Spiritual Unity

(John 17:20-26)



“Archeologist Dr. Jim Strange from the University of South Florida (Tampa) visited a Buddhist temple in Tibet. ​​ As he watched the flow of people come and go, he noticed a group of teenagers gathered at the temple. ​​ They were dressed like American teenagers from the 1980s, and he thought it peculiar that they would light incense and bow in the traditional manner. ​​ So he asked his guide, ‘What are they praying for?’ ​​ The guide responded, ‘They’re not praying. ​​ They’re wishing for money, good relationships, and success.’


When a person bows before a temple with lighted incense and intently ‘wishes,’ that is praying, even though it may be mistakenly aimed. ​​ Many modern people in a plethora of languages and cultures pray for money and success. ​​ But the ‘good relationships’ angle is interesting. ​​ In a very real sense, that was part of the essence of Jesus’ prayer. ​​ And he was not ‘wishing’ either but devoutly committing himself to the Father for a return to heaven and the ongoing empowerment of his disciples.


We learn a great deal about prayer from this chapter but perhaps even more about relationships. ​​ A relationship to the Father and the Son is primary, but our relationships with other believers in the world gets significant attention in this high-priestly prayer. ​​ We can activate this chapter in our lives by praying in the pattern of Jesus. ​​ But perhaps even more important is for the modern church to allow the Spirit of God to activate his love through us to other believers.


The result of Christian unity on earth is a radiance of the love of the Father and Son in us. ​​ I remember an old chorus from the days of my youth:

May Christ be seen in me, O Lord.

Hear thou my earnest plea.

O take me, fill me, use me, Lord,

‘Til Christ be seen in me.”


[Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 322].



  • ME

    • Differences in our marriage

        • Judy and I don’t always agree on everything (I know, that may come as a shock to some of you)

          • I like sushi and she doesn’t

          • Her favorite ices cream is mint chocolate chip and mine is either grapenut or teaberry

          • I like Hawaiian pizza and most everyone else doesn’t

          • I like video games and she doesn’t

        • Unity in our marriage

          • We don’t have to agree on everything in our marriage to be unified in our marriage

          • We realize that most of our differences are personal preferences

          • What unites us as husband and wife is a mutual love and relationship with Jesus Christ

          • Unity comes, not from within us or in our own strength, but through Jesus


  • WE

    • I realize that no one else has differences in their marriage or other relationships – it’s just Judy and I

        • We all experience differences in our relationships, no matter what relationship that may be (family, friends, coworkers, fellow believers, church attenders, etc.)

        • Those differences don’t mean we can’t be unified, especially within the body of Christ

        • We have to determine that the relationship is more important than the personal preference we hold to


In this last part of Jesus’ high-priestly prayer, He is praying for future believers (He was praying for us!). ​​ There are repeated themes of love and being one (unity) throughout these seven verses. ​​ The key to being one, as followers of Jesus Christ, is modeled for us by God and Jesus. ​​ We will learn today that . . .


BIG IDEA – Body unity comes from activating divine unity.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 17:20-26)

    • United in Him (vv. 20-23)

        • Future believers (v. 20)

          • Pastor Marc shared last week about Jesus’ prayer for His disciples – those eleven men who had been with Him from the beginning of His ministry

          • We see that Jesus’ prayer for them will be fulfilled as He continues praying for future believers

          • This should have given the eleven disciples incredible confidence and hope for the future

            • Jesus had already told them that they would experience the same things He had experienced on earth (hatred, persecution, separation, and death)

            • The mission He was giving them would not be easy, and yet His prayer here shows that they will be successful

            • Jesus is praying for people who will believe in Him through the message that the disciples would share with them

            • Jesus’ prayer stands the test of time

              • The generation of believers that heard the message from the eleven disciples could also claim the promise of this prayer as they shared the Gospel

              • The generation that followed them could claim the same promise and have the same hope that the Gospel would be successful in transforming the lives of individuals

              • We can claim the same promise and have the same confidence as the first disciples that when we share the Gospel, people will believe in Jesus through our message

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when His people share the Gospel

              • When we share the Gospel, it means that God’s promise and Jesus’ prayer are fulfilled from generation to generation

              • We can have confidence that even though we will be hated and persecuted by the faithless world, that God’s redemption plan will continue to transform the lives of those who hear it and accept it

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confidently claim the promise that when I share the Gospel, people will believe in Jesus.

                • We may not witness the transformation taking place immediately, but we can have hope and confidence as we plant and water the seeds of faith

                • 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, What, after all, is Apollos? ​​ And what is Paul? ​​ Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. ​​ I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. ​​ So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. ​​ The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. ​​ For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

          • So, Jesus is praying for every person who will believe in Him through those who share the message of the Gospel – generation upon generation!

          • He prays for their unity

        • Complete unity (vv. 21-23)

          • Divinity, Divinity relationship

            • What we see in these verses is an incredible love between the Father and the Son (God and Jesus)

            • This love has been expressed throughout John’s Gospel

            • Jesus has been modeling this love for His disciples, so they will understand its importance

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God and Jesus are One!

              • The Father is in Jesus (vv. 21, 23)

              • Jesus is in the Father (v. 21)

              • Jesus has been telling His disciples, the religious leaders, and everyone else, that He and God are One

              • As we’ll see in just a couple of weeks, this claim will be one of the reasons why He is crucified

            • The next relationship we see in these three verses is between the disciples and Jesus and God

          • Disciple, Divinity relationship

            • We have to be in Jesus and God (v. 21)

              • “Like a set of matched mixing bowls, we are the smaller one that fits into Christ who fits into the Father.” ​​ [Gangel, 319]

              • The relationship that Jesus is praying about here is perfectly summed up in His teaching about the vine and the branches (John 15:1-11)

              • John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. ​​ If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me to can do nothing.”

              • We’ll talk about the fruit of unity in just a moment

            • Jesus has to be in us (v. 23)

              • This is the relationship that is most important, because it guarantees spending eternity with God

              • John 14:23, Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. ​​ My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

              • Revelation 3:20, Here I am! ​​ I stand at the door and knock. ​​ If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (this is a picture of a close relationship)

              • John 1:12-13, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

            • This leads us the final relationship between disciples

          • Disciple, Disciple relationship

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus’ desire is that His disciples are one (unified).

              • Defining unity [Carter & Wredberg, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in John, 343-45]

                • Unity is not compromising the truth

                  • “[Unity] is not achieved by hunting enthusiastically for the lowest common theological denominator, but by common adherence to the apostolic gospel, by love that is joyfully self-sacrificing, by undaunted commitment to the shared goals of the mission with which Jesus’ followers have been charged, by self-conscious dependence on God himself for life and fruitfulness.” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 568]

                  • We have to keep the main thing the main thing

                  • Most evangelical churches agree on the Gospel of Jesus Christ even when they don’t agree on other secondary issues – we can still be unified with them around the Gospel

                  • The same in true within every local body of believers

                • Unity is not outlawing any diversity

                  • Just as Judy and I don’t agree on everything and have our own personal preferences, every one of us will have our personal preferences and not agree when it comes to church

                  • The key is found in this classic quotation: “In essentials, unity. ​​ In nonessentials, liberty. ​​ In all things, charity.” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, 344]

                  • We may think that certain things should be done a certain way at church, but in most cases those things are related to personal preferences

                  • In some extreme cases, individuals make their personal preferences higher and more important than Biblical truth and unity and will fight to the death in order to get their own way

                  • This only cripples the local body of believers in accomplishing God’s purpose and will

                • Unity is participation in a shared relationship with Jesus

                  • Jesus prays about giving His glory to His disciples

                  • We don’t have any glory on our own, it only comes from God and Jesus

                  • “Child of God, don’t you know only you share the glow. ​​ It’s the light from within, when the blood covers sin. ​​ It’s the wonderful glory of God.” ​​ [Gangel, 319]

                  • We can only experience true unity in the body, as disciples of Jesus Christ, when we keep our focus on loving Jesus and God

                  • Body unity comes from activating divine unity.

              • Four evidences of a unified church [Carter & Wredberg, 346-49]

                • A shared commitment to Biblical instruction

                  • Acts 2:42-44, They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. ​​ Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. ​​ All the believers were together and had everything in common.

                  • “If every member of the church is willing to ask, ‘What does the Bible say?’ and commit to obey it no matter what, that church will experience unity.” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, 347]

                  • Are you willing to ask that question when confronted with conflict and disunity in the church? ​​ 

                  • Are you willing to commit to obeying God’s Word no matter what?

                  • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Study God’s Word and commit to obey it when confronted by conflict and disunity in the church.

                • A shared understanding of our new identity

                  • At the moment of our salvation, we are immediately in Christ

                  • We are children of God, family members

                  • This membership in God’s family creates unity across ethnic, racial, economic, and social lines

                  • Unfortunately, even within the Christian community we still see division, hurt, anger, and disunity in all of those areas

                  • We need to make sure that we are agents of Christian unity with everyone

                • A shared pursuit of sacrificial love

                  • Jesus’ prayer highlights the fact that God loves us the same way He loves Jesus (that’s a perfect love)

                  • Jeremiah 31:3, The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

                  • Philippians 2:1-2, If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

                  • What does the pursuit of sacrificial love look like? [bearing one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:1), instructing one another (Rom. 15:14), forgiving one another (Eph. 4:2), praying for one another (James 5:16), submitting to one another (Eph. 5:21), encouraging one another (1 Thess. 4:18), provoking one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24)

                  • It means putting aside our personal preferences and seeking what is best for others

                • A shared discontentment with selfish division

                  • We should never get to the point where we say “We’re unified enough.” [Carter & Wredberg, 349]

                  • Imagine for a moment that someone put arsenic in your cup. ​​ Would you feel confident to drink from that cup if you didn’t know that every last drop of arsenic was removed?

                  • “Disunity and broken relationships are like poison in the church. ​​ We can’t be content until every last drop of division is removed – not by getting rid of someone or leaving ourselves but by dealing biblically with division.” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, 349]

                  • I’m really passionate about reconciliation within the church, but unfortunately it rarely happens, because there is a church on every street corner in America. ​​ When someone doesn’t get their own way (whether a congregant or a pastor) they just move on to the next church and never resolve the conflict. ​​ Church discipline is really weak in most churches. ​​ The thing that’s frustrating is that the issue that drove the individual away from the church follows them to the next church. ​​ It eventually surfaces again and the process continues, indefinitely.

                  • I’ve had people ask me if I want them to leave the church and my answer has always been, “No.” ​​ I want them to be transformed by the power of Jesus Christ. ​​ I want there to be submission to the Lord and His Word and changed attitudes and hearts. ​​ I want there to be reconciliation and unity.

                  • “Puritan preacher Thomas Brooks wrote, ‘Discord and division become no Christian. ​​ For wolves to worry the lambs is no wonder, but for one lamb to worry another, this is unnatural and monstrous’ (“Legacies”).” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, 349]

                  • How do you deal with differences and disagreements within the church?

                  • Paul (Read Philippians 2:5-8)

                  • Jesus (Read Matthew 18:15-20)

                  • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to resolve any differences and disagreements I have in the church and strive to reconcile with the individuals involved.

              • Hurting the purpose of unity

                • “Divisions in the church breed atheism in the world.” ​​ [Thomas Manton cited by Carter & Wredberg, 349]

                • “The effectiveness of the church’s evangelism is devastated by dissension and disputes among its members.” ​​ [John MacArthur cited by Carter & Wredberg, 349]

                • “The gospel proclaimed from the pulpit is either confirmed, and hence immeasurably enhanced, or it is contradicted, and hence immeasurably weakened, by the quality of the relationships in the pews. ​​ In this sense every Christian is a witness. ​​ Every time we gather together we either strengthen or weaken the evangelistic appeal of our church by the quality of our relationships with our fellow church members. ​​ The biggest barriers to effective evangelism according to the prayer of Jesus are not so much outdated methods, or inadequate presentations of the gospel, as realities like gossip, insensitivity, negative criticism, jealousy, backbiting, an unforgiving spirit, a ‘root of bitterness’, failure to appreciate others, self-preoccupation, greed, selfishness and every other form of lovelessness.” ​​ [Milne, The Bible Speak Today: The Message of John, 250-51]

            • Jesus explains the purpose of this incredible unity that He has been praying about

          • Purpose of unity

            • The world will believe (vv. 21b, 23b)

              • It’s all about God’s divine plan of redemption for the world

              • Our unity, through love for one another, is a powerful testimony that God sent Jesus from heaven to earth to take our punishment for sin

              • It’s also a powerful testimony of the everlasting, loving kindness of God, with which He draws sinners to Himself (Jer. 31:3)

            • I don’t know about you, but I want to have that kind of testimony with our neighbors and community

              • We’ve been praying for salvations and I want to see God answer those prayers

              • Our effectiveness in leading others into a discipling relationship with Jesus is based on our unity as a body of believers

              • Body unity comes from activating divine unity.

        • Jesus was so concerned about our unity, that He prayed about it over two thousand years ago and has continued to intercede for us before the Father

        • He not only prayed that we would be united in Him, but also that we would be reunited with Him

    • Reunited with Him (vv. 24-26)

        • Being with Jesus (v. 24a)

          • Home improvement shows

            • Judy and I love to watch home improvement shows and tiny house shows

            • When the house is complete, the homeowners usually invite their family and friends over for an open house, so they can show everyone what it looks like

            • Perhaps you’ve done that when you’ve moved into a new home, or have made improvements to your current home

            • You want everyone to see how attractive it is

          • Jesus is looking forward to the time when those, that God had given to Him, would be able to be with Him in heaven

            • The attractiveness of heaven will far exceed any home improvements that we can do here on earth

            • Our heavenly home will be perfect!

          • The magnificence of heaven will be highlighted by the glory of Jesus and God

        • Jesus’ glory (v. 24b)

          • As Jesus continues with His request, about being reunited with His followers, He expresses His desire for His followers to see His glory

          • This is the pre-incarnate glory that He had with God before the world was created

            • 2 Corinthians 3:18, And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

            • 1 John 3:2, Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. ​​ But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

          • Jesus concludes His prayer by reaffirming that He has made the Father known to the world

        • Making God known (vv. 25-26)

          • Jesus addresses the Father as righteous

            • This is one of His many attributes

            • It means that He does everything right – He does everything perfectly

          • Jesus had made the Father known to the world

            • John 15:15, I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. ​​ Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

            • John 17:6, “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. ​​ They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.

            • The fact that the world does not know the Father, doesn’t mean that they hadn’t heard

            • “The problem is not the world’s access to the knowledge of God . . . but that the world refused to acknowledge that God had sent Jesus.” ​​ [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 469]

          • Jesus continues to make the Father known through us

            • Jesus, and His love, living in us, is the key to making the Father known to the world

            • We are Jesus’ ambassadors to those in our world who don’t know Him


  • YOU

    • Are you sharing the Gospel of Jesus with your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors? ​​ (You can do it with confidence knowing that God will give the increase)

    • Are there any relationships in the church where you need to work towards reconciliation and unity?

  • WE

    • The body unity that comes from activating divine unity will accomplish God’s purpose of transforming individuals in our world



“The church can be a taste of heaven. ​​ When people with different preferences, hobbies, jobs, genders, backgrounds, skin colors, accents, and tastes love one another with a love surpassing all human love, they open a window to heaven, and people begin to feel a breeze from a far-off country and in their souls awaken a long-dormant hope. ​​ They want to go to that place and be with those people who know, see, and feel something different, something beyond, something more.


The love of God assures us we have a home and a country on the other side of the sea. ​​ This knowledge binds us together and spills out in a love that feels strangely foreign but still familiar. ​​ When people see this love displayed in a million little ways, they will hope it’s real, and when the hope is confirmed, they will understand the story is true. ​​ They will know Jesus lives and Jesus loves.”


[Carter & Wredberg, 351].





In January 28, 2016, Billy Graham preached a message entitled “In the World, But Not of It.” I am quoting from portions of his message here. ​​ 

At a meeting of church leaders in Seattle, Washington, one member of the group reportedly said that if the church is to make its greatest impact on our generation, it must become more worldly minded. While in one sense that may bear some truth, in the Biblical sense it is false. As we read the New Testament, it is clear that we are not to become entangled with the world.

But the question I want to ask today is, “What is the world?” The world is the cosmos, the world system, which is headed by Satan and based upon self, greed and pride. This is the world that God warns about, and it is this world system and philosophy that Christians are to shun and remain free from. The world was such a great danger to our souls that this danger caused Christ, the Son of God, to go to the cross to deliver us from it.

Billy Graham goes on to say we need to be careful not to be deceived by the world. In this complex generation in which we live, it is not easy for the Christian to distinguish between that which is spiritual and that which is worldly. This cosmos has its own entertainment and diversions that so permeate the atmosphere that it makes the way of the cross seem antiquated and irrelevant. In much of the entertainment media fostered by the cosmos, the name of God is profaned, sex is glamorized, and high, ethical living and Christian moral standards are laughed at.

The Bible teaches that worldliness is a force, a spirit, an atmosphere of the cosmos that is in opposition to all that is godly and Christian. There is an undertow, a subtle current that runs against and in contradiction to the will and the way of God. Its eddies are deep and treacherous. They are stirred and troubled by Satan and intended to trap and ensnare those who would walk godly in Christ Jesus. Satan employs every device at his command to harass, tempt, thwart and hurt the people of God. His attack is relentless.

So we as Christians are in the world. We come in contact with the world, and yet we retain our distinctive kingdom character and refuse to let the world press us into its mold. The primary responsibility of the Christian is to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel—that God loves the world, has redeemed it through the cross of our Savior, and seeks to save it. But we are to achieve that most difficult of all tasks, not to be conformed to the world. This is the Christian’s stand; this is the Christian’s job. We are to be in the world but not of the world.

Last week, Pastor Stuart introduced John chapter 17 to us. This chapter has been called the High Priestly Prayer and it is the longest recorded prayer by Jesus in the Bible. ​​ Today, we are going to be focusing on the second section of Jesus’ prayer in which he prays for those closest to him while he was on the earth. Of the twenty six verses of Jesus’ prayer, 80% of them are focused on others. This includes those closest to him who believed in him while he was on the earth, those throughout history who have believed in him, those today who believe in him and those who will believe in him in the future. But 100% of this prayer, all 26 verses, are for those that are “not of this world.” Jesus was not of this world, the disciples were not of this world and all who have believed in him for all time are not of this world including believers today. If you are a Christ follower here this morning, you are a stranger and an alien on this earth and you are called to continue the work that Jesus has given you until you are called to your real home in heaven.

This morning we get to continue to listen in to Jesus’ High Priestly prayer just as the disciples of Jesus’ day did. We are going to hear who Jesus prayed for and we are going to hear what Jesus prayed about for them. Imagine hearing the Messiah, the Creator of the Universe, praying for you as you are listening. Maybe you have heard a parent or a pastor or a friend pray specifically for you. What did they pray for? Whatever it was it was probably important to them and to you. This morning we are going to see who was so important to Jesus and what was so important to pray for them about, that he took this opportunity so close to the cross to intercede for them with his heavenly Father. That brings us to our big idea that Jesus through John wants us to understand this morning which is “Knowing who to pray for and what to pray for them about is important.”

Before we start to unpack that big idea this morning let’s pray. Dear Heavenly Father, we come to you seeking knowledge and wisdom from your Word. We ask that you open our hearts and minds to what you want us to take away from your message this morning. Teach us, guide us, illumine us and use us to your honor and your glory, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

This morning, we are going to be studying John chapter 17, verses 6 to 19. Our first point is Who. Who did Jesus pray for and why was it important for him to pray for them. We see this in verses 6-11b. Follow along as I read those verses. This is what God’s Word says, 6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9 I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You.

Who is Jesus praying for? He is definitely praying for the eleven remaining disciples. If you remember Judas has already left the upper room to go betray Jesus so the eleven other disciples are the subjects and the hearers of Jesus’ prayer to his Father. But he may have also been praying for other devoted followers that had heard his words and believed in him as their Messiah. But he probably had the eleven disciples in the forefront of his mind as he prayed because they were going to be the ones continuing his mission in the world after he left. He goes on to describe these eleven men whom he was getting ready to send out into the world.

The first way he describes them is that they were the men that Jesus manifested his Father’s name to while he was on the earth because they were given to Jesus out of the world by God. They were God’s and God gave them to Jesus. He also describes them as ones who kept God’s Word. Part of Jesus’ mission on the earth was to take ordinary men and make God known to them. John 1:14 says “And the Word (Jesus) became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” God, in the person of Jesus, became flesh and dwelt among the disciples so he could make himself known to them and show them his glory.

“Manifested” means “to reveal” or “to make known.” The tense here shows that Jesus perfectly accomplished the Father’s plan by revealing the Father to the disciples. The concept of God’s name means all that God is: his character, his nature and his attributes. Jesus was the perfect Word of God and the perfect manifestation of God and he perfectly revealed all God was to the disciples. Only Jesus could say “he who has seen me has seen the Father” as we saw in John 14:9. Hebrews 1:3a says, “And He (Jesus) is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.

We see God’s divine sovereignty and election at work here. The eleven disciples who belonged to God first were chosen by God before time began out of the world to be Jesus’ followers on the earth. Their choosing was based on nothing that they did but only on the grace granted them by God in Christ. John 6:44 says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” But there is also human responsibility. The disciples had to make a choice about Jesus. They would be held accountable to how they responded to the words and the name of God revealed to them through Jesus. At the end of verse 6, we see how they responded. It says they “kept” God’s Word. This means they obeyed the Word revealed to them by Jesus. Obedience is essential to salvation and is the result of a genuine salvation experience.

