Date: July 3, 2022
Speaker: Trent Thompson
Scripture: John 17:6-26
Series: Praying For Your Church
Happy Fourth of July, good weekend to hopefully have the day off. But to celebrate the independence of our nation, the freedom we find here to worship the Lord, which we are so thankful for. We are in a new series started last week where we are thinking about how to pray for our life together as a church. So we continue in that we started last week and look at John 17, the first part of it, and Jesus Prayer the night before he was taken to the cross. We continue that this week, we’re going to look at the second part of that prayer, or I guess, parts two and three, as I told you last week, it divides into three sections. So if you have a Bible, turn with me me to John chapter 17. John, chapter 17, the as you’re turning, there is a little bit of housekeeping one to remind you, a couple months ago, we did a series on a theology of race, ethnicity and justice, just because our sense is an elder board was that there was a need to help the people of God think through that through a biblical lens. We wrote a paper to go with that sermon series that we intended to be helpful to you. Then as we released that to you, you gave us many members of the congregation, gave some great feedback. As we listen to that feedback, we the elder board, went back to it and just in receiving that made a couple of adjustments to the paper, which we think makes it stronger and better. So thank you, thank you for your input your insights, want to just let you know, we made those adjustments, posted it to the website, it’s there, we’d love for you to take a look at it. Again, what we hope it does for you is helps you think through a biblical lens, and avoid kind of errors on either side of denial of justice or the need for but also helps shake up a biblical worldview in addressing issues of injustice. So that’s our hope. Now it’s there for you take advantage of it. Look at it. Just wanted to let you know that that was there. All right. So as we dive into God’s word, John, chapter 17, our trust we will make it there. Yes. If you didn’t bring a Bible, the words will be on the screen. I’ve asked my good friend Miss Leah Keith to come help me. So would you welcome Leah, as she comes up to help want to welcome her with me. Now, as we look at John chapter 17. Leah, I asked you, you told you I was gonna ask you one question and talk real good into that mic. Do you remember what was the question? I said, I was going to ask you. Describe my dad. Describe your dad. Now I’ve asked you two questions. What was the question? And describe your dad? So if you are going to describe your dad Leah, what are some things that you would say that would describe him? He’s kind He’s loving. He’s funny. He’s loving. What’s the funniest thing your dad does? Does a great monkey dance. I love that. Good. What else? Um, he’s a brother. He’s a husband. He’s a son. He’s a cousin. And he’s an uncle. He has a lot of roles. That’s awesome. Okay, anything else you want to share with us about your dad? He’s a hard worker. He’s a hard worker. Man. I bet your dad’s gonna be encouraged to hear that. Yeah. All right. Awesome. Thank you, Leah. So much. Would you all thank Leah, you can go sit down, honey, thank you so much. Well, as Leah is describing her dad, Ryan to us, that he’s loving and kind and funny, and a hard worker, I mean, those are all really wonderful things to be described as, and dads that kind of warms your heart right to think about your kids may be speaking about you in that way. But one of the things that you note is that she basically drew our attention to the fact that her dad is many things all at the same time. Right? How many of you inhabit more than one category of identity all at the same time? You’re a sister, maybe in a mother, you are a student and also a brother, right? So we all inhabit a lot of different categories by which we can be described. We agree, yes. As we come to John 17, in this prayer of Jesus, what I want you to see is that this prayer is more than one thing at the same time, in the same way that Ryan is a cousin and a dad and a brother and a hard worker. He’s all those things at the same time, Jesus Prayer and John 17 is more than two things, but at least two things at the same time that I want to highlight for you. It is both power and precedent. All right, power and precedent. So for my younger church, family members here, precedent is something like an example for us. So let me explain to you let me start with precedent and then go to power and explain what I mean. Because it’s gonna be really pivotal, that we understand this in order to understand Jesus Prayer here, and then be guided and praying in the same way. When we say precedent, that’s pretty much how we’re going to be approaching most of the New Testament texts that we’re going to look at over the course of the summer. We want to learn how to grow in our prayers for one another. My very simple agenda this summer, is that you and I would start praying differently than how we have been praying for one another, that our prayers would be empowered that they would grow, that they would become more frequent that we would really think about what it means to pray for one another. Is that a fair ambition? Yes. So that’s what we’re after this summer. So most of the texts we’re going to look at, they are a precedent for us, they’re going to teach us how to pray. We’re going to say things like, hey, pray that they would have knowledge of the truth, hey, pray that they would endure difficulty. Without, you know, giving up, we’re gonna see all kinds of things that are going to be great examples for us great precedents for us of how we can pray for one another. But the prayer that we’re looking at last week, and this week is different than every other prayer that we will look at. It’s different for one very specific reason. Because it’s not just Paul prayed this