Summary: I’d like to begin this morning by asking you a question. Are you living or existing?
Are You Living Or Existing?
I’d like to begin this morning by asking you a question. Are you living or existing? It seems that many times in our lives we are merely existing instead really living life for what it’s worth. We get up, go to work or school, or we begin our daily routine, whatever it may be and we simply go through the motions of life. If we would all be completely honest I think we could all say there are times when we don’t really feel that our life has any real purpose. We feel empty inside, and we’re not even really sure why.
Jesus said that he came to give us life, and that the life he gives us is abundant life (John 10:10). Why then are we not experiencing his abundance? Why does it seem that sometime we are just existing instead living for Jesus? That’s what I want us to talk about today…learning to live within Christ’s abundance…learning to live like Jesus.
The seventeenth chapter of John contains Jesus’ prayer on the night He was betrayed and arrested. In his prayer Jesus prayed for himself, for his disciples, and for those who would become his disciples in the future.
What I’d like for us to do is to look at those opening words of Jesus’ prayer that we just read together and allow them to be a challenge to us—a challenge to live life to its fullest by living daily for Jesus Christ.
Text: John 17:1
Jesus spoke these things looked up to heaven and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You.”
When Jesus prayed that prayer he was about to come “face to face” with the cross. He was about to make the “promise of prophecy” a “redemptive reality.” Jesus was not simply “going through the motions” he was living life to its fullest and in so doing he was fulfilling his life’s mission.
Let me share with you three qualities of Christ-likeness. Three qualities that I believe can transform our lives from just “existing” to “really living.”
I. We Must Live with a Dependence on the Father
Jesus is our example—he lived with dependence on His Father. As the Son of God he didn’t have to—he chose to out of submission so that he could show us how to submit our lives to God. The first word of his prayer in John 17 is, “Father.” I want to quickly show you from scripture how Jesus placed his dependence on his Father in heaven.
The author of Hebrews tells us:
7During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals, with loud cries and tears, to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. (Hebrews 5:7)
Early in his ministry we see a pattern of dependence revealed through Jesus’ prayer time with his Father:
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. Simon and his companions went searching for Him. They found Him and said, “Everyone’s looking for You!” And He said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.” (Mark 1:35-38)
Notice that Jesus understood that prayer should precede preaching. What is true for preaching is true for anything we do for Christ. Prayer is the place where we acknowledge our dependence on our Heavenly Father.
As more and more people pushed to see Jesus, he realized the importance of drawing his strength from his Father. That is so very clear in Luke 5:
But the news about Him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)
Throughout his life Jesus showed his dependence on the Father by going to him for strength, for direction, and for approval:
Before he selected the twelve he spent the whole night in prayer
After the feeding of the 5,000 he spent the evening in prayer
Before he raised Lazarus from the dead he went to his Father in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed “Father, Thy will be done.”
His first words from the cross were, “Father, forgive them,” and his last were, “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.”
If Jesus was dependent on His Father while he was here on earth, then we should realize that we must also be dependent on the Father in our daily lives. Jesus’ own testimony provides a wonderful picture of how important being dependent on the Father is. Listen to how The Message paraphrases Jesus words in John 5—