Faithlife Sermons

Jesus, Prayer Warrior (Part 1)

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Introduction
Opening Illustration - We discourage our kids from saying things like “Me first!” Right? Nobody likes it when kids (or adults) act in a snotty, selfish way!
Neil Whitwam - A Barber that went to the mission field…As a result to following God’s call, he and his wife were missionaries in Zambia. Zambia is a very poor country with many diseases and high unemployment.  They started a church that grew to over 700 members in one year! They were truly used by God!
Neil Whitwam and his wife were missionaries in Zambia. Zambia is a very poor country with many diseases and high unemployment.  They started a church that grew to over 700 members in one year! They were truely used by God!
I remember Neil preaching a sermon on the Power of Prayer and in that sermon he challenged us on something I’ll never forget. He said when you pray, pray for yourself first. Let me clarify. What He meant was after you spend time Praising and glorifying God, and you are moving into a time of intercession (praying for others), the first other you should pray for is yourself!
Why? He gave the illustration of flying on an airplane…We must first care for ourselves if we will have the wherewithal to care for others. This works in the spiritual world just as much (if not more) than the spiritual world.
In , we are entering into what is commonly referred to as the “High Priestly Prayer.” This prayer is at the end of Jesus’ farewell discourse and just before His time in Gethsemane. It is a beautiful prayer that we can learn much from.
It is broken down into three main sections.
Jesus’ Prayer for Himself
Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples
Jesus’ Prayer for Us!
Our focus today is Jesus’ Prayer for Himself. And as my friend, Neil Whitwam taught me years ago, this is a very wise way to pray...
Main Idea - Wise Prayer Warriors Pray First for Themselves!
Transition - There are three interesting components to Jesus’ Prayer for himself...
1. Wise Prayer Warriors Pray They Will Bring God Glory (vs. 1-2)
This, of course, is the chief end of man according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism which says,
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
John 17:1–2 ESV
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
And so, when we pray, we should have this in our thinking! Jesus did! Look at the text with me...
John 17:1–2 ESV
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
John
This must have been quite a sight for the apostles to witness! He finished talking with the Disciples. The farewell discourse is complete and now, He looks up to heaven and started talking to His Father. Did they even realize this at first?
Just a side note, isn’t this a wonderful example? Jesus isn’t afraid or ashamed to talk to His Father in front of His friends…follow His example. You might be surprised how it will encourage and disciples those around you.
But look what He says...
“Father, the hour has come...” What hour? The hour that was the purpose for His incarnation. His sacrificial death on the cross that will satisfy the wrath of God for the sins of humanity! For you!!!
His specific prayer is that in light of the reality that the hour has come, He asks the Father to glorify the His Son and He asks it for a reason. “So that the Son may glorify you...” The Son wants to be glorified so that the Father, in turn will be glorified!? It’s like a glory fest!
What is going on here? What does this mean?
Well, first we must ask the question, who is qualified to be glorified? The scriptures are clear on this. Glory goes to God and God alone! Only God can legitimately receive glory!
Isaiah 42:8 ESV
I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.
Isaiah 48:11 ESV
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
Isa
So if God will not give His glory to another, and yet the Father can glorifies the Son, it stands to reason that Jesus is God and therefore the only one qualified to receive the Glory of God!
Okay, that makes sense, but HOW does God the Father glorify God the Son?
He glorifies the Son...
By sustaining the Son through the coming relentless physical suffering He would endure then next day
By accepting the sacrifice of the Son
By Resurrecting the Son from the dead
By restore the Son back to His glorious position in Heaven at the right Hand of the Father.
Now think about this. If the Father does these things for the Son through all of this, how much glory has Christ received in the intervening 2000 years? How much will He continue to receive from this time forward and for all eternity? Beyond comprehension. He conquered death for us and we glorify Him because of it!
Now notice that Jesus’ motive wasn’t simply for His own glory but actually for the glory of the Father!
vfNow notice that Jesus’ motive wasn’t simply for His own glory but actually for the glory of the Father!
Again, how does the Son give glory to the Father?
Because the Son publically recognizes (and the Scriptures teach) that the Gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of the Christ, the exceptionally wise and powerful plan, motivated by love, was from the Father! This was the Father’s plan and so the Son wanted the Father to receive the credit! He wanted Him to get the glory!
This is what Jesus means when He says what He says in verse 2...
John 17:2 ESV
2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
The Father’s glory and the Son’s glory is wrapped up in the Gospel!
Let me explain. First...
The Father gave the Son the authority - He ordained that the Son rule over all the earth! This is what reveals...
Psalm 2:11–12 ESV
11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
As a result, the Son has the authority to judge...
