Jesus’ Last Words to His Disciples – The Pain and Joy of Discipleship

Text – John 15:18-16:4; 16:16-33


  1.  Introduction
    1. Our lesson today ends Jesus’ final discourse with His disciples. I find it interesting that he concludes not with a pep talk and the promise of success. Instead he concludes on a somber note with a declaration that in spite of the goodness of their mission they will be hated and persecuted. Let’s look at our text
  2. Exposition of the text
    1. Verses 15:18 Let’s begin with a discussion of the term “world.” The term “world” (kosmos) has several uses in the Johannine and Pauline writings.
      1. The basic meaning is that of orderly arrangement, ornament. One of its uses was that of the universe in general or planet earth in particular owing to the beauty and observable order in it. So, in John:
      2. It may refer to the universe as the object of creation (1:10),
      3. Or mankind in general as the object of God’s love (3:16)
      4. Or the materialistic order that allures men from God (1 John 2:15-16),
      5. Here it refers to the mass of unbelievers who are indifferent or hostile to God and his people.
        1. The majority of men have not usually been conspicuous for their zealous service of God. In the case of Christ, the world at large opposed Him, rejected Him and finally crucified Him.
        2. So “the world” is used of mankind in opposition to Christ.
      6. Verses 15:18 He has just finished saying, I am the vine . . .” where he promised that the disciples would bear much fruit that would remain. But he continues saying, “If the world hates you, keep in mind it hated me first.”
      7. Verses 15:19-20 Christ expands on his initial statement of fact
        1. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.
        2. If they obey Jesus’ teaching, they will obey your teaching.
        3. Folks it’s often true, that people do not like you, not because you are offensive. It’s because you are a Christian. It’s one thing for us to be offensive. We need to correct that. However, it’s quite another when the Gospel is offensive. There is nothing we can do about that.
      8. Verses 15:21-24 Why do they hate Jesus, His Gospel and His disciples?
        1. Ignorance – They do not know the Father.
          1. It’s not because the Father has somehow hidden himself from them. Paul writing in Romans 1:28 says, “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
          2. This is a willful ignorance and therefore inexcusable.
        2. A second reason is resentment of Jesus’ claims and standards.
          1. If I had not spoken to them . . . If I had not done them.
          2. Both by his life and words he rebukes human sin and condemns it.
          3. He uncovers the inner corruption and hypocrisy of men, and they react violently to the disclosure.
        3. Verses 15:24-25 This hatred is both unreasonable and inexcusable
        4. Verses 15:26-27 However, we are to witness about the Christ.
        5. Verses 16:1-4 Jesus expands on the opposition:
          1. What is interesting is that the exclusion from their midst is not from the hell holes and honkytonks. It’s from the Church!
            1. It even goes so far as people believing that they are serving God by destroying you.
            2. Folks, let me tell you, this spirit is not dead.
          2. Verses 16:16-31 A dialogue between the disciples and Jesus that was all but impossible for them to understand before the resurrection but made perfect sense afterward.
            1. In a little while you won’t see me; then after a little while you will see me.
            2. You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices, but your grief will be turned joy that cannot be taken away.
          3. Verses 16:32-33 The final word
            1. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
            2. In this world you will have trouble.
            3. Take heart! I have overcome the world.
  3. Conclusion
    1. We in the United States have enjoyed over 200 years of a culture dominated by a Christian world view. In the late 1800’s the progressive movement began to challenge the Christian world view with a secular world view. While it gained momentum throughout the early to mid-1900’s it appeared benign and could peacefully co-exist in our society. By the 1960’s the secular humanists had gained control of the institutions of power, the media and the institutions of learning. At which point it showed its true colors and began an all out attack on Christianity.
    2. First was the family with Roe v. Wade and abortion on demand. Then came the gay and lesbian constituency demanding first equality and now dominance.
    3. Then came the removal of prayer from the schools. This was followed by the forced removal of Christian symbols from the market place. Then the schools were no longer allowed to speak of Christmas or use Christian songs.
    4. Then came the confiscation of property, not for public works, but for economic benefit. We had a church in Southfield that was condemned by the city so that they could take their building and turn it into office space.
    5. You see the fight going on between the political factions. The reason the liberals are so violent and vitriolic and dishonest is that someone exposed them for the hypocrites and crooks that they really are.
    6. Jesus warned us.