What We Learned Together Sunday June 18, 2023
Again this morning we are turning to John Chapter fifteen hearing the words of Jesus for His disciples. As Jesus continues the speaking to His disciples in the Upper Room discourse now on the move toward the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus teaches us that being His disciple means rejection, opposition, and persecution by the world because the world hated Him. The title of our message this morning is Our Testimony As Disciples of Jesus in A Hostile World. The context of John chapter fifteen contains three sections: Relationship with Jesus [15:1-11], Relationship with One Another [15:12-17], and Relationship with the world [15:18-27]. The Guardian Film critic Polly Toynbee description of Aslan in 2005 . . .”but we can do well without an Aslan . . . Narnia represents everything that is most hateful about religion.” Such hostility towards a character who represented Christ in a story written by a man with a Christian testimony.
In this section we hear prophecy by the Lord Jesus that would be fulfilled and now is fulfilled in the lives of His disciples. We began last week teaching this passage with verses 18 to 21. There we learned the Testimony of Faithful Disciples of Jesus In The Face Of A Hostile World. Jesus is teaching Why the World Is and Will Be Hostile to His Disciples. His point in verse eighteen Know that The World Hated Me First describing the rejection by the world. Then in verse nineteen Jesus teaches Understand that The World Loves Its Own & Not You describing opposition from the world. The disciples of Jesus are Not of the World But Chosen Out of the World. Instead of calling yourself a Christian the question is are you a disciple of Jesus? Has He chosen you out of the world and are you His own? And finally in verses 20-21, Jesus teaches Remember that the World Persecuted Him describing persecution by the world. Here Jesus commands His disciples “Remember the word that I said to you . . .” And also Jesus said, “But all these things they will do to you on account of My name.” They will do these things because of the truth about Jesus and truth from Jesus. There are several examples throughout the Gospel of John [John 5:18; 7:1, 19; 8:37, 40; 11:53]. Always when Jesus was teaching what they must believe about Him and believe about themselves. So much of His teaching is not popular in this world. The teachings of Jesus contradict the world and its teachings and standards. The teachings of Jesus confront the world and its beliefs and values.
First, Testimony of The Faithful One Jesus Himself Before The Eyes of The World Who Hated Him [15:22-25]. In these verses we see How the World Was and Is Hostile to Jesus Himself. Jesus begins His explanation with Hearing His Words They Are Guilty of Rejecting Him. “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin . . .” Revelation from Jesus and about Jesus through His own words. See the references to the teaching of Jesus throughout the Gospel of John [10:24 and 14:10-11]. He teaches about the person of God, the character of man, the nature of salvation, and the calling of discipleship upon the lives of people. One sin is emphasized here in the words of Jesus. It is the sin of rebellion against Him and the sin of rejection of Him. So many sins by so many others because of the one sin of rejecting Jesus. We come to Jesus as our King who laid down His life for us. Therefore we bow down before Him as Savior and Lord. All because of what He said about Himself and who He has revealed Himself to be so that we would believe in Him! As my Dad said while watching the movie the Gospel of John, “Did Jesus really say those things? Did Jesus really do those things? Yes! Yes Dad he did! Do you believe His testimony? Do you believe Him to be the Son of God? Will you believe in Him according to His testimony of His words?
