Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sermon on John 17:1-11, for the 7th Sunday of Easter, "Kept in God's Name"

Sermon outline:

1. Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer—longest prayer of Jesus, first part is for His immediate disciples, second part expands to all future disciples.
a. Hour had come: Father to glorify Son & vice versa—the coming crucifixion, where humility and obedience would bring glory and honor to God

2. Jesus speaks about the purpose God His Father gave: “to give eternal life to all whom you have given Him.” Who has God given to Jesus? Have you been given to Jesus?
a. God is the one doing the giving, not us (vs. “I gave myself to Jesus”)…God gives faith, He calls us to be disciples/followers.
b. We are given to Jesus/called to faith by God’s Word. United with Him in baptism. The Word calls and awakens faith in us. Jesus says: “I have manifested (made known) your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.” Jesus made known God’s name (more on that later). God gave them to Jesus, and they have kept His Word.
c. Blessed are those who hear the Word of God, and keep it. Disciples, who God gives to Jesus, hear and keep His Word. Not by our own power, wisdom, or righteousness, but by the power, wisdom, and righteousness of God. God works in us, and He lives in us to keep His Word.

3. Giving eternal life: “This is eternal life, that they know you the only True God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
a. Eternal life is to know God and Jesus. To know Jesus is not just head knowledge: but to know and trust Him as your Savior. Know He went to the cross to die for your sins. Call on His name, worship Him, listen to and obey His teaching.
b. “I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.”
c. We know God’s heart toward us through Jesus. We find in Him mercy for our sins, and forgiveness for our guilt. We know Him because we cling to Him by faith—never letting go of the One who promises us eternal life, because to let go of Him is to let go of life and His promises

4. Jesus prays for His disciples—knows there will be challenges, they are in the world but not of the world. Reading from 1 Peter tells us we shouldn’t be surprised as Christians if trials and sufferings come upon us because of believing in Christ. Jesus is praying for you—knows that your faith will be challenged “Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith”

5. Jesus prays “Holy Father, keep them in Your Name”.
a. Named “Christians” after Christ
b. Given the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in baptism. With God’s name comes a new identity for us.
c. In the Lord’s Prayer we pray: “Hallowed (holy) be Thy Name.” Acknowledging the Name of God is Most Holy. This should fill us with a fear and reverence for the fact that God places that Holy Name on us. So how should we keep God’s Name Holy? The catechism goes on to explain that “God’s Name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this heavenly Father!” Our lives are to be a living, holy witness to the Holy Name that we bear.
d. Help us to do this dear Father in heaven! Jesus’ prayer/our prayer. Don’t go it alone against the devil, the world, and our sinful nature. Don’t let go of God. God will help us, God will keep us in His name. Enable us to resist the devil and stand firm in our faith.
e. God has given us to Jesus, called us to faith, given His Word and name, promised eternal life, and keeps us in His Name.

Sermon Talking Points
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1. Read all of Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17. It is “priestly” because Jesus prays on behalf of others. How did Jesus pray for His disciples and also for us? What did He ask for?

2. What was the “hour” that Jesus said had come? What was going to happen? See John 2:4; 5:25-28; 7:30; 12:23; 13:1; 16:32

3. Who gave us to Jesus to be His disciples? John 17:2, 6, 9; 15:16

4. What is Jesus’ purpose in the world, as described in John 17:2? How does one get eternal life? See also John 5:24. What did Jesus do to secure eternal life for us?

5. Why do Christians need to be watchful of the devils attacks? 1 Peter 5:6-11. Why did Jesus pray for His disciples? What challenges did He know would face them? John 17:15ff

6. How are we given God’s name? Acts 11:26; Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 6:11. How do we keep and honor God’s name? 2 Thess. 1:12

7. Why don’t we ever want to let go of Jesus and His promises? What has God given and done for us? John 10:28-29. Will He let us go?

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