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Sermon 12 - John 17 - The Real Lords Prayer

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1.      As a pastor I have found out over the years that you can tell a lot about a person by listening to his or her prayers.

a.    ((illus)) Two men were adrift in an open boat in the ocean and it looked like the end. For days they had been drifting. Nobody had shown up, and they were dry, they were hungry, and the sun was beating down, and they knew the end had come.

b.    One of the men knelt down in the boat and prayed:  "Oh Lord, I've broken most of your commandments. I've been a hard drinker, but if my life is spared now I'll promise you that I never will again . . ."

c.    And about that time his companion tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Wait a minute Jack. Don't go too far. I think I hear a boat coming."

d.   Here was a man who made deals, and he figured he could make deals with God.

2.      You can tell a lot about a person by listening to their prayers.

3.      We come this morning to what is The Real Lord’s Prayer.

a.    It is found in John 17 (page  914)

b.    You will notice it is not the prayer many of us have prayed every Sunday in certain churches – “Our Father who art in heaven…”

i)        That prayer was in reality is “The Disciples Prayer” as Jesus taught them in answer to their request to teach them how to pray.

ii)      This prayer in John 17 the Lord's Prayer.

iii)    It was prayed somewhere between the Upper Room institution of the Lord’s Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane.

iv)    The disciples were privileged to watch and hear Jesus pray this intimate prayer to His heavenly Father.

4.      A surface reading of these verses in John 17 will also show that it's divided into three sections.

a.    :1-5 - Jesus prays for himself about his own glory that he had with his father before the foundation of the earth.

b.    :6-19, Jesus prays for his immediate disciples.

c.    :20-26, he prays for us specifically.

5.      I'm not going to handle this the way the prayer is traditionally handled.

a.    This morning I want to TALK ABOUT THE ONE WHO PRAYED.

b.    As I said before, you can tell a lot about somebody by listening to their prayers.

6.      ((illus)) In the mountains of North Carolina there was a mountaineer leaning against a tree when a tourist drove by and he noticed the mountaineer's house was on fire. He said, "Good man, your house is on fire!"  The mountaineer said, "I know it."  "Aren't you going to do something?"  He said, "I am doing something. Ever since the fire started, I've been praying for rain." The man was lazy, and you could see the reflection of his nature in the prayer he prayed.

a.    ((illus)) A little girl's brother set a trap to catch birds and the little girl thought it was wrong, and she was sad. Then one day her demeanor changed. Her mother asked what had happened. "I prayed for my brother to be a better boy."  "What else did you pray?"  "That the trap would not catch any birds."  "What else?" the mother said.  "I went out and kicked the trap to pieces." She was not a sitter; she was a doer. She was going to help God out a bit.

b.    ((illus)) You can tell a lot about people by the way they pray.  Or the little boy who prayed "And God please make Jimmy quit throwing rocks at me ... and by the way I've mentioned this before" is someone who felt he could manipulate God.

c.    ((illus)) You can tell a lot about people by the way they pray.  When the Westminster Assembly met to write the greatest confession in the history of Christendom, one of the divines prayed, "Lord lead us aright for we are very determined." 

d.   ((illus)) When the tax collector in Luke 18 prayed "Lord be merciful to me a sinner," you knew as much about the pray-ers as you did about the prayers. 

7.      In our text this morning we're given an insight into the Son of God that you can't find any other place in the Bible so clearly.

a.    This is holy ground.

b.    We must be very careful when we tread on it.

c.    Let's examine the nature of the one who prayed.

8.      John 17:1-5

1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you.

2 For you have given him authority over everyone in all the earth. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him.

3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.

4 I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to do.

5 And now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.


John 17:1-5 (page 914 )


a.    There is not one conditional sentence in the whole prayer.

b.    He prays as one who was pre-existent, who had a relationship with God before we ever knew the name of Jesus (John 17:5). 

i)        Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.

ii)      Paul says in Romans 8:26 that we do not know how to pray as we ought.

c.    Well, Jesus knew how to pray as he ought, and this is exactly how he ought to pray.

i)        Why?

ii)      Because of the totally intimate relationship he had with the Father both in the flesh and before the foundation of the earth.

d.   An interesting thing is happening here: a conversation within the Trinity.

i)        Something so close, so intimate, it's almost as if one prays to oneself.

ii)      God is praying to God. 

