How do you think Jesus would pray for you? What do you think He would ask for? How would He pray for the church? John 17 tells us exactly how Jesus prayed for believers just before He went to die on the cross for our sins! Hear the words of His prayer and see the desires of His heart for believers in today’s message.
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Hey man, I just gotta say that you guys either sing louder in here, or it's something with the hardwood floors and the acoustic are a little bit of both. But you sound amazing. And I appreciate you, again, just being present, coming with a hopeful attitude of the spirit, being in you and working through you making yourself available to worship no matter where we're at. I mean, we all look forward to getting back into our worship center one day, but, man, I think it's incredible right now what God is doing in and through us, even right now as we gather in here. And there's a spirit of just even expectation. And so thank you and appreciate you guys who are leading us in worship and your flexibility to pivot and lead us in the way that you do. But just pray that we'll continue to show up each and every single week with that attitude. And with that spirit, if you have your Bible this morning, we're going to be diving into John chapter 17. John, chapter 17. We'll start in verse 20. In just a moment, when I was in college, there was a church in my hometown that had one main service that started at 11 o'clock, it had been a service that had always been traditional, it was their only worship service, it was done in a traditional manner. They had Sunday school, the hour before everyone came together to worship at one time, in a traditional manner, that youth pastor was encouraged to begin a contemporary service. And the contemporary service was going to happen early, so before the Sunday School hour, and then get into that, and then the main service would continue in a traditional manner, at 11 o'clock. And so he began to make preparations and prayed and assemble the team together. And eventually they launched this contemporary early surface service, and it was received very well and all of a sudden, the church began to grow. There were people who didn't normally come to church, they didn't go to their church didn't really go to church anywhere. And friends started to invite them to come to something new that they were doing, and they showed up and they gave began to reach people and people were getting baptized. And it was a really great thing as the church continued to grow. The only problem was that a lot of the 11 o'clock service people also began to attend the early service. Those who are in the late service didn't like that their crowd was beginning to dwindle, even though the church was growing overall, their worship service was becoming smaller. And they did not like that they enjoy the full room and having everybody together in their service. And so they began to voice how unhappy they were to the pastor. And they continued to voice how unhappy that they were, they made sure that he knew they wanted to go back to one main service at 11 o'clock. And eventually the pastor went to the youth pastor and said, This service has to come to an end. So you can imagine the youth pastor didn't take that very well, the people who had been going to that earlier service didn't take that very well. And now they began to voice their displeasure. And before you knew it, you had one church who was split into and you had one half of the church on one side of a room and the other half on the other. And they were arguing and yelling and fighting for their preferences and their way and when they couldn't come to unity. The church just split completely in two and a certain group left and started their own church and it was ugly, and it was nasty. And it was hard to begin to try and put the pieces back together. From all that had happened, families, relationships, people that had known each other for 1020, even 30 years in had been in the same church together. Brothers and sisters in Christ were being ripped apart. Having feelings of bitterness and unforgiveness, ill will towards them didn't speak to each other when they saw each other in the community. Lost in a dying world was looking on the entire time. same time what was happening to this church. And it just gave them one more reason to not to want to have anything to do with the church. Thank God. So the only time anything like that's ever happened in the history of the church, and we don't have to worry about that anymore. But I mean, unfortunately, it is the kind of thing that happens a lot. happened a number of times, it's may have happened so often that some of you may have been a part of certain things like that in your church background and your church experience growing up and you were hurt by it, you were wounded by it, it still causes some anxiety in you. Some of you know people who were hurt so bad in the church that maybe they've never even stepped foot back into a church. And it's been 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 years. For some of you, that's your kids or your grandkids and you would give anything, he'd give anything for them to be back in church. This is the kind of thing that can happen. When we let our preferences and our desires, our flesh get in the way of what God is wanting to do. in and through us as the church. And it grieves many of us it grieves me and it grieves. Well, Jesus, in such a big deal to Jesus, that we even have a prayer that's been recorded by