The offer of salvation goes out to all people and is the same for everyone. God’s desire is that everyone will be saved but we know that not everyone will accept that offer. God in his sovereignty knows who will accept him and who will reject him. He knew that these eleven men would accept his Words and his Name that Jesus would make known to them. Salvation is never a result of human morality, wisdom or willpower but a gift of grace and mercy from God. Those who reject the gospel do so willingly and without excuse having been given many, many opportunities by God to respond. ​​ 

Just like the disciples we will be held accountable to how we respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe the Holy Spirit is tugging at your heart right now urging you to take that step of faith toward salvation in Jesus Christ. If so this next step is for you: Admit that I am sinner. Believe that Jesus died for my sins. Confess that Jesus is my Lord. If you made that next step today, you are now “not of this world” and I would encourage you to let myself or Pastor Stuart know so we can share how you can now start to be discipled in Jesus.  ​​ ​​​​ 

In verses 7-8, Jesus continues to describe the disciples as those who have come to know that everything the Father gave the Son was from the Father, including the words given to Jesus from God. They truly understood that Jesus was the Son of God who came from God and was sent by God. In effect they believed that Jesus was the Messiah. Of course they did not fully understand Jesus’ mission on the earth but they would once he arose, ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. But at this point they clearly realized that Jesus was who he said he was. They had proven to be his true disciples because they had received the words the Father gave Jesus, they understood that Jesus came from Father and they believed that the Father had sent Jesus. These things were further proof of the disciples’ genuine faith. They believed, unlike the Jewish religious leaders, that Jesus’ power, authority and words came from God and that he did God’s will while on the earth.

This was who Jesus prayed for. God had been revealed to them and they “kept” his Word. These eleven men had come to be in a close personal relationship with Jesus and he knew what lay ahead for them. So it was important for Jesus to pray for them and it was important for them to listen in to his intimate communication with the Father. BIG IDEA

In verses 9-10, Jesus continues to describe the disciples as a gift and as those whom he has been glorified in. Because the disciples had responded with belief and demonstrated genuine faith through their obedience, they showed that they had been chosen by the Father out of this world as a gift for the Son. Jesus was confident that his Father would hear and grant his prayer for the disciples because they were a gift from him.

Then Jesus prays something that may surprise us. He says that he is praying for his disciples that God has gifted him, but not for the world. Remember the world is the evil, godless, satanically ruled system comprised of all that oppose God and his kingdom. Now this does not mean that God doesn’t care for those who reject him. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. That word “world” in John 3:16 is the same word used here in verse 9. But Christ’s high priestly work of interceding is done on behalf of those given to him by the Father: those who have received God’s words from Jesus, understood that Jesus came from God and believed that God sent him. The unredeemed world was not the subject of this prayer. He had been praying for them all throughout his ministry and even with his dying breath he was praying to his Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Jesus’ statement that “they are yours; and all things that are mine are yours, and yours are mine” shows his confidence that the eleven belonged to God. It was also a claim by Jesus to deity and full equality with God the Father. Jesus and God are one so the disciples were not only God’s and chosen by him but they were also fully and equally the Son’s and chosen by him. Those who belong to the Father belong to the Son as well.

The disciples were also men that Jesus has been glorified in. Jesus had been glorified in the disciples’ because they accepted and obeyed God’s Word from Jesus and believed that God sent him as the Messiah. This glory would continue to be displayed on the earth as the disciples lived out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission to love God and others and to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them all that Jesus had commanded them. Imagine that - sinning, denying, doubting, failing human beings represent the glory of the holy Son of God! Do you feel that way this morning? Jesus feels that way about you.

Pastor Stuart mentioned last week that one of Jesus’ purposes on the earth was to glorify God and we have the same purpose as well. We see this in Matthew 5:16, which says, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” And 1 Corinthians 10:31, says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” God and Jesus will be glorified as Christians reflect Christ’s glory in the darkness of this world.

In verse 11a we see why Jesus is praying for the eleven disciples. He is praying for them because he is leaving the world to return to the Father but the eleven will be staying in the world without him. This was an important reason for Jesus to pray for them. Yes, Jesus will rise again from the grave and they will rejoice. Yes, the Holy Spirit will come upon them at Pentecost and they will be bold. But Jesus in bodily form whom they loved and whom loved them would not be with them day in and day out any longer. They were already devastated, saddened to the point of despair and anxious and depressed. So Jesus, with the cross looming before him, audibly prays to his Heavenly Father in their presence for them on their behalf. He wanted to uplift their spirits and remind them of how much he loved them. These eleven men were of super importance to Jesus and because of their importance to him he prays for them, interceding for them with his Father. BIG IDEA.

That brings us to our next point this morning which is What. What did Jesus pray about for his disciples? What were some of the most important things Jesus felt he needed to bring before the Father on the disciples’ behalf? We see these things in verses 11b-19. Follow along as I read those verses. “Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

Jesus starts his intercessory prayer for his disciples by addressing God as “Holy Father.” The use of “Holy Father” is unique here in the NT. It suggests both remoteness and nearness. God is both awe-inspiring and loving. The Son was not only celebrating the holiness of God but was remembering God’s holiness to the disciples. It would be their holiness that would help them to overcome the hostile world as they lived in the world but be “not of the world.” Their relationship with God while on this earth was to be characterized as “holy” even as God was “holy.”

The first thing Jesus prayed for his disciples was unity. Jesus wanted God to “keep” his disciples by the power of his name so that they would be one as the Father and the Son were one. Remember God’s name represents all that he is and in this instance Jesus asks the Father to “keep” them according to his holy character and attributes. What did Jesus pray to keep or protect them from?

Gaebelein says, “That keeping means everything. Keeping from falling away, from evil doctrines, from being overcome by sorrow or in tribulation and suffering, keeping them in life and in death. From this first petition of our Lord’s prayer we learn the absolute security of a true believer. If a true believer, one who belongs to Christ, who has been given by the Father to the Son, for whom the Son intercedes, can be lost, it would mean the loss of Christ’s glory, the loss of a part of the travail of his soul.”

This “keeping” or protection was important so that the disciples would be one as the Father and the Son were one. This unity of the Father and the Son is seen in the power of the name of the Father which is also the Son’s name. God’s holy character was reflected perfectly in Jesus. Jesus had provided the disciples with a perfect picture of who God is and what he expects. God is faithful and true, so is Jesus. God is loving, gracious and merciful, so is Jesus. God is holy and just, so is Jesus. Jesus is praying to the Father for the disciples to have the same unity that they have because he knows their unity will be important as they live in the world but not be of the world so that they can continue the work that Jesus started on the earth.

The nature of this unity is important. It is a unity already given. Jesus doesn’t pray that they become one but that they continually be one. This is an invisible spiritual unity which rests in abiding in Jesus and having him abide in them. It is an invisible unity, produced by the Holy Spirit, that is the foundation for the visible unity that the world should see in the Church. The world should see this unity in us practically as a common love for God, commitment to his word, a love for his people and a life lived in holiness. Christ followers should be noticeably different from the world they live in. We are to be the salt of the earth and light in a darkened world. If we aren’t, Matthew 5:13 says we are “no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

During Jesus’ ministry on the earth he “kept” and “guarded” them in the Father’s name given to Jesus. He guarded them so well that not one of them perished except the son of perdition. For three years Jesus taught them God’s words, he empowered them so they could continue his work on the earth after he left and he shielded them from persecution by the hostile Jewish religious leaders. The word Jesus uses for “kept” means preserve and watch over. “Guarded” gives the idea of protection from outside dangers like the strong man who guards his house in Luke 11:21. That verse says, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.” Jesus “kept” and “guarded” his disciples and they were not “disturbed.” Taken together the words give a picture of compete deliverance from all perils and lasting security. The Son asks the Father to secure his disciples knowing that it was the Father’s will and Jesus always prayed in perfect agreement with his Father.

Jesus says none perished but the “son of perdition.” He was talking about Judas. Only Judas who never had a true relationship in the first place was not “kept . . . by that name you gave me.” There is a play on words in the original text: “Not one perished but for the son of perishing.” His loss was not due to Jesus failing to keep him by the Father’s name or by not guarding him properly. Judas was characterized by “lostness” not predestined to be “lost.” Greene says, “Scripture was fulfilled by the loss of Judas not that he was lost to fulfill scripture.” Judas was still personally responsible for his actions and rejection of Jesus as the Messiah but God used his evil actions to bring about his own divine purposes. God’s will was done in the handing over of Jesus to be crucified.

The second thing Jesus prayed for his disciples was for them to have the complete joy of Jesus in them. Imagine their thoughts as they hear Jesus pray these things about and for them. Jesus has described them as men who were chosen by God to have the very words of God revealed to them. They were a gift from the Father to the Son and Jesus said he was glorified in them. Then Jesus asks God to keep and guard them as they continue his work in the world. I would have to believe that hearing this prayer on their behalf would produce joy in their hearts and help them to overcome their fears as Jesus was getting ready to return to the Father. But this wasn’t just any joy; this was Jesus’ joy. Jesus loved his disciples so much and was so concerned for their well-being that he wanted them to have the same joy that he experienced. This was joy based on the eternal purposes of God which the disciples would now take part in. The disciples would also share in Christ’s joy as they would experience eternal life made possible through his death and resurrection.

Just as the world hated Jesus, God’s incarnate Word in the world, the world hates the disciples because they accepted the word given to them by Jesus. By rejecting both Jesus and the disciples they were ultimately rejecting God. The hatred of the world for the disciples was proof that they were not of this world just as Jesus wasn’t. They were reborn, born again, from above. Their citizenship was no longer on the earth but in heaven. Effectively they were strangers and aliens here just as everyone today is if they have been born again.

The third thing Jesus prayed for his disciples was for their protection. Even though they were not of this world Jesus was not asking the Father to remove them from it. But he was praying God would give them a supernatural awareness of the world’s evils so they could be avoided. It would be important that they were kept from evil because evil would be fatal to their mission. He also asked his Father to protect them from the evil one while they continued his work on the earth. Carson says, “Followers of Jesus are permitted neither the luxury of compromise with the world, nor the safety of being taken out of the world. But we are assured of the safety that only God can provide as certainly as the prayers of God’s son will be answered.” Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 59:1 says, “Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me. And 2 Thessalonians 3:3 says, “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

In verse 16, Jesus again states that the disciples are not of the world just as he is not. This was more than just a restatement of verse 14. Jesus was emphasizing the unity that the disciples shared with him. Imagine the joy they would have felt at hearing Jesus pray for their protection from the world and the evil one. They would have the same joy that Jesus had. They would enjoy the same unity that Jesus and the Father had. They would have the same protection from the Father as Jesus had.

The last thing Jesus prayed for was that his disciples would be sanctified. “To be sanctified” means to be “holy” or “set apart.” The world is hostile to God and the things of God, including his Son and disciples. The only way to overcome the world and the evil one is to be sanctified. Jesus was sanctified and set apart by the Father and sent into the world to redeem it. Now Jesus asks his Father to sanctify the disciples for the same purpose. They are to be sanctified and set apart from the world in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ. The instrument of this sanctification is “truth” which is the Word of God. Their protection would be found in God’s Word. As they were preaching and teaching the “truth” in the world they would not only be protected from outside evils but also from inside ones. The evil one would try to stop the disciples from finishing Jesus’ work by attacking their unity, their joy and their hearts and minds.

They needed to be continually internally transformed by reading and studying God’s Word, by obeying the Word, by prayer and striving to live as Christ lived on the earth. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. And 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” Bruce says, “The very message which they are to proclaim in his name will exercise its sanctifying effect on them . . .” Think about that. You are sanctified as you read the word, as you talk about the word with others (Bible study) and as you obey the word. And others are sanctified as well.

But this continued work would not be possible except for the sacrificial death of the Son on the cross. MacArthur says, “What he was about to endure on the cross would make salvation possible for the eleven and for those who would be saved through their extended ministries. For the disciples’ sake Jesus would sanctify himself by himself being set apart to righteously obey the Father’s will by dying on the cross. It was only because of Jesus’ atonement for their sins that they themselves would be sanctified in truth. Having been justified by their faith in Jesus they would be daily conformed more and more into his perfect image.”

So, “knowing who to pray for and what to pray for them about is important.” I have two questions for each of us this morning. First, who do you pray for on a daily or regular basis? Who are the people closest and most important to you? Is it a brother or sister? A mother or father? A husband or wife? Maybe it’s a close friend. And what do you pray about for them on a daily or regular basis? Do you pray for their unity in Christ, for their joy in Christ, for their protection from the evil one and for their sanctification? If not the second next step this morning is for you: Pray daily for those most important to me for their unity, joy, protection and sanctification. Second, do you pray for your church family? Do you pray for those who worship here at Idaville Church with you? What do you pray about for them? Do you ever pray for their unity in Christ, for their joy in Christ, for their protection from the evil one as they live out the Great Commandment and for their sanctification? If not the last next step is for you: Pray daily for my Idaville Church family for their unity, joy, protection and sanctification.

As Gene and Roxey come to lead us in our final hymn this morning let’s pray. Holy Father, we thank you for your Incarnate Word, Jesus, and your words to us this morning. Help us to model our prayers after the prayers of your Son especially this prayer in John chapter 17. Help us to remember our family, our friends and our Idaville Church family in our prayers to you for their unity and joy in your Son, for their protection from the evil one and for a continued striving to holiness as we live in this world but not of the world. In Jesus name, Amen.



(John 17:1-5)



“As a child I recall lying in bed at night, listening to my mother praying aloud in the next room. ​​ Along with the prayers I could also hear at times the curses and anger of my atheistic father, who tried to interrupt her communication with God. ​​ I always felt on those occasions that I should not be able to listen, since prayer is a private and sacred domain one ought to maintain in secret. ​​ It does not seem right to be able to listen to your mother praying, especially when she is praying for you.


Yet that is precisely the type of experience every Christian can have when reading the seventeenth chapter of John’s Gospel. ​​ Here, of course, it is not a mother but the Son of God praying aloud, praying for the record. ​​ And not only for the benefit of disciples who may have been within earshot but for every reader of the New Testament right up to the present time.


The Lord was just hours from the cross. ​​ A final evening of instruction began in the upper room at mealtime, and Jesus had explained to his disciples all the matters recorded in chapters 13-16 of this Gospel. ​​ Foremost among the themes of the evening had been an emphasis on the coming of the Holy Spirit and the continuing relationship the disciples would have with their Lord, even though he would be in heaven while they would extend his work on earth.


These five chapters of John are a golden repository of truth to which Christians have come for guidance and blessing for almost two thousand years. ​​ The capstone of the unit lies before us now as we listen to what one member of the Trinity says to another about what it is like to live ‘in the world.’ ​​ In this moment of grief as well as triumph, our Lord turned his eyes from earth to heaven and asked the God of the universe to heed his petitions on the authority of his relationship to his Father.”


[Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 311].



  • ME

    • Listening in

        • As a young teenager, I remember one night sitting outside my parent’s bedroom door and listening to them talk before they went to sleep

        • I know, it wasn’t right for me to do that

        • What I heard was their concern about immoral things their children would probably do, that they never did

        • Their concern came from cultural shifts they had identified as becoming normalized instead immoral

        • I didn’t take their concerns as permission to go ahead and do those things, but rather I took it as a challenge to prove them wrong – I wasn’t going to allow the culture to dictate what I did

        • By the way, I did prove them wrong


  • WE

    • Two paths

        • We can choose how we will react to the doubts, expectations, and criticism of others

        • ​​ “Howard Hendricks tells how he came from a broken family and was a problem kid. During his first day in fifth grade the teacher said, ‘Oh, Howard Hendricks. I’ve heard a lot about you. I understand you are the worst kid in school.’ That year Howard did whatever he could to prove her right. When the next year rolled around his sixth grade teacher said to him, ‘Oh, so you are Howard Hendricks. I’ve heard you are the worst boy in this school.’ Hendricks thought, ‘Here we go again.’ But then the teacher continued, ‘And you know what? I don’t believe a word of it.’ And Howard said that year that woman did everything she could to help him and encourage him and praise his work; she believed in him. Hendricks credits her with changing his life forever.” ​​ (Source: Spiritual Stamina, Stuart Briscoe, p 231-232). ​​ []

        • We can live up to their doubts, lowered expectations, and criticisms, or we can strive to prove them wrong

    • Trending today

        • We want people to know what we are thinking, but we don’t want to talk with them about it

        • We use social media to talk about people instead of to them

        • We will also talk to another person, while the person we are talking about is right there (Judy saw this happen at the grocery store the other day as it pertains to the wearing of masks)

        • It’s a passive-aggressive way of communicating our point without directly confronting someone

        • We are hoping that they will listen in on the conversation


Recorded in John 17 is Jesus’ prayer to the Father. ​​ It happens at the end of his discourse with His disciples in the upper room. ​​ While He is talking to the Father, the disciples are right there listening to the whole prayer conversation. ​​ “After talking about the Father to His disciples in the Upper Room, Jesus talks to the Father about His disciples.” ​​ [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, New Testament, 572]. ​​ As we’ll see over the next several weeks, Jesus is going to pray for Himself, His disciples, and for future believers. ​​ The great thing is, we get to listen in on this conversation between Jesus and the Father. ​​ As we look at Jesus’ prayer for Himself, today, John wants us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – Eternal life comes by knowing God and Jesus.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 17:1-5)

    • Glorify (vv. 1, 4-5)

        • Jesus mentions the word glorify or glory five times in these five verses

          • We see a simple chiastic structure in the fact that Jesus talks about glory in verse 1 and then returns to it again in verses 4-5

          • Verses 2-3 really flesh out how the Son will be glorified, which in turn brings glory to the Father

        • After Jesus said this

          • The NIV’s translation could make it sound like Jesus is only referring to what He just said in John 6:33, but the Greek word for “this” is actually plural and not singular

          • The NLT translates it this way, After saying all these things

          • We don’t have to worry, though, with the NIV’s translation, because if we look at John 6:33 it makes it clear that Jesus is talking about His entire discourse from chapters 14-16

          • John 6:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. ​​ In this world you will have trouble. ​​ But take heart! ​​ I have overcome the world.”

        • Jesus looked toward heaven and prayed

          • This would have been a common Jewish posture for prayer and it may have included raising His hands to heaven [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 462]

          • We see in John 11:41 that Jesus did the same thing when praying for Lazarus to be raised from the dead – He looked up!

          • The Psalmist talks about this same posture of prayer when he says, I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven (Psalm 123:1)

          • We normally encourage everyone to close their eyes and bow their heads, when we pray, but perhaps we should be lifting our eyes to heaven and raising our hands

        • The time has come

          • Hour had not come [Carter & Wredberg, Christ-Centered Exposition: ​​ Exalting Jesus in John, 335]

            • Throughout the book of John, we see Jesus telling different groups that His hour had not yet come

            • In John 2:4 he reminded His mother that His time had not yet come (He still turned water into wine at the wedding)

            • In John 7:30 we read that although the crowd tried to seize him, because of His teachings, no one was able to lay a hand on Him, because His time had not yet come

            • Jesus teaches that He is the light of the world in John 8:12-20, which made the Pharisees angry, but they weren’t able to seize Him, because His time had not yet come

            • Jesus expresses in John 12:27 that His hour is getting closer, but hasn’t arrived yet

          • It’s time!

            • Jesus knows that within a few short hours His glorification will begin, in a way that would be antithetical to how the world would glorify someone

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is sovereign!

              • In all of this we see that God is sovereign – He has the right to rule and He rules rightly

              • God’s plan of redemption was not going to be hijacked by the emotions and desires of the Pharisees or religious leaders

              • His timing and plan were going to be executed perfectly, because He is sovereign

              • We can rejoice in God’s sovereignty in our lives

                • He has the right to rule and He rules rightly in every circumstance in our lives

                • His plans for us will not be hijacked by our emotions and desires

                • We may run ahead of Him sometimes, which causes Him to adjust the timeframe in which we will learn what He is trying to teach us, but His plans will always be fulfilled

                • He knows what’s best for us and earnestly desires for us to learn and grow through His guidance and direction

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in God’s sovereignty over the plans for my life.

            • Jesus’ time had come

          • His glorification was about to begin

        • Glorification of the Son (vv. 1a, 5)

          • On earth – through crucifixion (v. 1a)

            • In verse 1, Jesus is asking the Father to glorify Him – the Son

            • We have to understand God’s glory in order to understand what Jesus is asking for here

              • “The ‘glory’ of God is a noun and means his majesty or his splendor, his ‘display of divine goodness’ (Carson, John, 129). ​​ When we talk about God’s being glorified (the verb), we mean the appropriate response to his goodness displayed. ​​ So the glory of God (noun) is his goodness displayed, and glorifying God (verb) is his goodness celebrated . . . Here when Jesus prays to be glorified, it means his goodness must be seen and celebrated. ​​ For God to answer this request means the greatness of Jesus will need to be understood and acknowledged.” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, 336]

              • Jesus is about to go to the cross, which in the 1st Century was considered disgraceful – a death worthy of criminals (Roman citizens were never put to death on a cross, that’s how disgraceful this kind of death was)

              • Anyone hung on a tree was considered to be under God’s curse

                • Deuteronomy 21:22-23, If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. ​​ Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. ​​ You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

                • Galatians 3:13, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

              • How was God’s goodness going to be displayed and celebrated through Jesus’ disgraceful death?