for the Ephesians. Now we get to look at it and follow the example of it in how we pray for one another. The reason this prayer is different is because it’s prayed by someone very specific, who is this prayer, prayed by pray by Jesus Himself. The thing I want you to recognize is not just that Jesus prayed it, and John recorded it in John 17. So we have a wonderful example to follow. Jesus didn’t just pray this as an example for us, he prayed it specifically for us. We’re going to see in the last two sections, if you remember last week, we saw that Jesus began this prayer, praying for the Father to glorify Him. He said, I want you to glorify me with the glory that I had with you, before the world ever came into existence. That’s an incredible thing to ponder, isn’t it? That Jesus begins this prayer. So we said, one of the demonstrations for us it means the first thing we should ever pray for one another is that we would have a hunger for the glory of Jesus in our lives. Would you agree with that, that we would hunger that Jesus would go, that’s how we should be praying, I’ve been praying, I followed my assignment, I pick three different people. In fact, I picked three young ones from among our congregation, and I prayed for them throughout this week, Jesus, give them a hunger for your glory. Help them to see that your glory is found through your cross, helping them to see the glory that you have in your co eternity with the Father, I hope that you prayed that this week, I hope you’ll keep praying that. But in the second two sections, the last two sections of his prayer, Jesus prays for his disciples who are there with him the night before his crucifixion. Then you pray specifically for us. I would argue that both of those things, both his prayers for the disciples, and those prayers for us, are all things that we can take as things Jesus prays for us. But here’s the thing I want you to get. When I say that Jesus, prayer has power. What I mean is this, Jesus, the Son of God has prayed the things that we’re about to look at for you. He has prayed them for you. Jesus, when he prays to the Father is always heard by the Father. Jesus, when he prays, always praise in perfect accordance with the will of the Father, so that the father never needs to hear Jesus prayer and say, That’s not my will. I’m gonna say no to that prayer. Sometimes I pray things and Jesus or in the Father say, No, have you gotten to know from God before? Yeah, you have, I promise you, because you’ve prayed something that God said, That’s not what I intend. You that’s not a fault. That’s just the reality of living with not being omniscient. Right with not knowing everything with not knowing all that God wills for you in specificity. That’s okay, that happens. Jesus has perfect knowledge. When he prays something, he never prays without a perfect knowledge of the will of the Father. So when he prays the will of the Father, the Father always hears them because he is perfectly righteous as the Son, God, the Father always says yes to the prayers of Jesus. What I want you to consider is that Jesus, in these prayers has prayed for you 1000s of years before you have come into existence, and you are the recipient of those prayers, to which the father always says what? Yes. You have now available to you the power of these prayers, because they were prayed by the sun. I want you to remember more than that. It’s not just an example for us. It’s not just that Jesus has prayed them for us. It’s that Romans 8, verse 34, tells us that having been raised from the dead, Jesus now intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father. Do you think the things he prayed in John 17? He might still be praying today at the right hand of the Father. My guess is yes. My guess is the very thing that Jesus prayed in these words for us and left for us. He is praying right now before the throne of the Father, that he is saying, Father, make them one. You and I are one. Father, keep them from the evil one. Father, keep them in your name. Father, fill them with the love that exists between you and I may Without love being them. He is praying that Now Hebrews 7, verse 25, says he always lives to make intercession for us. Now, do you see the glory of that? Do you see the power of that the weight of that it’s not just that we would learn to pray this way. Oh, how I pray that we would learn to pray this way. Oh, how I pray that we church would begin to pray for one another with greater fervency and intentionality, and biblical centeredness in the way that we pray for each other. But we have more than an example here, we have the very Son of God, praying for us these things, and if he has prayed it, it will come to pass. Because the father does not refuse the son, I need you to see the weight of that. In the moments where you fit. Look, there may not be many seasons in most of our lives where we have felt like the church is more divided than right now. Have you felt a little bit of that? Now don’t just mean us I mean, the followers of Jesus globally, but in particular, in our in our national experience. In those moments, those are the hardest ones where it’s it’s hard to feel like Jesus is answering or God is answering these prayers. Right? I mean, does it feel like he’s answering the prayer that we would be one? If I’m honest, I don’t know that it feels that much like that prayer is being answered. If Jesus has prayed it, the father has answered it. It will be. It’s most important that we hold on to the fact that this is yes, it is not maybe and it is not. No, it is yes. In the moments where it feels like we see the least amount of this prayer being answered. That’s the time it’s most important to remember, it was prayed by Jesus for us, and it will come. Would you agree with that? All right. So let’s ponder that then today. This prayer is power. It is precedent. So let’s begin then to look at it we’re going to look at a section by section okay.
