There is no doubt that the world hates Christ’ church. But as to “why” this hatred exists, there are many reasons given, such as hypocrisy, the church’s exclusive doctrine, their tendency to be judgmental by pointing out the sins of others, their intolerance toward people of different world views, sexual preference and religion.
The most inflammatory source of the world’s hatred for the church is, by far, hypocrisy. That is to pretend to be something before others, when the true identity is either hidden from public view or not acknowledge for what it is. Many sins can be, and have been, built upon this foundation of hypocrisy.
But what does the Lord Jesus Christ, the king of the church as well as all creation, have to say about this fault…this evil…this “sin” of hypocrisy? Believe it or not, hypocrisy is the sin that Jesus spoke against the most when he warned the people not to be like their religious leaders.
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,
2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.
6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,
7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’
8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.
9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.
11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’
17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?
18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’
19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it.
21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it.
22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.
26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.
28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.
33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?
34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
After reading this scathing diatribe from our Lord, one would have to wonder, “Would Jesus claim hypocrites as his own???”
Lets see what Jesus has to say about that question.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them,
24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’
26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’
27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.
Based upon Jesus’ own words here, we can be sure that Jesus does not, and will, not claim hypocrites as his own.
So now that we have that figured out we can conclude that the world does not hate the church of Jesus Christ for its hypocrisy, but it is the false church which practices hypocrisy that the world hates.
Now lets move on to the this next issue of controversy, which is the church’s exclusive doctrine. They teach that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and that if the world does not receive him, then they will die in their sins, go to hell, and then be resurrected to stand guilty before Jesus in judgment for the sinful lives which they lived and then cast into the lake of fire. And when they teach that Jesus is the only way to God, they mean that he offers the only way of escape from the penalty for their sins, because he and God the Father are one, and is the only true God. In other words, all other religions are false, and cannot save anyone.
But is this true? Did Jesus really say this???
Lets see what he said about this issue of exclusivity.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,
27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
29 and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched —
45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched —
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire —
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;
43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’
45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.
35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.
36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
30 I and My Father are one.
According to Jesus, the church has good reason for teaching the exclusivity of Christ. Therefore, this hatred for the church is unjust as well since Jesus is the teacher and judge, and the church is only teaching what he taught them.
But what about the church’s tendency to be judgmental by pointing out the sins of others? Would Jesus support such a thing? Remember, Jesus is the one who said, “judge not lest you yourself be judged”. So how could Jesus possibly be in support of such an action carried out by the church???
Lets see what Jesus said in the “entire” passage.
1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.
2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
According to what Jesus said in this passage, he isn’t against the pointing out of sin, but “hypocritical judgment”, that is identified by a willingness to scrutinize others and is not at all willing to examine and correct ones’ self. Therefore, judgment isn’t the sin, but hypocrisy, because we must be willing to examine our own lives and acknowledge our own sins before we are capable of correcting others.
But how can God be at work in the pointing out of people’s sins? It makes people feel so bad. How can that be of God???
Lets see what Jesus had to say about God being at work in the pointing out of people sins.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
7 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
9 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”
11 He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”
12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”
14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.
14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.
25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’
26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
According to Jesus Christ and his Apostles, the work of God is the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ so that people will repent and receive salvation. Having our sins pointed out by the church may feel bad, but is it damaging as eternal punishment? No. Of course not.
So why do we have such an aversion to acknowledging, and turning away from, our sins? According to Jesus, this is the reason.
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Finally, we’ll look into the church’s intolerance toward people of different world views, sexual preference and religion. Lets look at what Jesus has to say about the way of righteousness so that we can understand his world view, which shapes how we should live.
31 “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.
32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.
So according to Jesus, the problem isn’t intolerance on the church’s part, and neither is there a problem with people of different world views, sexual preference or religion. The problem is our reaction to those whom God has sent to turn us away from our sins. For example, when the tax collectors and prostitutes heard John’s warning, they believed and repented. But when the scribes and pharisees heard John’s warning they simply questioned him and said he had a demon and was not from God. That’s very similar to the world’s reaction to the church. Because we come telling the world about the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and the confessing and turning away from our sins, the world says that we are intolerant and even hateful.
But now the question to ask is why does the world hate Christ’ church for unjust reasons? After all, they’re just doing what Jesus told them to do. Why can’t the world learn to accept Christ’ message simply because of whom the message came from; Jesus Christ? To hate the church because they’re obeying Jesus is like hating Jesus himself. Does Jesus have anything to say about this irrational hatred?
7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
And even the false, hypocritical, church, which Jesus doesn’t claim, hate him as well. You know by their actions.
1 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.
2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.
3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.
So according to Jesus, anyone who hates Christ’ church, actually hates Jesus and are no better than the hypocrites which they themselves condemn. No. They are just as hateful and sinful as the false followers of Jesus Christ whom he has already condemned.
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23 “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words
13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!