Worth it All

In Context (John 13-15)

It was right before Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion. At what is called “The Last Supper,” Jesus washed his disciples feet, and he proclaimed to his disciples that one of them would betray him, which was Judas. But his other disciples did not understand what he was saying to them. And Peter declared passionately that he would lay down his life for the Lord. But Jesus told him that the rooster would not crow until Peter had denied the Lord three times.

And then Jesus went on to talk with his disciples (now just 11 of them) about how he was going to be leaving the earth, but that when he left he was going to prepare a place for them, and that he would come again to take his disciples (all his followers) to be with him. And then he said that if we keep (obey) his commandments (New Covenant), we are the ones who love him, and we will be loved by the Father and by Jesus.

And then he spoke with his disciples about the vine and the branches, and that Jesus was the true vine, and that we are his branches, but that if we don’t bear fruit for his kingdom that we will be cut off and burned and thrown away, but that every branch that bears fruit he prunes so we will bear more fruit. And then he said that we can’t bear fruit unless we abide in him, and to abide is to remain in him, but it also involves obedience to him.

And then he talked about how the world will hate (reject, persecute) those of us who are truly the Lord’s disciples (followers). For if we are of the world, the world will love us as its own, but since Jesus/God chose us out of the world, so we are not like the world, then the world hates us. But the world is not just those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ. The world includes many who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior but who deny him by their actions, for they are still living in sin and not in obedience to the Lord.

John 16:1-4 ESV

“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.”

So, it is good that our Lord told us these things ahead of time so that we could be prepared so that we are not easily shaken when these persecutions do come. Yet, I don’t believe I really got that early on in my life, for I was easily shaken by persecutions, but not by every one of them, and not necessarily immediately, but it was usually after many had come one on top of another that I did not fully understand that I was to accept persecutions as part of my life of faith in Jesus Christ and that the Lord would teach me through them what he wanted me to learn, and what I needed to learn.

But in his kindness to us, the Lord did prepare us for these things so that we wouldn’t fall apart when they come, and so we wouldn’t fall away from our walks of faith out of discouragement or anger or hurt, or whatever.

And we should know that, in our day and age, if we are true followers of Jesus Christ, and if we are sold out to the Lord to doing what he says, we will be put out of some “churches” (usually institutional market-driven churches), which are not the true church, the body of Christ. And many are being convinced that those who are following the Lord are the enemy and that those who are preaching lies are the truth tellers, and so some, but not all, may be convinced that it is right to cast us aside.

But they will do these things to us because, although they may profess Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior, they don’t really know him, because they don’t obey him, and they do not submit to him as Lord, and they do not walk in holiness and righteousness, because they are convinced they don’t have to. And they may be the charlatans and the wolves in sheep’s clothing and the servants of Satan who are disguising themselves as servants of righteousness, and so they know exactly what they are doing and why.

John 16:20-22 ESV

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

Oh, I love this! Isn’t this so encouraging? Yes, pain and sorrow don’t sound all that encouraging, but when we consider the outcome of that pain and sorrow, then we can rejoice, like a woman giving birth to a baby. So, yes, to follow Jesus Christ with our lives, it will mean sharing in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and resurrection. But it will be worth it all when we see Jesus and when we see the lives which have been changed because we obeyed the Lord in doing what he said to do.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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