1 The Gospel of John The Lord s Prayer ~ Part 2 John 17:6-12 E LECTION AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE Paul admonished the Thessalonians to give thanks because of their election (2 Thess. 2:13), while Peter said that we should confirm our calling and election (2 Pet. 1:10 HCSB). However, in the history of Christian thought few teachings have been more distorted or more misused. The following questions reveal common misperceptions. (1) Is not election the same thing as fatalism? Predestination does not negate the necessity for human repentance and faith; rather it establishes the possibility of both. God does not relate to human beings as sticks and stones but as free creatures made in His own image. (2) If salvation is based on election, then why preach the gospel? Because God has chosen preaching as the means to awaken faith in the elect (1 Cor. 1:21). We should proclaim the gospel to everyone without exception, knowing that it is only the Holy Spirit who can convict, regenerate, and justify. (3) Does the Bible teach double predestination, that God has selected some for damnation as well as some for salvation? There are passages (Rom. 9:11-22; 2 Cor. 2:15-16) that portray God as a potter who has molded both vessels of mercy and vessels of destruction. Yet the Bible also teaches that God does not wish any one to perish but for all to be saved (John 3:16; 2 Pet. 3:9). We are not able to understand how everything the Bible says about election fits into a neat logical system. Our business is not to pry into the secret counsel of God but to share the message of salvation with everyone and to be grateful that we have been delivered from darkness into light. (4) Does not belief in election result in moral laxity and pride? Paul says that God chose us for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13 HCSB). We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, even though to be sure, it is God who is at work within us both to will and do His good pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13). The proper response to election is not pride but gratitude for God s amazing grace that saves eternally. Election, then, is neither a steeple from which we look in judgment on others, nor a pillow to sleep on. It is rather a stronghold in time of trial and a confession of praise to God s grace and to His glory. ~ Timothy George 1 VIII The Upper Room Discourse Chapters F. The Prayer of Christ Chapter Giving Glory to God Verses Giving Words from God Verses Giving a Body to God Verses Introduction: As I noted last week, the teachings of scripture on a number of issues are so deep we hesitate to of them. When we do we must humbly recognizing we will never be able to fully understand them. And this is why, from our limited perspective they seem, seem being the operative word, paradoxical. And the discussion of predestination or election is one of these difficult truths. This is why I started with Timothy George s short discussion from the Holman Bible Dictionary. It appears balanced; it recognizes the tension on the subject and acknowledges that we can t resolve the issue, so we are simply to obey our calling. But more on this in a few moments. 1 George, Timothy, Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words, Election, Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, TN, 2000
2 Looking back to last week, in the first section of The Lord s Prayer we saw Jesus focusing on His relationship with the Father, the sharing of Glory and His responsibility for giving the gift of eternal life to those whom the Father had predestined to receive it. Following the model Jesus established, that is focusing first on the Father, the focus now changes. Jesus prays for the disciples. I think I want to list principal truths found here and then we ll go back and address them. Keep in mind, some of the deepest truths in scripture are found in this prayer. Among them are, a. Believers are predestined to salvation. b. Believers can glorify Christ. c. Believers are not of the world therefore they are hated by it. d. Believers are not of the world but are to go out into it. Keep these thoughts in mind and I ll refer back to them as we go through the passage. 2. Giving Words from God: Jesus starts this section of His prayer with the most profound truth of all: the truth of the Incarnation. Jesus is God having taken on humanity. the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (which means, God with us) (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23 ESV). Jesus states that He is the one who manifested the name of God to the people. Keep in mind that the name of God is synonymous with Him. Then Moses said to God, If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, What is his name? what shall I say to them? God said to Moses, I am who I am. And he said, Say this to the people of Israel, I am has sent me to you. God also said to Moses, Say this to the people of Israel, The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations (Exodus 3:13-15 ESV). Jesus has seen God and presented Him though His own works. And while He manifested the truth of God to people in general, He specifically did so for the disciples. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him. Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus said to him, Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves (John 14:7 11 ESV). ) 390 (
3 When men look at Christ they see God. He is the only way finite beings can look upon the infinite God. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3 ESV). Verse 6b: Jesus also notes that the disciples, because that s whom He is talking about, belonged to the Father before belonging to Him. It was the Father who gave them to Him. This is another example of the Doctrine of Election. The disciples where elected, called out specifically to become Christ s disciples. The idea here is that before time God chose these men to follow His Son. They were elected because of God s grace and not any merit on their part. And the same can be said of us. he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:4; Titus 3:5 ESV). We find the concept of election throughout scripture. Israel, as a Chosen People, was elect to its calling because Abraham was elect and God made promises to him. Their election wasn t about them; it was about God. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Deut. 7:7 8 ESV). We are elect to salvation as were the disciple, again, because of God s love and grace and not due to our merit. But they were elected to a special calling: to be the foundation of the Church. you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19 22 ESV). Verse 7: Jesus continues stating that the disciples election was validated in that they kept the words of the Father. He goes on to explain specifically what He has in mind when He says they have kept the Father s words. Their faithfulness begins with the fact that they know what Jesus has been given and has shared comes from the Father. They keep God s words because they know the words are from God. ) 391 (
