Jesus Prays For The Church

The High Priestly Prayer  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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The past couple of weeks have been an interesting look at the Lord’s prayer in John 17.
Follows on the heels of The Upper Room Discourse - what Jesus told His disciples on the night before the crucifixion while they were observing the Passover (John 13-16).
Let’s read the final section of this High Priestly Prayer.
Read John 17:20-26
Fascinating that Jesus’ prayer, like His entire ministry, has the future in mind.
John 17:20 I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word Hebrews 12:2 Jesus… who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross
Jesus’ life and prayer had the long game in mind.
Not about just Him… though He did pray for Himself (17:1-5)
Not about just His immediate disciples… though He did pray for them (17:6-19)
It was always about the eternal future
The unity of the Church… those who will believe… is the concern of this section of prayer.

Oneness With The Father and Son

verse 21
Jesus desired that His disciples would be one with one another.
Mentioned four times in His prayer (v. 11, 21, 22, 23)
The origin of our oneness together extends from our oneness with the Father and Son.

Oneness with the Father and Son begins by being born from above - John 3:3, 14-17

[born] again can also be translated from above, as it is in John 3:31 and 19:11
Thus, one must be born from above (it is the work of God), since we are all dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1)
Explain Numbers 21 reference compared with Jesus The Israelites complained against God’s provision for them. Thus, as a punishment for their sinful attitude, the Lord sent poisonous snakes among them, and many people died.
Once they repented and sought forgiveness, God provided a means to escape the judgment in the form of a bronze serpent. Should anyone look to the bronze serpent after being bitten, they would live.
Jesus, takes this account from Numbers and applies it to Himself. He will be lifted up, and whoever looks to Him to be delivered from judgment will be saved.
The fact is we have all been bitten by the sin, and the day of reckoning is coming soon.
Hebrews 9:27 It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment
When we look to Jesus to be saved, then we will not perish but have eternal life.

Oneness with the Father and Son is a result of eternal life - John 17:3

Knowing the Father and the Son is the definition of eternal life.
Not just knowing through calling on Jesus to be saved (i.e. “get out of Hell free” card)
Knowing through seeking Him in the Word
Ezekiel 36:26–27 - the core of the New Covenant I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 2 Peter 1:2–4 - the expectation of the believer May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
The more that we know Him, the more we will be like Him.
The more that we are like Him, the more that we will live to please Him.
The more that we live to please Him, the more we become one with Him.

Oneness with the Father and Son is so that the world may believe - John 17:21

disciples were to be sanctified - John 17:17, 19
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
disciples were to be sent into the world - John 17:18
Acts 1:8 you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
As we grow in knowledge and obedience to God, we will be bold to share the gospel with people.
This is what Jesus was praying for, when He prayed for our Oneness with the Father and the Son.

Oneness With One Another

verses 22-24
Our oneness with the Father and Son is what leads to oneness as a Church; because that oneness is not:
Determined by our personalities
Determined by our abilities
Determined by our feelings
Determined by the drawing power of the worship service
Our oneness with one another is determined by our obedience to the Word of God.
Our obedience to the Word of God is dependent on our oneness with the Father and Son
See John 17:22
What is the glory given to the Son?
The Cross
The true glory for Jesus was to follow the path of lowly service culminating in the cross.
Philippians 2:8-11
Due to His willingness to live and die obediently, He has been exalted.
What is the glory given to the Disciples?
The Cross
Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Hebrews 12:1-7
William Barclay, The Gospel of John “We must never think of our cross as our penalty; we must think of it as our glory.… The harder the task we give a student, or a craftsman, or a surgeon, the more we honour him. We, in effect, say that we believe that nobody but him could attempt that task at all. So when it is hard to be a Christian, we must regard it as our glory, as our honour given to us by God.”
Philippians 3:8 I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
Ephesians 4:1–3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Identifying the fact that Jesus prayed for our oneness, and actually living it out are two very different things.
The mere fact that He prayed for it shows that it is not going to come about passively.
The fact that disunity is addressed many times in the epistles shows that unity must be worked at
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Christian unity is a high call, and a hard call.
It’s impossible apart from the help of the Lord
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Unity is not about fulfilling our lofty expectations, but about displaying the reality of the redeeming, sanctifying love of God.
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