Monthly Archives: October 2012

John 17 – The Word of God – Part 2

Last week we spoke of the Word of God as:
·  Referring to the OT and NT Scriptures.
·  Referring to the Gospel.
·  Referring to Jesus Christ
It is these things that are to be kept, received and given.
·  It is these things that are the truth.
Today we will finish up our lesson on the word of God.
INTRO – OUR TEXT REVIEW
John 17:13–21 (ESV) — 13But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 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. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 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.
Jesus’ work and petitions concerning the Word of God:
(1) Jesus tells us that one specific reason He speaks is so that the disciples might have His joy – “these things I speakthat they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (vv. 12, 13).
·  Fulfilled is “to bring to completion that which was already begun” – BDAG.
·  In other words, Jesus is saying that the words He spoke (in this prayer and in His ministry) were so that His joy in believers might be complete.
And He associates the completion of His joy in us with the things He has just spoken:
·  The Holy Spirit (John 16:13)
·  His Departure to the Father (John 16:17)
·  The “Given” of God
·  The Glory of God
·  The Name of God
·  The Word of God
(2) Jesus asks the Father to “sanctify them in truth” (vs. 17), and goes on to tell us that the word is truth.
·  Sanctification is the “separation and consecration to the service of God” – WSITNT.
·  Or more specifically, it is “to include a person in the inner circle of what is holy…” which would be the service of the Father – BDAG.
o   And this privilege of inclusion is only for the “given” – the born again believer.
·  So we are included into the service of God, the “inner circle”, by the sanctifying truth of God’s word.
·  And importantly, Jesus also speaks of the necessity of His consecration (crucifixion, resurrection, exaltation) for our consecration (vs. 19).
(3) And He goes on to make clear that it is by the word of God spoken by the disciples that more will come to believe in Him – “who will believe in me through their word” (vs. 20).
·  In other words, the means by which God will use to call the “given” to believe is the spoken word of God – in this case the Gospel.
So we see that the kept, received, given and true word of God has the power to:
·  Complete Christ’s joy in believers (vs. 13)
·  Sanctify believers (vs. 17)
·  Call the “given” to believe (vs. 20)
How does the word of God, as just reviewed, have the power to:
·  (1) CompleteChrist’s joy in believers?
·  (2) Sanctifybelievers?
·  (3) Callthe “given” to believe?
We will deal with the first and third of these today.
·  We recently spent four weeks or so on sanctification, so please refer back to that to see how the word of God can sanctify believers.
1) THE WORD COMPLETING CHRIST’S JOY IN BELIEVERS
We will see two things.
·  (1) What Christ’s joy is – Christ’s joy is obedient work on our behalf.
·  (2) What Christ’s joy isn’t – emotion, feelings and circumstances.
We need to look back at Jesus’ emphasis on joy throughout His Farewell Discourse to grasp what His joy is.
(1) What Christ’s Joy Is:
John 15:11 (ESV) — 11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
·  Here Jesus virtually says exactly what He said in our text in John 17:13.
·  And it is important to point out that the “things I have spoken to you” here refer to:
o   Abiding in Him
o   Abiding in His Love
o   Bearing Fruit
o   Glorifying God
·  So it is these things He associates with His joy.
·  And these are in addition to the things He spoke of between 15:11 and our text at 17:13.
o   The Holy Spirit (John 16:13)
o   His Departure to the Father (John 16:17)
o   The “given” of God
o   The Glory of God
o   The Name of God
o   The Word of God
John 16:20-21 & 24 (ESV) — 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world…24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
·  Here Jesus associates joy with His death, burial, resurrection and exaltation.
·  Theseare directly related to the joy that we will be fulfilled in us.
·  Matthew 28:8 (ESV) — 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
1 John 1:4 (ESV) — 4And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
·  And demonstrating just how good of student John was, he speaks very similarly to Jesus.
·  He associates joy with the very things we just mentioned.
·  He refers to them as the things “which we have seen and heard” from Christ (1 John 1:3).
So what is the Joy of Christ fulfilled in us?
We have seen that this “…joy comes on account of what Christ has done” – LBD.
·  His work of enabling us to Abide in Him
·  His work of giving the Holy Spirit
·  His Departure – Death, Resurrection and Exaltation
·  His Glory
·  His Name
·  His Word
Scripture confirms all this for us:
·  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.
·  Romans 14:17 (ESV) — 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
·  1 Thessalonians 1:6 (ESV) — 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,
·  Galatians 5:22 (ESV) — 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
·  These verses clearly set the joy of Christ in context of His work and the Holy Spirit whom He sent.
Summary of what it is:
·  So the Joy of Christ is His person and work on our behalf and all that each confers upon us.
·  But what isn’t it?
(2) What Christ’s Joy Isn’t:
We have seen in this joy no mention of emotions or feelings.
·  In other words, this joy is not rooted in our emotions.
·  It is not contingent upon how we feel.
·  It is not contingent upon our circumstances, i.e. our works – rich or poor, sick or well, etc.
·  This joy is “irrelevant of whatever other circumstances are happening in one’s life” – LBD.
·  Thus it cannot be taken away by the “tyranny of circumstances”.
·  “This joy rises above circumstances and focuses on the very character of God. For example, the psalmist rejoices over God’s righteousness (71:14–16), salvation (21:1; 71:23), mercy (31:7), creation (148:5), word (119:14, 162), and faithfulness (33:1–6). God’s characteristics as well as His acts are the cause of rejoicing” – NNIBD.
It is contingent only on our salvation – this is how we receive the work of Christ and His joy.
·  In one sense, then, it is “a result of choice” – LBD.
·  A choice to believe Jesus!
So what isn’t the joy of Christ?
·  It isn’t our feelings, emotions or something dependent on the circumstances we find ourselves in.
BTW – This joy will and should manifest itself in an outward response of gladness and happiness.
·  But this joy, as we have seen, is not defined by such things.
·  They are its permeations.
·  The absence of these emotions does not mean an absence of joy.
·  To say this would be to say that Christ did not work on our behalf or that we lack the Holy Spirit.
BTW 2 – The joy of Christ that is completed in us is connected both to the past work of Christ and to our future glorification and Christ’s 2nd Coming.
·  “It is a quality, and not simply an emotion, grounded upon God himself and indeed derived from him (Ps. 16:11; Phil. 4:4; Rom. 15:13), which characterizes the Christian’s life on earth (1 Pet. 1:8), and also anticipates eschatologically the joy of being with Christ forever in the kingdom of heaven (cf. Rev. 19:7)” – NBD.
·  In other words, this joy supernaturally connects us to the past work and future work of Christ.
·  This boggles the mind if given much thought.
Summary of Christ’s Joy Completed in Us:
·  The word of God completes Christ’s joy in us because of the person of Christ and His work on our behalf.
·  It is completed in us because, pertaining to His work, Jesus said “it is finished”.
·  And this word does a miraculous joy-giving work in those who receive it and our saved by it.
·  This joy is not rooted in feelings and emotions and is not dependent on circumstances.
·  This joy is free from the tyranny of circumstances!
THE JOY OF CHRIST FULFILLED IN US COMES FROM OUR PARTICIPATION AND POSITION IN CHRIST SECURED THROUGH HISWORK ON OUR BEHALF AND ALL THAT THIS CONFERS UPON US!
2) THE WORD AS A MEANS TO CALL THE “GIVEN” TO BELIEVE
We will see two things.
·  (1) How the word is means to call the “given” to believe – our speaking and their hearing.
·  (2) And by implication, what isn’t a means – our works.
(1) How the word is a means:
Paul sums it up like this:
·  Romans 1:16–17 (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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
·  Romans 10:17 (ESV) — 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearingthrough the word of Christ.
·  1 Corinthians 15:1 (ESV) — 1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,  
Luke put it like this:
·  Acts 14:21 (ESV) — 21 When they had preached the gospelto that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,
·  Acts 15:7 (ESV) — 7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
Peter puts it this way:
·  1 Peter 1:23 (ESV) — 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
·  What was the “word of God” he is talking about?
·  1 Peter 1:25 (ESV) — 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preachedto you.
So how is the word a means to call the “given” to believe?
From the above, we see a relationship between our speaking the words of Christ and the unbeliever’s hearing, understanding and believing.
·  The “Word of Christ”, “the gospel”, “the word of the gospel” and the “good newsall refer to the saving work and ministry of Jesus Christ done in obedience to the Father and on our behalf.
o   The very things that fulfill His joy in us.
