Lesson 55 of the Discipleship Making process.
Near the end of the Last Supper Jesus began talking to His disciples about various relationships they would be involved in. First he talked about their relationship with Him. “Abide in Me, and I in you.” Then He discussed their relationship with one another. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” And finally He talked to them about their relationship with the world. “If the world (kosmos) hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world (kosmos), the world (kosmos) would love its own; but because you are not of the world (kosmos), but I chose you out of the world (kosmos), because of this the world (kosmos) hates you.”
When Jesus used the term “world”, He wasn’t talking about the earth with its landmasses, oceans, lakes, rivers, mountains and prairies. Instead the Scriptures use the Greek word kosmos (world). The word kosmos is translated as “adornment”. It’s the way things appear or the way things operate here on earth. It’s an illusion! And that is the same way the world (kosmos) is . . . it’s an illusion. The things of this world look attractive however they are not as they appear. The Scriptures tell us that Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), governs all the kingdoms of this world (kosmos). Therefore, everything in it is wearing a deceptive mask . . . it’s an illusion. In fact you could substitute the word illusion for the word, world (kosmos). For example we could read a familiar verse from the book of James as, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world (illusion) is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world (illusion) makes himself an enemy of God,” (James 4:4).
According to the dictionary an illusion is a false idea or conception. It is belief or opinion not in accord with the facts . . . an unreal, deceptive, or misleading appearance or image. Many people use the word disillusioned in a negative sense, however to be disillusioned is actually quite good. The word disillusioned simply means to be free from illusion or false ideas.
Read: John 15:18–16:33
Jesus begins the lesson by telling the disciples that they will be hated by the world. This is quite understandable because the world and it systems are based on lies, while Jesus, His disciples and the Kingdom of God are all based on the truth. Therefore conflict is inevitable.
Jesus continued by saying, “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." Jesus is so adamant about this truth that He reinforces it with a command, “Remember the word I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than His master’. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.”
In order to combat the world’s lies, the Lord promised the disciples that He would send them the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit came He would bear witness along with them that Jesus was the way, the truth and the life and that no man could come to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). In addition the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth (1 John 5:6).
The coming of the Holy Spirit would be the sign that the Kingdom of God (Romans 14:17) had come upon the earth. It was the kingdom prophesied by Daniel “the stone cut out of the rock without hands” (Daniel 2:34 & 44-45) that would crush all the kingdoms of this world (kosmos). Each member of this kingdom would be clothed with heavenly armor (Daniel 2:34 & 44-45) and each one would wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And each way that the sword turned it would destroy the lies and illusions of the world.
Jesus told the disciples to ask in His name and that they would receive, that their joy might be full. Each of us who names Jesus Christ as Lord should be asking Him to make us effective in using the sword of the Spirit against the rulers, powers, world forces of this darkness and the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Yet at the same time we are not to fight against flesh and blood even though our enemies may control people through lies and illusions. It is these people who persecute us not knowing the truth. And like Jesus they may ridicule, torture or kill us. But we are to be of good cheer knowing full well that our hope is not in this world. As Jesus brought the lesson to a close He said, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world (kosmos) you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (kosmos)” (John 16:33).
The point of the lesson is to welcome disillusionments by welcoming truth. Rejoice when you are persecuted for truth because it affirms your transformation into the image of Christ.
With that, allow me to leave you with these questions to consider, along with a little homework assignment until my next posting:
- Name some illusions that people live under?
- How do people become disillusioned? By learning the truth. “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free,” (John 8:31-32).
- Many Christians believe that everything in their life will be wonderful. What is the truth about this? They forget the Scripture that says in this world you will have tribulation.
- Many Christians believe that everyone in church is nice, understanding and forgiving. What is the truth about this? Not everyone in a church is a Christian, in fact they may be sent by your enemy to destroy the work. Also Christians are a being conformed to the image of Christ and may not have arrived at maturity.
- Many Christians believe that when they get married, their lives will be totally fulfilling. What is the truth about this? It takes hard work, dying to one’s self and submission to their mate.
- Many Christians believe that you should trust one another. What is the truth about this? Where is it written that we should trust in any man? According to the Scriptures we should trust only in God (Ps 20:7, Ps 56:4, Pr 3:5 and Jn 14:1).
- Many Christians believe that spiritual growth just happens. What is the truth about this? Spiritual growth is a process in which the believer is conformed to the image of Christ by hearing the Word of God and obeying it. At various points in his life he will undergo testing.
- Many Christians believe that the government can solve their problems. What is the truth about this?
Write down one event that occurred in the past in which you were persecuted for telling the truth and tell your group about it.
Until next time . . . Godspeed!