Berean Bible Study Notes

John 15:18-John 16:4



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The World's Hatred

John 15:18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 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 keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.'

26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

John 16:1 "These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.

"And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Jesus promised persecution for Christians all through the ages. It is only by God's grace that we have escaped much of it here in the United States. However, before the end comes, it will be here, too. How do I know? You can already see the start of it in things like this (all the underlining and bolding is from them):

THE FUNDAMENTALS OF EXTREMISM: The Christian Right in America

"I have just read this brilliant book from start to finish, almost without a break, and I am stunned and horrified by what I have learned. The fundamentalist Christian Right is America's Taliban. With the exception of the burqa (and even that, one feels, is missing only because St Paul forgot to mention it) all the ingredients are there: slavish adherence to a misunderstood old text; hatred of women, modernity, rival religions, science and pleasure; love of punishment, bullying, narrow-minded, bossy interference in every aspect of life. The Religious Right represents organized ignorance, organized bigotry, organized nastiness - and these people are on their way to taking over the Republican Party. Not least, the book persuaded me how muddled the fundamentalists are. They think they are patriots, yet they fight the letter of the Constitution and the spirit of the Founding Fathers every step of the way. The Religious Right is, in the deepest and truest sense of the word, un-American."

 

There is the ongoing persecution that has been here from the beginning, and there is the final persecution that comes before the end. J. Vernon McGee, before he died, made a prediction that true believers right here in the United States would have to go underground. That sounds like a reasonable prediction, actually. What makes it controversial is that he thought the persecution would actually come from denominational churches. Was he way off base? What do you think?

 

Jesus said believers would suffer persecution

As you read through the Bible, the theme of enduring persecution is everywhere. We have a tendency to skip over those parts, thinking that it was for that time long past. I encourage you to read the New Testament again, and this time, put yourself in the place of those who suffer. It's coming. Jesus said over and over that it would come. Here are just a couple places:

Matthew 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

 

Matthew 10:17 "Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say , 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Remember how Jesus put the verse about the Holy Spirit in between the two sections on persecution at the end of John 15 and the beginning of John 16?

21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (When you read through this section, it sounds historical, but then you come to this verse, and it's obvious that the persecution continues until Jesus comes for us)

24 "A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. (Again, echoes of what we read in John) 25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household! 26 "So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'

37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

 

Why does God allow persecution?

1. To spread the Gospel

Acts 8:1 Now Saul was consenting to his death (the death of Stephen). At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.

It was through persecution that the Gospel was spread throughout the world. The converts to The Way were perfectly happy in Jerusalem, but God wanted His Word spread elsewhere.

Acts 11:19 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.

Phil 1:12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

 

2. Your perseverance under trial brings glory to God and blessings to you

1 Peter 3:13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

 

3. It is evidence of your worthiness for heaven, that you are willing to suffer. In return, it brings glory to God when He repays those who caused your suffering. They will see that you were in the right and they were wrong.

2 Thess 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

Ps 79:10 Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" Let there be known among the nations in our sight The avenging of the blood of Your servants which has been shed.

Isa 49:26 I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh, And they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine. All flesh shall know That I, the LORD, am your Savior, And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

Rev 6:9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying,"How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

 

4. It brings you great rewards in heaven.

Luke 6:22 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.

Matt 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

2 Tim 2:11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.

Acts 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."

2 Cor 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

 

5. Jesus suffered more greatly than you ever will, enduring eternal punishment on your behalf. It is right that we should also suffer in His cause.

Phil 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

2 Tim 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

1 Peter 2:20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth";

 

6. It causes you to grow as a Christian.

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Rom 5:3 (NIV) Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

7. It removes those who are not true believers

Matt 13:20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

For the first few centuries of the church, Satan used physical persecution to try to stop the church from growing. However, the more they were tortured, the faster the church grew. As the old saying goes, "The blood of the saints is the seed of the church." You can still see that happening in China and other places in the world today.

By the early 300's A.D., though, Satan had started to wise up. He couldn't destroy the church from outside, so perhaps he could weaken it from within.

No need to be afraid of persecution

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 51:12 "I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid Of a man who will die, And of the son of a man who will be made like grass? 13 And you forget the LORD your Maker,Who stretched out the heavens And laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day Because of the fury of the oppressor, When he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The captive exile hastens, that he may be loosed, That he should not die in the pit, And that his bread should not fail. 15 But I am the LORD your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared — The LORD of hosts is His name. 16 And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth,And say to Zion, 'You are My people.'"

Will I be able to stand up under suffering when the day comes?

Matt 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (and sufficient for the day is the grace provided)

2 Cor 6:4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

1 Cor 1:8 (NIV) He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

Persecution from Satan (small portion of a much longer article from John MacArthur on persecution)

 

Persecution And The Kingdom Of Heaven - Part 1

 

CHRISTOPHOBIA

 

The Coming Christian Persecution In America

More articles:

Jesus, King of Hate? By Hal Lindsey

How to Handle Persecution, Part 1 By John MacArthur

How to Handle Persecution, Part 2 By John MacArthur

 

Links with more information about Christian persecution:

Christianpersecution.info

Persecution.org

PersecutionBlog

Voice Of The Martyrs

 

Some good books:

“The Coming Influence of China” (amazing book) – Available at Amazon for a penny, plus shipping

Foxe's Book of Martyrs (complete book online)

“In the Lion's Den: A Shocking Account of Persecution and Martyrdom of Christians Today” This book reports that more Christians have died for their faith in the 20th Century than in all the previous 19 centuries combined. It is also available at Amazon for a penny, plus shipping.



The Berean Bible Study of the Gospel of John




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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11

© 2012 This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies and last updated 1/20/2014. If you have questions, comments, corrections or concerns, please write me.

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