And it is these words that speak of the work of Christ that God uses as a means to call the “given” to believe in Him.
·  These are the words that are “preached” and these are the words that the “given” are capable of “hearing”.
·  So the way God brings about the new birth in dead, unbelieving hearts is by the gospel, the good news – John Piper.
BTW – we must make a distinction between God’s role and our role:
·  God’s role in bringing about the new birth is decisive, and our role in bringing about the new birth is essentialJohn Piper.
·  Our role in speaking the gospel is essential because God has ordained that faith comes from hearing the Gospel.
·  God’s role in using our speaking the Gospel to bring someone to salvation is decisive because it is He that regenerates their heart and thus enables them to hear the Gospel.
o   He who has ears let him hear
John Piper sums it up as follows:
·  But the fact that you can’t make electricity or create light never stops you from flipping light switches. The fact that you can’t create fire in cylinders never stops you from turning the car key.  So don’t let the fact that you can’t cause the new birth stop you from telling the gospel. That is how people are born again—through the living and abiding word, the good news of Jesus Christ – John Piper.
Summary of How the Word is a Means:
·  The Gospel is the obedient work of Christ on our behalf.
·  God has given us the privilege of speaking the Gospel and thus being part of the means to call the “given” to believe.
·  God has ordained that the Gospel must be spoken and then heard.
·  We speak (essential) and God sees to it that the “given” hear (decisive).
(2) What isn’t a means to call the “given” to believe:
We have seen that the Gospel we are to speak, preachand tell is the work of Christ done in obedience to the Father on our behalf.
·  In fact, we saw Paul define the Gospel as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ last week in 1 Cor. 15.
·  All of these things have a huge implication for what isn’t a means to call the “given” to believe.
And that implication is that we are not the Gospel!
·  Our works, our fruit, our lifestyle, our going to church, our being honest, our being a good father, our being a good husband, our love of Christ – all of these things – THEY ARE NOT THE GOSPEL!
·  We must speak the Gospel of Christ with words!
o   We cannot speak the Gospel with our actions.
·  And by the grace of God, He will use these words to call the “given” to believe.

John 17 – The Word of God

Last week we spoke of the Name of God as:
·  Referring to the Attributes of God.
·  Referring to Yahweh Himself.
·  Referring to the personal representation of Yahweh in context of the Israelite godhead.
o   Which in the NT, was identified as Jesus.
·  In our text today, Jesus speaks of the Word of God.
INTRO – OUR TEXT
John 17:6–8 (ESV) — 6“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. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8For 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.
John 17:13–21 (ESV) — 13But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 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. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 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.
Jesus’ work and petitions concerning the Word of God:
(1) Jesus tells us that the disciples “have kept the word” (vs. 6), “received” the word (vs. 8) and that He gave the word to them – “I have given them your word” (vv. 8, 14).
·  The evidence He gives the Father for this receivingand keeping is that they believe:
o   (a) “everything” about Jesus’ ministry is from the Father (vs. 7).
o   (b) that Jesus “came from” (is God), and was “sent” by the Father (vs. 8).
·  This reveals for us the foundational importance of getting right the identity of Jesus and His relationship to the Father.
o   What religions get this wrong?
o   Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, etc.
·  This also shows us that in our context, whatever else the word of God is, it definitely refers to the revelation from Jesus that He is from the Father, that is to say He is God, and that He was sent by the Father!
BTW – What a huge encouragement.
·  In spite of the disciples’ inability to get most of what Jesus taught them to this point, Jesus characterized them as keepingand receivingthe word”.
·  Even on our worst of days, we as believers, have also kept and received the word of God because of the work of God on our hearts…amen!
(2) Jesus tells us that one specific reason He speaks is so that the disciples might have His joy – “these things I speakthat they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (vv. 12, 13).
·  Fulfilled is “to bring to completion that which was already begun” – BDAG.
·  In other words, Jesus is saying that the words He spoke (in this prayer and in His ministry) were so that His joy in believers might be complete.
(3) Jesus asks the Father to sanctify the disciples in His word of truth – “your word is truth” (vs. 17).
·  Sanctification is the “separation and consecration to the service of God” – WSITNT.
·  Or more specifically, it is “to include a person in the inner circle of what is holy…” which would be the service of the Father – BDAG.
o   And this privilege of inclusion is only for the given – the born again believer.
·  So we are included into the service of God, the “inner circle”, by the sanctifying truth of God’s word.
·  And importantly, Jesus speaks of the necessity of His consecration (crucifixion, resurrection, exaltation) for our consecration (vs. 19).
BTW – Interestingly, in the O.T. the priests were often spoken of as being consecrated to service.
·  Exodus 28:41 (ESV) — 41 And you shall put them on Aaron your brother, and on his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests.
(4) And He goes on to ask for all these things on behalf of all believers – all those “who will believe in me through their word” (vs. 20).
·  As we just saw, this presumably means that they would believe that Jesus’ ministry is from the Father and that Jesus “came from” and was “sent” by the Father.
o   And logically these believers would therefore be keepers and receivers of God’s word.
·  And Jesus points out that the source of the word spoken to these believers is “their word” – which is referring to the disciples’ words.
·  As Jesus spoke the Father’s words, so the disciples spoke Jesus’ words.
·  Speaks to the chain of custody of God’s word we have so often discussed.
So Jesus speaks of the word as something that is:
·  Kept (vs. 6)
·  Received (vs. 8)
·  Given (vv. 8, 14)
·  Truth (vs. 17)
And this kept, received, given and true word has the power to:
·  Complete Christ’s joy in believers (vs. 13)
·  Sanctify believers (vs. 17)
·  Call the given to believe (vs. 20)
So what is the word of God that can be kept, received, given and is truth?
And how does the word of God have the power to:
·  Complete Christ’s joy in believers?
·  Sanctify believers?
·  Call the given to believe?
1) WHAT IS THE WORD?
We are going to briefly look at three things that are considered to be the word.
·  (1) Word of God as OT and NT Scripture
·  (2) Word of God as the Gospel
·  (3) Word of God as Jesus Christ
(1) Word of God as OT and NT Scripture:
The Baptist Faith and Message says the following about Scripture:
·  “The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation” – Baptist Faith and Message.
Examples of Word of God as OT Scripture:
·   5:1–5 (ESV) — 1 And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. 2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3 Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. 4The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, 5 while I stood between the Lordand you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord
o   The giving of the 10 Commandments and the Law on Mt. Sinai.
·  Jeremiah 1:9 (ESV) — 9 Then the Lordput out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lordsaid to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
o   The proclamation of prophecy.
·  Zechariah 7:12 (ESV) — 12 They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts.
o   The words of the law and prophets as the “words” that God “sent by his Spirit”.
Examples of Word of God as NT Scripture:
·  1 Corinthians 14:37 (ESV) — 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.
·  1 Thessalonians 2:13 (ESV) — 13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
·  1 Timothy 5:17–18 (ESV) — 17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”
o   The first quote Paul references is Deuteronomy 25:4.
o   However, curiously, the second quote comes word-for-word from Luke 10:7.
o   Notice that Paul refers to both as “Scripture says”.
·  2 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) — 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
o   Remarkably, Peter explicity implies that Paul’s letters are Scripture.
o   Paul’s letters, Peter says, are twisted by the “ignorant and unstable” just like the “ignorant and unstable” twist “the other Scriptures”.
BTW – We have just seen examples of how Scripture is self-attesting.
·  It makes claims about its own divine origins.
·  Issues relating to the reliability of these claims as well as the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture are a separate issue from today’s lesson.
·  To read more on this subject read “TheReliability of Scripture” paper from Deeper Life.
(2) Word of God as Gospel:
Some examples of this claim:
·  Mark 1:14–15 (ESV) — 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
·  Acts 18:28 (ESV) — 28 for he [Apollos] powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.
·  Philippians 1:14 (ESV) — 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
·  1 Corinthians 15:1–11 (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. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
o   Most believe this to be the oldest creedal statement of Christendom.
o   It demonstrates that within a handful of years after Jesus’ departure the Gospel centered on the historicity of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
o   And that the truth of these events could be verified by the many witnesses.
(3) Word of God as Jesus:
·  There is no doubt that the NT referred to Jesus as the “Word of God”.
·  John’s Gospel has the most famous example of this belief.
·  But he wasn’t the only one in the NT to make this claim.
