Sunday, June 7, 2015

Despised and Rejected

The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. John 7:7 

At church we are currently studying through the gospel of John and there are certain passages that stop you in your tracks. 
I don't believe that any person desires to be hated, but rather to be loved. A Christian who is filled with the Spirit, desires to walk in the fruit of the Spirit, which is love. When walking in the love of God, we never want to set out to intentionally offend people with the message of the gospel. When sharing the gospel we are to do so with compassion, love, and grace.  However the truth of the gospel does offend people.
When we declare that we are all sinners, destined for hell and judgement, and that the only way to Salvation is through faith in the finished work of  Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection, that can be offensive. It can incite rejection, hatred, and even violence. 
Nevertheless Jesus told us that these things would take place. There was no one more compassionate than Jesus, but the world despised Him. There was no one more gracious than Jesus, and yet the world rejected Him. There was no one as loving as Jesus, and yet the world crucified Him. 
There is a danger in the church today that we must be mindful of. The danger of watering down what the Bible says in order to make it more palatable lest we find ourselves being hated. The danger of compromising what the Bible says concerning how we are to live in this world, in an effort to show the world "LOVE." According to the scriptures, the Love of Jesus can be demonstrated in many different ways. 
The world demands tolerance, according to how they define it, and if the Christian "lovingly disagrees" or chooses not to attend, they maybe on the receiving end of more and more hatred. Certainly our brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted for their faith know this by experience.

quote: These days its not just that the line between right and wrong has been made unclear, today Christians are being asked by our culture to erase the lines and move the fences, and if that were not bad enough, we are being asked to join in the celebration cry by those who have thrown off the restraints religion had imposed upon them. It is not just that they ask we accept, but they now demand of us to celebrate it too.”  Ravi Zacharias

Now that presents us with a difficult decision. Should I compromise what the Bible says, in an effort to demonstrate what "I believe" to be LOVE?  Or do I stand and live according to what the Bible says, and potentially be HATED? We should never compromise what the Bible says regardless of the consequences. Jesus said "a mans enemies may even be those of his own household" Matt.10:36. He also said, "he who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Matt.10:37. Sometimes we have to make the difficult decision not to be involved with certain things in this world. The reason is not because we do not love those in the world, but because we love Jesus more. As a result we could be misunderstood and no longer welcome. We may be branded as unloving, judgmental, critical by both nonbelievers and believers.  Because I don't participate, it may cause some friendships to come to an end. It may close the door on a potential evangelistic opportunity. Now if that happens, I don't stop loving those people, or praying for them. I will continue to look for ways to be a light.
As believers in this world we are to demonstrate the love of Jesus, but we are also called to stand for the truth of God's Word. It is better to be rejected in this world, and accepted in the next. It is better to go outside the camp bearing the reproach of our savior, for here we have not continuing city but we seek the one to come. Heb.13:13

Sadly I have found in my own life there have been occasions when I was hesitant to share the gospel with someone because I had a greater fear of how they would look at me, then the fear of where they would spend their eternity. Surely the fear of man brings a snare. 

I ask myself, "If Jesus was despised and rejected will I be applauded and accepted? If Jesus took up His cross am I to avoid taking up mine?