Prediction Of Persecution
Topic: Persecution Passage: John 15:18–16:4
In order to prepare His disciples for the persecution they would experience in the future, Jesus explained FIVE REASONS why the world hates Christians.
1. ASSOCIATION - We’re guilty by association (vv. 18, 20; 16:4)
Jesus wanted His disciples to know that they world would hate them because the world hated Him. The world hated Jesus from the day He was born to the day He died, and even to this day, the world hates and despises Jesus. Therefore, His followers of today are hated and despised and we should not expect to be treated any differently than Jesus was.
2. SEPARATION - We’re set apart from the world (v. 19)
Those who are of Christ are not of the world because Christ is not of the world. Followers of Christ have been sovereignly selected by God the Father, and are therefore citizens of heaven rather than the world (Rom 12:2). Christians do not conform to the ways of the world, but rather to the ways of Christ and the will of God (1 Peter 4:1).
3. INCOMPREHENSION - They’re ignorant of the truth (vv. 21; 16:2-3)
Unbelievers hate believers because they do not have a relationship with Christ. As such, the way to heaven and God the Father is not open to them (John 14:6, 17:3). Those who know and follow Jesus Christ also know God the Father (John 8:19).
4. CONVICTION - They’re convicted of their sin (vv. 22-25)
Although all of us have sinned, our sin is not as great as if we had witnessed the light and truth of Jesus and then rejected it - that is, if we had rejected the clear revelation of God. Often, the mere presence of a righteous man is enough to convict one who rejects Christ (Psalm 69:4; 1 John 3:19).
5. PROCLAMATION - We’re witnesses to the world (vv. 26-27)
Only the saving work of Jesus Christ can save. Those who are Christ followers are living witnesses for the truth and the changing power of Christ. Along with the Holy Spirit, Christians serve as witnesses for Christ and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit Who dwells within enables those who proclaim Christ to remain strong in the face of persecution.
Do you fit in just fine with other people in the world or is your life so different that it convicts and condemns them so much that they hate you and malign you (cf. 1 John 3:12-13)? As you consider this, take some time to pray for the persecuted church around the world, whose believers suffer for the name of Christ, and whose suffering and faith glorifies God.