John 15:18-19 ESV
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 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.”
First let me state here that “the world” here in included God’s chosen people, and it included rulers and teachers of the scriptures within the temple of God, and it included family members and community, too.
So, “the world” Jesus was talking about was not just those who made no profession of faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For him, “the world” mostly was those who professed faith in the one true God, and who professed to worship God in the temple of God, the same one where Jesus went to worship. They were the ones who persecuted him and who called for him to be crucified on a cross, as though he was a common criminal.
I say this so that you understand, if you do not already, that the world exists within the gatherings of the church and among its leadership, too, and among those who make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, as well. So, don’t be surprised if the “world” that hates you is part of your church fellowship, among your closest friends or your close family members, or that it is even among the spiritual leaders within your church gatherings.
Why Hate Jesus?
So, why did they hate Jesus? In Jesus’ own words he told his blood half-brothers, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil” (Jn. 7:7). And, he told his disciples that it was because they are not of this world, because Jesus had called them out of this world, that the world hates them as they hated him. For, if they were of this world, the world would love them as its own. And this says it all!
Does the world and the worldly church and worldly church leaders love you as their own? Or, do they hate you? And, do they hate you because you speak the truth in love, and you say the things that Jesus and his NT apostles said about sin, about grace, about salvation, and about eternal life? And, do they hate you because you don’t participate with them in worldly (fleshly) activities and, in fact, you speak out against worldliness, and you call for holiness, godliness and obedience to Christ and his Word?
Or, do they love you as their own because you have learned to “stay in your own lane” and to not “rock the boat,” because you don’t want to offend anyone with the truth? Do they love you for your silence and your tolerance of sinful practices? Do they love you, too, because you join in with them in their worldliness (fleshliness) so that you don’t stand out as different, or so that you don’t get called “a holy roller”? And, do they love you for not saying anything to them when you know, in fact, that they are living in sin?
John 15:20-21 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. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”
There are many ways that worldly people (those living by the flesh), whether professing Christians or not, persecute those who are walking by the Spirit and who are sharing the truths of the gospel of our salvation as Jesus taught them, and as his NT apostles taught them. Physical persecution is one means of persecution, but there are many other ways to persecute others.
The Pharisees, for example, hounded Jesus continually and looked for ways to trip him up with his words and to accuse him of wrongdoing. They were continually attacking his character and his actions and words, and they were very skilled at manipulation and twisting words to their advantage, too, especially when they felt threatened by Jesus’ direct approach in dealing with sinful practices, especially those of the leadership in the temple of God.
Many of these who will or do persecute us are those who are very skilled at manipulation, mind games, trickery, deception, lying, and staging situations in order to try to trip you up or to get you to respond emotionally to a situation so that they can come back and accuse you wrongfully of something you didn’t do or say. Another name for this is gaslighting, and it is nearly impossible to prove. But, it is extremely cruel and spiteful.
They, too, are very skilled actors, who are good at convincing most people of anything. They are very skilled at putting on performances for an audience in order to gain sympathy and support or in order to get others to come against you, too. They could win a prize for their acting ability, and for their overdramatic performances where they overplay, over-exaggerate, and overdo what they are trying to convince others of, oftentimes with extravagant emotion in order to try to intimidate the other person into submission, i.e. in order to silence him or her.
This usually comes when this person has been confronted with some type of wrongdoing, as Jesus often confronted the Pharisees, and so a person like this might lash back in retaliation with over-exaggerated false accusations. Or, it could be their response to hearing the true gospel message, too, and out of guilt regarding their own sinful lifestyles they will come out attacking those who are teaching the truth in hopes to discredit them in some way, and in hopes to ease their own guilty consciences.
Faking it all
Some people like this, though, want people to think well of them, and to think they are living rightly, yet they are trying to hide their secret sins. And, so they may overdramatize their loyalty and devotion to God in a way that is way over what is consistent with their lifestyles. Or, they may even overdo their rejection to sinful practices in a way that is so strong, but out of character for them, to the point to where it is not believable. And, this usually occurs when they feel their secrets are in danger of being discovered, and so they make great boasts that are out of character.
But, it is not inconsistent with their normal behavioral patterns to react this way when they feel they are being told that they are doing wrong, or when they are confronted with the truth of the gospel or with the truth of the reality of the cheap grace gospel which coddles people in their sins and which makes no demands for holiness, righteousness or obedience to God.
For, these are people who have bought into the cheap grace gospel which tells them that they can ‘believe’ in Jesus and have the promise of heaven when they die, but that it does not have to alter their lifestyles. They could even be those who outwardly profess the true gospel, but by their lifestyles they show evidence that they truly believe the cheap grace gospel. So, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, they will take offense at anyone suggesting that their own righteousness will not secure them heaven, especially while they continue living in sin.
Although they may profess faith in Jesus Christ, he is not the true authority over their lives. The flesh is still on the throne of their lives, and so they continue in their sinful practices, convinced that heaven is secured them no matter how they live on this earth. And, thus, they will come after anyone who suggests that isn’t so. And, so they continue on in their sinful practices unhindered by the truth, for they reject the truth.
Thus, they also surround themselves with those who speak with authority in support of the cheap grace gospel, for they surround themselves with those teachers who will tickle their itching ears with lies which coddle them in their sins. And, so they will lash out at and will persecute those who are teaching the true gospel of salvation from sin and/or those who personally confront them with their sinful lifestyles and who encourage them to turn from their wicked ways and to follow the Lord Jesus in obedience.
John 15:22-25 ESV
“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. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 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. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”
I read multiple commentaries on these verses, and the commentators have a wide variety of beliefs regarding the meaning behind Jesus’ words. So, when we have a confusion about what a scripture is teaching, then we have to look at the context, and we have to compare scripture with scripture.
We know that scripture teaches that all have sinned, and all have fallen short of the glory of God. We know it teaches that not one of us has an excuse for continued willful sin against God. And, we know that the wages of sin is death. So, this does not mean that these people would have not been held accountable for their sins.
So, the only reasonable explanation, I believe, is that Jesus is saying that those who have heard Jesus’ words, and who know the truth, and who have even taught the scriptures, will be held to a higher standard of judgment than those who did not. How that all pans out, I don’t know, but I do know that we are to take this seriously, for God means business here.
Praise Be Told!
An Original Work / December 28, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
He was pierced for our transgressions.
He was crushed for all our sin.
Our chastisement was upon Him.
By His stripes, we now are healed.
He has witnessed all our trials,
And the sins we choose to wear.
Yet, while we were dead in our sin,
Jesus died, our sins to bear.
He himself bore all of our sins
In His body on a cross,
So that we might die to our sin,
And live for His righteousness.
By faith in the pow’r of Jesus
And His blood shed for our sins,
We can be forgiven our sin,
And have life with God in heav’n.
He will lead us and He’ll guide us
In the way that we should go.
He will comfort and protect us,
Because Jesus, we do know.
Though He disciplines for our good,
He will heal us – Praise be told!
Do not fear, your Lord is with you.
Just have faith in Christ your Lord.
Sunday, July 14, 2019