NT Examples of Jesus as the Word of God:
·  John 1:1 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
·  John 1:14 (ESV) — 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
·  Hebrews 1:2 (ESV) — 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
·  Revelation 19:13 (ESV) — 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.
But what of the OT, did it also speak of God as the Word?
OT Examples of Jesus as the Word of God:
·  Genesis 15:1–6 (ESV) — 1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
o   Here we have “the word of the Lord” first coming to Abram in a vision.
o   Then “the word of the Lord came to him” and actually “brought him outside” and spoke to Abram.
o   And then we see that Abram believed in the “word of the Lord” as “the LORD”, YHWH.
·  Genesis 1:3–26 (ESV) — 3 And God said…
o   The word of God is associated with creation some 8 times.
·  Psalm 33:6 (ESV) — 6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
·  1 Samuel 3:21 (ESV) — 21 And the Lordappeared again at Shiloh, for the Lordrevealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.  
As we discussed last week, the OT contains what are called theophanies.
·  The Jews would consider these appearances a Yahweh godhead – known as the coregent of the divine council:
o   The Angel of Yahweh
o   The Wisdom of God
o   The Name of God
o   And now we see the Word of God.
·  And post-Jesus, we see these as clear appearances of Jesus Christ.
·  The “Word of God” who took His right place seated at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1)
Summary:
So in answer to our question – what is the word of God – we see that it includes:
·  (1) The OT and NT Scriptures.
·  (2) The Gospel
·  (3) Jesus Christ.
It is the word in these forms that is truth, and that is to be received, kept and given.
·  BTW – What are ways these things are done with the word of God as just described?
But what of the second question we raised.
·  How does the word of God have the power to:
o   CompleteChrist’s joy in believers?
o   Sanctifybelievers?
o   Callthe given to believe?
·  We will get to this final question next week.
2) TRUST IN THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD
We need to make an important comment concerning the word of God as truth.
·  It should come as no surprise that the extent of our trust in the word of God is ground zero for much of Satan’s attacks and our failures.
·  Scripture has two stories to illustrate for us this fact.
·  One ended in failure and one ended in success.
(1) The Fall
·  Genesis 3:1 (ESV) — 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LordGod had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
·  They bought into the serpent’s interpretation of the facts instead of Gods as declared by His word.
·  Instead of “Right Thinking”, they had “Stinking Thinking”.
·  And as a result, death entered into the world and they were shut out of the garden.
(2) Jesus’ Temptation
·  But Jesus set a different example for us.
·  Matthew 4:3–4 (ESV) — 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
·  Two more times “the tempter” sought to challenge God’s word and shake Jesus’ trust in it.
·  But unlike Adam and Eve, Jesus could not be swayed from trusting in the truth.
·  He ended the temptation with these words, “…it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” (vs. 10).
Why is it so hard for us to trust in the truth and promises of the word of God?
·  Isn’t our lack of trust tantamount to calling God a liar?
·  We have just seen that Jesus calls the word truth!
·  Doesn’t our lack of trust impede our work in sanctification and our witnessing?
·  For example, Scripture makes it clear that we are no longer slaves to sin, yet we far too often treat sin as our master instead of our vanquished foe.

John 17 – The Name of God

Last week, Jesus spoke of the glory of God.
·  We discussed the intrinsic glory of God and the radiant glory of God.
·  We saw how to participate in the glory of God and how to glorify God.
·  In our text today, Jesus speaks of the name of God.
INTRO – OUR TEXT
John 17:6 (ESV) — 6I 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.
John 17:11–12 (ESV) — 11And 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. 12While 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.
Jesus’ work and petition concerning the Name of God:
(1) Jesus tells us that He has done the work given to Him by the Father – “manifested you name” to the given (vs. 6).
·  Manifested or revealed, the Greek word phaneroo, means exactly what one would think.
·  The BDAG sums it up as follows – “to cause to become known, disclose, show, make known”.
(2) In light of His coming departure, Jesus then prays for the given – “keep them in your name” (vs. 11).
·  Jesus is asking the Father to “guard” or “preserve” the given in the Father’s Name.
·  We see this in verse 12, “I have guarded them”.
(3) And finally, Jesus declares that part of His ministry to the given was the very same thing He is asking the Father to do after His departure – “I kept them in your name” (vs. 12).
·  Jesus kept all but one, of course.
·  Judas’ betrayal was a fulfillment of prophecy.
·  Acts 1:16–20 (ESV) — 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18(Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “ ‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and “ ‘Let another take his office.’
So, with respect to God’s Name, Jesus speaks of how:
·  He manifestedit to the given
·  He keptthe given in it
·  He asked the Father to continue to keep the given in it
What are the names of God?
·  Yahweh; I Am; El; Theos
·  And the “attributive names” (DBI).
o   Lord (Adonai); King; Almighty; Mighty One; Redeemer; Rock; etc.
·  The Jews obviously already knew these names of God.
·  And would have certainly known what they meant.
·  So what was Jesus doing – what was He manifesting?
1) WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Name as Attributes:
Most commentators argue that Jesus is using “name” as a reference to God’s attributes.
·  “What Jesus reveals to them is God’s ‘name,’ which enshrines who God is in his character, his essential nature; because his name is glorious, God wants it to be made known” – Andreas Kostenberger.
·  “…Jesus revealed God’s ‘name,’ i.e., his nature, his character” – Beasley-Murray.
·  “The concept of God’s ‘name’ encompasses all that He is: His character, nature, and attributes” – John MacArthur.
·  “‘The name of God’ is a Semitic phrase for speaking about God’s attributes. To make the name known is to reveal the God who possesses those attributes” – James Boice.
What are some of the attributes of God?
·  Communicable – those that God shares with others
o   Love, knowledge, mercy, justice, wisdom, etc.
·  Incommunicable – those He doesn’t
o   Eternal (uncreated), unchangeableness, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, etc.
And how did Jesus manifest these?
·  “In contemporary Jewish teaching, righteous deeds hallowed God’s name, and wicked ones dishonored it” – IVPBBCNT.
·  So Jesus extolled the Name of Yahweh via His words and actions – signs and wonders.
·  What are some specific examples of Jesus doing this?
o   Omnipotence – calmed the storm, water to wine, etc.
o   Eternity – “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).
o   Omniscience – knew Nathan’s thoughts in John
Summary Part 1:
And so it is in these ways that Jesus manifested, kept and asked God to keep the believers in the Name of Yahweh.
·  (1) He revealed the attributes of Yahweh.
·  (2) He did this with the expectation that believers would aspire to do the same in their lives – participate in the name.
·  “Indeed, to ‘know’ God’s name means to be in harmonious relationship with God’s character and purposes” – DBI.
·  So this is what he was doing – to answer our previous question.
·  But wait…there is more!
2) OLD TESTAMENT NAME THEOLOGY
There is something else going on here that the OT can shed some light on.
·  When Jews spoke of “the Name” (ha-shem) of God, it was not just a reference to His attributes.
·  It was a reference to (Michael Heiser):
o   (1) Yahweh Himself
Ha-Shem as Yahweh:
Let’s take a look at some examples of this usage.
·  Chronicles 22:19 (ESV) — 19 Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God. Arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that the ark of the covenant of the Lordand the holy vessels of God may be brought into a house built for the name of the Lord [Yahweh].”
o   The presence of Yahweh will fill the sanctuary “as the Name” – Michael Heiser.
·  Isaiah 60:9 (ESV) — 9 For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the Lord [Yahweh] your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful.
o   The “Holy One of Israel” and the “he has made you beautiful” both refer “directly to ‘the Name of Yahweh’” – Michael Heiser.
·  Isaiah 30:27 (NIV) — 27 See, the Name of the Lord [Yahweh] comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire.
·  Psalm 20:1 (ESV) — 1 May the Lordanswer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
So, yes, the Jews clearly knew all the descriptive names we spoke of at the beginning.
·  However, when the name of Yahweh is used, they also would have understood the speaker to be referring to more than these.
·  They would have understood a reference was being made to Yahweh Himself.
·  “The name of the Lord was virtually synonymous with His presence: “For your wondrous works declare that your name is near” (Ps. 75:1). To know the name of God is thus to know God Himself” – NIBD.
Summary Part 2:
So we asked earlier, what was Jesus doing?
·  From our discussion thus far we see that He was:
·  (1) Claiming that, to the extent humans could comprehend them, the attributes of God were made known through His work.
