This morning we're continuing our study of the fifteenth chapter of John, and I'd like to ask you if you would to turn in your Bibles to John 15. The title of ourmessage this morning if we were to title it would be "Hated without a Cause", and it deals with the antagonism of the world both toward Jesus and toward His disciples. Now I feel a little bit like I am limiting myself because there is enough really in these verses to spend many, many weeks on them, but we are going to move a little faster and try to cover several verses this morning, perhaps leaving some things that need to be said but saying other things which we believe the Spirit of God has directed us to say.
Now we are still in that particularly great section of the gospel of John that runs from chapter 13 through 17; for our visitors we will add that we have now for oh, I suppose a year and a half, been in a study of the gospel of John, and we go verse by verse right through seeing what God has desired to teach us through His apostle John; John, of course, is primarily concerned with recording the words of Jesus Christ and the deeds that He did while here on earth, as well as His eternal identity. But as we have come to chapters 13 to 17 we have come to that great last discourse of Jesus to His disciples. This is the night before Jesus is to die, and all of the events of these several chapters take place on that night. Jesus is dealing with His disciples for the last time prior to His crucifixion. And up until verse 18 of chapter 15 where we will arrive this morning, Jesus has been dealing with them on the terms of comfort‑‑that is, He knows they are sorrowing, He knows they are tremendously upset, He knows that their whole future looks very bleak and very terrifying, He knows that they are well aware of the loneliness that's going to enter into their lives when He leaves them, and so He has spent most of His time showing them He loved them and comforting them. You remember that in chapter 13 he spent the chapter indicating His love for them, even so far as to wash their feet. Then in chapter 14 He measured out all of those tremendous promises to comfort them. He told them He was going to go away only forthe reason to prepare a place for them that He could come back and get them and take them where He was. He told them they would do greaterworks than He had cone because He went to the Father. He told them that they could ask anything in His name and that He would do it. He told them that they would receive the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who would livein them, who would be His own Spirit. He told them He Himself would even return to dwell in them. He told them that they would possess divine life, that they would possess divine knowledge, that they would be intensely loved both by Him and by God the Father. He told them that they would know His very own peace that He would give them. He told them that they would abide in Him, closely connected to Him, and His life wouldflow through them, and they would bear fruit, much fruit, and more fruit. They would have an imminent life communion with Him. He told them that they would have joy‑‑His joy remaining in them. And He said to them for all time you will be my friends, loved of Me, loving Me, and loving each other. So He made these classic, fantastic promises to them as well as indicating to them His love. And at this point, so that they might understand there is to be a balanced view of the world that they are to march through, He is to present to them the complete opposite.‑ He presents to them the fact that even though they shall have all these promises and all these blessings and all of these Holy Spirit generated abilities, they will find themselves in the midst of a hostile, rebellious and Christ‑hating world. And that balances off their view of the picture in His absence. There will be a world that will hate them with the same venom that it hated Him. And it will seek to kill them with the same kind of venom that it sought to kill Him, and in fact as best we can tell from history the world managed to martyr eleven our of the twelve, John being the only exception, perhaps Matthew being another exception. But nevertheless, Jesus wants to balance it off so that they don't get the idea that after all of these promises their whole existence is going to be a bed of roses, and they can enter into the world with kind of a glee that will be unrestricted and unrestrained. Not so. They will in fact meet the hostility of the world exactly in the manner that Jesus met it--the same kind of persecution will belong to them. So the text that we're going to look at this morning, beginning at verse 17, and we'll back up and pick up that verse, down to verse 25, presents the hostility of the world against the people of 4 Jesus Christ. The world is still hostile against the people of Jesus Christ, and we're going to get into a little bit later the idea that even in a world that is talking about Jesus a lot there is still open hostility generated by Satan. And I want you to keep in mind all the way through here that hostility from the world is the cost of discipleship. It's the cost of real discipleship. And it's a pretty cheap price compared to the blessings which are eternal and richly given to us in Christ.
All right, so Jesus had given them all the proofs of His love, Held given them all of those things to indicate that He deeply loved them, and now He is going to show them that in the midst of His love for them the world is going to hate them. And this is the balanced view to eliminate some kind of a super happy expectation of pure bliss but to give them a realistic understanding of the true scene.
