Summary: Jesus promised the world would hate us. The reason is beacause we are holy. How can we achieve the holiness the world hates?
Last week our topic was on the Jesus Joy. We discovered that on the last night before his arrest Jesus prayed for us. John 17:20
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.”
He prayed that we would be filled with his joy, not the joy the world offers. John 17:13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.”
We discovered that the world’s joy can be fleeting. Jesus prayed that we would have the joy that takes us through the crisis of life. We discovered that legalism can steal grace from us leaving us without joy. We discovered that standing on the joy from our own accomplishments is nothing compared to the joy offered us through his sacrifice. We discovered that misplaced goals can put us on a treadmill of doing that robs us of our joy because of our weariness. We discovered that Jesus joy comes from obeying his commandments as He did his Father’s.
So now let us continue to look at this prayer that Jesus prays for us. John 17:14 “I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.”
Have you ever wondered why the world hated Jesus? He was a great teacher and healer. He was kind and compassionate. How could anyone hate a man like that? He was hated because He was holy. The darkness can not stand the light. In fact, light will cause darkness to flee. Darkness will become angry and belligerent in the presence of light. Darkness hates light. The world hates holiness. Jesus prayed that we would be hated by the world because of the holiness we reflect.
Often though we do not reflect the holiness Jesus prayed for us to have. A Fellow was sitting at a stop light. The lady in front of him was going through papers on the seat of her car, and when the light changed to green she did not obey its command - a green light is a commandment - NOT a suggestion. When the light turned to red, and she had still not moved, He began (with his windows up) screaming and beating on his steering wheel. His expressions of distress were interrupted by a policeman, gun drawn, tapping on his window. Against his protestations of, "You can’t arrest me for hollering in my car," the officer ordered him into the back seat of his patrol car. After about two hours in a holding cell, the arresting officer advised him he was free to go. He said, "I knew you couldn’t arrest me for what I was yelling in my own car. You haven’t heard the last of this." The officer replied, "I didn’t arrest you for shouting in your car. I was directly behind you at the light. I saw you screaming and beating your steering wheel, and I said to myself, "What a jerk. But there is nothing I can do to him for throwing a fit in his own car. Then I noticed the ’Cross’ hanging from your rear view mirror, the Jesus is Coming Soon’ bumper sticker, and the Fish symbol, and I thought you must have stolen the car." We are called to achieve holiness above that. The Holiness of Jesus. In fact in 1 Peter 1:15-16 we have this mandate. “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
So what does it mean to be holy? It simply means to be acceptable to God. It goes beyond the acceptance of Jesus as your savior. It also means living a life acceptable to him. Let’s go back to Philippians and Paul’s message to them. We will learn our first lesson.
1) Holiness comes from within.
Philippians 2:12-13 “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
In holiness we are in partnership with God. We are to show the results of our salvation by obeying God. Last week I gave you a list of commandments that Jesus said we should follow in order to experience his joy. He spoke of forgiveness, tolerance, love, servant hood, caring, among other things. Showing these features will show the world that hates you what holiness really is about. It is not Bible thumping and yelling but rather caring and loving.