e.    ((illus)) Former NFL football player Bill Glass had a son named John—an all-state athlete in the eleventh grade, a 250-pound bruiser, the apple of his father's eye.

i)        Then John had a knee injury that put him out for months and in the hospital for weeks. One time Bill came home and couldn't find John. Upstairs he noticed the door to his son's room was cracked just a bit, and his son was on the bed sobbing as if his heart would break. 

ii)      Bill said, "As I listened to my son cry, I wanted to do something, but I didn't know what to say. So I stood outside that door and listened to him sob, and I said to myself, I will go in to my son and say to him, "John it's OK, son. We're going to lick this thing. Were going to ask the Lord to lead us. We will find the best doctors. We're going to lick this thing." 

iii)    So Bill finally pushed the door open, walked in, and then he started crying. He put his hand on his son's shoulder, and the son looked up and noticed his dad crying and said, "Dad, it's OK. We're going to lick this thing. We'll ask the Lord to lead us, and we're going to be all right."

iv)    In other words, the son said to the father what the father was going to say to the son. 

f.     Something like that is happening in John 17.

i)        We see a relationship so intimate that before the petition poured forth from the Son, it was in the mind of the Father.

ii)      What a beautiful relationship, and more important, it is the relationship God the Father would have us have with the Son in our intimate prayers.

iii)    We ought to pray, "Father draw me so close to you by your grace that I make no requests, utter no sentence, make no appeal except the request, the sentence, the appeal that which you would have me make." 

iv)    Prayer is not an exercise in getting, it is an experiment in intimacy.

g.    That’s what He says in :3

i)        And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.

ii)      Intimacy with God is not knowing about God but knowing Him personally through faith in Jesus Christ.

¨      He wants us to come close to Him.

¨      ((illus)) It’s a little bit like Westminster Abbey in London - some of you have been there.

(a)    It’s where many of the kinds and dignitaries of England are buried.

(b)   It’s also where the kings and queens receive their coronation.

(c)    I’m told that the narthex is relatively small, dark and cramped - just a brief space to pass through between the outside door and the door leading into the cathedral itself.

(d)   I can’t imagine anyone visiting the abbey and being satisfied to stay in the narthex.

(e)    I also can’t imagine anyone who would make an enormous effort to stay there with no thought to passing through to the glory of what lies beyond.

h.    Your life and mine here on earth are like the narthex to a grand cathedral.

i)        Our lives are simply an area to pass through on our way to the glory of eternal life that lies beyond the door of death.

ii)      Physical death for a believer is simply a transition into real life.

iii)    And it’s God’s purpose that you and I live forever  - with Him, and it can start right now, by faith.



a.    Throughout the prayer, THERE'S SOMETHING MISSING.

i)        Remember when Jesus responded to his disciples' request to teach them how to pray, he said, "Pray then like this .. . forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors"?

ii)      You'd think Jesus would follow his own instruction, but something is missing.

iii)    There is no confession of sin, no place where Jesus lists before the Father his sin and asks for forgiveness.

iv)    Why? Because there was no sin. He had lived an absolutely, totally perfect life. 

b.    ((illus)) In Exodus 12, the institution of the Passover, you will remember the people of God were ready to leave Egypt. They had tried everything, or God had tried everything, to get them out of Egypt. Finally God had his big guns aimed at old Pharaoh. He told the people of God to kill a paschal lamb, a lamb that was perfect, and then they were to take the blood of the lamb and put it on the doorpost. When the angel of death should pass over (hence the word Passover), he would pass over those who had the blood of the lamb on the doorposts. In that action God was prefiguring something that was going to happen in the cross of Christ. Jesus is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. There was a requirement about that lamb. You'll find it in Exodus 12:5. This was the commandment of God. "The lamb shall be without blemish." 

c.    The reason the death of Jesus accomplished so much is that he did not sin at all

i)        Jesus would have us pray with the same sinless perfection!

ii)      The problem is, we can't do it the way he did it, but we can do it in the purity in which he did it because it's his purity, his righteousness, infused into the life of the believer.

d.   Did you know you can go before God totally clean because he died that you might be free? 

i)        ((illus)) Some of you have experienced a clean conscious for the first time in years because you came to trust Christ and His work for you and receive His righteousness. 

ii)      ((illus)) This past week I remembered someone from the early years of our Recovery Ministry.  They had a pretty checkered past but they had learned this truth of claiming Christ’s sacrifice and cleansing for himself. He said this to me, “David, it’s been a long time, but I want you to know I’m going to sleep clean tonight.”

iii)    When was the last time you “slept clean” at night?

iv)    You can tonight!

e.    ((illus)) Have you ever thought this about shadows:

i)        Have you ever noticed how shadows follow you around?

ii)      We always think that the sun causes shadows.