Now verse 17 gives to us the transition. Let's look at it as part of our introduction. In verse 17 He is making a transition from describing His love for them to describing the world's hate, and the transit on is this, "These things I command you that you love one another." He is saying to them, keep on loving each other, and it's in the linear sense in the Greek‑it's a continuous action. Keep on loving each other. Deeply. Men, love each other, sacrificially, devotedly, just exactly in the way that I loved you. Love each other the same way, because you're going to need each other desperately, and then begins the transition. Why should we love each other with this kind of a continuing devoted, sacrificial love? The reasonis that because that love that you have between each other will be all the love you're going to know, because the world is going to hate you with a passion. And so it reminds them to be sure that they love one another, because they're going to need it desperately, in the midst of a hostile hating rebellious Christ‑killing world. And so He says, love each other, men. Love each other just in the way that I loved you. Sacrificially, with total devotion.
These statements then beginning in verse 18 are not only a warning about the world's hate but they are also a motivation for the disciples to love each other. It's a lonely world, you know that? And it's a lonely world for a lot of Christians, because there aren't other Christians who have expressed to them all the love that Jesus Christ wants them to express. It's especially a lonely world for the believer because the world doesn't accept us. If we're true disciples of Jesus Christ we cross‑grain everything the world stands for, and all we've got to count on and to live for and to bank on is not only the love of our Savior but the love of fellow believers. And so Jesus says love each other because that's about all you're going to have in this world of love because the world is going to hate you and try to kill you. Stick together, and they did. This group of eleven guys stuck together, and the world did hate them. You remember what happened to James, whowas martyred? You remember what happened to Paul who was beheaded by Nero? You remember what happened to Andrew who persisted in preaching and was ordered to be crucified finally and he was fastened with cords and put on a cross. The cords being less severe pain than nails but making the death linger even longer. You remember what happened to Peter who was to be crucified and asked to be crucified upside down because he wasn't worthy to die like his Lord had. And so they suffered the hatred of the world, and Jesus says love each other, because the world isn't going to love you. And no one can exist without love. And even in the generations that followed the persecutions continued, and they continue even today. You say, not in our country. Well, on a rather superficial basis God has blessed America with a Christian foundation, and consequently we are not in the vortex of persecution and anti‑Christian feelings. But we are certainly not isolated. We are certainly not like the rest of the world but rather are isolated in the sense that there is persecution of Christianity all over the worldand in a little while I'll show you there's even persecution of us here in America. You remember even John who wrote this epistle was finally put into exile on the Isle of Pathmos, persecuted for his love for Jesus Christ. Back in Mark chapter 13 Jesus warned His disciples with some very interesting words. He said this, in verse 9 of Mark 13: "But take heed to yourselves, for they shall deliver you up to councils and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake for a testimony against them, and the gospel must first be proclaimed among all nations. But when they shall lead you and deliver you up take no thought before hand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate, but whatever shall be given you in that hour that speak ye, for it is not ye that speak but the Holy Spirit. Now brother shall betray brother to death, and the father his son, and the children shall rise up against their parents and shall cause them to be put to death, and ye shall be hated of all men for my namesake, but he that shall endure unto the end the same shall be delivered. Promise again in Mark chapter 13 of total all out hostile warfare lead by Satan through the system of the world against the people of God. It's always been that way, always will be that way. The Roman government hated the Christians because it regarded them as disloyal individuals, and that set in motion a great wave of early persecution. The Roman Empire, you see, was vast. It stretched from the Euphrates clear over to England. It stretched from Germany to North Africa. It included all kinds of people, all kinds of countries, and the Romans decided that they needed to have a unifying factor to keep this whole thing together. And the unifying factor that they decided upon was Caesar worship. And it really grew up rather spontaneously because of the adoration of the Caesars, and pretty soon it became the natural thing to be the glue to hold the whole Roman Empire together, and so it was required of every Roman citizen within the Empire that he worship Caesar. And once a year every single inhabitant of the Roman Empire had to burn his pinch of incense to the godhead of Caesar, and by so doing he showed that he was a loyal citizen of Rome. And after he had burned his incense, he had to shout, "Caesar is Lord." And then after he did that he could go away and worship any other god he wanted to, but he had to at least do that. And that's exactly what Christians wouldn't do‑‑they would call no man Lord. And as a result they were deemed to be irresponsible, disloyal citizens of the Roman Empire, and that precipitated persecution. And persecution always comes to persons who put Jesus Christ first. But not only were they persecuted by governments‑‑they were persecuted by the mobs of people. The Roman people in the various parts of the Roman Empire where Christianity was growing up hated them. They hated them for many reasons. Number one, they said they were rebels, because they refused to worship Caesar and because they just didn't fit in to all the things that were going on. Secondly, they said they were cannibals, they misinterpreted the terms of the communion service and the words of Jesus Christ about eating His flesh and drinking His blood and they accused the early Christians of being cannibals. Thirdly, they said they were immoral. They said that the love feast and all of the times that Christians