I love to see these verses we are about to read because I see Jesus really taking care of some important prayer requests to the Father. It was so important to Jesus that He pleaded with the Father to watch over His men that were carrying out Jesus’ commands. Today I truly believe the church that desires to be a healthy one will focus on the Gospel of Christ and never allow the world to influence its purpose.
(John 17:1-6) Jesus knew it would be just hours until He would give His life on the cross for all mankind. He looked up toward Heaven and asked the Father to glorify Him so He could glorify His father. Jesus has the power over everything, as we saw in His life here on earth through all His miracles. His power to give eternal life to all that will call upon the name of Jesus is the most wonderful gift that was ever given. When we that are saved truly believed what Jesus did upon that cross to save us, Jesus called us His! And to know Him through His Word is actually what Jesus was praying in this prayer in verse 3.
With all the years Jesus walked upon this earth, He always was about the Father’s business. How wonderful to think that Jesus went back to Heaven and took His place beside the Father, where He once sat and spoke the world into existence. Jesus said, in verse 6, that His disciples “have kept thy Word.” That is so very important for the work of the Lord. These disciples knew that the Word of Jesus came from the Father, and so do we! We know that Jesus was referring to His disciples, but I believe He was talking about everyone that would call upon the name of Jesus. His church should be full of saved people who are doing the same thing.
(John 17:7-10) The disciples knew that everything Jesus had taught them was from the Father, just as we know the true Word of God.
We have also received this wonderful Word, and we know that Jesus is the only Son of God and God sent His Son into the world to pay for our sins. The most wonderful thing is said in verse 10 about us saved people — that we can glorify the Lord God. We can glorify Him by receiving eternal life. A commentary said, “Both God’s glory and Jesus glory are found in the completion of the great work of salvation!”
They lived for Jesus and their lives brought Jesus glory. They were obedient to His Word, worked for Him spreading the gospel and were loyal to Jesus doing as He had said. The work of spreading the gospel was all up to them, and now is up to His church!
(John 17:11) What a statement from Jesus saying He wants us to be one as He is with His Father. To be that close in heart felt thinking and working for the Lord is important. As a church, our minds should always be that of the Lord’s will in all our actions and work. The more a church realizes this, the closer a relationship with the Father is experienced. Isn’t it wonderful to think of Jesus saying that He desires a oneness with His church?
When I worked in a cotton gin, I quickly realized how important it was for me to do my job and for all of us there, to be as one working for the same end. If I or anyone else failed in what we were doing, the gin would shut down. I think each person in God’s church needs to think of how much their work for the Lord is worth. Each church is full of people that can carry the work of the Lord to the next level. If but a few would really be sold out for the work in each church, we would see real revival and a oneness in our churches that would glorify the Lord God in a big way.
Jesus tells in the next few verses how He has kept the disciples and now Jesus wants His disciples to realize the joy He has. Then he warns that the world hates His own because they are not of this world!
(John 17:16-18) We are to live a separated life apart from this world. Jesus explained that He was not of the world, and we are not of the world. Those that are His are to live a life that shows it.
Set apart for a holy use, cleanse us Lord through thy Word that is pure and true!
The church that stays in the Word of God will never allow the world to influence its purpose. The strength we get from God’s Word will never return void and it will help Church growth and stability. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15).
The Lord Jesus sent the Church to carry out His mission of seeking the lost. The more people a church wins to Jesus, the more it experiences strength and growth. There is little time to dwell on matters that will disrupt the church when people are getting saved. I have noticed the atmosphere is different when souls are being won for Christ. The desire for the Word of God increases and the awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence grows. Thinking as one with the Lord is important.
That is the reason I think a church should have a continuing soul winning class. We cannot put desire into the hearts of our people, but I believe if we show them that they can be a part of sharing the gospel and seeing themselves as a useful vessel unto service, they will turn into a servant following the Lord’s will!
A strange thing happens to people who start winning souls. They notice the shape of their lives and do a lot of house cleaning! They want to live a life that is holy as much as they can. They also maintain their identity with Christ. They don’t want anything they do to affect someone listening to them!
Editor’s Note: Part II of the sermon will appear in next week’s issue.