·  (2) This was done that believers might aspire to do the same – participatein the name.
·  (3) And profoundly, when Jesus spoke of the Name, He was suggesting that, more than just attributes, His ministry somehow manifested Yahweh Himself.
3) SIGNIFICANCE FOR JESUS
There is one more thing going on with the OT Name theology that can shed even more light on what Jesus was doing.
·  Jesus was declaring that “the Name” also refers to:
o   (1) A personal (Trinitarian) representation of Yahweh.
·  That is, Jesus is declaring Himself to be a person in ancient Israel’s “Godhead thinking” – Michael Heiser.
·  He is inserting Himself into the O.T. Name theology.
·  In other words, Jesus is claiming to be “The Name” – i.e., God.
Ha-Shem as a Personal Representation of Yahweh:
·  Isaiah 52:6 (ESV) — 6 Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here I am.”
·  Exodus 23:20–22 (ESV) — 20 “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard youon the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. 22 “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
o   Heiser argues this is a reference to the Angel of Yahweh – a Theophany (an appearance of God).
o   Other examples of  Theophanies are Genesis 16:7, Genesis 17:1-4, Genesis 18:1-3, Genesis 32:24-30, Exodus 3:2-6, Joshua 5:13-15 and Daniel 3:22-25.
o   Most believe these are appearances of the Co-Regent of the Divine Council, a.k.a., the Name of the Lord, a.k.a., Jesus.
o   More on the Divine Council – READ HERE.
·  Joel 2:32 (ESV) — 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [Yahweh]shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lordcalls.
o   Paul quotes this in Romans 10:13 as a reference to Jesus Christ.
·  John 12:28 (ESV) — 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
o   God’s name is glorified in Jesus and at His crucifixion for many reasons.
o   One reason is that Jesus is “the Name of Yahweh”.
Jesus’ Insertion and Identification with the Father:
Jesus’ inserting Himself into the O.T. Name Theology and identifying Himself as God is one more reason He (or John) can claim the following:
·  John 1:18 (ESV) — 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
·  John 12:45 (ESV) — 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.
·  John 14:9 (ESV) — 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
BTW – In Exodus 33:18-20, “The Name is all [the only part] of God that Moses can experience” – DBI.
·  And as we discussed last week, Jesus suppressed His glory so that He could be experienced.
o   The incarnation was a veil.
·  Jesus as the Name is all of God that Israel could experience.
·  Like Moses, they could handle Jesus and his veiled glory because He was the Name of Yahweh.
So as Jesus radically laid claim to “I Am”, He also claimed to be the Name of Yahweh.
·  “The supreme manifestation of the name of God was the Lord Jesus Christ, God in human flesh” – John MacArthur.
·  “Since the Name and Yahweh were interchangeable in Israelite theology, trusting in ‘the Name of Yahweh’ meant trusting in Yahweh. Likewise, trusting in the Name of Jesus is trusting in Yahweh’s Name” – Michael Heiser.
NT’s Insertion and Identity of Christ:
And the rest of “…the NT carries on the name theologyof the OT, applying it in subtle ways to Jesus, thereby making it a strategy for NT writers to identify Jesus with Yahweh” – Michael Heiser.
·  Matthew 12:21 (ESV) — 21 and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
·  Acts 19:17 (ESV) — 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.
·  2 Thessalonians 1:12 (ESV) — 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesusmay be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
·  1 Corinthians 6:11 (ESV) — 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
o   Paul even declares that we are “justified in the name”.
Summary Part 3:
We asked earlier, what is Jesus doing?
·  From our discussion thus far we see that He was:
·  (1) Claiming that, to the extent humans could comprehend them, the attributes of God were made known through His work.
·  (2) This was done that believers might aspire to do the same – participatein the name.
·  (3) And profoundly, when Jesus spoke of the Name, He was suggesting that, more than just attributes, His ministry somehow manifested Yahweh Himself.
And now we know the 4ththing Jesus was doing.
·  (4) Identifying Himself with the Name of Yahweh – Jesus is God.
I think we can see why, along with the “glory of God”, why the “name of God” was important for Jesus to pray for prior to His departure.
·  It directly impacts His identity and our responsibility.
·  We aren’t just to manifest the character of Yahweh, but more specifically, of Jesus.
o   We are to participate in the “Name of Yahweh” in love and obedience.
·  And Jesus left us with a great example to follow to do just this thing.
BTW – How is manifesting name different from displaying glory?
·  “It has sometimes been foolishly pressed that there is a distinction if not a rift between a ‘name-theology’ and a ‘glory-theology’ in the OT, but these are two ways of expressing the same thing: e.g. when Moses sought to see Yahweh’s glory, he found that the glory had to be verbalized by means of the name (Ex. 33:18–34:8). There is no sense in which the Deuteronomist is replacing a crude notion of indwelling glory by a refined notion of the indwelling name: it is rather that the ‘glory’ tends to express the ‘sense’ of God’s real presence, including much that is rightly unapproachable and ineffable; ‘name’ explains why this is so, verbalizes the numinous, for nowhere does the God of the Bible deal in dumb sacraments but always with intelligible declarations” – NBD.

John 17 – The Glory of God

We have spent a few weeks on our introduction to John 17.
·  Today, we finally begin to dive deeper into the text.
·  Specifically, we are going to start with the glory and glorification of God.
·  What is the glory of God as Jesus uses it in His prayer?
·  We constantly run in to this concept in Scripture and really don’t have a clue what it means.
·  Given that it is what Jesus leads with in His prayer, we can assume it was very dear to His heart.
·  So it behooves us to see what He was talking about.
Here is the problem we face:
·  “…few words in the distinct biblical vocabulary are less understood than the word ‘glory’” – James Boice.
·  Among other reasons, this is partly due to the history and etymology of the word – TDNT.
o   In its early usage, the word merely meant an “opinion” – TDNT.
o   Obviously that is not what we are dealing with in Jesus’ prayer.
·  And even with respect to Jesus’ prayer, we find a number of different nuances.
·  It can be easy to confuse them with each other.
·  This means we have to be careful to pay attention to how Jesus used the word and its variations – doxa and doxazo.
Jesus speaks of glory in each of the three sections of His prayer.
·  Himself (vv. 1-5)
·  His disciples (vv. 6-19)
·  All believers (vv. 20-26)
Let’s take a look at these sections and start to hash out what Jesus is saying about glory.
1) GLORY IN JESUS’ PRAYER
The Jesus Prays for Himself Section:
John 17:1–5 (ESV) — 1When 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. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth,having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in yourown presencewith the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
In this first section of Jesus’ prayer, He makes petitions on His behalf, and describes the work He accomplished on the Father’s behalf.
·  And in just these first five verses we see right away that the word has different meanings.
What we see:
·  Glory as something moving from the Father to the Son – “Father…glorify your Son” (vs. 1).
·  Glory as something moving from the Son to the Father – “Son may glorify you” (vs. 1).
·  Glory as something that occurs with Jesus’ works – “I glorified you on earththe work” (vs. 4).
·  Glory as something experienced in the presence of the Father – “glorify me in your…presence” (vs. 5).
·  Glory as something that was lost at the incarnation – “…glory that I had” (vs. 5).
If you look through these 5 nuances of “doxa”, the following questions emerge.
·  What is glory that the Father, who is full of glory (as God), can be glorified?
·  What is glory that the Son, who is full of glory (as God), can be glorified?
o   Isn’t this like trying to make a wet sponge wet?
·  What is glory that it can originate from Jesus’ work on earth and “move” to the Father?
·  What is glory if Christ can glorify and yet suggest that He is also lacking glory?
o   Does He have glory or not?
·  Or as James Boice puts it, “How can the Lord have possessed God’s glory, have renounced it, and yet have possessed it even in the period of the renunciation?” – James Boice.
·  We will answer these questions soon.
Jesus Prays for the Disciples Section:
John 17:9–10 (ESV) — 9I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.
Here Jesus moves to describing the works and petitions He did and made on the disciples’ behalf.
·  And He points out that the world is not the object of this prayer.
What we see:
·  Glory as something that Jesus receives from the disciples – “I am glorified in them” (vs. 10).
·  What is glory that we can glorify Jesus?
·  We will soon answer this question also.
Jesus Prays for the Believers Section:
John 17:22–25 (ESV) — 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 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. 24 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. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.
Here Jesus moves to describing the works and petitions He made and did on behalf of all believers.
·  And we see the converse of what we saw in verse 22.