John 5:27 ESV
27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
Daniel 7:14 ESV
14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
John 5
He has the authority to lay down and take up His life...
He has the authority to lay down and take up His life...
John 10:18 ESV
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
John
And He has the authority to give eternal life...
John 17:2 ESV
2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
Explain what is going on here...
I do not believe this to be a proof text passage for the doctrines of predestination and election...
And the reason I believe this is not is by one simple things that we should all be diligent in when it comes to good bible study. Ask good questions of the text and be careful not to put into the text something that is not there. That is called eisegesis (putting into the text instead of pulling out of the text. That is call exegesis.
I’m not arguing against the doctrines of predestination and election. They are biblical and there is a biblical way to understand them. And that is for another sermon or two. My point is this text isn’t teaching these things.
One simple thing we can do to get a right interpretation of a bible text is to ask questions of the text. Who, What, Where, When, Why and how…
Let’s do that here...
So Who is speaking in chapter 17? Jesus
What is He speaking about? He is praying to the Father about Himself, His disciples, and you and I!
When? Just before the crucifixion
Why? To ask the Father for His sustaining grace for Himself, the Disciples and for those who WILL believe in the future.
So when we interpret verse two we must see that Jesus has been given authority of all of humanity! He is the King! And He has the authority to give eternal life to all the Father have given (past tense) him.
How, then does God the Father receive Glory from God the Son?
How, then does God the Father receive Glory from God the Son?
Explain -
Who are the ALL? The Apostles. I believe Jesus is praying, in verse two specifically for His disciples! Not all people...
We must be very careful not to read more into the text than is there, otherwise we run the risk of interpreting the text according to our theological bent instead of have the text direct our theology! (repeat) Let the text direct our theology!!! Be careful not to extrapolate!
Jesus has given eternal life to “all you have given him (Jesus).” He has given eternal to His Apostles!
The question I have of Jesus is HOW does this transaction of eternal life take place? How did the Apostles come to a place where they had eternal life? And we will save that question for point two, because verse 3 answers that for us.
In the mean time, we must remember that Wise Prayer warriors (like Jesus), pray to the Glory of God
The Father will glorify the Son through through the Crucifixion and the Son will, in turn bring glory or fame back to the Father because of the crucifixion.
It was Jesus’ prayer to the Father that this would all take place according to plan!
Apply - How do you pray? Do you pray for yourself first? Do you pray that regardless of the circumstances that you face, that God would receive much glory and fame from you and your life? I think you should, if you haven’t already, start praying in this way.
“Lord, I’m not sure what today will bring. I am not sure what kind of joys I’ll have or trials I will face, but regardless of my circumstances, empower me by your Spirit to face them with You in mind! Help me not to complain but instead to rejoice knowing that you will become more famous as a result of me praising you publically regardless of how I feel because I know and trust that you are working out all things for Your glory and my good.”
Will you pray this way?
Illustrate - Many years ago someone challenged me to publically praise God regardless of what is happening…So instead of swearing when I hit my thumb with a hammer, I say, “Praise the Lord!”
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Review - Wise Prayer Warriors Pray they Will Bring God Glory
Wise Prayer Warriors Pray to the Glory of God 2. Wise Prayer Warriors Pray for the Gospel of Christ (vs. 3)
Point 2.
2. Wise Prayer Warriors Pray for the Gospel of Christ (vs. 3)
2. Wise Prayer Warriors Pray for The Furtherance of the Gospel (vs. 3)
As Jesus continues to pray, He prays out a truth that ought to catch our attention. Look at verse 3...
John 17:3 ESV
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Do you see what He says here? He clarifies the concept of eternal life. He gives the “How” of how the Apostles came to receive eternal life...
Eternal life is about a relationship with God, this is what He says in the beginning of the verse - “that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
The Apostles, those that the Father had given the Son (Luke 6:12-16), had received eternal life because they knew the Son. And this is important for us to understand.
Let me explain...
Many people in this world think that in order to obtain eternal life (if it is, in fact, attainable) is accomplished by living is such a way that will be “good”.
If I am good then the deity or God in charge will recognize my valiant effort to do that which is good and reward me accordingly. There is this innate sense that we humans have that thinks we must bring something to the table to earn our salvation.
Part of this is because of our nature. We are rigorously autonomous and can’t imagine that salvation, heaven, eternal life could be obtained an other way than through our good efforts or works. We tend to think pretty highly of ourselves.
Well, as you can see from the text that the Bible and Jesus Himself have a very different idea when it comes to eternal life.
Eternal life is about a relationship - “this is eternal life, that they KNOW YOU...”
