Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Believers Relation to the World

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18 NASU)

[If the world hates you,]

The usage of the word “world” here by our Lord encompasses all people outside of His calling; those who have hated and rejected Him. Thus the word “world” represents evil or sinfulness standing in opposition to Christ and His kingdom. This also included the religious who were in deception or rebellion. Christ disciples cannot expect the friendship of the world, but they cannot be deterred from their work by its hatred.

As the early Disciples of Christ were to be exposed to the hatred of the world so are those of today. Just as it was no small consolation to them to know that the hatred from the world would be only in proportion to their faith and holiness, so it should be with today’s disciples also; and that, consequently, instead of being troubled at the prospect of persecution, they should rejoice (James 1:2-4), because that should always be a proof to them that they are in the very path in which Jesus Himself had walked.

[you know that it has hated Me before it hated you]

As light penetrates darkness and exposes the filth that lies therein so did the Word of God in the person of Jesus Christ expose the sins of the world; and men love sin more than righteousness, thus they hated Him.

The word of God is the judgment of sin, thus those who are bearers of the truth are hated by those who lust for the things of the world. They accuse the righteous of being judgmental and self righteous because their sins are exposed by the truth that they live and speak. The way of the world is, if you don’t like the message then persecute or kill the messenger. This they did to the early prophets, to Jesus and His first Apostles, and it continues to be so today.

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (John 15:19 NASU)

[If you were of the world, the world would love its own:]

Those who are of the world have fellowship with others who are of the world. If you are religious or not inclined to religion, and are like them, you are vain, earthly, sensual, given to pleasure, hording of wealth, given to vain ambition, they will not oppose you.

[because you are not of the world]

The disciples had been call of Jesus and through obedience to His teachings they had been set apart (sanctified) from the world, thus the world hated them in the same way that they hated Jesus. The same is true today. The elect of God are justified and sanctified and made the righteous of God through Christ Jesus, thus they are not like the world and the world hates them.

“Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave 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.” (John 15:20 NASU)

[If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you:]

Here Jesus makes reference to the religious sects of that time who followed Him taking note to catch Him in violation of the Law that they might kill Him. Jesus tells His disciples that they will do the same to them. It is much the same today. There are those who exalt themselves as scholars and follow men of God not to learn from them but to dissect every thing they say. But there are those who are true disciples of Jesus that recognize His ministers and follow them to learn of them.

“But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.” (John 15:21 NASU)

[But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake,]

Again He is speaking of the religious Jews who would persecute His Apostles because they are continuing to preach the gospel in the name of Jesus.

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” (John 15:22 NASU)

[If I had not come and spoken to them,]

Jesus was sent of the Father to restore truth and righteousness in the earth. The Father performed many miracles through His Son before them to convince them that this was indeed His Son. His teachings were from the Father and He made every effort to convince them He was the Messiah, but they rejected Him. Thus they sinned and were without excuse.

“He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, 'THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE'.”(John 15:23-25 NASU)

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.” (John 15:26 NASU)

[When the Helper comes,]

Here Christ speaks of the Holy Spirit who is from the Father. He calls Him the Helper and the Spirit of Truth. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came according to the promise of our Lord, completing the divine order of the Church (Acts 2:1-4). The tree of life is the word of God in the person of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. This event marked the removal of the cherubim and the flaming sword from the guarding of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24) for all those who believe in the name of Jesus can now partake of it.

“and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning” (John 15:27).

Shortly after this, His last teaching, our Lord was arrested, mocked, spat upon, beaten and cruelly crucified by and on the behalf of sinners.

Glory is to His name, the name of Jesus. Amen

James C Sanford

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