The first section we’re going to look at is this has a purpose I promise I’ll get through. First section we’re going to look at is in chapter 17, verses 6 through 19. But let’s just read verses 6 through 11. Here’s what I want you to see. verses 1 through 5, Jesus prayed for his own glory. Now we come to this prayer. I have manifested your name, he says in verse 6, to the people whom you gave me out of the world, yours they were and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me. And they have received them and have come to know and truth that I came from you. And they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I’m not praying for the world. But for those whom you’ve given me, for they’re yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine. And I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world. But they are in the world. And I am coming to you now here’s the first request. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which You have given me, Holy Father, keep them in your name, which You have given me. You know, the world can be a dangerous place. Would you agree? There can be temptations? There can be difficulties, there can be trial. Yeah, go ahead, honey. Yeah, so the world is dangerous, and not just Nerf gun dangerous. That comes fast. Pause, pause. It’s a dangerous place. Right? Always wear your glasses. You know, but Jesus begins his prayers by praying prayers of protection for us because he knows the world is a dangerous place. He knows where he’s left us. He’s not under any illusions where he’s left us. So he’s given us a tool. Let’s try that again. We’re done. Yeah, that’s Emerson. Good job. Now we have nerf bullets scattered everywhere up here. The first kinds of prayers Jesus prays are for our protection. There’s two specific ways he prays that we’d be protected. The first one I just read to you, when he says Father, keep them in your name. Keep them in your name and others protect now we have to understand what that prayer means because we could understand me and a couple of different things. So let’s just let’s do our work and get our eyes on the text. The second type of protection we’re going to see is that he’s praying that we’d be protected from the evil one. Protected from the evil ones are two types of protection. So go back again with me to verse six. Let’s understand this phrase where Jesus prays, Father, keep them in your name. Look at verse 6. Again, he says, I have manifested your name. Now we live in a culture where this idea of manifesting is kind of taken hold, like, and it’s the idea that you can just kind of think hard enough about something, meditate on it hard enough and make it come to pass. That’s a bunch of bunk. Okay? That’s New Age garbage. All right. So when Jesus says, I have manifested your name, he doesn’t mean that he thought really hard about the person of the Father. Somehow he’s brought and manifest some something into existence. What he means is this, to manifest something means to make it visible, something that was invisible, made visible. When he says, I’ve manifested your name, he doesn’t just mean like, specifically the name Yawei, or Elohim, or Jehovah Jireh, all these Old Testament names for God, he doesn’t mean he’s demonstrated or spoken a name of God, the name of God is the representation of his nature. So that when he says, I have manifested your name, what he’s saying is, I have made visible what you are like, does that make sense everybody, I’ve made visible what you are like the truth about your nature, the truth about your work in the world, but who you are and what you’re like. So let’s just make it really simple. Then when Jesus says, He comes further, and he says, in verse 8, I have given them your word. In other words, one of the ways I’ve manifested your name, one of the ways I’ve made you visible, what you’re like, is, through speaking, the words that you gave me to speak. Nothing that I have spoken is something other than what you gave me to speak, Father, Jesus says. So then when it comes to verse 11, and he says, keep them in your name. What he’s saying is, let them not depart from the truth that I have revealed about you. The thing that I’ve shown you to be like the truth about who you are, keep them in that truth. Don’t let them walk away from it. Don’t let them start believing something other than what I’ve shown you to be. Don’t let them start believing that you’re a God who requires them to earn their salvation. Don’t let them start believing that you are a God, who is anything other than full of grace, and love and truth and justice. Let them keep believing everything that I have shown them about you Everybody with me so far. Yeah. So what is just prayed church is I want my disciples and us to, I believe, to be kept in the truth, to not wander away from it.