Know - The word know (ginōskōsin) here in the present tense, is often used in the Septuagint and sometimes in the Greek New Testament to describe the intimacy of a sexual relationship (e.g., , “lay”; , “had … union”). Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 331.
Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 331.
So we are not talking simply that one “knows” of or about God. No! they instead know Him at a relational and intimate level. Those of you here today that have been a follower of Jesus for a while understand exactly what I am talking about. You have experienced God in that way and at that level.
Okay, so how is this possible?
How is a relationship with God available? - Well, first of all, it must be with the True God of the Bible. There are many to purport to be god, but there is only one God according to the Scriptures. He is the hero of the story! God, Yahweh.
Okay, so How can I have a relationship with Yahweh? Let me share the Good News with you. (Why do I do this? two reasons. First, if there are any who are not saved here…Second, for those of you who are saved, you might consider sharing these things with the unsaved in your life.)
First you must know He exists
Second, you must realize that He is true and what His Word says is true. What does His word say?
His word says God cannot lie
Titus 1:2 ESV
2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began
His word says God expects sinless perfection from you
Matthew 5:48 ESV
48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
His word says that you and I are not sinless
Romans 3:23 ESV
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Isaiah 64:6 NKJV
6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
Romans 2:5 ESV
5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
His word says that their is a price to pay for sin - eternity in hell
Romans 6:23 ESV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
His word says that He loves you!
John 3:16 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
J
Romans 5:8 ESV
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
His word says that He wants to rescue you
John 3:17 ESV
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
1 Timothy 2:4 ESV
4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9 ESV
9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
His word says that the shed blood of Jesus is sufficient to pay off your sin debt and satisfy the wrath of God
1 Corinthians 15:1–5 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
1 John 4:10 ESV
10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
His word says that by faith in Jesus and what He did on the cross and that He rose from the dead will bring you eternal life.
Romans 3:28 ESV
28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Romans 5:10 ESV
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
Romans 5:1 ESV
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Third, you must know Jesus!
John 17:3 ESV
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
He is the
Explain -
Okay so my point is this. This was the present reality for the Apostles. As the text will later reiterate, Judas is the one from the 12 that didn’t know the true God and didn’t believe Christ to be the one sent by God for the redemption of all people. But the other 11, came to understand, even at a rudimentary level, who the TRUE God was and who Jesus was as well and why He was sent.
And it seems to me that as Jesus is praying to the Father in front of His disciples, that He is purposely, prayerfully, reiterating the Gospel reality. He is praying a reality that they, the eleven Apostles understood enough about God and the Christ to have eternal life.
A wise prayer warrior prays about the Gospel of Christ.
Illustrate -
Apply - Do you pray for Yourself in regard to the Gospel? Do you pray that you would have a fresh understanding of the Gospel? Do you pray that God would use your attempts to share the Gospel to lead people to Himself? Do you ask God to use your lips to release the Gospel’s power to those around you?
Romans 1:16 ESV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Illustration - Billy Graham passed on to the next life this past week...
“I want to tell people about the meaning of the cross. Not the cross that hangs on the wall or around someone’s neck, but the real cross of Christ…With all my heart I want to leave you with the truth, that he loves you, and is willing to forgive you of all your sins.”
You may not be bold like Billy Graham, but have you ever asked God to make you bold?
Folks, we are here to make disciples if you refuse to do so you really need to start questioning your relationship with Jesus. Christians are disciple-makers! And this is at the heart of Jesus’ prayer. He was faithful at this task! Eleven of His twelve had recieved eternal life and they would eventually turn the known world upside down for the Gospel!
What about you? What about your disciples? Perhaps you better start praying an asking the Lord to change your heart...
Review - Wise Prayer warriors pray for themselves first
Wise Prayer Warriors Pray they Will Bring Glory to God
Wise Prayer Warriors Pray for the Furtherance of the Gospel
3. Wise Prayer Warriors Pray for Faithfulness to the End (vs. 4-5)
Jesus is coming to the end of His earthly journey and yet He is about to face His biggest challenge yet. The cross! And so, He prays! Look at the text...
John 17:4–5 ESV
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Do you want to hear something amazing and awe inspiring about Jesus? He ALWAYS did what pleased the Father.
John 8:29 ESV
29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”
As He walked through the Journey of this life, Jesus ALWAYS did the will of the Father! Now think about this from a human perspective. From the negative side, He never broke God’s law ever.
You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall not make idols.You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.Honor your father and your mother.You shall not murder.You shall not commit adultery.You shall not steal.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.You shall not covet.
You shall not make idols.
