The Gospel of John
1. John 17 is one of the most remarkable chapters in the Bible. They say that the great Scotch preacher, John Knox, who delivered Scotland from Romanism, read this chapter over and over.
2. When John Knox was on his deathbed, his wife asked him, “What would you like me to read?” He replied, “Read where I first put my anchor down, in the seventeenth chapter of John.”
3. People often refer to the so-called “Lord’s Prayer.” Most of us learned it when we were very young: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9-13).
4. We call this the Lord’s prayer but it is not the Lord’s prayer. How could Jesus pray, “Forgive us our debts”? In Luke 11:4, He says, “Forgive us our sins.”
5. Our Lord had no debts. And our Lord never sinned. He is the sinless Son of God.
6. Therefore, it would be better to refer to the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” as “the Model Prayer” (cf. Matt. 6:9a).
7. But if you want to continue referring to it as the Lord’s Prayer, that is all right.
8. I know traditions do not die easily. I preached one time that I do not believe our Lord died on so-called “Good Friday” and one member almost had a heart attack.
9. But let us get back to John 17. What we have here in John 17 is the real Lord’s Prayer (cf. 17:1). It is our Lord’s longest recorded prayer. It is often referred to as His High Priestly Prayer.
10. This prayer has depths which our finite minds cannot fathom. No Christian, no matter how godly or devout, can fully comprehend this remarkable prayer.
11. No complete exposition has ever been given. Several of the great Puritans wrote lengthy expositions and admitted they could only scratch the surface of this Holy of Holies.
12. It will probably take us a few weeks to get through this chapter and even then I know I will only be able to scratch the surface.
13. Tonight I would like to continue with the same theme from last Sunday night (16:33). My outline:
I. WE HAVE BEEN SAVED OUT OF THIS WORLD (JOHN 17:6).
II. WE MUST STILL LIVE IN THE WORLD (JOHN 17:11).
III. WE ARE NOT OF THE WORLD (JOHN 17:14, 16).
IV. WE HAVE BEEN SENT INTO THE WORLD TO RESCUE SINNERS (JOHN 17:18).
I. WE HAVE BEEN SAVED OUT OF THIS WORLD (17:6).
1. Our Lord uses the word “world” 19 times in this chapter. As I said last week, the Bible uses the world in different ways and we must look at the context. The context determines the meaning (cf. John 3:16).
2. Here is the definition of the word “world” in this context: “it is the satanic system which man has built up in an effort to make himself happy without the Lord Jesus Christ. It may include the world of culture, the world of art, education, sports, music – any sphere in which the Lord is not loved and welcomed.”
3. Someone else defined the world as “human society insofar as it is organized on wrong principles, and characterized by base desires, false values, egotism, greed, fleshly pleasures, deceit, and vulgarity.”
4. A more concise definition: the world is the organized system headed up by Satan which is in opposition to God (cf. I John 2:15-17; James 4:4).
5. I John 2:16 breaks down “all that is in the world” into three broad categories:
(1) “the lust of the flesh” – sensual bodily appetites that proceed from within our evil nature.
(2) “the lust of the eyes” – this refers too such evil desires as may arise from what we see, resulting in lust or covetousness.
(3) “the pride of life” – an unholy ambition for self-display and self-glory; the desire for prominence and adulation.
6. Those of us that have trusted Christ have been saved out of the world (cf. John 17:6). We have been separated from the unbelieving mass of humanity to be set apart for Christ.
7. And it is precisely because we have been saved out of the world, and do things differently from the world, that the world hates us (cf. John 17:14).
8. We must remember that this prayer is not just for the original disciples. It is for all Christians (cf. 17:20).
II. WE MUST STILL LIVE IN THE WORLD (JOHN 17:11).
1. God could have taken us home to heaven the moment He saved us but that is not His plan (John 17:15). He saved us so we could be a testimony for Him – “I am glorified in them” (John 17:10b).
2. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
3. We have been saved out of the world but we still must live in it. We must deal with worldly people, buy in their stores, mix with them, be neighbors with them, etc. (cf. I Cor. 5:10).
4. Some Christians try to hide from the world but that does not work. Vance Havner said, “Living in a hole does not make you holier!”
