2016-11-27 – John 15.18-16.4 – Thanksgiving Rejection


2016-11-27 – John 15.18-16.4 – Thanksgiving Rejection, Page 110
The World’s Hatred – 18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you.19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21 But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.25 It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
16 “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. 3 And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. 4 But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.

2016-11-27 – John 15.18-16.4 – Thanksgiving Rejection, Page 110
Good morning my dear brothers and sisters – Thank you all for joining us.
I pray you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I pray you all were able to be satisfied by maybe a good meal and maybe some family and friends. We live in a great nation, and as far as I am concerned, it is truly one nation under God. And it makes me happy when we celebrate in Thanksgiving to our wonderful God.
I have a testimony to share with you all this morning. One that I don’t believe you are expecting, and it is exciting for me to be able to share it with you. You all might know that I have intentions of retiring from John Deere at some point. And God has also blessed me and my family with His work in this church as Pastor, and thus far I can tell you that we are very engaged and happy in that work. As far as I knew, as far as secular wisdom could be employed in our circumstance, I was anticipating that maybe June/July would be the earliest I could leave John Deere. Well God had another plan. Due to the downturn in production and sales as a result of the very low crop prices. John Deere, being responsive to the market conditions, decided to offer a volunteer separation opportunity to management. Amy and I deliberated and prayed about it a bunch, and we decided we would step out in faith and accept the offer to leave early. That being the case, tomorrow I will turn in my laptop and my badge, and I will no longer be employed by John Deere. Now I will not be considered retired as I am not yet 55 years of age yet. But God has provided us enough in our finances, for us to consider taking such a step in faith. So effectively this Tuesday, and going forward, my only jobs will be taking care of my family, and serving this church.
Without going into all the details, I can tell you we have had many affirmations from God that we are moving in the right direction, His direction. But I also plead with you to please keep us in your prayers, and we will pray for you also as we go. So next Saturday my family and I are having an open house at our home in Coal Valley from 1-5pm. If you are so inclined, we would love to have you all stop in at your convenience to see our home and share some desert and maybe get to know you all just a little better as well.
Now let us move into God’s Word and see what message He has for us this morning. So please turn with me to John 15:1-11, Page 109 in the Pew Bible.
Which is the Inspired, Infallible, and Living Word of God
Last week I introduced the history of Thanksgiving, and I ended where Abraham Lincoln gave his “Proclamation of Thanksgiving” marking when it became an official holiday for our nation. Today I have another Lincoln Quote that I felt was relevant to the message today.
In a speech made in 1863, Abraham Lincoln said, “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”
In the message we have today, Jesus is addressing the Disciples, and for the most part, preparing them to reach out to the Jewish nation who also has become like Lincoln said “too self-sufficient and proud to pray to the God that made them”
When we become a New Christian believer, it is normal and expected that we would be excited and we would want to tell our friends and family. At first your friends might not know what to think of it. They may not know if you are serious or not. At first a lot of them might entertain you and your new life change. But then you start revealing to them what this new life looks like, what it is all about; that is when you will find that many of them might drop you like a brick. They don’t want to hear the truth of God’s Word, or even consider Godly changes to their chosen lifestyle. That is what Jesus is going to address in this message.

2016-11-27 – John 15.18-16.4 – Thanksgiving Rejection, Page 110
The World’s Hatred – 18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you.19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.
What a transition we made just in a few verses. Last week we read from the beginning of John 15, and it was a lot about love; and how befitting as we were moving into our time of Thanksgiving festivities. Recall Jesus said in this
chapter 15 of John: Verse 12 “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Verse 13 “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Verse 17 “I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”
And now in our verses today it starts right out with John telling us that Jesus said, the world is full of hate. You might be thinking, now wait a minute. I like it better when we talk about nice things. About Love and Joy and things of the heart. Well I do to, and I am sure Jesus and the Apostles felt the same way but Jesus felt it was also important to warn us, that we should not expect the world to always be that loving and caring that we would like it to be. The “world” that Jesus is talking about here isn’t necessarily the government, it isn’t just the church hypocrites either, it is the world all around us.
