John 15:18-19 ESV
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
Followers of Jesus
This is Jesus speaking to his followers – to those who are believing in him to be their Lord and Savior, who have repented of their sins, who by God’s Spirit have turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, and who are walking in obedience to his commands, showing their repentance by their deeds done in the Spirit (Ac 26:18-21; 1 Jn 2:3-6).
These are his followers who deny self and who are daily dying to sin and who are following Jesus according to his will for their lives. They are remaining and abiding in Christ and in his word, and they are bearing fruit in keeping with repentance and for God’s eternal kingdom. Thus, they are showing themselves to be the Lord’s true disciples (Lu 9:23-26; Jn 15:1-8).
They are also those who are keeping, as a matter of practice, the commands of God (under the New Covenant), and thus they are loving God. They are also those who are loving their brothers and sisters in Christ and the people of the world. And they are also willingly laying their lives down by sharing the truth of the gospel so that others can be delivered from slavery to sin and have eternal life with God (Jn 15:9-17; 1 Jn 2:3-6).
Hated by the World
These followers of Jesus Christ are the hated by the world, but not just by the world, but by the worldly and fleshly church, too, who have become one with the world. And who hated Jesus the most? It was the rulers in the temple of God. And they are the ones who had him put to death.
So, it should not surprise us at all if some of our fiercest opposition and persecution comes, not from the people outside the church (or state church), but from people who claim faith in Jesus Christ and who participate in the fellowship of the church (or state church).
And why do they hate, reject, ostracize, ignore, exclude, and push us away? It is because we don’t belong to the world, because Jesus chose us out of the world. For, if we belonged to the world, it would love us as its own.
So, what does this look like to be chosen out of the world so that we no longer belong to the world? We should no longer think from a worldly point of view. We should not take on the character or the attitudes of the ungodly. And we should not be taking the garbage of the world into our eyes and minds or behaving in ways which are immoral and wicked.
But we should have the mind of Christ and we should think from a heavenly point of view, with our eyes fixed on Jesus and on doing his will. Thus, not only will we not be consuming the junk of the world, but we will be feeding our minds on the word of God and living to please our Lord.
John 15:20-21 ESV
“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.”
Many people who claim faith in Jesus Christ have this idea that Christians shouldn’t have to suffer for the sake of their faith, but Christians all throughout history since Jesus died for us on that cross have been persecuted and even put to death for their faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
As Americans, we have known little of the severe persecution that Christians throughout the world have had to suffer, and thus, many have gotten this idea that they will not be called upon to suffer persecution for their faith. But that is not biblical.
For Jesus said that if they persecuted him, that they will persecute us also. But so many who profess faith in Jesus are one with the world and so the world is not persecuting them, but the world is loving them as its own. The ones who are being persecuted, though, are those who are truly following Jesus with their lives, doing and saying the kinds of things he did.
Thus, we are also being persecuted in some of the same ways in which Jesus was, for we are being verbally attacked as he was, and we are being called names, and we are being falsely accused of what we did not do just because we are different and just because we don’t follow religious traditions, but we follow Jesus in doing and saying what he says to do and say.
John 15:22-25 ESV
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’”
Now, Jesus was not saying that if he had not come and spoken to them that they would not be guilty of all sin, for we are all born with sin natures, and in our sin natures we are guilty, and we are separate from God, and we are not acceptable to God nor do we have the promise of eternal life.
But the meaning here is that because he did come to them, and he did speak to them, that they were responsible for what they witnessed and for what they heard. Thus, if they refused him, and if they hated him, which many of them did, then they were guilty of sin. They were without excuse because he told them the truth.
Again, all of us are born with sin natures and separate from God, and Romans 1 states that we all have been shown God and his divine character and will through his creation, so if we reject him, and we do what our evil hearts desire, we are without excuse (Rom 1:18-32).
But it is also true that if we are given the truth of the gospel which teaches that we must die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, but we refuse it, because we want to go our own way instead, we are also without excuse, and we will be judged by our refusal to believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives.
And it is true, as well, that if we teach the things that Jesus taught and that his New Testament apostles taught, that we will be hated and persecuted as they were, and even by the religious and those who profess the name of Jesus but who by their actions deny him. So, we need to be ready, for the severe persecution is coming.
An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8
Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.
May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”
“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”