                • God was going to transform the disgrace of the cross, so that Jesus’ perfect sacrifice could be understood and acknowledged, and so that His glory could be seen and celebrated

                • The analogy of the woman in labor that we studied in John 16 is exactly what will take place so that God’s glory will be seen and celebrated

                  • The disciples would experience a time of grief at Jesus’ death

                  • But their grief would turn to joy when God raised Jesus from the dead, and no one would be able to take away their joy

                  • When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples they understood everything that Jesus had taught them and they celebrated the fulfillment of God’s redemption plan

            • When Jesus is asking the Father to glorify Him, He is saying, “I’m ready to fulfill Your plan of redemption by dying on a cross.”

              • He is asking the Father to sustain Him through the passion events that will be unfolding in the coming hours and days

              • “‘The deepest passion of the heart of Jesus was not the saving of men, but the glory of God; and then the saving of men, because that is for the glory of God.’ (Morgan, p. 270).” ​​ [G. Campbell Morgan cited by Gangel, 312]

            • The transformation of the cross is what enables us to be transformed – it is God’s goodness displayed and celebrated!

          • In heaven – through ascension (v. 5)

            • As Jesus continues His prayer to the Father on His own behalf, we see that in verse 5 He asks again for the Father to glorify Him, but the setting is different

            • He is praying, in advance of His resurrection, about being glorified in God’s presence

            • In reality, He is requesting that the glory, He had before coming to earth, would be restored to Him after His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension

            • This glory was something that He had before the world was created

            • John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ​​ He was with God in the beginning.

            • We know that the Father answered this prayer

              • Acts 7:56, “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Stephen’s stoning)

              • Philippians 2:9-11, Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

          • Jesus’ glorification brought glory to the Father

        • The Father glorified (vv. 1b, 4)

          • In verse 1b we see that Jesus’ request to be glorified will in turn cause the Father to be glorified

          • In verse 4 we see that Jesus has brought the Father glory by completing the work He had given Him to do

            • The work Jesus did was His death, burial, and resurrection

            • It also included teaching and preparing His disciples to continue the work of the Gospel after His ascension into heaven

            • Jesus modeled an important principle for us

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when His people finish the work He has given them to do.

              • “Think of pastors leaving churches before their work is finished. ​​ Think of missionaries returning from the field before God’s actual release. ​​ Think of the many times you and I have started some task for the Lord with great enthusiasm only to abandon it – unfinished – in the busyness of our lives.” ​​ [Gangel, 313]

              • Evaluating our lives

                • Individually

                  • What has God given you to do for His glory?

                  • Have you completed that?

                  • Have you put it on hold, because of the busyness of life?

                  • Have you forgotten about what He has given you to do?

                  • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Recognize the work that God has given me to do and recommit to complete that work for His glory.

                • Corporately

                  • What has God given us (Idaville Church) to do for His glory? (The Great Command and Commission)

                  • Have we completed that? (the work is never done)

                  • Have we gotten distracted by the Coronavirus? (perhaps)

                  • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Continue the work of the church by loving God and others and making disciples for Jesus Christ.

              • Whether individually or corporately, we should all be striving to hear the words of the Master from the parable Jesus told about the loaned money, “Well done, good and faithful servant! ​​ You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. ​​ Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)

        • Jesus has surrounded the most important of this section of His prayer by talking about God being glorified through Him and His work

        • The middle two verses really speak to His work

    • Eternal life (vv. 2-3)

        • Jesus’ sovereign work (v. 2)

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus is sovereign!

            • We see that the Father granted the Son authority over all people

            • Jesus also has the right to rule and rules rightly in our lives

          • We can trust Jesus’ sovereignty to provide eternal life for us

            • That is exactly the work God had given Him to do

            • The Father gave Jesus the authority to give eternal life to those the Father had given to Him

              • In the current context, those whom the Father gave to Jesus were the disciples

              • But we also know that in a general sense it applies to us, because we are Jesus’ disciples too

              • Jesus’ work was for all humanity

          • Jesus then gives a simple explanation of what eternal life means

        • Eternal life explained (v. 3)

          • Eternal life comes by knowing God and Jesus.

          • The Greek word for “knowing” is ginōskō and means more than intellectual assent or necessary information

            • Just knowing or believing that God exists is not what Jesus is talking about here

            • It’s not just believing that Jesus existed and walked on the earth for 33+ years before ascending to heaven

            • It’s much deeper than that

              • It’s experience and intimacy in relationship with the Father and the Son

              • The Greek word is in the present tense indicating that it’s an ongoing personal experience and relationship with the Father and Son [Gangel, 313]

              • 1 John 5:11-12, And this is the testimony: ​​ God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. ​​ He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

              • 1 John 5:20-21, We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. ​​ And we are in him who is true – even in his Son Jesus Christ. ​​ He is the true God and eternal life. ​​ Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

              • Read John 14:6-11

          • How do we have eternal life through the Son?

            • Admit that we are sinners (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23)

            • Believe that Jesus completed the work the Father gave Him to do (Rom. 5:8)

            • Choose to have a personal relationship with God and Jesus (John 3:16)

            • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Begin a personal relationship with God by believing in Jesus and receiving eternal life.

          • Eternal life comes by knowing God and Jesus.


  • YOU

    • Are you trusting God and Jesus’ sovereignty over the plans for your life?

    • Have you completed the work that God has given you to do?

    • Have you started your relationship with God by believing in Jesus?


  • WE

    • Have we completed the work that God has given us to do as a church?

    • Prayer is the key and Jesus modeled it for us



“How much prayer meant to Jesus! It was not only his regular habit, but his resort in every emergency, however slight or serious. When perplexed he prayed. When hard pressed by work he prayed. When hungry for fellowship he found it in prayer. He chose his associates and received his messages upon his knees. If tempted, he prayed. If criticized, he prayed. If fatigued in body or wearied in spirit, he had recourse to his one unfailing habit of prayer. Prayer brought him unmeasured power at the beginning, and kept the flow unbroken and undiminished. There was no emergency, no difficulty, no necessity, no temptation that would not yield to prayer.”


S. D. Gordon, Quiet Talks on Prayer. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 5.






The Overcomer

(John 16:25-33)



“When he was seven years old, his family was forced out of their home on a legal technicality, and he had to work to help support them. At age nine, his mother died. At 22, he lost his job as a store clerk. He wanted to go to law school, but his education wasn't good enough. At 23, he went into debt to become a partner in a small store. At 26, his business partner died, leaving him a huge debt that took years to repay. At 28, after courting a girl for four years, he asked her to marry him. She said no. At 37, on his third try he was elected to Congress, but two years later, he failed to be reelected. At 41, his four-year-old son died. At 45, he ran for the Senate and lost. At 47, he failed as the vice-presidential candidate. At 49, he ran for the Senate again, and lost. At 51, he was elected president of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln, a man many consider the greatest leader the country ever had. Some people get all the breaks.”


Unknown, Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 1.




He overcame a lot in this world, to eventually be seen as one of our countries greatest leaders



  • ME

    • Peace in job transitions

        • Laid off from Child Evangelism Fellowship

        • Resigning from Every Generation Ministries

    • Peace in serving

        • Several weeks ago I was having trouble sleeping

        • I woke up every half hour from midnight to 3:00 am

        • I finally cried out to the Lord and said, “Please tell me what you what to say, so I can go to sleep!”

        • I immediately fell asleep and had a dream about our first Sunday back after the pandemic

          • Every pew was filled to capacity

          • After the service, I was trying to make my way to the back of the church to get outside, so I could greet everyone

          • I got stopped two times in the foyer

          • The second person who stopped me, gave me a hug and whispered in my ear, “great message, today.”

          • When I finally saw who the person was, I realized it was Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel movement and the person who highly influenced me to preach verse-by-verse through books of the Bible

          • I told him that I preach the way I do, because of him

          • He asked me to tell him more, which I did

          • That dream gave me peace about preaching God’s Word

          • I’m also excited about the fulfillment of the first part of the dream, where every pew will be filled


  • WE

    • Think of a time when you experienced peace through a difficult situation (child, spouse, family member, coworker, neighbor, school, work, etc.)

    • Where did you find your peace? (God, worship, the Bible, prayer)


The disciples had struggled with understanding Jesus and His words. ​​ After teaching the people, Jesus would explain the meaning to His disciples. ​​ He tells them that a time is coming when He will speak plainly to them and they will understand. ​​ They would experience peace of mind instead of confusion. ​​ Jesus also explained that they would experience trouble in the world, but He would bring them peace through fear and hardship. ​​ John wants us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – We can have peace through Christ.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 16:25-33

    • Doubt Turns To Faith (vv. 25-30)

        • Speaking plainly (v. 25)

          • Jesus used parables a lot while ministering on earth

            • If we look through the Synoptic Gospels (Mathew, Mark, and Luke), we can find multiple parables that Jesus used to teach the people

            • Matthew 13:34-36, Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. ​​ So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.” ​​ Then he left the crowd and went into the house. ​​ His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

            • So, we know that Jesus used parables every time he spoke with a crowd of people

            • But that’s not what is being referred to here

          • “Jesus had taught ‘figuratively’ (16:25), but the Greek word used here (paroimia) does not simply mean illustrative speech or the use of metaphor and parable; rather, it is speech that is obscure and enigmatic (difficult to interpret or understand; mysterious) . . . For the Middle Easterner, this is the ‘dark saying,’ which typically possesses prophecy or wisdom” [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 442]

          • Jesus wasn’t using a metaphor or parable here

            • He was speaking about the future, but the disciples were not going to be able to understand what He was saying until after His crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 478]

            • John 16:12-13, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. ​​ But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. ​​ He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

            • An hour (time) was coming when Jesus would speak plainly

          • An hour is coming

            • We know that after Jesus’ resurrection, He spent 40 days on earth, before ascending to the Father

              • He obviously used that time to speak plainly to His disciples

              • He did that not only with the eleven disciples, but with other disciples, as well

              • Last week, I mentioned the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and how Jesus taught them from Moses and Prophets concerning everything that would happen to the Christ

              • Luke 24:30-32, When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. ​​ Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. ​​ They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

              • Their hearts were burning within them, because they were starting to understand Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection – the Scriptures (prophecies) began to make sense to them

            • The coming of the Holy Spirit

              • While Jesus began to speak plainly to them before He ascended into heaven, I believe He is referencing the coming of the Holy Spirit here

              • We see that in John 16:12-13 – the Spirit of truth will guide them into all truth

              • We know that when the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost, the disciples spoke boldly and with confidence about Jesus

          • Jesus continues to reference the future as He talks with His disciples

        • Direct access to the Father (vv. 26-27)

          • In that day,” refers to a time in the future, after Jesus has returned to the Father

          • Asking in Jesus’ name, but speaking directly to the Father

            • The disciples will ask the Father in Jesus’ name

            • Last week I mentioned that praying in Jesus’ name means coming to the Father with Jesus’ authority and in conformity to His nature

            • Jesus is not saying that praying to the Father in His name means that He will ask the Father on their behalf

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – As disciples of Jesus, we have direct access to the Father.

              • Biblical history

                • After the Israelites came out of Egypt, camped at Mt. Sinai, saw the top of the mountain enveloped in smoke and fire, and heard God speak, they were afraid and asked God to speak directly to Moses – Moses would then speak to the people for God

                • When the tabernacle was built, the most Holy Place was where the ark of the covenant was kept and God’s presence dwelt, between the two cherubim

                • Only the High Priest was allowed to enter the most Holy Place

                • The High Priest was the intermediary between God and the people

                • The Israelites would take a perfect lamb to the temple to be sacrificed by the priests in order to cover over their sins

                • The people did not have direct access God, but had to approach Him through the priests

              • Because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, the Israelites and all of humanity, now, have direct access to the Father

                • We don’t have to bring a perfect lamb to church and have the pastor sacrifice it to cover over our sins

                • We don’t have to go to a confessional and ask the priest for forgiveness of our sins

                • We can go directly to God

                • Matthew 27:50-51, And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. ​​ At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. ​​ The earth shook and the rocks split.

                • Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection opened the way for us to have direct access to the Father

                  • Read Ephesians 2:11-18

                  • Ephesians 3:10-12, His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. ​​ In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

                  • Read Hebrews 10:19-25

                • This direct access is only available to those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ

                  • Admit that you are a sinner (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23)

                  • Believe in Jesus (Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3b-4)

                  • Choose peace with God (Romans 5:1-2, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.)

                  • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Believe in Jesus, by faith, and have peace with God.

                  • We can have peace through Christ.

              • As disciples of Jesus Christ, we have direct access to the Father

                • When we struggle with sin, even as disciples of Jesus Christ, we can confess that directly to God (1 John 1:9)

                • If we are struggling with a relationship at home, work, school, etc., we can go directly to God

                • Those of us who are struggling financially, go directly to God

                • When we have health concerns, either long-term or recently diagnosed, we can go directly to God

                • Whenever we experience anxiety and depression, because of life circumstances and everything that is happening in our world, we can go directly to God

                • Whatever we’re dealing with right now, we have a Father who is poised and listening to our cries for help – we just have to go directly to Him

                • Psalm 34:17-18, The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. ​​ The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Go directly to God in prayer about whatever is troubling me.

            • We can go directly to the Father because He loves us

          • Love of the Father

            • Jesus explains that the Father loves us because we love Jesus and believe that Jesus came from God

            • “God’s loving openness to our prayers is in fact the outworking of God’s prior love to us in ‘giving’ Jesus (cf. 3:16). ​​ Our prayers, based on our having entered a state of loving (pephilēkate, perfect) and believing (pepisteukate, perfect), are therefore premised on God’s prior loving and Jesus’ self-giving implied in the important words ‘I came from God.’” ​​ [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 178s]

          • Jesus explains again God’s plan for Him

        • Returning to the Father (v. 28)

          • It’s pretty straight forward

          • Jesus came from the Father and entered the world to accomplish God’s redemptive plan, through His death, burial, and resurrection

          • When He perfectly completes that plan, He will leave the world and return to the Father

          • The disciples hadn’t experienced that yet, because they were living through it

          • We understand it, because we have God’s Word, the Bible, that tells us the whole story from beginning to end

        • The disciples’ understanding (vv. 29-30)

          • The disciples now believe/understand, or do they?

          • Jesus was telling them that a time/hour was coming in which He would speak plainly to them

            • They thought that hour had come, yet it wouldn’t come until after Jesus’ resurrection

            • Perhaps, for the first time, it finally sank in that Jesus had come from God and would be returning to God, but they still didn’t fully understand His death, burial, and resurrection

          • Powerful theological truths

            • While the disciples make some powerful theological statements, it’s doubtful that they fully comprehended what they were saying

              • Jesus knows all things

                • While on earth, Jesus relied on God to tell Him things that He needed to know

                • This was part of setting aside some of His divine attributes

                • But Jesus, as fully divine, is omniscient (all-knowing)

                • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is omniscient! (all-knowing)

                • That’s a truth and principle that we can hold on to as disciples of Jesus Christ

                  • The COVID-19 pandemic did not catch Jesus by surprise

                  • The racial tensions we’re currently facing in our nation is something He already knew about before we did

                  • The health issues or death of a family member are already known by Him

                  • The financial struggles and relational issues we will face in the future are current knowledge to Jesus

                  • He knows what’s best for us and will never leave us alone

                  • Hebrews 13:5-6, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ​​ So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. ​​ What can man do to me?”

                • We can have peace through Christ, because He knows all things

                • The disciples may not have fully understood this when they made the statement, but it would become evident and a truth they would live by in the future

              • Jesus can anticipate our questions without us having to ask

                • “In Jewish thought, the ability to anticipate questions and not needing to be asked is a mark of divinity (see e.g., Josephus, Ant. 6.11.8 §230) . . . In the present instance, the disciples acknowledge that there is no further need to ask Jesus questions to test his religious knowledge; he has often been shown to know others’ thoughts and intentions (e.g., 2:23-25; se Carson 1991: 548).” ​​ [Köstenberger, 479]

                • Because Jesus is all-knowing, He is aware of what we need before we ask

                • When Jesus taught His disciples about prayer, He said this right before giving them the model prayer, Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6:8)

            • Jesus’ omniscience and ability to anticipate their questions without them having to ask, leads the disciples to say that they believe Jesus came from God

          • The disciples’ belief

            • “The disciples had arrived at the point of a ‘belief’ that they could express. ​​ But typical human words and adequate believing may be far apart in real life. ​​ People may say they believe in Jesus, but that does not mean they have arrived at the point where their life patterns follow their beliefs.” ​​ [Borchert, 180]

            • This is true of people today

              • When we talk with individuals about a relationship with Jesus, many times they’ll admit they believe in God

              • A belief in God does not guarantee spending eternity with Him in heaven, because even the demons believe in God and they shudder (James 2:19)

              • A relationship with Jesus can and should transform us completely – people should be able to recognize a life style/pattern change through the power of the Gospel

            • The disciples may be able to say the words “We believe,” but Jesus tells them that their actions will prove differently

        • This transitions us into the second point

    • Fear Turns To Peace (vv. 31-32)

        • Question instead of statement (v. 31)

          • In the 1984 translation of the NIV, they have the beginning of verse 31 as a statement, “You believe at last!”

            • When we read that, it sounds like a statement of triumph or relief

            • It seems like Jesus is rejoicing with the disciples, but that’s not what is intended here

          • Most translations and scholars agree that it should be a question instead of a statement

            • “Do you now believe?”

            • I came imagine that Jesus’ face showed shock or disbelief when He asks the question

            • Perhaps the question could be stated like this, “Do you now believe, really?” ​​ (it adds the dimension of doubt)

          • The reason that Jesus would be asking the question with doubt in His mind is because He knows what is going to happen in just a few short hours

        • Foretelling the future (v. 32a)

          • We know the events in the garden, because they have been recorded for us

          • After Jesus was arrested, all of the disciples deserted him and fled (Matt. 26:56b; Mark 14:50)

          • While the disciples left Jesus alone, He was not truly alone – the Father was with Him

        • Never alone (v. 32b)

          • The Father was with Jesus throughout His arrest, trial, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is always present with His people (omnipresent).

            • The writer of Hebrews quotes Moses

              • Moses spoke to the Israelites as leadership was transitioning to Joshua

              • In Deuteronomy 31:6 he says this, Be strong and courageous. ​​ Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

              • We can hold on to this principle, promise, and truth as disciples of Jesus Christ

                • God is always present with us

                • He is there through every trial and triumph in your life

                • Even when you feel like He is distant, the truth is, He is right there with you – truth triumphs over feelings every time

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the promise that God is always with me.

            • We can have peace through Christ, because we know that God is always present with us

          • Jesus’ final thought for His disciples

        • Peace in Christ (v. 33)

          • Peace

            • Jesus has told the disciples about His leaving, about the fact that they would experience the same things He did, about their scattering and leaving Him alone, so that in Him they would have peace

            • Aside from being in Christ, they would not experience true peace

            • “Inner peace is conditional; it can come only through Jesus.” ​​ [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 305]

          • Trouble

            • We live in two realms or realities

            • In the world we will experience trouble – that is inevitable

            • We can experience peace even while going through trouble, when we are in Christ

            • We have to remind ourselves about being connected to the vine – Jesus – and what they means

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – Jesus is all-powerful! (omnipotent)

            • Jesus tells His disciples and us to take heart! – be courageous! – have hope!

            • Even though we will go through trouble in this world, Jesus has overcome the world

            • While we will experience the same things that Jesus did on earth (persecution, hatred, kicked out of the church, etc.) we can have hope, because He has overcome the world

            • His perfect sacrifice on the cross satisfied God’s standard for redemption

            • His resurrection meant that He won over sin and death

            • He has overcome and because of that we can have peace through Him no matter what this world throws at us (COVID-19, racial tensions, relational struggles, health issues, financial strain, fear, anxiety, depression, etc.)


  • YOU

    • We can have peace with God, because of Jesus perfect sacrifice

    • We can have peace through Christ, because He knows everything

    • We can have peace through Christ, because He is always present with us

    • We can have peace through Christ, because He is all-powerful and has overcome


  • WE

    • These are the truths that we should be sharing with the world as disciples of Jesus Christ



“In his book Hidden in Plain Sight: The Secret of More, author and pastor Mark Buchanan illustrates God's love through the story of Tracy. He writes:


Tracy is one of the worship leaders at our church. One Sunday, as she sat at the piano, she talked about the difficult week she'd just been through. It was chaotic, she said—a mess of petty crises on top of a rash of minor accidents, all mixed up in a soup can of crazy busyness. It had left her weary and cranky. She got up that Sunday to lead worship and felt spent, with nothing more to give.

However, Tracy's 8-year-old daughter, Brenna, helped her gain new perspective earlier that morning. When Tracy had walked into the living room, the window was covered with scrawl. Using a crayon, Brenna had scribbled something across the picture window, top to bottom and side to side.


At first, it seemed like one more mess for Tracy to clean up. Then she saw what Brenna had written: love, joy, peace, patience, kindnece, goodnece, faithfulnece, gentlnece and selfcantrol (in Brenna's delightful spelling).


Mark writes: ‘Tracy stopped, drank it in. Her heart flooded with light. It was exactly what she needed to be reminded about: the gift of the fruit of the Spirit that arises, not by our circumstances, but by Christ within us.