Now there’s a couple of implications of that, can I just highlight them for you? Number one, is that if Jesus is praying this 2000 years ago, more than 2000 years ago, now, it means the truth has always been under attack. We are not the first generation to feel like the truth about who God is, has come under attack. The attack looks a little different now. Because the results of post modernity and relativism and all this stuff where we get to this place where we’re not even sure truth is a real thing anymore. So truth is under attack in that way. But 2000 years ago, truth was under attack, which is under attack in different ways. The truth about who God is, because of the fallenness of the world has always been under attack. So can I just say this, don’t freak out. We’re not the first group of people that had to say, no, no, God has revealed himself to be a certain way. Can I show you what he’s shown us? We are a people who believe in the doctrine of Revelation, which is to say, we only know what we know about God, because he’s chosen to reveal it. Apart from what he has revealed, we would know nothing. If he didn’t show Himself to us, we wouldn’t know him. We don’t have the minds, we are finite, we are tiny, we are impermanent, in our own flesh. As a result of that, you and I would know nothing of him, except for the kindness of him to show Himself to us praise God. Now, I want to know you. I’ve revealed myself in my creation, I’ve revealed myself most fully in the person of Jesus, and then through my word to you, so you might know who I am. So listen. The truth is always been under attack, always without exception. So don’t freak out. Now. What else this tells us is that when we pray, we need to pray for protection in the truth. Now, I’m not a big fan of believers with a fake persecution complex. Okay, real persecution is worth identifying and shoot being shielded from and asking God for protection from but not the kind of stuff that where we sort of cry wolf all the time. That’s not the kind of thing that we need to be spending our time and energy on. But when Jesus is teaching us to pray this way, he is teaching us that we do need to be protected in the truth. In particular, can I speak to my younger brothers and sisters For those of us who have lived a little while, you get a little older. Hopefully what happens is you get more secure in your identity. If you walk with Jesus, you will become more firm in your certainty of who he is, how much he loves you, and how much he has revealed the Father to you. But those of you who are younger you are particularly in a vulnerable stage of life, where you are figuring out who God’s made you to be what he’s called you to do. With that time that it takes to shore up your sense of identity, there is a vulnerability that you are in your stage of life right now, it’s not wrong, that you’re there. But you’re in a stage of life where you are more vulnerable to believe the things the world wants you to believe about the nature of God that aren’t true. You are more vulnerable right now. It this states, the thing that you are facing, which I think is different than what I was facing when I was 18, 19 or 20 is not just that the speed of change seems to be faster. It’s that it hides itself. In a in a much greater way. It looks more like love, but it’s not. It looks like compassion, but it’s not. It looks like you know, kind of graciousness, but it’s actually not. The thing that you’re facing is whether you can cling to truths that are hard for the world to hear about God. Just recognize that any version where you make up things about God that are palatable, palatable to the world is just making God in your own image. It’s just trying to make him in such a way that you like him. Can I just tell you, God’s not insecure, he doesn’t need you to like him. He is who He is. You either come to Him as He is, or you make him up. Our prayer is that you would receive Him as He is because everything that he is good and right. There is no such thing you ever said this all the time, and I’m just gonna keep repeating it seems to bear repeating, there is no such thing as love apart from the person of Christ. True Love. There is no such thing as joy lasting and deep apart from the person of Christ. There is no such thing as truth, apart from the person of Christ, there is no such thing as life, in all its fullness, apart from the person of Christ. It doesn’t exist. It’s a myth. There are things that look like it, they’re pretty good replicas in some sense. But once you get close to him, hold them for a while they are fool’s gold. The other thing that I would highlight is that Jesus has given us a great instruction here, because as he prays, Father, keep them in your name. One of the things that he’s speaking to us is, classes and seminars, as good as they may be, are not the primary tool that he has given us to keep succeeding generations in the revelation of God given to us by Jesus. What is our primary tool, prayer, it’s prayer, pray, and pray and pray. I think sometimes we worry. We think we need to instruct, instruct, instruct, and there is value in instruction. But more than that, we need to what church pray, we should be praying, and not just over the rising generation, but for every single one of us, Father, keep them in your name. Keep them in your name. Now, he says here, follow me verse 11, go back to virtual humans get our eyes in the text again. He says, I’m no longer in the world, but they are in the world, which is why they need protection, Jesus is gone. I’m coming to you, Holy Father, keep them in your name, which You have given Me that they may be one, even as we are one. So let’s just note this and put a pin in it, because we’re gonna come back to it. What is he saying there? Those who are kept in his name? Why does he want them to be kept in his name, so that they would be one, so that they would be one as the father and the son or one. So that’s the reason it’s not just that he wants us to be kept in his name, is that he wants us to be kept. So that we would be one and we’re gonna see why does he want us to be one here in just a moment. So let’s keep going. The next thing he prays for protection for us is that he prays that we will be protected from the evil one. So again, follow me verse 12. Now just picking up right where we left off, while I was with them, I kept them in your name, which You have given me, I’ve guarded them and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction. That’s Judas, that the scriptures might be fulfilled. But now I’m coming to you. These things I speak in the world that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word. The world has hated them, because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one, they are not of the world just as I