Hated by the World, Part 1

 

Abiding in Christ
Hated Without a Cause, Part 1
John 15:17-19
 
This evening we'll continue our study of the fifteenth chapter of John and I think this one and maybe one more will finish up what I wanted to cover. 
 
The progression of this chapter is extremely interesting to me.  Jesus starts with this analogy of being a fruit-bearing branch attached to the vine to picture the relationship true disciples share with Him.  There are other branches, but they are unproductive and are eventually burned. 
 
And in His mind is what is happening as He speaks as Judas is betraying him.  So as He prepares for the cross, He is teaching His disciples about the significance of abiding in the vine.
 
He then moves the conversation to that of friendship, the point being, those who abide are His friends.  We are just slaves who coldly serve.  We are friends with whom He shares intimate secrets and knowledge and answers prayers and spends time. 
 
But as we continue, He gives the rest of the story.  It’s a wonderful thing to abide in Christ and be a friend of Jesus, but that’s not all there is to it because inherent in that relationship with Christ is some antagonism.  And as Jesus prepares His disciples for His departure, He wants them to know what to expect. 
 
So up through verse 17 of chapter 15, Jesus has been dealing with them on the terms of comfort.  He knows they are sorrowing. He knows they are tremendously upset. He knows that their whole future looks very bleak and very terrifying. He knows that they are well aware of the loneliness that's going to enter into their lives when He leaves them, and so He has spent most of His time showing them He loved them and comforting them.
 
But at verse 18, He turns a corner and begins to share with them the other side of what they should expect.  And the truth is even though they have all these promises and blessings and Holy Spirit generated abilities, they will find themselves in the midst of a hostile, rebellious and Christ‑hating world.
 
Iin fact, because of their abiding relationship with Jesus, because they are His friends, they will encounter a world that will hate them the same way it hated Jesus.  And it will seek to kill them just like it killed Him. 
 
And in fact, as best we can tell from history, the world managed to do exactly that with eleven of the twelve, John being the only exception.
 
So the text that we're going to begin to look at tonight, beginning at verse 17, presents the hostility of the world against the people of Jesus Christ.
 
Now what we find here is the cost of following Jesus.  This is the cost of really being a disciple of Christ. 
 
 
And even before we look at the details, I would suggest it's a pretty cheap price compared to what we get in return.  When you consider all the blessings which are eternal and richly given to us in Christ, then the price we pay for serving Him is really very small.
 
Now in verse 17 He is making a transition from describing His love for them to describing the world's hate, and the transition is this:
 
Verse 17
 
In essence, He is saying to them, “Keep on loving each other. Love each other deeplyand sacrificially,  just exactly in the way that I loved you. Love each other the same way, because you're going to need each other desperately.
 
Then He begins the transition. Why should we love each other with this kind of a continuing devoted, sacrificial love?
 
The reason is because the world is going to hate you with a passion and the love that you have between each other will be all the love you're going to know.
 
They are going to be out in the middle of a hostile,  rebellious, hateful, Christkilling world and because of that, He says, love each other. 
 
That means the statements we find beginning in verse 18 are not only a warning about the world's hate but they are also a motivation for the disciples to love each other.
 
And so Jesus, in essence, says to them, “Men, it's going to be rough out there.  So be sure you keep on loving each other. You’re going to need each other in the hostile world into which I’m sending you.”
 
By the way, this is the basis of our relationship within the body of Christ. We need to love each other and we need to be together ministering and witnessing to the world who is hostile toward us.  It’s unfortunate that the church spends so much time fighting and being angry or upset with one another because when we do we destroy the ery support structure the Lord intended us to provide for each other. 
 
Notice verse 18
 
Now Jesus anticipates that when the disciples move out into the world their going to get some hatred, and He wants to tell them don't worry about it, it isn't any different than their attitude toward Me.  If you're going to stand for Me and live for Me you're going to get the same thing,
 
So Jesus introduces the subject of the world's hatred by a transition speaking of love as a contrast. Then He moves into reason for the hatred of the world. And we’ll start looking at the reasons tonight and hopefully, finish next week.
 
