Hated by the World, Part 2
Abiding in Christ
Hated by the World, Part 2
John 15:17-25
 
Last week we began looking at the closing verses of John 15.  It’s an interesting conclusion to the chapter.  Jesus begins by discussing what it means to abide in Christ and concludes by telling His followers they will be hated because they are His friends.
 
And I think we fail to realize just how true that is.  The world is a lot more hostile to the committed Christian than we think it is. For years, we’ve been appalled by the persecution of Christians overseas in communist and now Muslim countries.
 
But while we’ve quietly observed it, and wagged our heads and talked about how terrible it is, a growing anti-Christian movement has taken root right here in America.  Who would have thought, even 20 to 30 years ago, we would have an administration that is so antagonistic to Christianity?  To the point of silencing chaplains in the military and commending homosexuals for their “courage”.
 
Just this week, after college football player Michael Sam publicly announced his homosexuality, White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama was looking forward to seeing openly gay football player Michael Sam play professionally.
 
"Like the first lady, like so many others, he (Obama) admires Michael Sam's courage," Carney said.
 
This came after first lady Michelle Obama tweeted: "You're an inspiration to all of us.  We couldn't be prouder of your courage both on and off the field.
 
Obama believes the former University of Missouri star's announcement of his sexual orientation is "an important step" for equal rights, Carney said.
 
That is just the latest in a long list of examples of how our nations sentiments have changed regarding traditional attitudes about God and the Bible and morality.
 
And it’s not just in attitude and words.  There are now more and more examples of punishing and even showing violence toward Christians.
 
In the last three years we’ve seen as examples, a pro-life pastor in California jailed for exercising peaceful, pro-life speech and another in Illinois murdered while preaching. Another pro-life supporter was murdered in front of his granddaughter’s high school for showing the truth about abortion.
 
Police were called to East Jessamine Middle School in Lexington, Kentucky to stop 8th graders from praying during their lunch break for a student whose mother was tragically killed.
 
An activist judge In New Hampshire ordered a home school mom stop home schooling her daughter because the little girl “reflected too strongly” her mother’s Christian faith.
 
 
 
The Federal Department of Homeland Security issued a report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate” that labeled conservative Christians extremists and potential terrorists.
 
More and more states are moving to legalize homosexual marriage while at the same time seeking legislation that would forbid and punish churches and ministers for refusing to participate in the ceremonies or preaching against the sin.
 
We are, in fact, living what Jesus talked about in John 15:18-25.  And as we began to see last week,
godless people who are a part of Satan’s system hate Christ and they hate those who are committed to proclaiming Christ.  We are living in a hostile world that more and more reacts violently to the message of sin.
 
In Acts chapter 1 and verse 8, Jesus Christ preparing to ascend into heaven said, “Ye shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the earth.”
 
And the word “witnesses” comes from the word from which we get our word “martyr.”  And to be a martyr means somebody died.  And the reason those words are so connected is because when somebody became a witness for Jesus Christ, they normally paid for it with their life. When the Bible talks about being a witness, it ‘s talking about much more than going out once a month to invite someone to church.
 
 
The word came to mean a person who dies for his testimony. That’s just exactly what Jesus said would happen in John 15.
 
Let’s pick up where we left off last week. Now we saw last week why it is that the world hates us.
 
First of all, the world hates us because we’re not of this world.  We saw that in verses 18 and 19. The world is a realm of evil controlled by Satan himself, and He is opposed to anything that doesn’t go along and get along with them.
 
And Jesus says, “Just know if it hates you, it hated Me before you.”  That’s the second reason the world hates Christians. If we’re anything at all like we are supposed to be, we’re like Jesus and the world hates that.
 
And Jesus said, “You’re going to experience the same kind of reception that I did.  Some people are going to persecute you and some people are going to accept your words.”
 
Now to be honest, most people don’t experience any opposition or persecution because their whole Christian experience is limited to the church. We don’t feel the antagonism here because we’re believers here. But you try going door to door on your block and see how it affects people when you get to their door and announce to them that they are sinners in line for the judgment of God and an eternal bell.
 
 
We aren’t really in the business of confronting the world.  We just confine our Christianity to ourselves and it’s easy to sit in here and talk about how sorry the world is and how they need to change and get right with God or they’re going burn for eternity.”
 
But I promise you, when you take that message to the streets, the world will hate your guts.  In fact, they used to say, “Just keep your stuff in the church.”  Now they say, “You can’t even preach it there either.”  Rather than Jesus building the church and the gates of hell not prevailing against it, we’ve compromised the message, quietened our voices and let them call the shots.
 
And as a result, we haven’t experienced much persecution, but we also haven’t made many converts and we’ve compromised the ones we do have.
 
If we will be true to our calling and commission, we have to confront men with their sin openly and just deal with their reaction. Sometimes they’ll receive Jesus Christ, and sometimes, maybe more times than not, they’ll refuse and even violently react.
 
In the fifteenth century in Italy, the church was going great. Organized religion was at its heyday. The Pope was ruling everything. The Catholic Church had extended itself all over the place, and certainly in Italy especially, it was powerful and everybody went to church and everybody believed in God. And everybody was religious. But it was a fake. And the whole system at that point was under the control of Satan.
 
There came a preacher at that time, in the fifteenth century in Italy, whose name was Savana Rolla.
Savana Rolla was, historically, one of the greatest reformers, preachers, prophets, politicians, philosophers the world has ever known. He entered into fifteenth century Italy and began to confront Italy with its sin. He preached on sin constantly. He denounced the sins and the corruptions of the Roman Church and he also denounced the sins and corruptions of individuals. He really prepared the way for the Reformation and had Italy had the kind of soil that Germany has, Savana Rolla might have been the reformer and not Martin Luther.
 