Next in verse 23 Jesus describes Hating The Son of God They Are Guilty of Hating the Father. “The one who hates Me hates My Father also.” Earlier in the Gospel of John in chapter seven Jesus said to His unbelieving brothers, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify about it, that its deeds are evil.” [John 7:7] Show people the words and works of Jesus so clearly that their rebellion and rejection is plainly seen in their unbelief. We need to do a better job as disciples of Jesus telling others what Jesus said and what Jesus did so that His testimony is our testimony! And again the connection between the words and works of Jesus. As Jesus stated in John Chapter five, “But the testimony I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father who sent Me, He has testified about Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. Also you do not have His word remaining in you, because you do not believe Him whom He sent.” [John 5:36-38]
And in verses 24-25 Seeing His Works They Are Guilty of Denying Him. “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did . . .” Sin of rejection of Him adds the unbelief of rebellion against Him all in the presence of His revelation of Himself. As Jesus says, “but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.” The very One who is full of grace and truth according to John chapter one. His testimony that condemns. His ministry that confronts. His activity that convicts. Again many examples throughout the Gospel of John of His revelation of Himself which is before the rebellion and rejection of those who did not believe. With verse 25 all of this is according to the Scriptures, “But this has happened so that the word that is written in their Law will be fulfilled: ‘They hated Me for no reason.’” Here Jesus is quoting from Psalm 69:4 showing that His revelation was trustworthy and yet rejected without cause. As one man said, “so perfectly has Jesus done His works, and so completely did He reveal Himself.” No one will stand before Jesus and say you did not do enough and your revelation was not clear that you lacked in anything you said or anything you did. So grate to the Lord for so many here today in this church body who have believed and are not guilty of the sin of rebellion and rejection against Jesus. But today in a group this size there may be some who are here and the sin of rejection of Jesus and rebellion against Jesus is still present in your life and therefore you are not His disciple and are not saved. You may be here today and do not believe what Jesus said or believe what Jesus did as His testimony of who He really is as the Son of God and the only Savior. Al Mohler tells the story of Larry King in his different conversations. Someone asked Larry King “if you could interview God what would you ask Him?” Larry King immediately replied, “Hey God, do you have a son? That’s my question.” Indeed God has a Son and His name is Jesus according to His testimony of His words and His works!
Second, Testimony of The Spirit of Truth through the Disciples of Jesus In The Presence of A Hostile World [15:26-27]. Here is What the World Does and Believes Is Hostile to Disciples of Jesus. In verse 26 The Promise of the Coming Holy Spirit Who Will Be Testifying About Jesus.
Hear the words of Jesus “When the Helper comes. . .whom I will send. . .who comes from the Father.” This third statement by Jesus about the ministry of the Holy Spirit [see also 14:16-17, 26]. “He will testify about Me . . .” His ministry is emphasized and highlighted in this context of hostility by the world. The truth of the revelation of Jesus in His words and His deeds. In verse 27 The Practice of the Going Disciples of Jesus Who Will Be Testifying About Jesus. As Jesus concludes, “. . . and you are testifying as well” [cf. John 15:16, 20] Our ministry is the focus and attention in the context of the hostility by the world towards the disciples of Jesus. Again consider Acts 9 the testimony of the Apostle Paul [cf. 1 Corinthians 1:22-25; 2:1-2]. The Holy Spirit makes possible Our Testimony As Disciples of Jesus in A Hostile World. Read the Epistle to Diognetus describing the lifestyle of early Christians.
In this passage of Scripture we learn about both Our Relationship with Jesus and our relationship with the World. First, Taking time as a disciple of Jesus to receive, believe, and understand what Jesus said and what Jesus did. This means we READ the Gospels Again and Again. Second, Thinking rightly as a disciple of Jesus you are not guilty of rejecting Jesus nor are you guilty of denying Jesus. We are never guilty of rejecting Him or denying Him if I am testifying about Him. This demands we PROCLAIM the Gospel Again & Again. Third, Telling Others about the words and works of Jesus as His disciple. Let me tell you about my Lord about My Savior and my God. Fourth, Teaching Others these words of Jesus in making disciples in these days. Fifth, Testifying about Jesus by the ministry of the Holy Spirit as those bearing fruit according to the words of Jesus. Our Testimony As Disciples of Jesus in A Hostile World. I really believe! He really is mine! He really did die on the cross for my sins and paid the penalty for all of my sins! I live my life for Him and not for myself! I testify of Him! The things He said and the things He did cause me to worship Him more. I call you to come and bow your knee before Him as King to believe in Him and receive Him as your Lord and your Savior! He is the one and He is the only Savior!
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.