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The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep
Words of Faith 2-15-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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John 15
[18] "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. [19] 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. [20] 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. [21] They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. [22] If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. [23] He who hates me hates my Father as well. [24] If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. [25] But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'
[26] "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. [27] And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

There is a saying that you should choose your friends carefully. Or… People judge you by the company you keep. Jesus didn’t choose the company He kept based on what people would think. But He had some powerful truth to share about what happens in human relationships.
A young believer may wonder if this friendship with Jesus was such a good idea. As a friend of Jesus we might think that all would be charmed, but the opposite if often the case. The truth is that when we become friends of Jesus we make certain enemies. In this case it is “the world”.
By “world” Jesus was talking about the mass of unbelievers and their systems of power and meaning, which are contrary to God. Being friends with the world is to be God’s enemy (James 4:4). The world is hostile toward God and is under Satan’s power (John 14:30). We might be surprised by this hostility (1 Peter 4:12-13), but we should remember that Jesus was hated from His birth until His death on the cross. If the world hates Jesus, we will also be hated.
Why does the world hate Jesus and the friends of Jesus? There are several reasons.
1) The world hates the believer simply because he does not belong to the world. We are free! We cannot be controlled as the lost can be. Though we may stumble, we are experiencing freedom from the power of sin. We live with joy, hope, purpose and love. We are not befuddled by the calamities of life. We know that there is more. We know that God is in control. We have been chosen out of the world and the world cannot stand that.
2) The world hates the believer because it does not know God. For all the talk today that everyone knows God in a different way this simply is not true. “They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me” (15:21). The world hates what it does not understand and cannot control. The world rebels against the knowledge of God possessed by the believer.
3) Jesus is the Light that exposes sin. “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin” (15:22). Jesus came as the pure revelation of God.
Paul reveals to us that “since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). The coming of Jesus left no room for misunderstanding. The darkness hates the Light that exposes it. Every place that a believer goes he brings light that exposes the darkness.
Not everyone will hate us because of our friendship with God. Jesus said, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” Paul pointed out that we are the “aroma of Christ” among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life (2 Cor. 2:12-17). Some will smell the fresh fragrance of Life in the believer and desire more. But the world and those who are captive to the world will sense us as a stench of death because that is all that they know and look forward to.
So, friend of Christ Jesus, do not be dismayed if the world does not bow and curtsy at your presence. And do not be seduced by the world because of your desire to be liked and accepted. Do not be shocked if persecution comes. In such times we are to trust the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth and by His strength testify to the truth.

Lord, I rejoice to know that You are my friend. I will not be surprised to discover that I have enemies. Dwell in me and give testimony of Your power, love and strength through me. In Jesus’ name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2002, 2017
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.