We all know from reading about me that I am a bi-vocational pastor, for now, so I have a regular 8-5, Monday through Friday secular job. Where I work is not the most friendly place with a diverse background, mostly either former or retired military (as myself), and there is always that 10% that do not like or want to be bothered by anyone. It is tough to evangelize in that environment, but I still give it a shot.
One Sunday after church, my wife and I needed to do some shopping at the food store. Thank God that it is just a little over a mile from where we live. I love shopping with my wife. She has everything that we need on her cell phone. I drive the cart, she tells me what we need, and we get it. Our house runs proficiently as she is more organized than I am.
From time-to-time, I see people that I work with at Walmart or the local food store while my wife and I are shopping. I try and make it a point to say, “hi,” and maybe introduce my wife to them. I always get mixed reactions from them. On this particular Sunday, a young lady that sits two cubicles from me quickly came around the corner into the aisle. I went to say “hi,” but she saw me, shook her head, and move faster down the aisle. We wanted to see if we could find her, but she probably left in a hurry.
I am not as overly sensitive as I used to be, and I felt pretty sad. I say to myself if I have done anything wrong to anyone, tell me, so I can apologize, make amends, and move on. That sometimes is easier said than done. Then Jesus reminded me of what He told the disciples in John 15:18-25.
If people of the world hate you, it is not that they hate you, but Jesus first (John 15:18). I know you are probably shaking your head, but let me or Jesus explain. In verse 19, we were also part of the world; they loved us, and welcome us with open arms. Jesus chooses us from the world, as He chooses everyone. We accepted the call, accepted the free gift of salvation, made Jesus the Lord of our lives, and now the world hates us. That is why Jesus said they hated me first.
Jesus goes on to say that if they persecute Me, they will persecute you too (John 15:20). They will do all these things to you for My name’s sake because they do not know God (John 15:21). They will tell you that they believe in God, but their actions towards you and other believers will show different. You cannot love God and hate any of His children.
Jesus backs them into a corner, “If I not come and spoken to them, they would not have sinned, but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22). People hate Jesus because He alone exposed their sin, and hating Him was a sin against God. The good thing is that Jesus is waiting for you to repent with all of your heart and accept Him as Lord and Savior.
To finish, Jesus mentions that they also hate my Father (John 15:23). If He had not done the works before them that no one else did, they would have no sin (John 15:24). If they had listened to Jesus and turn from their sin, they would love Him and you, but because they do not believe, they hate the Father, Jesus, and you. Sad, isn’t it?
We should consider ourselves blessed for being mocked by the world. Many did the same thing to Jesus and the Prophets. Our world today has become increasingly ungodly and secular. We should be proud to be a Christian and pulled from the world. Do not get upset or hurt when the world shuns you. As a Christian, your citizenship is not here in the world, but in heaven.
Grace Wesley once said, “I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, then stand with the world and be judged by God.” Amen!
I am Dale Van De Bogart and I approve of this message!
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