What we see:
·  Glory as something that believers receive from Jesus – “glory…I have given to them” (vs. 22).
·  And as we saw earlier, glory as something given to the Son from the Father – “glory that you have given me” (vs. 24).
·  What is glory that humans can receive it or participate in it?
·  We will answer this question shortly.
It seems that all these references are speaking of glory in at least three general ways.
·  (1) Glory as something having to do with who God is.
o   In other words, by His very nature as God, glory is intrinsic to Him; something that is part of who He is.
o   And as such He can both “give off” glory and give glory.
·  (2) Glory as something to receive or participate in.
·  (3) Glory as something to do, as in glorifying God, in the context of receiving or participating.
We will get at an understanding of glory and find the answers to our questions by pursuing these three.
·  And in doing so, we will try and let Scripture define the word for us.
2) GLORY AS INTRINSIC TO GOD
We mentioned two things about God’s intrinsic glory.
·  1) It is a glory that is part of who He is – His intrinsic glory.
o   Isaiah 42:8 (ESV) — 8 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other…
·  2) And as such, it is a glory that He can He can “give off” or choose to give – His radiant glory.
What does Scripture say about each of these?
1) Intrinsic Glory
·  Psalm 24:7–10 (ESV) — 7Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory?The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! 9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah
·  Psalm 97:6 (ESV) — 6The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.
This glory of God is a glory that is directly linked to who He is.
·  He was called the King of Glory, for example, because “he was perfect in all his attributes—love, truth, holiness, grace, power, knowledge, immutability, and so forth—and was therefore truly glorious” – James Boice.
·  There is none greater than God.
·  He is King and Creator.
·  Thus He is glory – no God no glory.
BTW – Just knowing this helps us grasp some important things – Glory as Gospel.
·  For example, when Paul tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), what is he telling us?
·  He is saying more than we fall short of obeying his law.
·  He is saying that we are not God; we are not autonomous.
·  We do not exhibit what we would need to exhibit to be saved by the law – perfect “love, truth, holiness, grace, power, knowledge, immutability, and so forth” – Boice.
·  We have sinned AND fall short of God’s glory.
·  It is almost as if we could follow God’s law perfectly we would still have a problem – we don’t have God’s glory.
And this intrinsic glory “gives off” something – it has a manifestation.
2) Radiant Glory
·  Exodus 33:18–20 (ESV) — 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
·  1 Kings 8:10–11 (ESV) — 10 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
·  Psalm 104:1–2 (ESV) — 1Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, 2 covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.
God’s radiant glory was often referred to as a cloud or “a display of light, radiance, or glory so brilliant that no man could approach it” – James Boice.
·  This radiant glory was so powerful that Moses, having seen the backside of God on Mt. Sinai, had the following problem:
·  Exodus 34:29–30 (ESV) — 29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
Some Answers:
Knowing this much helps us answer a few of the questions we posed earlier.
·  What is glory if Christ can glorify and yet suggest that He is also lacking glory?
·  Does He have glory or not?
When Jesus asks the Father for glory:
·  John 17:5 (ESV) — 5And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
·  Jesus is not saying He has no glory.
·  Christ as God is not lacking glory at all; He is full of the intrinsic glory of God.
o   “…we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father…” (John 1:14)
·  What He is asking for is that through the cross and exaltation He would return to the place where His radiant glory will not be suppressed – the presence of the Father.
And in His prayer, He petitions that believers will see His glory!
·  John 17:24 (ESV) — 24 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.
·  What glory is He talking about?
o   His radiant glory.
We know these things about Jesus’ radiant glory for a number of reasons, but one clear reason comes from the author of Hebrews.
Speaking about the Incarnation of Jesus:
·  Hebrews 2:9–10 (ESV) — 9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
·  Jesus temporarily gave up His radiant glory – “was made lower than the angels”.
·  He was God so He never “lost” His intrinsic glory– this would be impossible; it is His (Isa. 42:8).
Speaking about the Exaltation of Jesus:
·  Hebrews 1:3 (ESV) — 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
·  At His exaltation, Jesus radiant glory was restored.
·  And as we just said, He prays that we get to see this – AWESOME.
James Boice explains all this as follows:
·  “Before his incarnation Jesus had possessed the glory of God in both these senses. He possessed the fullness of God’s attributes and character in the inward sense; he also possessed the fullness of God’s outward, visible glory. In the Incarnation Jesus laid the second of these aside; for, if he had not, we would not have been able to approach him. Nevertheless, he retained God’s glory in the first sense and indeed disclosed it to his disciples, who received it by faith. Now at the end of his earthly ministry, on the verge of his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, he prays that he might again enter into this visible glory” – James Boice.
Let’s move on to the second kind of glory.
3) GLORY AS SOMETHING TO RECEIVE OR PARTICIPATE IN
We mentioned that John 17 also speaks of a glory as something to receive or participate in.
·  John 17:22 (ESV) — 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
What does Scripture say about this kind of glory?
·  2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV) — 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
·  1 Peter 4:14–16 (ESV) — 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
·  2 Corinthians 3:17–18 (1901 ASV) — 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.
This kind of glory is only available to “the given”, to those in whom God “has shone” and therefore know God through the “face of Jesus Christ”.
·  If we know Christ, we know the glory of God
·  We participate in this glory by the activity of the Spirit in the believer.
·  And the Spirit transforms us with, by and through the glory of the Lord until we are fully glorified in the presence of God.
·  In other words, “The Spirit is the pledge of the new thing that brings [the believer] glory” – TDNT.
So, we can say two things about our participation in God’s glory.
(1) “Participation in dóxa is by participation in Christ” – TDNT.
·  In other words, to be in Christ – to believe– is in some way to also share in His glory.
·  We have glory because as believers “…we share in it [His glory] now, for, to the degree that we embody Christ’s character, we possess his glory…” – James Boice.
(2) And to participate in the glory of the Lord, requires that we also participate in His death & humiliation – R.C. Sproul.
·  As we just saw, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” or “if anyone suffers as a Christian” (1 Pet. 4:14, 16).
o   Christ served and suffered that He might be glorified and glorify the Father.
o   We are called to serve and suffer as Christ did to glorify Jesus and the Father.
Important implication of participating in Christ’s humiliation:
·  I can think of no better way to participate in Jesus’ humiliation than speaking the Gospel.
·  And it is a privilege to do so.
·  We must look at opportunities to speak the Gospel as ways to share in Christ’s humiliation and thus His glory!
Scriptural illustration of this receiving and participating:
The receiving and participation is illustrated so clearly in baptism.
·  It is in baptism that our “receiving” and “participating” is symbolized.
·  Romans 6:4 (ESV) — 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
And Jesus Himself symbolizes this participation in John 6.
·  John 6:53–56 (ESV) — 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
Some Answers:
Knowing this much helps us answer a few of the questions we posed earlier.
·  What is glory that humans can receive it or participate in it?
To receive and participate in the glory of God is:
·  To be born again and indwelled with the Spirit of God.
o   To acknowledge that we do fall short of God’s glory.
·  To then repent and trust in the glorifying work of Christ on the cross and His exaltation.
·  In other words, to be saved is to participate and receive the glory of God.
So back to Romans 3:23 where we are told we fall short of the glory of God.
·  We know that the only thing that doesn’t fall short of the glory of God is the glory of God.
·  And the only way to “have” the glory of God is to “have” Christ and the Spirit of Christ.
o   To eat His flesh and drink His blood
It is for this reason that Jesus warns about seeking the glory of man.
·  John 5:44 (ESV) — 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
·  John 12:43 (ESV) — 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
Unbelievers mistakenly seek out a “high opinion” (glory) from man and it serves to do nothing to solve our Romans 3:23 problem.
·  At the Fall men lost the glory of God, and only by participating in Christ can we get it back.
Let’s move on to the third kind of glory.
4) GLORY AS SOMETHING TO DO
We mentioned earlier glory as something to be done, as in to glorify (doxazo).
·  John 17:4 (ESV) — 4I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
What does Scripture say about this glory?
·  John 2:11 (ESV) — 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
·  We know that Christ glorified the Father through his works done in obedience to the will of the Father.
·  Beginning with the water into wine and culminating in the Passion events this is fleshed out.
But Scripture also makes plain, and Jesus implies in John 17, that we are to also glorify God.
·  1 Corinthians 6:20 (ESV) — 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
·  1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) — 31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
·  Matthew 5:16 (ESV) — 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
·  1 Peter 2:12 (ESV) — 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify Godon the day of visitation.
