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Haters Gonna Hate

August 27, 2023

Haters Gonna Hate

Passage: John 15:18-16:15
Service Type:

Haters Gonna Hate

JOHN 15:18-16:15

I don’t know if Axe Body Spray is still a thing or not…is it still a thing? Anyway, back in the 90s when I was in high school, Axe was fairly new to the stores and was being marketed as something boys or young men could spray on themselves to become more attractive to the girls at school. I know I bought some for myself, my brothers had some, it was a pretty hot item for a while. 

The problem was, as any of you who have ever used or smelled this stuff can attest, is that Axe probably repels more girls than it attracts. It is some potent stuff. And I mean, we get a shot under each arm, then across the chest for good measure, and I mean, the stuff was just overpowering. 

So if you were a salesman for Axe Body spray, sitting at a youth group with a bunch of 15 year old boys and you said, now when you spray this stuff on you, a lot of the very girls you are trying to get to notice you are actually going to be turned off by this – they might even make fun of you MORE than they already do, they might actually steer clear of you altogether, and make things even MORE difficult than they are now…if that was the salesman’s pitch to you – would you still do it? Would you take the chance, buy a case from him, and then faithfully, consistently use it every day? Based on the chance that one girl would give you a chance?

Jesus’ conversation with his disciples today is going to sound a little bit like this salesman’s pitch. Let’s check this out together. 

If you start back at chapter 13 with Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, he says that their lives, the proof of their discipleship, is that of love for one another. 13:34, that’s the new command – Love one another as I have loved you. So part of following Jesus is that you belong to a family marked by love. That’s pretty cool.

Then the discussion moves to Jesus saying he’s going away to prepare a place for them, a place where Jesus and the Father will move in with them. So that sounds pretty good, I mean if a local carpenter builds you a new house it’ll be really nice, but if Jesus builds your house… whew. 2 for 2.

Then there’s this unbelievable verse (in 14:12) where Jesus says that his disciples will be able to do all the things they’ve watched him do – in fact, he says they will do greater things than he did, because he is going away. Jesus didn’t explain to them exactly what he meant by this statement, and it sounds almost absurd, like you can’t be serious. But absurd or not, he said it. So that’s one of the things we’ll be looking for in the book of Acts when we get there… where are the disciples doing the same things Jesus did, and where might they be doing things that actually surpass what he did. 3 for 3, though, this keeps getting better. 

Then he promises for the first time that he’s going to send them a counselor to help them obey his commands, because he’s going away for a while, but promises he’ll come back; promises the Father’s presence with them; and again promises the counselor who will teach them and remind them of all that Jesus has said. Like, you don’t have to be taking notes right now,  don’t worry that you missed something or you’ll forget it… The counselor will bring it all back and remind you. 4 for 4.

Then, they leave the upper room and head out to their campsite, where he offers them his own peace, he declares them clean, He doubles down on the Father’s love for them, promises them living in obedience to the Father’s will is the most joyful place in the world to be! And reminds them they haven’t earned any of this, but he chose them for this! 

And after all of that from the mouth of Jesus, you would think, “man, this following Jesus thing is a pretty sweet gig! Who wouldn’t want to be a disciple!?” And then you get to the verses read for us this morning And the crowd begins to thin out 

I don’t even like it when someone is frustrated with me! I am not the kind of person who runs toward conflict, and I am not comfortable knowing that someone has an issue with me… but I can deal with all of that. Hated, though!?! If I’m a disciple sitting there at the campsite that day, I’m thinking, whoa whoa whoa…Hated by the world…you mean hated by the people you are sending us to? They will hate us? We’ll be persecuted? You mean this is going to be ongoing? Not just a one time, “get through it and it’s over” kind of thing? Banned from synagogues? So it’s not even just unbelievers that hate us – you’re saying even Jewish people, our brothers, friends, neighbors, who claim the name of Yahweh might be the ones hating/persecuting? And then hold up…right there at the end you said something that caught my ear, you probably didn’t mean it like it sounded, so I’m just double checking – did you really say they would be killing us?? Are you serious? 

[18] If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you. Now, before we go any further, we should first ask the question, what does Jesus mean by this term: “the world”? 

