THE SERVANT WILL SUFFER WITH ITS LORD, #738
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my names sake, because they know not him that sent me (JOH 15:20-21).
The world does not hate us because we are so holy. They hate us because of that image of Christ reflecting from us. Many of the foundational principles of the gospel are taught throughout Scripture. As one example, see how often we are exhorted in this fourth Gospel to love one another as we see in JOH 15:17. "These things I command you, that ye love one another." The fiber that holds the Body of Christ together is the love they have for one another. When that fiber weakens, the Body of Christ falls apart. We must understand why Christ reminds us to love one another. If a brother never offended against us, that would not be a heavy charge. The more grievously a brother offends, the more earnestly the call applies to us.
It is with reference to this same principle that the Apostle Peter so earnestly beseeches us in 2PE 1:10-11. "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Can you imagine one thing that Satan would rather do that cause dissention among the brethren?
The apostle acknowledges that this was not the first time this principle was taught, but he defends his repetition by the urgency of the matter in 2PE 1:12-15: "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance." If you do not put it into action you will forget it. The way to remember it is to consistently put it into action.
Our Saviour begins our text by stressing the urgency of this same principle. We are admonished to remember that we are going to be persecuted for the same reason our Saviour was, yet that did not affect His love for us. If we have a brother who is persecuting us, can we look to Christ and fellowship in His sufferings? To fellowship in the sufferings of Christ means that we suffer in the Spirit of Christ. As we are brought into a trial, we must not lose sight of the fact that it is the Lord who brings us into the trial. We will be persecuted as He was. This did not affect His love for us. JOH 13:1 says, "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." He did not desert them when He saw the enemy coming with spears to take Him.
The moving force behind the hatred of the World against both our Saviour and all those who serve Him is our common love for the Father and His love for us. JOH 15:9-10 says, "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Fathers commandments, and abide in his love." That abiding in the love of God enrages the world against you.
This moving force behind the hatred of the world reveals itself in JOH 15:21-24. "But all these things will they do unto you for my names sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father."
This enmity against the Triune God was conceived and born in Paradise. GEN 3:4-5 says, "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." The serpent attacked the character of God and made Him out to be a liar. He convinced Eve that the restrictions that God gave were unjust, and he got her to where she lost her reverence for God.
This was where the thought originated that Gods restrictions were unkind, and natural mans hatred for God was conceived in her heart. Next we see where this hatred was born or put into action. GEN 3:6 says, "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." Now she had lust in her heart. Her heart had already become tainted with wrong desires.
What is it that generates hatred in the heart of man against Christ and all those who serve Him? This seedbed of hatred against God and His love has ripened into the harvest we read of in ROM 8:7-8. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." God can no longer be pleased with our service from our side of the flesh. We cannot do anything any more to please God, and that is where the hatred was generated.
The realization by the carnal mind that they cannot please God and that He does accept the works of the righteous is what kindles the fires of jealousy, which are cruel as hell. GEN 4:3-5 says, "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell." Cain took the best of his labors and offered them to the Lord and they were not acceptable. He could not please God. Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock, a type or symbol of Christ. This put Christ in the forefront. His offering was on the basis of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His offering was accepted.
The Pharisees had a legalistic religion, and the Lord Jesus told them that they were like whited sepulchers full of dead mens bones, and that is what enraged them. Their best works could not please God. Yet, Christ said that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, we cannot enter the kingdom. Abel came with his sacrifice with Christ in the forefront, and it is in Christ that we can please God. In the sacrifice of Christ we are made acceptable. The fact that we are made acceptable, and that they are outside of it, infuriates them.
This hatred of Cain against his brother and against God found its source in the fact that Abels offering was accepted, that God was pleased with Abel but not with him. Before this, Cain liked Abel. The fruit of Cains best labor could not please God.
It was for this same reason that Christ and those who serve Him acceptably are hated by the carnal mind, that is, those who cannot please God. MAT 3:16-17 says, "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Wherein was the Father so well pleased? JOH 17:4 says, "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." The Pharisees, like Cain, were very wroth, that the Father accepted Jesus.
Our Saviours fulfilling of these works that the Father gave Him to do is wherein the Father was so well pleased, and in our labour of love is where the Father is well pleased. LUK 8:1 says, "And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God." He showed them that there is a way open that fallen man can again please God, that we can come before Him as Abel did with the sacrifice of Christ going before him. In the sacrifice of Christ we are able to please God. That is where the warfare comes between the righteous and the wicked. That jealousy, that bitter, burning hatred makes them angry. Our labor of love toward God and our neighbor makes them angry that we are able to please God.