¨      The sun doesn't cause shadows; we cause shadows.

¨      It's the object that causes the darkness that follows us around.

f.     I’ve noticed something else. Have you ever noticed that the closer you get to the sun (directly over head), in it's direct sunlight, the shorter the shadow?"

i)        That's the way it is with the Christian life as we move with the Father and grow in his grace.

ii)      The place we can't make he made for us because he was totally righteous. 




a.    John 17:4 - I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to do.

b.    How often have you been able to pray like that at the end of the day:

i)        "I did what you told me to do today.

ii)       I was in the center of your will today."

iii)    There's often a direct correlation between the power of our prayers and the reality of our obedience.

iv)    Matthew 12:50 - “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

v)      A lot of people feel free to sow their wild oats all week long and come to church on Sunday and pray for a big crop, and it doesn't work that way, ladies and gentlemen.

vi)    Obedience is the necessary ingredient for power within prayer. 








a.    Fourth, you ought to note that Jesus also had a limited concern.

i)        :9 - My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.

ii)      Do you see what Jesus was saying to God:

¨      "Look, I didn't do everything.

¨      I didn't save everybody. Didn't heal everybody.

¨      I didn't meet every need.

¨      I didn't solve every problem,

¨      but I did what you told me to do."

b.    It’s true - if you're so busy you can't breathe,

i)        if you're so worn out you can't move,

ii)      if you're so hurried you can't pray,

iii)    you're doing more than God asked you to do.

c.    In other words, he gives you a task, and he gives you exactly the amount of time in your lifetime to do what he told you to do, and if you're worn out inside, it's because you're doing something else.

i)        ((illus)) Somebody quoted that to me not too long ago, and the one thing I hate worse than anything is for somebody to quote my words back to me.

ii)      When I was extremely busy they said, "I heard a preacher say one time that if you're the way you are, then you're doing something God didn't tell you to do."

iii)    I thought about that a long time, and I'm being more careful to see those areas where I'm trying to solve problems thinking that the problems in themselves are the call of God.

¨      They aren't. 

d.   That's the peculiar proclivity of Americans.

i)        We see a problem and think if that problem is there, God must want us to solve it.

ii)      So we run around putting BandAids on cancers, and nothing gets accomplished.

iii)    The problem does not constitute the call of God.

iv)    The call of God constitutes the call of God. 

e.    ((illus)) In his younger years Billy Graham was asked on numerous occasions to run for political office - even president of the United States.

i)        He's was asked to take a late night television show.

ii)      He's been asked to take stands on all kinds of social causes.

iii)    And every time Mr. Graham said this: "I'm an evangelist; I've been called to be an evangelist, and I'm going to do what God told me to do." 

f.     We walk around with a guilt complex because we're not meeting every need.

i)        You aren't supposed to meet every need or solve every problem or heal every hurt.

ii)      Find the place God has sent you, the task he ordains for you, the goal he has set for you, and then go to it no matter what everybody else says.

iii)    No matter how much guilt people lay on you.

iv)    Find out what he says and do it, and you'll have enough time. 






a.    :26 And I have revealed you to them and will keep on revealing you. I will do this so that your love for me may be in them and I in them.

b.    This absolutely amazes me.

i)        This is the sacrificial prayer of Jesus,

ii)      the "high priestly prayer he's praying before the lamb is offered, and the lamb is himself!

iii)    He's facing the most cruel, horrible death anybody could ever face.

iv)    And, in spite of  THE PASSION movie, we really don’t have the slightest idea what he went through.

¨      It was not in the nails where the pain was.

¨      It wasn't the crown of thorns.

¨      It was not the horrible death on the cross—a lot of folks have died that way.

v)      But he died in the total blackness without a single resource, including the resource of God

¨      At that point the Father had to let go of the son and the intimate relationship they had shared from the foundation of the earth was broken completely and totally.

¨      And you think you've been without God?

