JOHN 15:19, 25
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 15:19 (Holman) “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.”
Our society has assimilated a semblance of Christianity into itself. Christian values permeate the conscience of our society in many areas. Hence, to us the world has often given the appearance of being tolerant.
At best, this is a façade, a passing mirage. Our culture has accepted Christian values only to the extent it has absolutely had to. If God-fearing people were not a voting-block to be reckoned with, our government and society would be as indifferent as any other. The world accepts only enough of Christian principles to pacify the large number of voting believers.
When the world is closely examined, the same old facts are found – dislike of God, love for sin, pride, self-sufficiency. People haven’t changed. It can still be said, “the world hates you.”
USA Christians are not dipped in pitch and used for candles in the Emperor’s garden, but disdain still exists. Our society is more subtle: a scornful laugh, a celebration when believers fall, ostracizing those who truly serve Jesus.
This dislike is neither universal nor all-inclusive. Certain bonds unite all people, Christians and non-Christians. We all care about our neighborhoods, making a living, providing our children a good education, patriotism, etc.
We have many common interests and needs, and often do the same things. These similar habits and customs, though, are often a thin layer of plaster over deep cracks in the wall.
Plaster covers the crack, but bad weather reveals that the crack is still there. This is how we are with the world. When we go below the surface, and deal with real, deep, foundational principles of life, we go our separate ways.
What believers regard as precious, the world often regards as of no account. What we view as truth, it passes by as unimportant. What we see as wrong, it often sees as right.
Believers and the world stand at opposite poles with regard to thoughts about God, man’s depravity, the purpose of life, moral standards, and death.
It is impossible for a person to live their life for Christ without treading on someone’s sensitive nerve somewhere along the way. If we are walking the walk, and talking the talk, there is bound to be a split between people who regard God as the ultimate necessity in life and people who regard God as totally irrelevant.
In the USA we see strange bed-fellows. Our society has a dash of Christianity; our Christianity has a large dose of society. Our part-Christian society and part-secularized church get along pretty well together.
The average Christian in our country does not deserve antagonism from the world. Why rebuke silence? The world has little need to waste its energy against us. The world does not need to fret itself about a church which is actually only a bit of the world under another name.
The world dreads ho-hum Christianity like we dread wet noodles. Unbelievers have no qualms about a Christian who is like them.
But let people promote an unpopular belief for Christ’s sake; let them try hard to live like Jesus, to stay ahead of the world’s conscience. Before long the world’s wolves are yelping at their heels.
It is out-and-out Christians the world dreads. God help us live in such a way that at least something in our lives deserve the hostility our text predicts. Jesus said, “The world hates you.” Does it?
John 15:25 “But this happened so that the statement written in their law might be fulfilled: They hated Me for no reason.”
“For no reason” means without a justifiable reason. The hostility of people to Christ, who was totally kind and holy, was unjustifiable. It was pure hatred without grounds.
All others have something in them which calls out at times our anger or dislikes. But in Jesus there was nothing but pure love and unblemished perfection.
Christ was crucified because He was good. This can never be justified. His goodness clashed with people’s love for evil. His high standard interfered with our daily procedures.
The world crucified Christ because His purity condemned their sinfulness. His kindness condemned their selfishness. His humility condemned their pride. His boldness condemned their cowardice. His truth condemned their heresies. His spirituality condemned their carnality.
Rome was the most beneficent, enlightened, and tolerant large government the world had ever seen, yet it crucified Jesus.
God allowed Jesus to be crucified by the world’s finest government, as if He wanted us to know Jesus would have been ill-treated by people, no matter when or where He had come.
We would try to silence Jesus if He came today. The result would be an instant replay of His coming the first time. Very few would stay with Him (John and Mary at the foot of the cross); many would love him, but would hide for fear (the disciples scattered); the multitudes would be glad to get rid of Him.
To prove our depravity we do not need to point at adultery, hatred, homosexuality, bloodshed. All we have to do is remind ourselves we committed deicide – we put God to death. This is the pinnacle and climax of people’s pyramid of guilt. We outdid ourselves when we put Jesus on a cross.