Sermon

Not of This World

Michael Beck Michael Beck

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One thousand years before His arrival, King David predicted the world which raged against the Lord, would also rage against His Christ.

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. (Acts 4:25,26)

The world did not welcome Jesus when He appeared on the earth’s stage.

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (John 1:10,11)

Jesus was a despised “stranger” to His own people.

I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.
For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. (Psalm 69:8,9)

Because He was spiritually so different, Jesus appeared as an “oddball” and foreigner to those of this world’s spirit.

And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. (John 8:23)

The more Jesus revealed of Himself, the more despised and rejected He became to His own people.

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:1-3)

The “spirit of antichrist” manifested with the appearance of the submitted Jesus.

And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. (Luke 4:28,29)

Men can adore the outward image of Christ, but despise and reject the actual spirit Jesus walked in.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)

For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. (John 12:49)

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. (John 5:19)

For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (John 6:38)

I receive not honour from men. (John 5:41)

Those who walk in this world’s spirit, find the Spirit Jesus walked in to be intolerable.

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Ephesians 2:2,3)

The world rages at the Lord and His Christ because of the restrictive yoke they call men to wear.

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (Psalm 2:1-3)

Those of this present world’s spirit communicate “loud and clear” that they don’t want God’s rule in their life.

He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. (Luke 19:12-14)

Lucifer is the champion of self-determination.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:12-14)

In the last day, the world will declare their adoration of Satan (i.e., the dragon.)
He will promote the worship of the Antichrist (i.e., the beast) who will appear as the highest specimen of human perfection.

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? (Revelation 13:4)

The Antichrist and his followers will blaspheme God and scorn the inevitable establishment of His kingdom at the return of Christ.

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. (Revelation 13:5,6)

The Antichrist will also direct His hatred against Christ’s true followers.

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:7)

Christ warned His followers that they also will be viewed as hated foreigners.

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:14)

Christ explained that the only way to escape the world’s animosity is to be like the world.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15:18,19)

Many who once loved the Lord will grow cold in an increasing climate of worldwide hostility to the Spirit of Christ.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:9-14)

iniquity > Greek – anomia > lawlessness

The Antichrist is the Man of Lawlessness who wants nothing to do with the rule of God.
He will be the product of the “mystery of iniquity” that is now powerfully at work in the world.
Paul told the Thessalonians that from “out of the midst” of the “mystery of lawlessness,” (which Paul recognized to be be at work in his own day,) the “Man of Lawlessness” (i.e., the Antichrist) would arise and make his appearance on the world stage.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

taken > Greek – ginomai > to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen
– to arise, appear in history, come upon the stage
– of men appearing in public

out of > Greek – ek > from; a primary preposition denoting origin

way > Greek – mesos > midst

If we would stand up to the Antichrist in a future day, we must stand up to the spirit of antichrist that is already in the world.

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:3)

The key sign which precedes the actual appearance of the Antichrist is a “falling away” among many in the church.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

Those moving in the spirit of antichrist will break fellowship with those walking in the Spirit of Christ.

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1 John 2:18,19)

The hatred and criticism of an apostate church is a sign of blessedness with God.

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. (Luke 6:22,23)

Those who remain loyal to the “witness of Jesus” will reign with Him when His kingdom comes.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.