By the way a hypocrite, is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions contradict stated beliefs.
Jesus is saying here that the world will reject you when you become a Christian. And when (not if, but when) people give you a hard time, remember that they hated Jesus first.
It is normal that when we truly accept the Lord as our Savior, we try to change our lifestyle for the Lord. Not because we have to, but because we want to. And when we do, we quickly find that, with that change, we will get even more joy from cleaning up our lives a little. However, according to our verses here, we should also expect we will get some rejection from our friends and family because frankly they liked our old self.. We should expect to be rejected, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Then when we first get rejected we might have a party.. but what kind of party do you think it is? Not a fun, cake and balloon party, but a maybe a Pity Party.. Here John is telling us that when we find ourselves in that Pity Party, thinking about our own circumstance, we should look at Christ, recall what He did and remember his advice in these words here. Can anyone remember when you or your child first learned to ride a bike? Great memories indeed. But when we first started we had to learn not to look down, but instead to look out in front of the bike to keep going.. Well the same applies to how we get over rejection and the pity party; we may have to force ourselves sometimes to look ahead. If we keep looking down at our navel.. we are also going to crash. We have to look ahead in our Christian walk, we have to look to Jesus.
And many people find the old life to be too tempting and they find themselves attempting to go back to their old lifestyle. But that doesn’t work either. In biblical terms, it is like trying to put new wine in old wineskins. It doesn’t work.
In Mark 2:22 Jesus said, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. Instead, new wine is poured into new wineskins.”
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, and a worse tear will result.
Both of these verses contend that you don’t have to look or act like the world does. You are unique and wonderfully different. You are a new creation, a born-again believer. Don’t hide, but celebrate your differences. God loves you just the way you are.
20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21 But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
Jesus is telling us here that He is God in the flesh, and thus by human standards greater than us. He is the perfect redeemer, He is our Master and savior. If they rejected Him they will most assuredly reject us. Remember Jesus was rejected by his family initially, He was rejected by those he presented himself to in the flesh doing miracles before their eyes, and he was rejected even by his own Disciples, for they denied that they knew him and Judas turned Him in to the authorities.
If it happened to Jesus, it will happen to us. And human nature dictates that it is normal that some will reject you in most anything. We should not be surprised. Have any of you ever worked in telephone sales? You might be trying to sell something through what is called cold calling, and when you do, there is a normal ratio of those that will accept what you are telling or selling them; but you also know that most will not. But unless you do it, you will not be able to sell any.
If you found that there was a bomb in the house you would tell people? Of course you would. Now, maybe not everyone will listen but you gotta tell them anyway. Same thing with the Gospel. Some will accept you but many may not, but it is so important that you try. Even if we save just one. If you truly realize just how horrible Hell is, then you would really be motivated to go out and telling the world. Hell is a horrible place and if you love the people, if you love God then you will be doing it. We have a big job to share the Gospel to the world even if we know that we will be rejected many many times. It is all about love thy neighbor.
22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.25 It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’
900 years before Jesus, Isiah said that statement, and Jesus here is restating that quote from Isiah. ‘They hated me without a cause.’, It is so sad, that thay hated Jesus. Even though they were waiting for a thousand years for a Savior, when the Savior was given by God, the Jews didn’t recognize Him. They rejected Him, and they hung him on the cross. Remember right before he was put on the cross, the cross people were given an opportunity to let him go free, but instead they said “Crucify Him”.. and they did just that. So sad. He did nothing wrong, He was the only man without sin, and yet He died willingly so I can be saved.
Even today, despite all the evidence. People still refuse to accept the Gospel message. And when you attempt to save them from Hell by introducing the love of Jesus, people ridicule and reject the message. I have heard the cynics say that they don’t have any problem with Jesus, they just don’t care for those self-righteous Christians. People use Christians as a Pretense because they really don’t like Jesus. You will feel the brunt, the persecution of what is really their discontent with Jesus and His righteousness.
