How embarrassing! I heard my name called, with a question mark obviously at the end! I had been sitting in the class for the better part of an hour when something the teacher said triggered an idea. Soon I was in another world, planning intricacies and options surrounding the idea. It was humiliating to have everyone know I had to actually ask, “I’m so sorry–what did you just say?”
That is an illustration of the concept Jesus was trying to get across–that we can be in the world, but not be thinking or talking like the world–as His disciples were gathered around while He prayed for their safety (John 17:14). For us to be IN the world, but not OF the world, is His desire. James wrote that we are to remain “unstained by the sins of the world.” Those sins are not to cling to us.
The next couple of weeks we will study together the prayer of John 17. To have a greater grasp of the questions below, click on the “MYTRBC” widget, scroll down to Service Archive, and click on the Sunday morning sermon preceding this day. We will work through this together this week!
- Read the whole chapter of John 17. It is incredible that Jesus talks to God as if He (Jesus) needs to tell Him (God) what is happening! What do you think He is trying to teach us by praying like this? Have a pen and paper handy, and look for significant statements that Jesus makes that resonate in your spirit. Jot them down in short phrases, so you can look at them during the week. Let them remind you how much He cares for you, just as He cared for the ones God had given Him during His three years of ministry.
- Take note of how many times Jesus told His Father things like “I pray for them,” “I kept them,” “I have given them,” etc. His life was wrapped up in preparing these disciples to be the light that would change the world. Is it easier for you to stand for God’s Truth when it is attacked by your friends, or to keep quiet? What can you do to strengthen yourself so that you will not fear to stand, even if you are ridiculed?
- We Have Authority: Read verse 1b and 2a again, and also Titus 2:15. God gave Christ all authority over all things, and Christ bestowed the same authority on us. We don’t have to be like the world; we have the power in us, as children of God, to stand against the “wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). How are you using this authority? If you are being quiet when your friends offer temptation, what kind of testimony are you? What makes you different from your friends?
- We Have a Bright Future: There is an old hymn, “this world is not my home, I’m just a-passin’ through.” That is a concept that is hard to understand, that as His children, God has seated us “in the heavenlies” even while we are here on the earth. Read verse 2b-3, and then Ephesians 2:5-7. We need to be a light to this dark world, but keep ourselves “unspotted” by the sins of the world. What are some ways you can do this? Do you spend the kind of time praying that Jesus did, in John 17? How can you accomplish things for your Father if you do not talk to Him every day? These are tough questions, but would you want your child, spouse or friends to talk with you the same amount of time that you spend talking with God? How much time do you spend listening to what He might reply to your heart?
- An Everlasting Impact: Read verses 4-5 again. God says you have a purpose–does that surprise you? Read Jeremiah 29:11 in the New King James. How are you teaching your spirit so that when God calls you to say something for Him, you will be prepared? You will want to leave something behind when you depart this world; will it be something that will matter in eternity, like introducing someone to the Lord? Is it telling how God has changed you? You have a story–tell it!
- The Answer Is Christ: Everyone you meet has questions of one kind or another. People who are miserable are looking for an answer to their unhappiness; those who are hungry wish to be full, etc. You have the answer to all their questions: it is in the person of Jesus Christ, and His love for you and them. How much will it take for you to risk your reputation to accept His gift of salvation and then introduce Him to your friends?
Life here is not easy. Believers, in particular, have a hard time, not because of the sinners (although that doesn’t help!), but because of those who would make you feel you have crossed a line with your past life and are not worthy to be saved. God does not have that standard: He says through Joel, the prophet, and later Paul, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13). It doesn’t matter what you have done, what you wear, how long your hair is, or how many tattoos you have, God looks at your heart, not at your outward appearance, and seeks someone who is longing for Him. Cling to that verse, and know He died for you.
As you go through this week, take time to read John 17 each day, and decide if you have the type of relationship with Jesus Christ that will give you the strength to take a stand for what is right and true, based on His word. If you are being a “closet Christian,” don’t you think it’s time to confess Him before others? Try to be a light in the area where God has placed you, so that others will see the change and want what you have!
Focal Passage: John 17:1-26, Romans 1:16, 10:13.
Memory Verse: John 17:17, 18: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”