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Why does the world hate me? What's a Christian really look like?

1 John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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(ESV)
Why does the world hate me? And what's a Christian look like?
1 John 3:10–15 ESV
10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
(ESV)
10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
In our passage that we’re looking at today, John gives us an answer to a question that a lot of Christian folks ask from time to time…that question is: Why does the world seem to hate Christians?
We see the constant attacks on anything deemed to be Christian such as Christian Values, Christian prayers, Christian symbols, etc., right here in our own country; and we see and read of brutal persecutions of Christians around the world. So why does the world seem to hate Christians?
Before we jump into this passage, let me quickly highlight what we’ve seen so far, because that ties in to the question I asked.
As we’ve seen so far, John has told us that if we really want to experience the JOY AND SONSHIP as one of God’s children, then we in fact do need to obey the commandments of God.
In other words, we must actually live as children of God. We must WALK THE TALK.
Or, put another way…as children of God, as saved persons, we should therefore be ‘like’ our Lord, Jesus Christ, and live our lives as He lived His life.
Look at Jesus’ life…
While Jesus was here on earth, He did something…
He was not a WHINER…He never went around saying, IT’s NOT FAIR!!!
Even when people, and especially the religious people, even when they were mean to Him.
In fact, He never lashed out at them; instead, even during the cruelest of treatment to Him when they put Him on the Cross, He never faltered…He never cussed them out, He never whined, IT’S NOT FAIR…
instead, as the writer of Hebrews put it in (ESV) 2 …who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:2 ESV
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
In obedience to the Will of the Father, Jesus endured the Cross; Jesus endured the shame;
So we see in Jesus, even in His death, we see that His life as a life OF COMPLETE OBEDIENCE to the Father.
This obedience to the Will and Commands of God is extremely IMPORTANT to us who are Christians today…obedience is NECESSARY IF we are to have the joy as a child of God…
Ok, so, Now, we come to a key point which John points out in verse 10, which by the way, is also demonstrated in the Life of Jesus…
In verse 10, (ESV) we see the statement, first…10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil:
1 John 3:10 ESV
10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
And then second we read, “whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, (but note this)…nor is the one who does not love his brother.” There’s the emphasis on ‘loving.’
John points out that the quality of LOVE is something that should be EVIDENT IN THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFE.
So, we see very clearly from what we’ve read, from what the Bible says in many other places, and from what we’ll dig into as we progress…
As a believer in Christ, as a Christian, you and I, are supposed to be like Jesus.
Which means that we will show in our daily lives things like… LOVING God;
Showing LOVE towards other people;
Showing Love towards our Fellow Christians;
and we will be living lives that demonstrate that we are obeying/keeping God’s commandments.
So John is telling us that IF we really ARE children of God, then we do need to realize what that means, and we need to be obeying God and His commands, and we should be living lives in which our CONDUCT actually does REFLECT the Lord, Jesus Christ.
By the way, the New Testament never asks us to do anything without first reminding us of who we are.
Did you hear that? WHO WE ARE.
That’s all about OUR POSITION in CHRIST.
On the other hand, the Bible really only gives one message to the world…and that is that it must repent, and turn to Jesus…the Bible does not serve as the ‘great moral guide’ for any and everyone. Sure there are principles of good living if they are adapted…but it does not change a person in the eyes of God…
a person must still repent and believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Again, for the believer…the Christian, the Bible starts with our position as a child of God, and then says, ‘Because of who you are, and What you are, you will produce good works.’ That’s what comes out of our lives.
Now in order to begin to see why the world hates us, let me give you some reasons that we find here in the Scriptures that we are looking at, the description of who we as Christians are…
First in verse 14, (; ; (ESV) 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life,
1 John 3:14 ESV
14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
1 John 3:10 ESV
10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:15 ESV
15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Christians are those who have ‘passed from death unto life’;
Second…verse 10 tells us that Christians are ‘of God’…hold onto that one…because it’s not very ‘inclusive’ in the world’s mind.
And then, third, in verse 15, we read, (ESV) 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
So, as followers of Jesus Christ, as Christians, we have Eternal Life abiding in us. Again, hold onto that one, because it too is ‘anti-inclusive.’
And these three things also could be used to ask ourselves the question…are we the person being described?
Can we each say that we have passed from death unto life?
Can we say that we really do know that we are of God?
And do we know for certain that we have eternal life abiding in us?
And then, the passage goes a step further, and says in effect that for a TRUE BELIEVER, for a TRUE CHRISTIAN, there isn’t really any need for us to even have to make a statement about it.
WHAT we really are WILL actually demonstrate clearly whether or not our claim is VALID.
Our lives will prove and will show whether or not we are really children of God or whether we are not.
