Summary: The third in a series exploring Jesus prayer of John 17. This message explores the final two petitions: our unity, and our sanctification. A full audio of the message is available at no charge.
(Opened this message by having congregation bow their heads, close their eyes, and rest in praying of John 17. Then prayed the Scripture.)
Last week we began exploring Jesus three requests for us.
Interesting twist to verses 14 & 15
Harm comes through the world, but it is from the enemy, the evil one, Satan. (Ephesians 6:10-12)
The problem - We don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, but what we do wrestle with often takes up residence in flesh and blood.
Important to understand that prayer is spiritual warfare.
This conflict took all of 19 verses to unfold in Genesis. It can be found in every book of God’s Word.
Jesus knew it was about to overwhelm the disciples.
And it is a conflict that can still overwhelm the church today.
Prayer is spiritual warfare and warfare is not comfortable -
It is bloody
There are casualties
Not everyone survives
Rules of fairness are thrown out
The enemy, especially when defeated, plays dirty.
So we need to learn to pray as in battle. But. . .
We don’t have to shout.
We don’t have to use special formula prayers
We don’t even have to fully understand the battle
We do need to recognize the battle, and pray.
Emphasized that doing battle alone is not healthy.
(Plug prayer teams, and 5 day fast block)
There is a reason why Jesus prayed
for our protection from the enemy. . .
We find it in verse 11 (read)
He was praying. . .
PROTECTION FOR THE PURPOSE OF UNITY ¡V
A prayer that we be one.
v. 11, 20-21, 22-23
Highly Complex Greek Study - heis (one)
Lexicon Definitions - One: one
A second key request of Jesus was for unity.
And with good reason.
Some time ago I came upon a fellow on a trip who was carrying a Bible.
"Are you a believer?" I asked him.
"Yes,¨ he said excitedly.
I’ve learned you can’t be too careful.
"Virgin birth?" I asked.
"I accept it."
"Deity of Jesus?"
"Death of Christ on the cross?"
"He died for all people."
Could it be that I was face to face with a Christian? Perhaps.
Nonetheless, I continued my checklist.
"Status of man."
"Sinner in need of grace."
"Definition of grace."
"God doing for man what man can’t do."
"Return of Christ?"
"The body of Christ."
I started getting excited. "Conservative or liberal?"
He was getting interested too. "Conservative."
My heart began to beat faster.
"Southern Congregationalist Holy Son of God
Dispensationalist Triune Convention."
That was mine!
"Pre-millennial, post-trib, noncharismatic, King James, one-cup communion."
My eyes misted. I had only one other question.
"Is your pulpit wooden or fiberglass?"
"Fiberglass," he responded.
I withdrew my hand and stiffened my neck. "Heretic!" I said and walked away.
We, the body of Christ, are highly fractured.
(Compare church to UK fans only rooting for one player rather than whole team.)
Why would Jesus pray this? (Luke 22:14-26)
- Just had the Lord’s Supper
- Possibly attacking each other (v. 23)
- Clear signs of lack of unity despite 3 years together
Francis Frangipane writes, "The only unity
the disciples knew that night was a common fear
and a collective abandonment of Christ."
What does the unity Jesus is praying for look like-
The trinity (v. 11) - Apple & Egg
In each other (v. 21) - 2 in one coat
Bound by God’s glory (v. 22) - movie heros tied back to back in chairs.
Standing in Jesus place (v. 24)- athlete’s glory after parent’s death
Great picture of this meshing of unity and prayer
in James 5:13-16.
Confession piece leads us to the third petition/request.
"The shallow, immature level of the church has never stopped Christ from praying for its perfection." (Francis Frangipane)
v. 17-19, v. 23
Good News - One word: hageeadzo
Bad News - Difficult word to understand
Theological Definitions - 1 to be venerable or hallow.
2 to separate from profane things and dedicate to God.
3 to purify. free from the guilt of sin.
According to the George Barna Research Group,
"When pressed to describe what it means to be holy, American adults give a wide range of answers. According to new research by Barna, the most common reply is "I don’t know," offered by 1 out of every 5 adults. Other responses fall into categories such as "being Christ-like", making faith your top priority in life, living a pure or sinless lifestyle, and having a good attitude about people and life. Other response categories include focusing completely on God, being guided by the Holy Spirit, being born again, reflecting the character of God, exhibiting a moral lifestyle, and accepting and practicing biblical truth."
There is some truth in many of those answers.