¨      You don't know anything until you have an absolute relationship with him and it's broken.

c.    Jesus was facing that.

i)        He knew it would be a most horrible thing through which any man could go, and you know what he did when he was facing all that?

ii)      He was praying for the Father’s glory and for you and me. 

d.   ((illus)) Stephen followed his example in Acts 7. They stoned him to death, and as he was dying he said, "Father, lay not upon them this sin."

i)        He had a good example.

ii)      Jesus' disciples have been doing it ever since.

iii)    Praying for others and loving others and reaching out to others.

iv)    That's why he left us around—so we can define the love for the world the way Jesus defined it for us. 

e.    ((illus)) You've heard the story about the little girl in an orphanage when the people from the church brought baskets of fruit on Thanksgiving. She put her basket of fruit up in the window and somebody asked why she didn't eat it, and she said, "Because I wanted everybody to see that somebody loved me."  Little girl, that's not enough. Once you see that, then you've got to go give some baskets of fruit to some other people.

f.     ((illus)) Don't put that sign on the back of your car that says, "Smile, God loves you" unless you put another one that says "And I do too.

g.    That's what it's all about.

i)        That's why he came.

ii)      That the love reflected in his life might be reflected in our life to the world. 









a.    :17 - Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth.

i)        lit - sanctify them through your truth, your word is truth.

ii)      :14 - I have given them your word

b.    ((illus)) I don't know about you, but I've been lied to so much I can't believe anybody anymore.

i)        I mean the next guy that says "The check's in the mail" or

ii)      "Your car's going to be ready this afternoon," or

iii)    "Don t worry, your goods came in today" ... 

c.    It's so wonderful in our world to go to one place and know we're going to be told the truth.

i)        ((illus)) Shoe repair shop near Serenity Coffee House. Said hand stitching would cost $8 and it did.

ii)      Sometimes the truth Jesus tells us is not a happy truth, but it’s true.

¨      He told us the truth about the world—it's dark.

¨      He told us the truth about us—we're bent.

¨      He told us the truth about death—it's real.

¨      He told us the truth about heaven—it's  possible.

¨      He told us the truth about himself—he's the way.

¨      And it's like going into a safe harbor because he's never lied to me. 

d.   How beautiful to have a life with both love and truth.

i)        Truth without love is brutality.

ii)      Love without truth is hypocrisy.

e.    Both is needed today in the church.



a.    :17 - And now I am coming to you. I have told them many things while I was with them so they would be filled with my joy.

b.    The amazing thing about this prayer is that when he prays it, he's not emotionally down;

i)        it's an exuberant, joyful, happy prayer.

ii)      Why is that?

¨      Because he's going home.

¨      And his joy is increased because he's not going there for the first time.

¨      He's going there for the second time.

¨      But you say, he looks so human.

¨      ((illus)) Dr. Barnhouse talks about seeing the coronation of King George VI. He said he was dressed in his coronation robes, all this purple and ermine and gold crown, and he said it was obvious that he was the king. Then, he said, a number of years later when they had bombed east London, he saw a picture of the king again dressed in the clothes of everybody else and you couldn't pick him out. They had to put an arrow in the picture that said "the king." He was every bit as much a king dressed in the clothes of the common people as he was when he had a crown on his head. 

(a)    Jesus was too. You can't forget that.

(b)   He started there.

(c)    He who was rich became poor that by his poverty you might become rich.

c.    Sorrow is magnified in proportion to how much you have known joy.

i)        Living for us is difficult, but we've never known anything else.

ii)      We've always lived in a fallen world, so while our sorrow is horrible, it's not half as horrible as was the sorrow of Jesus, because he knew better.

d.   Joy is magnified in proportion to how much you have known sorrow.

i)        And because Jesus knew desperate, horrible sorrow, the joy was magnified to unbelievable proportions as he realized he was going home.

ii)      He was going home to assume the glory that he had before the foundation of the earth.

e.    Jesus' prayer is prayed for us, but the Bible teaches that JESUS DIDN'T STOP PRAYING IN JOHN 17.

i)        He's still doing it.

ii)      Heb. 7:25 - …He always lives to make intercession for us. 

f.     ((illus)) When things were not going well with the Reformation, Melancthon, the younger colleague of Luther, walked by the room with some children, and the door was cracked, and he heard the children praying. Then he went out to his followers much bolstered in spirit and he said, "Take heart, the children are praying." 

g.    When you're going through it tough, when it's not working, when it won’t come together take heart.

i)        The Son of God is praying for you.

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