On Account of Jesus’ Name

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.”

Who is meant by “the world”? Typically this refers to the ungodly, to those without faith in Jesus Christ. But it can also refer to many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ but who are still worldly, who are still living by the flesh and not by the Spirit. And so they, too, reject the things of God – his holiness, righteousness, purity, honesty, morality, and integrity.

For example, Jesus’ greatest persecutors, his greatest opponents were not the people out in the world but they were the religious rulers in the temple of God, in the Lord’s temple. They were the teachers of the Scriptures who were to lead the people to righteousness and holiness. But many of them were secretly sinning behind closed doors.

And what is meant by “hate”? In truth, it literally can mean a wide variety of things all the way from loving or esteeming someone less than another to doing what is pure evil to others, such as slandering, murdering, tricking, committing adultery against and stealing from them, i.e. doing to them deliberately what a person knows will injure and hurt another person.

So, hate can be expressed in many different ways. It can mean to detest, to denounce (accuse, censure, vilify), and to renounce (discard, reject). So those people who hate you may persecute, abuse, misuse, mistreat, slander, betray, accuse falsely, oppress, hound, harass, bully, play mind games with, lay traps for and/or torment those that they hate.

So, why do people do this? Why do they hate? It can be for many different reasons. For one, people are taught to hate others who are different from them. They are taught to hate those with whom they disagree. And they are taught to despise and to reject those whose faith teaches that they must repent of sin and obey God. For they don’t want to be told to change.

People also hate others because of what is inside their hearts, not physically, but spiritually and emotionally. They hate because of bitterness, jealously, resentment, pride, prejudice, selfishness, and hidden sin that they don’t want exposed and that they don’t want to have to confess or to rid their lives of. For they want to keep doing the evil they are doing.

So, those who made a profession of faith in God, who were leaders and rulers in the temple of God, and who even taught the Scriptures, were hypocritical liars who made a pretense of righteousness on the outside while secretly they were sinning against God. And since Jesus was exposing their sin and their pride, they hated him for it, for they didn’t want to change.

And that is where a lot of professing Christians are today, too, and so they have created their own gospel which does not confront them in their sin, and which does not call them to repentance, and which makes no demands for holy living and for obeying the Lord, but it gives them carte blanche to continue in their sinful practices, only now without guilt.

And so they are mistreating those who are following the Scriptures (in context), who are living and who are sharing the gospel that Jesus taught, and that his NT apostles taught. And they are vilifying them and the gospel that they are sharing, saying that they are teaching works-based salvation, even though they are teaching the truth of what the NT apostles taught.

But they aren’t rejecting them just because they are holding on to the truth of the gospel but because they are not of this world; because they don’t do all the same kinds of things that the ungodly do. For, they are living lives which are separate (unlike, different) from the world and so the world and the worldly church have rejected them because they are not like the world.

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.”

But if this is where we are, living for the Lord, following him in his footsteps, obeying his commands, and not giving way to the flesh, and not making sin our practice, and living lives which are unlike the world, we should expect to be hated, rejected, censured, falsely accused, discarded, vilified, and/or harassed, and that we should have people trying to lay traps for us, too.

We should remember that Jesus said that as they persecuted him so they will persecute us, and his greatest persecutors were rulers/leaders in the temple who were teachers of the Scriptures. So, anticipate pastors and elders coming against you because you are still holding to the truths of the Scriptures and because you have not compromised with the world.

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.’”

Those who know the truth, who have been told/taught the truth are the most guilty when they reject the truth, for they of all people should know better. All people are without excuse, though, because God has made himself known to all humans (Rom 1). So, if we reject the truth and we choose to follow after the lie, instead, we are guilty of rejecting the Lord.

I have known pastors and Christian laymen in the church who have been in the church gatherings their whole lives, who know the Scriptures, who have taught the Scriptures, but who are not living the truth that they know. I still see this on a regular basis. So many of them are living in spiritual adultery against the Lord, and so many of them are living in sexual immorality, too.

And not only do they know better, but many of them are leading their congregations and their families to compromise the truth of the gospel, too, so that they can continue living in sin without guilt. Many of them have rejected the truth of the gospel in order to adhere to a cheap grace gospel which coddles people in their sin and which does not demand death to sin.

And so they end up hating the truth and those who are bringing them the truth. And so they end up fighting against those who are proclaiming the truth because they don’t want to come into the light because their deeds are evil. So, if you are walking in the light, expect to be persecuted by those who are not, especially by the religious who are not.

How Beautiful Heaven Must Be

Songwriters: Cordelia J. Whiteside Bridgewater, 1920 / Andy Pickens Bland

We read of a place that’s called heaven,
It’s made for the pure and the free;
These truths in God’s word He has given,
How beautiful heaven must be.

In heaven no drooping nor pining,
No wishing for elsewhere to be;
God’s light is forever, there shining,
How beautiful heaven must be.

The angels so sweetly are singing,
Up there by the beautiful sea;
Sweet chords from their gold harps are ringing,
How beautiful heaven must be.

How beautiful heaven must be
Sweet home of the happy and free;
Fair haven of rest for the weary,
How beautiful heaven must be

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