Gospel Logic in Our World - John 16:33, 17:1-26

September 18, 2022 Preacher: Rev. Stacey Severance Series: Gospel Logic

Scripture: John 16:33, John 17:1–26

It goes without saying that the world is filled with many troubles. We could list example after example. Normal responses are fear or anger. Some folks are better than others at blocking it out or choosing not to worry about things; but for everyone, sooner or later, the troubles of “the world” will come to your doorstep.

Now, “the world” can refer to different things in the NT; it depends on the context. The apostle John actually uses the word in different ways, even in the same sentence. For instance, in John 1 he says, [9] The true light (referring to Jesus), which gives light to all, was coming into the world. [10] He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. The created order is “the world,” but also, those who rejected Jesus Christ are “the world.”

Between the gospel of John and his letters to the churches, John uses “the world” so many times, mostly in a negative way, as he does in 1 John 2, where he writes, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 

In another sense, “the world” is a beautiful and welcoming place, but in that sense, “the world” is full of trouble because of sin. And yet Jesus came into the world to overcome the world and its troubles. That is what the gospel teaches us; all of Scripture, OT and NT, points to Him and His work. 

And as we just saw in John 16:33, His followers can “take heart.” In other words, we can be confident and hopeful, even as we face the world’s trouble, because Jesus has overcome the world. But how did Jesus overcome the world such that we can be confident in this way?

Notice the outline on page 6 in your WG. Jesus’ overcoming the world involved two things: Jesus exposed the world’s hatred of God and He displayed God’s love for the world. Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, in his teaching on John 14, describes “the logic of the gospel.” That phrase and his explanation are the inspiration for these sermons. Ferguson says, “Who Jesus is and what He does is the foundation for how His work is savingly applied to our lives.”  We must look to Jesus if we would lay hold of the confidence and hope He provides in our troubled world. So let’s do that.

Notice again the beginning of verse [33], Jesus says, “I have said these things to you.” “You” refers to his disciples. What are “these things?” Well, right before this, Jesus tells them they will abandon him but the Father will be with Him. Jesus would be arrested, unjustly tried and convicted, then beaten and put to death. All these horrible things were about to occur, but Jesus saw it all coming. 

He even knew that His disciples would desert Him, but He still loved them. And you see there, He says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.” It would bring them peace of mind later on to remember that Jesus would forgive them and He would not give up on them. 

He anticipated everything that would happen to Him. And He anticipates all that would happen to them; so, you see there, He says, “In the world you will have tribulation.” You will have trouble. Why would they have trouble? Jesus actually spoke to this specifically in John 15. He told them, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you…Whoever hates me hates my Father also…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.’” 

Jesus never committed a sin; He spoke truth; He showed love, grace, and humility. He did miraculous works that had never been seen, things which only God could do. And for that, He was beaten and killed. That is what the world wants to do with God. That is how the world feels about God. In order to overcome the world, Jesus exposed the world’s hatred of God. 

17th century preacher Jonathan Edwards famously preached a sermon titled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Over the years, critics have attacked and condemned Edwards basically for preaching the gospel. In response to the years of criticism, back in the year 2000 Dr. R.C. Sproul examined the criticism of Edwards’ sermon in an article cleverly titled “God in the Hands of Angry Sinners.” 

“God in the Hands of Angry Sinners.” That is what we see at the cross. We see what sinners want to do with God. “Put Him to death, away with His rules and His correction!” At the cross, we see the world’s response to God’s truth. We see the world’s response to the boundaries God sets and to the moral laws He upholds.

Our world today is in an upheaval. It is convulsing with hatred for God. 

When you observe the troubles in the world, you are witnessing the result of what Dr. Sproul calls “cosmic treason.” He writes, “Every sin, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is an act of rebellion against the sovereign God who reigns and rules over us and as such is an act of treason against the cosmic King.” Every sin – including yours and mine. 

If I asked you, “Why is there so much turmoil in the world?” you might say,  “Well, because people are selfish” or “Because people are evil.” You might say, “Because we live in a fallen world” or “Because the world is sinful.” 

All of those are true, but look closer. The Scriptures tell us that the sinful nature of mankind is not indifferent to God. Rather, it hates God. In Romans 7, the apostle Paul says that the sinful nature “is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” The sinful nature hates God.

The troubles in our world are evidence of that hatred. At the core, it is hatred of God on display as people argue that gender is fluid or that sexuality is fluid; or as people argue that a human fetus is not a human life; or as people argue that the definition of marriage can be changed.

As countries make unjust war, as people oppress one another, abuse one another, and fight one another and insult one another; as people steal and rob and destroy things, as they commit all kinds of violence, the world’s hatred of God is on display

As families are divided, as parents and children are at odds, as people argue and deceive each other; even as they gossip about one another or show little to no concern for each other, all of it is rooted in and springs from the world’s hatred of the ways of God.

The world’s hatred of God was exposed through the life of Jesus Christ.

 And the world’s hatred of God is why His followers will have tribulations in the world. When we look to Jesus, we can see the troubles of this world for what they truly are. We must see them for what they are. We must see our own sin for what it is: hatred of God. But look at the last part of verse 33. 

Jesus says, “I have overcome the world.” Jesus has conquered the hatred. How did he do it? Through love and humility. Through self-sacrifice, becoming a servant, laying down his rights. Standing on his convictions and yet bearing with sinners, loving his enemies. 

Do you know that for all the negative the apostle John says about “the world,” in John 3 he writes, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” God’s love for the world is on display in the person and finished work of Jesus.

This is why we can “take heart.” Jesus has prevailed. This is why we can be confident and hopeful even as we observe and experience all kinds of trouble in the world. Jesus knew His followers in every period of history would endure and witness the evils of mankind.

There would be persecutions for following Jesus; but you must recognize that all troubles are the enemy’s assaults on the people of God. All troubles are Satan’s work in the world. And yet Jesus has overcome it all. Like his disciples during the time of His earthly life, we must persevere according to the purpose of God. But Jesus has made a way for us.

Before we go to the Lord’s table this morning, I want to read for you what we typically call the high priestly prayer of Jesus. This is the prayer Jesus prayed for His followers right after he said the words of John 16:33. And the prayer is so rich, and so eye-opening; and filled with so much of God’s glory and goodness for us, that summarizing it just didn’t seem to do justice. 

And I think it’s a fitting way to end these sermons on “gospel logic.” Please follow along in the WG, and notice the repeated use of “the world.”

[1] When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, [2] since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. [3] And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. [4] I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. [5] And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

[6] “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. [7] Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. [8] For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. [9] I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. [10] All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. [11] And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. [12] While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. [13] But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. [14] I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [15] I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. [16] They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. [18] As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. [19] And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

[20] “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, [21] that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. [22] The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, [23] I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. [24] Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. [25] O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. [26] I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Jesus prayed that we would apply the logic of His gospel as we face the world, and also, as we take the gospel to our world. He is done yet, therefore we are not done yet. Surrender yourself to Him today.

Let’s bow in prayer.