His preaching, his biographer says, “Was a voice of thunder and his denunciation of sin was so terrific that the people who listened to him went about the street half dazed, bewildered and speechless. His congregations were so often in tears that the whole church resounded with their sobs and weeping. So they burned him at the stake. His body went up in flames and organized religion lit the fire.”
 
You can’t confront the world without expecting to get a reaction. You can’t have Christ living in you and through you and not be hated by the world.  They’re going to hate us.
 
Not only does the world hate us because we’re not part of the system and because they hated our Lord, but thirdly, they hate us because
 
3. They Don’t Know God
 
Verse 21
 
 
 
Now this may be the hardest thing for the world to swallow, especially those in false religions. Think about how the Jews would have responded to that message.
 
Now here we get down to the very essence of our relationship with God.  Man is born into the world at odds with God, the enemy of God, to be precise.  He is rebellious; he is arrogant; he is full of pride and anger, and most of all, men don’t know God, therefore men don’t love God.
 
And it doesn’t matter how near or far away a person is to God.  They may be an active member of a respectable church without Christ or an atheist who shakes their fist in His face or anything and anywhere in between.  They are still lost.  And as such, they are under Satan’s control. Whether it’s gross kind of atheism or whether it’s superficial kind of liberal modern Christianity, they all hate God. They are at enmity with God. They are against God. They are on Satan’s side.
 
Consider the Jews:  they claimed to be God’s chosen people and yet when God in the flesh showed up, they rejected and crucified Him.  What kind of a strange paradox is that? Jesus said, “You claim to know God and you hate Me and I’m God in human flesh.”
 
Jesus said you don’t even know God; you’re of your father the devil in John 8. And yet, they were super-religious people.
 
 
 
 
But as I’ve said before, if an individual has never invited Jesus Christ into his life and received Him as personal Savior, I don’t care who that individual is or what he thinks he knows, he has absolutely no knowledge of God at all. No man ever knew God who rejected Jesus Christ, who is God in human flesh.
 
And here is the real reason why people hated Christ and why they hate us.  They don’t know God and they are lulled into believing they know God when they don’t. That’s why false religion is such a curse. I believe Satan spends his time in false religion. The world thinks it is theologically oriented, but it is godless.  It is blind.
 
Isn’t that sad?  To be that close to Jesus and have that much information, not to mention the innate, God-given awareness of Himself, and still not know God?  It is inexcusable not to know God, my friend; because God has given you full revelation for which you’re responsible.
 
It is my opinion that sin reaches its peak when a man makes a total rejection of Jesus against total and unmistakable revelation.
 
The Jews who watched Jesus while He was on the earth saw God Himself at work.  They could see the evidence all around them.  They saw blind eyes healed and lame legs walking and more than one person who had been dead raised to life.  Over 500 people gave testimony that Jesus Himself resurrected from the dead.  And yet they refused to accept Him as God’s Son.
 
 
 
There is quite a warning in that for us.  If you’ve heard the story of Jesus Christ and you’ve heard what He was and what He did to demonstrate God and you’ve chosen to reject Him as Savior, you’re moving toward that place where that final rejection may seal your eternity in hell. And I encourage you to receive Jesus Christ while your heart is still fresh and responsive to what you hear.
 
Then in verse 25, Jesus gives a pointed conclusion.
 
Verse 25
 
That’s quite a statement isn’t it?  It comes from two of David’s Psalms, Psalm 35 and Psalm 69. David foresaw that they would hate Messiah.
 
Now don’t miss what this verse says.  Jesus said, “This happened. . .”
 
What happened?
 
Verses 22-24
 
Jesus came and spoke enough words and did enough deeds to make them responsible. He did that so that when they hated Him, they would be hating Him without a cause.
 
In other words, you know what God did in His wonderful grace? God took away every reason for a man to hate Jesus.  He erased every one of them. And if men continue to hate Jesus, they do it for no other reason than their own sin. There’s no reason to hate Jesus.
 
Some people misunderstand that verse to mean that God planned for people to hate Him. No. God didn’t plan that men would hate Him. God planned that men would have no reason to hate Him, so if they chose to, they would do it without cause.
 
God designed the full revelation so that if a man hates Christ, he does it without any cause at all, except his own selfish sinfulness. God gave so much revelation, so much grace, so much love, made Jesus Christ so beautiful, so pure, so attractive, so magnetic, so drawing, so desirable that if a man winds up hating Jesus, he does it with no reason but his own sin. God did everything He could do to keep men out of hell. And God planned that the coming of Jesus Christ would be such a perfect and complete manifestation that if men hated Jesus, they would be doing it without cause.
 
There is nothing in Jesus to make you hate Him.  There’s nothing about Him that could make you hate Him.  And yet, the world hated Jesus anyway.  They hated Him because He exposed their sin. He showed them who they were and they didn’t like it. And instead of turning to Him in loving faith and receiving salvation and cleansing for sin, they turned against Him and they hated Him for exposing their sin. And the world still hates Jesus.
 
So, stand for Christ. Expose sin. Reprove it. Confront the world. Call it what it is whatever the cost. And if the world hates us for it, so be it.  Let’s just be sure there is nothing in us, except for Jesus, that would make men hate us.
 
Let’s pray

 

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