And then Tracy noticed one more thing Brenna had written at the edge of the window: Love one another. Only Brenna, in her creative spelling, had written: Love won another.’


As Mark concludes: ‘It's what Jesus has been trying to tell us all along. You were won that way. Now go and do likewise.’”


Mark Buchanan, Hidden in Plain Sight: The Secret of More (Thomas Nelson, 2007); submitted by Van Morris, Mount Washington, Kentucky.






Labor Pains

(John 16:16-24)



“Do you know what the word gospel means? Euangelion. It means literally the joy news. J.R.R. Tolkien, says there’s a kind of story … that brings us unbelievable joy … He says these stories always have a certain kernel to them. There’s always some incredibly hopeless situation, and victory is snatched out of the jaws of defeat. But how? Always through someone who comes in, and whose weakness turns out to be strength, someone whose defeat turns out to be a victory. He says it’s those kinds of stories that just seem to bring us joy. He called them eucatastrophes.


Do you know what the word eucatastrophe means? The joyful catastrophe. The tragedy that turns out to be a triumph. The sacrifice that turns out to bring joy. He said, however, there’s a Eucatastrophe of the eucatastrophes. There is a Story in all of the stories. He believes there’s a bass string to the human heart, and those stories can kind of make it reverberate a little bit but can’t pluck it.


Tolkien says the gospel story is the only story that will pluck that string so the whole heart never stops reverberating and vibrating with joy. The reason it will reverberate is … this is the reality to which all of the other stories point. It happened. It really happened. There really is a hero who defeats the villain. There really is Jesus. The word gospel means the joy news. Joy. It’s real. You have to have it.”


You can read the sermon here.


Tim Keller sermon on “The Joy of Jesus” from the Series: The Fruit of the Spirit—The Character of Christ, (May 3, 1998).





  • ME

    • Seth’s labor and delivery

        • We were expecting Seth, but he was trying to come early

        • For weeks leading up to his birth, the doctor was telling Judy not to have the baby

        • She had been on medication to stop contractions

        • So, when they finally said she could deliver the baby, she was not as mentally prepared as she had been with Wade’s delivery

        • Everything happened pretty quickly from there

        • I remember that Judy was laboring through her contractions, but I also remember that I needed to use the restroom, because my bladder was full

        • When I told Judy I was going to step into the bathroom, she told me I wasn’t going anywhere

        • She grabbed my hand and I stayed right there with her until Seth was born

        • I’m certainly not comparing the discomfort of a full bladder with labor, but I also remember not having to go to the bathroom after Seth was born

        • What discomfort I had was transformed by the birth of our second son

    • Tears of joy

        • Aside from my salvation experience and my marriage to Judy, the birth of my three boys has brought me the greatest joy

        • I tell people that I cried at the births of all three boys, but they were tears of joy

        • If you’ve never experienced the birth of a child, it’s hard to explain the sheer joy that fills your heart

        • The fullness of joy has to spill out of your body somehow and for me it spilled out through my eyes


  • WE

    • Women

        • If you have given birth, you understand what Jesus is telling His disciples in this passage today

        • The birth of your child is what caused you great pain, but the same child is also what brought you great joy

        • I suspect that most women don’t forget the pain associated with child birth, but I also think that the joy that fills their heart and life following the delivery, is what gives women the strength and courage to go through it again and again

    • Men

        • With technology today, we can also experience a little bit of what labor pains are like (we’ll never understand it fully)

        • They have machines that try to simulate contractions

        • They also have weighted belly suits that let us know what it’s like to carry the extra weight of a baby

          • I tried one of those on when we were expecting Wade

          • The instructor dropped a pencil on the floor and asked me to pick it up

          • When I bent my knees and squatted down to pick it up, both of my knees popped

        • While we can’t truly understand and experience the pain of childbirth, it doesn’t diminish the joy associated with the birth of our children


Jesus is trying to help His disciples understand that He is going to be leaving them soon. ​​ They will experience grief and heartache as He goes to the cross, but their grief will only last for a short time. ​​ He uses the illustration of a woman in labor and the joy she experiences at the birth of her child. ​​ God does not substitute something else to relieve the mother’s pain, in childbirth. ​​ Instead, He uses what is there already but transforms it [Wiersbe, 363]. ​​ The same was going to be true for the disciples. ​​ God was going to transform their grief into joy. ​​ He wasn’t going to remove it or substitute it with something else. ​​ God is doing the same thing in our lives even today. ​​ Jesus wants us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – God brings joy through transformation.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 16:16-24)

    • Resistant Joy (vv. 16-22)

        • Jesus’ statement (v. 16)

          • “In a little while you will see me no more . . .”

            • This part of the statement should not have taken the disciples by surprise or caused them confusion, because Jesus had been alluding to this for quite some time

            • John records at least three times when Jesus mentioned that He would be with them for only a short time

              • John 7:33, Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me.” [NIV]

              • John 12:35, Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. ​​ Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. ​​ The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.” [NIV]

              • John 13:33, “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. ​​ You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: ​​ Where I am going, you cannot come.” [NIV]

            • Just like the disciples

              • When we’re faced with a situation that we don’t want to accept, it’s easy to block out the truth

              • We hear only what we want to hear

              • We struggle with denial, because we don’t want it to be true

              • So, it’s not difficult to understand why the disciples, even after being told multiple times by Jesus about His eminent departure, are still confused by His statement here

              • They’ve blocked out the truth, because they don’t want to accept His departure

              • My guess is that when they agreed to follow Him, they believed He would be with them longer than three plus years

            • In a few short hours, the disciples would not see Jesus, because He would be buried in a tomb

            • While the disciples should have understood Jesus’ impending departure, the next part of the statement would have confused anyone

          • “. . . and then after a little while you will see me.”

            • Most scholars agree, and John’s first readers would have understood, that Jesus is referring to His resurrection here – this is the benefit of hindsight

            • The disciples didn’t have that benefit when Jesus was making this statement to them

            • Resurrection was not a common activity in the 1st Century – resurrection was not common prior to Jesus’ resurrection or since His resurrection

            • On the last day (the end of times), resurrection will be common

              • John 5:28-29, “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” [NASB]

              • 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. ​​ After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. ​​ And so we will be with the Lord forever. [NIV]

            • Since resurrection was not commonplace, it’s not hard to see why the disciples struggled with the second part of Jesus’ statement

          • What we see next is their confusion

        • Confused disciples (vv. 17-18)

          • Because the disciples have blocked out Jesus’ multiple references to His departure (His death), they don’t understand the first part of His statement

          • And, because resurrection was not commonplace, they definitely didn’t understand the second part of His statement

          • Talking about Jesus instead of to Jesus

            • It’s fascinating that the disciples are talking amongst themselves about Jesus, instead of talking directly to Him

            • They’re all together at this point, with Jesus

            • But isn’t this just like us

              • Whether it’s something spiritual or non-spiritual, we find it easier to talk to someone else instead of the person who has the solution or can actually affect change

                • We spend time talking about our boss to another colleague at work instead of talking to our boss

                • We spend time talking to other neighbors about the neighbor, who is causing problems in the neighborhood, instead talking to them

                • We spend time talking to another family members about the family member we have a problem with instead of talking to the family member directly

                • We spend time talking about other believers in the Church (the universal Church) instead of talking to them about their beliefs

                • We spend time talking about church leadership with other church members, instead of talking to church leadership about our concerns

              • And most of the time we neglect to talk to God, first, about all of these situations, when He is the One who can and will transform our perspective and keep us from saying something that we may later regret

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to talk to God, first, about individuals and situations that I am struggling with, and then go and talk with the individual(s) who can affect change.

          • While the disciples started out talking to each other about Jesus, they ended up acknowledging that they needed Jesus’ help to understand His statement

          • Jesus didn’t need to have any supernatural knowledge to know that the disciples wanted to ask Him about His statement, because it was obviously written all over their faces – Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, . . .

        • Jesus’ explanation (vv. 19-22)

          • Jesus asks them what they are discussing (v. 19)

            • Jesus doesn’t keep them waiting in agony

            • Instead He asks them if they are questioning each other about His statement

            • Jesus then repeats the statement

          • Jesus tells them they will weep and mourn while the world rejoices (v. 20)

            • Jesus starts with the 23rd “Amen, amen” saying found in the book of John [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 842]

            • He begins to explain what His statement meant

            • Weep and mourn while the world rejoices

              • This is again a reference to His death and burial that would happen within a day

              • The disciples were going to be shocked, confused, hurt, and scattered, because their Rabbi, their Teacher, their friend, their Messiah would be dead

              • This would cause rejoicing by the world

                • The world would be the Romans and the Jews

                • Jesus had been exposing their sin and making them culpable (responsible) for their own sin

                • John 15:22, If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. ​​ Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. [NIV]

                • They knew right from wrong and would have to make a conscience choice to either follow what was right or choose to continue in their sin

                • With Jesus dead, the world would rejoice, because they would no longer have to constantly experience the feelings of guilt every time they saw Jesus in the Temple courts or throughout the Roman Empire

                • What they didn’t understand was that Jesus’ death was part of a divine plan to bring redemption to the world

                • They also didn’t understand that part of God’s plan was to bring Jesus back to life, and in doing so, conquer sin and death

                • This was all part of God’s plan to enable us to be in a right relationship with Him, again

                • Humanity’s relationship with God had been severed since the time of Adam and Eve

                • God was restoring that relationship through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus

              • Jesus was only going to be separated from His disciples for a short time – three days

            • Grief will turn to joy

              • When Jesus came alive again, He showed Himself to certain disciples (Mary Magdalene, Peter) and then to the eleven disciples, and eventually to around 500 disciples

              • What the disciples thought was the end, was just the beginning

              • The grief they would experience would only be short-lived

              • They didn’t understand that when Jesus told them, but Jesus told them nonetheless – He was preparing them ahead of time

              • “OT Israel knew that it is God who is able to ‘turn their mourning into gladness’ and to give them ‘comfort and joy instead of sorrow.’” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 475-76]

                • Jeremiah 31:13, Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. ​​ I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. [NIV]

                • Isaiah 61:2-3, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. ​​ They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

              • The disciples would only grieve for a little while, because Jesus would be coming back to life and seeing them again

            • “Confusion turns to truth and grief turns to joy when we understand what Jesus has said.” ​​ [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 302]

            • Jesus then uses a woman’s labor and the birth of a child to help the disciples understand that God would bring joy through transformation

          • Birth illustration (v. 21)

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God brings joy, not by substitution, but by transformation.

              • “The same baby that caused the pain also caused the joy.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament, Volume 1, 363]

              • Relief of pain in childbirth

                • Perhaps in the 1st Century there was some kind of root that a woman in labor could chew on to relieve pain, but they didn’t have an epidural or intravenous pain medication like we have today

                • They had to go through the intense labor pains associated with childbirth

                • In the 1st Century there was not a substitute that a mother could use to relieve the pain

                • All the pain and hardship of labor was overshadowed by the joy that the mother experienced once the baby was born

                • The pain that the mother was experiencing was transformed into joy after the baby arrived

              • Jesus uses this birth analogy to help the disciples understand what they will be going through shortly

            • Jesus uses something the disciples understood to help remove their confusion about His original statement

          • Application of the illustration for the disciples (v. 22)

            • Just as a woman’s pain is transformed into joy once her baby is born, so it will be with the disciples and their grief

              • They’ve already been experiencing apprehension and anxiety about Jesus leaving

              • When He is crucified, their apprehension and anxiety will turn to grief and mourning

              • When He appears to them, after His resurrection, their grief will be transformed into joy

              • The same Jesus who had died, would be alive again!

              • God did not substitute another person in Jesus’ place, rather He transformed Jesus by allowing Him to come alive again

              • In Luke 24:17-27 we read about two disciples heading home after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (read the passage)

              • They had lost hope, but Jesus transformed their disappointment into joy, when He revealed Himself to them

              • Thomas’s doubt was transformed into belief when He saw the risen Lord

            • No one will take away your joy

              • The joy that the disciples would experience after seeing Jesus resurrected, would never be able to be taken away from them

              • The memory and joy that I experienced at the birth of my three sons cannot be taken away from me

              • As parents, the joy you experienced at the birth of your children cannot be taken away from you

              • As believers, the joy of our salvation experience cannot be taken away from us

              • We have joy that is resistant to any situation or circumstance that this world can throw at us, because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection

            • Biblical examples of transformation through pain [Wiersbe, 364]

              • Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of taking advantage of Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned as a result, but God transformed that situation for His glory and to save His people (Genesis 37-50). ​​ You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Gen. 50:20) [NIV]

              • The Israelites experienced persecution by the Egyptians after Joseph’s death, but that persecution only caused them to multiply and prosper

              • King Saul relentlessly pursued David in an attempt to kill him, but God used those circumstances to transform David into a man after His own heart and to give us many of the psalms that encourage us today as we face difficulties

              • In the 1st Century a cross was a symbol of death, but today we wear a cross around our neck or printed on a piece of clothing as a symbol of life, eternal life through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice – God transformed the cross so it would be symbol of hope and joy

            • God brings joy through transformation

          • Application for us

            • Every one of us goes through difficulty and pain, but we can experience joy if we allow God to transform the situation

            • He won’t substitute the pain and suffering, but He’ll use it to transform us

            • We have to be open to His transforming power in our lives

            • The Apostle Paul went through some pretty serious difficulties, things that we have probably never experienced, but listen to his words to the Roman and Corinthian believers

              • Romans 8:18, I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. [NIV]

              • 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. ​​ So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. ​​ For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. [NIV]

            • Substitution instead of transformation

              • I believe that many times God uses pain and suffering in our lives to get our attention, because He was to transform something in us

              • How many times, when faced with difficulties, suffering, and pain do we choose substitution instead of transformation?

                • When there’s conflict at work we look for a new job instead of allowing God to transform us

                • When there is pain and suffering in our family, we substitute with social media, friends, hobbies, etc., instead of allowing God to transform us

                • When there’s conflict in our neighborhood or at church, we may move to another neighborhood or church, instead of allowing God to transform us

                • God will transform the pain into joy for His glory, if we allow Him to

              • “The way of substitution for solving problems is the way of immaturity. ​​ The way of transformation is the way of faith and maturity.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 364]

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Experience joy by allowing God to transform the pain and suffering that I’m currently experiencing.

        • We not only can have resistant joy, but our joy can also be complete

    • Complete Joy (vv. 16:23-24)

        • Prediction of His ascension (v. 23a)

          • In the New Testament, in that day, usually refers to the end of the age or the last days – when Jesus returns a second time

          • That’s not how it’s being used here, because the disciples are going to be asking the Father in Jesus’ name – they’re not in heaven yet

          • In that day,” is referring to the time after Jesus rises from the dead, ascends into heaven, and sends the Holy Spirit as another Counselor

          • The disciples will no longer ask Jesus for any questions

        • Praying in Jesus’ name (vv. 23b-24)

          • Two different Greek words for ask

            • In that day you will no longer ask me anything

              • Erōtaō – means to question or inquire of

              • NASB – In that day you will not question Me about anything.

            • I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name

              • Aiteō – means to ask, to ask or request for oneself

              • NASB – Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you

              • As I mentioned in John 15:16, this does not mean that Jesus or the Father are like a genie in a bottle, granting every wish and whim that we ask for

                • As Jon Courson points out, praying in Jesus’ name means that we are coming in His authority and in conformity to His character and nature [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, New Testament, 571]

                • Too often we pray selfish prayers that fall into the category of “Comfort” instead of “Mission” [Carter & Wredberg, Christ-Centered Exposition: ​​ Exalting Jesus in John, 331-32]

                • When we pray using the example that Jesus gave His disciples, we can be confident that the Father will give us whatever we ask in Jesus’ name

                • Matthew 6:9-10, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” [NIV]

              • “The name of Christ is both the passport by which the disciples may claim access into the audience chamber of God and the medium through which the Divine answer comes.” ​​ [Swete cited by Hoskyns cited by Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 442]

            • The disciples didn’t need to ask the Father in Jesus’ name before this time, because Jesus was with them

          • Jesus was with them

            • That doesn’t mean they never asked God for things while Jesus was on earth or even before He was on earth

            • The dynamic of praying to the Father would change after Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – Believing prayer, in Jesus’ name, is the power that brings complete joy.

              • The disciples would experience complete joy as they prayed in Jesus’ name according to the will of God

              • We can experience complete joy also when we pray in Jesus’ name according to the will of God

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Pray in Jesus’ name according to the will of God, so I can experience complete joy.


  • YOU



  • WE




“According to author and pastor Tullian (Tuh-lee-en) Tchividjian (Cha-vid-jen), ‘Suffering exposes the foundation of your life.’ In other words, suffering will reveal the true source of our joy and identity. Tullian offers the following personal story to illustrate this truth:


Seven years ago, after 41 years of marriage, my parents got divorced. It wasn't because of infidelity or abuse, physically or emotionally. My family and I still scratch our heads and wonder exactly what happened. Was it really a case of irreconcilable differences? I don't think that's possible for Christians because of the power of the gospel. It was an incredibly painful time for my siblings and me. We experienced a happy, healthy, loving home growing up. We had remarkable parents, and they provided the stability we needed as children. I don't know what it's like for a mom and dad to go through a divorce while their children are young. All I know is that it's weird to watch your parents' divorce in the stage of life where you have to explain it to your own kids.


The Bible states clearly that God hates divorce. It grieves his heart. There was nothing about my parents' divorce that seemed redemptive. I couldn't understand why God allowed it to happen. I was struggling with the whole situation, not simply because I was sad that my mom and dad apparently could not keep the promises they made to one another 41 years earlier, but because part of my identity was wrapped up in being the son of my parents. I felt important because of their standing in society. My mom and dad were remarkable citizens and church people. Their reputation made me feel significant. I realized years later that much of the devastation I had experienced was due to the fact that I had idolized my parents and their reputation.


Tullian concludes: ‘If the foundation of your happiness is your vocation, your relationships, or your money, then suffering takes your source of joy away from you. But if your ultimate value in life is God, then suffering drives you closer to your source of joy—God.’”


Tullian Tchividjian, "Job: Center Stage,"





As some of you know I really love genealogy. In fact, I would probably call myself a genealogy junkie. It is not only a hobby of mine but a passion as well. I really can’t get enough. I would do genealogy all day every day if I could get away with it. I have been tracing my family tree since I was in junior high and have been tracing Judy’s tree since we were married. I love to trace family trees whether there are any relation to me or not. In fact, I have done work on the family trees of some of you who are here this morning. I usually can’t help myself and after talking to someone about their family I will go right home and start searching on and I won’t stop until I have exhausted the available resources. It is really exciting to be able to go back generation after generation on my family tree or honestly anyone’s family tree.

Here is a depiction of the first six generations of my Webb family tree including me. There I am with my father Philip, my grandfather William, my great grandfather Pearl, my great great grandfather James and my third great grandfather Aquilla.

Now I have a confession to make. Last Tuesday was my mom’s birthday. And she called me on her birthday not the other way around. It probably didn’t surprise her because I am usually three days late calling her for most special days. But before we hung up she asked me if I was preaching today and I said yes and later on as I laid awake in bed I realized that in the PPT this morning I had only put my Webb family in and not hers. I felt bad about that especially if she was going to watch this morning so here is my mother’s side of my family tree. Her maiden name was Haney. My mom Jean, my grandfather Joseph, my great grandfather Ellis, great great grandfather Thomas, my third great grandmother Louisa and I actually have one more known generation on my Haney side my fourth great grandfather William Haney. There you go mom, Happy Birthday.

Back to the Webb side of my family tree. My third great grandfather Aquila Webb was born in 1803 in Maryland. That is as far back as I have been able to document. Now, I have found another Aquilla Webb who was married in Maryland in 1802, and I could surmise that he is the father of my known Aquilla but I can’t prove it. In genealogical terms that is what we call a brick wall. Now there are many ways to break down our genealogical brick walls and one of those is with DNA. We receive about 50% of our DNA from our parents, about 25% from our grandparents and so on and so on. So it could be possible to find someone who shares DNA with me that also shares a common ancestor back to my fourth great grandfather whether that is this unknown Aquilla Webb or someone else.

There are a number of DNA tests and testing companies out there. The different tests can help you learn different things about your ancestors. An Autosomal DNA Test can be taken by males or females and will typically give you DNA matches within 5 to 6 generations on both your mother’s and father’s sides of the family. The YDNA Test is taken by a male, and is used to track the Y chromosome passed from father to son over the generations. It can provide paternal matches and a paternal haplogroup. A haplogroup is the area of the world that ancestry originated from many, many generations back. If a father’s family line is in question, this DNA test may help break down that brick wall. Third, there is the mtDNA Test that can be taken by males or females, but it looks only at the genetic markers of your mother’s maternal line. It too extends back many generations and can provide maternal matches and a maternal haplogroup showing where your maternal ancestry originated. ​​ If your brick wall involves your mother’s maternal family line, this DNA test may be helpful.

So if I took a DNA test and uploaded it onto say,, it would be compared to other people’s DNA that has been submitted and would tell me if I shared DNA with any of them and how much. That could help me to break down that brick wall and find more generations of my family tree. The DNA that is in you right now is the same DNA that is in everyone who is a part of your biological family and can be traced many generations back even to the original area in the world that your ancestors came from. And as Christians, we have DNA is us as well, it’s a supernatural DNA.