John, where he prays about this kind of very thing, this disruption, this division, disunity, that would happen. John records this prayer and writes the full length of it in the whole chapter of chapter 17. Jesus begins the prayer by praying for himself, need transitions, this is on his way to the cross. I mean, this is right before he's going to the cross. And so he's praying for himself and is he's about to face what it is that he's about to face. And then he begins to transition from praying for himself to praying for the disciples, specifically the group that he had been walking with and building relationships for three years with. And then all of a sudden, when you get to verse 20, we see that Jesus transitions even once more, and he begins to pray specifically for you. And for me, and that's where we're going to pick it up. Verse 20, Jesus says my prayer, as he's been praying this, my prayer now is not for them alone, not for the disciples alone, who had just finished praying for, but he says, I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that's you, and that's me. The disciples would go on and begin to share the good news, the good news of Jesus Christ, and what it is that he had done for them, and many would come to believe in him to become part of the church and then a group after that, and after that, and after that, and you and I are here today as a part of the group that he is praying for right here. And again, if you've read through the Gospels, you know that Jesus prayed often, you know, that he would leave the Mini and go to a quiet place by himself and that he would pray, but we don't really have any record of what it is that Jesus prayed. He prayed numbers of times, but we don't know what he pray. But under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John was inspired by God himself to write down this specific prayer that Jesus prayed, there must be something really important that God wanted us to know about what Jesus was praying for the disciples and for you and I. So what was his request? What is it that he prays for them? Jesus goes on in verse 21, it says that all of them may be one father, just as notice that phrase, just as you are in Me and I am in you. May they also be in us why so that the world may believe that You have sent me what was Jesus's request? What was he praying for you and praying for me? Union he was praying for union not for good works. Not for confession not for daily quiet times not for Bible reading, not for tithing, not for obedience or any other religious activity. The one thing that God wanted to make sure that we knew that Jesus was praying specifically for you was about union. union with God, Father, you just as you are in Me, and I am in you, I'm praying that they will be in us that they may be one, just like we are one. Many of you have probably seen someone do this before something similar, but I want you to make sure that you have this picture in your head again, Jesus says, Father, just as father just as you are in Me, right, so just as you are in Me, and then he says, and also, as I, Jesus am in you, in the Father, in the same way that we're in union with each other, I'm in you, and you're in me, may they also be in us? May that be true of them. And so if we have in us being God, we have Jesus, who is in the Father and in the spirit, and the father who's in the sun, and in the Spirit and the Spirit who is in the sun, and in the Father, in this perfect union together, the Triune God that we just sang about earlier, his prayer is that you would be in him, and he would be in you and that I would be in him. And he would be in me and the person sitting next to you would be in him as well, and the other person and the other person and the next person that would come to believe and so on and so on. And, and the great news of the Bible is that as we would come to be in union with the triune, God, it says that we are sealed in him for sealed, right, you can't get out of this relationship. He's in you, you're in him. This is the new covenant message. Jesus's prayer was for union, a spiritual oneness, that one that we would receive, one that he would make happen for us, and what he would accomplish for us through the cross and the resurrection and the sending of the Spirit. And of course, that happened. We've even noticed this in the New Covenant prayers after this has happened that we've looked at the last couple of weeks, we looked at the prayer that the apostle Paul prayed in Colossians. And remember, he said there, you've already been brought into the Kingdom of the Sun, he loves, you've been removed out of the bondage of the kingdom of darkness. And now you've already been put in the Kingdom of the Sun that he loves him in you, you and him. All of the above, we looked at Ephesians chapter three, where Paul pray that from our inner being from that place of union with Christ and the inner core of our being, that we would begin to experience his love that were rooted in at that spiritual union that were established in through that spiritual union right here that love that is deeply within and entrenched in that envelope will begin to explode outward in such a way that we would experience it and others would see it this is the heart of the gospel message. Not necessarily just that Christ came to die for your sins, but for Christ in you, for him to be in you and for you to be in him and experiencing this union in a in a deep and abiding relationship, an intimate relationship, experiencing his love and his guidance and his power at work. Not just in