Reading: John 15:17-27
[a] On a television programme, in which the victims of crime were being interviewed, a young man spoke about the thugs who had attacked his father, and left him badly scarred and injured. He said he would cheerfully put them out of their misery and shoot them, given half the chance!
[*] Once, someone said to me, that her mother-in -law, was so politically prejudiced, that, if you were in her house, and said you were not S.N.P., she would throw you out.
There are some sections of the community that hate other sections, perhaps because of the political or religious label people wear!
[b] Early-day Salvationists were often beaten up for their faith and convictions.
Some time ago, during a series on Moses, I mentioned that whilst at College, we had, for a period of time, responsibility for HOXTON CORPS, in which the original Corps flag was framed for preservation and displayed.
It was a flag with a history, as it was splattered with the blood of those early Salvationists who stood against such awful persecution, in order to present Christ, and win the lost to Him!
[c] In this country today, it is "easy" to be a Christian and Salvationist, compared with our comrades of past days! Perhaps at times it is too easy, and we fail to appreciate to the full, the value of our uniform, as a witness, and the huge responsibility that is ours as Christians and Salvationists!
[b] Let me draw your attention to verses 17-18, where Jesus links together the love of Christians for one another, and the hatred of the world.
[c] Jesus is saying again what He says in Matthew 24:9, when He says, "Ye shall be hated by all nations for My Name's sake!"
In other words, "This world hated Me, therefore, it will hate you also, if you are truly My disciple!"
Now where does our love for one another enter into this?
JESUS IS SAYING IN
VERSE 17, "YOUR LOVE FOR
ONE ANOTHER WILL CUSHION YOU
AGAINST THIS HATRED!"
(i) Indeed, often it can be the case, that the Christian’s love for one another can increase the more the world hates us!!
(ii) After all, there is nothing like a common enemy to unite people.
(iii) However, when the common enemy takes a low profile, and doesn't seem to be bothering us very much, then there is the danger, that our love one for the other can diminish.
(v) When we suffer PERSECUTION for our faith, then we know that the Devil is MAD WITH US, and that we ARE ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING for God that is annoying him!!
[d] Every true man or woman of God has suffered persecution!
KING DAVID speaks of his own persecution by those who hated him in Psalm 35:19, and in Psalm 69:4, he says there are so many that they are more than the hairs on his head, and I don't read anywhere that he was bald!
[e] However, THE STRENGTH OF OUR LOVE AND FELLOWSHIP, SHOULD BE A BINDING FORCE IN THE MIDST OF THIS WORLD OF HATRED!
[a] I remember once going into a shop that had cubes filled with liquids of different densities, so they just would not mix.
(i) You would have one liquid that was clear, with another liquid dropping down through it in little globules.
(ii) There was a large one that rocked back and forward. The top was clear liquid, whilst the lower half was a blue oil-like liquid, which the motorised movement made appear for all the world tike a turbulent sea.
(iii) My wife said, "Oh if I was looking at that for long, it would make me feel sea-sick!"
[b] For the Christian who tries to mix the presence of God with other things in their hearts, the same applies! It creates continual turbulent surges, and the continual waves rock their lives time and time again - BECAUSE WHAT THEY ARE ALLOWING IN THEIR LIVES WILL NOT MIX!! IT'S IMPOSSIBLE, IT'S LIKE TRYING TO MIX OIL AND WATER - YOU CAN'T DO IT!!!
[a] Where there is persecution because of our faith and witness, God can use even that to the good, and give us the strength to be victorious, if we are fully committed to Him.
[c] IF EVERYBODY LOVES US, AND THINKS WE'RE WONDERFUL – THEN LET US BEWARE!! IT MAY MEAN THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH OUR WITNESS!! THEY HATED OUR SAVIOUR, AND HE SAID THAT IF WE FOLLOWED HIM, THEN THEY WOULD HATE US TOO!!!
IF THE WORLD ACCEPTS AND LOVES US - IT COULD MEAN WE ARE SOFT PEDDLING THE GOSPEL!
[d] The SAFEGUARD which Jesus says we can have, and that which SOOTHES THE WOUNDS THIS WORLD INFLICTS, is OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER!
[e] If we are doing anything worthwhile for God, then the Devil will do everything possible to pull us down, and naturally if there are THINGS IN OUR LIVES THAT SHOULDN'T BE THERE, that will be a FOOTHOLD for him to start to destroy our life for God!!
[f] God must be in complete control in our lives!
If there is a PART WE HOLD BACK, then we will never be wholly successful Christians - its like LEAVING THE BOLT OFF THE BACK DOOR FOR THE DEVIL!
SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK
Chorus "All there is of me Lord" (34)
Singing Company "Light up the Fire"
CHORUS "Blessed be the Name of the Lord"
"I want to share my Faith"
735 (CHORUS OF NO 395)