilisation (and any record that such undertakings are in God's present purpose will be sought in vain), there is no conflict or satanic resistance in those spheres. The present relation of God to the cosmos, beyond His sovereign permission and restraint of it, is to save out of it an elect people for His heavenly glory. On the other hand, Satan's twofold objective — to exalt self, and to oppose God — is the key by which much may be known that otherwise would be unknown. It is still further disclosed that the enmity of Satan is not only toward the Person of God from whom he has everything to fear, but also toward every true child of God. Too much emphasis cannot be placed on this fact. Satan has no controversy or warfare with his own, unregenerate people, but there is abundant scripture to prove that he makes unceasing effort to mar the life and service of the Christian ..."

"Since the blood redemption of the cross is the central truth and value of the true faith, it being the 'power of God unto salvation' (Rom. 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:23-24), any counterfeit system of doctrine which would omit this essential, must force some secondary truth into the place of prominence. Any of the great scriptural subjects which are of universal interest to humanity, such as physical health, life after death, morality, unfulfilled prophecy, or religious forms, may be substituted in the false systems for that which is vital. And while those subjects are all found in their proper relations and importance in the true faith, the fact that people are universally inclined to give attention to them furnishes Satan an opportunity to make a strong appeal to humanity through them, using these subjects as central truths in his false and counterfeit systems. Many are easily led to fix their attention upon the secondary things, and to neglect wholly the one primary thing. Especially this is true since the secondary things are tangible and seen, while the one essential thing is spiritual and unseen; and Satan has blinded their eyes toward that which is of eternal value..."

"… The idea that man will stand on the basis of personal worthiness has been the chief heresy, opposing the central doctrine of grace, from the time of Christ's death to the present hour. It so permeates the church that few who preach are able to exclude it from their attempts at gospel preaching. It is safe to say that wherever the element of human merit is allowed to intrude into the presentation of the plan of salvation, the message is Satanic to that extent."

  — Lewis Sperry Chafer, "Systematic Theology", vol. 2, pp 100-101, 108, 110.

Once we leave the cosmic system through faith alone in Christ alone we will become a target. We will have a target on our backs in the angelic conflict whether we like it or not. God's selection of believers angers those who are rejected. Satan and all the demons are rejected, so we anger them. "I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you."

John 15:20 NASB Jesus quotes what He has said previously to demonstrate the principle that a servant is not greater than his master. "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if thy kept My word, they will keep yours also." Two classifications here: those who are antagonistic to Christ will persecute those who are associated with Him; if they keep His word [but they don't] they will keep yours also. So those who are positive and accept the Word of God, become positive and grow spiritually, will receive the word of the disciples also. 

The cosmic system is wilfully ignorant of the plan of God. Those in the cosmic system have rejected it knowingly. It is clear from Romans chapter one that the knowledge of God is evident to them because God made it evident within them. Everyone knows that God exists, everyone reaches a point of God-consciousness where they know He exists. It is at that point that they have to decide whether they are going to go on positive volition and want to know more about God, or to reject God and to worship the creation rather than the creator.

John 15:21 NASB "But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake." "For my name's sake" is not simply because we attach the name of Jesus to ourselves or to our cause. The concept of name represents what a person is. It represents his character, essence. So when Jesus says they will do these things it is because of who He is. The issues are spiritual; they tie into the angelic conflict. Ultimately it is because "they do not know the one who sent Me." "Know" here does not imply just an academic knowledge but a relationship. The do not have a relationship with Him because they have rejected the one who sent Him. This is the same thing He said to the Pharisees. They were steeped in the Mosaic law, religion and morality, but they still didn't know Him because they had rejected grace. Verse 22, the cosmic system and cosmic people react because the very presence of Jesus Christ and believers exposes the reality of their sin. Jesus, by His coming and His teaching, has exposed their sin, their religious system, their hypocrisy. Now they have no excuse and they react to that. He has exposed their hypocrisy and taught that spirituality is by grace, not by legalism. The world hates God and is antagonistic to God and therefore is antagonistic toward and hates those who are associated with His plan or purposes.

John 15:23 NASB "He who hates Me hates My Father also." Because there is antagonism to God there is antagonism to every believer. We are involved in this warfare and antagonism whether we like it or not. The world hates us because of Jesus and have no answer for Jesus' impeccability—verse 25, "But they have done this in order that the word may be fulfilled that is written in their law, THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE." The solution is found in verses 26 and 27. "When the Helper comes … that is the Spirit of truth." The Spirit of truth is in contrast to cosmic thinking which is deceptive. This is the solution. It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us, and who leads and directs us.