That brings us to our scripture this morning, which is found in John 16:4b-15. Jesus again tells the disciples he is leaving and mildly rebukes them for thinking only about themselves as he prepares to go to the cross and back to the Father. He says leaving them will greatly benefit them but they will not reap the benefits until after he is crucified and resurrected. Only then can he send the Holy Spirit to them and into the world to fulfil his purpose. When we surrender to Jesus as our Lord and Savior the Holy Spirit comes upon us and infuses us with the DNA of our Father, who is God. As Christians with the Holy Spirit in us we start to grow more like Christ, start to look more like Christ, thinking and loving more like Christ. This is because of God’s DNA that the Holy Spirit puts in us at our conversion.

Judy and I have been watching a new TV show called The Genetic Detective. In this show, the Genetic Detective, Ceecee Moore takes DNA from cold case crime scenes and matches it to people who upload their DNA to the database called GEDMatch. From these DNA matches she can compile a family tree that works from the past to the present that includes the perpetrator of the crime. She can then give this new evidence to the police. One of her catch phrases is DNA doesn’t lie. If DNA from a crime scene matches DNA in the database then that means they are part of the same family. That brings us to our big idea this morning that John wants us to understand which is that the Holy Spirit in us is the proof that we are part of the family of God. Just as physical DNA doesn’t lie, spiritual DNA doesn’t lie either. If you have the Holy Spirit in you, you are part of God’s family tree.

Before we start to unpack what it is the Holy Spirit does in the world and in our lives, let’s pray, Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this time that we can take out of our busy weeks to stop and rest in your word. I pray that our hearts and minds will be open to what you want us to hear, to learn and to apply to our lives this week and in the future. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Our first point this morning is the Work of the Holy Spirit and that is found in John 16, verses 4b-11. Follow along as I read those verses. This is what God’s Word says, “These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. 5 “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”

The first thing we see is that Jesus says he didn’t tell them certain things in the beginning because he was with them. What didn’t he tell them? Pastor Stuart told us about these things in last week’s sermon. The things that he didn’t tell them was about the persecution they would come up against once he had left them to go to his Father. He said they would be put out of the synagogue and even killed. The reason he didn’t tell them about the persecution earlier was that he was with them. Throughout his ministry, Jesus shielded the disciples from the opposition and took the brunt of the persecution. The disciples had not personally seen persecution but that was going to change after Jesus was crucified. They would face the hatred of the world because of their allegiance and faith in Jesus. Jesus never promised a life of ease and comfort in following him. In fact he said following him was like picking up their own cross and being willing to lose their life for his sake (Luke 9:23-24).

Next Jesus again brings up the fact that he is leaving and returning to the Father. He mildly rebukes the disciples for not asking him about where he is going. Now you might wonder why Jesus said that because back in John 14:5, Thomas said we don’t know where you are going and in John 13:36, Peter asks Jesus where he was going. But Thomas was asking about the way of Jesus’ departure and Peter was questioning the reasonableness of the cross and Jesus says those things were secondary. The point was the goal of the cross, which was the glorification of Jesus, and returning to the Father to sit on his right hand.

We know from the gospels that the disciples never imagined that the Messiah would be a conquering, suffering, dying and resurrected Lord. They couldn’t fathom that and so never truly focused on where Jesus was going and how he was going to get there. They were so filled with their own sorrow and grief that one, they never stopped to think about the excruciatingly painful and humiliating way of the cross that Jesus was going to take to go back to the Father. They should have been comforting him, not the other way around. Two, they never considered that for Jesus to return to the Father was to be the most glorifying and wonderful thing imaginable for Jesus. They didn’t seem to be concerned for Jesus at all and seemed to protest Jesus abandoning them rather than expressing a genuine interest in what he was about to experience. Their selfishness, anxiety and grief blinded them to what Jesus wanted to teach them. ​​ 

In verse 7 Jesus says, “But I tell you the truth” which means “listen up.” He says that it was for their advantage that he was going away even if it seemed disastrous to them right now. He wanted to send the helper to them but that couldn’t happen until he went away. Jesus in his earthly body could not be everywhere. He was limited in time and space but the helper would have no such limitations. The helper could be with believers anywhere and everywhere they would go. There would be uninterrupted fellowship with forever with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus doesn’t tell the disciples why the helper couldn’t come until he went away. We know why this was necessary today but the disciples did not which was why they were still feeling fear, anxiety and confusion that night. The helper’s ministry was and is to reveal the person and works of Jesus Christ and that could not be fully realized until Jesus’ finished work of redemption and salvation on the cross, ascension into heaven and exaltation at the right hand of the Father.

This coming of the Holy Spirit was a fulfillment of the promise found in Matthew 28:20 which ends, “and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” That promise found at the end of the Great Commission means that as we live on this earth making disciples, baptizing and teaching people about the good news of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is right there with us.

In verses 8-11, we see the Holy Spirit’s work in the unbelieving world. His work is to convict the world of its guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment. The Greek word John uses for “convict” translates to “reprove” or “convince”. It is a word that would have been used in a court of law to cross examine a person on trial or an opponent in an argument. ​​ The idea was for the person on trial or the opposing party to see and admit the error of their ways. In this context the word refers to being convinced that the position they have taken in regard to Jesus is wrong. The outcome of the Holy Spirit’s work could go one of two ways. They could be convinced of their sin and their need for a savior or they could continue to reject Jesus, be convicted and spend eternity separated from God. The Spirit’s ministry in the world is a positive ministry. His goal is to bring sinners to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ not condemnation. No one can be saved apart from the Spirit’s convicting and regenerating work.

The Holy Spirit is going to convict or convince the world of three things. The first thing that the world will be convicted of is their sin. What is this sin? It is the sin of their rejection and unbelief in Jesus. They did not believe in Jesus as the Son of God or as Messiah. This was not a problem of understanding on their part but a willful rejection of Jesus as Lord and Savior. If they had believed they would have repented and accepted him. Holman says, “The root of this sin is the belief that we can atone for ourselves. God is not looking for perfect people but people who are willing to accept the atonement that he has already provided.”

The second thing that the world will be convicted of is their righteousness and that is seen in the fact that Jesus was returning to the Father in heaven. The Jews thought they knew God and that they were the righteous ones. Everything pointed to Jesus being God’s Son and the Messiah sent by him but they thought there was no way that Jesus of Nazareth could be the Son of God, so they rejected him and crucified him. They thought they were doing the “righteous” thing. The Holy Spirit came into the world to convict them in regard to their righteousness because guess what? The proof that Jesus was the true Son of God and the Messiah was the fact that he would return to heaven and would be accepted by God back to his rightful place. That’s why in verse 10, Jesus says, “and you no longer see me.” He is in heaven.

God is holy and he cannot be where sin is and the proof that Jesus was the sinless, righteous one sent from God was that he was accepted back into heaven after his life, ministry and death here on the earth. This proves that Jesus was righteous and that the world was not. Barrett says, “Jesus’ death proved his complete obedience to the will of God, and his exaltation proved that his righteousness was approved by more than human acclamation.” The world believes in the relative righteousness of people but not the absolute righteousness of Christ. Man is not worthy to declare the righteousness of Jesus, but God is and we should be glad, because God declares our righteousness based on the righteousness of Jesus.

The third thing that the world will be convicted of is their judgment. The world’s judgment is wrong and the Holy Spirit convicts the world of its false judgment. The world thought it was judging Jesus but in fact it was the world that was judged. That is seen in the fact that the prince of this world now stands condemned. The prince of this world is Satan and by Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross he has already been beaten and condemned to the lake of Fire for all eternity. This is not an arbitrary feat of power but justice being done in the overthrow of the evil one. By the time the Holy Spirit comes, Satan is already condemned and he will convict those in the world that follow Satan of that fact. And if Satan is already condemned then that means that his followers are too. The world is already condemned and in desperate need to learn of its plight. This is a warning to those who follow Satan that he will not get away from judgment and neither will they.

There are only two possible responses to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit: repentance or rejection. Those who reject the Spirit’s conviction will spend eternity in Hell while those who repent will spend eternity in Heaven.

Our big idea this morning that the Holy Spirit in us is the proof that we are a part of the family of God. But the opposite is also true. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit in you, you are not part of the family of God. You are not in God’s family tree. It is the Holy Spirit’s function to convict and convince lost sinners of their guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment. The question for all of us this morning is have we been convicted and convinced by the Holy Spirit. Have we repented of our sins and accepted Jesus as our Savior and become part of God’s family tree? Remember DNA doesn’t lie. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. It is a spiritual death and an eternal separation from God. But the rest of the verse says, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. This morning, you can become part of God’s family tree. That brings us to our first next step which is to confess my sin, accept Jesus as my Savior, be infused with God’s DNA by the Holy Spirit and become part of the family of God.

In verses 12-15, we see our second point this morning which is the revelation of the Holy Spirit that believers receive. Follow along as I read those verses. This is what God’s Word says, 12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

Jesus goes from talking about the role of the Holy Spirit in the world, those who aren’t part of the family of God, to the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the disciples, those who are already part of God’s family tree. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth, because he is going to reveal “all truth” to the disciples. There are three aspects to this revelation of the Holy Spirit. There is the need for revelation, the extent of the revelation and the goal of the revelation. Jesus says there is a lot more that he needs to impart to them but at this moment they can’t bear the things he has to tell them. There were three reasons they couldn’t bear it at that particular moment and would need the revelation of the Holy Spirit.

First, it was partly because they were overcome with sorrow because he said he was leaving them. They couldn’t get past their feelings of anxiety, loss, etc. and focus on the additional teachings Jesus wanted to give them. Second, they would not be able to totally understand the significance of the cross and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus until after it happened. Like most Jews, the disciples believed that the Messiah would be a political and military deliverer, not that he would die. They couldn’t understand how the death of Jesus translated into his glory and the coming of his kingdom. The Holy Spirit was the one who would bring all the things that Jesus had told them during his ministry back to the disciples’ minds. Then they would understand and believe. John 2:22 says, “After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.” We also see this in Luke 18:34 and John 12:16.

Third, all revelation is limited by the ability of the receiver to understand it. Until the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost they lacked the power both to grasp and to live out the implications of further revelation. This further revelation was specific truth about the Person of Jesus and the significance of what he said and did while on the earth. God doesn’t dump truth on us all at once and expect us to remember it but teaches us truth as we need to know it. The Bible is the greatest example of this truth in the progressive unfolding of the plan of salvation from Genesis to Revelation. Submission to Christ and knowledge of Christ go hand in hand. When we have the Father’s DNA in us we can better know Jesus and become more like him. BIG IDEA ​​ 

The next aspect of the revelation of the Spirit was the extent of that revelation. The revelation of the Holy Spirit was not going to be new revelation but it was going to be clarity of the revelation given to the disciples by Jesus himself. The Holy Spirit doesn’t speak on his own, in fact, he only speaks what he hears from Jesus and the Father. Just as Jesus while he was on the earth never acted on his own initiative but always did the will of the Father, the Spirit never acts on his own initiative but does the will of the Son.

Tenney says, “The Spirit would not present an independent message, differing from what the disciples had already learned from Christ. They would be led further into the realization of his person and in the development of the principles he had already laid down. They would also be enlightened about coming events. He would unfold the truth as the disciples grew in spiritual capacity and understanding.”

The Holy Spirit would also tell the disciples what was yet to come. This means in the immediate future not necessarily in the far future. “All truth” would comprise the New Testament writings. The Holy Spirit inspired the authors of the books of the Bible to write exactly what God wanted them to say. We see this today in God’s Word, the Bible. The Word of God is all the Christian needs in order to daily walk rightly with the Lord. 2 Tim 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” This means we need to study the Bible and studying the Bible apart from being filled with and walking in the Holy Spirit is fruitless. Also, the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life will always be consistent with God’s revealed will in the Bible. How do you know that you are being lead to do God’s will or not? Is it consistent with the Word of God?

That brings us our second next step which is to let the Holy Spirit continue to transform me by revealing the truth of Jesus and his Word to me.

Third, we see the goal of the revelation of the Holy Spirit. The goal of the Holy Spirit’s revelation to the disciples was to bring glory to the Son which in turn brings glory to the Father. The “what is mine” in verse 14, is nothing less than the revelation of the Father himself. The Holy Spirit would bring glory to Jesus by disclosing the truth about Christ, just as Jesus glorified the Father by revealing the truth about him.

It is the Spirit’s purpose to glorify Christ in revelation and our purpose to glorify Christ in proclamation. It is the witness of the Holy Spirit that ultimately testifies to the truthfulness of God’s Word. Only the Spirit can convince lost sinners of its divine inspiration. The Spirit must work in people’s lives for them to change their views of both the Bible, God’s written word, and Jesus, the incarnate Word. That sovereign work in the hearts and minds convinces people that the Bible is from God, that its words are reliable and that its message about Jesus is indeed the good news of salvation. Our final verse this morning focuses on the harmony and the oneness of Jesus, the Father and the Spirit. The Father gives to the Son and the Son gives to the Spirit and then the Spirit gives to us.

In closing, I want to read an article written by J. Warner Wallace, who is the author of Cold Case Christianity and a Christian apologist which means he defends Christianity against objections to it. The article is called “What Ancestry DNA kits reveal about God, our past and the way forward. Fortune reported recently that “DNA test kits are blowing up in popularity.” More people than ever are interested in discovering their ethnic heritage23andMe (the DNA testing company named after the 23 chromosome pairs that make up the human genome) has already performed over 5 million genetic tests for people who want to know more about their ancestry.

DNA test advertising reveals something important about our desire to know our past. In one well-known AncestryDNA commercial, a man named Kyle dances in lederhosen and tells the audience his family always thought they were German. His DNA test, however, revealed he was predominantly Scottish and Irish. This revelation seems to change the way he sees himself, and the commercial ends with Kyle wearing traditional Scottish garb, saying, “So, I traded in my lederhosen for a kilt.” The message here? Once you discover who you really are, you’ll begin to engage the world differently. Learning about your past will change the way you go forward.

Wallace goes on to say: My son, Jimmy, and his wife were recently given an opportunity to experience this for themselves when they received an ancestry DNA test as a gift. Jimmy was curious to learn about his own Scottish, German and Italian heritage, but when the results returned, none of his DNA was traced back to Italy, despite his strong Italian heritage through my mother’s side of the family. Why wasn’t Italy highlighted on his genetic map? Because our Italian ancestors (like many other Italians) trace their lineage through other parts of Europe like France and the Balkan regions. In essence, my son’s genetic test provided him with a snapshot of our family migration pattern, capturing our location prior to our arrival in Italy.

All ancestral DNA tests are similarly rooted in time. The people groups that came to Italy from France and the Balkans didn’t originate in those regions. If the test could take a snapshot one thousand years earlier, it would find them living somewhere else. The further back in time we go genetically, the smaller the number of people groups and the less diverse their locations. When my son learned his genetic history preceded Italy, he naturally wanted to know how far back in time he could trace it. Sadly, France (or the Balkans) was as far as he could go. Unless Christianity is true. The Christian worldview explains human origins in a way that not only satisfies our desire to know our past, but also helps us understand our identity so we can effectively move forward.

Christianity teaches that all humans were created by God and descended from a single pair: Adam and Eve. This means we are all genetically linked as siblings, cousins and distant relatives. According to Christianity, if our DNA technology was capable of even greater precision and historical “distance,” it would ultimately identify the Garden of Eden as our place of origin. This Biblical truth about our past, can help us navigate the future in a way that Darwinian explanations cannot. Later he concludes with: Once we discover who we really are, we’ll begin to engage the world differently. Learning about our past can truly change the way we go forward.

When we realize we have been created by God in the image of God to be in relationship with God that changes everything. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Until you accept Jesus as your Savior and the Holy Spirit infuses the Father’s DNA in you, you are not part of God’s family tree. That is the old. But once you accept Jesus as your Savior you have the Holy Spirit in you. You are a new creation. You now discover who you were truly meant to be and begin to engage the world differently and it changes the way you live your life in the future. You will start to grow more like Christ, thinking more like Christ and loving more like Christ. DNA doesn’t lie. The Holy Spirit in you is proof that you are part of the family of God.

As Gene and Roxey come to lead us in our final song, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for the Holy Spirit in us that helps us to be more like your Son, Jesus. Help us to accept the revelation of the Holy Spirit in our lives and allow him to teach us, to guide us, to correct us and train us in righteousness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


The Hate Locker

(John 15:18-16:4a)



The 2008 film, The Hurt Locker, is a story about “the early months of the post-invasion period in Iraq . . . Sergeant First Class William James becomes the new team leader of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit with the U.S. Army's Bravo Company, replacing Staff Sergeant Thompson, who was killed by a remote-detonated improvised explosive device (IED) in Baghdad. He joins Sergeant J.T. Sanborn and Specialist Owen Eldridge, whose jobs are to communicate with their team leader via radio inside his bomb suit, and provide him with rifle cover while he examines an IED.” ​​ [].


Initially the new team leader is not accepted by the other two team members, because of his brazen and reckless way of handling the disposal of explosives. ​​ They eventually bond as a team. ​​ Some of the Iraqi people hate them, which is why they are constantly being targeted and attacked by the insurgents. ​​ The hurt locker is a difficult place to work and live.


While we aren’t living and working in the hurt locker, it can feel like we are working and living in a hate locker. ​​ The hate locker is also a difficult place to work and live.


As followers of Jesus Christ we are part of the Alpha & Omega Company in God’s army as we fight the spiritual battle against Satan and his minions. ​​ As father’s we are called to be the spiritual leaders of our households. ​​ While this message is not specifically a Father’s Day message, as father’s we have to be aware of the spiritual battles that are taking place in our own families and lead our “troops” well.



  • ME

    • Secular work environment

        • Before working in ministry, I worked for several secular organizations including a bank, mortgage corporation, and direct mail marketing company

        • While I can’t say that the people I worked with hated me, I can say that my lifestyle, language, ethics, and morals made some of them uncomfortable

        • There were times when I was treated differently, because of my religious beliefs and personal standards

        • How I reacted to various conversations, invitations, and social settings was watched carefully

        • While I wouldn’t call my work, “a hate locker,” it was still an uncomfortable and sometimes difficult work environment

    • Ministry work environment

        • There were and have been times, while working in ministry, that I can say it felt like a hate locker

        • It’s unfortunate that the secular work environment can be more compassionate and understanding of differences than the ministry work environment


  • WE

    • Work environment

        • Perhaps you’ve experienced the same thing I have that your work environment is more forgiving than your ministry environment

        • Some of us may say the opposite – that our work environment is more hostile than our ministry environment

    • Ministry environment

        • It’s not hard to see those who have been hurt by the church, because they don’t want anything to do with the church anymore

        • They have experienced both the hate and hurt locker and never want to return to it again


Jesus tells His disciples that they are going to experience the same things, from the world, that He did – hatred, persecution, and death. ​​ They will be put out of the synagogue and even killed, because they are connected to Jesus, His words, and His works. ​​ As true disciples of Jesus Christ, we will also experience the same things He experienced – hatred, persecution, and death by both religious and non-religious people in the world. ​​ The great news is that . . .


BIG IDEA – Being hated by the world means we’re in good company.


If we’re hated by the world, then we know that we are loved by Jesus and the Father (John 15:9) and we are in the same company as Jesus’ disciples.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 15:18-16:4a)

    • Same Treatment (vv. 18-25)

        • The world’s reaction to disciples of Jesus Christ (vv. 18-19a, 20)

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – Being a disciple of Jesus means being hated and persecuted by the world.

          • Hatred (v. 18-19a)

            • Jesus has just given His disciples the command to love each other as He has loved them (John 15:12, 17)

            • Now He tells them about the hatred the world has towards them – it’s the total opposite

            • He reminds them that the world hated Him first

              • Being hated by the world means we’re in good company.

              • Jesus then gives them the opposite truth or principle

              • They would be loved by the world, if they belonged to the world, but they don’t

              • We’ll talk about that in just a little bit

            • The disciples won’t just be hated, but they will also be persecuted – it moves from an attitude of the heart to action

          • Persecution (v. 20)

            • Jesus reminds them what He said earlier about a servant and master

              • Earlier that evening, when Jesus washed His disciple’s feet, He said the same thing, no servant is greater than his master (John 13:16)

                • In that context Jesus is exhorting His disciples to follow His example

                • In fact, He tells them that they are to continue to practice foot washing with each other (John 13:14-15)

              • In the current context, Jesus, telling His disciples that no servant is greater than his master, means that they will not miraculously avoid the same treatment He received, but will experience persecution as well

                • When the disciples began their public ministry we know that they experienced the same hatred and persecution that Jesus did

                • Luke tells us in Acts 5:17-42 about one of the times that the disciples experienced persecution

                • We see their response in Acts 5:41, The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

                • In fact, all of disciples/apostles, except John, died for their faith in Jesus and witness for Him

                • The early church also experienced persecution, On that day [the day of Stephen’s stoning] a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1)

            • Two conditional statements support the statement that no servant is greater than his master

              • Persecution

                • If they persecuted me [and many of them did], they will persecute you also

                • Jesus is telling them that persecution will happen for them – it’s not if, but when

                • The second conditional statement is similar

              • Obeying Jesus’ teaching

                • This conditional statement can be taken two ways – positive and negative

                • PositiveIf they obeyed my teaching [and some of them did], they will obey yours also

                  • This brings hope for the mission of Gospel

                  • The apostles experienced the positive side of this statement many times

                  • The most dramatic would be on the Day of Pentecost

                  • Luke tells us about in Acts 2:41, Those who accepted his [Peter’s] message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

                • NegativeIf they obeyed my teaching [which they did not!], they will obey yours also [which they will not!]

