John 17:1-26

John 17:1-26

John 17:3Vintage message from March 24, 2002.

We need to be looking at Jesus for Who He is, not what we want Him to be… Make no mistake about it. There are not many ways to heaven. There is one way to heaven, through the name and person, relationship through Jesus Christ…

Jesus had power and ability beyond any man on the face of the earth. Even though He was a man He was blessed because He had the Holy Spirit. He proved Himself over three and a half years. But yet, for all of the proof, for all of the teaching, for all of the caring, there came this time when Jesus knew it had to be placed in His Father’s hands. And you know what? There are times in our lives that we face difficulties, we face struggles, we face trials, that really the only place to leave them is in the Father’s hands. We can seek the counsel and the guidance and the security of friendship, the strength of the church — which is fine — but don’t forget, that the real power is not in our gathering, but the real power is in why we gather: because there is a God in heaven Who created us, Who calls Himself our Father, and He sent His Son in order that we might know Him in a more personal way…

Did you ever want to know what eternal life is? Have you ever dwelt on what eternal life is? I hear people talk about eternity all the time: streets of gold and mansions and this extreme amount of time out of this world. The pain is gone and it’s going to be a time of joy and gathering, and man, you hear all kinds of descriptions of eternity… Do you want to know what eternal life is? Eternal life is relationship with the God and Father Who created you. I’ve said it many times, you can build a fancy city of gold, and it is nothing more than a fancy city of gold if God is not there. Eternity for us is granted, not that we might live comfortably in mansions, but that we might walk with the God Who created us and be in love relationship with Him. That is eternal life…

This is the amazing thing: long before we were thought of, long before this universe was created, there was a relationship happening. In all eternity past, there was the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, and They were fulfilled in each other, and Their glory was evident, and Jesus was there to witness it. And He still chose to step out of that glory to come here for you and I…

Protection, true protection, is found in the presence of the Father; in seeking after Him, in praying, giving your life to Him, trusting Him, accepting His Word. You know where I find people struggle the most in this world and in their lives? It’s not that it’s hard to live in this world, but that they don’t believe God’s Word. Jesus already told us, “In this world you will have tribulation. It’s the natural course of events that happen to every life on the face of this planet. Every man was born to face trouble, but we can still be of good cheer because we have been given God’s Word, we have been given the authority and the power of Jesus’s name. We do not have to live defeated lives. We can be victorious in all that we do, if we would just believe His Word. But we struggle so often. I find the areas where I fail the most in my life is not because I didn’t know God’s Word. It’s because I don’t believe or accept God’s Word, because I want to do it my way. I want to have my way… And we struggle through this life because we try to do it my way, and we fail desperately. And that’s the amazing thing about God: He lets us! He says, you want to do it your way? Have at it, but just remember, when you fall flat on your face, My Word is still here, My Word still works…

The one thing that Jesus strove to accomplish while alive on the face of this planet was to show us the relationship He had with His Father, which made He and His Father and the Spirit One, and then He says we can accomplish that. We, too, can be one. One body functioning together with the Spirit of God dwelling in us, bringing us to a place of peace, a place of victory, a place of strength. When we are divided, when we are factioned, we’re weak, and we’re struggling, and we’re hurting. Jesus desires for us to accomplish becoming one within the body of Christ…

Don’t ever be afraid or ashamed to pray out loud in front of someone to show them the caring you have to bring them before the Father, and when you tell someone you’re going to pray for them, pray for them. Don’t just say you’re going to do it. There is real power that is given by God’s Spirit when we approach Him, and we do it in sincerity. So often we’ll tell people because it sounds good, “Oh, yeah. I’ll pray for you,” and then we walk away and out of sight, out of mind. I have found in my life, because it is so easy to forget, that when someone asks me to pray or I’m talking to them and I tell them I’m going to pray, if I do not have the time to pray with them out loud right then and there, as I am walking away I am praying for them so I won’t forget. It is so important because fulfillment is found, joy is found, strength is found, by those that we’re praying for, as they come to the realization that someone cares enough to pray…

But we have an enemy that we do need protection from: the world hates us, Satan hates us, and my flesh hates me, which means I am in a constant battle all the time, and am in need of prayer, and am in need of people who care for me; care enough to be there for me and with me, praying for me…

“They’re not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth. Your Word is truth.” So, where does sanctification come from? Not by our doing good. I hear so many people say, “Oh, yeah. I’m sanctified.” Well, what does that mean? “I did good works!” No, that’s not sanctification. Sanctification is God’s Word and dwelling within God’s Word. You are cleansed, made whole, strengthened and blessed through understanding and delving into God’s Word. Finding out what God would have for us to know about Him. That’s where sanctification comes from… Do you want to be right with God? Do you want to be clean? Do you want to be strengthened? Study God’s Word, dwell in it, understand what He’s saying to you, and you’ll be made whole…

Do you know how much God loves you? Do you know how much God deeply cares to share His love with you? See, part of our problem is we don’t actually believe that God loves us. We hear it, but we allow the pressures and distractions of this world to outweigh the love that God has for you and I, and if we truly knew how much God loved us, we would respond to God the way His Son, Jesus, did. We would be victorious. But the problem is, we only hear it… But what they’re really saying is…”I hear what You’re saying, and I know it should be true, but I could care less because I have my own agenda…” And that’s how we approach God’s Word. That’s how we approach God the Father. That’s how we approach Jesus Christ… But do we really know how much God loves us? The whole purpose for Jesus coming was that we would know. That we would be able to dwell within that love relationship.

Pastor Dave Elkins