There is a flipside to being a friend of Jesus. That's true of any friendship. Whenever you ally yourself and make friends with someone, you will incur some enemies because of it. Likewise, some who don't like Jesus won't like us either—and we discover there are quite a few who don't! Let's find out why, and how we can raise our heads high and prevail.
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
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Greek terms: Κόσμος; kosmos - world system
Publications Referenced: Foxe's Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe
Figures Referenced: Michael Medved; Jonas Hanway;
Cross References: Psalm 35; Psalm 69; Matthew 5:10-12; Matthew 10:16-18; Matthew 10:21-22; John 3:19; John 6:69; John 8:19; John 8:23; John 8:44; John 14:27; John 15:11; John 15:15; Acts 4; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 3:13
Keywords: persecution, hate, martyr, world
We're in John's Gospel this morning. We've been in it for some time if you've been with us. I don't know how long it has been, but it's like week 68 or something like that. Just really, I am so enjoying being able to take such an in-depth look at the Gospel of John, the life of Christ and how he has portrayed and what he says and his life and the reaction to his life has been eye-opening for me.
So turn to John Chapter 15 this morning. Let's pray together. Lord, here we are. We're your people. We give ourselves to you during this time. We present our bodies as living sacrifices. It's our desire Lord that we hear from you. We believe you speak. You speak through the very words that Jesus spoke, the very words the apostles wrote or the prophets spoke and wrote. We believe the Word of God is living. It's powerful. It's sharper than a two-edged sword. And we believe you have a word to speak to each one of us. In many ways, that will balance out what Jesus told his disciples in the previous words he spoke to them. Truly Lord, you want us to be knowledgeable and equipped to be able to live in this world, so that we know what could happen, what will happen if we love Jesus. Give us strength Lord to hear this word from you, in Jesus' name, Amen.
I've been told that you're either a dog person or a cat person. I don't know if that's true. I've had both. I've enjoyed both. I guess I would be called the dog person. I really have had more dogs than cats. I really love spending time with my little puppy. In fact, let's do an informal poll, how many of you would say you're cat people? Raise your hands. You see. Well, God bless you. You're welcome here. [Laughter] How many of you are dog people? Raise your hand.
So, as I read what I'm about to read, a little disclaimer, not down on cats. This comes and says, "Please follow these step-by-step instructions on how to bathe your cat. Be careful not to deviate from any portion of these instructions, as doing so can result in serious injury. Number one, thoroughly clean the toilet. Number two, add the required amount of shampoo to the toilet water and have both lids lifted. Number three, obtain the cat and soothe him while you carry him toward the bathroom. Number four, in one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet. Close both lids. You may need to stand on the lid so that he cannot escape. Caution: do not get any part of your body too close to the edge. Number five, flush the toilet two or three times. This provides a power wash and rinse, which I found to be quite effective. Number six, have someone open the door to the outside and ensure that there are no people between the toilet and the outside door. Number seven, stand behind the toilet as far as you can and quickly lift both lids. Number eight, the now clean cat will rocket out of the toilet and run outside where he will dry himself. Here's the best part, it is signed sincerely, the family dog."
Oh, now, we get it. Cats and dogs have opposing natures.
Now, that's funny, but something that is more sobering is the world of unbelievers has by and large an opposing nature to the believer. We have redeemed the nature. We've come to Christ. We've been changed. We're redeemed. The unbelieving world has an unchanged, unredeemed nature. And therefore, there's going to be some kind of a collision, some sort of firework display when both of those personalities get together. That's important as we begin our paragraph in John Chapter 15.
In this next paragraph, Jesus gives to his disciples, let's call it the downside or the flipside of being a believer of following him, of being a disciple. It's the consequences of Christianity.
Now, if I have one criticism that I would level against modern evangelism, not all of it, but some of it, is that they don't always give the full scoop, the whole truth. They present Christianity light as opposed to what real Christianity is. Just come to Jesus and you'll smile all day long, everything is great. And that's just not the whole truth. Jesus gives the truth, the pros, the cons, the ups, the downs, the advantages and the disadvantages.