First of all, the reason the world hates the friends of Jesus, and this includes us, is number one, because
 
1. We Are Not of the World
 
Verse 19
 
The world hates believers, and remember we are talking about true disciples, abiding branches, friends of Jesus, because we aren't of the world. We are different.
 
Now Jesus uses the word “world” there to describe the world’s system of operation.  It is a theological term referring to a sin system. The “world”, as Jesus uses the word, is the natural passion for sin that men have. It is the system of evil that runs around in the world. It is the realm of evil controlled by Satan and his evil angels.
 
The world is a society of wicked men who have set themselves against Christ and against His Kingdom and against His people, that's the world that Jesus is talking about.
 
And he says, that evil system will hate the believer. The one who really follows Jesus Christ, who really loves Jesus Christ, who really declares his faith and identity in Jesus Christ by what he says and how he lives, will be hated by the world because the world has set itself in opposition to everything that is good, everything that is Christlike, and everything that is godly.
 
Jesus said to His own brothers, who were of the system, in John 7: "The world cannot hate you. You're part of it. But Me it hates because I testify of it that its works are evil." Jesus said, the world can't hate you, you belong to it. You're part of it. But it hates me, because I confront it with its sin.
 
 
In John 8:23 Jesus said, ye are from beneath, I am from above, ye are of this world. Isn't that interesting? He compares the fact that somebody from this world is also from beneath, in other words, the world system is right out of the pit of hell. 
 
That's what He's saying. And the people living in our world who don't know Jesus Christ are a part of an anti-God, antiChrist, satanic system of evil that is openly and unashamedly operating against God.
 
It's amazing how many of us Christians are kind of buffaloed into thinking that the world is really very tolerant of God and very tolerant of Jesus Christ when in fact they aren't and the superficial kind of religion that they show is the most heinous and the most deceptive and the most subtle of all of Satan's attempts.
 
You may be thinking, well the world doesn’t hate me.  I don’t have any problem getting along with folks and we seem to co-exist very peacefully.  Then you aren’t living for Christ.  Because if you were an abiding branch, a friend of Jesus, the world would hate your guts and everything you stand for. 
 
A society of evil men, guided by Satan and his demons, set against God, set against Christ, set against His Kingdom and His people, is going to hate those who belong to Jesus Christ. That's to be expected.
 
It’s always been that way.  Why did Cain kill Able? Because he couldn't stand the fact that Able was righteous and he was unrighteous. And he was indicted by the very righteousness of Able.
And so we're not of this world, we stand apart from this world, set apart, righteous, made holy in Jesus Christ, and thus we don't belong to the system and the world hates us because we don't, and Satan is directing the world attacking against those things that are of God and Christ.
 
God has called us to be separate and apart from the system.  We are to stand for Jesus Christ in the midst of an evil world. In Philippians 2:15 Paul says, "That you may be blameless and harmless, children of God without rebuke. This is how we are to live in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation among whom ye shine as lights in the world."
 
In Ephesians 5:11 Paul says, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of godliness but rather reprove them," and the believer has the privilege and the right and the duty to see sin and call it sin and point it out.
 
Maybe the reason we don't feel as much of the hatred of the world as we ought to is the fact that we aren't willing to confront the world nose to nose and call it what it is. We're far too tolerant. We're far too easygoing. We pussyfoot around about sin. And we need to confront the unbeliever face to face with his sinfulness. The believer who does that will be hated by the world because he openly violates the system and stands as an open condemnation of it. And naturally the world is going to hate people who live as a condemnation of it.
 
 
 
The world doesn't like anybody that confronts it with its own sin. People hate the fact that you come along and say this is true, this is right, and everything else is wrong. And if there is one thing that makes sinners pull together and pool their resources it is some Christian condemning a sin. 
 