When you listen to the radio news, you may hear the announcer say, “And now the news from the world of sports!” Obviously, “the world of sports” is not a special country or planet where everybody lives who is connected in some way with sports. “The world of sports” refers to all the organizations, people, plans, activities, philosophies, etc. that are a part of sports. Some of these things are visible and some are invisible, but all of them are organized around one thing—sports. “The world” from a Christian point of view involves all the people, plans, organizations, activities, philosophies, values, etc. that belong to society without God. Some of these things may be very cultural; others may be very corrupt; but all of them have their origins in the heart and mind of sinful man and promote what sinful man wants to enjoy and accomplish (Wiersbe, 360).

And as we saw back in 14:30, the world is led by a ruler, who obviously is bent on undoing everything that God set out to accomplish in Creation. [19] If you were of the world, the world would love you… , if you belong to their system, they love you. But, they will hate you because you don’t.

  1. Disciples do not belong to the world... [19]Because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. These 11 men, by an act of Jesus’ will, have been chosen out of the grasp of the ruler and the systems and values of the world. They do not belong to the world anymore, they will not serve the ruler of the world, nor will they share the priorities and values philosophies or even frequent some of the same establishments of the world. Instead…
  2. …They belong to Christ. They will be hated because of their association with Christ. [21] But they will do all these things to you on account of my name That entire system of rebellion and apathy and discord and death that the ruler of this world has created is born out of an intense hatred for God, for the Son whom he sent, and for the people who carry his name…because they don't know the one who sent me, which of course is God the Father. 
  3. The world is willfully blind and ignorant..
    1. [22] If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now they have no excuse for their sin. [23] The one who hates me also hates my Father.  [24] If I had not done the works among them that no one else has done, they would not be guilty of sin. Now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.
    2. They heard the truth (v22) so they have no excuse. And they have seen his miracles (v24), and still they persist in rejecting him as Lord and Savior, the promised Messiah.
    3. It’d be like this: If you felt like you could stand to lose a few pounds, you can feel  it in your body, your joints hurt, you can’t move like you used to, you could step on the scales to “hear” the truth. Now, you have two options here: Receive the truth and allow it to transform you by motivating you to make some changes (that’s the word repent) or you could throw the scales out the window and rage about how you hate it for telling you the truth. That’s where the world is at with regard to Jesus. Instead of letting his words and his miracles motivate them to change, the world would rather snap the scales and never hear from him or his followers again.
  4. And fourth, the last reason the world hated Jesus, and will by extension, also hate these disciples is that it fulfills scripture: [25] But this happened so that the statement written in their law might be fulfilled: They hated me for no reason. 

Jesus quotes this Psalm, meaning, I’m going to be treated like a condemned criminal, even though I’ve done and said nothing that deserves death. And he says to his disciples in verse 20 – if they are going to do that to me, the master, they will certainly do it to you, the students. So that’s another thing we’ll be on the lookout for as we get into the book of Acts – where are we seeing Jesus’ followers treated in ways they don’t deserve, simply because they speak the truth about Jesus?

(Show map) Right now, this exact same thing is happening in these countries today, where believers are harassed, have privileges taken from them, churches closed, pastors arrested and imprisoned. We’ve been blessed in the US that God has protected us from that kind of persecution to this point, but that day is coming I have no doubt. And when that day comes for believers in these regions or for us, we have the exact same reason for hope, the same source of hope that Jesus gave his disciples in verse 26. The Counselor. The Helper. The Advocate. We have God the Spirit, the spirit of truth, who will be in us. 

[26] "When the Counselor comes, the one I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father (or another way to say that is that he comes from within the Father, he is an extension of the Father, he is not the FAther but he is everything that the Father is) he will testify about me.  [27] You also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.

So speaking about what they have seen and heard is going to be their assignment in the very near future, and the Counselor, the Helper, the Advocate, the Spirit of truth, is going to help them do that – even in and through some intense moments of, “I’m not sure if I’m home or going to prison, not sure if I’m going to be beaten and left for dead or ignored, not sure if I’m going to make it here or if I’ll live.” 

But Jesus’ whole point in telling his disciples about all that they might face is found in 16:1. "I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling. Don’t get overly worked up or worried about this. 