Now, he has just told them in the previous paragraph if you were with us last week that they were his friends. "I call you no longer servants. I call you my friends." What a great paragraph. But here, Jesus decides to flip the coin and basically say, "You're my friends, but you've got to know something as my friends. I've got some enemies and my enemies don't like my friends."
So with that, we begin in Verse 18. "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 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 keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.'"
Now, I believe that when Jesus spoke these words, that these jolted his disciples a bit. They were already a bit skittish for Christ had told them that he was leaving. But, all through this upper room discourse, he has been trying to comfort them. Right, John 14:1, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me." Down a few verses he says, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives." And again, he says, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." We keep going down a few verses and he says, "These things I have spoken to you that your joy would be full." So don't let your heart be troubled. I'm giving you peace, I'm giving you joy. He is bringing comfort. Now, he turns a corner and it's like a jolt. He speaks about hatred, animosity, persecution.
I remember as a young child being jolted when I was a little kid in school on November 22, 1963. It was the day that Kennedy got shot. I remember sitting in the room at school where I first heard the news, it's indelibly, emblazoned in my mind. I remember where the chalkboard was. I remember the looks on other students' faces, my teacher's face. I remember staring out the window and I was jolted wondering, "How could anybody hate our president so much as to do that?" It was a shock to me. I think we were all jolted on September 11, 2001 when we discovered that two planes buried themselves into the World Trade Center and another crashed at the Pentagon, and another was buried in the field trying to do damage. We were jolted because we came to understand that there were people out there that hate us so much. They don't care who gets hurt in the process and there's a lot of them shocked to us.
So here's these 11 disciples. They're with Jesus at the Passover. They're walking from the upper room toward the Garden of Gasemity. Jesus has been comforting them, but now, he sort of turns a corner and speaks about something very serious. Frankly, a sermon none of us really want to hear.
I'm going to give you four statements this morning. They're in your bulletin outline. The four statements reflect the relationship we have as believers with the unbelieving world because we're related to Christ. Also, these four statements will build one upon another and when they're all together, we get the full picture. Also, these four statements presuppose that you have a relationship with Christ and you don't mind sharing that relationship with other people.
And so, here's the first statement, "The world hates you." The world hates you. Jesus plainly said in Verse 18 and 19. Let's look more carefully. And as you're looking more carefully, I want you to notice how both those verses begin. They both begin with a conditional clause, an if clause. But the way it's written in the original Greek language, there's an assumption built into it.
So, I'm going to read it with you, but I'm going to insert something because I want to give you what I believe is the full force of the original statement. "If the world hates you and it does, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world and you are not, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore, the world hates you." That's the first statement, "The world hates you."
Now, you all notice as we read through this that the word hate or hatred appears several times in the paragraph that we're dealing with. Six times altogether. I want you just to see the contrast between this paragraph and the previous paragraph where we were last week. If you go back to Verse 9, you will notice another word repeated three times in one verse. Look at it. Verse 9, "As the Father loved Me, so I also have .loved you, abide in My love," three times in one verse. In Verse 10, another two times the word love appears, Verse 12, another two times, Verse 13, another one occasion, and in Verse 17, it appears once again. Nine times in one paragraph, love, love, love, love. The love of the Father for the Son, the love of the Son for his disciples, the love of the disciples for one another. It's all about love.
Now, hate, hate, hate. What's the message? What's the connection? Simply this, the love of Christ will incur the hatred of this world. Did you know that's a prominent theme in the New Testament? The author of the Gospel of John, John the Apostle, also wrote 1 John, listen to what he writes. 1 John 3:1, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Marvel not my brethren, if the world hates you." That's the first statement. That's the first message Jesus gets across, "The world hates you, my disciple." But what does Jesus mean by the world? That's the term you're familiar with if you've read the Bible for any length of time. It doesn't mean the globe itself, the planet Earth itself, the word world, cosmos is the Greek word we get our term cosmic or cosmopolitan from that word. It really means a system, an ordered system, beliefs, values, people, ideologies that are against God's plan and principally against the Lord Jesus Christ.
