Faithlife Sermons

Love, Hate, & Jesus

The Trial of the Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Oil and water don’t mix. I love salad dressings, and one of my favorites is Italian. But one thing about Italian dressing is that when it sits, it always separates. It looks nasty sitting there in the fridge until you get it out and shake it up because oil and water don’t mix. And it doesn’t matter how hard you shake, it doesn’t matter how well blended that dressing is in your hand. when you set it back down on the table, it will immediately begin to separate because water and oil don’t mix.
Open your Bibles with me, if you will, to John 15. That’s John 15. And while you’re finding your spots, let me just remind you that the last time that we were together, we were talking about Christ’s command to love one another as He loves us, loving each other completely, absolutely, sacrificially, and forgiving as Christ loves us. In fact, the last two weeks, we were in John 15:9-17 twice over, as we looked at the passage first in the context of our love for God and then last week in discussing our love for one another. And all of this was framed by Matthew 22:37-40
Matthew 22:37–40 NASB95
And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
And so, love is supposed to be the great marker for the people of God. People should see our love for God on display through the way that we love others, and because of that love they should know that we are different. They should know that we are Christians because of our love. Jesus told us in John 13:35:
John 13:35 NASB95
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
So, it is in this context that we open our Bibles back to John 15. This week, we’re going to be starting in verse 18 as we move forward. And so as we read together from John 15:18, I would invite you to stand wherever you are this morning, if you are able, as we honor the Lord together in the reading of His word:
John 15:18–27 NASB95
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. “He who hates Me hates My Father also. “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. “But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
Would you pray with me? Heavenly Father, we praise you for giving us this day and another opportunity to worship Your Name. Thank you that we can gather together here physically, as well as from living rooms far and wide. Lord, we pray that we may all be able to be together soon. God, we thank you for the gift of Your Word. Thank you that it is sharper than any two-edged sword, able to cut through tissue and bone to the heart of a man. As we open it to study together this morning, we pray that You would use it to speak to our hearts. Through it, would You cut away those parts of us that are not of You, until we have been shaped to better reflect your Son, Jesus. It is in His Holy and precious Name we pray, amen.
Thank you, you may be seated. So, what are we to make of this? Here we are, just one verse after Jesus reiterates to us that His commandment for us is that we love one another, and what are we talking about? Hatred. There is no transition from verse 17 to verse 18; it is simple a hard break. Look at those two verses with me again:
John 15:17–18 NASB95
“This I command you, that you love one another. “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
You’ll remember, the last time that we were together, we were talking about loving one another, how we are called to love one another as Christ loves us. Yet, when we turn to the very next verse, we read that people are going to hate us because of Jesus Christ. We are to love each other because of Jesus Christ, and people are going to hate us because of Jesus Christ. In fact, when they hate you, know that they hated Him first.
Why do we have this hard break? Why is there such a sharp turn from one sentence to the next in what Jesus is talking about here? You’ll remember, this comes in the context of the Lord’s Supper. This comes in the context of Christ’s last hours with His disciples. Judas has already gone out into the night. Jesus and the others have already gotten up from the table and are now presumably walking together now, on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. These things that we are studying in this chapter and the surrounding chapters, we have the privilege of studying them over weeks and months and years. I told you all we have been in John a little more than a year, that’s actually not true. On June 9th, we will have been in this Gospel for 2 years, and this is good, because there is so much here for us to digest.
But we have the privilege, the blessing of considering these things slowly. But these things came quickly to the disciples. The things of these chapters transpired in mere hours between sitting at the table and Christ’s arrest. And each and every one of them is critically important, as Christ was emphasizing the main things one more time to His disciples while He was still with them. And what that means is that this stark contrast is here for a reason, and if you’ve got your listening guide from your program, or you got it from the thread below, what I want to point out to you first this morning is what we see in this break from verse 17 to verse 18, and it is this, that:

