5 WORDS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE John 17

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1 5 WORDS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE John 17 Technology is changing our world faster than ever. For example, in the next year or two, Google will begin sending balloons into the stratosphere. The reason: to create links that provide Internet access to the 4.3 billion people who live out of reach of cell towers. I love it, the program is actually called, Loon for All. Not to be out done, Facebook s Mark Zuckerberg intends to do the same thing, using solar-powered drones. Car-to-car communication will soon be a reality as well. Vehicles will broadcast their position, speed, and direction to other cars within a few hundred yards. In theory, vehicles will then be able to avoid each other, preventing many of the five million car crashes that occur on U.S. roads every year. Technology and its discoveries have changed our lives and continue to do so it seems almost daily. Today I'd like to talk with you about an important spiritual discovery contained in Five Words That Will Change Your Life Forever. In John 17 we find what theologians call Jesus' "high priestly prayer," his intercession on the night he was 1

2 arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is interesting to note this prayer wasn t recorded for the disciples, but was written down and preserved through the centuries for us. By the time John wrote down these words (A.D. 90), each of the men who originally heard the prayer had been martyred, leaving John as the last living apostle. The Holy Spirit inspired him to record this prayer from decades earlier, so we would know that Jesus prayed, and just how He prayed for us. Let s read it together and then toward the end of this prayer we will get to our text and come to the discovery we'll explore today. I. WHO WAS JESUS PRAYING FOR? John 17:20 I do not pray for these [the original disciples] alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; Jesus prays, but not just for those who had followed and walked with Him for the three years since John had baptized Him in the Jordan River. He was also praying for all those, throughout the coming ages who would believe on Him through the words of the disciple s message. 2

3 That's so amazing when we stop to consider two thousand years ago Jesus was praying for every person down through the years from the first century to now who would believe on His name. And He was also praying for you and for me. Even better still, the book of Hebrews tells us that He, ever lives to make intercession for us. On that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, so many years ago the Son of God prayed for your soul, and right now before the throne of God He is interceding to the Father for you and for me. II. WHAT DID JESUS PRAY? John 17:21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. He prayed for our unity: "that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you" (v. 21a). He prayed that we would be united in faith and in the power of His name; that we would live, one with another in the perfect harmony of love. Just as He was united and one with the Father, Jesus prayed we would be with each other. Paul echoed His desire in 1 Corinthians when he said: 3

4 1 Corinthians 1:9 10 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. Psalms 133 tells us that it is good and pleasant for the brethren to dwell together in unity when they do, that is the place where God commands His blessing upon them. III. WHY DID JESUS PRAY LIKE THIS? It really about wasn t us getting a blessing. His motive was not our healing, salvation or having His anointing poured out upon our personal lives, even though those blessing do attend those for whom He prays. Here's why He prayed: that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (v.21b). Our unity is our greatest witness. When the world sees the love of God lived out in the lives of His followers, it testifies of the great love of our Father demonstrated in the sending of His Son, Jesus. 4

5 When we live out our faith in unity, the community of believers becomes compelling and attractive to those who are wounded, lonely, forsaken and lost. Conversely, division is the greatest hindrance to our witness. When the un-churched see the manner in which believers often behave toward each other, why would those outside want what we profess to have? So Jesus prayed for us to be one so the world would see and believe the Father sent the Son. IV. THE PURPOSE OF THE PRAYER John 17:22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 17:23a I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one [brought to complete unity] This is a puzzling scripture and there are many opinions about what Jesus was really saying to us. The word glory, speaks of the indescribable weight and splendor of God s presence. We have been given the powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit, through which we have the privilege of sharing in what God is doing in the earth. We must remember it is the anointing that breaks the yoke of bondage, fear and sin from people s lives. 5

6 Our unity is not uniformity. It is not found in doctrinal agreement, or worship styles, or denominational relations. It is in Christ and what He has done for us. The closer we draw to Him in intimate fellowship the more like Him we become and the closer we drawn to each other. The purpose of this intentional prayer Jesus prayed for us was for us to be made perfect in one. John 17:23 that they may be made perfect in one [brought to complete unity]. The perfection and complete unity spoken of here is the spiritual maturity, the result of a life of consecration and obedience. A life lived for the glory of Christ in the awareness of His presence. And did you notice the why is mentioned again, that the world may know that You have sent Me. Our unity, our fellowship is the intended vehicle to let the world know He has come and is alive and available in us today. But the purpose of this prayer was not only our unity with Him and each other. He is declaring something far greater, something that will reveal the five words that will forever change your life and your future forever. Let me read this verse again from the NIV: 6