That’s because WHAT we are, will end up being shown in our lives.
You and I just can’t help it…it’s going to show.
Jesus Himself put it quite plainly in when He said, (ESV)
Matthew 7:16–19 ESV
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
James said also in (ESV) 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
James 2:18–20 ESV
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
We’ve been discovering then that the Christian is supposed to live a life that DEMONSTRATES something…that something being Jesus Christ and the position we have in HIM.
And that’s what the World hates and all that He represents.
Did you ever notice, that people will talk to you pretty openly about ‘God,’ but they will clam up or even go into ‘argument’ or confrontation mode, the moment you mention “JESUS CHRIST?”
Why? It’s because men and women who do not know Him have at
their very nature their self-centeredness
which expresses itself in a whole wide range of emotion…
everything from dislike to rage-filled hatred of anyone who seems to have something that they do not have.
John in verse 12 gives us a clear example when he uses Cain’s murdering of his brother, Abel, to show why MURDER is logical conclusion of that self-centeredness.
1 John 3:12 ESV
12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.
Why did Cain murder Abel? The Bible said that God was pleased with Abel’s offering, whereas He was not with that of Cain…and because God didn’t praise Cain, he ended up getting really angry with his brother, and ended up murdering him…because God accepted Abel’s offering…
And the world is like that…
Christians are accepted by God, (they are called children of God) and the world is not.
And the world rebels out of hatred because God does NOT accept it’s sinfulness and it’s attitudes.
Paul also gave us a strong description of this when he described the actions of a non-Christian when we was writing to Titus in chapter 3:3 and said, (ESV) 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
Titus 3:3 ESV
3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
Foolish; disobedient; led astray, slave to passion; slave to pleasure; doing malice; envying; full of hatred.
That’s the world. Isn’t that so true of what we all see?
Have you stopped and ever listened to other people’s conversations?
I’m talking about people you don’t even know…maybe when you’re riding on a train or plane; or you’re in a restaurant; or you’re at a sports event?
Did you ever hear the envy come out? Or did you ever hear the ugliness and the venom in their speech?
The question might also be for us could also be, are we EVER like that?
So…do we ever show the spirit of jealousy?
Or the spirit of envy? Or the spirit of hatred?
Or the spirit of criticizing?
If we do, what are we showing?
I’d hope we’d be cut to the quick and we’d be fast to run back to the Lord.
And then, let me give you another proof that we as Christians will be hated by the world.
Look at Verse 13 says, (ESV) 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
1 John 3:13 ESV
13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
Don’t be surprised that the world hates you.
For some reason, we find it hard to believe that the world actually hates us.
We’re kind most of the time. We don’t go and try to be obnoxious.
We even try to be compassionate at times.
But yet, the world hates us…
We see the world hating God’s people over and over…
We saw, first in v. 12 we see that John tells us again that Cain hated his brother, Abel…
There’s then Joseph and his brothers. Jealousy.
David and Saul. We read about how King Saul treated David and tried to have him killed and even tried to do it himself…what jealousy again…envy.
And of course just read about the Prophets…the men of God who were speaking God’s Word because God was trying to save the nation.
And of course there is our Lord, Jesus Christ, Himself. God’s own Son, Who came to save the world because of God’s undying LOVE.
The world picked up stones to throw at Him. The world turned on Him and shouted, ‘Crucify Him, away with Him!’
The world then crucified Jesus, the very Son of God Who had come to save it!
Jesus told His own followers, (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;
John 15:18–27 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. 20 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. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If 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. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
but because you are not of the world,
but I chose you out of the world,
therefore the world hates you. 20 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.
21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If 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.
25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
So, John is just repeating what Jesus had said… (ESV) 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
The world does not hate us because we are good.
The world actually does NOT hate good people; it only hates Christians…that is a very subtle distinction.
In fact, IF you’re just a good person, the world, will admire and even cheer you.
Might even give you an award and have you invited to national talk show to be interviewed and given an award.
But the world, according to God’s Word, hates Christians,
not because Christians are hateful,
not because Christians are good or do good,
but the world hates Christians, because they are of God, because they have Christ within them.
So to answer our question, WHY does the world hate Christians?...
If we read our Bibles again the answer is pretty straightforward…
To be born again means that you become different from what you were…you no longer belong to the world’s family as you did before.
Jesus Christ Himself demands that we become different…that’s why He said in , (ESV) 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:26 ESV
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Yet, while being despised just as Jesus was and is, and hated by the world just as Jesus was and still is, we know that we have the reward that one day we will be with Him forever…
we have the gift of eternal life with Christ because we are His.
We know that we are children of God; and we know that God will keep us secure in His hand, even in death. And that gives us JOY even when enduring whatever gets thrown at us.
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