When I was a kid, there was a television called the Wide World of Sports. Anybody ever heard of that? The Wide World of Sports wasn't a planet in our solar system revolving around the sun. I know a lot of men wish that really did exist and they live there, but it was simply a way of saying, "Here's a system of activities and people and interest that all revolve around sports, the Wide World of Sports. The world in this idea, this class is that kind of world. It is headed by Satan who's called the god of this world. 2 Corinthians 4, "The god in this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe." So it's his ordered system that includes the devil, all of his demons who love to use all unbelievers and they're opposed to the singular gospel message that Jesus Christ is the way to salvation.
That world hates you. Something you should know about the world. The world is often very refined, very cultured, very intellectual and very spiritual, very religious. But, at the same time, that would wants to be all those things is opposed to God, principally opposed to Christ and they're not too crazy about you. That is why, if you have become a Christian recently, you feel uncomfortable in places you used to fell comfortable. You walk around, you wonder, "Why do they look at me like that way? Why did they treat me that way? I don't feel like I belong here anymore. I'm uncomfortable."
Sort of like the missionaries who are out where there were cannibals and the cannibals were staring at them, just staring at them. And it made one of them feel very uncomfortable and he said, "Why do you keep looking at me that way?" And one of the cannibals said, "Well, I am the food inspector." "Yeah, that makes me feel uncomfortable." Did you ever get the idea that the world is looking at you very carefully and scrutinizing you? It's because they are. And the world though it includes all of its refinement, all of its culture and all of its religion, the world hates the true follower of Christ.
Look at Verse 20 now. Jesus said, "Remember the word that I said to you." He said this to them in Chapter 13, "A servant is not greater than his master." And it takes that principle and applies it. "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute--," it's a very strong word for persecute. It means to chase, to hunt. "They will persecute you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours also."
Okay, keep a marker here for a moment and turn in your Bibles to the Gospel of Matthew. I want you to read something that interfaces with this. Something Jesus also told them. Turn to Matthew Chapter 10. Matthew 10, I love to hear those pages turned by the way. Put that on tape. Matthew 10:16, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves." Well, you know, if I've been there I would have thought, "Thanks a lot." What kind of a Lord is this? "I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." And he explains, "But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles."
Go down to Verse 21 now, "Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death," and here it is, "and you will be hated by all for My name's sake." Well, that's exactly what happened.
On the day of Pentecost, when the church began and Peter hit the street of Jerusalem and started proclaiming the gospel, he got into trouble. And after that when the gospel was taken into Samaria, other parts of Judea, Damascus, when Paul started traveling all around Asia Minor, wherever the gospel was taken, those who preach it were hounded in hassle. It's part of the job you might say. It happened. The annals of church history record that the earliest Christians under the Roman persecutions were floundered alliance, burned at the stake Nero's gardens at night. Animals were gutted and believers were sewn into the carcasses of these slain animals so the wild dogs would tear them to shreds. Molten lead was poured on the tenderest parts of their bodies. Eyes were gouged out, et cetera, et cetera. All because they were Jesus' friends and they loved him.
And one of these 11 disciples, the ones Jesus was immediately speaking with. What about them? What happened to them? Let me tell you about a book if you haven't read, I recommend every Christian read at least once. It's called Foxe's Book of Martyrs.
