John 17.13-26 Sent, Like Jesus

April 27, 2008 Series: Gospel According to John

Topic: Gospel Passage: John 17:15–17:18

 

John 17.13-26 - Sent, like Jesus

April 27, 2008

Sam Ford

 

A missional love for the boys

I love to have boys.  I grew up in a family with three sisters and zero brothers.  I love my sisters but there is probably a limit as to how much a boy should play with barbies and cabbage patch dolls.  So, I always wanted a brother; someone to beat up on or get beat up by. 

 

When I thought of my future family, I was certain that I would have girls.  I had three sisters and no brothers, my wife Caylin had one sister and no brothers, her mom had three sisters, and her Dad also had a sister and no brothers.  There were no boys to be found.  So when we learned that our first child was a boy, I was so excited I remember walking into my house and pumping my fist in celebration of the power of my underdog-boy-sperm.  Eventually, we had a second boy named Landen and Fischer had a brother.

 

I love the manliness of boys.  I have tried to celebrate their manliness by encouraging them to flex their muscles, build stuff you want, break stuff because you can, jump off stuff just because it's there, find a way to make a weapon out of everyday utensils and sticks, try not to cry-ever, be especially honoring of girls.  One way of encouraging their manliness is that we wrestle and fight and play competitive games.  

 

The boys believe that I'm indestructible.  They always want to fight and wrestle.  So we do.  They try out new holds and punches and kicks on me as I play the part of the punching bag.  But what if I didn't?  What if one day I just decided to unleash on them and show them my power?  What if when we were playing air hockey, I played my hardest?  What if when we play football I threw it as hard and far as I could? I don't do this because I love them.  I want to make them manly, but more importantly, I wrestle with them because I want to be with them-and I want them to know how much I love them. That's how boys show it, they hit each other.

 

A missional God

God infinitely more like this about His Sons and Daughters.  God has been on mission to save those sons and daughters since the beginning-in the garden of Eden.  Despite our rebellion despite our sin, he does not unleash his wrath on us like we deserve.  God is a missionary who comes to where we are, in a way we understandHe did not stand far away and say REACH; He did not speak in a foreign language and say HEAR; He did not come into darkness without a light and say WALK! 

 

Jesus on a Mission

In Jesus we see most clearly the missional nature of God-a God willing to sacrifice himself out of love for His children.  God is not distant; he gets his hands dirty and becomes weak out of love for this children; he comes down to their level and becomes one of us that we might see the extent of His love.  This is called the Incarnation where the infinite God made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil 2.7-8).  Jesus comes into a dirty world and lives among dirty people ON A MISSION to save them from their dirt.  And he did this because he loved the world he created

 

Jesus sends Us in the same way

Jesus began his prayer in John 17 praying for himself.  Then, he transitions to pray for his 11 disciples.  Finally, Jesus prays for the future disciples-the church.  And he says...just I have been sent into the world, so I send them.  How we understand what that means will impact how we live our lives everyday.

 

READ John 17.13-26

 

13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 

 

Do not take them out of THE WORLD

Jesus clarifies that he does not want his disciples to be removed from the world like Him-where he literally ascends to the Father.  Verse 6 of the prayer, Jesus indicates that God did give him people OUT of the world, meaning that he transferred their spiritual allegiance from a world in rebellion against God to the kingdom of God.  Colossians 1.13 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  

 

But how can Jesus say to keep them "in the world?" when the world is so evil?  John writes in his later epistle, 1John 2.16 16 For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. How do we "love" the world without "loving" the world?  How do we reach out without selling out?  How do we living in a world full of sin without falling into sin ourselves?

 

As they are in the world, sanctify them in truth (Live Counter-Culturally)

Living in the world is hard. Peter warns us to be sober-minded because the devil a prowling lion looking for someone to devour (1Peter 5.8) and Paul says you'll need a need a shield to protect you from the devil's flaming darts machine gun (Eph. 6.16).  So, in response to this fear of sinning, many Christians separate themselves from anything that is not "Christian" believing that sin is some sort of external virus floating around that they can avoid if they bunk up in a hyperbaric bubble thinking ‘clean' thoughts, smelling ‘clean' air, and listening to ‘clean' sounds for the rest of their lives. 