                  • The apostles also experienced this, especially with the Jewish religious leaders (Acts 5:17-42; 12:1-19; 16:16-40)

                  • They were opposed to the message of the Gospel, although not all of them were

              • Being hated by the world means we’re in good company.

          • Application

            • Do you feel like you are being hated and persecuted by the world?

              • This is a real concern in the United States, because most Christians rarely experience direct attacks of hatred and persecution

              • Those who experience these direct attacks are what most other Christians would label as “radical” or a “Jesus freak”

              • They’re completely sold out for the Lord and take the Great Commission seriously

              • They see every human being from an eternal perspective

              • If we aren’t being hated and persecuted by the world, perhaps it’s because we are part of the world (we are both in the world and of the world)

              • Probably, every one of us can honestly say that we need to improve in this area

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Evaluate my relationship with the world to determine whether I am hated or loved by them.

              • If you are loved by the world, what changes do you need to make in order to be hated and persecuted by the world?

              • Being hated by the world means we’re in good company.

          • Why will the world hate and persecute disciples of Jesus Christ?

        • The reasons why (vv. 19b, 21-25)

          • Chosen out of the world (v. 19b)

            • Jesus tells His disciples that they will be hated by the world, because they don’t belong to this world

              • He has chosen them out of the world to be His messengers of the Gospel

              • “As they grow more Christlike, it will become evident that though they are in the world, they are not of it (17:11, 14), and this, in turn, will convict the world (3:19-21; 7:7) (Carson 1991: 525).” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 464]

            • As disciples of Jesus Christ, He has chosen us out of the world to be His messengers of the Gospel

            • This first reason is only the beginning – this is why the world will hate us

            • Next we see why the world will persecute us

          • Jesus’ name (v. 21)

            • The world will persecute the disciples and us, because of Jesus’ name, and their ignorance of the truth about God

            • ​​ “The three-step logic is as follows: when people oppose the disciples, it is because they oppose Jesus; if people oppose Jesus, it is because they do not know the Father (see 15:23); therefore, if people oppose the disciples, it is ultimately because they do not know God.” ​​ [Köstenberger, 465]

            • Praying at the capitol building

              • When any pastor is asked to pray at the capitol building, in Harrisburg, to open a session of the house or senate, they provide guidelines for the prayer

              • They encourage pastors to be inclusive in their prayer, because of the various faiths that are represented

              • While they don’t say a pastor cannot close with, “in Jesus name,” that would definitely not be inclusive of all religions

              • Most pastors will close by saying, “I pray in Jesus’ name,” instead of “We pray in Jesus’ name.”

            • Have you ever noticed that God and Jesus’ names are used as cuss words? (that’s another example of the world’s hatred because of Jesus’ name)

              • OMG = “Oh, my God” (Oh, my Allah)

              • “God d$%# it!” (Buddha, d$%# it!)

              • “Jesus Christ!” (Hare Krishna!)

              • Notice that no other religions leader’s name is used as a cuss word

            • The world will persecute us because of Jesus’ name and their ignorance of the truth about God

            • They will also persecute us because of Jesus’ words

          • Jesus’ words (v. 22)

            • We don’t want to misunderstand or misinterpret what is being said here

              • Jesus is not saying that if He had not come, the world would be prefect and sinless

              • Rather, He is stressing that the world is culpable, because they have rejected the divine revelation that Jesus shared with them [Köstenberger, 466]

              • Jesus brought them the truth of God and they rejected Him – they rejected God’s ultimate plan of salvation from sin

              • Therefore, they are responsible for their own sins and the consequences associated with them [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 287]

              • Read Romans 1:18-23

            • “The verdict is absolutely clear. ​​ Jesus did come, the gospel was presented, the people have been disobedient, and therefore they are guilty of sin.” ​​ [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 157]

            • They have no excuse for their sin, that will satisfy a holy, loving, and just God

            • It wasn’t just Jesus’ words that brings persecution, but also His works

          • Jesus’ works (vv. 23-24)

            • The same truth applies here as to Jesus’ words – the world would not be perfect and sinless if Jesus had not come and done the miraculous works that He did

            • They rejected His miracles and therefore are guilty of the sin of hatred

            • They don’t just hate Jesus, but the Father also

              • That’s what Jesus is saying at the beginning of verse 23

              • Jesus has been telling them all along that He and the Father are One

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – God and Jesus are One.

              • We can’t say that we love God and not love Jesus

              • We can’t say that we believe in God, but not Jesus

              • They are inseparable – they are one in the same

            • “Religious interest that pursues signs may be suspicious (4:48), and faith based on sight is intrinsically inferior (20:29); even so, it is infinitely better than no faith, and the signs and works of Jesus make a legitimate claim on faith (4:34; 5:36; 9:32-33; 10:38). ​​ Rejection of Jesus’ words (v. 22) and works (v. 24) is thus the rejection of the clearest light, the fullest revelation; and therefore it incurs the most central, deep-stained guilt.” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 526]

            • How does this apply to us?

          • Application

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus’ words and works expose our sin.

              • We have Jesus’ words in the Bible – God’s Holy Word

              • We can and do experience the miraculous works of Jesus, though sometimes we miss them or fail to acknowledge them

              • When we reject Jesus’ words and works we are responsible for our own sin

                • We have all sinned (Rom. 3:23) [lying, stealing, blaspheme, anger, lust]

                • We all deserve eternal separation from God (Rom. 6:23)

                • God’s grace is extended to us continually (Rom. 5:8)

                • Isaiah 53:5, But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Accept Jesus’ words and works and be healed from the guilt of my sin.

              • When someone makes that decision for Jesus, they are promised eternal life (the kind of life we need here on earth to obey God, and the kind of life we need to spend eternity with God in the new heaven and the new earth)

            • Jesus gives one more reason why the world hated Him and us by association

          • Fulfill Scripture (v. 25)

            • It was to fulfill their Law

              • It’s fascinating that Jesus says “their” Law

                • The Jews would claim that they were obediently following God’s law – which is oddly true, since they are fulfilling Scripture

                • Unfortunately, they were also rejecting God’s plan of salvation from sin

                • There was a discrepancy between what they said and what they did

              • The fulfillment of Scripture comes from two Old Testament sources

                • Psalm 35:19, Let not those who gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; let not those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.

                • Psalm 69:4, Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. ​​ I am forced to restore what I did not steal.

          • We’ve explored the reasons why the world hates and persecutes disciples of Jesus

        • What should our response be when persecution comes?

    • Same Response (vv. 15:26-16:4a)

        • It should be the same response the Jesus had when He was hated and persecuted

        • Don’t stop testifying (vv. 15:26-27)

          • Jesus never stopped telling the Jews, and everyone else who would listen, about the kingdom of God and the character of God

            • I’m sure that Jesus got frustrated when people would hear His words and see the miraculous works God allowed Him to do and then reject Him

            • But, He never stopped testifying, never stopped sharing, never stopped fulfilling God’s purpose for Him on earth

          • Help from heaven

            • Jesus promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit was coming (Counselor)

            • The Holy Spirit would testify to the truth of what Jesus had said while on earth

            • Jesus then exhorts His disciples to do the same thing

              • They would be able to testify about Jesus, because they had been with Him from the beginning

              • They knew the whole story of who He was and why He came from the Father

              • They would know the ultimate sacrifice He would give to bring eternal life

              • They would know about His miraculous resurrection from the dead – defeating sin and death

              • They would know how He ascended into heaven, so they would know how He would return again – in the clouds

            • We have the same Holy Spirit living in us, who testifies about Jesus

              • Because of God’s Word, we know the same things that the disciples knew

              • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is pleased when His people testify about Jesus.

                • We have been given the same commission and command as the disciples

                • We are to go into all the world and preach the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, making disciples of every nation, baptizing them, and teaching them everything that Jesus has commanded us (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:18-20)

                • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Testify about Jesus to my family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

                  • Testify about how He saved you from sin

                  • Testify about how He has provided for you in difficult times

                  • Testify about how He has healed you, physically

                  • Testify about anything and everything He has done for you

          • Our first response should be to testify about Jesus, while our second response should be to stand firm

        • Don’t fall away (vv. 16:1-4a)

          • Jesus did not fall away from His responsibility to fulfill God’s plan of salvation

            • That didn’t mean that, in His humanness, He didn’t hope and pray that He wouldn’t have to suffer the cross

            • Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

            • For Jesus, it was about fulfilling God’s will and not His own

          • Jesus told His disciples the kind of persecution they would face, so they would be prepared ahead of time and be able to stand firm

            • Put out of the synagogue

              • When we are sharing the truth of God’s Word it can bring out separation, even within the church

              • Conviction of sin can cause Christians to feel uncomfortable and they will respond with flight or fight

                • Some will leave the church and say, “I felt like my toes were getting stepped on every week!”

                • Others will attack the preacher and/or the leadership, just so they don’t have to deal with their own sin

                • In some extreme cases, the pastor is forced out of the church and another pastor is brought in that will satisfy what the people want to hear

                • 2 Timothy 4:3, For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. ​​ Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. ​​ They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

              • The disciples wouldn’t only be put out of the synagogue, but most of them would experience death

            • Killed

              • In our western culture, we rarely experience this extreme form of persecution, but it is happening frequently to Christians in most other parts of the world

              • They are willingly dying for their faith in Jesus Christ

              • I believe that even Christians in the United States will eventually experience this form of persecution as we get closer to Jesus’ second coming

            • “‘When people think about the Holocaust, they think about the crimes against Jews, but here's a different perspective,’ said Julie Seltzer Mandel, editor of the Nuremberg Project for the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion. ‘They wanted to eliminate the Jews altogether, but they were also looking to eliminate Christianity.’

              Fragile, typewritten documents from the 1940s lay out the Nazi plan in grim detail: Take over the churches from within, using party sympathizers. Discredit, jail, or kill Christian leaders. And re-indoctrinate the congregants. Give them a new faith in Germany's Third Reich.

              Says Mandel, ‘The best evidence of an anti-church plan is the systematic nature of the persecution itself. Different steps in that persecution, such as the campaign for the suppression of denominational and youth organizations, the campaign against denominational schools, and the defamation campaign against the clergy were supported by the entire regimented press, by Nazi Party meetings, and by traveling party speakers.’”

              Edward Colimore, "Papers Reveal Nazi Aim: End Christianity," Philadelphia Inquirer (1-09-02); submitted by Aaron Goerner, New Hartford, New York


            • It’s important for us to be prepared to experience the same kind of treatment that Jesus did, because He promised us that it would happen – no servant is greater than his master

          • Jesus didn’t tell them about this at first, because He was with them

            • He realized that while He was on earth, all of the hatred and persecution would be directed at Him

            • He had to tell them about the coming hatred and persecution for them, because He was going to the Father


  • YOU

    • Are you hated or loved by the world? ​​ (what changes?)

    • Have you accepted Jesus’ words and works and experienced His healing from your sins?

    • Are you testifying about Jesus to your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors?


  • WE

    • We are all called to the great commission and the great command




“I heard [a story] about attempts to ship fresh North Atlantic cod from Boston to San Francisco during the nineteenth century. At that time the only way to ship the fish to the West Coast was to sail around the South American continent—a trip that took months. As you can imagine, the first attempts to dress the cod in Boston and pack them in ice failed miserably. By the time they reached California, the fish weren't exactly fit for consumption.


Next, the cod were placed in holding tanks full of water, shipped to California alive, and dressed there. The results were less than satisfactory. The fish didn't get much exercise during the trip, and as a result they were pasty and relatively tasteless.


Finally, someone hit upon an interesting idea. ‘Why don't we put some catfish in with the cod?’


Why? Because catfish are cods' natural enemy. Sure enough, when a few catfish were placed in those tanks with them, the cod were always alert and swimming around. This time, when the fish reached San Francisco, they were in perfect shape.”


Bill Myers and David Wimbish, The Dark Side of the Supernatural (Bethany).





Remain In Me

(John 15:1-17)



Purpose: To visualize the powerlessness of depending on ourselves rather than God.


Objects: An electric power strip with multiple outlets (the kind that computers and appliances are plugged into). One or two appliances and a light.


Experience: Hold up the power strip for everyone to see and say: "You have all seen one of these. We use power strips to plug computers or appliances into." Then plug one or two appliances and lights into the strip. Finally, plug the power strip into itself and attempt to turn on the lights and appliances. When they don't turn on, ask, "Why won't this work?"


"Well, obviously it won't work because the power strip doesn't have any electrical power in itself. It has to plug into an electrical outlet in order to bring any power to the other appliances." Then, unplug the power strip from itself and into a wall outlet so that the appliances and lights turn on.


Craig Brian Larson, Arlington Heights, Illinois.





  • ME

    • Reading God’s Word

        • Spiritual disciplines are very important, because it helps us to stay connected to God and Jesus

        • For quite some time I’ve been fairly faithful with reading the Bible every day

        • YouVersion Bible app and Our Daily Bread app are really helpful with tracking the number of days I have read them

        • There is a reminder each morning that tells me how many days I have read in a row and then it encourages me to keep up the good work

        • While reading and studying the Bible is a spiritual discipline that I’ve been able to maintain pretty consistently, I can’t say that about my prayer life

    • Praying

        • I so desperately want my prayer life to be as consistent, but I’ve struggled over the years

        • I was going through a four-week coaching cohort with Daniel Henderson from Strategic Renewal as we worked through his new book Glorious Finish

        • It was during one of the coaching sessions, that it dawned on me, that I was missing the perfect opportunity to pray for 30 minutes each morning

        • I ride my stationary bike almost every morning for 30-35 minutes

          • My usual thing to do during that time was to watch television

          • I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that I could be praying during that time instead of watching television

          • It’s made all the difference in the spiritual discipline of prayer

          • I look forward to the time together with the Lord

          • My reverence of God is many times guided by what I read that morning in my devotions

        • There are still times when I don’t work out and I find it difficult to spend 30 minutes in prayer during the day

        • I like the fact that I’m doing a physical and spiritual work out at the same time – it helps me stay connected to Jesus


  • WE

    • Physical disciplines

        • We all probably have some physical disciplines that we practice consistently

        • Take a moment to think about what those physical disciplines are

        • What interrupts those physical disciplines?

    • Spiritual disciplines

        • Every one of us probably has spiritual disciplines that we consistently do every day

        • What are those spiritual disciplines?

        • What stops us from being consistent with those spiritual disciplines?


In order to be physically strong, we have to consistently remain active, either in a gym or at home. ​​ The same is true of our spiritual lives. ​​ Jesus tells His disciples in John 15:1-17 that if they want to be spiritually strong, they have to remain in Him. ​​ While we may be able to fool other people, like these two guys (show redneck six-pack abs picture), . . .


BIG IDEA – God knows the condition of our connectedness.


He will act accordingly, based on whether or not we are remaining in Christ.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 15:1-17)

    • Branches – we must remain (vv. 1-11)

        • Vine metaphor (vv. 1-8)

          • Participants

            • True vine

              • “When Jesus calls himself the true vine, he’s indicating the existence of a false vine.” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, Christ-Centered Exposition: ​​ Exalting Jesus in John, 304]

                • All throughout the Old Testament, Israel is symbolized as the vine (Ps. 80:9-16; Is. 5:1-7; 27:2ff.; Jer. 2:21; 12:10ff.; Ezk. 15:1-8; 17:1-21; 19:10-14; Hos. 10:1-2)

                  • Unfortunately, they are not depicted in a positive light

                  • Read Psalm 80:7-9

                  • Read Isaiah 5:3-5

                • They’ve failed in their task of pointing people to the Lord

                  • Their role, as God’s chosen people, was to show the other nations what a relationship with God looks like

                  • We see the result of this failure on Israel’s part, Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire (Psalm 80:16a)

                • Fortunately for us, God had another plan

              • Jesus is now the vine

                • He is perfect without sin, so He doesn’t fail in pointing people to God and showing them what a true relationship with God looks like

                • Psalm 49:6, he says: “Is it too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. ​​ I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

                • God was promising, through Isaiah, that He would provide salvation for all nations, through His Son, Jesus

                • Jesus did not fail in that task, which makes Him the true vine

              • While the role of the vine has changed, the role of the Gardener has not

            • Gardener

              • God is still pictured as the gardener

              • God, as the gardener, only makes sense, because the gardener is in control of everything that happens in the vineyard [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 450]

            • Branches

              • Jesus’ disciples (immediate context)

              • Psalm 49:6

                • Israel (restored)

                • Gentiles

              • All followers of Jesus Christ (general sense)

            • Now that we have established who is represented in the metaphor, we can look at the content of the metaphor

          • Fruitful or fruitless

            • Fruitful

              • How?

                • Pruning/cleaning process

                  • The Greek word for pruning is kathairō which means “to cleanse”

                  • It has the sense of cleansing by pruning [Rogers & Rogers, The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament, 218]

                  • “A method of viticulture consisted of training the vines on trellises, poles, or trees (4-6 feet high), which provided a canopy-like form (Columella, Book 4, 18-19) . . . To train the vine for maximum yield the vinedresser had to prune excessive branches.” ​​ [Rogers & Rogers, 218]

                  • Every one of us, as followers of Jesus Christ, has experienced the pruning process

                  • We all know the areas in our lives where God has asked us to sacrifice something that represents sin in our lives – that’s the pruning process

                  • What is God asking you to sacrifice right now, so you can seek holiness?

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Submit to God’s pruning in my life, so I can be more fruitful for Him.

                  • Jesus told His disciples that they were already clean, because of His word that He had spoken to them (they had been pruned/clean)

                  • If a follower of Jesus Christ says that they have not experienced the pruning process, it’s probably because they are not a true follower of Jesus Christ – they aren’t connected to the vine

                  • We’ll talk more about that in just a little bit

                  • We can be fruitful by being obedient to God’s pruning process in our lives, but we also have to remain in Jesus

                • Remain in Jesus

                  • PRINCIPLE #1 – Spiritual fruit is the result of being connected to Jesus.

                  • When we think of the word “remain,” it has the sense that a relationship is already present [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 803]

                  • For the Jews, remaining in Jesus meant holding to His teachings, To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. ​​ Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ​​ (John 8:31-32)

                  • The same is true for us also

                  • If you remain in me and my words remain in you . . . (John 15:7a)

                  • We can’t produce fruit on our own

                  • Imagine for moment that Neil Starner or Vinnie Spangler brings you a branch from one of their fruit trees that is just loaded with fruit. ​​ You’re excited because you won’t have to go to Sandoe’s or Hollabaugh’s anymore to get that kind of fruit. ​​ You place the branch in a special spot in your kitchen and excitedly wait for the next season to come. ​​ But, the branch doesn’t produce any fruit at all. You’re crushed and disappointed. ​​ Perhaps you go to Neil or Vinnie and complain that your branch is broken or something is wrong with it. ​​ The misconception you’re living with, is that the branch will produce fruit again next year. ​​ The reality, is that the branch will never produce fruit again, because it has been separated from the tree.

                  • “The key to the Christian life is Christ’s life in the Christian.” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, 306]

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Make sure that I am connected to Jesus by holding to His teachings and having His Word remain in me.

                  • God knows the condition of our connectedness.

                • What fruit should we be looking for, to know that we are connected to Jesus?

              • What fruit should we be producing?

                • From John 15 [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 517]

                  • The fruit is a result of praying in Jesus’ name

                  • Obedience to Jesus’ commands (v. 10)

                  • Experience of Jesus’ joy (v. 11)

                  • Experience of Jesus’ peace (14:27)

                  • Love for one another (v. 12)

                  • Witness to the world (vv. 16, 27)

                  • “This fruit is nothing less than the outcome of persevering dependence on the vine, driven by faith, embracing all of the believer’s life and the product of his witness.” ​​ [Carson, 517]

                • From other passages in the Bible

                  • Winning lost souls (Rom. 1:13; John 4)

                  • Holiness (Rom. 6:22)

                  • Financial giving (Rom. 15:28)

                  • Helping practically (Col. 1)

                  • Giving praise to His Name (Heb. 13)

                  • Love (Gal. 5:22) – wait for vv. 9-11

                • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Examine my life to make sure that I am producing the fruit that shows I’m connected to Jesus.

                • As we remain in Jesus and produce much fruit, we see the results of that

              • Results of being fruitful

                • Answered prayer

                  • This is not a “genie in bottle” kind of answered prayer

                  • Every one of us may want it to be that way, but it isn’t

                  • When we’re genuinely connected to Jesus, His desires become our desires

                  • We’ll be praying according to God’s will and not our own – no more selfish prayers

                  • Our prayers will center around the fruit that we should be producing

                  • When that happens, God will answer those prayers, because He will give us whatever we wish for, because it is what He wishes for

                • God is glorified

                  • The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks the question, “What is the chief end of man?”

                  • The answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”

                • Showing the world that we are Jesus’ disciples

                  • When we’re producing the fruit that comes from being connected to Jesus it will transform every area of our lives

                  • It will transform our families, our work place, our community, and our church

              • Each one of us should be striving to be fruitful, but we also see those who are fruitless

            • Fruitless

              • How?

