[1 John 3: 13- 14]
“Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.  We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Let us look into 1 John 3:13, continuing from the last session.
It says, “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.”
The ‘world’ here refers to the worldly people who are not children of God, namely those worldly people who are controlled by the enemy devil and Satan, the ruler of darkness.
Sometimes, the worldly people hate people who believe in God and they stand against them without any other reason.
This is when the enemy devil and Satan incite the people to persecute the believers so that they will be severed from salvation.
Another reason why the world hates the believers is because their darkness is revealed by the light that the believers give out when they practice righteousness.
That is why it says, “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.” It is a blessing to be persecuted for righteousness, so we can just rejoice and give thanks even though we are suffering for the sake of the truth.
God of justice will then work in a way that greater blessings will come upon His children.
When you are persecuted in your family, if you just rejoice and give thanks and act in goodness, you will eventually bear the fruit of family evangelization.
It’s the same in your workplace.
Even if you are persecuted for attending church, all those persecutions will turn into blessings if you rejoice and give thanks and act in goodness, honesty, and service.
If you rejoice in the Law of God and please Him, God will let you have peace even with your enemies.
Even those who used to persecute you will eventually have greater love for you and trust you more than most other people.
Of course in some cases some people continue to hate the believers and try to harm them no matter how good you are treating them.
But even in these cases, you can just rely on God acting in goodness. God will solve your problems and pay back according to good and evil.
That was the case with Daniel. As Daniel was favored by the king greatly, those people who were jealous of him schemed to kill him.
They made an ordinance that prohibited anybody from praying to anybody or anything else but the king for a month.
Daniel knew this ordinance was made to kill him, but he just prayed to God every day. He was eventually arrested and thrown into a lion’s den.
You know the outcome very well. God protected Daniel, and not a hair on his body was harmed though he stayed with the lions all night.
Through this incident, the king trusted and favored Daniel even more.
On the other hand, those people who came up with this scheme to kill Daniel were thrown into the lion’s den and were brutally killed.
Brothers and sisters, Daniel did not know that he would live and enjoy greater honor after he was thrown into lion’s den.
He knew he was going to be put to death for praying, but he did not care about his life.
And yet he trusted God, so Daniel had no fear.
Because he did not violate any law of God, he was spiritually very confident.
He believed that God would work for the good of everything, and he believed in the God of love who gives the best things even in trials that were harsher than the lion’s den.
Because he had such trust, he was peaceful even before a great crisis and he could only offer up prayers of thanksgiving.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, can you also do the same?
Yes, thankfully many of you can.
But some others can say yes now, but you cannot really give thanks when you are actually faced with trials.
You say you love God and that you could even give your life for the Lord, but you lose peace in the face of trials.
To the extent that you have flesh in you, you have the waves of fleshly thoughts coming to you, and you suffer due to various concerns and worries.
You do not know what to do and your countenance is downcast thinking like, “I practiced truth, and why does God give me a hardship? Should I have compromised a little bit without being so stubborn about keeping the right way? Should I use another method now? Will God help me? Can I escape this crisis? I tried to keep my faith and give glory to God, but if the result is not good, it is only a disgrace to God. What should I do right now in this situation?”
Especially, if that trial goes on for a longer time than you anticipated, you could also realize some of your attributes that you couldn’t realize before.
You become too tired to continue your effort to become sanctified or to do your duties.
You might even complain before God saying, “I tried so hard, I worked harder than others, I loved God more than others, and how come God does not bless me?”
You might even have resentment before God saying, “God, I did my best, but now, I don’t really care.”
Or, at least you have faith as knowledge so you cannot directly complain against God, but you speak words being disheartened saying, “I cannot be loved no matter how much I try. My heart is not the kind of heart that can be acknowledged by God.”
If this is the case, it means you do not trust the love of God.
You have forgotten that God is seeing and hearing everything without missing a single moment.
Just think about the situation of Daniel once again.
What if he had any sense of resentment or spoken words of resentment saying, “God, I really lived by Your word, and how can You let this happen to me?”
Of course, with his faith Daniel would have never done that, but just imagine if he had done it.
Then, after God saved him from the lion’s den and lifted him up to a higher and more honorable position, he would have been so sorry before God remembering what he had said.
He would most certainly have regretted so much having said, “How could I say such a thing before God of love who prepared such good things for me? Why couldn’t I have trusted Him completely?”