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Summary: Jesus was concerned about the current generation of disciples then and every generation of disciples that would follow. That is why He prayed this prayer in John 17:20 – 26 with both a present tense and a future tense.

ARE WE ON GOD'S TEAM? (May 15, 2010)

Text: John 17:20 – 26

Just recently there were many who celebrated in the National Day of Prayer. This was the 59th annual celebration of the National Day of Prayer. There were some who were opposed to the observance of this day. Keep this in mind when you remember that God's only begotten Son came here to save a world of lost sinners. As someone (William R. Herzog II) has pointed out we live in a world that is “under siege” to its own agenda. He made the point that a community under siege can become more “cohesive or more splintered”. (David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, eds. Feasting On The Word. Year C, Volume 2. William R. Herzog II. “The Exegetical Perspective”. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009, p. 543). That author expressed very well what was perhaps one of Jesus's biggest concerns. Jesus was concerned about the world that He came to save. He was concerned about the current generation of disciples then and every generation of disciples that would follow. That is why He prayed this prayer in John 17:20 – 26 with both a present tense and a future tense.

A MISSION TO FULFILL

The church is in the world to change the world.

1) Singer and songwriter John Mayer just recently wrote a song that talks about “waiting on the world to change”. Every time I hear that song on the radio I think about two groups. There is the spectators who watch and wait for change. Then, there the is the other group, the agents of change---the participants. There is no question as to which group that Jesus's disciples should belong.

2) There is another John---John Chrysostom who was a bishop of the early church. John Chrysostom once made the point that “people would know the teacher [our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ] by His disciples”. (David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, eds. Feasting On The Word. Year C, Volume 2. Peter J. B. Carman. “The Theological Perspective”. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009, p. 542). How well are we changing the world by our witness?

Our mission is to make God's God's dream come true.

1) Tommy Tenney once wrote a book that was founded on this prayer that Jesus prayed. The title of that book is more than just a catchy title. The title of that book suggests what is perhaps God's ideal and our potential. The title of that book is God's Dream Team. It is one of the same books that I suggested for recommended reading in April's newsletter.

2) In the first chapter of that book Tommy Tenney writes … “God dreams of unity, but his difficulty and chief obstacle is the will of man. His dream cannot be accomplished and His will cannot be done until we submit our will to Him. He will only do what we allow Him to do. Sadly we are better at talking about His will than doing it. We cannot sincerely pray, “Thy kingdom come” until we have legitimately prayed “My kingdom go.” Truth without proof becomes an empty cliché, and cliches' can become the oratory of hypocrisy”. (Ventura: Regal Books, 1999, p. 23).

3) Are we on God's Dream Team?

Our marching orders to fulfill God's mission on earth never changes.

1) Today we celebrate with those who have graduated from college as well as those who will soon graduate from high school. Though one chapter in your life has been completed, your mission to change the world keeps on going.

2) Our mission to change the world never ends because His kingdom is forever.

3) The success we have today effects what will happen in the lives of the generations that will follow us. That is why all of us can not slight our responsibility as His disciples today!

4) Just think about the impact of what happened in an earlier generation when (thanks to Madalyn Murray O'Hair) the freedom to pray in the public schools became an issue. Think about the impact that has had on our world today.

5) That is one of the ways that we live in a world that is “under siege”.

6) We never graduate from God's Dream Team until we have completed our mission.

UNITY IS IMPORTANT TO OUR MISSION

We cannot succeed if we are divided.

1) Someone (William R. Herzog II) has said “If the community breaks into fragments, its chaos will undermine its mission to the world.” (David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, eds. Feasting On The Word. Year C, Volume 2. William R. Herzog II. “The Exegetical Perspective”. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009, p. 543). What does that kind of “chaos” look like? Does it look the same for unbelievers and Christians alike?

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