4 It may well be Jesus is thinking back to Moses. The nation received what Moses gave them because it knew that Moses was passing on God s words. They accepted that Jesus was doing the same thing, only more so. Remember Jesus, in a confrontation with the powers that be, put Himself above Moses. Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me (John 5:45 46 ESV). Verse 8: Jesus reiterates, for the Disciples benefit, that what He has given them are the Words the Father has given Him to share with them. He didn t speak on His own but passed on that which came from the Father. So Jesus answered them, My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me (John 7:16 ESV). Parenthetically, this reminds us of the Spirit s work in speaking, not of Himself, but of the Son. He shares with us what the Son has instructed Him to share. But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come (John 15:26, 16:13 ESV). The disciples kept God s Words by knowing they were from God and accordingly, Christ was also from God. In other words, they accepted Christ for Who He was. They were faithful to what they had seen, heard and were taught. And of course they lived by this truth until they went home to be with the Father. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14 ESV) Verse 9: As Jesus moves closer to the Cross, His concern is for His disciples, not the world. His concerns for the world are what He deals with on the Cross. Now He is asking God to watch over His disciples. After all, He again notes they belonged to the Father before they belonged to Him. Is Jesus asking God to care for the disciples because He has any doubts God will do so? No. He is encouraging the disciples that the Father will be looking out for them by praying this way. Jesus is constantly encouraging them to remember that when He is gone the Father will care for them and they will receive the gift of the Spirit. he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25 ESV). The Father is always watching over us. The Spirit is always within us. But we also have Christ who to this day continues to intercede for us. ) 392 (
5 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died more than that, who was raised who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us (Romans 8:34 ESV). Verse 10-12: Jesus makes it clear that whatever is His is also the Father s and vice versa. And the disciples now, and all who follow Him, bring Him glory. How does He receive glory? The same way the Father does, in that all who are given to Him are kept safe by Him. As He saves us, the result is that He is glorified. To reiterate, this is because our salvation isn t about our worthiness, but about God s love and mercy and Christ s sacrifice for our blessing. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever! And the four living creatures said, Amen! and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:8 14 ESV). And so we come to the changed conditions in which the disciples will find themselves. Christ is going to the cross and then, in a very short time, He will be going to the Father. But the disciples will be left behind. They will be bereft of their Master, their Teacher, the One Who has made them His friend. And so Jesus has a two-part request: Protect the disciple, because while they are Christ s they were first the Father s. Now clearly Jesus isn t asking for circumstantial protection, because if that is what He meant, the Father certainly didn t answer the request. Consequently the request must relate to spiritual protection. He is asking the Father to keep them strong in their faith which was to be the work of the Sprit. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13 ESV). But the primary focus here isn t just to protect the disciples. It was to keep them united one with another. Right from the very star, Christ is forming a body of believers. The Christian life was always intended to be lived out in community, not in isolation. I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment (1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV). ) 393 (
6 What is changing is that for the last three years Jesus has been directing, keeping and protecting the twelve. But that responsibility is coming to an end. He is asking the Father to continue to watch over them and protect them. And of course the way He will be doing this is through the work of the Holy Spirit. NECESSITY OF THE SPIRIT. What are our souls without His grace? As dead as the branch in which the sap circulates not. What is our Church without Him? As parched and barren as the fields without Heaven s dew and rain. Where is the hope of the world s conversion, or of the salvation of dearly loved ones, out of Christ? If the Spirit of God come not to our aid, our eyes may fail with looking for these much-valued blessings. ~ LEWIS 2 Finally Jesus notes that He has protected all of them, except Judas. But Judas fall wasn t a failure on Christ s part. In fact, Jesus gave Judas the opportunity to repent and step back before it was too late. But Judas did not, just as Scripture had foretold. Then I said to them, If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them. And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then the Lord said to me, Throw it to the potter the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter (Zechariah 11:12 13 ESV). Conclusion: The disciples didn t want Jesus to leave. But now He s talking to God in a way that had never been heard. He is a Son talking to His Father. And what is He talking about? He is asking the Father God, the God of Israel, to watch over and protect them. We tend to take this for granted. And that s sad. But the disciples didn t. We can t even imagine how this must have affected them. But the certainly they must have been reassured. But then Jesus says But that will have to wait for next time! This week there are two thoughts I want you to focus on. First, what does it mean to be kept by God? How can this truth strengthen your walk in the midst of a world that is seemingly getting worse by the moment? Second, how are you functioning within the community of believers? Are you living the Lone Ranger Christian life? Are you willing to ask God to break down the walls that are saying this is a legitimate choice? In other words are you willing to live according to your calling as a child of God? Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name s sake! (Psalms 79:9 ESV). So, let us live in a way that honors the gift of deliverance that we have received and that continues to bring Him glory. 2 McClure, J. B., editor, Pearls from Many Seas, AGES Software Albany, OR, 1997 ) 394 (
7 The Gospel of John The Lord s Prayer ~ Part 2 John 17:6-12 VIII The Upper Room Discourse Chapters F. The Prayer of Christ Chapter Giving Glory to God Verses Giving Words from God Verses Giving a Body to God Verses Introduction: a. Believers are predestined to salvation. b. Believers can glorify Christ. c. Believers are not of the world therefore they are hated by it. d. Believers are not of the world but are to go out into it. 2. Giving Words from God: (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Exodus 3:13-15; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3) Verse 6b: (Ephesians 1:4; Titus 3:5; Deuteronomy 7:7 8; Ephesians 2:19 22) Verse 7: (John 5:45 46)
8 Verse 8: (John 7:16, 15:26, 16:13) Verse 9: (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34) Verse 10-12: (Revelation 5:8 14; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Zechariah 11:12 13) Conclusion: (Psalms 79:9) Personal Application: This week meditate on two areas. What does it mean to be kept by God? How can this truth strengthen your walk in a pagan culture? Second, are you functioning within the community of believers or living on your own? Are you willing to ask God empower you to live as part of a community of believers? Prayer for the Week: Father may Your Spirit empower me to live in a way that brings You glory. In Jesus name, amen.