It's rendering of what happened historically to followers of Christ from the earliest apostles onwards until the time it was written. He tells what happens to some of these followers, these apostles. Matthew, slain with the sword in Ethiopia. Mark, dragged through the streets of Alexandria. Luke, hung on an olive tree in Greece. John, place in boiling oil where record says he didn't die and so he was vanished to the Island of Patmos. Peter was crucified upside down in Rome. James the Greater, beheaded in Jerusalem. The Bible records that. James the Last was thrown from the temple then beaten to death with clubs. Matthew flayed alive. Andrew, bound to a cross where he preached to his persecutors until he died. Thomas was ran through with a lance in East India and Jude was shot to death with arrows. These are Jesus' friends.
Now, I don't know what you expected when you came to Christ. I don't know if somebody told you that you can just name it and claim it and have perfect prosperity and smile your way all the way to heaven. But, that aside whatever has happened in you lives since you've come to Christ, anything short of what we just read that happened to these apostles, you live a pretty good life.
Okay, "But I've had some problems in my life." Okay, we all have, but you just think of the record of what these people suffered because they were friends of Jesus Christ and we understand the impact of the statement. "You will be hated by all for my name's sake."
So that's principle number one and no mater what form of hatred that takes, it may not be violent like it was with some of these guys. It might be simply that you're marginalized. People don't pay attention to you. They shun you at work or in family circles, but the world hates you.
Number two, here's the second statement that builds on the first. "The world hates you because the world hates God." Now that's quite a statement. Verse 18, Jesus said, "It's because, they hate Me." Look at Verse 23, "He who hates Me, hates my Father also." Also in Verse 24 toward the end, "But now they have seen and have also hated both Me and my Father."
We're beginning to understand that any hatred the world would have toward us is really a spiritual issue. It's because the god of this world, Satan, who dispatches his demon hordes to influence policy and ideology, and thinking of the unbelieving world toward the Christian that you and I are sort of cut in the crossfire, but there's a real battle going on. Some of you have heard of Michael Medved. Michael Medved is a reviewer of media, principally, movies in the past. He was a movie critic. He would give his assessment. I think he's very fair. He's conservative. He's a Jewish fellow but I think he's very fair even toward Christians and he told a story on his radio show about what happened some years back when the movie The Last Temptation of Christ was released. Remember that film? It's really a slanderous film against Jesus and as far as just a piece of work, a piece of art, it was a mediocre film at best. It didn't deserve any good ratings at all. It was poorly done.
Another film critique, confided in Michael Medved during that time and said, "Mike, we need to give this film high ratings," because he said, "we all need to stand together against these Christians." Isn't that quite a statement? "We all need to stand together against these Christians." In other words, they had an agenda that goes along exactly with what Jesus said would be the agenda. We've got to stand against this Christians and it's because these Christians stand for Christ.
I have to add this. If you're not really serious about following Jesus, if it's to you just like come Sunday mornings, I listen to something and I do whatever I want to do, this probably won't affect you at all. Satan wouldn't -- he didn't need to ask you. He's got you right where he wants you. You're neutralized. But if you are the serious follower of Christ and you surrender your life to him, you can expect to some degree this is going to happen. The family dog was to flush the family cat down the toilet.
Now, some of you might be thinking, "Wait a minute, Jesus keep saying these people hate God. They hate God, they hate God."
I mean this isn't Hollywood Jesus is living in. He's in Jerusalem, right? Aren't these religious people? Aren't these people who are very devout and sincere religiously? And yet Jesus says they hate God? Well, think about it. If God only sent one solution for sin, which was Jesus, if they reject Jesus, they're rejecting God, which is one of the themes of the Gospel of John. Am I right? All the way through the Gospel of John, we see that happening. The enemies are rounding the wagons to figure out some way to get a hold of Christ and arrest him and see him killed?
And the real showdown, I would say, comes in John Chapter 8 and in that showdown, let's see what Jesus said. This is John Chapter 8. He said, "You neither know Me nor my Father. If you had known Me, you would have known my Father also. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and you're trying to kill me." And then he says, "I am from above, you are from beneath. I am not of this world, you are of this world." You know what he's saying? This world system is from the pit of hell controlled by Satan, "And I am from above and you're trying to kill me."
