Sunday, November 25, 2012

Persecution…………. (Part I)

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.  The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.

 Do you remember what I told you?  ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’  Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.

They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.   They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.   Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. 

 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father.   This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’”   John 15:16-25 NLT


Life is filled with choices and every choice has consequences.

In the spiritual realm, if you follow Jesus Christ, you will be hated.

That’s right: HATED!   Whether you like it or not, the Bible is clear that Christians will be hated and rejected by the world.

Do I expect to be hated by the world?    Why or why not?

In John 15 and16: Jesus explains why the world hates Christians.  Of course, I realize that this will not be welcomed as a “feel-good sermon.”  However, it does feel good to know that Jesus warned us in advance.

As you reflect on Jesus’ words, ask yourself: Have I adopted a cultural Christianity or a Cross-centered Christianity?

Today, Jesus would say: It’s better to be loved than liked.  In other words, it’s better to experience Jesus’ unconditional and eternal love than to win a popularity contest and be liked by the world.

In John 15:18 Jesus declares, If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.”   The particular form of the word “if” assumes something is true.  There is a certainty in Jesus’ words: “You will be hated! You can count on it!”

Jesus then reminds His disciples that the world hated Him first.  Jesus is commanding His disciples to remember that He was hated from the time of His birth to the time of His death.

Think about this: Jesus’ life began with King Herod attempting to kill Him. Jesus’ life ended in a death of sheer hatred. He was crucified at the wishes of His own people—the Jews.

Thus, we must not be surprised by hatred.  The word “hate” is used seven times in the first eight verses (John15:18-25).  It is the dominant word in this passage.  Jesus’ point is: Friendship with Me comes with a hefty price tag—the world’s hatred.  Jesus wants you to be forewarned that following in His footsteps will be a huge challenge.

So how can we handle the hatred and persecution of this world today?

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