Chuck Hetzler, Ph.D.,has a diverse background as a biblical scholar, worship leader, and pastor. He served as Christian Union’s first Teaching Fellow at Princeton University and later directed its ministry in New York City. Chuck earned his Ph.D. in New Testament from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently pastors Bethesda Grace Church in Manhattan.
"Prepare to have enemies." That's the way that Jesus sent off his disciples! Isn't that a great way to rally your supporters and encourage them to go out into the whole world to tell them that Jesus is Lord? But Jesus wants us to have a sober, prepared mindset. As we stand for Christ, that we'll know that we're going to be hated by many people.
This is what Jesus said in John 15:18-20 ... I want to remind us of this, as we are those who are speaking God's truth into this world. Jesus said, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own, but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, a servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours."
It's so good for us to know, brothers and sisters, that as we stand for Christ, we will have some people hate us. They will call us names. They will say that we are exclusive. They will say that we hate certain people groups. They will call us names. They will do anything that they can do to try to get us to stop preaching the word of God. But Jesus told us this beforehand. So we have to know that we have to speak the truth in spite of it being at odds with what the world is saying. And we're experiencing this more and more in our society. In the US, we, in certain parts of the US, we are experiencing that the word of Christianity is completely contrary to many of the things, not all of the things, but many of the things that this world has come to embrace.
Now, many of you may live in a place in the US where that's not the case yet, and I pray that it will remain that way for you. But for many of us who are living in more and more post-Christian, post-truth societies, we have to remember this word from Jesus, and we have to bolster ourselves to say, "I'm going to keep speaking the words of God. I'm not going to speak the words that they want me to say. I'm going to speak the words that Jesus wants me to say, and I'm prepped in my mind and in my heart that they may say all kinds of terrible things about me, but I'm not going to let that silence me and keep me from testifying to the truth that will set people free."
God bless you as you stand for Christ.