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Summary: Jesus was hated by the world, for no other reason than He had come to reveal the Father. As those who are associated with Jesus we should accept the same level of hate.

You Can Listen to the Full Sermon Here:-

http://www.nec.org.au/index.php/listen-to-a-sermon-series/the-hard-sayings-of-jesus/

Message

John 15:18-25

“Get Used To Being Hated”

Living with teenagers can be heaps of fun.

Especially when they go through that wonderful time of life called “puberty”.

You just never know what is going to happen from one moment to the next.

You can be quietly sitting in front of the tv.

Your teenager comes in and announces that they are going to visit Jo.

This is not a friend you are familiar with so you naturally ask, “Who is Jo?”

WHY CAN’T YOU TRUST ME.

YOU’RE ALWAYS PICKING ON MY FRIENDS.

NOTHING I DO IS EVER GOOD ENOUGH.

I HATE YOU!

All you wanted to know is if they would need a lift.

Teenagers who hate - it is an expected part of parenting - and it usually doesn’t take long for hate to become love once again.

But it can still hurt … because “hate” is a strong word.

When hate occurs it can sometimes be difficult to deal with.

When a marriage of 30 years becomes, “I hate you” - that is difficult.

When a business partnership ends with “I hate you” - it causes hurt.

When acts of generosity are responded to with “I hate you” - we might wonder why we cared.

When we hear the words they tear our heart.

Often we will do all we can to avoid “hate”.

We don’t want people to hate us … do we.

Sometimes we will have to make a decision and we will even say to others, “please don’t hate me.”

Which makes our reading today another hard saying of Jesus.

John 15:18-25

Hate! Seven times it comes up in these verses.

Jesus is making it very clear that this will be the response of the world to Christians.

And those to whom John was first writing know what John is talking about.

I’m going to read a record made by Tacitus, he was a first century author who wrote a history of Rome. This is what he what he wrote about events that happened in the days of Emperor Nero … Nero was the Emperor from 54-68AD.

It involves the aftermath of a huge fire which burnt down most of Rome.

(Having begun the rebuilding of Rome) means were sought for appeasing deity. Ritual banquets and all-night vigils were celebrated by women in the married state. But neither human help, nor imperial benevolence, nor all the modes of appeasing Heaven, could stifle scandal or dispel the belief that the fire had taken place by order.

(There were many who believed Nero lit the fire deliberately so that he could rebuild Rome to be a more luxurious city).

Therefore, to scotch the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, whom the crowd styled Christians. Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus, and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judaea, the home of the disease, but in the capital itself, where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and find a vogue.

First, then, the confessed members of the sect were arrested; next, on their disclosures, vast numbers were convicted, not so much on the count of arson as for hatred of the human race. And derision accompanied their end: they were covered with wild beasts' skins and torn to death by dogs; or they were fastened on crosses, and, when daylight failed were burned to serve as lamps by night.

Nero had offered his Gardens for the spectacle, and gave an exhibition in his Circus, mixing with the crowd in the habit of a charioteer, or mounted on his car. Hence, in spite of a guilt which had earned the most exemplary punishment, there arose a sentiment of pity, due to the impression that they were being sacrificed not for the welfare of the state but to the ferocity of a single man.

Tacitus Annals 15:44

This description is terrible as it seems the Christians were being used as scapegoats.

Even if Nero didn’t start the fire we know for sure that Christians would not have done so.

But did you notice the language used to describe the Christians.

They are loathed for their vices.

The loving and kind acts of the Christians has been turned around to be a sign of evil.

Christians would not sacrifice to the Roman and Greek “gods” - that was a vice.

Christians would not call Caesar “Lord” - that was a vice.

Christians would not participate in the pagan rituals and festivals - that was a vice.

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