Hated for Jesus Sake
John 15:17-16:4 Hated for Jesus Sake Introduction: It needs to be said again that all that Jesus is teaching the disciples is in light of the fact that these are his last hours with them. He is on the eve of completing his mission to show the World the great love of the Father through his sacrificial death on the Cross. Jesus will shortly be returning to the Father, but he has assured the disciples that his going away is a good thing, because he is making a way for them to be with him always -in a new heaven and a new earth. He has assured them that they know the way to Life, that his own very presence will be with them throughout their mission to the World, he has exhorted them on how to cultivate this continued relationship with his resurrected, ascended, glorified self. We now come to what can be expected for the disciples as they live in and out of all that Jesus has taught them. Being chosen by Jesus, being a branch in the Vine is simultaneously a privilege and the beginning of great adversity and persecution from the world. As Disciples are making their home with Jesus it simultaneously means that they are at odds with the world. Jesus is bracing disciples for this less pleasant reality in becoming Christians. It wouldn’t have been fair for Jesus to send his disciples out only with his home and love teaching without also giving them his world and hate from the world teaching in order to fully equip them for their task in the real world.. Paul once said to Timothy, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”-2 Timothy 3:12 These verses remind us again that following Jesus cost something.. something Jesus reiterated again and again in his teaching (Lk 9:57-62; 14:25-33), it may even cost life itself - martyrdom. Yet, not following Jesus means siding with a lost and hateful world…and in the end is much more costly.. we not only lose out on the fullness of earthly existence, we lose our lives eternally.. 1. The World Hates Jesus - The Real Jesus 1. The World… 1. The Bible tells us, and clearly displays, that God so loved the World by sending his son to die for the sins of the World and that continues to love the World…. Yet the World is the system that is bent on rebellion against God and his Kingdom...an evil organized earthly system controlled by the power of the evil one that has aligned itself against God and his kingdom. (So when I use this word “World” this morning you know what I’m talking about.. 2. The Real Jesus 1. I say the real Jesus because the World often makes Jesus into their own image, a reflection of themselves - Jesus was a great teacher that taught us to reach our full human potential…. Jesus taught us that we are all gods and can “save” our lives and the lives of others by loving and dying to self….Jesus was a humanitarian, Jesus was a communist…. Jesus was a liberal, Jesus was a conservative…Jesus was…etc. 2. But the real Jesus is the one the world despises. The one who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The one who created all things, the one who holds all things together by his word, the one who stepped down from glory to partake of human life and suffering in order to safe us from the wrath of God against are depravity and fallenness by his own slaughtering on the cross. The one who was buried, and rose bodily, physically, never to die again. The one who has all authority and power and holds the keys of hell and death. The Jesus who is the only way, the only truth, and the only life, the one who said no can have life apart from me, the one who said apart from me - you can do nothing. The one who is the judge of all and the renewer of a kingdom of righteousness. The World hates this Jesus. 3. Why does the World hate Jesus? 1. Because the real Jesus testifies that it’s deeds are evil… He spoke words and performed signs that no other person in history has matched… 2. Because his works and deeds expose our fallenness and brokenness, “He had a daily beauty in his life that made us ugly”, 3. Because of his claim for our absolute need of him for life and salvation, peace and hope go against all our desires for autonomy. It is an affront to our pride..we don’t want to be wrong, we don’t want to be sinners, we don’t want to admit that we are not well, that we are darkness, that we need help…that we need a Savior. 2. The World Will Hate You 1. The world will hate you because you are not rooted or of the world. Because you are making your home in Jesus, because the witness of Jesus is being worked out in your life through word and actions… 1. If the union of believers with Jesus constitutes a community of Love, that community stands in opposition to the World.. 2. We often try to show sociological reasons why the World hates Christians - it’s because Christians are self righteous, Christians are hypocritical, Christians care more about going to heaven than bringing heaven to earth…. But John says, that the hatred that we receive from the world is inevitable.. because it isn’t sociologically based. 3. It doesn’t matter how sanctified we become (selfless, sincere, socially or environmentally sensitive) or how mush we reflect Jesus, we will still hated by the world because their hatred is based upon theology not on sociology….actually that theological hatred leads to increased sociological hatred…of course the Church has many blemishes.. and we often talk about those, and our need to be sanctified..so this isn’t an excuse for our sin, or problems in the Church, but again that is not the root of the worlds hatred…. 