Does everyone like you? If you are a Christian, that question is a very big deal. Why so important? Because Jesus told his disciples, “Everyone will hate you because of me, but those who stand firm to the end will be saved.” Mk 13:13 Jesus promised the disciples hatred from the world because of their relationship with Him. History reveals that Jesus’ words proved to be true in their lives. Why did people in the world hate them? Was it because they were mean and hateful and cruel and vulgar and violent men? No! Then why did people hate them?
Jesus’ earthly brother, James, unveils the answer: “friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4 God and the world can only be enemies. That means that the closer a person draws to God, the more the world will consider them an enemy.
The apostle John points out this same truth: Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 1 John 3:13 But why? What is it about a follower of Jesus Christ that makes some/many people in the world hate them?
First, Christians believe, and are duty bound (Mt 28:18-20) to share their belief with non-Christians around the world, that Jesus Christ is the only way to spend eternity with Father God in heaven. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 That translates into at least 5.62 billion people around the world who have no eternal hope. No matter how kind and lovingly that truth is shared, and the saved must share it with the lost, most respond with anger and/or hatred.
Second, among the remaining 2.38 billion people on earth, faithful disciples believe, and once again are duty bound to share with everyone who lives in areas of the world considered “Christian”, that only the faithful followers of Christ have eternal hope. “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:3-6 Once again, most receive this with anger and/or hatred. Paul uncovered this truth in Galatians 4:16 “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?”
Third, Christians cannot be faithful if they are silent with the hard warnings surrounding Christ. Silence, when a warning is needed, has always been condemned by God. Ezekiel 3:18-21 “If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. 20 Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”
So, like Christ, love the lost and the wayward enough to warn them; remembering that most will hate you for the warning. However, heaven will be smiling at your faithfulness.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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