PERSECUTION FROM THE WORLD - PART ONEFrom The Heart
Publish date: 06/27/2010
This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do. 15 I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out). But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father. [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him.] 16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], He may give it to you. 17 This is what I command you: that you love one another. 18 If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you. 20 Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours. 21 But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the One Who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin [would be blameless]; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates Me also hates My Father.24 If I had not done (accomplished) among them the works which no one else ever did, they would not be guilty of sin. But [the fact is] now they have both seen [these works] and have hated both Me and My Father. 25 But [this is so] that the word written in their Law might be fulfilled, They hated Me without a cause. John 15:12-25 AMP
Jesus loved us so much that He sacrificed His life for us—His friends—as He calls us. He only had one life to give and He gave it freely and utterly. Only those who obey His commands can claim to be His friends. Jesus is the one who promoted us from servants to friends. What an honor to be called a friend of God! We did not choose Jesus—He chose us—He loved us and died for us and invited us into His family. We have a choice to make as well—to either accept or reject His offer of salvation. He chose us and appointed us to bear lasting fruit so that whatever we ask the Father, in the Name of Jesus, He will give us. Jesus wants us to get our prayers answered! We should consider it a great, great honor that Jesus loves us so much!
Because Jesus is our Lord and Master, we owe Him our unconditional obedience, but Jesus asks us to obey Him simply because we love Him. The Father, Himself, loves us and desires that His love be freely reciprocated. Indeed, He has been so devoted to us; we owe Him something in return. We owe Him our honor and loyalty. 1 Corinthians 7:23 ERV says that, “God paid a high price for you, so don’t be slaves to anyone else.” You need to take your eyes off of other people—stop caring about what they think of you more than what God thinks of you and be loyal in every way to the One who saved you and set you free.
Jesus goes on to speak of persecution. The world—the world’s system—hates Jesus; hates righteousness; hates what is good—without a cause and for no reason. The god of this world—the devil—has blinded the eyes of the unbelievers so that they should not discern the Truth (2 Cor. 4:4). They hate Jesus and they hate you, but don’t even know why themselves. If the world hates you—know that they hated Jesus first. If you were one of them and like them—they would love you. But because you are not one of them and you are not like them, they hate you. A servant is not greater than his master—if they persecuted Jesus, they will persecute you as well. Don’t be surprised at persecution when it comes, because everyone who desires to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). If they hate you, they hate Jesus too. If they hate Jesus, they hate the Father who sent Jesus to die—even for them. Before Saul became Paul, he too hated Jesus and all Christians, but his eyes were opened and he ended up giving his life for the sake of the Gospel!
Christians get enough hatred from the world—we need each other’s love, support and encouragement. Many times, we think that other Christians are our problem, when our only problem is the devil. He comes to sow discord so that he can divide and conquer. When the Christians of the Early Church were persecuted, they pulled together, called on the Father in unison and continued to boldly preach the Gospel, perform miracles and meet the needs of the people. It’s time the Body of Christ woke up and stopped fighting each other, rather, stood side to side and faced the devil—our true enemy—and fought and conquered him! Jesus asks us to please Him by unselfishly loving one another and he will give you the strength to do it.