How do we do this?
·  I understand that Christ can glorify Himself or the Father, but how do we glorify them?
James Boice puts it like this:
·  “We must seek to glorify Christ while we live by showing forth his character. But this will not happen in some mystical way. It will happen only as, by the grace of God, we walk in his will (as he directs), as we carry out whatever responsibility he has entrusted to us, as we point to Jesus as the only way of salvation, as we finish our work, and as we seek the glory of God in its fullness, rather than our own” – James Boice.
In a word, we glorify God through obedience.
·  Just as Christ glorified the Father in obedience by pointing to the glory of God, we must do the same.
o   He “revealed the essential characteristics of the Father” – James Boice.
·  And in this same way we glorify God.
·  This is an awesome position to have and privilege to participate in!
BTW – We are not doing or providing something that God “needs” from us.
·  “To give him glory is not to impart something he does not have but to acknowledge the honor that is his due (Is. 42)” – TDNT.
·  We are merely “acknowledging (Acts 12:23) or extolling (Lk. 2:14) what is already a reality” about God – TDNT.
Some Answers:
Knowing this much helps us once again to answer a few of the questions we posed earlier.
·  What is glory that the Father, who is full of glory (as God), can be glorified?
·  What is glory that the Son, who is full of glory (as God), can be glorified?
o   Isn’t this like trying to make a wet sponge wet?
·  What is glory that it can originate from Jesus’ work (or our work) on earth and “move” to the Father?
·  What is glory that we can glorify Jesus?
Glory is action that honors and acknowledges God as Ruler and Creator and all that that entails – His attributes, e.g.
·  Humans can glorify God because we are set apart by the Spirit and the work of Christ to do so in our obedience.
o   By dying to self as God commands, for example, we acknowledge both who we are and who God is and thus glorify Him.
o   By trusting in Christ, we glorify Him – acknowledging the work He did for the Father.
o   It is only right that the creature points to the imminence and character of our Creator and Savior.
·  Christ can glorify the Father the same way.
o   In His obedience He acknowledges the position and character of the Father.
In fact, as we have discussed many times.
·  It is the chief end of man to glorify God.
·  We are to glorify who and what He is with our obedient actions.
·  We are to point to the character of God in our actions.
·  This is why in His prayer in John 17 Jesus speaks so often of being one.
BTW – There is an important observation about the Trinity to make here.
·  We are not necessary for God to be glorified.
·  The three persons of the Godhead, in their relationship with one another, glorify each other and love each other.
·  It was not necessary for God to create us to bring Him glory!
·  We are contingent – how humbling is that?
Summary:
·  I think when we now encounter one of the 166+ uses of “doxa” in the NT we will be better equipped to understand the meaning.
·  And anytime we better understand Scripture, we better understand God’s interpretation of the facts.
·  And this leads to the right thinking we have talked so much about. 

John 17 – Was Jesus’ Ministry a Success – Part 2

Last week we discussed the lens through which we are going to look at Jesus’ prayer in John 17.
·  Specifically, the lens consisted of two things.
·  (1) The prayer gives us an insight into Jesus’ heart.
·  (2) The prayer is spoken in context of a ministry that Jesus considered a success.
o   John 17:4 (ESV) — 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
Today, we are going to finish where we left off last week with respect to number (2) above.
·  This will require that we survey aspects of Jesus’ ministry as found in John and the other Gospels.
·  Doing so last week, we saw that, from a worldly perspective, there was reason to argue that Jesus’ ministry seemed to fail at many points.
For example, given His claims about His identity
·  I am the bread of life” (6:35)
·  I am the light of the world” (8:12; 9:5)
·  I am the door” (10:7, 9)
·  I am the good shepherd” (10:11)
·  I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25)
·  I am the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6)
·  I am the true vine” (15:1)
·  …before Abraham was, I am” (8:58)
It seems reasonable to expect a much better acceptance rate by His fellow Jews.
·  However, as we explored last week, we saw quite a bit of rejection.
·  Even His own disciples had understanding deficits, and betrayed and temporarily abandoned Him.
And as we explored the tension between Jesus rejection and His characterization of His ministry as a success, we raised some questions which we need to try and answer.
·  If Jesus really was God, Creator, Ruler, Messiah and Savior, how on earth could He be rejected by so many?
·  How could He consider His ministry a success in the face of all this rejection?
·  If Jesus came to seek and save the lost why did so many of the lost reject Him?
o   Wasn’t the main reason for His incarnation to save people?
Before we get to these we have to lay some ground work as mentioned above.
·  We need to look back at Jesus’ ministry.
1) REASONS TO BELIEVE
We have to consider if the reason for so much rejection was simply a lack of evidence.
·  Did Jesus give the Jews who rejected Him sufficient reasons to believe in Him?
·  We will look briefly at three categories of reasons to believe in Christ.
·  (1) Signs and Wonders
·  (2) Teaching
·  (3) Testimonies
(1) Jesus’ Signs and Wonders:
In John’s Gospel we see the following examples and the power they demonstrated (W.M. Dunnett):
·  Water changed into wine—Jesus’ power over quality
·  The nobleman’s son healed—Jesus’ power over distance
·  The impotent man healed—Jesus’ power over time
·  The five thousand fed—Jesus’ power over quantity
·  Walking on the water—Jesus’ power over natural law
·  The blind man healed—Jesus’ power over helplessness
·  Lazarus raised from the dead—Jesus’ power over death
Throughout the Gospels, we also see where He calmed a storm, cast out demons, withered a fig tree, cleansed lepers, and cured a paralytic.
·  All told, the Gospels record over 30 miracles for us.
·  However, as John tells us, He did many other “things” – presumably miracles – than recorded.
·  John 21:25 (ESV) — 25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
And even the Jewish historian Josephus makes the following comment:
·  “Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure” – Josephus.
(2) Jesus’ Teachings:
It is clear that Jesus’ drew large crowds because of His signs and wonders, but it is also true that the Jews recognized something in Jesus’ teaching that they had not seen before.
·  Matthew 7:28–29 (ESV) — 28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
·  Luke 4:22 (ESV) — 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
·  John 7:45–46 (ESV) — 45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!
And we know from Jesus’ own words the source of His teaching.
·  John 14:10 (ESV) — 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Fatherwho dwells in me does his works.
And as we saw from Josephus earlier:
·  “Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure” – Josephus.
(3) Testimonies on Behalf of Jesus:
Andreas Kostenberger points out “the need for multiple witnesses” is taught “in Hebrew Scriptures” and “Jewish tradition
·  John 8:17 (ESV) — 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true.
Witness 1 – John the Baptist
·  John 5:31–35 (ESV) — 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he [Father] bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
Witness 2 – The Father
·  John 5:36–38 (ESV) — 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
·  Mark 1:11 (ESV) — 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Summary of Reasons to Believe:
So did Jesus give sufficient reasons to believe in Him?
·  We have a 30+ year old man who is walking on water, turning water in to wine, healing people, teaching with authority, having a voice from heaven speaking on His behalf, interpreting and redefining the law, identifying Himself with Psalm 110:1’s “exaltation” and Daniel 7’s “son of man” and thereby making claims of divinity.
·  It seems to me the answer is clearly, yes.
·  And we didn’t even get into Jesus’ fulfillment of Messianic prophecy such as riding into Jerusalem on a colt as prophesied in Zechariah, or the coming resurrection.
·  The Jews, confronted with more than enough evidence, responded with amazement, astonishment, terror, fear, awe, wonder, opposition and hatred – but not belief.
Pascal has some great insight into what many call the hiddeness of God (Pensees – 430):
“God has willed to redeem men and to open salvation to those who seek it. But men render themselves so unworthy of it that it is right that God should refuse to some, because of their obduracy, what He grants others from a compassion which is not due to them. If He had willed to overcome the obstinacy of the most hardened, He could have done so by revealing Himself so manifestly to them that they could not have doubted of the truth of His essence; as it will appear at the last day, with such thunders and such a convulsion of nature that the dead will rise again, and the blindest will see Him. It is not in this manner that He has willed to appear in His advent of mercy, because, as so many make themselves unworthy of His mercy, He has willed to leave them in the loss of the good which they do not want.

It was not, then, right that He should appear in a manner manifestly divine, and completely capable of convincing all men; but it was also not right that He should come in so hidden a manner that He could not be known by those who should sincerely seek Him.

