Summary: Jesus said that the world will be against us and therefore He sent the Holy Spirit to each one of us so that we can complete His work and love the world.
(Have a sealed Fed-Ex envelope as prop)
[Slide] You are familiar with this picture, the last helicopter lifted off from the US Embassy’s rooftop at 7:53 a.m. April 30th 1975, evacuating the last US Marine off to safety, leaving behind a few hundreds Vietnamese who were their close associates.
Imagine for a moment that you are one of those Vietnamese people living in the days leading up to that event.[i] You could sense that the end is near; you would have so much anxiety about what will be coming. Many would try to leave the country, but many would not. My dad was one of them who made the decision to stay back at the time. And those who stay would need to be prepared for the future.
The situation in the last days of Jesus would be fairly similar. They knew that the end was near. But unlike the Fall of Saigon, the Fall of Jesus Christ was a premeditated act, a setup for His final victory. But Jesus also knew that His twelve friends and associates will be without Him, and they need to be prepared for the future.
So in the last discourse with the Twelve (chapters 13-17, which we have been studied in the last couple of weeks), Jesus gave them the final preparations for them to face the future. In this section, Jesus mentioned about two main things: 1) How would the world response to His followers? And 2) how would God plan to help His followers?
Let us pray for illumination...
1) How would the world response to us? We could be hated by the world
If I delivery this message effectively, half of you will not be back here next week. O how I wish I could tell you that if you follow Jesus, you will have health and wealth; you will be success in all your endeavors; and the world around you would love you. But far from it, listen to what Jesus said to His disciples just a few hours before He was crucified:
18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 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. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
Don’t be mistaken: there is a great possibility that the world around you will hate you because you are a Christian. To some of you, this is so ironic. Your old life was a mess in violence and crime; you became a Christian and turned your life around to a "normal" life, trying to holding down a "normal" routine; and the world around you instead of cutting you some slacks, ended up harassing you even more because you are a Christian.
On the other hand, you must remember that Jesus used the word "If" here, and not "When"; so don’t go out and "pick on people" and made them hate you to show that you are a Christian either. I remember a brother who came and asked me if I had any difficulties in dealing with people in ministry or not. When I answered, "Not really!" he was surprised. He went on and said that if we do our job right, the world would hate us. That’s the confusion between the possibility of the "If" and the unavoidable "When".
To understand this better, we need to ask the question of "Why would the world against us?" There are 3 main reasons according to Jesus:
a) First, the world hate us because it’s not about us, but it’s about Jesus first and foremost (v.18)
In John’s definition, "the world" meant not the physical globe, but the people who do not believe in Christ. So here Jesus reminds us that, as Rick Warren had paraphrased, that "it’s not about us". It’s nothing personal here; the world which rejects Christ and His message will also reject us, the people who follow Him.
So, don’t take it upon yourselves and bemoan: "O, they don’t like us! What can we do to make them like us?" Have you ever face complaints like that in your College group, High School and even Jr. High? Actually, it’s fairly easy to make your non-Christian friends like your group: all you have to do is to have a lot of activities (Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Snowboarding, X-Box game nights, Paintballing, Whitewater Rafting, Hot Air Ballooning, etc.), provide a lot of entertainment; free food too would help; and-don’t-mention-about-Jesus. If you drop God out from all of those things in your fellowship groups, they would like you.