The world loves its own.  That’s what Jesus is talking about in
 
Verse 19
 
The world is just a big brotherhood of sinfulness.  Everybody's together in the world.  Sinners love the sinfulness of other sinners.  They do things together.  They drink, carouse around, live immorally, lie, cheat, steal, that's their big brotherhood. The world doesn't hate its own. And incidentally, the more wicked they are the better they like it.
 
Romans chapter one reminds us they keep doing evil and they have pleasure in them that do it. They love it; they glory in it; the worse they are the better the world likes them.
 
The world really loves sorry, rotten sinners because it makes them feel a little better about themselves. And when some Christian comes along and takes a stand for righteousness and tells them what they really are, they don't like to hear it.
 
Think about this:  The world has no conscience other than the church.  We are its conscience. And as long as the church is around doing its job, there will be this tension between righteousness and unrighteousness. 
Now one of these days, when we leave at the rapture, all hell will break loose because the conscience of the world is gone.
 
We are to be different and separate and unusual.  That's why we can't sit here in our lovely little church and say, “Well, I'm certainly praying that the unsaved will come to our church and get saved. I got news for you:  They ain’t coming!  They don’t want to come be with people they hate and be condemned by the word of God and indicted by our righteousness. 
 
And besides that, that isn't what Jesus told us to do. He didn't put up a sign outside and say "All unsaved please come Monday through Friday, and get condemned."
 
Instead, He said, “You are the salt of the earth.  Make certain you don’t lose your saltiness or the world will never be saved.  You are the light of the world.  Don’t hide your light because without it the world can’t find their way to Jesus. Instead, let your light so shine before man that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
 
We're different. Look at the words in verse 19: "But I have chosen you out of the world." Jesus says, "I have picked you out for myself.  I have chosen you out for Myself, to be different from Satan's system, so that your existence, your manner of life, everything constitutes a living accusation against the rest of the world.”
 
 
 
And I'll tell you, when He chose us out, the devil got teed off.  He doesn't like to lose anybody, and especially not someone who’s serious about living for Jesus. So in response, you become his target. 
 
Satan hates the righteous.  He hates them as much as he hates God because they stand for the same thing.  And if you really live for Jesus Christ, if your life is a definitive Christian life in this world you're going to get the antagonism of the world and when you get it you can rejoice because Jesus got it too.
 
That leads us to the second reason the world hates us.  First they hate us because we’re not of the world.  But the world also hates us because we're like Jesus and
 
2.  The World Hated Jesus. 
 
verse 18
 
The blessed loving Son of God was hated by the world and because they hated Him, they're going to hate us.
 
Verse 20
 
, Jesus says, "Remember the words that I said unto you? The servant is not greater than his Lord?" We first heard that back in 13:16? He was using it there in reference to washing their feet.  He said, now I've done this, and I want you to do this to each other. You're not greater than I am and if I can stoop to do it you can do it.
 
 
But here He uses it, not in reference to humble service, but in reference to persecution.
 
He says, remember the word that said unto you the servant is not greater than his Lord.  If they have persecuted Me they will also persecute you. And by the way, if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. In other words, there are a few who believed and kept My saying and there will be a few who will believe you. It's not all bleak.
 
But understand, it’s always been one-sided.  There are few on the road to heaven.  There are many on the road to hell. 
 
The world hates Him, and the world hates those who live for Him.
 
But praise God, at the end of verse 20, some of them will keep His sayings. Some of them will believe.
 
And if there is anything that keeps me preaching the gospel and living for Jesus and trying to distance myself from the world and provides me with a desire to confront the world and endure the hostility that will come, it is because of the joy of those who will hear the truth and come to Christ.
 
The world hates God and because of that it hates you and me.  But that’s alright.  Jesus loves us and we’ve got each other.  So let us love one another and live for Him.
 
Let’s pray. 

 

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