you, not just in me, but in us, A union A spiritual oneness between you and God, me and God and us, in God together. Jesus goes on and continues to pray for this and verse 22, I have given them the glory that you gave me that they may be one as we are one I in them, and you and me, he continues to just use this oneness language over and over again to emphasize it and he even speaks about his glory. This is amazing. This is just incredible to me, Jesus say, I've given them the glory that you've given me. Many of you have been in and around the church for a long time. You've read your own Bibles. You've been do a number of Sunday school lessons, you know how the glory of God is talked about in the Old Testament? You know, you know that this cloud the glory of God came and settled on Mount Sinai in Exodus chapter 24. Let me remind you of what it says. It says, When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai for six days, the cloud covered the mountain. And on the seventh day, the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. Now to the Israelites, the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain, that's a little bit scary, isn't it? a consuming fire the glory of the Lord a consuming fire. It's the way it's talked about on the top of the mountain. You know that the glory of the Lord didn't stay on the top of the mountain, he continued to give them instructions and how he would walk with them and move among them gave them instructions on how to build the tabernacle. And after this was completed in Exodus 40, beginning of verse 34, we read in the cloud, covered the Tent of Meeting moved from the, the top of Mount Sinai and now it's going to be in the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord. Notice that phrase again, the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses could not enter the 10 of beating because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled a tabernacle. Just incredible. Moses couldn't go in the tabernacle, the the consuming fire, the glory of the Lord Himself was present in the tabernacle. This is the picture of the glory of the Lord in the Old Testament. But look, what we read, as Jesus shows up on the scene, John chapter one, verse 14, says the word being a reference to Jesus became flesh and made his dwelling among us, we have seen his what His glory, and the glory of the One and Only Son who came from the Father, full of grace, full of truth. And so the picture is Jesus shows up on the scene, near the end of the Old Covenant, that the glory of the Lord is among them now, in the person of Christ, the consuming fire on the top of Mount Sinai, the consuming fire that dwelt in the tabernacle, the consuming fire, dwelling, existing in the person of Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God walking on planet Earth, and now we have Jesus praying, about passing that glory on to who? You and I is that not incredible? He didn't want even listening to me. Wow. That doesn't make you the glory of God. It doesn't make you God, you're still distinct, but being in him and him, filling you with His presence, His glory now dwells in you, you're the new tabernacle. And you're not even being burned up. You get to approach the throne of God, with confidence, we're told in the book of Hebrews. Why? Because of union, because of who you've been made, made, remade into, in this union with Him, you are no longer who you once were, you two are now holy. You're not the holy, that you are made holy. And so again, this is the new covenant, not God up there, not God down here, not God in a building, not even God, walking along with us as a companion walks alongside of you on a journey, but God in us and God through us, His glory, filling us and being a part of us and flowing through us. This is the life that you now have, if you are in Christ, and you're in Christ, if you've simply said yes to Jesus. This is the life that's available to you. If you've never said yes to Jesus, because no matter who you are, and where you've been, and what you've done, Jesus died for you. So this could be true of you as well. He was praying for all those who would come after Him and He died for you. So Jesus praise I've given them the glory that you've given me so that they may be one as we are one I in them and you and me, he goes on in verse 23, and now says so that here's here's Why write so that they may be brought to complete unity, then the world will know that you have sent me and have loved them, even as You have loved Me. Jesus is praying this so that we would be brought to complete unity, a complete union with Him a complete union with each other. And even though this is a spiritual, invisible union, Jesus is praying that there is a visible component to it. Did you see that? It's a spiritual, invisible union that he's talking about. But there evidently is a visible component to this union, because he's praying that when this happens, the world will then know that you have sent me and have loved them, how are they going to know that unless they can see it? The world will be able to see it in some way. They'll see. He says in the prayer Father, that you love them. Notice this, as you've loved me, you don't get a lesser love than God had the father had for his son. It's as the father loved him, he loves you. equal amount. This union that we have with Christ, evidently will manifest itself will become visible to the world around us, in some way, as he's brought us to complete unity. There's an outworking of this union that he establishes in us. He goes on, and we'll talk about that in a little bit a little bit further in just a moment, verse 24. