The Unspoken Sermon
It is the reality of Christ in your life, beloved, that makes the difference. You are an unspoken sermon to people.
Alright. Thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Oh, I’m happy in the Lord. I’ve just been talking with my Heavenly Father, and asking Him to put His truth, and His love, and His blessing into every word I speak. I trust that that may be so. Oh, I pray that something special might be just for you, today. You and I have been walking around in the 15th chapter of John and I want to approach today, a question that has often been asked of me by people who are perplexed over the obvious resentment that they feel coming to them from other persons whom they meet, as soon as they are identified as being a Christian. And the question is, “Why do they resent me so? Why do they dislike me? Why do they hate me? What have I ever done to deserve that?” You’re perhaps the only Christian or one of a very few in your office, or factory, or shop, or sales force, whatever it may be.
And while you’re doing a decent job and producing as you should, yet you feel as though there’s an edge of critical appraisal on the part of your boss and you feel as though there’s a wall of resentment that surfaces now and again among your co-workers. And you look at yourself, and say, “What is it? Is it something about me? Is it the way I look, the way I smell? The way I talk? What is it? Why should they do this?” I get perplexed letters from people who say, “I became a Christian and my husband, or in some cases, they say my wife, as the case may be, turned against me right then, and love seemed to turn to hate. Why is that?” Well, we do meet that experience as we go through life and there is a reason for it. And I want to turn now to John 15, verse 18 and read some of the other verses that go along there. In fact it goes clear down to verse 27. Bear with me while I read most of that passage. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own, but because you’re not of the world. But I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world hateth you.”
“Remember the word that I said unto you. The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they have kept my saying, they will also keep yours. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake.” Remember that. “For my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they would not have had sin. But now they have no cloak, or covering, or excuse for their sin. He that hateth me, hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no other man did, they had not had sin, but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. And this comes to pass in order that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law.” Which says, “They hated me without a cause but when the Comforter has come… ” That’s the blessed Holy Spirit, dear friends, isn’t it? “When the Comforter has come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of me and He also, so bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.”
“Why do people dislike me because I’m a Christian? I don’t do anything to them. I don’t hurt them. I’m doing my best. I’m doing a good job, on the job. I’m trying to be a good husband. I’m trying to be a good wife. I’m trying to be a good son or daughter. Why do they resent me?” It’s a real heartache, isn’t it? Because you do your best and you get resentment in return. Breaks your heart. Until, that is, you realize that the resentment you feel coming from someone who may be very close to you or someone with whom your associated in the workplace, the resentment you feel is not directed at you, but at your Lord. It is not you but your Lord Jesus whom they resent. He is Lord of all and the human heart knows instinctively that the right relationship with God is to let him be God. I think so often of what the man said to Hubert Mitchell and Dick Riley as they were evangelizing in the Dum Dum airport at Calcutta all night long while they waited for Maryl Dunlop and for me to come in at four o’clock in the morning from Japan. And one of them said, one who, an official, who was evidently very intelligent and highly educated said to Hubert, “If you say that Jesus was a good man and a great teacher I will be your friend, but if you say that he is Lord of all, I will fight you and fight Him until you’re both out of India.”
It is the Lordship of Christ demonstrated in your life that produces what Paul called, “The reproach of the cross.” It’s not something you did, it’s something He is. Jesus is Lord. And when your life proclaims that, beloved, you can expect to be opposed by those to whom it is an unspoken rebuke and a source of conviction. Joe Barbara, who with Mr. Hannah, his partner, have for over 50 years been in animation and put out many, many films as you know, was present at the Religious Broadcasters Convention, which I attended recently, and he made a remark, which it seems to me is quite telling and perceptive. He said, “I’ve never been able to understand how it is that when Christians become highly successful, they then try to be like celebrities.” He said, “We who have lived among celebrities all our lives know that most of them are phonies.” Well, that may or may not be true, but it’s pretty close to the truth in some cases, isn’t it?
When you start to try to act as big as your press release says you are. [chuckle] The warning that always comes to many of us is don’t believe your press releases. When you start to try to act as great as people may say that you are, at that point you have lost the blessing of God, and you become ever so slightly artificial, and people sense it. I just throw that in free. It is the reality of Christ, it is the reality of Christ in your life, beloved, that makes the difference. You are an unspoken sermon to people. And Jesus said, “Some people will love you and some will persecute you. If they have persecuted me.” He said, “They’ll persecute you. “If they have kept.” That means obeyed. “My sayings, they will keep or obey yours also.” And so you have the inevitable reaction, the heart that is ready and willing to receive the Word of God is going to receive you because you embody that message. The heart that is prepared rather to reject the Word of God will reject you because you embody that message and that word. And so they’re not after you, but it’s the Lord whom you represent that they are after. Now, let’s see what he actually said, “If you were of the world, the world would love his own.” Be very careful when you start to get applause and encouragement from the devil’s crowd. John R. Rice used to have a favorite sermon, I remember, that he preached many times and it was entitled, “All the devil’s apples have worms.” [chuckle]
In his down country style, he demonstrated the fact that although there may be some very pleasant things offered outside of the Will of God, there’s always a worm in the apple. Be very careful of the applause of the world, “If you were of the world, the world would love his own.”, Jesus said. The crowd stopped picking on Peter when he began to curse and swear, did you notice that? Standing there outside of Pilate’s judgment hall and different ones say, “You’re one of them.” He said, “No I’m not.” Somebody else said, “You’re one of them, your speech betrays you.” “No I’m not.” Somebody else again said, “Yes you were.” And he began to curse and swear and deny that even knew the Lord Jesus, then they stopped.” Why? Well, because he was lowered now, to their level. You lower yourself to the world’s level and they’ll accept you alright, but what an awesome heart breaking price you have to pay. Isn’t it true? But He says, “If they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” That is to say, the heart that is right with God is going to respond affirmatively to your own faith. There’s some people you just click with, isn’t it true? Humanly, this is true of course, but as Christians, it goes far deeper because God Himself bonds us together in the love of Christ.
And I’ve met people upon whom I never laid eyes before and I felt as though I had known them all my life. Immediately. Why? Well, it’s because we belong to the same Savior, and the same blessed Holy Spirit indwells us, and goes far beyond our human-ness to make that impact divine love immediate, tangible, palpable, blessed, fullness of divine love shared by those who belong to Jesus. So people who resent you because you’re a Christian, they’re not after you, don’t take it personally. It’s hard to fulfill that statement, isn’t it? I hear somebody saying, “Yeah Cook, that’s easy for you to say, but you don’t live with my situation.” I know that’s so, beloved. And I’m not preaching down at you, I’m speaking with you, because I get some of the things that you experience every day, every Christian does. Don’t take it personally. “Why should they pick on me.” Just remember, they’re picking on Jesus, because you belong to Him. You embody the presence, and the ministry, and the standards, and the truth, and the demands for Lordship. You embody all of that. You’re a walking sermon, and that’s why they oppose the Lord, whom they reject as He shines through you. We get at the rest of this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, may we show forth Jesus as we live. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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