                • Bears no fruit

                  • Jesus says that the Father cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit

                  • The Greek for “cuts off” is airō which means “to take off or away”

                  • It wouldn’t be a stretch for the disciples or John’s readers to remember Judas Iscariot at this point – he would be an example of a branch that is not bearing fruit

                  • Carson mentions that Judas would not be the only person in the New Testament who was initially connected to Jesus or the Christian church, who later testified “that the transforming life of Christ has never pulsated within them (e.g. Mt. 13:18-23; 24:12; Jn. 8:31ff.; Heb. 13:14-19; 1 Jn. 2:19; 2 Jn. 9).” ​​ [Carson, 515]

                  • They did not persevere by remaining in Jesus

                  • This is talking about professing Christians who appear to be part of the Christian community, but eventually admit that they were never really part of it from the start [Köstenberger, 455; Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 284]

                  • There have been multiple people in the past couple of years who have admitted to deconstructing their faith (they no longer believe in God). ​​ I read the Instagram post of one of those individuals recently. ​​ I was not surprised to read that they admitted to not producing fruit or ever being part of the Christianity. ​​ He has grown up in a pastor’s home, as did his wife. ​​ They were surrounded by Christians and simply adopted the Christian lifestyle without the relationship with Christ. ​​ This individual says, “Stepping away from belief in God has felt like a loss in some ways – but it’s felt like freedom in others. ​​ Jess and I both always had this sense that we weren’t doing enough of the things we were supposed to do as Christians. ​​ We didn’t enjoy going to church. ​​ We didn’t enjoy reading the Bible. ​​ We didn’t enjoy praying. ​​ We didn’t enjoy worship. ​​ It all felt like obligation, and our lack of enthusiasm about those things always made us feel like something was wrong with us. ​​ Now I don’t believe anything was wrong with us. ​​ We simply didn’t believe – and we were too afraid to admit that to ourselves. ​​ So in that sense, we have a tremendous sense of relief now.

                  • Notice that there was no talk of a relationship with Jesus Christ – it was all about a works mentality and the fact that they never had a genuine conversion experience (they simply adopted their parents, grandparents, and sibling’s beliefs)

                  • Arrogance/Pride (Job 42:1-6; 1 Cor. 1:18-25; Ps. 7:9)

                  • God knows the condition of our connectedness.

                • Don’t remain in Jesus

                  • They are no longer remaining in Jesus

                  • Jesus said that we cannot bear fruit apart from Him

                  • In fact, we can’t do anything apart from Him

                • We see the results of fruitlessness

              • Results of being fruitless

                • Cut off from the vine

                • Thrown into the fire

                  • This is talking about eternal separation from God and Jesus in hell

                  • 1 John 2:18-19, Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. ​​ This is how we know it is the last hour. ​​ They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. ​​ For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

          • What we see in vv. 9-11 is the practical application of what Jesus just said

        • Practical application (vv. 9-11)

          • Follow Jesus’ example

            • The Father loved Jesus perfectly, and He in turn loved His disciples perfectly

            • Jesus wants His disciples and us to remain in His love

              • The way that Jesus had remained in the Father’s love was by obeying His commands

              • The way that we remain in Jesus’ love is by obeying His commands

                • As was mentioned last week, the commands that Jesus is talking about is not a list of do’s and don’ts

                • It is a lifestyle of following Jesus’ example in every area of our lives

            • When we obey Jesus’ commands and remain in His love we can experience complete joy

          • Results

            • Jesus is telling them about obeying His commands and remaining in His love, so that His joy will be in them

            • “It is an inspiring thought that Jesus calls his followers into joy. ​​ The Christian life is not some shallow, insipid following of a traditional pattern. ​​ It is a life characterized by ‘unexhausted (and inexhaustible) power for fresh creation’ (Morris, p. 674).” [Morris cited by Gangel, 285]

        • As branches we must remain in Jesus in order to be fruitful

        • Jesus then changes from vineyard metaphor to another familiar concept – servants and friends

    • Friends – we must obey (vv. 12-17)

        • Command – love one another (vv. 12-13, 17)

          • Jesus does not call it a new command here, because He has already said that in John 13:34-35

          • We already learned about what it looks like to love one another like Christ loves us when we looked at John 13:31-38

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when His people love each other faithfully and fervently.

          • The only way that we can love others like Christ loves us is to be connected to Him and remain in Him

          • Expression of love

            • Laying down our lives for our friends

            • In the Greco-Roman world, the ultimate expression of love for a friend was a willingness to sacrifice oneself, even to the point of death [Michaels, 812; Köstenberger, 458]

            • “Unity instead of rivalry, trust instead of suspicion, obedience instead of self-assertion must rule the disciples’ common labors. ​​ The measure of their love for one another is that of his love for them . . . which would be further demonstrated by his forthcoming sacrifice.” ​​ [Tenney cited by Gangel, 285]

            • Jesus was going to live that expression of love out within a couple of days

          • Jesus then explains what friendship with Him means

        • Evidence of being Jesus’ friend (v. 14-15)

          • If we obey His commands, we prove that we are Jesus’ friends

          • Obedience doesn’t make us Jesus’ friend, but it is evidence that we are His friend – it’s what characterizes the friendship

          • Friends instead of servants

            • Under a supreme ruler (potentate) there are several levels

              • Every level is required to obey the ruler

              • The servant is required to obey without any explanation or reason given

              • Friends are given more information – they know what the ruler is thinking and why he is asking them to do a certain thing

                • That is what Jesus has done with His disciples

                • He has told His disciples everything that He has learned from His Father

                • I think about an apprentice and his master

                  • In the apprenticeship relationship, it is the responsibility of the master to impart his knowledge and skill to the apprentice

                  • As the apprentice moves through the process of learning and skill they finally reach the level of master

            • Jesus has taken the eleven disciples through a 3-year apprenticeship and has promoted them from servants to friends

          • While most apprentices seek out a master to learn from, Jesus did it differently

        • Jesus has chosen us (v. 16)

          • Jesus had chosen these eleven men to be witnesses for Him

          • He appointed them to go and bear fruit

          • We know from church history that they accomplished that goal

          • As followers of Jesus Christ, He has chosen us and appointed us to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last

            • That is the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20

            • He promises to be with us until the end

        • Jesus repeats the same promise about the Father answering their prayers


  • YOU

    • Is there an area of your life that you need to submit to the pruning process of the Father?

    • Are you connected to Jesus?

        • Are you holding to His teachings?

        • Is His Word remaining in you?

    • Are you producing the kind of fruit that proves you are connected to Jesus?


  • WE




“Nearly seven years ago, I started a business. I prayed diligently about the decision and sensed God's confirmation to move forward. Because of my inexperience in retail operations, I depended heavily on God for wisdom and direction. Between the first time I caught a vision for this venture and the day we opened our doors, I prayed every step of the way.


On opening day, customers lined up around the building. With pounding heart and sweaty palms, I became acutely aware of the fact that the success or failure of this business rested on me. For the next four years, I ran the store as if this were true.


Instead of praying for God's wisdom or listening to the counsel of trusted advisors, like my husband, Dan, who was also my business partner, I relied on my own understanding. I simply was too busy and preoccupied to spend time reading my Bible. And when I did make time, I found myself re-reading the same passage over and over and never grasping the words. Daily preoccupation over my work took the place of daily quiet time with God.


Jesus said, ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5). I discovered how true his words are. The longer I skimped in my spiritual life, the further I fell from the vine. And the further I fell from the vine, the more all my efforts proved fruitless.


Making decisions apart from God and Dan started to have a snowball effect that eventually led to the demise of our business—and nearly our marriage.

Looking back on those four years, I know now what was at play: apart from Christ, I could do nothing. Instead of remaining in Jesus, as he instructs us to do in John 15:5, I ran on ahead without him.”


Marian V. Liautaud, "Remain in Me," Christianity Today's Kyria blog (12-22-09).






The Gift of Peace

(John 14:25-31)



“You might not know the name Angelo Dundee, but you've undoubtedly heard of Muhammad Ali, probably the most famous professional boxer of all time. For more than two decades, Angelo Dundee was in Muhammad Ali's corner, literally. He was Ali's cornerman! He's the one who made Ali float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He also trained fifteen other world boxing champions. Angelo Dundee described his job as a cornerman this way: ‘When you're working with a fighter, you're a surgeon, an engineer, and a psychologist.’


As followers of Jesus Christ, we have something even better than a surgeon-engineer-psychologist in our corner—the Holy Spirit.


Mark Batterson, If (Baker Books, 2015), page 249.




The corner man for a boxer probably helps to provide motivation and peace when needed.


The Holy Spirit provides those same things for believers and so much more!



  • ME

    • Meeting Muhammad Ali

        • In the mid 90’s I worked for a mortgage corporation in Hollywood, FL

        • In the basement of the building I worked in, Angelo Dundee was still training boxers

        • One day, while I was working, I noticed that a crowd of people were gathering at the restaurant in the center courtyard of the two buildings

        • When I asked a fellow colleague what was happening, she said matter-of-factly, “Oh, Muhammad Ali is visiting his former coach, Dundee.”

        • I said, “really?”

        • She said, “Yes, if you go down there you can get his autograph.”

        • So, I went down there and got Muhammad Ali’s autograph and shook his hand

        • Here is a scanned image of his autograph [show the image]

    • Looking for a lost item

        • There have been times in my life when I have misplaced something I need

        • I get really frustrated and rush around the house trying to find the item and blaming others for moving it from its normal place

        • Most of the time I get more and more upset, frustrated, and angry

        • I’m definitely not experiencing peace at that moment

        • While it’s one of the hardest thing to do, even though it shouldn’t be, I eventually stop looking for the item and begin to pray

          • Most of the time when I stop, pray, and listen, the Lord reminds me, where I put the item after the last time I used it

          • No one else had moved it from its normal place, because I had failed to return it to its normal place

          • When I stop, pray, and listen, then I’m able to experience peace

        • Ultimate peace comes when I finally find the item I’ve been looking for


  • WE

    • Looking for a lost item

        • Perhaps every one of us have experienced looking for an item that we can’t find

        • We understand the frustration and anger that builds as each passing minute goes by

        • We only experience peace and rest when the item is found

    • Anxiety and depression

        • I’ve never really struggled with anxiety and depression, though I’ve had family members and friends who have

        • Many of those individuals only found peace when they sought the Lord through prayer, quoting Scripture, singing hymns or worship songs, and/or reading and studying the Bible

        • While that may sound simplistic, it’s not easy to do when you’re struggling with anxiety and depression

        • For many people, they have to continue to do those things every time their feeling anxious or down


The disciples were experiencing fear and anxiety as they struggled with Jesus’ continued references to leaving. ​​ Jesus’ verbal encouragement, that He would not leave them as orphans, didn’t seem to appease their fears and anxiety. ​​ The disciples were struggling with focusing too much on themselves and their needs, instead of what Jesus was trying to tell them. ​​ He had promised to provide another Counselor for them that would be with them forever. ​​ This Counselor would teach them all things and remind them of everything that Jesus had said to them, while on earth. ​​ Jesus was going to the Father where He would intercede for them. ​​ What Jesus wanted His disciples to understand is that . . .


BIG IDEA – Peace comes from having “the Spirit within us, the Saviour above us, and the Word before us!” ​​ [Warren Wiersbe]


The same is true for us as disciples of Jesus Christ. ​​ We can have peace, knowing that the Holy Spirit lives in us, that Jesus is interceding for us before the Father, and that we have God’s Word before us.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 14:25-31)

    • Spirit Within Us (vv. 25-26a)

        • Jesus told His disciples all of these things while He was still with them

          • As was mentioned last week, the commands of Jesus were not just a list of do’s and don’ts, but rather it was a lifestyle, modeled after Jesus’ life

          • It was the complete revelation of God through Jesus

          • This was what Jesus was referring to here

          • It’s also important to look back at last week, because we learned that the Father would give the disciples the Holy Spirit to live within them and be with them forever (John 14:16-17)

        • Peace through loss

          • We know that the presence of the Holy Spirit within the disciples, from Pentecost on, gave them peace and confidence to accomplish the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and the Great Command (Matthew 22:37-40)

          • While they initially were anxious about Jesus leaving them, they found peace from having the Spirit within them

          • Every disciple of Jesus Christ can experience peace in loss, because the Holy Spirit lives in us

            • All of us have experienced loss during the Coronavirus

              • Loss of income/job

              • Loss of connection with other people

              • Loss of health

              • Loss of life (Maria and Earl passed away this past week)

              • Loss of sanity (especially those of us with children)

              • Loss of confidence in local, state, and federal leadership

              • Loss of peace in general

            • Our country is currently experiencing loss on a daily basis

              • Loss of life (George Floyd and others)

              • Loss of order (looting and rioting)

              • Loss of confidence in those sworn to serve and protect (though there are many who serve and protect well)

              • Loss of hope in the reconciliation of the races

            • We can experience peace through loss, because we have the Holy Spirit living in us

              • Perhaps you’re struggling, right now, with experiencing peace through loss

              • You don’t even know what to say to God – words allude you

              • The Apostle Paul, writing to the Roman believers, lets us know that the Holy Spirit living in us, knows just what to say

              • Romans 8:26-27, In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. ​​ We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. ​​ And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

              • What incredible hope, confidence, and peace this brings to those of us struggling with loss

        • Peace comes from having the Spirit within us, but it also comes from having the Word before us.

    • Word Before Us (vv. 26b-27)

        • Jesus was telling His disciples that the Holy Spirit was going to accomplish two specific things, as it pertains to His words – the Word of God (the Bible)

          • Teach them all things

            • The Holy Spirit wasn’t going to teach the disciples, or us, any new revelation

            • He was going to teach them what it meant

            • “The Spirit’s ministry in this respect was not to bring qualitatively new revelation, but to complete, to fill out, the revelation brought by Jesus himself.” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 505]

            • “The inspiration of the Spirit, therefore, does not bring forward new revelations about Jesus, but simply gives correct applications and meanings for what he did in history.” ​​ [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 399]

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Every disciple of Jesus has the Holy Spirit as their teacher.

              • This is a great principle and truth for us as disciples of Jesus

              • Many times we may discount the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to teach us the meaning and application of God’s Word

              • A lot of believers simply take what an evangelist, pastor, or Sunday school teacher says as law and never rely on the Holy Spirit to guide them and teach them on their own

              • Every one of us should be like the Bereans, Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Romans 7:11)

              • Don’t discount your ability to hear from the Lord through the Holy Spirit that lives within you

              • Every disciple of Jesus has the Holy Spirit as their teacher

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the promise that, as a disciple of Jesus, I have the Holy Spirit as my teacher.

            • The Holy Spirit taught the disciples the meaning of everything that Jesus had taught them, as He reminded them of everything Jesus had said

          • Remind them of everything Jesus had said

            • That’s the second specific thing that the Holy Spirit does for every disciple

            • He reminds us of everything that Jesus has said

            • John 2:22, After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. ​​ Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

            • How many of us have experienced the Holy Spirit reminding us of what Jesus has said?

              • The Holy Spirit may speak to us individually with a word of hope and encouragement when we are experiencing loss or feeling anxious and depressed

              • The Holy Spirit may use other believers who come along side of us in our loss, anxiety, and depression and they share a verse or passage of Scripture with us that encourages us

              • The Holy Spirit may use the DJ’s or a song on the Christian radio station at just the right time to remind us of Jesus’ words (on Air1 radio they have multiple people who share “39 Seconds of Hope”)

            • This was going to be an invaluable asset for the disciples as they carried out the Gospel mission that Jesus commissioned them to do

              • Matthew 28:18-20, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. ​​ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. ​​ And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.”

              • The Holy Spirit was going to remind the disciples of everything Jesus had commanded them, so they could accomplish the Great Commission

              • The Holy Spirit does the same thing for us as disciples of Jesus Christ – He reminds us of everything that Jesus had commanded, so we can accomplish the Great Commission

              • The Holy Spirit empowers us to share the Gospel with those we come in contact with

            • What an incredible ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives – teaching us the correct application and meaning of Scripture and reminding us of Jesus’ words, so we can share it with others

          • When we have the Spirit in us and the Word before us, we can experience the peace of God

        • The gift of peace

          • Jesus left His peace with the disciples and us as a gift

          • The way Jesus establishes peace is completely different than how the world establishes peace

            • The world’s peace

              • For the world, peace means the absence of conflict

              • “The pax Romana (‘Roman peace’) was won and maintained by a brutal sword.” ​​ [Carson, 506]

              • Every President of the United States that I can remember has talked about bringing peace to the Middle East, but none have succeeded

              • In the United States we may think that there is peace between the various races, but the senseless taking of any life reminds us that there is not peace in race relations – there is still conflict, hostility, and racism in our culture (Read Galatians 3:26-29)

              • The prophet Jeremiah explains perfectly, why there is no peace in the world

                • Jeremiah 6:13-15, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. ​​ They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ​​ ‘Peace, peace,’ they say when there is no peace. ​​ Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? ​​ No, they have not shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. ​​ So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the Lord.

                • Every one of us is greedy for gain

                • We have a desire to rule over others, to be better than others, to be in control of every situation, to oppress others so we can advance

                • The world will never experience true peace until we follow the example of Christ

                • Read Philippians 2:1-8

                  • Are you lacking peace at home? (consider your spouse or children ahead of yourself, look to their interests too)

                  • Are you lacking peace at work? (consider your boss or coworker ahead of yourself, look to their interests too)

                  • Are you lacking peace in your neighborhood? (consider your neighbor ahead of yourself, look to their interests too)

                  • Are you lacking peace at church? (consider fellow believers ahead of yourself, look to their interests too)

                • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Seek peace by considering others ahead of myself and looking to their interests too and not just my own interests.

              • While the world will never really experience peace, this side of heaven, disciples of Jesus Christ can experience peace even in the midst of conflict

            • Jesus’ peace

              • Jesus peace didn’t come through a brutal sword

              • He didn’t kill the enemy in order to establish peace, He gave His life on the cross so that we could experience a greater peace – peace in the midst of conflict and persecution

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus gives us peace in the midst of difficulty and conflict.

              • “As Jesus is about to remind his followers, the world hates them (15:18), and in this world they will face affliction (16:33). ​​ Rather than extracting them from danger (cf. 17:15), Jesus, through the Spirit he would send, offers his followers poise and resolve in the midst of discomfiting circumstances. ​​ As Jesus was about to demonstrate, his peace is not the absence of conditions that intimidate but rather is the composure to be faithful in the face of adversity.” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 444]

              • Scriptures about this peace

                • Philippians 4:4-7, Rejoice in the Lord always. ​​ I will say it again: ​​ Rejoice! ​​ Let your gentleness be evident to all. ​​ The Lord is near. ​​ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ​​ And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

                • Colossians 3:15, Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. ​​ And be thankful.

                • John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. ​​ In this world you will have trouble. ​​ But take heart! ​​ I have overcome the world.”

                • Romans 5:1-2a, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

                  • This is the ultimate peace that Jesus gives us

                  • Romans 8:6-8, The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. ​​ It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. ​​ Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

                  • Jesus gave His life on the cross, so that we could be made righteous in God’s eyes – so we could be at peace with God

                  • Our natural state is rebellion against God

                  • We’re at war with God, because we want our own way instead of His way

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Accept God’s gift of grace through faith in Jesus, so I can be at peace with God.

          • The peace that Jesus offers us is an eternal peace that helps us deal with loss and conflict here on earth – we don’t have to be afraid or let our hearts be troubled, because we can rest in Jesus’ peace

        • Peace comes from having the Spirit within us, the Word before us, and the Saviour above us!

    • Savior Above Us (vv. 28-31)

        • Jesus is leaving (vv. 28-29)

          • Jesus repeats a phrase He has already used with the disciples

            • Jesus was going to the cross and then to the right hand of the Father after His resurrection and ascension

            • He would be coming back to them immediately after the resurrection, but ultimately in His second coming

          • Jesus’ departure should make them glad

            • Jesus’ next statement reveals the fact the disciples are so focused on their needs and desires, that they cannot rejoice in God’s ultimate plan for salvation and the spread of the Gospel

            • The sense of loss they are experiencing and feeling, about Jesus leaving, is overshadowing everything else

            • If they truly loved Jesus they would be glad that He was returning to the Father

            • “If Jesus’ disciples truly loved him, they would be glad that he is returning to his Father, for he is returning to the sphere where he belongs, to the glory he had with the Father before the world began (17:5), to the place where the Father is undiminished in glory, unquestionably greater than the Son in his incarnate state.” ​​ [Carson, 508]

            • “When Jesus was here on earth, He was necessarily limited by having a human body. ​​ He voluntarily laid aside the independent exercise of His divine attributes and submitted to the Father.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament, Volume 1, 354]

            • They should be glad that Jesus is returning to the Father, because He would send the Holy Spirit to live in them and He would intercede for them at the right hand of the Father – they would have two Counselors (Advocates) working for them

            • Romans 8:34, Who is he that condemns? ​​ Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

          • Jesus tells them that He is returning to the Father, before it happens, so they will believe in Him after it happens

          • While Jesus leaving creates a sense of loss in the disciples, Satan’s coming will create conflict and persecution for them

        • Satan is coming (vv. 30-31)

          • Jesus is finishing His discourse with the disciples, because very soon He will be arrested, tried, convicted, and killed

          • The prince of this world is coming

            • Jesus is referring to Satan here

            • Satan was already in the world, but he was coming to play his part in redemption history

              • Satan had already entered Judas Iscariot, so that he would betray Jesus, as we’ll see in the coming weeks

              • It would take false witnesses, influenced by Satan, to convict Jesus

              • Matthew 26:59-61, The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. ​​ But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. ​​ Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

              • My guess is that, if Satan knew that God’s plan was, to have Jesus die as the perfect sacrifice for sin, that he wouldn’t have come – he wouldn’t have entered Judas and influenced the false witnesses

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus is holy

            • Jesus’ holiness is evident in two ways

              • He was sinless

                • Satan had no hold on Jesus

                • “He then argues that although sin gives Satan his controlling power, he cannot control Jesus because ‘there is no sin in Jesus.’” ​​ [Morris cited by Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 135]

                • There was not foothold that Satan could use to gain access to Jesus’ life, because He was without sin

                • That’s why Jesus is the only One who could take our punishment for sin – He was sinless

                • Up until this time, the Jews had to sacrifice a perfect lamb, without blemish to cover over their sins – this was a continual ongoing necessity

                • When Jesus died on the cross it was, once for all, to take away our sins

                • As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are in Christ, and the only way that Satan can get a foothold in our lives, is if we allow him to

                  • Because we are not fully sanctified yet, we can still give controlling power to Satan by giving in to the temptations of sin

                  • As humans we are still fallible – we will make mistakes – we will sin

                  • 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

                  • Is there a sin that is currently giving Satan controlling power in your life?