am not of the world. So pause there. Notice that he repeated in verse 14 and 16, the same thing says they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. That’s what I want you to see, when when Jesus repeats something twice in three verses, it’s, he means pay attention. Yes, like, get your eyes out and look. So he’s saying, You’re not of the world. John 16, the verse right before this prayer begins, he says, In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world. So then in between those statements about us not being of the world, just as he is not of the world, therefore the world hates those whom are not of the world who are not like it, who don’t share its values. He says, I don’t pray that You would take them out of the world, which might be disappointing for just a second, yes. Because if you’re sitting there and you’re the disciples, and you’re thinking, he says, man, the world is gonna hate you like it hated me. You might like it if he said, So Father, let’s go ahead and get them out of there. Let’s go ahead and take them out. Wouldn’t it be an interesting experiment? If Jesus said, every time someone believes me, I’m just taking them out of the world right away. But he specifically praised the opposite of that. He says, I don’t pray that you would do what? Take them out of the world. Rather, I pray that you would keep them from the evil one. Now, here’s what I want you to see church family, is that as Jesus is praying that he clearly does not mean protect them from every difficulty, or that every difficulty that they will encounter as a result of living in the world is a spiritual attack. That’s clearly not what he means, because he’s just said, I actually don’t want you to remove them from the place where I know that they are going to have difficulty. Are you with me? Is that make sense? Yes. He specifically said not to do that. Then he says, but what I do want you to do father is protect them from the evil one. So what does that mean? Well, what it could mean, what it could mean, and quite possibly does mean is that he wants us to be protected from the spiritual attacks of the enemy. Right now remember, Emerson was shooting darts at me, the devil shoots darts, they are flaming, fiery darts. Ephesians chapter 6 says they are not nerf. Okay. Ephesians chapter 6 says, that we are to extinguish those darts with the shield of what anybody remember, the shield of faith that we’ve been given the shield of faith? How does the shield of faith grow bigger and stronger? Through prayer? How is that shield imparted to us through prayer, as we pray, our faith grows, our confidence grows, and we are able to extinguish those fiery darts that are shot at us. Now, when Jesus says, keep them from the evil one. Father, it’s very true that he may have in mind their spiritual attacks that the enemy would bring against us. But let me just say that it points that can be hard to distinguish what things are spiritual attack, what things are not. Let’s just use it as an example physical illness. Let’s just do a scriptural survey here real quick. When you think about physical illness, there are multiple sources that are the possible source of spiritual illness according to the Bible. So when you look at Mark chapter 5, you see a man who’s demon oppressed, certainly a spiritual attack, and he has a lot of physical ailments that are a result of that spiritual attack. So there we see, along with Matthew chapter 8, an example of physical illness caused by spiritual attack. Yet at the same time, John, chapter 9, we find a man born blind, and the Pharisees asked, Who sinned, this man was born blind him or his parents, and what’s Jesus response, no one send. It’s not a spiritual attack. It’s as a result of God, that God wants to glorify himself through this man in a certain way at a certain time, and therefore, he was born blind, physical illness, as a result of the sovereignty of the Father, the sovereign design and plan of God. Then we find in Matthew chapter 9, a woman has been bleeding for 12 years and he touches the hem of Jesus garment. She is made well praise God, that illness doesn’t seem to be the result of any sin, anything. She’s done any particular spiritual attack. It’s just living in a fallen world where illness and sickness are a reality. Matthew, chapter 9, last one, 1 Corinthians chapter 11, we’re about to take communion at the end of our time together. There, the believers in Corinth are taking communion in such a way that they’re not considering their lives before the Lord. They are continuing to divide from one another and continue to walk in sinful patterns. What does Paul say? He says, as a result of that, some of you have gotten sick, some of you who have even died physical illness as a result of their own sinful patterns and practices. Do you see my point is that here’s this one thing and it comes from four or five different sources according to the Scriptures. It’s not always easy to discern which is which everybody with me? So if that’s the case, it’s not Probably Jesus primary emphasis in this text that he’s saying, protect them just from spiritual attack. Can I tell you what he’s definitely praying the father would do when He says, keep us from the evil one. He is saying, Father, keep them from the evil one being able to tempt them into sin. Keep them from the evil one being able to tempt them into sin. 1 Corinthians 10 says this, it says that there is no temptation except what is common to man. In other words, every believer will face temptations. He doesn’t say, don’t let the enemy bring temptations. What he’s saying is, don’t let them fall into those temptations when they come. Give them the perseverance, the wisdom, the endurance, the godly character all in place, so that they might not turn to sin and walk in it. This is what Jesus prayed for you and me. So that when we leave this place today, do you know that when first Corinthians chapter 10, says, there’s no temptation except what is common to man, and God is faithful, He will always provide a way out, when that temptation comes, that’s a promise from God to you. What that means is, I never have the excuse, I had to sin. I had no other choice. It was the only way. There were no other options. If you find yourself thinking that way, can I tell you that’s not true. When you are tempted into sin, there is always a way of escape. God has promised He will provide it, therefore he will provide it. Now, Jesus is praying that and here’s my encouragement to us. These first two sections of prayer are about protection. And wouldn’t it be good if we learn to pray this way for one another? Don’t you think we might ought to pray Father, keep them in your name, Father, protect them from the evil one. Let’s begin to pray that way, as Jesus has given us that example.
