If You Were of the World

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.”

If the World Hates You

“The world” is not just those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Who were Jesus’ greatest persecutors? They were the people of his own faith, of his own race, and of his own community. Some of them were of his own family. They were rulers in the temple of God and they were teachers of the Scriptures. They were those of great knowledge of the Scriptures and of the prophecies of the Messiah yet to come, but they still rejected him.

And it wasn’t just that they rejected him, but many of them made it their goal to destroy him. And so they harassed him continually, always looking for an opportunity to trip him up in some way so that they could discredit him, even laying traps for him, hoping that he would fall into them so that they would have cause to accuse him and to make him look bad in the eyes of the people. They hated him largely because they were jealous of him.

But it wasn’t just jealousy and fear of losing their own positions of power that motivated them. They hated him because he claimed to be God, which is who he is, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And they hated him largely because he confronted them in their sins and he exposed them for the hypocrites that they were for he was warning the people against them and he was warning them, too, in his seven woes.

He said about them that they preached but they did not practice what they preached. They did all their deeds to be seen by others. They loved the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. And he said to them that they were hypocrites for they shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. They did not enter, and they did not allow those who would enter to go in. And their followers they made twice as much children of hell as they were.

He said that they cleaned themselves up outwardly but that inside they were full of greed and self-indulgence. They were to first clean the inside that the outside might also be clean. They appeared beautiful on the outside, but within they were full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. Outwardly they appeared righteous to others, but within they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. He called them serpents and a brood of vipers who would not escape being sentenced to hell.

False Teachers Today

And this describes many false teachers and false professers of faith in Jesus Christ today, especially those who teach the Scriptures and who preach a form of the gospel. They claim to be teachers of truth but they are liars, deceivers, and wolves in sheep’s clothing. And they are Satan’s messengers disguising themselves as servants of righteousness. And they are indeed slamming the door to heaven shut in the faces of their followers.

For they are teaching them that a mere outward profession of faith in Jesus Christ is enough to secure them heaven as their eternal destiny and to save them from their sins for eternity regardless of how they live their lives. Many are not teaching or they are teaching against submission to Christ as Lord, obedience to his commands, and the forsaking of their sins to follow Christ in his ways and in his truth and righteousness.

And, at least here in America, they are the primary persecutors of the servants of the Lord who are teaching the true gospel, and who are confronting sin in sinful humans, and who are calling people to repentance and to obedient faith to Jesus Christ. They are casting us aside and rejecting us and they are ignoring us and/or they are challenging us and opposing us. And they are accusing us falsely of teaching works salvation.

But they don’t hate everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ. They only hate those who are living as though they are not of this world, who are living godly and holy lives pleasing to the Lord. And many of their followers are following their example in rejecting those who are walking in obedience to the Lord. We are being considered the “bad guys” while those who admit to living in sin are considered the “good guys.” Everything is flip-flopped.

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.”

Yes, Jesus told us ahead of time that these things would happen to us so that we are not shaken by them when they do happen. If we are following Jesus in wholehearted devotion to him, and if we are teaching what he taught, and if we are calling sin what it is, and if we are calling people to repentance and to obedient faith in Jesus Christ, we will be persecuted. And they will reject the words that we teach, because they rejected His words.

But they do this because they do not truly know the Lord. Although they profess faith in Jesus Christ, and some of what they teach might be truth, usually it is a clever mixture of truth and lies blended in together. The lies are so cleverly intertwined with the truth that it takes much discernment to separate the two in many cases. And so they don’t really know God because they are not his true servants but they serve Satan, instead.

They do not know God, too, because they do not honor him as God. They are not surrendered to him to do whatever it is he has called them to do, for they chart their own course. They hold on to their sin, and they just sin in secret so that no one knows, or they admit their sin in a way that makes it sound righteous because they are admitting their sin. But acknowledging sin and repenting of sin are not the same thing.

And they do not know God/Christ, because they do not walk in obedience to his commands. They may give off an impression that what they are doing is of God but it is them operating in the flesh, doing things their own way, making up their own plans and carrying them out. There is no true repentance, no walks of obedience to the Lord, and no surrender of the control of their lives over to God for they are still their own lord and master.

[Matt 7:15-23; Matt 24:11-14; John 10:1-15; 2 Peter 2:1-22; 1 Tim 1:3-7; 1 Tim 6:3-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; 1 Jn 4:1-6; Jude 1:3-23; Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-17; Jn 15:18-21]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s