5. I know how difficult it can be working in this wicked, sin-loving world. We had a member who taught at Taft HS in the Bronx. He told me God called him to preach and he was going off to Bible college. I asked him, “Did call you or are you just sick and tired of teaching at Taft HS?” He said, “Both!”
6. Our church members tell me about the pro-homosexual brainwashing and the politically correct hogwash they must endure at work, the filthy language, the anti-Christian atmosphere, etc. I know it can be very difficult.
7. Some Christians have started their own businesses for this very reason. They got tired of being told you cannot read the Bible during lunch break, and you have to work on Sunday. They got tired of the rock music, the dirty language, and all of the wickedness that goes on day after day on many jobs.
III. WE ARE NOT OF THE WORLD (17:14, 16).
1. The Bible says we must not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2), but that is precisely what most churches are doing these days – conforming to the world in their dress, in their music, in their entertainment, and in their philosophy!
2. When professed Christians live the same way the world lives they are giving the world a false conception of Christianity. They are telling worldly people that Jesus is not enough – they need the world too. Jesus cannot satisfy them – they must have their worldly pleasures also.
3. The Lord gave God’s Word to His disciples and they received it (17:14; cf. 17:6). As a result, the world turned on them and hated them (17:14). If you are a new believer let me advise you: don’t be surprised when worldly people turn against you. If they do not turn against you then something is wrong with your testimony!
4. Rejection from the world is not something that should bother us. We should rejoice in our salvation (cf. 17:13b).
5. Let us understand what Jesus is saying here (17:14). The world will not accept the Word of God. It has been banished from the public schools, banished from the secular (“worldly”) colleges and universities, banished from the courtrooms (e.g., recent Supreme Court case legalizing abortion and sodomy), etc.
6. Why does the world hate God’s Word? Because the Word of God condemns them. It condemns their sin. It disproves their false religions. It denies their worldly philosophies.
7. The world hates God’s Word and the world hates those who proclaim it. The enmity of the world towards God’s people centers around the fact that we have a Book that claims to be infallible and inerrant.
8. The world demands conformity. That is why the Bible says, “And be ye not conformed to this world.” If Christians live separated from the world, they will be hated by the world. The separated life stirs up the world (especially the “religious” crowd), and hatred follows because godliness and holiness condemn the world.
9. We are not of this world. We do not look to the world for guidance and direction. It is the Word of God that sustains us and guides us in these difficult days.
10. The Word of God has a sanctifying effect on believers (17:17). Get into the Bible. Read the Bible. Study the Bible. Memorize the Bible.
11. James 1:27 says the Christian is “to keep himself unspotted from the world.” But most Christians today are so “spotted” that you cannot tell them apart from the devil’s crowd.
IV. WE HAVE BEEN SENT INTO THE WORLD TO RESCUE SINNERS (17:18).
1. I hope we will all go up to heaven together in the rapture. But if I go before you and someone asks about me, please tell them my #1 concern was seeing people saved.
2. That is why we established this church. That is why we go out soulwinning. That is what I try and emphasize in my preaching.
3. The only business you and I have in this world is to win souls out of this world. Christian friend – God did not place you here so that you can make a lot of money and live a luxurious lifestyle.
4. He placed you here to be a witness for Him (cf. Matt. 28:18-20).
5. When our Lord prayed this prayer in John 17, He knew He would soon be going back to heaven (cf. John 17:1; 18:1-4). In fact the very next day He would be crucified.
6. Our Lord knew that after His death, resurrection and ascension, the work of evangelism would have to be continued by His disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, 9).
7. Note the parallel in 17:18. God the Father sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world; and then Christ sent us into the world!
1. I heard a true story about an evangelist who held a meeting in a certain church and quickly discerned that it was a very worldly church. He soon discovered why – the pastor was very worldly.
2. One of the members walked up to the evangelist after the meeting and said, “Our pastor is such a good mixer!”
3. The evangelist replied, “Yes, that is the problem. You don’t need a mixer; you need a separator!”
4. Generally, there are three groups of people who attend church:
· Saved, and separated from the world. I thank God for you.
· Saved but worldly (they need to repent of their worldliness).
· Unsaved; lost (they need to repent and receive Christ as their Saviour).
5. Which group are you in?