Jesus is the dividing line between love and hatred

It does not get any simpler. It cannot be any clearer. Jesus is the dividing line between love and hatred. Where Christ is present in a life, there is love, there is goodness, there is purity. Do they exist in their purest form in the life of the believer? No, because you and I still have sin issues that we are working through, and areas of our lives in which the Holy Spirit is still moving in us and around us to bring about the fullness of God’s glory in us. There are yet parts of your life that have yet to be pruned by the vinedresser.
Still, where Christ is present in a life, there is love. Love for God. Love for others. Likewise, where the presence of God is not, hatred abounds. It fills in the cracks and crevices. It destroys lives and families. It festers and wells and grows as a cancer killing every bit of life that it encounters.
Does this mean that neither of these things can be found in small forms in one or the other. Christians are still capable of sin, and therefore we can hate when we should love. God is still present and moving in the world and in the lives of the unbelieving, and so love can be present in their lives in some form or fashion. But, make no mistake Christ is the dividing line. He is the great separator.
Matthew 10:34 NASB95
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Jesus came to separate those that will love God from those that will not. Jesus came as the clear divider of the hearts of men: Those that will surrender in obedience and love and those that will not. And we need to understand that there is no middle ground here. Each and everyone of us must decide for ourselves which of these two groups we belong to.
Over the last two weeks, we’ve looked at and discussed what it means to love God and to love one another, and have found that our obedience to God is our expression of love to Him. And our primary mode of obedience is in our unconditional, sacrificial, forgiving, and total love of one another. These things are the very heart of what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. And if the world were perfect, this is where all of us would be.
But the world isn’t perfect. It is broken and fallen, and that means that these two worlds are going to collide. Those that love Jesus are going to be among and interact with and are going to have to cope with those that hate Him. And the place that we are going to collide is at the dividing line of Jesus Christ. And so as we look at this passage today, there are three things that Jesus wants us to understand about this dividing line. Look at verses 19-21 with me:
John 15:19–21 NASB95
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.
What is Jesus saying here? He is saying that:

Those that love Jesus love each other. Those that hate Jesus hate those that love Him

Jesus says here, “look, my children are not of this Kingdom and those that hate me are.” Literally, we’re coming from completely different places. We are water and oil, and Christ is the wall between us.” And to those that love Jesus, He is beautiful. He is loving. He is our hope and salvation and our greatest desire. But to those that hate Him, He is something different entirely. To them, He is the object of their hatred, and they stand against everything that He is and that He stands for. And the things that they do to you and me, they do because they hate Jesus. It isn’t you they hate, it is the one that lives inside of you.
Why did Jesus say this to us? He didn’t have to tell us this. He didn’t have to say that the world was going to hate us, that people were going to revile us and do bad things to us because of His Name. He didn’t have to say that; but He did say it. Why did He say it?
He said it because it’s true. He said it because followers of Jesus are going to have trouble in this life.
John 16:33 NASB95
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus has overcome the world, but you and I are still living in it. Jesus told us this so that we would expect it. Jesus told us that the world would hate us so that when it happened, it wouldn’t surprise us.
Why does the world revile Christians? Because of Christ! Why is Christianity singled out constantly as though we are hate mongers when other groups worshipping other gods commit travesties and crimes and are still applauded? Because of the Name of Christ. Why would expect anything different? Our Savior told us it was going to be this way because it actually is this way. In this world, those that love Jesus will be evident because of their love for one another. Those that are not of Christ will hate those who are, and their hatred will make it evident and plain that they are not in Christ.
Beloved, do you not see why Christ puts such emphasis on loving one another? Do you not see why it is so important to allow the Spirit working inside of you to root out hatred and envy and bitterness? Do you not see why the forgiveness we talked about last week is so important? Because Jesus is the great divider, and the fruit of Christ is His love, which is manifest in our love for one another. But hatred has no place in the life of the believer. You have no right and no place to hold anything against anyone because Christ forgave you of everything. How do we know what kind of tree we’re looking at? We look at the fruit. And so the fruit of a believer’s life is love. The fruit of the lost is hatred. Your fruit will be one or it will be the other.
It is not your place to judge their hatred. Your job is to press on, continuing forward in love, holding a great compassion for those that hate you and revile against you because you know what awaits them. Look at verses 22-25:
John 15:22–25 NASB95
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. “He who hates Me hates My Father also. “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. “But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’
I’ve often heard people tell me that the God of the Old Testament is wrath and judgment, while the God of the New Testament is love and grace. But what we see in this text is quite different, isn’t it? Their hatred of Christ is rooted in their hatred of the Father. Each and everyone of us has sinned. All of us are deserving of judgment and destruction. Jesus came to free us from that.
Jesus came to die in our place so that we could be saved of our sins. Jesus came and gave us a way out of the punishment that we deserve. But those that hate God, those that reject Christ, are rejecting that gift of salvation, and so what we see the second truth about the Dividing Line of Christ is this, that

