Summer Sermon Series
Pastor Tim Potter
- July 31, 2016
Individually Bearing the Name of Jesus in Our Time.
Prayer and Bible study are essential to the development of our spirit, that part of us that communicates with God. We are studying Jesus' prayer in John 17 to find the purpose of His life and how we can imitate it. In the second section, Jesus prays for His disciples at that time. His specific request in verse 11 is that they would be kept in the Father's name.
Four words describe Jesus' spiritual influence and the influence we are able to have because of who we are in Jesus Christ.
- Person (verses 6-8)
- Protection (verses 9-12)
- Paradox (verses 13-17)
- Purpose (verses 18-19)
As we discussed last week, Jesus had influence because He manifested God's name. He mirrored God's character on earth through His person.
God protected His Son, keeping Him for "the hour" to fulfill His perfect plan for salvation. Likewise, Jesus prayed for protection for His disciples. His prayer uses two words, "keep" and "guard," to describe two kinds of protection.
Jesus first prays for spiritual protection. We don't pray for physical protection for things that have no spiritual value. His disciples need the ability to manage their energy well and conserve it for things that matter eternally. Managing one's time, efforts, and knowledge of the Word requires spiritual discernment and protection.
The purpose of this protection is "that they may be one even as We are" (John 17:11). Most commentators interpret this verse to mean that all Christians should get along. This is often wrongly applied to the pursuit of cooperation without doctrinal agreement. In the context, it is more likely that Jesus is talking about one's individual relationship with God. Just as Jesus is one with the Father, we can relate well with God personally. This comes first from an understanding of Scriptural purity, which leads us to manage our resources well as we grow to understand Scripture. As we know God's expectations for us, we live them out to be Light within the church and without.
Secondly, Jesus prays for physical protection (John 17:12). He guarded His disciples, and He will guard us as we walk in obedience, so that our influence will remain both within the church and as light to unbelievers. If you live in the reverent, submitted, thankful way that Jesus modeled at the beginning of His prayer, you will live just as many days as God has planned for you – and no less.
When we are living this way, we are able to handle the paradoxes of following Christ. Jesus fully expects us to persevere well when we are walking with Him.
Joy in the midst of Hatred. Christians are hated by the world because of God's Word. The world is not used to the holy lifestyle of believing people. We will be alone, but we are enabled to love people anyway. We have the joy of Jesus, permanent and eternal, because we know our position before God and we can know that our lifestyle pleases Him.
Godliness in the midst of Worldliness. We live in the world while we are not of it. God has put you in specific places to be around people who need Jesus. Pray to demonstrate His love to them so they will understand the transformation that Jesus brings to a life.
Our commission is the same as Jesus: to see souls saved. Though we are strangers to the world, we do not go alone in this endeavor. Be encouraged! We go together with one another and in the presence of our God. Spiritual success will come when we pray and live in the order of Jesus' prayer.
- We often pray for protection for our family members. This is a good way to pray for all fellow believers: spiritual protection first, and physical protection so they can continue to have an influence.
- Your joy will be constantly full when you are living in simple obedience to God's Word. Do you know it well? Are you obeying it?
- John 17:19 says that Jesus sanctified Himself so that we "also may be sanctified in truth." Are you? Have you set yourself apart to God's purpose to reach lost souls?
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- John 2:4, John 8:59, John 10:39, Luke 4:28-30 – God protected His Son to fulfill His perfect plan for salvation.
- Psalm 66:18, 1 John 1:9 – Maintaining a personal relationship with God.
- Joshua 1:8, Psalm 139:16 – Physical protection is given for the purpose of spiritual influence.
- 1 Peter 4:1-6, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 – Light in the midst of worldliness.