7 John 17:23 (NIV) I in them and you in me so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. "Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me" (v. 23b). "Even as" means "to the same degree as" or "with the same love as." In his prayer, Jesus is teaching us just as the Father loves His only begotten Son, He loves us! God loves you and God loves me to the same degree and with the same love as He does Jesus. So what are the five words that will change our lives? Read them out loud with me, I am loved by God. Read them again. This truth will forever change our lives if we will accept it, believe it, confess it, and live it. Just as the Father delights in Jesus, He now delights in you and me. He takes pleasure in us and because of the sacrifice of His only begotten one, we are now of equal value to Him. Let s just say it again, I am loved by God. V. BECAUSE GOD LOVES YOU 7

8 Brennan Manning is one of my favorite authors and one book of his called Abba's Child stands out above the rest. "Abba" is Aramaic for "father, daddy." Jesus was the first Jew in all of history to use this word personally for God. And He was teaching us to do the same, to see God as our "Daddy." This is what Jesus was praying for us in John 17. Here we learn to see ourselves as our Father sees us children He loves as much as he loves Jesus and we learn why this matters so much. When we truly come to understand that God loves us with the same passion, intensity and unfailing commitment as He does Jesus, it will change us completely and eternally. Because God loves us, Manning says there are three steps we have to take if we are to fully to grasp this lifechanging truth: 1. We must stop pretending to be what we think we should be. From childhood, our culture and society programs us to measure success by what others think of us. To believe we are attractive, accomplished, or significant only if others think we are and to believe we are inferior or 8

9 flawed if they say we are. So here s the outcome: We begin to see ourselves as we think others see us. But this is a dead-end, a moral quicksand, the Venus flytrap of the soul. We can never measure up to everyone, all the time. When we please one person, we displease the other. When we succeed, we must keep succeeding. If we base our self-worth on the opinions of other people we will never measure up, it is never enough, and it never lasts. God loves you as you are, not as you should be. 2. The second step is to agree that we are nothing without God. No matter what others think of us, we have no life, no value, and no significance that matters unless God ascribes them to us. We are just like computers that must be programmed and used, tools that must be empowered and employed, cars that must be fueled and then driven. By ourselves we can do nothing that matters. In Abba s Child Brennan Manning quoted His spiritual mentor as he prayed this over him: "May all your expectations be frustrated, may all your plans be thwarted, may all your desires be withered into 9

10 nothingness, that you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God who is Father, Son and Spirit." Thomas Merton said: "The reason we never enter into the deepest reality of our relationship with God is that we so seldom acknowledge our utter nothingness before him." Jesus said: John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 3. The third step is to admit our own self-hatred keeps us from accepting God's love. On the one hand, we must confess we are nothing without God. At the same time, we must acknowledge this is not our fault. We are flawed, fallen people. We inherited a sinful nature we did not create. We are each imperfect and inadequate. So we must abandon the self-hatred that our failures produce in our souls. Manning writes writes: "In my experience, self-hatred is the dominant malaise crippling Christians and stifling their growth in the Holy Spirit." Henri Nouwen said: "Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest 10

11 trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection.... Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the 'Beloved.' Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence." Conclusion Now we are ready to accept the unconditional, absolute love of our Father, the same love he has for his Son, the love that will change our lives forever. How do we do this? 1. Believe God really does love you, where you are, as you are, right now. Why? Because "God is love" (1 John 4:8). His very nature is to love, whether he is relating to Jesus or to you. If He ceased to love, He would cease to be God. He cannot help loving you. It has nothing to do with you with your achievements or failures, your abilities or sins. He loves you because He loves you. Say this with me, I am loved by God! 2. Now, "Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. God's love for you and his choice of you constitute your worth. Accept that, and let it become the most important thing in your life." 11

12 This is easy to understand and hard to do. All our lives, we have been programmed to define ourselves by what we do and what others think of us and what we do. This must be unlearned. 3. So start each day by saying to yourself: The core fact of my life is that I am loved by God. Nothing I do can make him love me any more or any less than he does right now. I am a person of worth because God loves me. I can love others because God loves me. I am loved by God. When you fail, admit your failure and claim the love of God. When you succeed, give the glory to God and thank him for His love. When others test you, give them His love in yours. All through the day, say to yourself the five life-transforming words, "I am loved by God." The next time someone asks you, "Who are you?" remember His love and say: "I am loved by God, and I am His child." That's who you are. That's who you will be when everything you do and have is gone. That's who you will be ten thousand millennia after this planet is gone and this universe is no more. That's who you are. 12

13 A pastor noticed an elderly man who slipped into the back of the church sanctuary each morning, day by day by day. He would stay a while, looking up at the altar with a smile on his face, then he would leave. One day the pastor stopped the man, introduced himself, and welcomed him to the church. Then he asked, "What do you do there in the sanctuary each morning?" The man smiled and answered, "I look at God and he looks at me, and we tell each other that we love each other." Can we take a moment now and so the same? 13

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