Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
““If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.”
No one wants to be hated, but sometimes it’s unavoidable as Christians. Some people suffer greatly because of their faith in Jesus. Right now many Christians around the world are persecuted by their neighbors and their governments. You can find out more about these realities from organizations like The Voice of the Martyrs (www.persecution.com). But persecution of Christians is always rooted in animosity towards God, which Jesus came to change! We will look at some passages about persecution this week, but today let us give thanks for the freedom to worship and proclaim the Gospel in the U.S.A. Also, let us ask God to bless martyrs around the world who suffer daily for their faith and remember that God is using us through our faith, love and witness to change the hearts of those who fight against Him.