So, here's the point. It's a hard pill to swallow. If a person rejects Christ, I don't care how outwardly, zealously, religious they may be. They might be ardent atheist, they might be a sincere religionist, if they reject Christ, they reject God. And Jesus places them in that category of being a God Hater. The world hates you. The world hates you because the world hates God.
Now, look with me at Verse 22. "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and have also hated both Me and My Father."
Before Jesus came, I suppose that anyone could claim a relative goodness, a relative righteousness, a self-righteousness. You see, people could say, "Well, I keep this laws and I'm very religiously devoted and sincere. I keep this and I keep that and I do this and I do that, and so I'm okay and I'm certainly much better than many other people who don't do these things." But then, Jesus came and set the bar really high. He was perfection incarnate. He was God's only Son, God's only Savior, God's only solution, and his perfection showed all of mankind even there's utter sinfulness.
There's a story of a chief in Africa, an African chief who visited a mission station. And when he was at the mission station, he had never seen a mirror before. He's from some of the back tribes in Africa, but he was at the mission station. Our relationship was developing between the missionaries and this African chief. And as the African chief was waiting outside one of the huts, on a tree was a mirror. And so, the old chief walked up to it and looked at his reflection and he could see the hideous paint on his face and some of the evil icons that were inscribed down the face and the mud matted in the hair and he took one look at it and he jumped back in horror. And he said to the missionary, "Who's that horrible man living inside the tree?" [Laughter] The missionary had to explain, "There's not a horrible man living inside the tree. You've just seen your own face." The chief would not believe it. "That is not me. That is not my reflection." He wouldn't believe it until the chief could actually take the mirror with his own hand and move it around and see indeed it was his reflection.
Then the chief wanted to buy the mirror. The missionary said, "Not interested in selling it." Basically, the chief begged him, missionary conceded, sold him the mirror and the chief holding the mirror said, "Never again will this thing be able to make those faces at me." Threw it down and broke it into little pieces. He did not want who he was seen any longer. It showed him the truth.
Jesus came and in his perfect righteousness showed the utter sinfulness of mankind.
And all mankind could do is get rid of that guy. Get rid of Jesus, because Jesus came and showed them the perfect standard of righteousness(ph). It's sort of like if you're in a movie theater and you'll grow accustomed to the dark and you walk outside and now your eyes are accustomed to the dark. It's so bright. You go, "Oh get rid of that light. I've got to get -- turn off that light." The Bible says, "Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil." It shows them up.
Look at Verse 19. I'll take you to the third statement. "The world hates you. The world hates you because the world hates God. The world hates you because you have defected from the world." Verse 19 says, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
Did you get the message? You don't do what the world does any longer, you don't live like the world lives any longer. You have decided, "I'm going to follow Christ." Jesus said effectively, "Salvation is I've chosen you out of the world, which on a practical basis means you have defected saying to them, 'I don't want to live this way any longer. I'm not really a part of what you're into any longer. I'm following this Jesus from now on.'" And because you're not of them any longer, being chosen out of them, the world hates you because you have defected.
Paul wrote to Timothy and said, "All those who lived godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." If you live godly, you'll suffer persecution and here is why. Whenever you lead the ranks of the world, you don't party anymore, you don't live like that anymore, you don't do that stuff anymore. Often times, the world will misinterpret that as you having a superiority complex. "Who do you think you are? You think you're better than us now? Oh, you go to church now and you pray now." They will misinterpret your following of Christ is having a superiority complex because you're not walking like they're walking.
Did you know that the guy who invented the umbrella, his name was Jonas Hanway. The first time he sported his umbrella in the rain, people threw rocks at him. They didn't like anybody being different than they were having something better than they have. So, they sought to do away with him. You've left the rank and file of the world. You don't live like that any longer. You have defected.