Now. Let’s turn to the next section. Let’s look at this before we come to the Lord’s table. This is really the thrust of the prayer, the center of the prayer, if you will, we already saw in verse 11. Now we’re going to see in verses 20, through 23. So let’s put our eyes in the text again, and look with me at verse 20, through 23. Now he turns from specifically praying for the disciples to praying for you and I look at verse 20. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that’s you and me. That they may all be one, just as you father are in Me and I in you, they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent me the glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as we are one. That’s the third time that he has qualified the kind of oneness He wants us to have. He did in verse 11. He just did it in verse 21. Now he’s doing it again in verse 22, that they may be one, as you and I father are one that’s gonna be really important. Verse 23, I in them, and you and me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them, even as you loved me. All right, let’s break down those texts here for just a moment. But before we do, let me give you an example of this. Anybody ever studied the Great Barrier Reef? Great Barrier Reef is 1600 miles long off the coast of Australia. It’s made up of all this coral that stretches on those lines. It is home to more than 9000 species of animals and that’s pretty incredible to do. They they garner their life, their protection, their safety, their homes, all from this Great Barrier Reef, their food, the whole deal, right 9000 species, it is made up. It is made up of all these different things. Now, let me ask this, how many of you would say the Great Barrier Reef is made up of rock and how many of you say plant who says rock? Who says plant? Did you know it’s a trick question. It’s neither it’s an animal. There’s an animal called a polyp, tiny little organism. And the reason it gets hard and turns and you see that coral is because it captures calcium from the seawater around it surrounds itself to make a home for itself. And there are 10,000 polyps per square meter of that great barrier reef. Picture that for 1600 miles. When those polyps form that grab that calcium from the seawater and form it, it attaches them to one another. It’s through that union that they have with one another that they form that reef and that reef provides life and something incredible. The Great Barrier Reef is one of only a few things in all of nature that can be seen from space. You can see the Great Barrier Reef from space. It’s the unity of those polyps. That makes something incredible and life giving possible, how much more so our unity with one another. When we are one with one another, the way the Father and the Son are one, something incredible happens, something profound and something life giving happens. Now let me highlight a couple things about this oneness. The first thing is that it’s a oneness, rooted in truth, that’s really important to understand. When Jesus says, make them one, give them the glory that I’ve had with you, the glory of Jesus is to reveal the Father. So go back to what he already said in verse six, when he says, I’ve manifested your name, and he’s already prayed, keep them in your name. What he’s saying is, you cannot have unity without truth, the union, the oneness of my people, is going to be based upon the fact that they believe true things about who you are God, and there is no unity, there is no oneness apart from that. So that’s the first thing that he prays, when he says, I want them to be one the way you and I are one. Now listen, we will spend the rest of our lives and I’m not exaggerating, we will spend the rest of our lives pondering what it means that you and I are supposed to be one the way the Father and the Son are one. Because you and I are not the Godhead, we are not trying. We are not one God in three persons. So there’s certain aspects of his oneness that we can’t emulate, because we lack divinity. But there are certain aspects of what we can. Let me highlight two of those for you today, the Father and the Son are one and we should be one, in at least these two ways, and many others in our mutual love for one another. In our mutual love for one and our union of purpose, the father and the son have one purpose, and they are not confused about it. There is no time at which the Father and the Son are sort of fighting for the remote control of history. In Heaven, they are not going I want to do this, no, I want to do that I want this to happen, I want that to happen. There is never a challenge between them. They are perfectly one in their purpose. We are meant to be one in our purpose to We exist for the glory of the God in the glory of God revealed in Jesus, for making disciples in Him and for Him. Do not be confused, we are to be one in purpose. The Father and the Son are one in mutual love for one another, there is no sense in which the Father loves the Son a little more than the son loves the Father, or where there’s, you know, I’m kind of having a grumpy day. I don’t really love you that much anymore. I don’t love what you did, I’m gonna go slam my door to my room, and I’ve just had enough of you and just give me some space, the Father and the Son are perfectly mutual at all times in their perfect love for one another. And we are to be one in our love for one another. One and purpose, one in love. That’s at least part of what it means to be one the way the Father and the Son are one. Now let me let me talk about the tension between unity and truth. Because since the