"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." -Acts 17:11

This is a study outline that will direct you, but it will not do your thinking for you. The purpose of this style is to encourage you to do a good deal of leg work in your own bible. Read the passage and the opening statement. Understand the text and its context. Read each question, then look at the lettered (A, B, C, etc.) thought. Look at each of the numbered, supporting references to get the full meaning of the thought. Follow the logic yourself before reading the concluding statement. Finally, give this study legs of its own by putting it into practice in your life.

"Your Troubles Are Just Starting"    John 16:1-4 (KJV)

"(1) These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. (2) They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (3) And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. (4) But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you."
If you have come today seeking an uplifting message, let me say from the outset that the title of this study sets a rather negative tone. Don't be too alarmed. They are the Lord's words and He is preparing to tell His disciples something wonderful... but first He has to get them over the bad news. The bad news is that Jesus is leaving them and that persecution is coming. That is very bad news. He is not telling them this just to be negative, though. He wants them to be prepared because a big change is about to take place. These words will come back to comfort them later. We'll look at not only what Jesus tells these men, but how He tells them and why they need to know.

Here we find the intensive last moments of training for the disciples. The Lord has just completed a long training session with them (read John 14:8-15:27) where he essentially teaches them how to be good preachers, preparing their hearts. Christ's stated purpose in the warning found in these verses is to prepare their expectations so that hard times will not take them by surprise and cause them to stumble in their ministry. This is not about how they will abandon Him at His arrest, but about the adversity they will face in their own ministries after He sends them out. We have some idea of what did happen to them, and most were indeed killed for their witness as they were told in v. 2 of this passage. Obviously, this forewarning goes beyond just the twelve. Christ's witnesses can expect the same, right up until the day of His return.
  1. Why is this warning required?
    1. So that you hear it from Me
      1. v. 1 - He spoke it, giving authority
      2. v. 4 - He foresaw it, proving his knowledge
      3. v. 4 - He timed this message, showing his knowledge of and care for his students
    2. So that you won't be surprised
      1. v. 1 - " offended." Gr. = 'skandalizo', entrap, trip or stumble
      2. v. 1 - "...that ye should not..." forewarning
      3. John 15:20 & 13:16 - He told them twice before that their fate was tied to His
  2. What is the warning?
    1. Philosophical disagreement and rejection
      1. v. 2 - Loss of position, put out of the Jewish fellowship
      2. Hebrews 11:37 - Loss of possession, as in times past
      3. Acts 8:1 - Loss of family, they are scattered
    2. Religious hatred and persecution
      1. Acts 4:21 - Threats, at first
      2. Acts 5:40 - Beatings, to shut them up
      3. v. 2 and Acts 7:57-8:1 - Death, at the hands of an angry mob with consent of religious leaders
  3. Who will do this?
    1. The religious
      1. v. 2 - put out of the synagogue by those in authority there
      2. v. 2 - killed in God's Name
      3. Paul verifies this in Phillipians 3:6
    2. The self righteous
      1. Romans 10:1-3 - Zeal for God without knowledge
      2. v. 3 - they don't know the Father or the Son
      3. Matthew 23:27 - whited sepulchers = empty religious tradition
The Christian can expect, in some measure, to see Christ's words ring true in their own lives. From the Catholic whose family rejects them, to the Jew whose people consider them dead and hold a funeral, to the death sentence that claiming the Name of Jesus brings upon the person in some Muslim nations... or maybe just that coworker who ridicules at every opportunity.

Is this just a bad news study? Is there no relief? Remember, they will attack you because of Christ. It is ultimately aimed at Him. All of this is part of a much larger battle that is bigger than any of us. To get the rest of the story, read Psalm 110, Hebrews 1, and Revelation 21. He has warned us so that we will know what to expect and where it is coming from. Don't be tripped up by ill treatment when it comes. Don't rail against it or blame God. It is a trial. James counsels that we count it all joy when we find ourselves in trials (James 1:2.) That is not easy, to say the least. Stay in the Word! For just a few paragraphs below is John 16:33...
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."