Morning Bible Study
We are on Thursday night of Jesus’ last week. This is the night before His
Up to this point, Jesus has been talking a lot about love.
Things turn to a little more serious tone…
:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
:18 the world
– kosmos (“cosmos”, “cosmetics”,
“cosmopolitan”) – the world, the universe, the whole mass of men alienated from
As Christians, we have three enemies that wage war against us:
Satan hates you and has a horrible plan for your life.
(1 Pe 5:8 NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil
walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
We find victory over Satan through Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.
(Re 12:11 NKJV) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the
word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
One of the enemies is very, very close. In fact it’s living inside of you.
Too many Christians like to blame the devil, when in fact they are their
own worst enemy.
(Ga 5:17 NLT) The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of
what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of
what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each
other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
We find victory over the flesh as we learn to “crucify” it, and learn to
walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Ro 8:13 NKJV) For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if
by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
The world is that invisible system that connects men in rebellion against
God. It is energized and directed by Satan.
(1 Jn 5:19 NKJV) We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under
the sway of the wicked one.
It is a system held together by lust and pride. It appeals and connects to
our lust and pride.
(1 Jn 2:15–16 NKJV) —15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If
anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the
world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not
of the Father but is of the world.
We often see the “world” reflected in our modern media – whether it’s the advertisement campaigns
orchestrated by Madison Avenue, or the movies put out by Hollywood.
Satan energizes and directs the world to affect man’s “flesh” through
Victory over the world
Some people think that the way to have victory over the world is to hide
from the world.
This is the
reasoning behind setting up monasteries, to keep the “saints” from being
defiled by the world.
You know, things aren’t all that great in the monasteries:
The monks at a remote monastery high on a mountain
followed a rigid vow of silence. Their vow could only be broken once a year—on
Christmas—by one monk. That monk could speak only one sentence. One Christmas, Brother
Thomas had his turn to speak and said, “I love the delightful mashed potatoes
we have every year with the Christmas roast!” Then he sat down. Silence ensued
for 365 days. The next Christmas, Brother Michael got his turn and said, “I think the mashed
potatoes are lumpy, and I truly despise them!” Once again, silence ensued for
365 days. The following Christmas, Brother Paul rose and said, “I am fed up with this constant
God didn’t go
away from the world.
(1 Jn 4:9 NKJV) In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God
has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
God didn’t abandon the world, God sent His Son into the
died to pay for our sins. He died
in order to make us right with God.
We are to be different from the world, but not separated physically from
We are to be “in” the world, but not “of” the world.
How else will people come to Christ? How else will people
find faith in Christ if we all just ran away to live in a monastery?
We overcome the
world through our faith.
(1 Jn 5:4–5 NKJV) —4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this
is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5 Who is he who
overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
There is a time to run away, to “flee” temptation. (2Ti. 2:22)
But you can’t avoid every temptation by running away.
We learn to “just say no” through our faith.
We learn to be a light in this dark world through our
“THE AGNES STORY” BY TONY CAMPOLO
Jetlag can be
brutal, and Tony Campolo had just arrived in Hawaii; he was hungry and he
couldn’t sleep. It was 3:00 a.m., though, and the only place open was a grungy
dive in an alley in downtown Waikiki. As Tony sat there at the counter munching
on his donut and sipping his coffee, in walked eight or nine prostitutes just
finished with their night’s work. They all sat down at the counter and Tony
found himself uncomfortably surrounded by a whole group of smoking, swearing hookers, recounting their
night on the street. He was finishing up his coffee, planning to make a quick
getaway, when he heard the woman next to him say to her friend, “You know what?
Tomorrow’s my birthday. I’m gonna be 39.” Her friend replied nastily: “So what
do you want from me? A birthday party? Huh? You want me to get a cake, and sing
happy birthday to you?” The first woman said, “Aw, come on, why do you have to
be so mean? Why do you have to put me down? I’m just saying it’s my birthday. I
don’t want anything from you. I mean, why should I have a birthday party? I’ve
never had a birthday party in my whole life. Why should I have one now?”
Tony suddenly had an idea. Instead of running off, he sat and waited until
the women left, and then he asked the guy at the counter, “Do they come in here
every night?” ”Yeah,” he answered. ”The one right next to me,” he asked, “she
comes in every night?” ”Yeah,” he said, “that’s Agnes. Yeah, she’s here every
night. She’s been coming here for years. Why do you want to know?” ”Because she
just said that tomorrow is her birthday. What do you think? Do you think we
could maybe throw a little birthday party for her right here in the diner?” A smile crept over the
man’s face. “That’s great,” he says, “yeah, that’s great. I like it.”