got together, they were having orgies. They said they were incendiaries, because they were always talking about the Second Coming and it was to be connected with fire and all the things that God would do in judgement, they naturally would blame fires on the believers, particularly did they blame on them the burning of Rome. They also said the Christians tampered with family relationships‑‑they split up homes and broke up marriages, because when somebody came to Jesus Christ that inevitably happened. And so the name Christian became a hated thing. It was only a matter of a few years after Jesus Christ had left when all the hostility really began. And the disciples were caught up in the first waves of it and lost their lives and Christians then began to be killed and slaughtered for the first 300 years of the history of the world following the time of Jesus Christ. And so Jesus says to them, men, it's going to be rough, be sure you keep on loving each other. You need each other, desperately, in a hostile world. Peter later said, love the brotherhood. Peter said have fervent love among yourselves. Peter said, love his brother. This is the basis of our relationship within the body of Christ. Love. And we need to love each other and we need to be together ministering and together witnessing to the world who is hostile toward us.
All right, so Jesus then introduces the subject of the world's hatred by a transition speaking of love as a contrast. Then He moves into reason for the hatred of the world. Reason number one (you have an outline in your bulletin, if you'd like to follow) the reason the world hates the friends of Jesus, and this includes us, is number one, because we are not of the world. We just don't fit the system. Verse 18: "If the world hates you, ye know that it hated you before it hated you." Now Jesus anticipates that when the disciples move out into the world their going to get some hatred, and He wants to tell them don't worry about it, it isn't any different than their attitude toward Me.‑ Just remember Me. And if you're going to stand for Me and live for Me you're going to get the same thing, verse 19, And here is this first reason that they hate. "If ye were of the world, the world would love its own, but because ye are not of the world but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you," Now there's the reason, first of all, the world hates the believer, is because we aren't of the world, We are different. And we must define the term world here because John uses it repeatedly and the word in Greek, "cosmos", takes various meanings, depending upon the context. Here in John's use it means the evil system of sin as it is authored by Satan and actedout by men. It refers to the expression of depravity. It means the system of the world, it is a philosophical term, or better yet is a theological term referring to a sin system. The world is the depraved situation, the natural passion for sin that men have. It is the system of evil that runs around in the world. It is the realm of evil controlled by Satan and his evil angels. The world is a society of wicked men who have set themselves against Christ and against His Kingdom and against His people, that's the world that John is talking about. The evil system will hate the believer. The one who really follows Jesus Christ, who really loves Jesus Christ, who really declares his faith and identity in Jesus Christ by what he says and how he lives, will be hated by the world because the world has set itself in opposition to everything that is good, everything that is Christ‑like, and everything that is godly. Jesus said to His own brothers, who were of the system, in John 7: "The world cannot hate you. You're part of it. But Me it hateth because I testify of it that its works are evil." Jesus said, the world can't hate you, you belong to it. You're part of it. But it hates me, because I confront it with its sin. In John 8:23 Jesus said, ye are from beneath, I am from above, ye are of this world. Isn't that interesting? He compares the fact that somebody from this world is also from beneath, in other words, the world system is right out of the pit, that's what He's saying. And the people living in our world who don't know Jesus Christ are a part of an anti-God, anti‑Christ, satanic system of evil, militating and operating against God. The whole system, as you know, is ruled by Satan. In John chapter 12 verse 31 says: "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out," and we all know the prince of the world to be Satan. IN verse 30 of chapter 14 it says, "for the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing on Me (or in Me)." Satan rules the world. He runs the evil system. And naturally Satan's whole fight in all of the reason for anything he does is to go against Christ and against God. And so naturally he drives the system in that same direction. It's amazing how many of us Christians are kind of buffaloed into thinking that the world is really very tolerant of God and very tolerant of Jesus Christ when in fact they aren't and the superficial kind of religion that they show is the most heinous and the most deceptive and the most subtle of all of Satan's attempts. False religion, you see, nowwatch this one; false religion under the guise of godliness has always been the greatest persecutor of the truth. All through church history, it's always been false religion that persecutes the truth. They have always led out in the persecution of real Christianity and Christ‑likeness. Well, naturally, a society of evil men, guided by Satan and his demons, set against God, set against Christ, set against His Kingdom and His people, naturally that kind of system is going to hate those who belong to Jesus Christ. That's only normal. We need to expect that. Well, you say well they don'thate me. Maybe you don't belong to Jesus Christ or maybe it isn't even obvious. In I John 3:12, "not as Cain who was of that wicked one and killed his brother, and why killed he him? Because his own works were evil and his brother's righteous. That's the reason the world hates the true believer. Because we act as a condemnation to their evil works. That's the whole key. Why did Cain kill Able? Because he couldn't stand the fact that Able was righteous and he was unrighteous. And he was indicted by the very righteousness of Able. And so we're not of this world, we stand apart from this world, set apart, righteous, made holy in Jesus Christ, and thus we don't belong to the system and the world hates us because we don't, and Satan is directing the world attacking against those things that are of God and Christ.