                  • Confess that the Lord right now

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess any sin that is giving Satan controlling power in my life.

                • Jesus’ holiness is evident through His sinless life, but also through His obedience to the Father

              • He was obedient

                • The world would learn about Jesus’ love for the Father and His perfect obedience to the commands of the Father through His disciples

                • As they, and we, obediently fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Command, the world will know all about Jesus

        • Time to leave

          • Jesus tells His disciples that it is time to leave

          • Did they leave the upper room or not?

            • John 18:1, When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. ​​ On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it.

            • Because of this verse there are kinds of ideas about whether or not Jesus and the disciples left the upper room

            • Some believe that what we read in John 15-17 was shared in the upper room

            • Others believe Jesus shared it while they were on their way to olive grove

            • Since it is not stated clearly in Scripture and it’s not theologically important to the content of the text, we’ll just leave it ambiguous at this point


  • YOU

    • Have you claimed the promise that the Holy Spirit is your teacher?

    • Do you need to consider others ahead of yourself and look to their interests too instead of just your own interests, so there can be peace?

    • Are you at peace with God, through faith in Jesus Christ?

    • Is there any sin in your life that is giving Satan controlling power?


  • WE




“In Worry Less, Live More, Robert J. Morgan illustrates the fact that many in society are very conscious of anxiety:


Amazon keeps track of your highlights. When e-book owners mark sentences, the online retailer knows and notes it. Recently Amazon released a list of the most popular passages in some of its bestselling books, such as The Hunger Games, the Harry Potter series, and Pride and Prejudice. Also released, the most highlighted passage in the Holy Bible. I expected America's favorite biblical portion to be John 3:16Psalm 23, or the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. But, no, it was a less prominent text, but one that's striking a deep cord in today's worried world. It was Philippians 4:6-7:


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


Robert J. Morgan, Worry Less, Live More (Thomas Nelson, 2017), page xiii.






Obedience From The Heart

(John 14:15-24)



“If I'm not abiding in Jesus, then where is it that I abide? I once asked myself. I began to notice that when I was tired or anxious, there were certain sentences I would say in my head that led me to a familiar place. The journey to this place would often start with me walking around disturbed, feeling as if there was something deep inside that I needed to put into words but couldn't quite capture. I felt the ‘something’ as anxiety, loneliness, and a need for connection with someone. If no connection came, I would start to say things like, ‘Life really stinks. Why is it always so hard? It's never going to change.’ If no one noticed I was struggling or asked me what was wrong, I found my sentences shifting to a more cynical level: ‘Who cares? Life is a joke.’ Surprisingly, by the time I was saying those last sentences, I was feeling better. The anxiety was greatly diminished.


My comforter, my abiding place, was cynicism and rebellion. From this abiding place, I would feel free to use some soul cocaine – watching a violent video with maybe a little sexual titillation thrown in, having more alcohol with a meal than I might normally drink – things that would allow me to feel better for a little while. I had always thought of these things as just bad habits. I began to see they were much more; they were spiritual abiding places that were my comforters and friends in a very spiritual way.


The final light went on one evening when I read John 15:7 in The Message. Peterson translates Jesus' words on abiding this way: ‘If you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.’ Jesus was saying in answer to my question, ‘I have made my home in you, Brent. But you still have other comforters you go to. You must learn to make your home in me.’”


Brent Curtis and John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997).





  • ME

    • Obedience

        • I know that no one else has ever experienced this, with their own children, and that Judy and I are probably all alone in this

        • When our children were younger, they would obey out of obligation

        • They would clean up their toys and pick up their clothes, not because they loved to do, but because we asked them, or required, them to do it

        • They would grumble about it and sometimes it took a second or third time of telling them before they would obey

        • That’s not obeying out of love, but out of obligation


  • WE

    • Compliments

        • How many of us have experienced the “compliment setup” with our children?

        • They come and say some pretty nice things about us, but it’s not genuine or out of love, but rather as a way to “butter us up” to ask for something


Jesus continues to teach His disciples as His death draws near. ​​ In John 14:15-24 He combines love and obedience three times (vv. 15, 21, 23). ​​ We can and do obey out of obligation, but John wants us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – True obedience comes from a heart of love.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 14:15-24)

    • Coming Counselor (vv. 15-17)

        • Obedience to the Lord’s commands is evidence of our love for God

          • What commands are we to obey?

            • “What the one who loves Jesus will observe is not simply an array of discrete ethical injunctions, but the entire revelation from the Father, revelation holistically conceived.” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 498]

            • The disciples were to copy the example of Jesus – how He lived His life, who He hung out with, how He spoke to those He ministered to, etc. [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 122]

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when His people obey Him out of love.

            • If we’re really honest with ourselves, we would admit that we don’t always obey God out of love, but rather out of a sense of obligation

              • We’re just like children who have to be told to do something, perhaps multiple times

              • We have this feeling that if we don’t obey God, He’s going to punish us

              • The reverse of that is also true – if we obey Him, He will bless us

              • This was evident with the Israelites in the Old Testament, as they were preparing to enter the Promised Land

                • Time and time again we read throughout the Old Testament about God’s blessing and curse on the Israelites based on their obedience to His commands and decrees

                • Deuteronomy 11:26, See I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

                • The blessings/curses – God would provide everything they needed for their livelihood (crops and critters), He would also drive out the nations before them, even though they would be larger and stronger than them (Deuteronomy 11:1-32)

              • The danger in reading these verses, and applying them to our lives today, is that we can still obey out of obligation and a desire to be blessed instead of being cursed

              • Our obedience can still be without love

                • We may read the Bible every morning, but not out of love for Jesus or God, but because we want God to be pleased with us and bless us

                • We may pray every day (morning, noon, and night), but again, out of a desire to be blessed, and not because we love God or Jesus

                • We may attend church, give sacrificially to the church and to the poor, serve at church and in our community, simply out of a desire to be blessed by God and not out of love

            • The transformation comes when we do all of those things out of love for God and Jesus

              • 1 John 5:3-4a, This is love for God: ​​ to obey his commands. ​​ And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.

              • When we truly love God and Jesus with our whole being, those spiritual disciplines don’t feel like a burden any more

              • We can’t wait to spend time reading the Bible, praying, giving, serving, etc.

              • We don’t look at the Lord’s commands in the Bible as a list of do’s and don’ts, but rather as loving instruction from a loving Father who wants what’s best for us

            • True obedience comes from a heart of love.

            • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord to help me obey Him out of love and not obligation or a desire to be blessed.

          • Most modern translations begin verse 16 with the word “and” or “then,” which can make it seem that what comes next is based on the condition of love or obedience to Jesus’ commands – somehow we can earn or be entitled to receiving the Holy Spirit – that is not the case

        • Another Counselor

          • Not entitlement, but entailment

            • Entailment is defined as a deduction or implication, that is, something that follows logically from or is implied by something else (one thing will be true if all others are also true)

            • The first entailment of genuine love for Jesus is obedience to His commands

            • The second entailment is the giving of another Counselor (the Holy Spirit)

            • “The Spirit’s gift in these verses is controlled by verse 15a, ‘if you love me.’ ​​ The gift, then, is an outgrowth of the loving relationship between Jesus and his disciples, not an entitlement earned by the disciple.” ​​ [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 395]

            • “Jesus is describing a set of essential relations, not a set of titillating conditions. ​​ His true followers will love him; they will obey him; and he on his part will secure for them . . . another Counselor.” ​​ [Carson, 499]

            • What naturally happens when we genuinely love Jesus is that we obey Him and experience an incredible relationship with the Holy Spirit

          • Jesus tells His disciples that He will ask the Father to send them another Counselor

            • Keep in mind that Jesus is talking with His disciples prior to His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension

            • Jesus is speaking here of Pentecost, which will not happen until after His ascension into heaven

            • NOTE: ​​ Today is Pentecost Sunday (May 31, 2020)

            • Acts 2:1-47 explains the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (sound like the blowing wind, saw what seemed like tongues of fire that rested on each of the disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other languages as the Spirit enabled them) and how it transformed Jerusalem (many repented and believed in Jesus) and then the whole world

          • Another

            • The use of the word “another” means that the disciples already had a Counselor

              • Jesus was their Counselor while He was on earth

              • He encouraged them, strengthened them, and taught them for three years

            • Counselor

              • “It comes from a verbal root that describes someone ‘called alongside’ and occurs in secular Greek literature for an advocate in a court of law, who comes ‘alongside’ a person to speak in his or her defense and provide counsel.” ​​ [Burge, 395]

              • The Holy Spirit will continue the work of Jesus by encouraging, strengthening, and teaching the disciples

              • The Holy Spirit, as another Counselor, will help believers in a variety of ways as John outlines in the rest of his Gospel: [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 437]

                • “He will bring to remembrance all that Jesus taught his disciples (John 14:26)”

                • “He will testify regarding Jesus together with his followers (John 15:26)”

                • “He will convict the world of sin, (un)righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11)”

                • “He will guide Jesus’ disciples in all truth and disclose what is to come (John 16:13)”

            • While Jesus was with His disciples only a short time, the Holy Spirit would be with them forever

          • Forever

            • Once the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, He would be with the disciple’s forever

            • While Jesus was giving this promise to His disciples, we know from Scripture that this truth is for all believers

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – God promises the Holy Spirit to everyone who believes in Jesus.

                • Ephesians 1:13-14, And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. ​​ Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.

                • 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. ​​ He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

                • Ephesians 4:30, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim God’s promise that, as a believer in Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives in me.

            • Since the Holy Spirit lives in us we know that He will accomplish the same things in us that He did in the disciples

          • Spirit of truth

            • The Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance all that Jesus taught his disciples

            • The Holy Spirit will testify regarding Jesus together with us

            • The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, unrighteousness, and judgment

            • These are the truths that make the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth

          • The world

            • We see here that the world cannot accept the Holy Spirit

            • They can’t accept the Holy Spirit, because He is the Spirit of truth

              • We know that those who don’t believe in Jesus or God, don’t want to be held to an absolute moral standard

              • They want to be able to do whatever feels good or is right for them (moral relativism)

              • They can’t see Him, because they are blinded by sin

              • They can’t know Him, because their minds are block by the false truths and narratives they’ve been fed/taught

            • That’s not the case with Jesus’ disciples and us

          • Believers

            • We know Him, because He lives with us and will be in us

            • Gangel does an excellent job of explaining the Holy Spirit living with us and being in us as he quotes Gromacki:

              • “First, the spirit was dwelling ‘with’ the apostles in the Gospel era. ​​ In Greek the words, ‘with you’ literally mean ‘beside you.’ ​​ In that sense, the Holy Spirit had a companion ministry to the apostles. ​​ He was beside them, but not inside them.”

              • “Second, Christ predicted that the Spirit would be in them. ​​ After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, the same Spirit who was beside them would be inside them. ​​ Christ also changed verbal tenses to show the difference in the two relationships of the Spirit to the apostles. ​​ The verb menei (‘dwells’) is in the present tense, whereas the verb estai (‘will be’) is in the future tense (Gromacki, p. 136)” [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 268]

            • The disciples had experienced the Holy Spirit living with them, but they had not yet experienced the Holy Spirit being in them (Pentecost would bring that experience of the Holy Spirit being in them – forever)

        • So, Jesus explained and promised the coming of the Holy Spirit (another Counselor)

        • Now He talks about His coming (resurrection)

    • Coming Christ (vv. 18-24)

        • The disciples will not be left as orphans

          • We know that the disciples are already concerned about Jesus’ leaving them

            • Peter already asked Him where He was going and why He couldn’t come with Him now (John 13:36-37)

            • As the spokesperson for the disciples, Peter is probably voicing the concern that all of them are feeling

            • Jesus was going to the cross and then to the right hand of the Father, and while the disciples didn’t understand that fully, they knew enough to be concerned

            • In Old Testament times, orphans did not have any rights in the court system and had to have an advocate that would plead their case [Köstenberger, 439]

            • “. . . in secular Greek the word orphans is also used of children stripped of only one parent or of disciples stripped of their master (cf. NewDocs 4. 71).” [Carson, 501]

            • Jesus is comforting them as they wrestle with the emotions and fears of losing Him

          • He promises to come to them

            • Some scholars see this reference as Jesus promising to come to them in the person of the Holy Spirit

            • I would agree with the scholars that see this reference as Jesus’ Easter resurrection

              • Verses 19-20 seem to reference that and unpack it for us

              • After Jesus’ resurrection we know that He did not show Himself to the world in general

              • He did show Himself to His disciples

                • Mary Magdalene (John 20:14-16)

                • Mary the mother of James, Salome, and Joanna (Matthew 28:9)

                • Peter (Luke 24:34)

                • Two disciples on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-16)

                • The disciples without Thomas (John 20:19, 20, 24)

                • All of the disciples (John 20:26-28)

                • Seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-2)

                • A mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-17)

                • Over 500 hundred people (1 Corinthians 15:6)

                • James, Jesus’ half-brother (1 Corinthians 15:7)

                • Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:3-5)

          • He also promises them life

            • Jesus is predicting His resurrection, but the disciples probably don’t realize it, at this point

            • We know what He’s talking about, because we are on this side of His resurrection

            • What exactly is Jesus talking about here?

              • He is talking about eternal life

              • “Will live” is in the future tense, Jesus is talking about the eschaton (the end of times)

              • 1 John 5:11, And this is the testimony: ​​ God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

                • Why do we need eternal life in the Son?

                  • Isaiah 53:6, We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

                  • We have turned away from the God who created us

                  • We have rejected Him and His plan to deal with our sin

                  • Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

                  • God’s plan to deal with our sin was to send His Son, Jesus, as the perfect sacrifice to take away our sins

                  • 1 Peter 3:18, For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. ​​ He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.

                • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus’ life gives us life.

                  • Jesus paid our penalty for sin when He died on the cross

                  • Because of His perfect sacrifice, we can all have eternal life

                  • It is offered to us as a free gift from God, but we have to take it and accept it for ourselves

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Accept God’s gift of eternal life, through His Son, Jesus.

            • Eternal life brings with it an incredible connectedness to Jesus and the Father

          • We’re all in this together

            • That phrase was made popular by the Disney movie High School Musical – there was even a song about it in the movie

            • This phrase has become popular again as we have been going through the Coronavirus pandemic (there are a lot of other phrases that are being used during this time to help bring hope and encouragement)

            • Jesus wants us to understand that, as His disciples, we are not alone

              • Jesus and the Father are One – I am in my Father

              • We are united with Christ – you are in me

              • We have the Holy Spirit within us – I am in you

            • On that day,” is again referencing the time after Jesus’ resurrection (the disciples would finally understand all that Jesus had taught them about who He was, where He came from, and why He came to earth)

          • Jesus promises His disciples, and us, that we will not be left as orphans to fend for ourselves

        • He returns to the main theme a second time

          • True obedience comes from a heart of love.

            • Jesus reverses the order when He says, whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.

              • The verb “has” doesn’t mean simply to possess, but it means “to grasp fully with the mind.” ​​ [Barrett cited by Borchert, 128]

              • This wasn’t a list of do’s and don’ts that the disciples were to follow, but rather a lifestyle of loving and obeying Jesus

              • “When I was in elementary school, by buddy’s dad drove the church bus. ​​ I loved spending Saturday night at his house and then riding the bus to church on Sunday. ​​ They would do all of these silly promotions on the bus routes, and on Sunday everyone who rode the bus was given a cheap, white kite with this written on it in big, red printing: ‘I ♥ Jesus.’ ​​ Looking back, I can just picture dozens of kids who had no idea who Jesus was flocking to the park and flying their ‘I ♥ Jesus’ kites. ​​ How many Christians are like those kids? ​​ Over their lives fly ‘I Love Jesus’ kites, but love for him isn’t evident in how they live. ​​ If we love Jesus, we will live differently (v. 21). ​​ We can fly dozens of kites, but it doesn’t mean we love Jesus. ​​ The only evidence that we do indeed love Jesus is the way we live.” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in John, 298]

            • Love, genuine love for Jesus, is the key to obeying His commands

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when His people obey Him out of love.

            • We see three results of genuinely loving and obeying Jesus

              • We will be loved by the Father

              • We will be loved by Jesus

              • Jesus will show Himself to us

                • So many people want Jesus to show Himself to them before they will take a step of faith toward Him

                • But we see again that when we grasp fully with our mind the commands of Jesus and obey them, we are saying, “I love You, Jesus!”

                • It’s a step of faith that moves us toward Jesus, and then He promises to show, reveal, manifest Himself to us

                • If you really want Jesus to show Himself to you, then take the step of faith toward Him and experience His presence in you

                • I hope and pray that you’ll take that step of faith today

            • While we can certainly obey God out of obligation or a desire to be blessed, God is pleased when we do it out of genuine love from the heart

        • Judas asks a great question

          • John lets us know that this is not Judas Iscariot

            • He was already gone, carrying out his plan to betray Jesus

            • He didn’t sneak back in to the upper room after he had finished his business

          • The question

            • For Judas, and perhaps the other disciples, it didn’t make sense that Jesus would show Himself to them and not the world

            • They already believed in Him, while the world didn’t

            • Wouldn’t it be better if Jesus showed Himself to the world?

            • We know that God and Jesus will never force themselves on anyone – they will pursue us, but never demand that we obey them, love them, follow them, or believe in them (it is a freewill choice that each person has to make for themselves)

            • We know from Scripture that Jesus used the disciples to spread the Gospel throughout the known world (this is perhaps another reason why He is showing Himself to them after His resurrection)

            • “Jesus reveals himself to people he knows will respond to him and obey his teaching.” ​​ [Gangel, 269]

          • Jesus’ response to the question

            • At first glance, it may seem like Jesus doesn’t even answer Judas’s question, but He does

            • His answer is love

            • He returns a third time to the main theme and our big idea, true obedience comes from a heart of love.

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when His people obey Him out of love.

              • We see a second time the relational result of obeying His commands out of a heart of love

                • We will experience the love of the Father

                • We will experience the presence of the Father and the Son with us

            • Jesus explains that the reverse is also true, he who does not love me will not obey my teaching

        • Jesus is not saying these things in a void, but is only teaching them, what He has heard from the Father, who sent Him


  • YOU

    • What does your obedience of Jesus’ commands look like?

        • Are you obeying out of obligation?

        • Are you obeying out of a desire to be blessed?

        • Are you obeying out of love?

    • Have you claimed God’s promise of the Holy Spirit living in you?

    • Have you accepted God’s gift of eternal life, through Jesus?


  • WE

    • Imagine the transformation at Idaville Church and in our communities as we obey God’s commands out of a heart of love



“When I was dating my wife, Anna, one thing I admired about her was her love for sports. I love sports too, but there are two sports I don't like. Forgive me if you like these, but I don't.


The first is bowling. I can't understand it. You pick up this cannonball and throw it on this beautiful maple floor that's tilted. And it goes down and disappears, thank goodness. All of a sudden ‘swbump!’ it comes back again. You throw that thing down again, and it goes down and disappears. All of a sudden ‘swbump!’ it comes back. All night you're trying to get rid of it. Finally, when you're done and you try to leave, they make you pay for throwing that ball down on the ground. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.


The other is roller-skating: four wheels, none of them turn, and they expect you to go around in circles.


This is a true story. On our first date, I knocked on Anna's door. I was so excited. I said, ‘Where would you like to go tonight?’ She said, ‘Do you like bowling?’ And she picked up her own bowling ball. She had her own bag. Now, I was in love, so when she asked if I liked bowling, my answer was, ‘I love bowling.’ And we went bowling all night. We had a great time.


The next week I knocked on her door. I said, ‘Where would you like to go this week?’ She picked up her skates. She said, ‘Do you like skating?’ I said, ‘I've been waiting for months for someone to ask me go skating. I love skating.’ And we skated all night.


I look back on it now and think, what made it easy for me to change? Did I have to work up this thing to change my desire for bowling and skating? No. It was because of my relationship with that girl. Because of the love that I had in relationship with her, change was easy.


The power to change is predicated upon your relationship with God. How often I think, God, it's hard to do what you're asking me to do, hard to change. Do I just grit my teeth? ‘No,’ the Lord says, ‘why don't you just come closer to the cross? Why don't you let me restore and renew my relationship with you? Would you come close?’”


Wayne Cordeiro, "A Personal Relationship," Preaching Today audio no. 225.