Down in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach, a true story. Every year, there's a church in Myrtle Beach that puts three crosses out in front of the church on church property. Now, what they do, they do it at Good Friday and they have three crosses, a big one in the center, two smaller ones in the sides and they wrap the crosses in black cloth for Good Friday, they take it off and they put a white cloth on it for Easter. They've done it for years. Recently, the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce wrote the church a letter saying, "You've got to take down the crosses. We've gotten a lot of letters about these crosses." And the letter explained, "Now, if you take the crosses inside the church, nobody will care. But as long as you have them on display outside the church where everybody can see them," the letter said, "they are offensive to this community."
Now, I can't prove it, but I will just guarantee you the ACLU is behind that one. I just guarantee it. Separation of church and state, you can't have it so anybody can see it. Place it inside the church, no problem. Place it outside the church, it's offensive. You know what, they're right.
The Bible says, "The message of the cross is an offense to those who are what? Perishing." People who are dying, perishing eternally on their way to hell will look at the cross because it reminds them of the perfect righteousness of Christ, the perfection of his being and the fact that he died for our sins, and that brings great consternation. You've defected. They will misinterpret that as you being superior over them and with Jesus, they try to get rid of him.
Fourth and finally we close with this, the world hates you, number one. The world hates you because it hates God, that's number two. The world hates you because you've defected from it and number four, the world hates you, but there's good news.
Now, I want to leave this for last because in a message like this, typically you don't go, "What a great uplifting message today. The world like hates me." So you're wondering, "Is there any consolation at all in any of this?" Yes, there is. There are three things that are really good. Number one, you're in good company. Did you know that? When you're hated for the sake of Christ, you stand with Christ, Verse 18, "They hated you because they hated Me." You're in good company. You identify with Jesus, in fact, I would even say, "If you're hounded in hassle because you're a Christian, it proves you are a Christian. It demonstrates that you are a believer because you're willing to suffer for his name. Well, it just means you marginalizes, or scolded, or people laugh at your bumper sticker, whatever it might be.
This is what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name's sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets which were before you."
So, think of that. When you're persecuted, you stand with Moses who was hounded in hassle by Pharaoh. When people hate you because you live godly, you stand in the ranks of Isaiah, the Prophet, who was sewn into, or Jeremiah, the Prophet, who was thrown in a well, a dungeon, or Elijah, the Prophet, who was hounded by Jezebel and Ahab, and you stand with Jesus Christ himself. So, number one, you're in good company. The world hates you but there's good news, you're in good company.
Number two, you have a good resource. You have a good resource. Look at Verse 25, "But this happened," Jesus' said this happened, all of this hatred, all of this animosity, "this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.'" What's he doing? He's going back into the Old Testament, here's Psalm 69, Psalm 35, and Psalm 69 where David said, "They hated me without a cause," and Jesus takes that verse from his ancestor, David, brings it all the way to the present time and says, "Now, what I want you to know is all of this hatred was predicted. This is simply a fulfillment of what God predicted would happen to the Prophets and to David."
And I don't know about you, but it brings me great comfort when I know that God knew about my situation before I was getting into it especially if it's a bad situation. I go, "Oh, no!" God says, "Hush, it's okay. It's predicted. I knew all about it. I'm in control." The resource of the Scripture gives you that kind of perspective and comfort because it shows you God knew all about it from the beginning. Do you know that this is exactly how the early church comforted themselves when they were in persecution?
Acts Chapter 4, "A law was brought forth, you can't preach the Gospel in the City of Jerusalem any longer or you'll be arrested." Well, they did it anyway. The apostles did it and they got hounded in hassle and they were getting arrested. So, they got together and this is how they prayed, this is Acts 4, "Lord, your God, you made heaven and earth and the sea and everything in it. Who by the mouth of your servant, David, said, 'Why do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing." The people gathered together with their rulers against the Lord and against his anointed, and they continue. Truly, Jared, Pontius Pilate, the people and this city have gathered together against us and against Christ.
