No Man Is Above His Teacher
Your warmth in this location as well as everywhere we’ve been in this country over the last few days has been very heart-warming. We’ve seen the faith and courage and love in your hearts in our discussions. Wherever we’ve been with the saints, we’ve found the love of God in their hearts for Jesus and the courage to step outside. Remember that Jesus suffered outside of the city? He came outside of the camp and suffered and that’s Jesus’ way.
Sometimes we don’t do things the way everybody else does them. In Jesus’ day He was the perfect Jew, right? He was the absolute, perfect Jew, and yet the whole system hated Him. He was perfect! No one was ever a better Jew than Jesus Christ, and yet the system didn’t really like Him very much. After only three years of speaking out and being the perfect Jew, they found a way to lie about Him and even kill Him. I suspect that being followers of Jesus and being as close to His ways as we possibly can in this lifetime means that we’ll probably meet with the same fate of rejection as He did. He even promised that, didn’t He? “If they hated Me, they’ll hate you.”
Yes, tell about it.
For the first few years of being a Christian I wondered what that verse was all about. I didn’t know of any Christians who were hated except maybe in China or some Islamic nation somewhere. So I thought maybe that was what Jesus meant. But many, many times He speaks about, “No man is greater than his teacher. If they hated Me, they will hate you.” I realized that He didn’t say, “…if you live in China or some other nation this will happen.” He said, “NO man is greater than his teacher.”
He was the most spiritual, loving, kind, generous, wise man who ever set foot on the earth. I thought I must be doing something wrong if satan didn’t hate me enough to persecute me. If I’m not enough of a threat to the enemy that satan would want to hate me and persecute me, then I must not be doing my job very well. “No man is greater than his teacher.”
He was the perfect example of love and yet they hated Him. I can’t be more loving or more wise than Jesus. It’s not, “If I’m wise enough, then I can help people come to know God and no one will hate me. No one will hate me if I’m wise enough and loving enough. I can be all things to all men and pluck a few verses here and there and then I won’t be hated.” That is not what Jesus taught. He said, “The more you are like Me, the more you will be opposed by My enemy. My enemy will become your enemy, and he will find ways to persecute you and bring terror to your life if he can. Satan is a terrorist.”
As we’ve grown up in Jesus over the last two or three decades, it has become more and more obvious that you don’t have to do anything very strange or wild to be hated. You don’t have to believe strange doctrines in order to be hated. All you have to do is threaten satan’s territory. The more lives you bring to Jesus and the more you help a Christian become more like Jesus, the more satan will find ways to oppose you and inspire people to hate you and lie about you.
That’s okay though, because Jesus Himself said, “It’s a compliment if you’re hated in My Name. Blessed are those who are persecuted.”
It’s a compliment. Praise God! You’re not doing something right if no one tells lies about you. It’s not easy. I lay in bed with tears in my eyes, sometimes all night, because of the lies and hatred and slander that’s out in the world pointed at Believers. It usually comes from the religious world, and nothing makes it easy, but Jesus said it’s a compliment. Be happy about it. It means you’re on the right track if satan hates you.
You only get hit by satan’s freight train if you’re on the tracks going in the exact opposite direction that he is. If you’re going the same way that satan is, he won’t try to run you over. It’s when you go a different way that satan wants you dead. He wants to kill you and he wants to ruin your reputation and hurt you really badly. He wants to break your heart so much that you won’t have strength to go forward.
So we understand that our battle is not with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers. And that’s okay. We wouldn’t be sitting in this room right now—none of us would—if we just wanted to play religion. I don’t think you would be here if that’s what you wanted. We would never have met each other if you wanted to sit around and play church and sing a song and say a prayer and go back and lead a selfish, worldly life.
You’re here because something inside of you says, “I want to be like Jesus. I want to know God. I want to know the power of His Resurrection and I want to know the fellowship of His Sufferings. I want to know the REAL thing…”
Your heart says, “I don’t want to play church. I want to be the church. I don’t want to just know about God. I want to KNOW God.”
That’s our heart’s desire for us and for you. We know that’s your heart’s desire for each other too, or you wouldn’t even be here at all.