Audio Sermon “God's Miniature”

Nov 27, 2016
“God's Miniature" No.15 by Rev. Toru Asai
John 12:24, ch. 15, 1 Pet ch. 1, etc.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:1-2)

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If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first (John 15:18).

These were the words that Jesus spoke to the disciples right after he said, "This is my command: Love each other (v. 17)." Suddenly, he changed the subject from loving each other to the hating of this world that his disciples were about to experience. That "the world hates you" is not a possibility or a choice that we can make. It is a step that every Christian must take in order to bear fruit. In fact, it is often through persecutions that God prunes us cutting off the smaller branches that hinder us from bearing fruit.

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 (v. 19).

Those who were chosen by God were taken out of the world, and brought into the kingdom of God—the family of the Trinity. If you live in this spiritual status, the world hates you. It is the friction between the two spiritual flows—one from God and another from Satan. As long as you live in this world where Satan is still at work, such friction is unavoidable unless you give up your spiritual status in Christ. You do not belong to the world, though you are in it, so it hates you. However, if you do not like the way the world hates you and want to be loved by it, you will need to go back to the world by giving up your spiritual status together with your inheritance in Christ. No, the Bible teaches us to delight in persecutions. Because of the love you have for Jesus, the people in this world will insult you, laugh at you, and criticize you. When the world does all of that, be glad and happy because you will come to bear much fruit, which is for the glory of the Father. For this very purpose, Christ came to this world.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds (12:24).

If this is the way the Son of God, our Lord, walked, then, we are to follow him living the same way as God's miniatures.

Remember the words I spoke to you: "No servant is greater than his master." If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also (15:20).

It is important to know that John's gospel, as well as the other gospels and letters in the New Testament, was written at the time when the Christians were going through severe persecutions. Jesus, knowing that the world was going to persecute his disciples, prepared the disciples' hearts for it so that they could remain in him.

All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God (16:1-2).

To "go astray" means to stumble or fall, which is the opposite of to "remain" in the meaning of to keep standing. In the midst of persecutions and hardships, the love of people would grow cold, but Jesus encouraged his disciples to remain in him and his love so that they would continue loving one another. The same encouragement exactly applies to us today, though the persecutions are not as hard as the time of the New Testament. The world does not know God's love because it knows neither the Father nor Jesus, but we love one another as Jesus loved us by remaining in his love. Loving one another is the important fruit we bear for the Father's glory.

This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples (15:8).

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