Wednesday, January 7, 2015
John 15:18-27 Really? They hate us? Oy.
We have a gift for the whole world!
Seriously, we do.
And nowadays, the world is all about self-esteem, warm and fuzzy feelings, and tolerance, right?
At least, not toward Christians.
And Jesus told us it would be that way:
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you
belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do
not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That
is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is
not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute
you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They
will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the
one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would
not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever
hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the
works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have
seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill
what is written in their Law: They hated me without reason. When the
Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of
truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you
also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
Something that confuses many Christians is the prevailing attitude of many non-Christians toward them. We'd like to think that since we are reaching out to the world with the most awesome message in all of history, that the world would applaud, cheer, and accept that message.
But most people are not waiting for the message with open minds and open arms -- in fact, Jesus told us that the world will not want us or our message. Take a deep breath here -- they hate us.
Really. That is what Jesus said.
One reason that the world hates Christians is because we are different. Look back up at our passage.
...if the world hate you ....
The world is not the earth. It's the physical world that all of us live in. The word used here is "cosmos." It's root means to put in order, so the world we live in is organized, put in order. It's run by an intelligent "top dog" and his name is Satan. His main goal is to get this world in order, and to leave God out of it! So, the word "worldly" means to operate as if there is no God.
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world
means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a
friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
The world has a litany of phrases: "forget about God," "do what comes naturally," "leave God out of this," etc. You can't have that mentality if you are a Christian; you can't have God AND the world.
Don't be conformed to this world. (Romans 12:2)
Don't let anyone or anything squeeze you into the world's mold. You are a different-shaped peg than the hole they want you to fit into! Don't let the world tell you what to do.
Ooh. That sounded important to me. Did it strike you that way, too? How do you know?
How do you know when the world is telling you what to do?
Can you include God in what they want you to do? Anything that keeps you from including God is worldly, and you need to back away, hands raised. Don't even touch it.
As a Christian, what can I do? Anything that God can do with you. If your Savior has to wait outside the door while you do something, then DON'T!
What we love is what we will spend your time, money, and energy on. If very little of those are going to God, then God is not our top priority, is He?
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you
do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That
is why the world hates you.
The more we look like Christ, the more the world is going to treat us like it treated Him. We don't act, or talk, or think like the world does; we are so different that we are going to make the crowd uncomfortable. We won't be "one of them."
And we're not; we truly aren't "one of them." God has chosen us out by His grace and mercy. The concept of Christians living in the world, but not being of the world is awfully important. The ones who belong to the world are those who have become "at home" in the world. Life on this earth is all that they live for -- they focus on trying to accumulate the things of this world. Their desires and values are all wrapped up in power, possessions, and pleasure.
Our desires and values are very different.
We'll continue this tomorrow -- hope you'll join us!