Friday, April 3, 2015, 7:14 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Open Your Hearts.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 17 (ESV).
That They Know God
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, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Jesus had just foretold his death and resurrection, Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial of him. Then he comforted his disciples with the good news that, even though he had to leave them, that he was going to prepare a place for them, and that he would one day return for them so they could be with him always. Then he promised them that he would not leave them as orphans, but he would send his Holy Spirit to be in them, and that the Spirit would teach them all things and would remind them of everything he had said to them. He told them that if they loved him, they would obey his commands (his teaching). He commanded them to remain in him, in his word and in his love, for they could not bear fruit for the kingdom of heaven if they did not continue in Christ and in his word. Then, he warned them that, just as the world had hated him, so they would also hate his disciples (his followers).
Jesus then, knowing he was about to be arrested, mocked, falsely accused, given a mock trial, beaten, spat upon and hung on a cross to die for our sins, prayed to the Father concerning the reason for which Jesus came to this earth, that it might be accomplished, and that through Jesus’ death and resurrection God the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, might be exalted and honored, and that Jesus might give eternal life to all those whom the Father had given him, for this is why Jesus came, and this is why he died.
He also prayed for his disciples, but not just for them, but for those who were yet to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives. He made an interesting statement. He said that “This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we receive eternal life, yet not like many people teach. We are not saved (past), then we live our lives on this earth, and then when we die we go to heaven. Eternal life is not just a “get-out-of-jail” free card. And, knowing God is not just acknowledging that he exists or even just being thankful for his grace and his salvation.
Knowing God means we enter into an intimate relationship with him. We become Jesus’ bride. And, we get to know him intimately as a bride would her groom. We spend time with him, listening to him, sharing with him what is on our hearts, studying his Word, doing what he says, living to please him, serving him according to his calling upon our lives, sharing his gospel with others, and loving others with Jesus’ love. The more we learn about him, and the more we listen to what he says to us, and we do what he says, the more he shares with us about himself and we learn to know his heart – what concerns him, what gives him joy, what he is thinking and feeling, and what needs to be said or done, etc. We are sensitive to his voice, and we listen continually to hear him speak and we follow him wherever he leads.
Sent Into The World
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.
Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
Jesus then described for us what true followers of Christ should look like. We are to be ones who accept Jesus’ words and who obey them (includes all scripture as applicable under the New Covenant). We are to be ones who believe that Jesus came from the Father, and that his words are the very words of God, (and that he is God). We are also to be ones who, though we live in the world, are not OF the world. So, what should that look like? Let’s look first of all at what it means to be “of” the world.
The word “of” means: “belonging to, relating to, or connected with (someone or something)” (M-W). So, to be OF the world means we fit in and we are accepted and liked by the world as “one of them.” It also means we are connected and involved with the things, attitudes, values and behaviors of the world (of sin). In all practicality it means that we adopt the ways of this sinful world into our own lives and we are not separate from (unlike) the world (because we are not becoming like Christ). It means we watch the same movies and the same TV shows, we share the same jokes, we have the same attitudes about sin, and we are not concerned about the lost or about knowing God intimately and doing what he says.
So, to be NOT OF the world would mean that we honor God with our lives, and that our desire is for Him, to please him in every way; that we are no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and that we are now walking in the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful flesh. It would mean that we don’t have divided hearts with one foot in the world of sin and the other attempting to live the Christian life, though unsuccessfully. It would mean that we are not trying to blend in with the world in order to be accepted or liked, but that we stand out as lights for the gospel of Jesus Christ, even if it means we are hated, rejected, persecuted and/or killed, for Jesus has sent us into the world to bring people to Jesus, not to ourselves.
So, Jesus prayed for our protection from the evil one, because we still live in this world, and we will still be tempted to join in with them. And, he prayed that we would be sanctified (purified) by the Word of Truth. Yet, we have to desire this, and we have to cooperate fully with the Spirit’s work in our hearts. We can’t play with sin. We must die with Christ to sin and to our old ways of living for sin and self, and we must be born anew of the Spirit of God and now walk in the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, and we must say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the power and working of the Spirit within us until Christ returns (See: Tit. 2:11-14).
Who Will Believe
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Jesus’ words here presumed upon the knowledge Jesus possessed concerning his disciples. They would go into the world, as he had sent them, and they would make disciples of Christ of people of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that he had commanded them (See: Matt. 28:18-20). And, because of their witness and their testimony for Jesus Christ and for his gospel, many would hear, and many would believe in Jesus. Do we take this command of Jesus seriously? Are we going? Are we sharing Christ? Are we telling people the truth of the gospel of Jesus, not only concerning what he did for us in dying on the cross for our sins, and of his resurrection, but that they must die with Christ to sin, be born anew of the Spirit of God, and that they must walk in the Spirit (in holiness) and no longer according the flesh? We may be hated, but these words speak life into people’s hearts, for true grace delivers people OUT OF bondage to sin. Amen!
Jesus wanted his followers to be in unity with him and with the Father. There is much talk these days about “unity,” though much of it is unity with man’s plans and goals, whether or not the goals line up with God’s Holy Word. Some of it is forced “unity,” i.e. compromise, cooperation and conformity being strongly encouraged through threats, intimidation and/or manipulation. And, those who opt out of “compromise” are thus tagged as disunifiers, trouble makers, bigoted, hate-mongers, intolerant, unloving and unkind, and are cast aside or pushed out because they do not “fit” with today’s worldly church or with society as a whole. Some who choose not to cooperate with unifying with the world’s goals and objectives are hated, persecuted and even put to death for their stand for Christ.
Yet, this is not the kind of unity Jesus spoke of, and we would be wise to know the difference, for many deceivers have come into the world and into the gatherings of the church. The way in which Jesus wants us to be in harmony with him and with the Father and with other believers is by being united with God’s will and purpose for our lives, with his Word, and with his goals and objectives for his church, which is the Body of Christ, not an institution of human origin. When we are in unity with God and with his word, then we can be the lights for the gospel that Jesus called us to be.
Open Your Hearts / An Original Work / September 11, 2011
Open your hearts to Me.
Will you not receive me?
I’m your Lord and Savior, Jesus,
I am King of kings.
Listen to Me speaking to you.
Invite Me within.
Hasten to Me calling.
I’ll keep you from falling.
I am with you, and I will
Abide with you always.
Repent of your sins and
Worship Jesus Christ today.
Come and follow your Lord.
Obey all His teachings.
Witness to your neighbors,
And tell them of Jesus Christ.
Let them know that He provided
Their sin’s sacrifice.
He is your deliv’rer;
Rock of your salvation;
Cornerstone, rejected by men,
Mighty God is He.
He will give the only hope
Of life eternally.