The system certainly hated Jesus. Over in chapter 17 verse 12: "While I was with them in the world I kept them in Thy name. Those that Thou gavest Me, I have kept, and none of them is lost," Jesus Christ managed to hang on to those that were His own. But later on He prayed for them, and He says, if I can find the right verse, 15: "1 pray not that Thou shouldst take them out of the world but that Thou shalt keep them from the evil one." Verse 14,"1 have given them Thy Word and the world hath hateth them because they are not of the world even as I am not of the world. In other words, Jesus says I managed to hold on to them, Father I pray that you may continue to hold on to them and keep them from the evil one and I realize that the world is going to hate them just like it hated me." The system hated Jesus Christ so much that the mounting hate built up to the point where they nailed Him to the cross, spit on Him, killed Him. And why did they hate Him? They hated Him because He violated their system, and mark it, friends, the system that Jesus violated was a religious system. The greatest hater of Christianity have always been false religions, cults, and all the other kind of false systems under the guise of godliness, they are always the greatest threat to Christianity and to believers. Because Satan saves his best shots for false religion. That's what traps and captivates people's minds.
And so God has called us apart from the system, we stand for Jesus Christ in the midst of an evil, evil world. In Phil. 2:15 Paul says, "That you may be blameless and harmless, children of God without rebuke. This is how we are to live in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation among whom ye shine as lights in the world." He was saying to those Philippians living in the midst of the Roman Empire, it's a corrupt, perverse crooked nation, and you need to live in it blamelessly, without rebuke, harmlessly, that your testimony might be a rebuke to it. In I John chapter 5, another verse comes to my mind, verse 19, 1 think, says: "And we know that we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness." Now there is the contrast as far as you can get it. We are of God and whole world over here lies in wickedness. There is an absolute and total antithesis between the believer and the world. In Ephesians 5:11 Paul says, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of godliness but rather reprove them," and the believer has the privilege and the right and the duty to see sin and call it sin and point it out. And I think the reason perhaps that we don't feel as much of the hatred of the world as we oughttois the fact that we aren't willing to confront the world nose to nose and call it what it is. We're far too tolerant. We're far too easy‑going. We pussy foot around about sin. And we need to confront the unbeliever face to face with his sinfulness. The believer who does that will be hated by the world because he openly violates the system and stands as an open condemnation of it. And naturally the world is going to hate people who live as a condemnation of it.
