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Union in Truth

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:26
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Jesus has finished compelling and exhorting and warning his disciples, now he's going to pray. We're entering into what is known as the high priestly prayer. And his prayer in this chapter exceeds the scope of what John probably anticipated. Jesus doesn't just pray for the disciples and believers we see in the book of Acts, he prays for all believers everywhere- he prays for me, and he prays for you, and he prays for those in Brazil to whom Phil is ministering and preaching. He prayed for all of us. And what he's going to emphasize in his prayer is the idea that we get to take no credit for our salvation. And over and over he will use the language in praying about us to the Father, "you gave," and "you have given." And this idea is what Michael Horton articulates in his book, Putting Amazing Back into Grace, when he says:
One of the church's greatest problems today is that it has come to the place where it takes God's grace for granted. Dietrich Bonhoeffer called it 'cheap grace' and said, 'Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.' ...If in fact grace is something we CAN'T bestow on ourselves- if only God can grant grace- his is the most valuable grace [sic] on the market! That's what Paul meant when he wrote that when a person DOES something in order to get something in return, he will demand the payment. In this kind of situation, the payment he or she receives is not a gift, but a paycheck. Grace expected or demanded is a contradiction of terms.
And this section in John ties in nicely with the Pauline theology we see in ePh 2:1-10 Ephesians 2:1-10
Ephesians 2:1–10 NLT

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Have congregation open to Jon 17 John 17
Advise no Q&A today; ask questions at pot luck.
And as a result, we are called slaves of Christ because of our indebtedness to him and our inability to earn the grace he has given to us. This is why Paul uses the title "slave of Christ" so frequently in his letters. And as a result of our being given to Jesus by God the Father, Jesus will then pray for and expect our unity as a Church in the world. And because Jesus is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, we are to imitate him, especially as we see him in verse one of this chapter.
John 17:1–5 NLT

After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.

Jesus knows that he is going to die very imminently now, and that he will return to the glory he had with the Father before the incarnation, but to get there, he has to go through the trial, the flogging, the Cross, and the Tomb. Notice, with the weight of all of that bearing down on him, what Jesus does...
When times get tough, what does Jesus do?
He prays! When he knows that the hour has come for him to die, rather than despairing, Jesus prays! One commentator puts it like this:
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel according to John 1. Jesus Prays for His Glorification (17:1–5)

That God’s appointed hour has arrived does not strike Jesus as an excuse for resigned fatalism, but for prayer: precisely because the hour has come for the Son to be glorified, he prays that the glorification might take place.

This should be our response to suffering, to hardship, and to trial. Why fight alone? Go to the place where you can do real battle: your knees!
John 17:6–9 NLT

“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.

“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.

Just a quick note: if you are a follower of Christ, he prayed for you here! That should be encouraging.
John 17:10–14 NLT

All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.

“Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

Jesus prays here and he prays about his identity a little bit- that the Father has given him the divine name, which we see in John's "I AM" statements. And that he has sustained the disciples from falling away, except for Judas who was the "son of destruction" that's glossed over in pS 109:8. And he prays that we would have joy becuase of his return to glory, and indicates our change in citizenship if we follow him. But what I really want to focus on is verse 11: "Now, I am departing from the world;"

Jesus seems to be anticipating the state of affairs after His ascension, when the disciples are carrying on His earthly ministry. The term “world” could refer to those who oppose Jesus (see note on 16:20; compare note on 16:33). If this is the case, Jesus means that He will no longer dialogue with those who oppose Him. From this point forward, Jesus’ answers to His oppressors are minimal and straightforward; He speaks plainly (e.g., 16:25). He will go to His death in the same way as the Suffering Servant—silently (Isa 53:7).

And this is how Jesus will suffer and die- without defending himself, without raising his voice, without protesting. Becasue it was the will of the Father to save you and me by spilling his blood and returning Jesus to glory.
John 17:15–20 NLT

I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.

This is the part of the prayer that I want to focus on:
1. Prayer against isolation.
2. Prayer against syncretism
We must be grounded in Truth so that we can minister to a world that can't see truth. We must be sanctified in the word of God (truth) so that Jesus' desire of sending us into the world is fulfilled. We need to be exegetes. We must exegete our Bibles and exegete our culture- to be able to explain it. If we know our Bible well, but not our culture, the message will be lost in translation. If we know our culture well, but not our Bible, then truth becomes corrupted.
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel according to John c. Jesus Prays that His Disciples May Be Sanctified (17:17–19)

In practical terms, no-one can be ‘sanctified’ or set apart for the Lord’s use without learning to think God’s thoughts after him, without learning to live in conformity with the ‘word’ he has graciously given.

And in doing this, knowing the truth, we are to be unified.
Restoration movement: union and truth. Balancing act.
Difference between state and country borders.
This is the basic belief of Christians with two caveats, "descended into Hell" in this early creed originally meant simply that he went to the abode of the dead, similar to the concept found in the Old Testament: that of sheol. That Jesus went to hell is not a protestant, nor a scriptural idea. Additionally, we need to understand that at the time this creed was written, catholic meant "universal." There wasn't a "Roman Catholic" church. With those caveats in mind, anyone who can confess this creed in belief is not a country border, but a state border:
[Video]
John 17:20–26 NLT

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

“O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”

And that's the desire- that being sustained in Christ, being one in Christ, being unified in Christ- that those who hold fast would see the glory of Jesus that he gave up temporarily and that has been his possession since before the world was created.
And this desire is bourne out of his love for us- becuase to see him in glory is to know joy.
And because he loves us so greatly, we ought to love one another and love the truth found in him. That means no hatred, or malice, or slander, or envy, or division, or gossip. Real love that puts others above yourself. And now, we have will have a chance to do that as we respond-
you can give to Phil's ministry to put those who God would call him to reach in Brazil above yourself, and you can repent of your sins to put the holiness of God to which you are called above yourself.
Of course, if you need prayer for anything, or want to talk about anything that is keeping you from living in the love of Jesus, we're here to pray with you at this time as we sing in response to Jesus' great love for us.
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