So they made their plans. Tony said he’d be back at 2:30 the next morning
with some decorations and the man, whose name was Harry, said he’d make a cake.
At 2:30 the next morning, Tony returned with crepe paper and other decorations
and a sign made of big pieces of cardboard that said, “Happy Birthday, Agnes!” Together, they
decorated the diner from one end to the other and it looked great. Harry had
gotten the word out on the streets about the party and by 3:15 it seemed that
every prostitute in Honolulu was in the place. At 3:30 on the dot, the door
swung open and in walked Agnes and her friend. Everybody yelled together:
“Happy Birthday, Agnes!” Agnes
was absolutely flabbergasted. Her mouth fell open, her knees started to buckle,
she almost fell over. And then the birthday cake with all the candles was
carried out, and that’s when she totally lost it and began weeping. Harry, who
was not used to seeing a prostitute cry, gruffly mumbled, “Blow out the
candles, Agnes. Cut the cake.” So Agnes pulled herself together and blew them
out. Everyone cheered and yelled, “Cut the cake, Agnes, cut the cake!”
But Agnes looked at the cake
and, without taking her eyes off it, slowly said, “Look, Harry, is it all right
with you if...I mean, if I don’t...I mean, what I want to ask, is it OK if I
keep the cake a little while? Is it all right if we don’t eat it right away?”
Harry didn’t know what to say so he shrugged and said, “Sure, if that’s what
you want to do. Keep the cake. Take it home if you want.” Agnes got off her
stool, picked up the cake, and carried it high in front of her like it was the Holy Grail.
Everybody watched in stunned silence and when the door closed behind her,
nobody seemed to know what to do. They look at each other. They look at Tony.
So Tony got up on a chair and said, “What do you say that we pray?” And there they
were in a hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon, half the prostitutes in Honolulu, at
3:30 a.m. listening to Tony Campolo as he prayed for Agnes. When he finished,
Harry leaned over, and with a trace of hostility in his voice, he said, “Hey,
you never told me you were a preacher. What kind of church do you belong to
anyway?” It was one of those moments when just the right words came. Tony
replied, “I belong
to a church that throws birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the
morning.” Harry thought for a moment, and in a mocking way said, “No you don’t.
There’s no church like that. If there was, I’d join it. Yep, I’d join a church
like that.” Tony
then said, “There is a church like that, Harry - started by a man who did just
that. Let me tell you about Jesus…”
:19 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.
the world hates you
You have a choice of who you are going to be friends with.
You can be
friends of the world and be God’s enemy.
(Jas 4:4 NKJV) Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship
with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of
the world makes himself an enemy of God.
You can be
God’s friend and the world’s enemy. John wrote,
(1 Jn 3:13 NKJV) Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
Some of us really enjoy having people like us. Be careful. Sometimes we go
down the wrong road when we work at having the wrong people like us. Being
popular among your unbelieving friends is a dangerous thing.
the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If
they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they
will keep yours also.
:20 A servant
is not greater …
If He was persecuted, then His followers will be persecuted.
:20 they will keep
We are going to talk about hatred and persecution, but keep in mind, not
everyone is going to hate you as a believer. Some will learn to follow Jesus
because of you.
:21 But all
these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know
Him who sent Me.
:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now
they have no excuse for their sin.
If Jesus had not come to the earth and told us about God and how to follow
God, these people in front of Jesus might have an excuse when they stand before
God one day.
But the truth is, they’ve heard all about following God, and now they have
:23 He who hates Me hates My Father also.
You can’t say you love God and not love Jesus.
:24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they
would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.
:25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in
their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’
:24 the works which
no one else did
John tells us at the end of the book that he hasn’t told us about all of
Jesus’ miracles, but the few that he tells us about are absolutely awesome. (John 20:30-31)
Jesus said in verse 22, that they have no excuse for not following God
because of what He’s said.
Now He tells them that all the miracles that He’s done has also taken away
their excuse for not following God.
We know all about excuses…
Test at Duke
Duke University, there were four sophomores taking Organic Chemistry.