day Jesus prayed this, and long before it, there’s always been a tension between unity and truth. Here’s that tension. It is, as I said, this clearly again, and again, when Jesus and keep them in your word. Give them the glory that I gave them, keep them in your name, he is rooting any unity we have in the truth. Therefore, like so many denominations that right now the Christian Reformed Church, the United Methodist Church that I grew up in, are going through this exact thing, where there are people who just say, no, no, we just need to be one. But they are denying the truth about who God is. You cannot just say, no, no, we need to be unified when you’re ignoring truth that reveals who God is, right? It’s that truth about who God is that makes you one. Yet at the same time, we cannot act as if Jesus is praying this prayer, and there’s everything is of equal importance so that we can’t say, Well, I’m a divisive person, and I’m dividing from the body. I can’t be one with them. Because you’re claiming everything is a truth of first importance. There are such a thing as secondary, important issues. Yes. You just are. So this is the tension and friends. Can I just say I have no easy answers for you. I have no easy formula for how you discern. Right I was I was doing some homework this week and researching and reading some guys that Kevin D young and other guys I really appreciate. I was really ministered to when I read Kevin young and he said, I don’t know how to give you an answer to this question. Because there’s always going to be the tension between holding on to truth and staying unified. What I can tell you is we have to value them both. It’s why as a pastor it It stayed I don’t like it when people leave our church family. I mean, it stinks. I get discouraged when that happens. I’m sure you get discouraged, too, if it’s people you’re close to, and that you love, but I also don’t get angry about it. Because I understand I don’t think we are denying truth in any way in our church family. If I did, I would change that. I don’t believe we are in any way. But I understand when brothers and sisters say, you know, I really think this is a primary important issue. I think I need to be in a church that that aligns with me on this. I don’t get angry about that, because I understand the tension between unity and truth. What I can tell you is, if you are a person who’s quick to divide, you probably need to spend time thinking about I’m supposed to be one, I’m supposed to be one, I’m supposed to be one. If you are a person who tends to never ever see any cause for division, and tend to wash over the truth, and just be like, no, no, no, I just, I just want it. I just want no conflict, maybe the reality. If that’s you, then you need to think about the fact that you only have union in the truth. Both those things are true. They’re not exclusive of one another. Am I making sense? It’s hard. It’s hard. We have to pray. That’s why Prayer is our greatest tool. pray and pray and pray again, make us one make us one, make us one. Now, we are propelled to pray. We’re propelled to pray, when we see the purpose of it. So he said, Father, make them one, the way you and I are one, so that others may believe that You sent Me. In other words, the purpose of this prayer is not just so we would have the warm fuzzy of being one with one another. It’s because he wants other people to believe in Jesus, that Jesus is saying, I want other people to believe that you sent me that I am the revelation of the Father. When we are one, that is what is revealed? Do you get a sense of the importance of our oneness by that? He’s saying there’s an evangelistic purpose to our oneness. When you are one with one another. People will see evidence that I am the revelation of the Father. When you’re not one, the opposite happens, right? When we’re not one, we don’t bear one another’s burdens. We don’t fill ourselves with mutual love. We don’t pursue one another. When we when we allow a lack of reconciliation to exist between us. When we harbor ill thoughts about one another. It diminishes the evidence to a watching world that Jesus is the revelation of God. That He is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE. It’s an evangelistically driven prayer that Jesus is praying. I’m gonna show you in a minute why it works like how it works and why it works because it gets passed. It’s not the it’s not the mind is unimportant. But it has a way of getting past some of the objections that the mind sometimes puts up, and it gets down into the heart. I’ll show you how in a moment. But the thing I want you to see church is that Jesus is praying this and when he’s praying, he’s praying so that the world would believe that you sent me. Here’s what, here’s what that tells me at least one of the things that tells me the kind of oneness that we must have with one another must be of such a kind, that it causes the world to notice it. It’s easy to be one with people who are just like you. It’s not hard. People who think like you people who look like you people who have the same interests as you, people who have the same educational background who make the same amount of money. That’s pretty easy oneness. No one is going to notice that the kind of oneness that actually bears fruit, for belief is the kind of oneness that is across barriers and boundaries that the world look at and go, How in the world can those people be one? There must be something different going on among them, and in them. It’s a hard oneness, not an easy oneness, otherwise it wouldn’t have evangelistic bearings. Does that make sense?