Just from a human standpoint the classic instances would be the fate of Aristothes and Socrates. Aristothes was such a virtuous moral man that he was called Aristothes the Just, and that became his title. He was so fair and so honest. Finally he was banished from his country, and when one of the citizens was asked why he had voted for the banishment of Aristothes he replied with these words: "Because I am tired of hearing him always called the Just." That's why menkilled Socrates. He was always compelling men to think and to examine themselves, and men hated him for that, and they killed him for it. The world doesn't like anybody that confronts it with its own sin. That's dangerous in our world even to practice virtue, did you know that? Even a Christless man who tries to live virtuous is up to being shot down in our world. Much more dangerous to go higher and live by a divine standard, the standard of Jesus Christ, and live as a real condemnation of the world‑‑that's dangerous, because the world's going to hate you for it. Now that's just what Jesus experienced. John chapter 5 verse 16, we read this: "And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus and sought to slay Him." Why? Because He had done these things on the Sabbath day, He violated the system. And get it again, friends, it was a religious system. You go to somebody in a system that's false and you tell them it's false face to face and you lay it out that it's false and you're going to get reaction. A few weeks ago I was talking about one of my sermons about the Roman Catholic Church. And I made the statement about the Roman Catholic Church that they had robbed the people of the right to sing, which is a God‑given right, and somebody wrote me a great long letter full of hate, full of antagonism, because I had said that about the Catholic Church. If there is something that needs to be pointed out that is wrong and I say it I can expect without fail I'm going to get it. One time I was preaching on television and I was preaching about the Crucifixion and I made the statement that the Jews killed Christ‑‑they were responsible for His death. That's so clear through Acts and I read several verses. We got inundated by the anti-Jewish Defamation League and by all kinds of things. Whatever you hit man at his religious heart you automatically set up his reaction and hatred. People hate the fact that you come along and say this is true, this is right, and everything else is wrong. It is false religion that has always been the antagonism of truth. The guy who has no religion doesn't know anything anyway; he hasn't got anything to be for or against. In John 8 we see the same thing again, in verse 58: "Jesus said unto them, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you before Abraham was I am."' And then they start tearing their hair out in verse 59 they took up stones to cast at Him. See, He violated their religious system. Over in chapter 10, keep thinking of more things, verse around verse 30: "I and My Father are one," He says, which whoa‑‑that was just too much. And then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him, and He said, why are you going to stone Me? Verse 33, "for blasphemy, because thou being a man maketh thyself God." Listen, the world can't tolerate somebody who sets himself higher than they are. And when you go to a man and say you're living in sin and you're going to die without God, and I want to show you the truth, you may get a reaction of hate and hostility.
Now, the world loves its own, right, verse 19? I mean, let's face it‑-the world is just a big beer brotherhood of Hamm's. Everybody's together in the world‑‑the world doesn't hate itself‑‑the world loves itself. And when you get the propagation of the worlds' brotherhood‑‑they do things together‑‑drink, carouse around, live immorally, lie, cheat, steal, that's their big brotherhood. The world doesn't hate its own. And incidentally, the more wicked they are the better they like it. Romans chapter one, they keep doing evil and they have pleasure in them that do it. They love it‑‑they glory in it. A guy makes it with girls and it's like notches on his belt, and the worse they are the better the world likes them. Boy, the world loves really crummy, crummy people, because it makes them feel a little better. You just love to glorify really wretched people because you feel so moral. And when we come along and stand far above all the rest of them and tell them what they really are that in their so called morality they're as wretched as they can possibly be they don't like to hear it. But they're going to get worse. Read I Thess. 2 and you'll find out how they're just going to keep getting worse and worse and worse until the mystery of iniquity which already works is finally going to explode during the tribulation. You see, the world is no conscience for itself. We are its conscience. And when we leave at the rapture, no wonder there's going to be all hell breaking loose, the conscience of the world is gone. And we stand apart from the system as an indictment of it. And I'll tell you something, friends. That's why we can't sit here in our lovely little church and say well, I'm certainly praying that the unsaved will come. The hating world doesn't want to come in here and get indicted by us. That isn't what Jesus told us to do. He didn't put up a sign outside and say "Revival‑‑all unsaved please come Monday through Friday, and get condemned." Matt. 5:13 Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt hath lost its savor with what will it be salted. It is therefore good for nothing, to be cast downand trodden underfoot of men. Ye are the light of the world, a City that is set on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do men put a lamp, light a lamp and put it under a bushel but on a lamp