They did so well on all the quizzes, midterms and labs, etc., that each had an
“A” so far for the semester. These four friends were so confident that the
weekend before finals, they decided to go up to University of Virginia and party with some friends
up there. They had a great time. However, after all the partying, they slept all day Sunday and
didn’t make it back to Duke until early Monday morning. Rather than taking the
final then, they decided to find their professor after the final and explain to
him why they missed it. They explained that they had gone to UVA for the
weekend with the plan to come to study, but, unfortunately, they had a flat tire on
the way back, didn’t have a spare, and couldn’t get help for a long time. As a
result, they missed the final. The Professor thought it over and then agreed they could make up the
final the following day. The guys were elated and relieved. They studied that
night and went in the next day at the time the professor had told them. He
placed them in separate rooms and handed each of them a test booklet, and told
them to begin. They looked at the first problem, worth 5 points. It was
something simple about free radical formation. “Cool,” they thought at the same
time, each one in his separate room, “this is going to be easy.” Each finished
the problem and then turned the page. On the second page was written: (For 95 points): Which tire?
If you are counting on making excuses with God, you are in
that Jesus did were so radical and powerful, that they make it obvious that He
was someone incredible, special, and you ought to pay attention to what He
says. Nicodemus understood this:
(Jn 3:2 NKJV) …“Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one
can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
I’m going to do a terrible thing to you today and I hope you’ll forgive me.
I’m going to take away your excuse.
told you this morning that Jesus came to die for our sins.
Some of you might wonder, but what’s so special about that? How do I know that Jesus is so special?
Look at the miracles that Jesus performed.
“All The Miracles of Jesus” clip.
Do you realize
that there is no other like Jesus? Have you all heard that Jesus died for your
You are now accountable to God.
God wants you to follow Jesus.
You will not be able to stand before God and say, “I
But don’t take this as a threat.
It’s a good thing to follow Jesus.
Opening your heart to Jesus and accepting His gift of forgiveness is
what leads to eternal life. And that’s a
GOOD thing. The Bible says,
(Jn 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
If accepting Jesus and eternal life is the “good news”, I guess I am going
to end with the “bad news”.
– dioko – to make to run or flee; to
I think there are three types of persecution
Sometimes we think we’re being persecuted when we’re not.
poor secretary has to read all the emails that come to the church email
address. And for some reason a certain fellow has chosen to add us to his email
posts. We are on his list of about fifty different churches and individuals. He claims in these emails
that he is a Christian brother who is being persecuted by the police department
in his city. He claims
that the police are regularly sending their helicopter to fly over his house. He
claims that they follow him when he goes out on walks. When he calls the police department to
complain, they say he might be a little paranoid.
I don’t know for sure, but after having read about ten of these things, I’m
beginning to wonder if the police might be right. I have a hard time thinking that his city’s
police department doesn’t have better things to do than to fly their helicopter
over his house in order to harass him.
Sometimes we experience “persecution” because we deserve it.
When Peter wrote his letters, the early church was just beginning to experience
(1 Pe 4:12–16 NKJV) —12 Beloved, do not think
it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some
strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s
sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with
exceeding joy. 14 If you
are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory
and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He
is glorified. 15 But
let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in
other people’s matters. 16
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let
him glorify God in this matter.
Sometimes our “suffering” is well deserved. Sometimes we
bring the trouble on ourselves simply because we are being rude or obnoxious.
not opposed to going door to door to share your faith. But when you ring
a person’s doorbell
at 6:00am, and they get mad at you and slam the door, don’t claim to be
persecuted for being a Christian. You are simply being rude. If you are so busy sharing with people
at work that you don’t do a good job, don’t cry because you lose your job. You deserve it. Do a good job, and when you are on break,
then share your faith.
This is the persecution that Jesus promised for all His followers.
It comes directly from being a quality representative of Jesus Christ to a
world that hates Him.
(2 Ti 3:12 NKJV) Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will
The early church knew all about persecution.
(69-155), was one of the disciples of the apostle John. He was put on trial because of his faith in
Christ. When the Roman governor told him
to deny his faith, Polycarp answered, “For 86 years I have served Him, and He has never
wronged me. How can I blaspheme my King,
who has saved me?”
The governor then threatened to cast him in with the wild beasts, but Polycarp
answered, “Call them!” He was then
warned that he might be burned
at the stake. Even that failed to move
him. He responded, “You threaten me with
fire which burns for only a moment, but you are ignorant of the fire of eternal
punishment, reserved for the ungodly.”
are Polycarp’s final words: “O Father of
Thy beloved and blessed Son, Jesus Christ!
I bless Thee that Thou has counted me worthy of this day, and of this
hour, to receive my portion in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of
Christ.” He said this before being
burned at the stake.
How do we survive persecution like this?
Sometimes it seems as if the early church was made up of a
bunch of supermen. Not so. They had help.
We can survive because God promises to help us when we
(1 Pe 4:14
NKJV) If you are reproached for the name of Christ,
blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their
part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.