John 17 Part 4

 

 

So, I believe we need all three to have a sanctification that touches every part of the inner person. We learn, as we read the Scriptures, God’s propositional truth and we reinforce and renew our minds, as we see in Romans 12. I want to stress the importance of the mind because we want to learn to think God’s thoughts after Him. Then, with the heart, we love God’s truth, which is His Son.
So, with the heart, we come to love God’s truth. It says in 1st Peter chapter one, “Although you do not see Him, you love Him.” You haven’t come to see Him yet, but you can already love Him. In addition, with the will, we yield to the Spirit and live God’s truth. And so, if you think of it this way, we learn God’s truth, we love God’s truth, and we live God’s truth. Or, you could also say it was ‘knowing, being, and doing’. That is the old ‘know-be-do’ principle. All three are essential because knowing the truth and loving the truth will cause us to live the truth. See how that works? You learn the truth, you come to love the truth by knowing the Son and embracing Him, and then through that process, we can make the right choices to live it. It is to know, to be, and to do. So, there is an integrative idea of truth.
So, this stress on truth is continued in verse 18, “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves may be sanctified in truth.” Once again, the sphere of our sanctification is the truth.
So, He prays on their behalf and sets Himself apart from us and now He has set us apart for Himself. Just as He set Himself apart and sanctified Himself, He now sets us apart, sanctifies us, for Himself, because that is what it means to be sanctified; to be set apart. And so, we jump now, to verse 20, and now we hear Him praying on our behalf. “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those who also believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
So, He not only prays for His disciples but now He is praying for us, as well. What does this marvelous verse imply, verse 21? Frankly, this is really the sanctum sanctorum, the ‘holy of holies’, and we can not grasp it in this life. He says, “That they may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they may also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” It is a matter of being in ‘Us’, in the Father and in the Son, but also in the Holy Spirit because earlier, in chapters 14 and 16, He talked about how the Spirit of God would also bring them into knowledge of the Son and into the knowledge of the Father. So, we have, again, this deep mystery of the Triune God who wants us to share in His glory and to experience that unity.
So, in verse 22 we see, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, so that they may be one, just as we are One; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them even as You have loved Me.” What He is saying, then, is that the lost world cannot see God, but it can see His followers. That is really the key. If we have His glory already within us, this is the basis for true Christian unity. I want to stress again that true harmony among brothers and sisters of Christ is not based upon the externals of the flesh. Rather, it is based upon the internal and eternal of the spirit in our inner person.
So, therefore, you can look beyond the elements of our first birth. What are the elements of your first birth? How would you describe them? What are the things you are born with before you have a second birth? What are the things we use to identify ourselves, distinguishing us from other people? Well, your appearance is certainly one of those things. The way you behave, your personality, your origin, your sex, your race, your socio-economic standard, are all also qualities of the first birth. But, the qualities of the second birth are very different, indeed.
Now, in the new birth, we share the same life and share the same destiny and therefore we have a basis for unity that the world couldn’t even begin to dream of, because if we are going to the same place, and loving the same person, and having the same destiny, does that not give you a deeper foundation for unity than any of these superficial qualities of the first birth we use to assess the value of people? I love that phrase, ‘how much is he worth’? That is not a definition of our worth. There is a more profound basis for unity than those externals. That is why we have a basis for true unity that is reflected in our destiny, in our dignity, and in our hope.
Continuing, Jesus tells us, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for you loved me before the foundation of the world.” Now, I love that particular verse because this reveals the desire of the Son to be intimate with you and you with Him. There is no higher invitation that you will ever hear or ever get, than that. Listen to what He is saying; “I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am.” Go back to John 14:3 and you see Him saying, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you may be also.” Both verses reinforce the same thing. It is His pleasure, it is His desire, for us to be with Him, so that we can share in that divine fellowship. This is very profound to me because we really have a fundamental destiny. We are going to enjoy the same place, the same presence, and the same person, then we also have a basis for a true identity. Let me make this clear; We’re not just talking about a sleepover here we’re talking about permanent residence with Him and that happens at the moment we become His!
Finally, in the last two verses, 25 and 26, “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.” He is speaking of His disciples but also of those who will come to Him through His word. This is a spiritual revelation because you will not know that Jesus was sent in that way unless the Spirit reveals it to you. “And I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them and I in them.” There, again, you have a wonderful balance of truth and of love. The mind will grow by taking in God’s truth and the heart will grow by giving out in love. We take in truth and give out love.
So, there is a process of taking in and an outward expression of truth and love. You take truth in and then you communicate that by the incarnation. So, what you are called to be, just as Jesus was in John 1, when we see, “The word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Do you know what that means? You and I are now called to be the people for whom the word becomes flesh. That is to say, God’s timeless word, as you take it in, causes you to incarnate that word and then manifest that word in love. In a very real way, the word becomes flesh in us, insofar as Christ, who is in you, makes that possible. We couldn’t make it possible, but He, through the indwelling Spirit, makes it possible for all these things to be true. The last portion of the last verse is this, “That the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” That is the spiritual priority in this prayer, and that is also why our church is called The House Of The Nazarene. I see the glory of God is emphasized. I see the sanctity of God’s people. I see the unity of the body of Christ and I see the ministry of sharing the Gospel with a lost world. It should also be our desire, at the end of our own earthly sojourn, to be able to say the same thing. “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” May that be our own prayer. May that be the word that we can say as we reach the end of our earthly sojourn. So, then, God can speak to us and say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.”
Concerning the character of Jesus, He knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him and yet He did not treat him differently from the other disciples. Indeed, Jesus washed the feet of Judas in John 13. It was always a bonafide offer, to come to Him, but He also knew the other side of the coin, that he would choose to reject Him. Meaning did Judas have a choice, yes he did and Judas chose to reject Jesus. God does know what our choices are going to be before we make them but that doesn’t take away our freedom to make those choices, just as it didn’t take away Judas’ freedom to make the choice he did.
In the first birth, we have certain characteristics we use to see if people have clout and worth. We use these yardsticks to differentiate ourselves. What would be the qualities, though, of the second birth? To me, those qualities would have to do with, first of all, the life of Christ in us and the way He uniquely reflects that life through the prism of our personality. He will reflect that life in a unique way for you that no one else will quite reflect or refract.
So, we are not clones of one another, but now we are less and less attached to the elementary principles of the first birth, by virtue of no longer being bound by nature, but by the Spirit of God, which is now in us.

So, the last part is we will all give up our temporal bodies which is the last remnants of our being bound by nature to this earth we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands, as the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5.

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 (KJV)

Jesus has His new body now and what we anticipate, await, expect, hope for, and look forward to happening for us as well! The most detailed description of the risen and ascended Glorified Christ is found in Revelation.

“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”  Revelation 1:12-16 (KJV)

So, we have a new understanding there. Another quality would a new form of Christ-like character. 2nd Peter chapter one would be the passage to look to there. I would also say the fruit of the Spirit would be a new, and real, quality; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Again, it is mediated through your new and unique personality. In addition to that, I would also add to that your spiritual gifts, which you didn’t have before. You have been given spiritual gifts, and these spiritual gifts are to be used to invest in the lives of others. So, those would be four or five qualities right there.
This theme of glory is a big emphasis in this Gospel.

 

Continued in part 5

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