Summary: What is it that makes a church great? Prayer
Jesus Prayer for the Church
Turn this morning to John 17:13-23 (READ)
This morning I want to speak to you concerning what makes a great church. By looking at Scripture, what is it that makes a church great? This morning, you may be wondering, is Ballard Assembly a great church. I have found through all the books I have read many definitions of what makes a church great. There are a lot of people who do not know what makes a church great, they know where they have been but they are not sure where they are going.
I am afraid a lot of churches are like Charlie Brown whom one day just could not get his act together. I don’t know if you read Peanuts, I am not sure just how educated many of you are. One day Charlie Brown just could not handle it any more. Life just didn’t have any purpose or meaning to it so he went over to Lucy and anyone who has read Peanuts knows you have to be pretty desperate to go over to Lucy. He went over to Lucy and she had her psychiatric booth set up and was charging the fee of ten cents for advice that day. And he said, Lucy you are going to have to help me out, I don’t know anything about my life, I don’t have any meaning and purpose in it and he said you are just going to have to help me put my act together. And she looked at him in her know it all, sarcastic way and she said, Charlie Brown, life is like a deck chair. She said life is like a deck chair on a ship. Some people take their deck chair to the back of the ship, and they unfold it and they sit there looking at where they have been. She said other people take their deck chair, and they unfold it, and they put it on the front of the ship to look and see where they are going. Now she said, Charlie Brown, life is simple, where is your deck chair? She looked at him in desperation, and frustration was on his face and he scratched his head and said, Lucy I don’t know because I have never been able to get my deck chair unfolded.
A lot of churches are like that. They are not sure where they have been and they are a little fuzzy about where they are going. We turn to the Scripture to answer the question, why are we here today, why have we come together on Sunday morning, what is it that makes a great church?
And Jesus prayed for us in His prayer in John 17, and that is what we are going to be looking at, for Jesus makes gives us some points as to what we are supposed to be doing, what we are to be working in to be a great church.
Understand, this is a triumphant prayer. If you look at the last verse of chapter 16:33 you would read these words, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
When Jesus comes into chapter 17 in prayer, understand this church, he is coming in confidence, He is coming into prayer acknowledging that He is an overcomer, and He is also coming expressing His confidence in the Father. In John 17 there are 9 verses where Jesus makes a request to the Father for the church. Jesus is constantly in His prayer going to God the Father and asking for something special for us.
And then Jesus expresses confidence for you and me. Look at verse 20, My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, and in verse 20 He states, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. There is a confidence that Jesus has for you and me, a confidence that He is expressing here, that we will carry out his message to fruitation. And He prays that the Father will help us. Two Thousand years ago, Jesus looked and prayed for this church, for all the churches that exist today. That’s awesome!!!
Jesus had prayed for the church all those years ago and said I will build the church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Now there is a two-fold purpose found in John 17.
1. Jesus is reporting in prayer that He has fulfilled the Fathers purpose. He is reporting back and saying, Father, what you have given me to do I have done. Look at verse 4. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you have gave me to do. Verse 6 I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. vs. 8 For I have them the words you gave me . vs. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me vs. 14 I have given them your word vs. 18 As you send me into the world, I have sent them vs. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me vs. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may Be in them.