JOH 15:8-10 says, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." We can please Him with the fruits of the Spirit. We cannot abide in His love if we do not keep His commandments. His commandment is to love God with our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves. Outside of Christ we are not able to do this any more than they are.
That same jealousy that conceived the hatred in the heart of Cain is the source of the hatred the world has for those who so live that they please God. The world has no quarrel if you want to be a Christian and claim that you are going to heaven as long as you will run with them to the same excess of evil, as long as you do not walk in the footsteps of Christ. When Christ is seen in your life, they see that you are living in a way that pleases God, and that is where the hatred sets in.
1JO 3:10-13 says, "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brothers righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you." We must beware of Satans snare for us. We cannot please God if we live the life of Cain, if we start building hatred in our hearts against our fellow man. That is why the Lord Jesus repeatedly admonishes us to love one another. The apostle Peter earnestly admonishes us to pursue charity, because charity covers a multitude of sins. Does that mean there is no sin in the brother? No, but it means that we are not going to let it become a snare to our soul if one of our brothers falls in sin.
See how the attitude we have toward our brother distinguishes between those who can please God and those who cannot. 1JO 3:14-16 says, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." These verses show why the Lord repeatedly tells us to love one another. Can we bite and devour one another and say that we have passed from death unto life? We had better suffer wrong and take it patiently because that is pleasing to the Lord.
It is pitiful to be a stranger to God. As we fellowship in the Spirit or attitude of Christ toward our brother we experience the love of God. 1JO 3:16 says, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." To lay down our lives for our brother means to let him walk on you. Pray for him. Do not go out and destroy him. Because of charity you will want to cover his sins.
Even as the Father was well pleased with His Sons labor of love, so is He with ours. HEB 6:10-12 says, "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." This is what Cain was missing. Cain was not ministering to the needs of Abel. Cain was walking in a self-righteous spirit. He offered from the fruit of his own hands and expected the Lord to accept it. The Lord accepted Abels sacrifice because the sacrifice of Christ was at the forefront of it. Scripture connects our labor of love with our full assurance.
These labors of love so glorify the Father, which not only infuriates the carnal mind, but leaves them without excuse. JOH 15:24-26 says, "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me." The Holy Spirit is an enemy to those who cannot please God. They love not the truth. They have no pleasure in the truth.
As the Spirit of Christ reflects itself in our labor of love, which is well-pleasing to the Father, in just that proportion the world, which cannot please God, will hate us. JOH 3:17-19 says, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." Abel was a light to Cain. His righteous deeds revealed the evil deeds of Cain.
We may attempt with the greatest love to convince those who cannot please God of the evil of their ways, pleading with them to repent, but our Lord Jesus Christ said, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." If you just keep that word repent to yourself, they will love you.
This word if points back to what our Saviour said in JOH 15:18-19. "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." They cannot tolerate seeing someone not walking in the same path they walk in.
The world may boast of liberal principles. They may even tolerate a lukewarm Christianity, but let the true servants of Christ put into exercise the law of love, and let the words of the Saviour become a living reality, and their rage will be revealed. When you start holding to the words of your Saviour, that you would rather lose their friendship than to violate Gods will, they will realize what the Lord said, "I have chosen you out of the world." That is where the hatred becomes perpetual.
We cannot have the best of both worlds. We cannot have two masters. We will either serve the world or we will serve Christ. So what is the love of the world by comparison with the love of God? That is the decision we need to make. If our heart still longs for the world, we will become a pillar of salt just like Lots wife. We will not bear any fruit. JOH 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." This is such a mystery to the world. This is what is so infuriating to the world. This is what leaves them so inexcusable. They refused to believe because they will not part with their love of sin.
Why does the world not keep His sayings? The Lord Jesus told His own brethren after the flesh in JOH 7:7, "The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." The world cannot hate you if you walk with them. Take a self-righteous church, as the scribes and the Pharisees, and you start to identify their wrong attitudes and sins, and you will understand what Christ said.
Therefore, just in proportion as we are conformed to the image of Christ, our conversation that is in heaven, our actions are rejected by the world. 1JO 4:4-8 says, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." Their conversation is of the world. Listen to a mans conversation and you will see where his heart is. If our conversation is in heaven, those who are of God will be interested and willing to hear that conversation. They love to fellowship in the things of the Lord. It is as distinct as light is from darkness.
Our text says in JOH 15:21, "But all these things will they do unto you for my names sake, because they know not him that sent me." They do not understand the law of love. They do not have a heart of love, and therefore they do not know God, for God is love. Amen.
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