Those who hate Jesus will face judgment because of it

Which is worse? To be guilty of a crime and to be punished, or to be guilty of a crime, to be offered grace in place of the punishment, and to choose the punishment instead? Do you not think that Christ will judge them more severely because of their rejection of His grace? I can assure you that He will because these verses tell us exactly that.
Jesus is saying if no one had heard the truth, and seen the mighty miracles that He worked that no one else could do. If no one had heard the Word of God and there was no access to grace, that would be one thing. But there is hope of forgiveness. The Word has been proclaimed. We are aware of our sins. Jesus has revealed Himself in Word and deed. And so those who are haters of God have no excuse.
And no one should take pleasure in this. Rather, it should drive us to our knees. We should be driven to fervent prayer for those that persecute us. We should seek to love those that show us hatred and bitterness. We should be worried about our fruit. Don’t be worried about what is happening to you now, in the midst of this life that is only temporary. Instead, worry about your fruit. Worry about what kind of fruit you are producing. Worry about abiding in His love so that the fruit that comes out of You is the fruit of love and not hatred. In Matthew 5:40-44, Jesus said this:
Matthew 5:40–44 NASB95
“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Jesus tells us to expect the world to hate us because of Him. In fact, He tells us that the prophets wrote that they would hate Christ without cause long before He came. He tells us that what is ahead of those that hate him is judgment and eternal punishment because of their hatred of God and their rejection of Him. And Jesus tells us these things, not only so that we can be ready, but so that we can prepare ourselves to love with His love in the midst of it. It is a lot harder to give love in difficult situations when you aren’t expecting the difficulty. So, Jesus tells us that it is going to be difficult so that we will prepare ourselves and be ready to love.
Because here is the thing: If Jesus is the dividing line between love and hate, and all of the love is with the people of God, how can we expect them to hear? What hope do they have of making a decision for Christ while there is still time in their lives for them to do so? How will someone that doesn’t know Christ come to know Him. Look at verses 26-27:
John 15:26–27 NASB95
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
What Jesus says here is that He has a purpose in leaving us in this world, and it is this:

Their is hope for the lost in the Christ’s witnesses

You know, there was a time when I didn’t know God. There was a time in my life when I was on the other side of the Dividing Line of Jesus Christ. I was a hater of God and of everything that He stood for. And while I may have never vocalized it like that, I showed it every single day in my words, in my actions, and in the way I lived my life. I am a sinner by my nature, and so that is what I did. I was every bit as deserving of death as those that hate me and revile me and cheat me and abuse me and misuse me are deserving of death. But something happened.
God sent me a witness. God sent someone to me that was brave enough to love me in the midst of my hatred and anger and brokenness, and God saved me from my sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. Do you know the only difference between me and the man who hates God? Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the great dividing line. And every single person that has ever come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ has come to Him because Christ gave them a witness to the truth. His Holy Spirit is here, working in and among God’s people, going out over all the earth, drawing all men to Himself. And He is working in the hearts and minds of every believer, equipping us, preparing us, emboldening us, and moving us to be witnesses to the great and mighty Name of Jesus Christ. And then, He tells us that the world He is sending us out into is going to hate us because of Him.
And this is the truly incredible, almost inconceivable truth: when we return the hatred of the world around us with the love of Jesus Christ, what we find is that Christ is using us to draw others to Himself. We find that our suffering beneath their hatred and choosing to love anyway opens their eyes and their ears to the love of Christ. We find in that moment that we are most like Christ, that we love them though they hate us. Is this not the ultimate reflection of Christ’s love for us? Romans 5:8 tells us
Romans 5:8 NASB95
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Now, don’t mishear me. I’m not saying that we can die for anyone. You and I are incapable of saving anyone. And yet, through Christ’s love in us others can be saved. Through the work of the Holy Spirit in and among us, as we return hatred for love, those who are persecuting us are the very ones that Christ reaches with the Gospel.
The people of God and the people of this world are oil and water. We are living here together, but we are separated by the divide of Jesus Christ. Where are you living this morning? Are you abiding in the love of our Savior? Are you loving in the midst of suffering and hatred? Are you loving those around you as Christ has loved you? Are you loving others completely and absolutely sacrificially and forgiving? Do you return hatred of this world with love?
Or are you an enemy of God? Are you the one that, to this point has refused the grace and the life, and the love that can only be found in Jesus Christ? Is Christ love to you, or are you under His judgment? Are you water or are you oil?
Here’s the thing: you have to be one or the other, and there is no middle zone. Jesus is the great dividing line, and this morning, He is calling you to cross over. Cross into His saving grace for the first time, and allow His love to change you and your very nature. Come to Him this morning, and let Him teach you how to love those who hate and revile you. Let Jesus carry you to love the unlovable. Jesus is calling you to the altar this morning. It is time for you to come and cross the divide. Would you go to the Lord in Prayer with me?
Jesus, we thank you that you have given us another day and another opportunity to find your forgiveness. And Lord, I know where I stand before You, the Great divider, this morning, and it isn’t where I want to be. Lord, Jesus, forgive me. Forgive me for my hatred. Forgive me for my rebellion against Your great love! Draw me into your heart. Make me like Your Son, Jesus. Show me how to walk so that I can be like you. Help me, Father, to love those that You love, even when they hate me, that I might bring glory to Your Name as Your witness until You come. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
If this morning, God is calling Your heart, would you come to Him and find that He is ready to meet with you. Would you come even now, as we sing together::
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