In other words, the Bible predicted the very hot water we're now experiencing and that brought them comfort because of the resource. So, you're in good company. You have a good resource, this scripture get to know it, get to read it, get to understand it.
And, here's the third good thing. There's a good chance some will believe. There's a good chance some will believe. Okay, the world hates you, but some like yourself, will be chosen out of the world will believe because of your witness.
I close with this Verse, Verse 20, "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 keep yours also." See, there's a chance. There's an if, a little word but it's big in our context. If they listen to me, they'll listen to you. There's a chance though the majority of the world wants nothing to do with the Authentic Gospel Message. There's a chance that some will believe and we live for those few.
It's what gets us up in the morning. It's what keeps us sowing the seed of the Gospel knowing that some of it is going to take root. And I've got to tell you something, the joy of a few coming to believe outweighs the majority who says no to it. You're in good company. You have a good resource and there's a good chance that some will believe and to me, that is consolation. How thankful I am that Jesus gave to them the truth, the balance. You're my friends, delighted to call you my friends, but as my friends, you've got to know that I've got enemies and my enemies hate my friends. Welcome to discipleship.
I want to close with reading to you something. You know that one of the greatest statements ever, was made by Peter, right, when Jesus said, "Well, who do you say that I am?" Remember what Peter said? He said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Oftentimes, churches will use that statement before they'll baptize anyone, they want to hear that confession verbally out of a candidate for baptism's mouth where the person will say, "I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
Now, let me read to you an explanation of that that was written. When you said Jesus was the Son of God, you declared, "I am not an atheist who says God doesn't exist. I am not an agnostic who says I don't know if God exist." When you said you believe that Jesus is the Son of the Living God, you were declaring, "I am not an idolater that worships images of wood, stone or gold. I don't worship my dead ancestors as in Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Shintoism. I am not a nature worshiper like the Hindus. I am not a fire worshiper like the Zoroastrians." When you said that you believe that Jesus was the Son of the Living God, you declared, "I am no polytheist who says there are many gods." When you said that you believe Jesus to be the Son of God, you were saying you were not a pantheist that says God is all. That you were not a deist that thinks God created the world and never involved himself in its problems. That you're not a uniformist who believes that all things continue as they were from the beginning. That you're not a modernist who denies the virgin birth.
When you said you believe Jesus was Christ, you declared, "I am not a non-believing Jewish person who denies Jesus as the Messiah. I am not a futurist who yet looks for a Messiah. I am not a theosophist who follows the Baha'i or the Mohammedan cults that thinks Jesus is only one of God's many witnesses." When you said you believe in Jesus, you were saying your faith was in Him, not Buddha, not Confucius, not Mohammed, or anyone else.
When you said, "I believe," you said, "I accept the Scriptures because faith in Jesus is the direct result of the testimony of the Bible." When you said, "I believe," you were declaring yours was a personal faith. It wasn't inherited, it wasn't forced on you, but it was fully and personally confessed. In other words, you drew a line in the sand, you declared that every one outside of Jesus Christ was wrong and you declared to the world that unless they turn from their sins and receive Christ the Savior, they will be condemned and this usually doesn't go down real well.
That sums up everything Jesus just said. If you truly believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and all that that implies, that won't go down really well. If on the other hand you say, "Everybody is the same. All roads lead to God, yada, yada, yada," you'll have everyone love you. Let me end just by saying this, I would rather have God as my friend in the world, all of the world is my enemy than everybody in the world is my friend and God is my enemy.
Father in Heaven, thank you for the truth given to us by Jesus, telling his friends that though they have that honor of bearing the title that Jesus himself has enemies and that Jesus' enemies won't like Jesus' friends. Because of the narrowness of the Gospel, the narrow way, not the broad way, the only way through Jesus, that's the one you sent into this world.So, to reject your Savior, your Son, your solution, is to ultimately and totally reject you. Thank you Lord, thank you for the exception to the rule, for the some who believe, for the if clause that says some will come. And thank you for those who have. In Jesus' name, Amen.