This takes us right back to 14:27. Peace I leave with you. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful. I'm going to want to be fearful. Your heart’s default setting is troubled. But I’m telling you all of this before it happens, so that when it happens, you don’t get tripped up. Persecution and people hating you isn’t because you’ve done something to deserve it. In fact, one of these disciples listening to Jesus’ words that night wrote in 1 Peter, that it is a blessing, even a privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ – even something worth getting excited about! I mean, what could possibly say “I am linked eternally to Jesus” hating you because you remind them of him!? So they rejoiced when they were hated and persecuted for the name of Jesus. 

[2] They will ban you from the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God. We will read about that in Acts 26. [3] They will do these things because they haven't known the Father or me. [4] But I have told you these things so that when their time comes you will remember I told them to you. I didn’t tell you these things from the beginning because I was with you. While Jesus was in his ministry, he was the one taking all the shots – but now, with his absence, the hatred will turn to his followers. 

There are two little words in the middle of verse 4 that give us great hope? Their time.

My girls all play volleyball, and before a set, they all have team warmup routines to get stretched out and ready to play. They are together on the court for 5 minutes, and then the horn sounds and one team gets off the court, and the other team has the entire floor for 6 minutes alone. It is “their time” to run the floor and do whatever they want. But 6 minutes goes by, and now it’s the other team’s turn to have the floor. 

Jesus is saying the world has been given “their time” where he permits things to happen that he hates in order to accomplish what he loves. It happened on the night he was betrayed, he told the religious leaders, “this is your hour.” He hates betrayal and murder, but he allowed it because it accomplished salvation, which he loves. 

  1. For these disciples, that means that when persecution and hatred happens to them, they can be confident that nothing is happening that is outside of Jesus’ control. Look at 14:30 – it’s not happening because Jesus is being overpowered by something sinister. 
  2. He’s communicating to these men that when these things happen to them, it is not a sign that you have been abandoned or forgotten or left on the battlefield to die alone. He told you to expect this, he’s given you a spirit of truth to walk with you through it all, and graciously…
  3. It has an end. Their time will soon be up. 

Well, despite all of those things that should be comforting, with all this talk about leaving, and persecution, and possibly being killed, the mood must be a little low, because Jesus says in verse 6…

[6] Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. [7] Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don't go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. 

Jesus insists that this Counselor that he will send is better than having Jesus here on earth in the flesh. [8] When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 

And I appreciated the commentary help for this one, because it is a beautiful snapshot of the gospel. The Holy Spirit will convict the world about 3 things, starting in verse 9, 

  • About sin, because they do not believe in me; 

Jesus is telling us that one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to convince someone that they are a sinner in need of a savior. He’s the only one that can do that. So before you ever made a move toward Jesus in faith, his Spirit had already made a move toward you, convincing you of your sin. The disciples’ role in all this (look back at v27) is to faithfully present, or testify to what you have seen and heard, and the HS takes care of the rest. So, praise God, your co-workers salvation does not rest on the brilliance of your gospel presentation. But it might depend on you opening your mouth. That is the way that God designed this all to work – as the Spirit fills you with boldness, courage, and the words  to say, you open your mouth to speak the truth of God’s word, and the Spirit convinces the sinner that Romans 3 is correct, that all have sinned against God’s standards for us; that we’ve all turned aside, and that not one person seeks God. The Holy Spirit convinces us that Romans 6 is correct, that the wages of sin is death… but also that the gift of God is eternal life, through Christ Jesus our Lord. That’s part 2. 

The Holy Spirit will convict the world [10]about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 

The Spirit convicts us of righteousness too, saying you’re not righteous because of what you do – you’re righteous because of what Jesus did. He convinces us that Jesus’ work on the cross finished the work of righteousness once and for all. How does he convince us of this?

Because after his resurrection, Jesus went back to the Father! The only possible way his Father, a perfectly holy, perfectly righteous, perfectly faithful and true God would be able to welcome Jesus back home is if Jesus was the Faithful and Righteous servant who completed the mission he was given to perfection. Jesus’ return to the Father was a triumphant “WELL DONE, MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!” Jesus returning to the Father is proof that his work of living, dying and rising in our place was sufficient to save sinners. You do not have to earn your way back to God’s “good side.” Jesus has earned that for you! 

