Search Engine

Provide a keyword or phrase below to find blog entries relevant to your search:

Results For

No Results
©Michael Player

Chapter 15:18-16:4 (ESV)

Posted on September 08, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 15:18-16:4 (ESV) - “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.”

Question to consider: Can you give an example of someone who killed Christians while thinking he was serving God?

There are a number of religions and cults today who give this same promise of persecution when their members proselytize others. I honestly think that the devil saw the resolve of the early church when faced with this persecution and has sought to replicate it to reinforce false doctrine. I had a conversation with my grandfather once where he prided himself on slamming the door on some JW’s who paid him a visit and letting me know that he wasn’t going to fall for their deceptions. 

I pointed out that given his knowledge of scripture, there was little doubt in my mind that he could be deceived by them, but he should consider the fact that God had brought the mission field to his door, and they needed to hear the truth about Christ. By slamming the door instead of ministering to them, he was just affirming what they had been told would happen and inoculating them against the truth. We had to “agree to disagree” about that, but I would like to point out that the apostle Peter exhorted his persecuted brethren to be able to defend the truth of Christ in 1 Peter 3:13-16, “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

At the time in which Jesus said these things to the disciples, the idea would have been shocking. Remember that Jesus had just redefined “the world” as anyone who did not see Him as the true vine and the only way to the Father. Now, Jesus was openly telling them that those whom they considered brothers in Judea would put them out of the synagogues and think they are offering a service to God in killing them. Of course, Luke proved the fulfillment of these words when Saul of Tarsus oversaw the stoning of Stephen and began leading the Pharisees in a deadly crusade against the early church.

However, as Jesus said, a servant is not greater than his master. Jesus would be betrayed by someone from among the twelve and endured more than any of them could fathom. Although I expect to be persecuted by a culture that is openly hostile to Christ, the most difficult thing to face is when it comes from within the church. I pray that you are part of a biblically sound and healthy church and never have to experience the gut punch of being persecuted by a close brother or sister in Christ. I can say, however, that as difficult as this is to experience, it is all worth it if it is used by God to prune His church so that it may bear more abundant and abiding fruit.


Dear heavenly Father, we ask that You give us a right perspective when we experience persecution for Christ, and we give You praise that we bear His name. Please use it for Your good correction in our own lives and the lives of those who hate us, and help us to overflow with Your grace so that we do not unnecessarily add to the offense of the Gospel. Amen.