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. So Jesus's desire, as he's praying is, Father, I want them to be with me where I am. Well, that happened to that happened to we just talked about that in Colossians, chapter one, right, you've already been brought into the kingdom and pulled out of the kingdom of darkness. You're already sitting, he said, In Colossians, three, one, since you've been raised with Christ and seated with him at the right hand of God, that's past tense. And he's writing to a bunch of believers at a church in an area called Colossi who are obviously alive and living on Earth. But he's saying that right now, they're spiritually already seated there. It was where he was praying, Father, I pray that you let them be where I am. A lot of times we look at that go, Well, one day, we'll actually get there. And there is a truth to that. But there's also a truth for that you're already there right now. We're in Him, He is in us were united together. We're all spiritually seated in heaven, united in him, united together, physically present here, but living from there. Together. First, 25, righteous father, as he finishes up, though the world does not know you, I know you and they know that you have sent me, I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them, and that I myself may be in them again, you just see it. It's all over the place. The love that God has for Jesus, same amount would be in us. Why? Because Jesus himself would be in us. But again, that love that would be in us and that union, as he's prayed would be visible in some way to the rest of the world. So that remember, he said, the world would see the love that you have ro see Christ in us and through us the love that we have between us, they would see that we are one with him and that we're one with each other. This is Jesus's prayer on the way to the cross. He goes to the cross, he dies on the cross, he gets buried in a tomb. He's raised from the dead three days later, he spends 40 days with the disciples and others and then he ascends back to heaven. And then he sends the Holy Spirit and guess what happens? Union. Imagine that what Jesus prayed for happened. It happened all of a sudden they're indwell held by the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter two Peter, who's in union with Jesus. Now he had walked for three years with Jesus, it was great to be with him. But all of a sudden Peters going, Holy Moly, the glory of the Lord, the consuming fire is now dwelling in me. And I'm feeling prompted, and I'm feeling empowered to stand up and tell others about Him. And He does so in such an effective manner, because Jesus was now living in him, and through him that 3000 People come to know Him in one day. Wow, from what because of the Union, that was now flowing through him, he could do immeasurably more than he ever could by him self. And all of a sudden, those 3000 people who are now in union with God, and in union with each other, and watch what Luke writes about them, after God establishes that union, in verse 44, of Acts chapter two, and is not on your screens, I apologize. All the believers were together, all believers were what? Together, my wife's backing me up this morning on the front row, and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had knee every day, they continued to meet together in the temple courts, they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people and watch what happened. And the Lord added to their number daily, those who were being saved, a visible manifestation of the Union, that God had just established between himself and them. I'm praying God, that that when there's complete unity, Jesus says, that the world will see then they'll see that you loved them in the same way that you loved me, they'll see the world will see in a visible way, the unity that you established or that I established through the union, that's there, right. And they saw it in because they saw it, they were drawn to it. And even more people came to know God, why, because of the visible manifestation of the expression of union is unity. And they saw them living in that unity that he had established. So this happens here, it continues to happen, it would be the kind of thing that even as other churches are planted, the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit would write to them about saying, hey, Jesus has united all of you guys together. Now. What's your response? Live in the union, live as if you are actually united together? Since you are united together? Philippians chapter two, listen to what Paul writes there. Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being what, united to Christ, if you got any encouragement from being united to Christ, if any comfort from his love, which is where in dwelt in you, and the very core you're rooted and established in it, right, if any common sharing in this spirit, think they might be united together, right, and united to him, sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion now what then make my joy complete by being what like minded, having the same love being one in spirit and of one mind, do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interest, but each of you to the interest of others. Paul says, Hey, since you guys are united together, here's how you live in unity together. By being of one mind like minded having the same love being one in spirit, doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but serving others