stand. Let your light so shine before man that they may glorify your Father in heaven." This is a bushel here, you know, friends? This is a lovely bushel. And if all that ever happens with you is that your light shines in these walls, nobody's ever going to know about it. Get it out on a hill where it belongs. So the world can see. We're different. Look at the words in verse 19: "But I have chosen you (oh, I like that) out of the world." And in the Greek that's a middle, reflexive, now there are several forms of the Greek. But this one happens to be a middle; anytime there's a middle form it's reflexive. It means this, watch this. "I have picked you out for myself (the 'for myself' is a reflexive construction). Jesus said, I have chosen you out for Myself, to differ from Satan's system, so that your existence, your manner of life, everything constitutes a living accusation against the rest of the world. And I'll tell you, when He chose us out the devil really got mad. That just teed him off, no question about it. I mean he doesn't like to lose anybody. The devil is mad, and so he moves after the Christian. Do you think he does? Who do you think James is talking about when he says the devil goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour? He's after us. He set the whole world in motion against us. And in the future days in Revelation, for example, let me read you a couple of things, boy Satan's really going to throw everything. In Revelation 12:9, "And the great dragon was cast out and the old serpent called the devil and Satan who deceived the whole world." Did you get that? He's been deceiving the whole world. And he was cast into the earth,‑ and his angels were cast out with him, and boy when he gets to the earth in tribulation time he really cuts loose with all those great terrible things that happen to pervert and to destroy men. And over in Revelation chapter 20 we see again his working, verse 7: "And when the thousand years are ended Satan shall be loosed out of his prison (that's the end of the Kingdom) shall go out to deceive the nations, and he gathers them to fight against God." Satan has been in this rebellion all along, and he'll keep it on even in the tribulation, even in the Kingdom, he's still fighting against God, and those that are God's. Satan hates the righteous, he hates them as much as he hates God because they stand for the same thing, And if you really live for Jesus Christ, if your life is a definitive Christian life in this world you're going to get the antagonism of the world and when you get it you can rejoice because Jesus got it too. Paul said to Timothy, watch this: "All they that live godly shall suffer persecution, (or tribulation)." All they that live godly. Now John doesn't get into the details again, he just says the world is here and the believers are here. And the world is going to hate us. There are a few that the world doesn't hate because the world doesn't even know they're believers. But as I say John doesn't deal with those exceptions. These early Christians were confronting the system; they were confronting mass depravity head on. They confronted false religion. Listen, if you know somebody who's in a false cult you need to tell them what it is. In love, to be sure, but in absolute direct statement you need to call it what it is. You don't help anybody by being tolerant of sin. Especially a false religious system. And of course you know that it was the Jewish religionists that were Jesus' greatest antagonists. People hate it, when somebody comes along and says you're wrong. You're wrong. A few years ago I was with Campus Crusade at UCLA for a kind of a blitz of the campus over there. We started witnessing, oh‑‑several thousand college kids‑‑we started witnessing to the student body, and the next day the Daily Bruincame out. The Daily Bruinis a Jewish paper. It isn't declared to be so it's just controlled, basically, by Jewish students, at that point anyway. And naturally they were greatly anti‑Christ. And this is what the Daily Bruinsaid: "Members of the Campus Crusade have been advised that unless they adhere to University Policy, direct action will be taken against them." Dean Charles McClure says that he has received a number of complaints from students who were allegedly accosted and asked to enter into discussions. Isn't that a horrible thing to do to somebody? Accost them, and ask them to enter into a discussion. These students apparently felt that an invasion of privacy was involved in these instances. McClure stated the UCLA regulation and I'm quoting from the UCLA regulation book: "University facilities are not to be used for religious conversion." You can't get saved at UCLA. It's against the rules. You see, why did they bother to put that in the constitution of a university? I'll tell you why. Because the whole world's system even its educational end hates that somebody would come along and confront it with its sin and spell it out. And you could go there and be a nice young American boy and come out some kind of a weird communist, some kind of a left‑wing radical, some kind of a ‑‑sitting on some hill with your legs crossed bowing down to Maharishi Yohesh Yogi and do anything you want, but just start naming the name of Jesus Christ and calling sin, sin and you break every rule. The world hates the truth, and they never want to be confronted with it. They hate us because we're specially chosen. Pink says in his book the one doctrine the world hates most is the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. Boy, I've gotten into some discussions on the campus and that just blows people's minds. You mean to tell me that God chose you? What kind of a God is that? Who do you think you are? You know? We're especially chosen of God, beloved of God. And true religion is ours in Jesus Christ.
