Saturday, July 12, 2014

"If the World Hates you"

John 15:18-25 says:
"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
Whoever hates me hates my Father also.
If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but 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.'

The world hated Jesus and still does hate Jesus.  They are okay with their idea of Jesus but not the Jesus who makes demands on their lives.  As soon as we speak about Jesus and his demands the world will hate us as well.  Why would we think otherwise?  We should not go out into the world to try and be hated.  Many Christians think jerk is a spiritual gift.  But the only way we can avoid the hatred of the world is if we avoid Jesus.  The world will hate us because we claim to have the truth.  They will hate us because we claim to have the only way to salvation.  The world will hate us because we claim to know the only way to eternal life.  But this is why we need to rest in the reality that "all authority has been given to Christ" because those are not our claims but rather the claims of Jesus himself.  Jesus said, "I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life.  No one comes to the Father but through me" (John 14:6).  The world hated when Jesus made those claims and they will hate us for telling them the words of Christ.  We live in a tolerant society that seems to tolerate everything except exclusive claims or better yet exclusive truth. But if we avoid the truth of Jesus then we truly are not one of his disciples.  

The world also hates the teaching of Jesus because it reveals their sinfulness.  I believe this is why kids who grow up in church hate Christianity more than those who don't grow up in church.  They have heard the teaching of Jesus but have continued to reject Christ.  The more of the Bible they hear the more aware they are of their guilt so they suppress the truth through hatred.  Jesus says, "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse."  The weight of sin either brings us to repentance or produces more hatred.  But as you can see we have a responsibility in this passage to speak the truth about sin.  We must tell people about their slavery to sin and the freedom they can find in Christ.  

John continues recording the words of Jesus in chapter 16:1-4:
"I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.
They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.
And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.
But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. The Work of the Holy Spirit "I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.

16:1-4 - Jesus tells these things to his disciples to warn them but also because he loves them and knows how they will be treated.  We see his love down in chapter 16:1 when he says, "I have said these things to you to keep you from falling away."  I love you and I want you to be aware of the cost of following me but it will be worth it.  Then just imagine sitting in the upper room with Jesus and hearing him say to you, "They will put you out of the synagogues.  Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God."  When?  What about if?  "When" indicates it is going to happen.  The disciples in the upper room that night knew what road they were to travel.  All but 3 (John, James the Less, Judas) of the disciples in the room that night were martyred.  

Are willing to die for Christ?  I imagine in the safety of a church building we would all answer yes.  But I would encourage you all to examine your heart and think about what Jesus is telling us in this passage.  Being his disciple will cost you your life maybe even your physical life.  I often wonder if  my convictions and love for Christ outweigh my love for this world.  It is a good question to ask.  Are you willing to die for Christ?  Jesus told the disciples these things so that when "their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you."  Does this reality scare you?  Does it make you question your love for Christ?  Does it make you anxious?  The good news is Christ will not abandon us.  He will not leave us on our own.  Christ says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9).  

Grace upon grace,
JRL

No comments: