Sermon title:  WE ARE NOT THE TARGET OF THEIR ANGER—GOD IS

John 15:18-27;  16:1-3

Immanuel Baptist Church – Sunday, March 29, 2020

 

 

 

Our Scripture reading for this morning

begins in John Chapter 15

and goes into John Chapter 16.

 

We begin at John 15:18, where Jesus is speaking,

and he says,

 

18 “If the world hates you,

keep in mind that it hated me first.

 

19 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.

 

20 Remember what I told you:

‘A servant is not greater than his master.’

 

If they persecuted me,

they will persecute you also.

If they obeyed my teaching,

they will obey yours also.

 

21 They will treat you this way because of my name,

for they do not know the one who sent me.

 

22 If I had not come and spoken to them,

they would not be guilty of sin;

but now they have no excuse for their sin.

 

23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.

 

24 If I had not done among them

the works no one else did,

they would not be guilty of sin.

 

As it is, they have seen,

and yet they have hated both me and my Father.

 

25 But this is to fulfill

what is written in their Law:

‘They hated me without reason.’

 

26 “When the Advocate 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.

 

27 And you also must testify,

for you have been with me from the beginning.

 

JOHN 16

1 “All this I have told you

so that you will not fall away. 

 

2 They will put you out of the synagogue;

in fact, the time is coming

when anyone who kills you

will think they are offering a service to God.

 

3 They will do such things

because they have not known the Father or me.

 

May the Lord add his blessing

to the reading of his Word.

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On the night before he went to the cross

our Lord Jesus shared comforting words

with his faithful Apostles.

 

But he didn’t hide

the troubles that lay ahead for them—and for us.

 

Christ gives us his peace,

and he gives us his Holy Spirit,

and he stays close to us, to help us.

 

But he doesn’t hide the fact

that we must go through difficult times

before we join him

in the heavenly Kingdom.

 

Some of those difficult times

are chalked up to the troubles everyone faces

in a fallen world.

 

But other difficulties result from

opposition and hostility to the Gospel message.

 

Our Lord said at JOHN 15:18

 

“If the world hates you,

keep in mind that it hated me first.

 

Christ told us to ‘keep this in mind.’

 

But nearly everyone today

talks as if they don’t hate Jesus.

 

Many groups claim Jesus as one of their own:

Hippies in the ‘free love’ movement did during the 1960’s.

Homosexuals claim Jesus as one of their own.

Many atheists quote Jesus on peace and love,

while ridiculing the idea

that he is the Son of God.

 

Even Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu leader of India,

applauded Jesus’ teachings.

 

But it’s not the Jesus of the Bible

who these unbelievers admire.

 

It’s a ‘Jesus’ of their own making—

a fictitious ‘Jesus’ of popular culture.

 

Hippies, homosexuals and atheists

don’t like

what Jesus said about sexual immorality.

 

Hindu Mahatma Gandhi and his followers don’t like

what Christ said about deity.

 

So, they cancel those things out in their minds,

and focus on an imaginary Jesus

who didn’t say such things.

 

But the real Jesus tells us to “keep in mind

that the world hated him.

 

“If the world hates you,

keep in mind that it hated me first.”

 

Why is the world like that?

 

Well, 1 John 5:19 tells us,

“the whole world

is under the control of the evil one.”

 

That wicked one is Satan the devil.

 

“the whole world

is under the control of the evil one.”

 

That means that the devil controls the whole world.

 

With a few exceptions

that includes government bureaucracies,

business organizations,

the entertainment industry,

even religious organizations, in many cases.

 

Satan the devil controls them.

“the whole world

is under the control of the evil one.”

 

No wonder the world hates Jesus.

 

Satan is the invisible ruler of the world.

 

He is also called “the god of this world.”

 

2 Corinthians 4:4 says,

 

“the god of this world

has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.”

 

And it’s those blinded people

who hate the real Jesus.

 

“The god of this world

has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,”

but Christ has removed the blinders Satan had put on us.

 

And, because we are no longer blinded by Satan,

we are no longer part of the world he controls.

 

So, the Lord continues in John 15:19,

 

19 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.

 

Christ has chosen us out of the world.

 

We’ve quit the world.

 

We’ve left the world behind

and gone over to the other side—the other team.

 

We’ve left Satan’s team

and joined Jesus’ team.

 

So, Satan hates us,

and Satan’s world hates us.

 

What does that mean for us?

 

Jesus goes on in the next verse to say,

 

20 Remember what I told you:

 

‘A servant is not greater than his master.’

 

If they persecuted me,

they will persecute you also.

 

If they obeyed my teaching,

they will obey yours also.

 

We aren’t better than Jesus,

so how could we expect the world

to treat us better than they treated Jesus?

 

He tells us, If they persecuted me,

they will persecute you also.

 

And they did persecute Jesus,

so we can expect that they will persecute us, too.

 

He tells us to expect that.

 

They won’t listen to us, either.

 

If they obeyed my teaching,

they will obey yours also.

 

So, they ridicule us

when we share the Gospel message with them.

They won’t let us teach them what the Bible says.

 

In John 15:21, Jesus says,

 

21 They will treat you this way because of my name,

for they do not know the one who sent me.

 

We encounter people

who will let us talk about “God

but won’t let us talk about Jesus.

 

Even here in the United States,

in some recent years, military Chaplains have said

they were forbidden from praying in Jesus’ name.

 

And people may shut us down

and close their ears

when we name the name of Christ.

 

Jesus said,

They will treat you this way because of my name.

 

And he added,

that they act that way,

for they do not know the one who sent me.

 

They don’t know God the Father.

 

The Jews Jesus preached to in person

didn’t really know the God of Israel.

 

So, they didn’t recognize Jesus

as being just like his heavenly Father.

