Hatred and Servanthood! – John 15:18-27
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 1, 2015
No one likes to be disliked, unless they have some severe mental problems or are into self-abasement. But what if everyone around you did not like you because of your belief in God? We are seeing a noticeable uptick in the amount of aggression directed towards Christians. From public school teachers in classrooms failing those who confess a belief in God to assistant coaches who pray and military chaplains who do not agree with the politically correct and ungodly version of what marriage is. Christians are disliked because of their way of life and in whom they believe, but it is the duty of the believer to serve their Lord.
Here in John’s gospel we find Jesus getting into heavier theological subjects in order to prepare his disciples for the future without his physical presence. He knew that not only would they need to understand the consequences of their discipleship, but why there would be so much fallout from the world around them. Let’s discover what Jesus taught and why concerning the world’s hatred and our servanthood…
READ: John 15:18-27
How would you feel if you moved to a new town and everyone there disliked you simply because of whom you were? Certainly those who have faced racism or bigotry can relate, however, what if all the folks were just like you but still they simply did not like you at all? Jesus related that…
I. The world hates Christians because it hates God! (Vv. 15:18-23)
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. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is 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. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well.
1. Friendship with God results in incurring the world’s hatred. Consequently, being friends with the world is to be God’s enemy. James, Jesus’ brother, would later warn weak believers, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4 NIV) Jesus tells them, “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.” However, from now on things would be drastically different. “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.” Jesus had chosen them just as he does us and now the world would hate them and us because of this. The world loves the false face appearance of being good but hates the hard hitting truth of holiness. It hates it because it can never measure up to God’s standard. As Jesus’ disciples we all have to remember that “No servant is greater than his master.” As our master Jesus was persecuted so we shall be as well. Jesus tells them the tough truth that “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.” The world does not know, understand, follow, love, and live for God. Instead the world lives in constant guilty fear its phoniness will be revealed for what it truly is and it was laid bare through Jesus! “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin.” This is the core of the problem, sin. The world likes to call it making a mistake, a minor slip, error, personal gaffe, misstep, or lapse of judgment; but what it truly is, is sin! Jesus bluntly relates, “Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well.” The world hates Christians because it hates God!
EXAMPLE: She was crying uncontrollably at recess and when I finally got her to tell me what was wrong she lamented, “They won’t let me play with them!” She was emotionally crushed. The offenders had decided to limit their game to a certain amount of people and that was it and she could not understand why they would exclude her. She was hurt and left feeling unwanted and violated. Some Christians go through the same kind of emotional upset when faced with rejection of their faith bt family, friends, or others. Yet Jesus plainly teaches us that the world hates Christians because it hates God!
Now what if you were told to go out into the town where you moved and where everyone disliked you to try to share with them a medication that could cure them of their undeserved hatred and of everything that harmed them forever? Jesus now tells his disciples that…
II. The servant of God will testify concerning Jesus! (Vv. 15:24-27)
If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, 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.’ When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
1. Jesus walked this earth teaching only great things concerning God and the world. He focused on why so many folks were headed in the wrong direction with their lives. Everything Jesus did while he was here physically was to glorify God. He had said that “no servant is greater than his master.” We are to glorify God in everything we do and when we do, we are immediately at odds with the rest of the world! The truth Jesus speaks is never understood by the world because it is spiritually discerned. They are “unable to hear” what Jesus teaches (John 8:43) because they “belong to [their] father, the devil, and [they] want to carry out [their] father’s desire!” (John 8:44) In fact, Jesus tells them, “If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.” Sin is fundamentally irrational. Their hatred of Jesus was without any rational cause which also fits the pattern of hatred for all righteous people from the prophets, David, others and now them and us! This is why the world, “Hated [Jesus] without reason!” It fulfills their self-guilty law of personal survival at any cost! When faced with this kind of irrational hatred towards goodness and righteousness believers might be tempted to camouflage their faith or hide themselves in the crowd. Jesus reminds his disciples with the comforting truth that “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” We need not fear what the world does, we have God in us! In fact, when we live for Jesus we are living for God and are testifying to the truth of Jesus! This is why Jesus reminds them specifically, “And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” They had seen the miracles of God, had seen and heard the words of truth, and knew Jesus was the messiah; therefore they must now testify to what they had seen and experienced for themselves! The servant of God will testify concerning Jesus!
EXAMPLE: The little blond freckled-faced imp in front of me readily declared, “I just don’t like him!” when I asked why she was so mean to a fellow playmate. I tried to get her to find some reason and she simply responded, “I don’t have any reason, I just don’t like him!” However, finally after several minutes of coaxing a truthful response, she confessed, “I don’t like him because he always plays by the rules!” When they played their games together the little boy would always play by the rules they had established together to begin with while she often wanted to bend them to meet her needs of the moment and then he would let her know she was breaking her own rules! While it can be tough sharing with others they need Jesus, when they think they are perfectly okay, the servant of God will testify concerning Jesus!
The world hates Christians because it hates God! The servant of God will testify concerning Jesus!
This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.