He has willed to make himself quite recognizable by those; and thus, willing to appear openly to those who seek Him with all their heart, and to be hidden from those who flee from Him with all their heart. He so regulates the knowledge of Himself that He has given signs of Himself, visible to those who seek Him, and not to those who seek Him not. There is enough light for those who only desire to see, and enough obscurity for those who have a contrary disposition.”

So if it wasn’t a lack of evidence, why was there so much rejection?
·  Why do some “seek Him with all their heart”?
·  And, again, why did Jesus’ consider His ministry a success in the face of so much rejection?
To get at the answers to these questions, we have to now see the difference between the reasons to believe we just saw, and reasons for belief.
·  Again, this requires a look back at Jesus’ ministry.
2) REASON FOR BELIEF
Jesus presented more than enough evidence to demonstrate He was who He said He was.
·  But He understood, and taught, that belief is not just a response to evidence.
·  It is not just intellectual assent.
·  Luke 16:31 (ESV) — 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
·  BTW – I have heard many an atheist debater suggest that if they witnessed Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, they would believe.
o   The Gospels tell us otherwise.
·  Belief in Jesus is at its root a supernaturally fueled event in the heart of the believer that takes place at the pleasure of the Father and is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ view on belief:
Luke 10:22–24 (ESV) — 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
·  Jesus speaks candidly here that saving knowledge of the Father is not universally apprehended.
·  In fact, Jesus seems to believe that this knowledge is supernatural in origin.
·  We know this for two reasons.
·  (1) Jesus the divine Son has knowledge of the Father.
·  (2) Anyone else that has this knowledge is one, “whom the Son chooses to reveal him”.
·  This text clearly demonstrates the supernatural aspect to the apprehension of the identity of the Father.
·  We don’t come to this in our own power.
·  We know who the Father is by the Son.
Matthew 16:13–17 (ESV) — 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
·  R.C. Sproul says that Jesus is saying in verse 17 that Peter’s acknowledgment of Jesus’ identity is “not a conclusion of the flesh”.
·  And notice too that Peter’s insight is indication of a blessing from the Father.
·  Jesus said, “Blessed are you” in reference to Peter’s confession.
·  Peter’s conclusion and his belief were because the Father revealed to him the identity of Jesus.
·  We know who the Son is by the Father.
So Jesus believed that knowledge of the Father comes from the Son.
·  And He believed that knowledge of the Son comes from the Father.
What is it the Father did for Peter and those who believe in Jesus that their hearts would recognize Jesus as the Christ?
·  Ezekiel 36:26 (ESV) — 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
o   (1) God gives a new heart of flesh
o   (2) Puts a new spirit within
o   (3) Removes the heart of stone
·  This transformation of the heart is a supernatural work of God.
The NT is full of references to it.
·  John 1:12–13 (ESV) — 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
·  John 3:5–8 (ESV) — 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
·  1 Peter 1:3 (ESV) — 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
·  1 John 5:1 (ESV) — 1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.
This means that those that rejected Jesus did so not because of a lack of evidence.
·  They did so because their hearts were not born again.
·  This meant they could not “see” with their eyes or “hear” with their ears that Jesus was the Christ.
·  They were not blessed.
·  The Father had not revealed to them Jesus’ identity.
·  They justly suffered from a deadly condition of the Fall.
·  Namely, a hard heart of stone of which Jeremiah says:
·  Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT) — 9“…is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
And the answer to Jeremiah’s question is found on Jesus’ lips:
·  John 2:24–25 (ESV) — 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
Summary of Reasons for belief:
·  So to believe that Jesus is the Christ requires a work of God.
·  This work of God is a born again heart.
·  We know who the Son is by the Father.
·  We know who the Father is by the Son.
·  Our “desperately wicked” hearts of stone freely reject God and His Messiah as pure foolishness.
o   And Jesus, knowing what is in man, does not “entrust himself” to such hearts.
·  Belief, then, is itself dependent upon a supernatural event in our own hearts.
Now we need to flesh out one more aspect of Jesus’ prayer to see why rejection did not compromise success.
·  Who does Jesus entrust Himself to?
3) THE GIVEN
We saw last week that Jesus referred to those given Him by the Father seven times.
·  John 17:2 (ESV) — 2since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
·  John 17:6 (ESV) — 6“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.
·  John 17:9 (ESV) — 9I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
·  John 17:10 (ESV) — 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.
·  John 17:11 (ESV) — 11 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.
·  John 17:24 (ESV) — 24 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.
So who are the given?
·  What we know from the definition of the word “given” that they are:
o   (1) Those that the Father, “put in [Jesus’] care” – BDAG.
o   (2) Those whom the Father “entrusted” to Jesus – BDAG.
·  And by implication, then, the “given” are those that Jesus would entrust Himself to.
·  Jesus entrusts Himself to those entrusted to Him by the Father – makes sense.
Obviously, the Father is not going to put in Jesus’ care those of this world who are walking in darkness, who remain under God’s wrath, and whose father is Satan.
·  These will be subject to judgment.
In fact, Beasley-Murray describes the “given” as those the Father chose “…out of the world for the possession and the service of his Son”.
·  D.A. Carson echoes this when he says the “given” are those that “…were part of the wicked world (cf. notes on 1:9), but God gave them to Jesus out of the world…Thus in a profound sense they belonged to God antecedently to Jesus’ ministry (They were yours; you gave them to me).”
So given all we have seen, it seems obvious that the “given” are:
·  Those caused to be born again
·  Those who have a new spirit put in them
·  Those born of water and Spirit.
·  Those whose hearts of stone have been removed
·  Those who have hearts of flesh
·  Those who have been blessed to know who Jesus is
·  Those to whom the Father has been revealed by the Son
·  Those to whom the Son has been revealed by the Father
And we know something else about the “given” from Jesus’ words in John 6.
·  John 6:37–40 (ESV) — 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me,that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Jesus shows us in this verse that the “given” are also:
·  (1) Those that come and look on Him and believe (vs. 37, 40)
·  (2) Those that He will not cast out or lose (vs. 37, 39)
·  (3) Those that He will raise up (vs. 40)
It is also worth noting that it is for these alone – the “given” – that Jesus prays for in John 17.
·  In fact, He even says in verse 9, “I am not praying for the world”.
He tells us in His prayer that He is, to the exclusion of the unbeliever, asking the Father to:
·  Keep the believer in the Father’s name
·  Keep the believer from the evil one
·  That the believer might have Jesus’ joy
·  That believers may be one
·  That believers may be sanctified
·  That believers may be with Him
·  That believers may see the glory of Jesus
He is not asking these things for the world – this is rather striking.
·  It is clearly a burden on His heart that He provides for those given to Him by the Father all that the Father would have Him give!
·  And when Jesus expresses His desire that we see His glory, I don’t think it can get much better than that.
Summary of the Given:
·  So the given are those that have responded with belief to the reasons to believe because they have been the recipients of a work of God on their hearts – the reason for belief.
·  And it is toward these that Jesus has a special affection as expressed in His John 17 prayer.
o   After all, by their belief they demonstrate that, like Jesus, God is their Father – not Satan.
·  And it is the “given” that Jesus sees as coming to Him not by their own efforts, or even His efforts, but by the will and work of the Father.
o   The Father reveals the Son.
Now we have sufficient understanding to answer the questions we raised last week and repeated earlier.
·  BTW – For a discussion on the implications of God’s sovereignty and His work versus our action of believing, see the rabbit trail at the end of this lesson.
4) QUESTIONS ANSWERED – JESUS MINISTRY WAS A SUCCESS
So putting all this together I think we can finally answer the questions pertaining to how Jesus saw His ministry as a success.
As a reminder, here are the questions again.
·  If Jesus really was God, Creator, Ruler, Messiah and Savior, how on earth could He be rejected by so many?
·  How could He consider His ministry a success in the face of all this rejection?
·  If Jesus came to seek and save the lost why did so many of the lost reject Him?
o   Wasn’t the main reason for His incarnation to save people?
One more question – it gets worse.
·  Apologists suggest that significant obstacles to belief are worldviews contrary to a Biblical worldview.
·  In our day there is pantheism, naturalism, deism, etc., and all the presuppositions they carry with them.
·  And many, if not all, of their presuppositions are contrary to those of a biblical worldview.
·  Well, here is the problem.
·  The Jews and Jesus shared the same worldview.
