Happiness: The By-Product of a Job Well Done 9/24/03

John 17: 1 – 19

JESUS CHRIST gathered with His disciples in Gethsemane for His last teaching session. The garden was near by the temple area. Here, Christ prayed the high priestly prayer just before His personal sacrifice was to be made.

The N.T. records 13 specific instances of Jesus praying. (John records three: 11:41, 42; 12:27, 28; 17).

He prayed a prayer of CONFIRMATION (11:41, 42) requesting the resurrection of Lazarus. The purpose was stated “that they might believe.”

He prayed a prayer of COMPLIANCE (12:27, 28) first in agony requesting that the “cup” be removed from Him. He knew the pending pain of desertion, betrayal, and crucifixion and in His flesh was repelled by it. In the spirit He prayed a prayer of submission, “Father, glorify Your name.”

He prayed a prayer of CONSECRATION (17) asking the Father to sanctify you. Jesus Christ prayed for YOU.

When you pray, pray to God. Most persons are more preoccupied with what they are praying for rather than the one to whom they are praying.

When Ethelred the Saxon King of NORTHUMBERLAND invaded Wales in 1010 A.D. he saw a group of pious persons kneeling in prayer. He asked who they were and what they were doing. When informed that they were harmless Christians praying for their land, he ordered them executed exclaiming: “They are my most powerful foes.”

His supreme delight was the Father’s glory. Jesus glorified the Father by doing the work He sent Him to do, John 1:14. We are to glorify Him in the same way. “As my Father hath sent me…” (Vs. 18). To God, glory means character. To man, it means prominence, prestige, preeminence and praise.

Jesus glorified the Father by revealing His character. We glorify Jesus when we show by our conduct and conversation His character.

Jesus was a living embodiment of Colossians 3:32.

Jesus now wants the Father to glorify Him as He was before creation in order that His glory might be manifested through us.

His character was even more misunderstood.
Christ revealed His true character.

Jesus said, “I am glorified in them” (Vs. 10).

Believers are given to Christ by the Father.
Believers give Christ glory by serving the Father.

1. Joy (Vs. 13). Jesus prayed, “…that they might have My joy fulfilled in them.” His joy was not the result of a perfect world full of embracing and caring friends. It was shown in the midst of a bunch of dull, groveling, critical, blood thirsty brutes.

Scripture says “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” If so, how strong are you? Does His joy show through you? Joy is a magnet that draws people to the likeness of Christ in you.

In a heavy rain recently I realized I was hearing something. It was a bird singing. Amid that storm he was still singing. The storm didn’t disrupt what was happening in his little bird heart. Some Christians manifesting little or no joy give excuses. They say, “I know we are suppose to have joy, BUT you just don’t understand….” I don’t have to understand. Get that conjunction out of your system. You have to understand joy is within you and often a counterpoint to conditions around you. If it is shown amid adversity it is as distinctive as that bird singing in the rain.

Take a bottle half full of water and shake it up. There is turmoil in it. Shake a full bottle and there is no turmoil. The reason one is tranquil is because it is full and no outside motion influences what is inside. When your life is spirit filled there is joy.

2. A warning (Vs. 14). If you are a follower of Christ you are an alien in this world. Jesus was hated by secular minded people. Note how you are described as being “not of this world.” To bear His name marks you as an alien in this world. This can provoke trouble for you in a spiritually hostile world.

1. For unity, “that they may be one as We are” (Vs. 11).

Church members need to realize their attitudes and actions either contribute to or take away from a united congregation. Jesus depicts us as fulfilling His joy by a display of unity.

Jesus did not pray for us to have units, but to be a unit. Where there are clicks, where there is competition, exclusiveness, division, and disunity the prayer of Christ is frustrated.

The unity spoken of by Christ comes from our Holy Father. For there to be unity there has to be one point of unity. If every believer is fine turned to the Father they are of one mind, His mind.

There is strength in unity. The weakest most attenuate thread, when woven with others of like capacity makes a strong cord.

A single drop of water alone is a weak and powerless thing. But an infinite number of drops united by the force of attraction will form a stream, and many stream combine to form a river and together they flow into the ocean whose pounding waves defy the power of man.

Divide the mighty torrents that flow over Niagra Falls and it is but a gentle falling rain. United they could quench the fires of a hundred volcanos like Vesuvius.

The church divided is an insipid unproductive assembly of individuals. Combined it is a mighty force for our Lord.

2. Christ wants His followers to be commitment to Truth. He said, “I have given them the words which you have given Me” (Vs. 8). We are stewards of His word.

Most of our problems result from us basing our choices on unreliable authorities, such as:
Culture: “Everybody’s doing it.”
Tradition: “We’ve always done it that way.”
Reason: “It seems logical.”
Emotion: “It just feels right.”

All these have one common flaw. They come from us and not the Lord.

3. Christ prayed for our protection, “…that you should keep them from the evil one” (Vs. 15). Thank you Jesus! The Lord God Himself is the sentinel to stand guard over your life. Within His will is peace and success. He has a perfect will that we should seek. Often disobedience results in His permissive will coming into play. He often permissively permits us to enact our will.

We should pray, “Dear God, we want none of your permissive will. We want only your perfect will.”

Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (Vs. 17).

Sanctify, HAGIAZEIN, came from the adjective HAGIOS, which means separated – dedicated. A thing or person that is hagios is different from the ordinary.

To sanctify does not mean to get rid of sin and become sinlessly perfect. If it did, Christ would not have sanctified Himself (vs. 19), because He had no sin. It means set aside for a specific use. Every believer is.

In regeneration, God sees the believer in Christ.

In sanctification, the world sees Christ in the believer.

The believer is to be doubly sanctified:
“In the truth” as they are set aside from the world.

“For the truth” as they go into the world with the truth.

We believers are to: He deserted His eternal character in order to enable us to have His earthly character.

Jesus showed character that glorified the Father by:
1. CULMINATING HIS WORK – “The hour is come…”

2. COMPLETING HIS WORK – “I have finished…”

3. CERTIFYING HIS WORK – “That they might know thee…” Not just have knowledge of Him, but KNOW him – experience intimacy with the Father.

4. CONFIRMING HIS WORK – The individual’s enjoyment of eternal life is a living confirmation of His work. Eternal life is a term that speaks of more than duration. It refers principally of quality of life. It is the life of God’s believers experience here and now, such as, joy, peace and quality of life which are characteristic of the Father.

Jesus arrived with the supernatural nature and acquired the natural through physical birth.

We arrive with the natural nature and acquire the supernatural through spiritual re-birth.

When God clothed Himself in human form, He enabled us to see His glory (character).

His prayer for His disciples involves submission and is based on obedience. He prayed for His own. Who were they? They were sleepy-headed, doubting, quizzical persons. Jesus showed He had faith in God and in people.

Vs. 6 – “I have shown… (manifested “thy name…”). He was not referring to what the Father is called, but what He is like. “If my people…called by my name…” His nature. Jehovah’s name was unknown and/or unspoken.