Hello there, in today’s Foundation podcast we’re continuing through the multi-chapter conversation that Jesus had with His disciples shortly before He was arrested and tried.
Our passage is John 15:18-16:4. Today Jesus talks first about how the world will oppose all who follow Him and then He talks a little about the Holy Spirit. Here are four verses from chapter 15: verses 18 and 20, and 26-27:
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”
A few weeks ago Kate and I went to visit some friends near Stratford. We decided to make a weekend of it so I took the Sunday off work and we went to their Church on the Sunday morning. We had a great time, it was a thriving Baptist Church that in many ways felt a lot like STC. At the end of the service someone stood up and shared what they felt God was saying to them, and it has really stayed with me. He shared that we are a privileged people with a purpose. I can only assume he was some kind of retired pastor to come up with that level of alliteration! We are privileged but also have a purpose.
Now, I don’t know what you think of when you hear the word privilege, but sometimes it’s a word that can grate on us isn’t it? Privilege is something that people have because of their status. It’s often unearned. It comes with perks that the rest of us can only dream of. It tends to provoke a reaction, people either want in or they’re jealous of it.
This is how the Christian life can look to people outside it as well. As Christians we have stepped into the privileged position of being children of God. We operate in the freedom and forgiveness that comes with accepting Jesus into our lives. While we face no fewer hardships throughout life we do seem to be, on the whole, better equipped to deal with them, we have hope and peace when the world can see no reason for either, for example.
Sometimes when people look at Christians and see the privileged position of being a child of God the reactions can be the same. Either they want in, or they’re jealous. Now obviously Jesus is referring to a whole range of reasons why the world will reject Him and therefore us. Ultimately He stands in opposition to earthly ways. There’s no debate that the Bible is a tough book to read if you’re not allowing the Spirit of God to breathe life into the word of God.
Talking of the Holy Spirit, that’s where our purpose comes in. When we receive the Holy Spirit, part of our privilege bestowed on us by God, we are called to go out and testify to what we have received. We are not meant to keep our privilege card for ourselves! We are blessed to be a blessing. We bear the fruits of the Spirit so that others may receive the goodness of those fruits and give the glory to God. As we consider the privilege of being children of God today, how can we respond to that? It’s a big question, but how can we choose not to keep this new life to ourselves as our secret, but instead to testify, to speak of the good things God has done for us?
Thank you God that to be in your family is such a blessing. We do not take that for granted today. God we pray that you would show us how we can continue to share your love with those around us this week in word and in deed. Amen.
READING: John 15:18-16:4
‘If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfil what is written in their Law: “They hated me without reason.”
‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
‘All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.