‘“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, but all these things they will do to you, for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me (John 15:20, 21).”’
Fallen Men and Women (Romans 1:18-2:3)
People do not like it when you tell them you have a very *personal Friend (John 15:14) whose name is Jesus. Jesus is not welcome by most of them. They are annoyed by Him. His very name is an affront to their way of life and their interests and all they love. Most of them are selfish, and as far as they are concerned the world revolves around them. What they desire and what they want is what counts! They are egocentric to the core, and many of them don’t care about fellow human beings. They have no conscience (1 Timothy 4:2) and no feelings for the deprivations and sufferings of those less fortunate than themselves. As long as they are ‘all right Jack’ the world is ‘hunky-dory’.
The very name of Jesus is an anathema to them. They ask, “Why does He give His love freely (Romans 5:8)? Why does He forgive those who hate Him (Cf. Matthew 12:32)? Why does He show kindness to the weak, widows, orphans (James 1:27), the disenfranchised and the poor of this world?” Why is He merciful towards them (Deuteronomy 7:9)?”
They are so far removed from such love by their sin, they have no understanding of God’s love. Therefore it makes no sense whatsoever to them.
Jesus is an enigma to them. They do not get it. They reason that if He is such a generous, caring and loving person – a God of love (1 John 4:8), why does He judge people and send them to hell (Revelation 20:13-15)? Yet at the same time they try to convince themselves there is no such place as hell, so why should they care? They are not going to end up there, but they have a nagging doubt.
Paradoxically, although they claim they do not believe in Jesus, they resent His commands. They dislike Him and rebel against Him (Cf. Isaiah 65:1, 2). They say, “Who is He to tell us we should not have sex outside of marriage? What right does He have to define marriage? Indeed, why should marriage be between one man and one woman for as long as they shall live (Genesis 2:24)? Furthermore, what’s wrong with men who identity themselves as women? Why can’t they be allowed to act as if they are (Cf. Deuteronomy 22:5), even though they cannot bear children and they are endowed with male genitalia?” They ask, “Why shouldn’t men have sex with other men, or women with women (Romans 1:26-28)? Why shouldn’t women have the same freedom as men and have whatever sexual relationships they desire?”
They resent what they perceive as unwanted and unwarranted intrusion into their lives. For that reason there’s no way they could have Jesus as their Friend. Besides, He would also have to be their King (1 Timothy 6:15)! No longer could they live as they want……… But what they don’t know is that true freedom, joy (1 Peter 1:8) and satisfaction can only be found by those who have a loving relationship with Jesus. No one could have a better Friend (John 15:14, 15); for He loves His friends to the extent that He gave His own life for them so that they may live with Him forever (John 3:16).
Salvation, Judgment and Jesus’ Exaltation
Christians, just as your Friend was persecuted, so too, you can expect to be persecuted by those who hate (Cf. Deuteronomy 7:10) His name (John 15:20, 21).
Your solace and consolation is in Him, because He is **all-knowing and He loves you. He knows absolutely everything about you – even more than you know yourself. He is the One who made you (Psalm 139:13-16), the One who has charted and predestined your life from beginning to end (Ephesians 1:11). He sustains you, He feeds you, He clothes you, and by His Spirit He guides you. He loves you. He makes you members of His body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) and He gives you brothers and sisters in Him (Matthew 12:50). He bestows upon you an inheritance (Acts 20:32; 26:18). That is why you love His name.
By contrast, His wrath will be revealed to the unrepentant who ‘suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).’
They know of God; for He is ***evident to them (V. 19) by His works of creation, by His Word the Bible, and through His Son, but they do not give Him the glory (V. 21). They worship and serve ‘the creature rather than the Creator (V. 25).’ ‘In the lusts of their hearts’ they ‘dishonour their bodies among themselves (V. 24).’ They know they deserve hell, and that they deserve God’s judgment, and yet they do not turn in repentance and kneel before Him while asking for His forgiveness. In their stubborn, self-inflicting blindness and deafness, they are determined not to see, and not to hear, and not to understand.
But if through God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8) they humble themselves and repent of their sins (Mark 1:15) and ask Him for His forgiveness, He will grant them their request (Matthew 7:7-11) and give them His peace (Philippians 4:6, 7).
There will be no escape from judgment, for everyone: saved or unsaved, will bow the knee at the name of Jesus (Philippians 2:9), and confess He is Lord. Some will reap eternal life, and the others will reap everlasting torment (Cf. Daniel 12:2).
In all of this, Jesus will be exalted – His name will be held on high; for He has the highest of all names:
‘Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9,10).’
*Jesus is Personal
**The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God
***The Mystery of God’s Progressive Revelation