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Teaching In the Upper Room: Love and Hate

Teaching In the Upper Room: Love and Hate

Sit back with a wide lens and view how Christians are treated in the world. Despite seeking to live with love, grace, kindness, truth and so on, Christians are generally treated unfairly. Granted, some act hypocritically, others may not be very Christian-like in certain realms of life, and some may say they are Christ’s but live nothing like it.  So how is the Christian to live while in the world? Are we to fight this animosity with political activism? Are we to pronounce our rights and set up demonstrations? Let us examine the purpose of the Christian toward the world, and how the Christian should expect the world to react.

John 15
V1-8 - Abiding in Him
V9-17 - Abiding in His Love
V18-27 - Abiding in the World as a Witness

John 16
16v1-4 – Absence of Christ will bring Persecution to His Followers
V18-27 - Abiding in the World as a Witness

V18-21 – Hatred of the Disciples will be as the Hatred of Christ

How should the Christian expect the world and its system to react to them? It is the same way in which the world treated the Lord. The world gave Christ a cross. They pronounced that He was not welcome in the world that He created. So if the world hates the Christian, it is because the world first hated Christ. This is the first reason why the world hates Christians.

The second reason is because Christ has chosen the Christian out of the world though they still inhabit the earth. This speaks of God’s election of the individual in eternity past. Upon obedience to the gospel they are no longer part of the world and its system.[1] The world doesn’t hate the Christian because they’re chosen, but because they’ve been chosen “out of the world.”

A third reason is because the world doesn’t know the Father. Instead, the world only loves its own and what is in it and conforms to it; so there is a great contrast between the world’s love and that of the Father. God and Christ’s love is toward what doesn’t love Him – “For God so loved the world…”, the world of humanity which was incredibly different than what it was in initial creation. The world says what is different and non-conformist is hated and ridiculed. This, for example, happens when someone doesn’t conform to the new popular opinion and people shame others saying, “You’re on the wrong side of history.” These types of statements present no logic, argument, proof or moral basis for siding with the argument. Instead support is attempted through hatred and forced conformity. If Christ were here today, doing all of His miracles, still the same sorts of things would be said and done to Him as Christians who seek to stand for the truth. The same types of jabs against God would be said for Christ to hear if He were in your workplace instead of you. Instead of being ashamed, be as the apostles who both prayed for boldness[2] and counted themselves as “worthy to suffer shame for His name.”[3]

V22-25 – Hatred of the World is without Excuse

As verse 25 says, the hatred of Christ could never be justified. The Lord shows the law[4] in Psalm 69 said of Him, “They hated Me without a cause.” The preceding verses demonstrate that their hatred had no just cause. It was His words and His works that they hated Him for.

V22-23 demonstrate that the words which the Lord spoke exposed the people, and their sin couldn’t be hid. Since the words that the Lord spoke were the Father’s words, they hated Him also. V24 indicates that the works which the Lord did exposed the people and their sin. For example, in chapter 5 a man who couldn’t walk was healed but since it was on the Sabbath he was harassed for carrying his mat. In chapter 9, since the evidence of the healing of the man born blind couldn’t be refuted, they excommunicated him from the synagogue. In chapter 11, since the evidence of the resurrection of Lazarus was impossible to deny, they sought to have him die again. Since the works of Christ were the works of the Father, they hated Him without a cause.

V26-27 – Hatred won’t Stop Continuing True Witness of Christ

The hatred of Christ would result in His death and departure for the present. Yet though the Father and the Son were hated, a person who is God would be sent to testify of Christ.

Notice in v26 the different ways that the Lord speaks of the Spirit’s entrance into the world and what it signifies. The Spirit would come – He preexisted. He would be sent – as approved in His work and mission by God. He proceeds[5] from the Father – the work that He accomplishes is always approved by God.

The witness of the disciples collaborated with the Spirit’s witness. They were with him from the beginning, and they were to bear witness of Him. The apostles expressly stated this in Acts 5:32, “we are witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Spirit.”

16:1-4 Absence of Christ will bring Persecution to His Followers

With the apostles gone, and the Spirit of God still present, are you an active witness for Christ? If you aren’t because you fear ridicule, chapter 16 opens with a statement for you: “These things have I spoken unto you that ye should not be offended.” We shouldn’t stumble because of persecution. Christ, in a sense, shielded His apostles since the reproaches of God fell upon Him.[6] Now the reproaches that were directed toward Christ would be directed towards His followers. The greatest persecution of the Church would come from various religions.

Why are Christians hated in the world? What should be done as a response? Christ’s desire is that we should continue to be effective witnesses for Him so that others might see the truth and reality of the gospel.


[1] Cf. 1 John 2:15-16, 4:4-6
[2] Acts 4:29
[3] Acts 5:41
[4] Notice that the Lord calls the whole of the OT “the Law”, as here and in John 10:34. The Ten Commandments are called “the Law” in John 7:19, 49, etc. The Pentateuch is called “the Law of Moses” in Acts 28:23, etc.
[5] Present tense, probably emphasizing continuation. This “continual” coming should be understood in the way explained above.
[6] Psa 69:9

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