4. Because the “World” hates Jesus, apparently it really irritates the “World” that disciples lives are not rooted in the World, which must means that, by and large, disciples do not go along with the World, or do not find their deepest joys, resources, or interests in it; Christians rather find much to critique in the World and go against many of it’s major convictions and seem greatly out of step with many of it’s major passions. 5. The World hates Christians (true Christians) because they make their home in Jesus and not in this world, and because they, like Jesus, testify through words and actions that the World system is evil and subject to judgment.. 2. I don’t feel hated.. Am I doing something wrong? 1. Let me contextualize hatred 2. In the secular west over the last century the hatred, while not always being “to the death” or “in the service of God” has been one that would not at all mind our elimination from the face of the earth in the service of rational and scientific truth.. we Christians, it is felt by many, represent the great superstition..” - Bruner 3. If we are abiding in Christ our works and words will regularly contradict the lifestyles of those around us. By our code of ethics in the workplace, by our attitudes towards work, by our biblical ethical standard, by our life goals and values, we shall inevitably, without even consciously trying, "expose the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph 5:11) Like our Master, the integrity of our speech, our unwillingness to spread slander, our words of kindness and forgiveness, will at times provide opposition. Like Shakespeare’s Iago says of Cassio, “He hath a daily beauty in his life that makes me ugly.” - that can be a short step from hatred… 4. What we are finding more and more is a lack of support and tolerance for Christianity in western society. If you don’t believe me, start reading your Bible at work, talking freely about Jesus, sharing your world view behind why you do what you do…and you will quickly find, mocking, complaints, people saying things like - keep your religious practice to yourself, that kind of stuff doesn’t belong in the work place…The World will mock you for being a bad christian but they’ll hate you for being a good one.. 1. I could give examples even now of people in government, law enforcement, and civil services that are receiving censorship, losing their jobs, or unable to advance at their jobs, precisely because they are Christians.. (and the supposed intolerance that those belief’s might create in the work place) 2. Luther said, “If you want to have peace in the world, just be silent about Jesus. But if you oppose the world or the worldly church and teach otherwise, that they must be saved by Christ and that their own efforts do not contribute anything, then be resigned to the necessity of being hated and persecuted by the world to the utmost.” 3. Continued Witness of Christ in the Midst of Persecution 1. Since the world will hate us and persecute us for Jesus sake what should we do? Hide? Making religion a private matter? Stop speaking about Jesus? Absolutely not! we cannot allow the world to dictate for us what it needs, we must speak, and act in the cause of Christ for the life of the World!! 2. In the midst of the World’s hostility Jesus’ cause must still be promoted and proclaimed. Jesus is still the only hope for the world that hates and opposes him. He loves it even still, extending his grace to it, through his disciples witness and works. 3. This happens as the Holy Spirit joins with the disciples in testifying about Jesus to the world, remember, it is that one on one, person to person way that the Lord is going to be speaking and working through us to reach the world..…Our community’s witness is to be empowered by the Holy Spirit himself. This witness is always about Jesus: it brings before the world the truth of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, in his word, his works, his death and resurrection, with all it’s potential for both blessing and judgment. As this witness proceeds it will force division in the world, being an extension of Jesus’ own divisive ministry…. 4. Why This Discouraging Message? 1. Though the content is heavy and seemingly discouraging, Jesus says this for our good and our comfort. 2. The reason why Jesus is so explicit on these matters is so that when persecution does break out Jesus’ disciples will not be taken by surprise and be tempted toward apostasy. Rather, they will remember what Jesus said, and their faith will be strengthened because they will be assured that what is happening to them is not outside either Jesus’ knowledge or his control... 1. That we might not lose heart, grow weary or discouraged. The greatest danger we face as Christians is not death but apostasy -“falling away”. That might be straight up walking away from Christ and Christianity (which shows that we were never truly saved). 1. But more often apostasy is seen in watering down the gospel, taking away from the person and work of Jesus in any way that makes it more acceptable and stomach-able for a prideful, selfish, self seeking world…. 2. We might remember that Christ reigns over all… he is sovereign, that he is Lord and that nothing can stop his advancing kingdom.. as Jesus will say… “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 3.