Let me read you a passage in Luke, and I think I'll close here and give you the second installment next week. Luke 4:25, This is one of Jesus' most devastating, and you may have passed it by and never read it, this is one of Jesus' most devastating shots that He ever made at Israel. Listen to this. You see, they're really knocking Him, because here comes Jesus, right? And He says, you're all wrong, all of you. Which immediately sends up tremendous hostility. You're all wrong, all of you. What I say is absolute truth. Jesus was the most narrow‑minded person who ever lived. Everything that He said was absolutely true, anything that ever contradicted Him at any time was always wrong. And you've got to be just as narrow‑minded, where you have the right to be. All right, so this is what happens. They're just bugged because He knows everything. And God, he's been telling them that God has designed to select some to salvation, even. And God has designed to blind Israel. And oh, this gets, you know. So listen to this tremendous‑‑verse 25: "I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, when great famine was through all the land (many widows, keep that in mind) but unto none of them was Elijah sent, but only unto Zerapeth, a city of Sidon unto a woman who was a widow. You get the point? God can do anything He wants to do. Many widows, all over the place, but only unto Zerapeth was Elijah sent, you know? You're not all in just because you've got the Abrahamic thing and that's it. Listen to this, in verse 27. Many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elijah and none of them were cleansed but only Naman the Syrian. See? God's selective. Verse 28: "And all they in the synagogue when they heard these things were filled with" ... what? ... "wrath." And what did they do, verse 29, "they rose up and thrust Him out of the city and left Him under a brow of a hill on which their city was built that they might cast Him down head long. I love this. But He, passing through the midst of them, went His way. Oooh, oooh, oooh. That's loaded, isn't it? Where did He go? You see the world hates the sovereignty of God. And the fact that you and I have been chosen out of the world doesn't set well. That we are a specific blessed of God. Because don't they always say well what about all the people in China who never knew ... you know when they tell me about everybody in Africa who ... See? All throughout history, see. What happened before you came along? But you see they don't understand the selectivity of God. There are other things you don't understand too, about the fact that every man has had a revelation which makes him responsible.
And so the world hates us, and they get angry at the fact that we're chosen. And if we live Godly in the world, we're going to get persecuted. Why does the world hate us? The world hates us because we are not of the world. Let me just introduce you to the second one in John 15. Very quickly. "They hate us because (and this is just one verse) they hated our Lord Jesus Christ. And this flows right out of number one, and it isn't a great deal different. But the blessed loving Son of God was hated by the world. And because they hated Him, they're going to hate us. Why? Because, like Paul says, I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live yet not I but (what?) Christ lives in me. If Christ lives in me and the world hated Him they're going to hate me. Verse 20, Jesus says, "Remember the words that I said unto you? The servant is not greater than his Lord?" Remember that statement back in 13:16? He was using it there in reference to washing their feet, you know, He said, now I've done this, and I want you to do this to each other. You're not greater than I am and if I can stoopto do it you can do it. And here He uses it not in reference to humble service but in reference to persecution. And it comes, of course, from the Psalms. He says, remember the word that said unto you the servant is not greater than his Lord, that concept is as old as it can be, if they have persecuted Me they will also persecute you. If they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. In other words, there are a few who believed and kept My saying, right? And they'll be a few who would believe you. It's not all bleak. Listen, you know what the World's going to do? It's going to persecute us, because it persecuted Jesus. It identifies us with Jesus Christ. You say, what about all the Jesus activity. I mean phooey, you look aroundthe world today and it not only doesn't look like hate, it looks like everybody likes Jesus, right? It really does. (Laughter) I appreciate that. It looks like everybody is really excited about Jesus Christ, I mean all of ourmusic, Jesus, you turn on the television and Jesus is the topic of conversation. And you got all these musicals that are coming out‑‑Jesus Christ, Superstar, and this new one on the gospel of Matthew called Godspell, where it dramatizes Jesus and makes Him into a clown. And all the Jesus slogans, and the popular Jesus Freaks, and the Jesus people, and boy, it really looks terrific, and you know what I think, and I say this from the bottom of my heart. I think the whole movement to put Jesus in music is of the devil. And I mean it. I'm serious about it. I do not think that God is glorified when the world sings about Jesus to make money and confuse the issue. We spent all of our ministry trying to draw the line between the system of the world and discipleship and devil moves rightin an messes up the line. And people think that they know about Jesus because they hear a song about Him. And even the songs that sound like they could be for real coming out of the lips of those who don't know Jesus Christ are blasphemy. I don't get excited when I hear the music of Jesus; I wish they wouldn't even name His name. Then the line is clear. I don't want the world