This was originally published on September 20, 2010. Please note that I was preaching at Grace Pres in Jackson, TN. I’m no longer preaching there.
How would you like the responsibility of preaching those words to your congregation? I had the opportunity and privilege to do so yesterday. I say privilege and opportunity because it is always a privilege to preach God’s word to His people. But yesterday’s message was difficult. Who likes to say, “Hey, guess what? As a Christian, know that the world will hate you.”
I couched it in terms of an ad agency. How the ad agency reveal that truth? How would it go over if our church ran ads “Come to Grace Pres, where you will be taught about the world’s hatred for you.“
This is the truth of the gospel. When we become Christians, we are plucked out of the world by Christ and made His disciples. “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.”
As a Christian, we must realize that we are no longer members of the realm called: the world. We have become members of the Kingdom of Heaven, and that means we are automatically at odds with the world. This is a wonderful reality for us in the long run, but in the short run, it means that we will suffer persecution and hatred from the world.
Because the world first hated Christ. If we just look at the number of times that John talks about how Jesus was not received, or rejected or hated or threatened with death, we see that the world absolutely despises our Savior. The rejection is complete. I know that there are those who like to say things like, “Well, I love Jesus Christ but cannot stand Christians.”
This is an out and out lie. Jesus said that if we love Him, then we will keep His commandments, and His commandments are that we love one another, i.e., fellow believers. So to reject Christians, is to reject Christ. To reject Christ, is to reject the Father. Welcome to the realm of the world.
However if we are of Christ, then we to love one another because the world will hate us. We need to stick together as believers and encourage one another. I believe this is one of the reasons that Jesus said three times in His upper-room discourse: “These things I command you, that you love one another.” He knew that the world would hate us as well and we not only need His Spirit in us, but also one another. This is why we are to remain together as a body. To separate ourselves, is to distance ourselves from Christ and His Kingdom. This also opens us up to the attack of Satan. Remember, he prowls around like a roaring lion. Roaring lions never go after the pack, but after the sick and the young and those who are alone. So we are to stay together.
We must also realize that when the world does display its hatred for us, we are to rejoice. Listen to Christ’s words from the sermon on the mount:
Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
If we did not have the future promises given to us by Christ, the warnings of the world’s hatred for us would be sorely depressing. But we are given a wonderful promise: great is your reward in heaven. When we suffer for His name, then we should rejoice and be glad because we have a future hope that far exceeds anything we may have on this side of glory.
There is nothing here in this world that will last, or compare to the infinite joy and beauty we will have in glory with the Lord. When we remember this reality, we can endure the hatred of the world. For the love of Christ far surpasses any love that the world has to offer for us, for Christ’s love is enduring and far more fulfilling. The world’s love for its own is passing and in the end, a lie. It’s not true love in the sense that it does not seek the best interests of those who experience it. It cannot truly satisfy or fulfill those who yearn for it.
When Jesus tells us that the world hates us, we should rejoice because we really do not want the world’s love in the end. His love is far better. The sufferings and the hatred we may endure are only temporary. But not His love, or His Kingdom, or His promises. In view of all that, rejoice that the world does hate us. It means that we are standing for righteousness’ sake and suffering for His name. That is a blessing.
Yesterday, in my sermon, I mentioned this video. This woman is standing for righteousness’ sake. She is standing against killing the unborn especially black children. Watch the response to her. One man, white and liberal, tries to bring up adopting babies, as in, if you are really pro-life, you will adopt babies. Guess what? There are plenty of people wanting to adopt children in the U.S. If we would stop aborting all these children, then there would not be waiting lists for adoption.
The point is that you see the world’s hatred against this woman as she stands for righteousness’ sake. Please watch the video and support the movie if you can. It’s from The Runaway Slave movie.
You can see more about this movie here. It’s put together by C.L. Bryant, a black pastor who is conservative and is trying to show the dangers of socialism, progressivism, etc.
Hattip to Neil for the video.