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If the World Hates you, It Hated Jesus First

posted Dec 1, 2013, 5:56 PM by Website Administrator   [ updated Dec 1, 2013, 5:56 PM ]
November 24, 2013         
Key Passage: John 15:18-27; 16:1-4   

“If the World Hates You, It Hated Jesus First” 

When I was growing up, I had an almost obsession with being popular.  Literally, I’d do almost anything to get and keep attention.  The goal was simple: be accepted, and be accepted to the point of being included in the most popular groups.  I don’t care about that so much anymore, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say rejection hurts and there’s still a pull to be accepted.  Now, combine that with a world that hates Jesus (not religion … Jesus) and Christians like never before and you’ve got a recipe for disaster if you’re a Follower still trying to please the world and those in it.  Fortunately, in our passage today, Jesus is like the proverbial commander, who doesn’t go into battle and ask his soldiers to do anything other than what he himself is willing to do.  He understands, firsthand, what persecution will be like.  Imagine, on the contrary, a hypothetical God who asked his devotees to go out and suffer in the world, when he never had.  Imagine, a God who sat comfortably in Heaven, while demanding that his disciples suffered with their own blood, sweat, and tears.  That’s certainly not the kind of God Jesus is – He doesn’t hypothetically empathize with us.  He really knows the sting of opposition that we feel.  Know this – the next time you suffer some opposition from the world: If the world hates you, it hated Jesus first … 

John 15:18-27 Putting the world’s hatred toward us in perspective
Keep in mind, when the world hates us, it’s nothing personal.  Hey, Jesus was perfect, and it happened to him as well.
        Q:  Which is harder: loving people whom you do not like, or loving people who do not like you?
Jesus says they’ll hate us because we’re not the same anymore.  The one thing the world screams for is conformity, to be part of the group.  Anything different is ridiculed and rejected.  If we’re truly Followers, we should be salt and light … salt burns, and light blinds the darkness.
Q:  Why does the world react so fiercely to Christianity?
                 your ethics expose the duplicity of the world’s methods
                 your values imply that the behaviors of the world are condemned by God
                 your compassion exposes the heartless self-absorption of the world
                 your peace and inner joy infuriates those who want what you have

John 16:1-4 Jesus cares enough not to let us get blind-sided     (see also 1 Peter 4:12-19)

Friendship with God is stable and dependable.  God’s character is consistent, and so is his acceptance of us.  The standards of the world and “popularity” are constantly changing.  
The world’s popularity can’t provide what you’re looking for.  
        o Let’s be honest, the thing we all want more than anything else is peace, acceptance and love. 
        o Those three things are found in the cross, not in the culture.  He’s the only one who accepts us not for what He wants us to be or do … but for who we are.
Q:  How does it make you feel to know that if you haven’t been challenged, rejected, ignored, 
     etc. you probably need to take a long, hard look at the effectiveness of your witness?
Bottom Line: If the cause of Christ is the right one (and obviously it is), what does that say about the world’s cause?  If we have the gold, they’re guarding the wrong vault.  The world hates exclusive claims like “Jesus is the only way to Heaven” and those who make them.  But the claim of exclusivity originated with Christ, not us.  The world’s complaint is with Jesus, not us.  We simply believe what he says.  In our passage today, our Lord cared enough for us to prepare us for the pain we are sure to endure – in fact he promises that it will happen.  The ultimate truth you must face is this: You may never have to face the decision of whether or not to die for your faith, but every day you face the decision of whether or not you will live for it!