August 20, 2017
Don’t Lose Heart
The Text: John 15:18-16:4
In John 15, Jesus continues to comfort his disciples by telling them to remain (abide) in Him. He promises that if they remain in Him, they will bear much fruit, and He show them what that looks like – obeying His commandments and loving one another. But then in verse 18, he tells them that if they truly are His disciples, they will be hated by those who don’t follow Him. He isn’t trying to discourage them, but He is trying to prepare them so that they won’t lose heart and fall away.
Read John 15:18-21: Why do you think the “world” (those who are estranged from God) hate followers of Jesus? What are some justified reasons for them to hate us? What affect does that have on our willingness to follow Jesus?
What do you think it means to be “of the world”? In what ways does the “world” love its own?
Read John 15:22-25; 16:2-3: Have you ever experienced the hatred of the world? Have you ever been hurt, criticized or persecuted by people who claimed to follow Jesus? How did this make you feel?
Read John 5:26-27; 16:1, 4: Our response to hate is to keep focusing on and following Jesus – to look like Jesus, even to those who hate us. Why is this so difficult?
List ways that you can “bear witness” about Jesus to those who hate you.
List some ways in which you can better obey Jesus’ commands and in which you
can love others – even those who might hate you.
What can you do to prepare for people’s hatred, so that you won’t lose heart,
give up and fall away?
List simple acts of love that you can do that will change the world.
Lord Jesus, I want to abide in You and follow you all the days of my life. It is difficult when people reject me, persecute me or even hate me because I want to be liked. But I would rather be accepted by You than by man, so help me to remain strong and to not fall away. Help me to bear much fruit by obeying your commands and by loving everyone, especially those who come against me because I am trying to follow You. May I always testify about You and what you are doing in me and through me, even if it causes me to be rejected. Remind me that they are rejecting You, not me. Keep me from being unkind, intolerant and hateful to the world. Let me show the love you have shown me always. Amen.