 

Jesus does not want us to separate from culture AND he does not want us to lose ourselves in the lies of culture.   Jesus wants us to live in the world AND Jesus wants us to be distinct from the world.  Does that mean we have to build a Christian culture to compete with the world?  No.  It means we live out counter-cultural-Jesus-centered lifestyle as we live in and love the world.  We will and should try to live differently.  Ephesians 4.17-25  17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!- 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

 

Sanctify them in TRUTH

In this passage, as a means of protection, Jesus prays that God will sanctify them with TRUTH which is the Word of God.  We are protected from "selling out" by staying firmly rooted in the Word of God.   To sanctify means to set apart, make holy, or purify.  In other words, it is an ONGOING process whereby God through study of His Word (by his Holy Spirit) helps us become less sinful and look more like Jesus. 

 

  • We can live in the world safely if we live according to the word of God.   
  • We fail to live according to the word of God when we compromise the truth.   
  • We compromise the truth when we make the Word of God say MORE than it does, or LESS than it does.   
  • We want the Bible like a GOOGLE search engine...quick answers.  We live a sanctify life less by asking where are the lines I shouldn't cross, what fences I need to build up,  and more by asking what brings the most glory to God as he is revealed in the Bible.

 

As you have sent me, I have sent them into the world

Jesus himself says that we are not only to sit in the "protection" of the truth of Jesus, we are to GO...TO MOVE, TO ACTIVE on mission in that world.  We not only have a shield to defend, but we have a SWORD to take on the world for Jesus.  But we are not sent into the world on some sort of modern-day-medieval-ish-crusade way where we are called to chop off every head of the non-believers we run into.  WE are sent like Jesus to live in the world to live like Jesus in the world. 

 

If we are going to live in the world, we must understand the world (Contextualization)

John 1.14 - And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.    If we are going to live in the world, we must understand the world.  If we are going to understand our world, we must spend time with and in the world.

  • The GOSPEL of Jesus Christ never changes (I Corinthians 15:3-8).  The truth of the gospel will DIVIDE, to one it is aroma of peace, to other it smells like sweaty socks and ammonia.   Disdain for the truth of God is expected.
  • But we must ask ourselves if it is being preached clearly.  This would include making sure the gospel is spoken in a language people understand with concepts that were faithful to the Bible and simultaneously comprehensible to the hearers. This is not "dumbing down" Christianity, rather, it is viewing the world around us with missionary eyes NOT assuming that the world THINKS like you do.

 

Be a City on a Hill, not on the beach or on the mountain

This kind of ministry takes great wisdom and careful scrutiny by God's people to ensure neither syncretism nor sectarianism occurs. Every church has a contextualized gospel and therefore must continually undergo reform to continue the missiological work of the gospel in their time and place. When churches fail to reform they inevitably begin to die and become increasing disconnected and irrelevant to the people and cultures around them OR become so immersed that you cannot tell the difference between the church and the world. Matthew 5.14 14  "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  The Bible says we are to be a City on a Hill, not a city on a seal-level beach or on the highest mountain 

20 "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in 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.

 

We are on mission together

A DRC, we believe are sent into the world to proclaim the gospel and teach people to live like Jesus.  At the core of our mission is to tell people about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

 

Word Protects AND the Word Transforms

Why?  Because, belief comes through the word...not through our ability to contextualize perfectly.  It seems like in our daily lives we're always waiting for the PERFECT situation, the PERFECT moment, the PERFECT circumstance to share the truth of God.  When you realize that the transforming power of salvation is in God's Words and not your own...you will be much more willing to say something about your Lord.

 

The salvation of anyone is not dependent upon how hip, cool, big, or small, loud, or soft you or your church is.  It depends on the clarity with which the simple but powerful truth of the gospel is preached. 

1) You are a sinner, separated from your God. 

2) You are under the wrath of God, subject to death for your disobedience unable and unwilling to pay the debt that you owe which is your death.

3)  You must believe that Jesus came as your substitute to live the perfect sinless life you were supposed to and die in your place as a penalty for your inability to--sin. 

