There is a principle here that we can learn that will help us understand just how far we can go in our walk with Jesus Christ. There is also a warning and a reminder of what to expect as we walk with Christ in these verses.
We see also that Jesus made us a promise here too, for those who teach and preach the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These few verses speak volumes about who we are and where we are as followers of Jesus Christ. And also what we can expect as we continue to walk with Him.
You are Not of This World
Verse 19 in this section says,
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, therefore the world hates you.
First we must understand that when we came to Jesus Christ and we were baptised into His name, we ceased to be citizens of this world. I am speaking here in a spiritual sense. As Jesus says here, we are no longer “OF” this world even though we live “IN” this world.
We walk around the streets, buy food, drive cars, go to school, theatres, supermarkets, sporting events and so on just as every other person does on the planet. To all intents and purposes we look just like any other person in the world. But we are not.
When we were baptised into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we took on His death and we died with Him. Sure it was symbolism, but through faith we believe we have actually died and been reborn or born again as new creations in our baptism into the death of Jesus Christ.
Where did we go when we died with Christ? We went into the spiritual realm, no longer a part “OF” this world. As it says in Colossians 3:3,
For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
And also we see exactly where our life now is once we come to Jesus Christ and we accept His life through faith. In Ephesians 2:4-6 we see,
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
We are no longer “OF” this world because our life is “…hid with Christ,” and now in the spirit God has, “…made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Do I hear an Amen? Do I hear a WOW! If you have faith in Jesus Christ you are now seated next to God in the Spirit through entering into the death, resurrection and life of Jesus Christ. That is the power of His sacrifice that He made for us…to bring us into the presence of God.
You will be Hated
Now because we are members of the family of God in Christ Jesus, seated with Him in the Spirit, we have some enemies. All those who choose to ignore and oppose the name of Jesus Christ are now lined up against us, just as they are lined up against Him. This is why He warns us saying in verse 18, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
The world hates Jesus because He shows them up for the liars, cheats, frauds and sinners that they are. He also offers them a way to be free from those sins as He did us, but they choose to reject Him. He does not reject anyone who comes to Him, but leaves the choice to the individual as to whether they will follow Him or reject Him.
There is no middle ground in Christianity either. You are with Jesus or against Him. And that is why the world hates us because we choose to stand by what is right. And not only will they hates us, which they could do from a distance, they will persecute us because we are Christians.
Look at what Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:12-13,
12 Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
13 while evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived.
Persecutions go with the turf of being a Christian. There is no avoiding it, it will happen from time to time and we have been warned. Also there is the challenge of Satan who will seek to attack us, as it says in 1 Peter 5:8,
Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour
So as we learn the ways of the Lord and seek to do right, we should know and accept the fact that there will be persecutions, there will be spiritual attacks and it will sometimes be a difficult path to walk. But knowing this we should also remember the prize at the end of the road. Peace, joy, love, eternal life and the opportunity to meet and live with the Lord forever. The benefits far outweigh the costs and the joy to come far outweighs the troubles of the here and now.
Gods People Will Listen
As we grow in the Lord we may have the opportunity to speak to others about our faith and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, just as the early disciples and apostles of the Lord did. Jesus told them in these scriptures that,
“…if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.”
It is His work that we are doing and He is leading the work. So Jesus has promised that when we do His work and we speak to His people, those He is calling, that they will listen. They will hear our words and know they are the words of God just as they did with the apostles and just as they did with Jesus Christ Himself.
For clarity we must understand that not everyone will listen and take in what we say, but as Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:19, “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and also as Jesus Himself said in John 12:26, “If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also.”
The Lord will place His servants in the right place at the right time to minister and preach the word to those He is calling. This will be done in His time and we cannot change His process or the times and seasons when He will accomplish His work.
I know many Christians pray and speak to family and friends who have not yet come to Christ. Many shed tears over the failings of those close to them because they dearly want to see them saved and come to know the peace and joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ.
To them I say, you may not be the person that will turn those closest to you to the Lord. You may be too close to them. But if the Lord has His hand on these people, rest assured that in His time and His place, He will have His servant appear and say the words that will shake these people to their very foundations. Then they will listen and know that the words being spoken are from God.
And again, it is their decision to accept or reject the Lord and His teachings. The best you can do is to give them the opportunity to hear the words, and show by your own behaviour and example what the Lord has done and is doing in your life. Often the best witness is the silent witness of actions and behaviours when they see you are now somehow “different” from what you used to be.
So in summary, a servant is not greater than his master and we should understand that we will be persecuted for the stand we are taking in Jesus Christ. But the blessing that come will far outweigh the sufferings we may have to endure in this lifetime.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Emiliano Spada)
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