looking out for their interest, submitting to one another. This is what Unity looks like when he unites us together, and we keep our eyes on Him, the visible manifestation, the expression of what it is that he's done, as he's working in us and through us is loving each other, submitting to each other being like minded one in spirit, and of one mind. It does not look like the church I described to you at the beginning of this message. They We're living as if they were not united together. They were living not with one mind, not with the same love not being like minded, they were acting in selfish ambition. And in vain conceit, there was no humility, they were not valuing others, they were looking out for their own interests. This is of the flesh, not of the spirit, the expression of the flesh, the expression or manifestation of Satan's work is this unity is division is selfish, not others centered. This is what Jesus was praying for God that through the cross, and what it is that I'm about to go through, you would finish the work of uniting them to us, and uniting them together. So that they can experience the love that we have for them. And the last in a dying world will see that love. And that unity that we established when we finish this work. Anytime we break down God's word, and we're looking at it, we're looking for what it said to the original audience that John was writing to, we're looking at what he was still saying to us today. And we're looking for how it might apply to our lives today. Well, sometimes that can be just in a real general sense and trying to think who you are as a high school student, or a mom or a dad or a boss, or an employee or a grandparent, or whatever it is. But for this particular moment, which had been planned long before we ever got to where we're at as a church right now, the application becomes rather simple. Because we as a church have been removed from our worship center. And we're obviously worshiping in here. And at some point, we're going to be needing to make decisions about how to put that worship center back together. And Satan would love nothing more than to sow division, he would love nothing more than to make that about personal preferences. He would love to make that not us being like minded, not having the same love not being one in spirit not being of one mind. But being of selfish ambition. And being a vain conceit, Satan understands and knows that he's already lost us to that union, we've already been brought together in complete unity with him and with each other. But now Satan's job is so that so that he can keep us from experiencing the life of Christ in us and through us, and to keep the world from coming to know him if he can sow some division and discord among us. And so the simple application from this message is this can can we begin to pray, in line with Jesus's prayer, not so much that we would become one because we don't need to pray that we would become one we we already are one. He did that. But that we live in the oneness that he's already established by keeping our eyes focused on Him, looking for him to work in us and through us to be like minded, being one in spirit of one mind. Doing nothing out of selfish ambition, or vain conceit, thinking more highly of others than we do of our selves. And I don't say any of that this morning, because this was the application I needed to mention, because I'm seeing that in our church. I don't see any of that. And the two years that I've been in here, I've seen the visible manifestation of the unity that God had established between you and Jesus, and me and Jesus in us all in Jesus. I've seen people loving each other. I've seen people serving each other. I've seen people submitting to one another and thinking of people more highly than they do themselves. And so this is a prayer that I'm asking us to continue in to prevent Satan from working his way in in this particular moment, when we've seen this kind of a thing be what churches who are living in fear As begin to do this, not because we are this we need to get here but because we are, and we're going to pray that that continues to be who we are, as we walk through these next few weeks and months. Together. We've been concluding each message series on prayer after looking at one of these new covenant prayers with spending some time in prayer ourselves. I think this is one of those times where we really need to do the same thing. And so I'm going to invite you as Andrew begins to play just kind of in the background and instrumentally in just a moment to, to pray in line with what we just read about here and the way that Jesus pray, you can pray by yourself and the quietness of your own heart. You can pray out loud, you can pray with someone else. No matter of fact, I would even encourage that you pray, however, the spirits leading you, but this whole prayer was about oneness and unity and living together. How cool would it be then maybe if we just prayed together? Not even just silently, but out loud where everyone else could hear other people praying together in the union that has been established all ready. Certainly you pray, however, the Lord leading you, whether that's in the quietness of your own heart, or out loud, but I'll open us, and then you begin to pray, and then I'll come back and close us in one prayer together. Father, we open our hearts to you our minds to you. Your Spirit dwells in us and has united us together and we're now listening for what you have to say in the way that you guide us to pray in these next few moments together.