4) You must admit that you are sinner, broken, flawed, and in need of God's grace

5) You must believe in your heart that Jesus is your only Lord and Savior that he was raised from the dead, and that God will graciously give you eternal life through him. 

 

Of course, having people WILLING to listen to such things is a contextual thing.  In other words, if I put on a big bunny suit and light myself on fire as I read 1John 1.9 people will not fall down prostrate and cry out Lord Save me!   But, the fact remains, that belief comes from the preaching of God's Word, from the reading of God's Word, from the proclamation of God's Word...not in my ability to WOO YOU into listening.  Romans 10.14-17 14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? ... 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

 

Word leads to Faith and Faith leads to UNITY

The Word leads to believing Faith, and faith should lead to unity in those who believe, and that unity should lead to faith in others.  Christian Apologist Francis Schaeffer when writing about John observed that in John 13 Jesus says the world has a right to judge that a man is not a Christian (even if he claims to be) if the said Christian does not show love toward other Christians,. John 13.35, Christ says, 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."  Again, he observed he in v. 21, that we cannot expect the world to think we're nice people, NO, that we're loving people, NO, we CANNOT EXPECT the world to believe that the Father sent the Son, that Jesus' claims are true, and that Christianity is true, unless the world seems some reality of oneness with Christians unlike what they see in the world.

 

How do you  become "perfectly one" as the Father and Son?

Becoming perfectly one is more than being on the same mission.  Who wants to be on a "mission" with someone you don't know and therefore you don't trust.  If we cannot learn to love one another in the church, to sacrifice for one another, to share each other's joys and sorrows, then we will never be able to love the world. (DISCUSS End of Romans 16)

 

The DESIRE of Jesus

24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my

glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

 

Jesus desire

In the end, Jesus prays that His people will be with Him and behold His glory.  We do not actually see Jesus Christ now.  We read of Him in the gospels.  We hear of Him, we believe in Him, and we Hope in Him.   But even the best believers in Jesus, at their best, walk by faith and not by sight.  And, if we're honest, the number of times we trip and stumble make that walk to heaven pretty rough. 

 

But there will be a time when all of this struggle will end, and I pray that if you have not believed in Jesus, you will and you will be there.  Then, we shall see Jesus as he is and know Him better than we know ourselves.  We shall see him face to face.  We shall sit in his presence and company and never leave.

 

Conclusion - 10 Things we Believe about our Mission at Damascus Road

Until then...what?  Jesus has left us with a Mission.  

 

  • 1. We believe God is and has always been on mission 2Tim 1.9 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began...

 

  • 2. We believe we must center our church on mission to avoid making the church an idol. 1John 5.21Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

 

  • 3. We believe we are sent by Jesus to live like Jesus in all that we do, from the mundane to the monumental. John 17.15 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

 

  • 4. We believe we do not have our own mission but God has our church to use for His and it is founded on something much bigger than our personal preferences. Matthew 16.18 I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 

  • 5. We believe the heart of our mission is to bring glory to God through proclaiming the gospel. Mark 15.16 15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

 

  • 6. We believe we must go into the world because Jesus told us to, to seek and save the lost living beside them without compromising the truth of God. John 1.14 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

  • 7. We believe in building relationships with those in the world where we already find ourselves. We recognize that building these relationships is difficult and often misunderstood and feared, especially by Christians around us-Jesus experienced the same thing. 1Cor. 5.9-11 9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people- 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler-not even to eat with such a one.

 

  • 8. We believe who we are in our gifts, talents, experiences, and vocations are not accidents but in some way a part of our role in God's mission. Eph. 2.10 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

  • 9. We believe where we are, in both time and place, is uniquely ordained by God Acts 17.26 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,

 

  • 10. We believe that living on mission begins with being the church to ONE ANOTHER first. It is a life of humility where our own personal preferences are denied for the purposes of proclaiming the gospel daily in our lives, before our families, our church, and our community. We are never NOT ON MISSION and if we fail to BE ON MISSION we fail at what it means to be truly like Jesus. John 13.15 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

 

 

 

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