Now, says Jesus, is the judgment of this world. Which one? There are two. There is the world that is God’s and the world that is man’s. The two of them from the beginning have been on a collision course. There is enmity there, God put it there (Genesis 3:15). There is the world that is God’s (John 3:16). The one that he loves has been and is saving, through his Son Jesus Christ. Those who belong to it are those who were given to Jesus Christ by his Father. They and only they will come to Christ, and believe in Christ, through the preaching of the gospel. There is the world that Christ reconciles to God, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2Corinthians 5:19). Those who belong to this world, Christ by his atoning death, brings to God. There is the world that hated and still hates the disciples of Jesus Christ, “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). Especially those who publicly and boldly confess Christ before man’s world. There is the world that Christ came not to condemn, but to save (John 3:17). There is the world that God loves (John 3:16). This is God’s world. But it is always in collision with man’s world.
The world that is man’s? “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1John 2:15-17). It is a world that is corrupt, ungodly, motivated by sin, at enmity against God. This world is not the object of God’s love, not at all. If you are going to preach the gospel on the street you need to get this firmly embedded in your mind, God does not love all men head for head. The world of man is “the present evil world” (Galatians 1:4). It’s a swamp, and it’s full of the garbage and sewage of man’s sin, it is unbelievably stinking, vile, poisonous. And natural man delights to swim in this swamp, it’s a pleasure, a delight to him. But what he cannot see is that at the far edge of the swamp there’s a drop, a waterfall if you like, that plunges over and down into hell. When the gospel lifeline is thrown to him by the street preacher, he just keeps on swimming. When the preacher cries out with the gospel of salvation to him, he sticks his fingers in his ears. His choice is always to stay in the swamp. Only the power of Christ can rescue him, in a day of his power (Psalm 110:3). But we must warn him, there is coming a day, when the swamp will be fully purged, so as by fire. The fiery judgment of God’s full and final and fierce wrath.
This is the world Jesus says he does not pray for (John 17:9). This is the world that is already condemned (John 12:31). This is the world of man that is in collision with the kingdom of God in every age. In its power, its wisdom, its science, its industry, its religion and culture. It operates from the principle of sin, it can do no other. It is incontinent (2Timothy 3:3). It cannot keep its enmity in, it must express it. It cannot keep within its hatred for God, its lust for the flesh, adultery, divorce, profanities and vanities. It is a world of strife, unrest and wars. It is the world of man’s self-righteousness, man-made religion, where love is spoken of but not known nor practised. Man’s world in the entirety of its culture was judged, condemned by God in Christ before the bar of his justice when they condemned God’s Son before its tribunal and its execution of him. “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). Man’s world was asked, what will you do with the Son of God? With one voice they said, “we will kill him!” Now awaits only the condemnation to be finally executed, after which only God’s world will be left. In the meantime, street preaching man, there are those in that swamp of a world who will be rescued by the faithful preaching of the gospel. We were all of us conceived and born in sin and therefore members of that society of the godless until we were rescued, through grace, from the swamp by Christ. He didn’t just haul us to the side, but lifted us out, washed and sanctified us, “such were some you” (1Corinthians 6:9). The Lord in his mercy has others yet to be rescued. So who are they? They are those for whom he died. He died only for those whom the Father has eternally given to him. Those given to him by the Father are those whom God has eternally chosen to be his people. Those elect, redeemed through the blood of the cross, are the rescued, and the ones yet to be rescued. Go get ‘em, preacher man!