confused about thinking they know about Jesus. That's a satanic ploy. It confuses the issue. It presents a Jesus who is not the Son of God with no repentance, no concept of sin, only just a Jesus person that everybody kind of attaches to like a fad, and they substitute that for a real knowledge of the Son of God. I'm not happy with the worlds' preoccupation with Jesus. It irritates me. It's Satanic. You say but look at all the people going after Jesus. Listen, friends, keep Matthew 7 in perspective. It's a narrow way, and few there be (what?) that find it. There's only a few people coming to Jesus Christ. A lot of people playing games. Now when somebody who knows Jesus sings about Him, that's great. And talks about Him, that's great. But the rest of the stuff is right out of the pit. Why? Because it's a part of the system. He that is not with Me is what? Against Me. I don't care if it is naming the name of Jesus. That's an old one. Constantine came in 325 and said from now on everybody in the whole deal is a Christian. Zap, zap, zap, and they baptized every baby from the time it was born. You're a Christian, zap, automatic. You know what happened? Christianity almost got totally wiped off the face of the earth, just because it got lost in the confusion, Nobody knew who was what, and there wasn't anything tostand for and there wasn't anything to live for and their was no definitive statement about Christ to confront the world. They persecuted Jesus, and when the world starts playing games with Jesus and giving Him homage, that's just an attack of Satan against His true character. I say, the music today is another persecution of Jesus. You know why? It rips Him down from His deity. It strips Him of who He really is. It's as blasphemous as if they were to curse Him. Maybe more so, because it's so subtle. The world hates Him, and the world hates those who live for Him. But praise God, at the end of verse 20, some of them, some of them will keep His sayings. Some of them will believe. I trust that you and I will enter into ourChristian testimony with a desire to confront the world, to accept the hostility that will come, because of the joy of those who will hear and who will come to Christ.
Our Father, we thank you this morning for just really the beginning of what we've talked about. We realize, Lord, that if the world doesn't really hate us we're not feeling the sting of its hostility toward you it's probably because we're really not living for you that much. It's because Christ in us is not as visible as He should be. God, help us to love the people in the world as God so loved it, and help us to hate the system with a passion. Help us to rebuke it, to reprove it, call it what it is, help us to name false religion for exactly what it is. Help us not to be buffaloed into thinking that just because something has the name of Jesus in it it's good, because it isn't. But Father we pray that we might clearly see that we are definitive in this world, we are to stand apart, unique and confront this world with sin, and that we're to preach that Jesus Christ who is concerned with sin, with hell, with repentance, with a changed life, not some kind of a popular social figure. Father, just really give us a desire to be clear‑cut, and Father, for those who may be here this morning who have never met Jesus Christ as Savior, God, may they realize as James said that friendship with the world is hostility toward God, And may they realize that if they're not friendly with Jesus Christ, if they haven't received Him, then they are the enemies of God, and have condemned themselves to hell forever. Father, we pray that you'll speak to our hearts in this closing moment.
While your heads are bowed, as we continue in a moment of silent prayer, some of you perhaps have never met Jesus Christ. We want to give you that opportunity, and we are going to sing a song to close and the prayer room is to my right up here in the front, and if you would like to meet Jesus Christ this morning, you'd like to receive Him as your Savior and your Lord and turn your life over to Him and be a friend to Jesus and not an enemy, and be a part of His marvelous body instead of a part of the evil system of the world that's going to be destroyed, if you'd like to receive Christ this morning, you're convicted of your sin, as we sing just come to the front over to my right and in that little door and there'll be a counselor waiting to talk with you and share with you and introduce Jesus Christ to you. We'll give you a little booklet that will help you to understand. We want to help you. We want you to know Christ, so we want you to come. Christian, maybe God's spoken to you about your own life and whether you're really living a Christian life that confronts the world. Some of you have been wrapped up in the world. Some of you have had your Christian testimony totally blown. Some of you have no testimony at all. On the outside you don't look a whole lot different than the rest of the world. But maybe today you want to talk to the Lord about it and say you want to be different. I want to be like Jesus so that I stand out acting as a living condemnation and accusation of the sin of the world. That's the only way you'll ever lead men to Christ. Not by your talking alone but by how you live. So the prayer room is open for you Christians as well, and some of you perhaps want to unite with Grace Church and serve the Lord here, and be trained with us and work with us. We'd love to have you, and we invite you to come into the prayer room also.
Father, as we sing, we pray that your Spirit will speak and that hearts will respond, and people will move out and settle these matters in their life. We give you the praise in Jesus' Name. Amen.
You may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You's Copyright Policy (https://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).