In these verses Jesus points out that because He showed them their sin, and thus they realize they are guilty. He is the light of the world and in His light sin is seen. Likewise, when we shine the light of the Gospel on others, the effect is the same. The people are convicted and it isn’t a pleasant thought for them. They would rather continue in their sin then have it pointed out to them.
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
Once again Jesus compassionately offers us hope. The Holy Spirit gives strength to endure the unreasonable hatred and evil in our world and the hostility many have toward Christ. This is especially comforting for those facing persecution.
Notice Jesus uses two names here for the Holy Spirit—”Advocate” and “Spirit of truth.” The word Advocate conveys the helping, encouraging and strengthening work of the Spirit. Whereas the title “Spirit of truth” points to the teaching, illuminating, and caretaking work of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit ministers to both the head and the heart, and both dimensions are very important.
And God wants you to know also that you are not alone. You Christians are sealed with the Holy Spirit to comfort you, teach you His truth, guide and help you.
Jesus said just like the Holy spirit testified about Him, He expects that we will testify on His behalf as well. Jesus said He loves those who do the will of the father; He doesn’t expect that you will present a theological discourse, just tell your story or testimony. Why it is that you believe and trust in Him.
In Matthew 10:32 it says, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.”
Jesus wants all of us to testify on His behalf, are you willing to do that? It really is a scary proposition to consider, but I can truly attest that the rewards are great. God is whom I want to please, not man. And I have to remind myself frequently.
In 1 Peter 3, Saint Paul tells us: 13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
And our last set of verses today start in chapter 16, verse 1: Jesus said,
16 “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. 3 And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. 4 But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.
In His last moments with his disciples, Jesus warned them about the persecution that was yet to come. Jesus knew what was going to happen to the eleven around the table that day, and He did not want the disciples’ faith to be shaken or destroyed. He also knows what trials you will undergo in your walk as well.
Jesus said they will put them out of the synagogues, which they did do just that. The Apostles would frequently go to the synagogues when they traveled about starting new churches. They would appeal to the Jewish people there first because they at least had an understanding of who God was. And the synagogue was normally a central place in the city in which people would gather and meet. Being put out of the Synagogue was a big deal. Just like the Blind Man, after Jesus healed him and he got his sight, the Sanhedrin put him out of the Synagogue; separated from family and friends, with no security or community relations. It was a big deal, Jesus knew it would happen, that’s why He was now preparing them, and in just a few days later, it occurred just as He prophesied.
Every one of the Apostles were persecuted, and mostly by the Jewish religious authorities. You might even recall that the man named Saul (who later went by the name Paul), under the authority of the high priest, actually went around the land hunting down and persecuting Christians. He was convinced that he was doing the right thing; that is until Jesus got a hold of him and showed him the error of his ways. Sometimes I wish Jesus would straighten out some of my friends as well.
Maybe you have been rejected by friends and family like Jesus was, take heart that Jesus knows your circumstance. And He tells us in Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The reasons they will reject you is because they do not accept Jesus and they do not know the Father. The only way to really know the Father is through Jesus Christ. That means that Jehovah witnesses, Jews, Muslims, Hindus all do not know the one true God. There is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ. And Jesus wants you and I to be His advocate.
Are you willing to do that? To stand up for Him, spread His Gospel message, Love on His people, Be a servant to them, then be rejected by them, just as He did for you and I.
This message today out of the book of John, was not an easy message for me to give. Last week we had a wonderful loving message to complement Thanksgiving. But just as Jesus loved us, the hard truth is that He also died for us. And just as President Lincoln suggested at the beginning of our message today, many of our nation has forgotten God, and Jesus wants us to be part of His solution, His mission to fix that.
We at First Congregational Church of Kewanee are here to learn to love the mission of Jesus Christ. But it all starts with surrendering to God and choosing to love His Son Jesus. So we offer you that opportunity right now in what is referred to as an Alter Call.