John 15:18-25

Sunday Morning Bible Study

December 5, 2010


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Play Israel Promo clip.

We are on Thursday night of Jesus’ last week. This is the night before His death.

Up to this point, Jesus has been talking a lot about love.

He loves us and He wants us to “abide” in His love.
We are supposed to love one another.

Things turn to a little more serious tone…

15:18-25 Tough Times Ahead

:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

:18 the worldkosmos (“cosmos”, “cosmetics”, “cosmopolitan”) – the world, the universe, the whole mass of men alienated from God

:18 hatesmiseo – to hate, pursue with hatred, detest

:18 you knowginosko – to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive; knowledge by experience


The Enemies

As Christians, we have three enemies that wage war against us:
The Devil
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.

The Flesh
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.

(Ga 5:16 NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

The World
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.

(1 Jn 2:15–17 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. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

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 temptation.


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:


Three-Year Argument

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 bickering!”

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 world. 

He 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 it.

We are to be “in” the world, but not “of” the world.

We are to be around people of the world without taking part in sin.

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)

(2 Ti 2:22 NKJV) Flee also youthful lusts…

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 faith.

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.

:19 I chose you out ofeklegomai – to pick out, choose

Jesus didn’t just choose us to follow Him. He chose us to be “out of the world”, to be different from the world. This is why the world as a general rule hates Christians. We are different.

:19 therefore 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.

:20 Remember 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.

Jesus had made this statement earlier in the evening when He had washed their feet and taught them about being servants (John 13:16)

(Jn 13:16 NKJV) Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.

He was a servant, they will need to be servants. Here, He is persecuted, they will be persecuted.

:20 they will keep yours also

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.

:22 excuseprophasis – a pretext (alleged reason, pretended cause)

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 no excuse.

(Jn 9:39–41 NLT) —39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” 40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?” 41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.

: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 hated

Perfect tense. This wasn’t just a one time being angry at Jesus. These people have been angry and continue to be angry with Him.

:25 without a causedorean – freely; in vain, uselessly

Both Psalm 35:19 and Psalm 69:4 speak prophetically about Jesus being hated without a cause, for “no good reason”.

(Ps 35:19 NKJV) —19 Let them not rejoice over me who are wrongfully my enemies; Nor let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause.
(Ps 69:4 NKJV) —4 Those who hate me without a cause Are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, Being my enemies wrongfully; Though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it.

There can be lots of “causes” or reasons why people might hate us and we might be under persecution.

: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)

(Jn 20:30–31 NKJV) —30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.


No excuses

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

At 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 trouble.

The miracles 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.
I’ve already 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.

Play “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 sins? 
You are now accountable to God.
God wants you to follow Jesus.

You will not be able to stand before God and say, “I didn’t know”.

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.
The watchman in the tower
(Eze 33:1–6 NKJV) —1 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

If the watchman doesn’t blow the warning trumpet, the blame for the invasion falls on him.

But if he blows the trumpet and the people don’t respond, then the blame for the invasion falls on them. They are without excuse.

If accepting Jesus and eternal life is the “good news”, I guess I am going to end with the “bad news”.

:20 persecutedioko – to make to run or flee; to harass, trouble



I think there are three types of persecution

Sometimes we think we’re being persecuted when we’re not.

My 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.

Now 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 true persecution:

(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.

I am 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.

For Jesus
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 suffer persecution.

The early church knew all about persecution.

Every one of the disciples would die a horrible death, except for John.  And they tried to kill John, but somehow God preserved him.


Polycarp (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.”

These 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 experience it.

(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.