Explain -
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Honor your father and your mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet.
By the way, who were these laws for? Isreal!
What was one of the goals of these commandments as well as the whole law of Moses?
To set Israel apart as a holy nation!
How’d they do? Terrible! They failed over and over and over thus proving the Law was never sufficient to save anyone...
Jesus is the New Israel! He performed these and all the laws perfectly. He is the epitome of Holiness!
But also consider the positive - Love the Lord your God…Love your neighbor. Not only did Jesus never break God law, but He lived out love flawlessly as well! Even to the point of death!
Romans 5:8 ESV
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Explain -
The point is this. From Jesus perspective it was always about bringing glory or fame to the Father.
Do you notice the tense He uses in verse 4? Take another look...
John 17:4 ESV
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
At this point Jesus had not “accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” but he claimed he had! After all, the most important work that was yet to be accomplished was that of His finished work on the cross - not to mention the resurrection from the dead. These were a couple of very important checks on the Father’s “To-Do list” for the Son that yet needed to be done.
So why does he say it as if it is done? I think for the simple reason that it was as good as done. Nothing nor nobody would stop Jesus from pleasing the Father…from doing His will. I mean look at His spirit in...
Luke 9:51 ESV
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
This is a quote from - which says he set His face “Like flint”! A beautiful picture of determination!
This is why I think Jesus says He has accomplished the work that His Father gave him to do. “IT WAS AS GOOD AS DONE!”
And then verse five becomes a prayer asking for the strength of the Father to Help Him finish His mission!
John 17:5 ESV
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Think about this! We already talked about it but think about how much glory the Son of God has recieved over the past two thousand years because the amazing redemptive plan of the Father!
But in this prayer from the Son to the Father, He is asking for more than earthly glory. He wants to be back in the presence of His Father! He wants to be in the throne room of Heaven. He wants to experience the glory He once enjoyed before He came to this earth and walked among us!
He’s ready to go Home! He is ready for the mission to be complete! And I believe this prayer is an earnest, honest, plea, laced with a future hope that would sustain Him through the next several hours of the most hellish treatment ever imaginable.
Jesus, in a sense, is praying for strength to be faithful to the end when He says “…glorify me in your own presence...” In other words, Help me to get back to that place of glory I enjoyed while in your presence! Help me to faithfully make it through the next few hours of Hell that I can be glorified in Heaven with you once again! That is wise.
Hebrews 12:2 ESV
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus prayed that He would be faithful to the end.
Apply - This is a wise prayer! Is that prayer part of your prayer life? Are you concerned about persevering to the end? Do you think you have what it takes to make it or do you know just how desperate you are each and every minute of every day. Do you realize how much we need God so that we can remain faithful? Are you asking Him daily for His transforming and sustaining grace?
If you analyze your life over the past month, even the past week and you notice that you are not exuding or growing in the fruit of the Spirit, you should repent of your self-sufficiency and turn to the only one that can make you faithful!
Jeremiah 17:5 ESV
5 Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.
Je
Those are strong words from the Prophet. Where does your trust lie?
Review -
Conclusion
Review - Wise Prayer warriors pray for themselves first
Wise Prayer Warriors Pray they Will Bring Glory to God
Application
Wise Prayer Warriors Pray for the Furtherance of the Gospel
Wise Prayer Warriors Pray for Faithfulness to the End
Application - Jesus was the epitome of prayer warriors and there is a lot to learn from this beautiful High Priestly prayer we see in .
Concluding thought - Do you know what I find most encouraging however? There are days as a believer that I’m going to get this right. In fact, there are days when I’m going to nail it! But then there will be days that I will blow it! I will fail miserably. I’ll fail to pray for me first. I’ll fail to pray at all. And because of His grace, He doesn’t throw me out of His family. Nope! He gently draws me back to Himself. He didn’t just pray for His disciples (and us) back in . No way, my Savior still prays for me this very day.
Romans 8:34 ESV
34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
How about this week you make it your personal prayer goal to join Him?
Invitation
Connection Group Questions
What stood out to you from this text? Did anything encourage, discourage or challenge you?
Why is it important to see Jesus give glory to the Father in His prayer? Discuss reasons why this is important for us today.
Jesus was faithful in not only communicating the Gospel but bring His eleven to eternal life. As we see Him praying to the Father about this, what comes to your mind? Is there ways you can grow in this area? Are you praying for yourself regarding the Gospel?
Jesus prays that He will be faithful as he faces the end of His journey. Are you grateful He was faithful and followed through with the Father’s plan? How well are you doing praying for your own faithfulness? Why is it important that we do this regularly? Are there practical ways we can remember to do this?
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