 

Christ had just told the disciples in the previous chapter,

“Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

 

Jesus is just like God the Father,

and God the Father is just like Jesus.

 

The Jews had been worshiping God the Father

at their temple for centuries,

but they didn’t accept the Son of God

when he came to them.

 

So, in the next verse Jesus says,

 

22 If I had not come and spoken to them,

they would not be guilty of sin;

 

but now they have no excuse for their sin.

 

23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.

 

24 If I had not done among them

the works no one else did,

they would not be guilty of sin.

 

As it is, they have seen,

and yet they have hated both me and my Father.

 

25 But this is to fulfill

what is written in their Law:

‘They hated me without reason.’

 

Yes, Jesus gave them no reason to hate him.

 

In fact, he gave them plenty of reason to love him.

 

He went among them healing the sick,

giving sight to the blind,

even raising the dead.

 

Those were “works no one else did.

 

And the guilt-ridden sinners who came to him

all received forgiveness of their sins.

 

He said, ‘They hated me without reason.’

Those who hated Jesus had “no excuse for their sin.

 

They didn’t just hate Jesus,

but they also hated God the Father.

 

Jesus said,

23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.

 

He stated earlier,

 

“Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

 

So, now he says,

 

they have seen,

and yet they have hated

both me and my Father.

 

They saw Jesus and hated him,

so that means they saw the Father—

who is just like Jesus—

and hated the Father, too.

 

So, when people today are unhappy with us

because we are Bible-believing Christians,

Jesus explains it to us, by saying,

18 “If the world hates you,

keep in mind that it hated me first.

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But now Jesus turns from that important warning

to tell us something even more important—

not what the enemy is doing,

but what He is doing,

and what we should be doing.

 

And he turns from talking about the Father and the Son

to bring up the Holy Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit is also called the Comforter, and the Advocate.

 

The definition of an Advocate

is someone who defends us, or pleads for us.

 

And a Comforter gives us comfort and peace.

 

So, Jesus goes on to say,

 

26 “When the Advocate 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.

So, here we have the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus the Son is about to go to the cross the next day.

 

He will die, and then rise from the dead on the 3rd day,

and then he will ascend to heaven

to rejoin the Father there.

 

And what will he do when he gets to heaven?

 

When the Son rejoins the Father in heaven,

he sends the Holy Spirit upon the disciples

on the day of Pentecost—

a little less than 2 months

after he spoke these words to them.

 

Jesus says of the Holy Spirit,

“he will testify about me.”

 

Jesus revealed to the disciples a lot about himself,

but the Holy Spirit would reveal even more.

 

The Holy Spirit would inspire the disciples

to write the New Testamentthat testifies about Jesus.

 

And they testified about Jesus

in their New Testament letters and Gospels.

 

Jesus tells them,

 

27 And you also must testify,

for you have been with me from the beginning.

 

So, we today have that written testimony

written down by the disciples

who had been with Jesus from the beginning.

 

And it was the Holy Spirit who inspired them

to put all of that down in writing

in the inspired New Testament.

 

But now, in John 16:1,

our Lord returns to the topic

of being hated by this world.

 

He says to his disciples,

 

1 “All this I have told you

so that you will not fall away. 

 

2 They will put you out of the synagogue;

in fact, the time is coming

when anyone who kills you

will think they are offering a service to God.

 

3 They will do such things

because they have not known the Father or me.

 

Jesus’ disciples were still Jewish synagogue members.

 

All of the first Christians were.

 

Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell us

that Jesus began his ministry

by teaching and reading from the Old Testament

in the Jewish synagogue

in his home town of Nazareth.

 

So, he would almost certainly have been

a member of that synagogue.

 

But now he’s telling his disciples

that their fellow Jews will hate them, and

“They will put you out of the synagogue.”

 

That was a big deal to be put out of their synagogue.

 

Synagogues took that sort of action

only against terrible people.

 

It would exclude them from the social life of their community.

 

But that isn’t all the worst of it.

 

Jesus adds,

 

in fact, the time is coming

when anyone who kills you

will think they are offering a service to God.

 

So, not only would the disciples face persecution,

and exclusion from the religious and social life

of their community—

they would also face being killed

by religious zealots.

 

Those who killed Christians would imagine

they are offering a service to God.

 

It may be hard to imagine that.

 

But think back to the news reports of not long ago,

when you saw Christian men in orange jump suits

on their knees in front of Islamic jihadists

who held knives in their hands

to behead the Christians

after shouting “Allahu akbar!”—

“God is great!” in Arabic.

 

Those murderous jihadists, killing Christians,

imagined

they (were) offering a service to God.

 

That may have seemed far away to many of us,

but we had missionary friends

serving in Burkina Faso in Africa

with their 4 teenage children.

 

And Islamic terrorists made one attack after another,

killing Christians just down the street,

including in a cafe they frequented

and in a hotel where visiting Christians stayed.

 

Whenever we saw news of such killings,

we had to check to see if our friends were still alive.

 

Our Lord told his disciples

concerning those who would try to kill them,

 

3 They will do such things

because they have not known the Father or me.

 

But the thought of persecution

or the other threats we face in this world

shouldn’t terrify us.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us,

 

God is faithful;

he will not let you be tempted

beyond what you can bear.

 

But when you are tempted,

he will also provide a way out

so that you can endure it.

 

If we find ourselves hated for our faith,

we are in good company. 

 

Jesus said,

“If the world hates you,

keep in mind that it hated me first,”

and he added

“Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.”

 

People hate God

only because they don’t really know him. 

 

Anyone who knows God, loves him. 

 

And we have the privilege,

with the help of the Holy Spirit,

of helping people come to know God

by introducing them to Jesus.

 

 Pray