Summary: There are plenty of things in life that can surprise us, like a sudden noise or an unexpected event. Well, there are some things that happen to us as a Christian that can surprise us but they shouldn’t. Let’s take a look at what some of these are.
DON’T BE SURPRISED
INTRODUCTION: There are plenty of things in life that can surprise us, like a sudden noise or an unexpected event. Well, there are some things that happen to us as a Christian that can surprise us but they shouldn’t. Let’s take a look at what some of these are.
1) Don’t be surprised when worldly people act worldly.
It’s interesting how after we come to Christ we can have the tendency to expect those who don’t know Christ to act like they do. So why do we expect non-Christians to act like Christians? Probably because when we see the light and start changing we can see things more clearly. When we were in the world the things of the world were normal and accepted. But now, since the scales have been removed from our eyes we can better see the contrast between godly and ungodly.
I remember back when I had quit drinking and I saw drunk people from a sober perspective. I was like, “what’s the matter with you people? Don’t you realize how foolish this is?” We will typically have this problem when worldly people act worldly towards us. “I can’t believe that person cut me off. I can’t believe she was so rude to me.” When we change our behavior we expect everyone else to; forgetting of course that we were once like that (and still can be) and also forgetting the only reason we were able to change was because of the power of Christ. We can’t expect those who don’t know Christ; those who don’t have the power of Christ to act like Christ.
It’s sinful nature. Just as you can’t expect a wild animal to act against its nature, we can’t expect non-Christians to act against their nature. Sometimes I’m surprised when I see how degradingly sinful America is becoming but I shouldn’t be; we live in a fallen world. Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised that there is so much evil in the world.
Ecc. 5:8-10, “If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields. Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.”
As long as there are people in this world who are looking out for their own interests there’s going to be evil in the world. When the focus is self then everyone else will suffer. The poor and defenseless will go on being oppressed and people will continue to take advantage of one another. Why? Because there will always be people who don’t really care about anyone else but themselves. Therefore, we can’t be surprised that there are so many people hurting other people. It will go on like this until the second coming of Christ. Then we will experience a life without selfishness; a life without the presence of evil. But until then, we will have to deal with living in a fallen world.
2) Don’t be surprised when you suffer persecution.
John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
Jesus was giving his disciples fair warning and a reality check. Jesus’ words are in his discourse during the Last Supper. It wouldn’t be long before his disciples saw the culmination of the hatred against him when he would be crucified. Jesus knew that soon he would ascend into heaven and they would be receiving the treatment he did. Therefore, it was important for them to know that it was coming. And it didn’t take long before they found that out.
Maybe that’s why the Apostle John wrote in 1st John 3:13, “Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.” John knew it was important to give the followers of Jesus the same warning that Jesus gave them.
It makes sense to be surprised when the world hates us when all we’re trying to do is share the gospel with them. I mean, we’re telling people how they can be saved and live a new life. But many people don’t want to hear about that because they don’t want to be told they are sinners in need of salvation. They don’t want to be told about living a new life because that would involve changing things in their current life.
Even though it’s obviously an eternally better alternative to live for Jesus many won’t think so and therefore will persecute us. We will be laughed at, ridiculed, hated and judged and perhaps even physically attacked. And we shouldn’t be surprised because in our sinful nature we are hostile to God as Romans 8:7 states.