This is the sermon for Wednesday, December 1st, 2009.
John part 68
John 15:18-25 ESV – 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 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. 20Remember 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. 21But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If 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. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 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. 25But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’
In the last remaining moments with His disciples, Jesus has said many encouraging things. The last time we preached on the comforting revelation He gave the disciples concerning friendship with Him.
He now must speak more truth to them in love. He must give them the truth of the cost that it will be to follow Him: Pure hatred by the world. He doesn’t tell them these things to scare them, or so they might fall away. Notice John 16:1:
John 16:1 ESV – I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.
He is telling them these things so they might know the cost of being His disciple and not be caught by the coming persecution unawares. Let’s begin.
The world hates the disciples of Christ because it first hated Christ.
John 15:18-19 ESV – 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 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.
As disciples of Christ we must realize this one truth: As we share the gospel and our faith in Jesus with the world, the world doesn’t just pacifly listen and receive it; but they rage against the message of Christ.
Before we go any further though, let’s look at what Jesus means by the world here.
World in Greek here is the word kosmos (kos`-mos). It means, “world’s order, philosophies, or adorning.”
Why does the world hate believers – because it first hated Jesus Christ.
Let’s now look at the word “hate:”
- Greek word miseo (mis-eh`-oh).
- It means, “to detest, to have malicious feelings toward.
- The grammar is PRESENT ACTIVE INDICATIVE.
- Meaning the world presently and actively continues to hate Christ and His disciples.
When we are persecuted by the world it is because of this active hatred and we should not be surprised by it.
1 John 3:13 ESV – Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
You see, at one time we were part of this world’s system, and enemies of the cross, but like the Eleven, we’ve been graciously chosen and called out of the world’s system, into the kingdom of Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV – 9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
The real meaning behind Christ’s words.
John 15:20 ESV – 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.
Here Jesus is referring to what He said earlier in John 13:16.
John 13:16 ESV – Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
The Eleven may not have been aware of it, but when He spoke this, He was actually referring to His upcoming persecution and death. He humbled Himself and died for our sake as the world rejoiced in utter hatred. This same world wants to see the disciples of Christ persecuted the same way. It is not enough that they will persecute us, but they will persecute us joyfully.
The world persecutes the disciples of Christ because they do not truly know Him.
John 15:21-22 ESV – 21But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If 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.
Let’s look at the context of this statement for just a moment. Jesus came and preached the Gospel to the Jews and they rejected Him. They would make claims to Jesus that they had Abraham as their father – yet the very one who called Abraham (Jesus) is standing before them and they do not know Him and even reject Him. While the ones that Christ chose were: the sinner, the cripple, the sick, the tax collectors, the fishermen; He spoke and they joyfully received His message.
These supposed followers of God – the religious Jews – truly were not following God at all; or else they would have received Christ and His disciples.
What did Jesus mean by verse 22? Well, I think that Augustine has a good answer: “Since faith forgives and blots out all sins, the only sins that damns anybody is unbelief. This is true inasmuch as unbelief not only hinders people from being delivered from the condemnation of death but is the source and cause of all evils.”
So the sin they were guilty of by rejecting Christ was the sin of unbelief. If they had received Him, they would not be guilty of such a grievous sin.
Ultimately, this hatred toward Christ is actually hatred of God.
John 15:23-25 ESV – 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 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. 25But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’
John Calvin states, “This noteworthy passage teaches that no one can hate the Gospel teaching without showing his impiety against God.”
There is no excuse for the hatred of the religious Jews of Christ’s day. He worked among them, and they hated Him without cause.
The same is true in our day: Oh, I know that some claimed followers of Christ can give people reasons for hatred because of abuse and lies in the name of Christ. But those who share the Gospel, love their neighbor, and who continually turn the other cheek are hated by the world and there is no excuse for this.
Ultimately, this hatred is a sign of a deeper hatred – hatred of God Almighty.
As disciples of Christ, recognize that we all need to consider the cost! The world will hate us and persecute us in various ways. But also recognize they did this to Christ and ultimately this reveals their hatred for the one true God.
The cost of persecution of great; but the reward for perseverance is greater.