·  They were all theistic, 2nd temple, covenant believing Jews who grasped the fact that Israel was chosen by God and they were waiting for the time of God’s deliverance.
·  And yet they still didn’t believe Jesus was the Christ?
·  In addition to all we have discussed over the past three weeks, this makes the unbelief of the Jews all the more perplexing.
So what are the answers to our questions?
·  Why did Jesus consider His ministry a success?
Let’s look at Jesus words in John 6 again as well as in chapters 10 and 18:
·  John 6:37–40 (ESV) — 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of allthat he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyonewho looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
·  John 10:29 (ESV) — 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
·  John 18:9 (ESV) — 9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.
Did Jesus save all of whom the Father gave Him?
·  Did Jesus reject or refuse to entrust Himself to any that were given to Him by the Father?
·  Did Jesus seek and save?
·  Yes…Jesus “collected” and “protected” everybody He was given (and will be given).
·  Those that rejected Jesus were not the “given”.
·  This is why Jesus’ ministry was a complete success in spite of so much rejection and unbelief.
·  He certainly loved the unbeliever and desired his or her salvation.
o   He longed to gather them like a hen gathered its chicks.
o   Why didn’t He gather them?
o   They were not given to Him by the Father.
o   They did not believe in Him.
So the Jews’ rejection and unbelief was not a failure of Jesus’ mission.
·  In fact, their unbelief was fulfillment of prophesy (John 12:37-40).
·  Jesus’ ministry was a perfect success.
·  Nothing went wrong.
·  Everything went down just as the Father wanted.
But wait…there is more!
·  It is obvious that Jesus’ ministry – specifically His signs and wonders – were “…meant to show that Jesus is ‘the Christ, the Son of God’” – Dunnett.
·  They were a divine, authenticating mark of His ministry – NBD.
o   Those that were given to Him recognized this and believed.
·  And in this way, Jesus’ works served to “advance the Gospel” – Grudem.
But Jesus’ ministry was a success for many more reasons that His relationship with the “given” as expressed in His John 17 prayer.
The Many Successes of Jesus’ Works:
·  Jesus works – His signs and wonders – successfully did at least 6 other things in addition to “advancing the Gospel”.
·  We will briefly look at them.
1) Jesus’ works served to declare that the Kingdom of God has come.
·  Jesus’ works bear “witness to the fact that the kingdom of God has come and has begun to expand its beneficial results into people’s lives, for the results of Jesus’ miracles show the characteristics of God’s kingdom” – Wayne Grudem.
·  Matthew 12:28 (ESV) — 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
·  Matthew 11:4–5 (ESV) — 4And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
·  Success – Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom He was sent to inaugurate.
2) Jesus’ works served to heal, care for and help those who were in need – Wayne Grudem.
·  John 9:7 (ESV) — 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
·  Matthew 15:28 (ESV) — 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
·  Luke 8:35 (ESV) — 35 Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.
·  Success – Jesus healed whom He was sent to heal.
3) Jesus’ works also served to fulfill God’s word – M.H. Manser.
·  Matthew 8:17 (ESV) — 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
·  Matthew 12:17–18 (ESV) — 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: 18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.”
·  Luke 4:21 (ESV) — 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
·  Success – Jesus fulfilled what He was sent to fulfill.
4) Jesus’ works and ministry also provided believers with a much needed Kingdom Hermeneutic and Imagination – Scot McKnight.
·  In other words, the O.T. Scripture was now seen clearly and correctly through the lens of Jesus as the Christ.
·  In fact, Paul could even preach the Gospel in Acts using just the OT.
·  John 2:22 (ESV) — 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
·  John 12:16 (ESV) — 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.
·  Acts 13:32–35 (ESV) — 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “ ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ 34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “ ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ 35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, “ ‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’
·  Success – Jesus was the incarnate and necessary new hermeneutic of the O.T.
5) Jesus’ works also demonstrated a perfect obedience to the Father qualifying Himself as worthy of sacrifice.
·  John 5:19 (ESV) — 19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
·  John 12:49 (ESV) — 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.
·  John 14:10 (ESV) — 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
·  Success – Jesus did and said what the Father did and said.
6) And all of Jesus’ works served to glorify God – Wayne Grudem.
·  As we saw last week, Jesus spoke of the glory of God in John 17 at least 6 times.
·  We will get into this in the next week or two as we dive deeper into John 17.
·  Success – Jesus glorified who He was sent to glorify.
 Summary of Questions Answered – why Jesus’ ministry was a success:
·  So Jesus’ successfully “collected” and “protected” the “given”.
·  He inaugurated the Kingdom of God.
·  He healed who he was supposed to heal.
·  He fulfilled God’s word.
·  He provided a necessary and new hermeneutic for the O.T.
·  He perfectly obeyed the Father.
·  And He glorified the Father.
Summary:
·  Over the last few weeks we have introduced John 17 through a specific lens.
·  We suggested that Jesus’ prayer is an insight into His heart and into what a successful ministry looks like in the Kingdom of God.
·  We have teased out a number of questions concerning the nature of the success of Jesus’ ministry and have sought to answer them.
·  In the coming weeks we will dig deeper into John 17.
·  As we do so, we will continue to glimpse the heart of Jesus and encounter the characteristics of His successful ministry.
Rabbit Trail on the Given:
Scripture seems to teach that these believers who were given to Jesus during His ministry were chosen or elected by God from the beginning of time.
·  Ephesians 1:4 (ESV) — 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
·  Romans 8:29 (ESV) — 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
·  2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV) — 9who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
·  Revelation 13:8 (ESV) — 8and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
·  Revelation 17:8 (ESV) — 8The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the worldwill marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.
Jesus also describes His receiving believers from the Father as His work of seeking and saving the lost.
·  Luke 19:10 (ESV) — 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
·  Matthew 10:5–6 (ESV) — 5These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
·  Matthew 15:24 (ESV) — 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
We of course know that the lost are sinners – those dead in trespasses and sin.
·  But we just saw that he doesn’t save all the lost.
·  Many rejected Him and He saved only those He said were given to Him by the Father.
·  In fact in the “lost” parables of Luke 15 He tells us just which lost He can save.
·  Luke 15:7 (ESV) — 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
·  Luke 15:10 (ESV) — 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
·  So the lost He saves are those that were given to Him by the Father.
·  And Jesus knows they were given to Him because they repented and recognized Him as the Christ.
But lest we think that salvation has nothing to do with the actions of the believer, we need to keep in mind the following:
·  The verb form of the word “to believe” appears “at least 98 times” in John’s Gospel – Dunnett.
·  John’s Gospel and the whole of the New Testament make clear that we are to believe.
·  All people are called to believe in Christ and repent of their sins.
And in addition to believe, John’s Gospel also speaks of the call to everyone to believe as follows:
·  Receive (John 1:12)
·  Drink (John 4:14)
·  Come (John 6:35)
·  Eat (John 6:51)
·  Enter (John 10:9)
So there is an unavoidable tension between the sovereignty of God to choose and the call to all men to believe.
·  “The doctrines of divine sovereignty (that God elected sinners for salvation in eternity past) and human responsibility (that sinners are held accountable for how they respond to the gospel) are both clearly taught in Scripture…” – John MacArthur.
Calvinism, Arminiamism and Molinism are all attempts to reconcile these tensions.
·  It should be fairly obvious from this lesson which view I hold.
·  However, to be fair, I have covered the pros and cons of the Arminian and Calvinist views HERE.
·  I appreciate the complexity of the issues involved and realize humility is necessitated.
o   It is not helpful to be dogmatic about these issues.
·  But that should never stop us from asking hard questions.
Questions such as:
·  Why is it not problematic for freewill that God chose Abram and not someone else?
·  Was Abram free to reject God if God had already chosen him to be the source of the promised offspring?
·  Why is it not problematic for freewill that God chose Israel and not Ethiopia or China?
o   The Israelites, after all, wanted to go back to Egypt and reject the promise land.
·  If loss of freewill is the objection to the Calvinist view of election, for the Arminian that believes in the perseverance of the saints, how is it not problematic for freewill that we can come to Christ “on our own”, but yet can’t choose to reject Christ and become a non-believer?
·  If we chose Christ freely, don’t we have to be free to not choose Him at a later time?
o   If the answer is that because the believer’s heart is regenerated after belief and so he or she would never reject God with a regenerated heart, how is this different from the Calvinist view that man always doing what the heart desires? How is freewill to reject God not “overruled” by the work of God on the heart in this scenario?