Having described the New Covenant life Jesus begins to explain one of the reasons why love within the Church is so important: the world will hate Christians.
- The whole of creation is made through and for Christ. The part of human society which acknowledges his Lordship is his bride, the Church. In contrast, the Great Prostitute – a human system that misuses man’s dominion in order to serve itself rather than Christ – is what Jesus means by “the world”. The world hates the Church, because through the Spirit’s indwelling power we remind it of Christ’s Lordship and undermine its existence.
- The world hates the Church in two ways: by killing them (as seen throughout history) and by excluding them from its worldly blessings. Exclusion is more subtle, but is a particular problem in our increasingly secular culture, Christians are mocked, suspected, marginalised or made out to be irrational and morally repugnant.
- Jesus tells us these things so that when people reject and persecute us we know that it’s not our fault and so we don’t fall away from faith back to the world.
1. We need to be aware of the world’s allure. Doing things the world’s way can give us things that Christ does not. The world will also approve of many things in our lives as Christians, if these things become the source of identity for us rather than faithfulness to Christ, they can become a point of temptation when faithfulness to Christ suddenly means disapproval from the world.
2. We can’t avoid conflict. Do you fear men or God?
3. Again we see the importance of love for one another in fellowship, it supports us practically and shows us that Christ’s message is true, it fills us with the Spirit empowering and comforting us, it enables us to love the world.
4. We should be persistent in evangelism to those who have worldly blessings and when there are few who respond to the call to come to Christ.