So, the Spirit convicts unbelievers of sin; then he convicts them of where they turn for righteousness, and finally, the Holy Spirit will convict the world [11] … about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 

The Holy Spirit will point to the fact that in Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension, the ruler of this world, the leader of every authority and system and value and priority and philosophy that tries to stand apart from God, has been cast out, thrown down, overpowered, and defeated. In Jesus, sin and death and hell and Satan are de-fanged, and destroyed, and everything is going to be okay. In the work of Christ, we are released from the prison of sin! Where we would never have been able in our sin nature to seek the Father, we are now set free to willingly worship him and serve him! 

[12] "I still have many things to tell you, but you can't bear them now. That’s a another wild statement, but some of the things Jesus wants them to know will only be able to be understood in light of his death and resurrection, and after verse [13] When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. The Spirit will connect the dots for you, and fill you in on all the things I have to tell you. He will also declare to you what is to come.  

So, the coming of the Spirit will be of unspeakable advantage to these disciples, who will end up leading the first church, and writing a lot of scripture. While no one today has this kind of Apostolic authority to write scripture and receive new revelation from Jesus, the Holy Spirit is still a gift from the Father, and still is an unspeakable advantage to anyone who believes!   

The Holy Spirit is our daily guide, not only to show us the way to live, but to go with us as our helper and reminder and convicter. When Jesus says in v13 that the Spirit will guide us into all the truth, it means more than hearing about the truth, or reading about it every once in a while; he will guide us into a desire for truth, a delight in the truth, rejoicing in the truth, and strengthening us to live in the power of the truth. 

What is that truth? `11 1``

If there is a truth about himself that God needs you to know, he will not hold out on you, or only give you half of it. He will work through the local church, through sermons, through worship, through a friend’s encouragement and a friend’s rebuke, he’ll use cancer, an accident, infertility, a rebellious child, a difficult marriage, dreams and visions. He’ll use physical pain and he’ll use healing. He’ll use words and he’ll use actions. 

The spirit of truth will communicate things to you often and his voice is easy to spot, because:

[14] He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. [15] Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I told you that he takes from what is mine and will declare it to you.

We’re going to watch this unfold in the book of Acts as well, but all the gifts and graces of the Spirit, all the preaching and hearing, and all the writing of the apostles under the influence of the Spirit, all the tongues, and miracles, all healing, visions, etc… everything the Holy Spirit does and says comes from the Father in order to glorify Jesus the Son. 

One of the things the Holy Spirit uses to glorify Christ, to encourage the saint and convict the sinner is the Lord’s Supper, or Communion. 

Questions to think about as team brings the bread and juice come around:

  1. Do you have this Counselor? How do I know, you might ask?
    1. Have you been awakened to the guilt of your sin – that sin doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a spiritually dead person. 
    2. Have you been awakened to righteousness, that on your own you cannot fix the separation from God that your sin has earned you, but Jesus has by giving you his perfectly obedient record. 
    3. Have you been awakened to the victory over sin that Jesus earned for you? That you do not HAVE to sin every time you’re tempted. You have been given a guide, a way out, and your enemy, the accuser has been defeated? 

Do you have this Counselor in you? If you do, you’re welcome to participate in communion today, even if River City isn’t your home church. If not, if those things are not true of you, you have this moment right here to ask him to awaken your heart right here, right now; to fill you, to guide you. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all of our unrighteousness. So do that today if you haven’t. But if you choose to not do that, just pass the elements on by when they come to you. This isn’t to call you out, but this part of the service is only for those who have been united to Christ and belong to his body. 

  1. Have you been troubled or fearful? Have you allowed yourself to be fearful of the future, fearful of the present? Like these disciples, are you sorrowful because life isn’t what you hoped it would be? 
    1. Ask the Holy Spirit to Counsel you, to remind you of the truth, to help you obey Jesus’ commands. He may want to use the church, his word, prayer, and more to remind you of the truth, so come up to me or someone with a lanyard afterward and we’d be happy to pray with you!
    2. But when you hear the truth, don’t throw the scales out the window. Let it transform you. 
  2. Who needs to know what I have seen and heard? Who has God put right in front of you that you could talk to about what you have seen and heard? Pray for that person today, but also ask the Lord for his spirit of truth to fill you with courage this week. 


Matthew Henry and Thomas Scott, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997), Jn 16:7.

Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 359–360.