The last thing that we see is the Jesus verse 23, go down to verse 23. This is Jesus explains how this works, says, I in them and you and me that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me so up to that point, it’s everything he’s already said, and then and loved them, even as you love to me. So he says, I want them to be one, not just so that the world would have believed that you sent me but also the world would see how much you love them. Our oneness. Here’s how evangelizes the loss here’s how it causes people to believe or provides strong evidence to people who don’t believe it causes them to go. Those people must be so certain that they are loved by someone so great and grand, that they can then love other people who are not like them. They must be so certain of their identity as a loved son or a loved daughter, do you know that people who know that they’re loved make really great choices. People who know that they’re loved, not just by another human being who is flawed and frail, as wonderful as it is to know that, how much greater is it to know that you are loved by a perfect Heavenly Father. That’s who you are, your loved more profoundly more deeply, more perfectly with greater persistence and tenacity than you could possibly fathom? That’s how loved you are. When you are one with one another, it reveals how much you know that when I can love you, in spite of different ethnic backgrounds, different language barriers, different socio economic statuses, when I can do that, and you can do that, it shows that we must know how loved we are, because no one gives that kind of love, when they don’t know that already. You only can give that kind of love when you are certain that you have received that kind of love. Does that make sense? That’s why this works. That’s why oneness is so important. That’s why you can’t just dismiss it. That’s why you have to pray fervently for it. Can I tell you friends, as I’ve been studying this this week, here’s my commitment to you. I do not believe that I have prayed nearly fervently enough, these kinds of prayers for our church family and for the church at large. I commit to change that. I hope you’ll come along with me. I hope you’ll begin to pray this way. I hope you’ll begin to pray for the oneness of our body. For the church at large. I hope you’ll begin to pray keep them in your name, Father, keep them in the truth. Keep them from the evil one. Let him know how loved they are so that they would love one another so that the world would believe that you sent me. That’s what Jesus is saying, what a wonderful example precedent for us, and what a wonderful demonstration of power because he is the one praying. Those prayers are still in effect. He is still at the right hand of the Father praying for us. So take courage church, He has not left you alone. He has given you the great tool and weapon of Prayer and the Spirit indwelling you so that you might grow up into him in every way. So that we might do it together.
Come to the table the Lord now servers if you come we come to the table board a couple of things for us friends, just to remind us. Number one, let me remind you that as we come to this table, what we’re what we are bearing witness to is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that has purchased for us the ability to pray the prayers that we’re talking about, we can pray before the Father, because of the work of the Cross. The union that he calls us to have is a union rooted in the work of the Cross. So friends, I pray that we’d see that today. The scriptures always instruct us as we come to this table to not partake of it lightly. What that means is that we would allow the Lord to weigh our lives, our choices, our mindsets, our patterns of thought, and to say where do they please you and where do they not father. So today expect that as you hold these elements, you may receive an attaboy or an out of girl from the Lord You may also receive a word of correction. He may say to you this needs to change this relationship needs to be pursued this reconciliation, this forgiveness given my prayers that you would hold yourself with openness before the Spirit of God. The last thing is for those of you who are our friends, and who we love, if you have not placed your faith in Jesus, recognize that these elements represent our faith. We are saying when we take them we believe and we would not want you to say by partaking him that you believe when you do not yet believe you’re in the right place. Keep journeying with us. Here I say to you, the love of God is extended to you in the person of Jesus. But for today, ponder, consider that invitation that he makes to you to be reconciled to the Father through him. But let the elements pass so that you wouldn’t proclaim with your action something you do not believe in your heart. Something you do not yet believe in your mind. That would be our encouragement to you in this time. So servers if you come and we’ll partake together in just a moment as we receive the elements.