The Lord's Prayer, Part Seven

Description

You are to be Jesus Christ at the breakfast table, when you walk into the office, and when the boss's back is turned. No matter where you are, you are to be like Christ.

John 17:13-26

LESSON

Now whenever you look in the Scriptures, you discover this tremendous contrast between the world and us. The world's standing is in Adam, our standing is in Christ. The world is under condemnation. We have been accepted in the beloved. The world is born of the flesh. We are born of the Spirit. They are evil and we are holy. The world has a different father-"Ye are of your father the devil." We are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. The aim of the world is self, and the aim of the believer is to please Christ. The citizenship of the worldling is on earth and our citizenship is in heaven. And they have a different way of life from ours. They have a different destiny. Their destiny is the lake of fire. And our destiny is the Father's house, where there are many mansions.

So in verse 17 Jesus prays, "Sanctify them through thy truth," which means to set them apart. And in verse 19 He says, "For their sakes I sanctify myself." Sanctify has several different meanings. It comes from the Latin sanctus, which means holy.

Depending on the usage of the word, it can mean to set apart for a spiritual purpose, or to make one holy. ("This is the will of God, even your sanctification.") Here it refers to being set apart. Certain things are set apart for God. Jesus Himself is sanctified, set apart. So He is saying, "Set apart My Church. Set apart My true believers by Thy truth. Thy Word is truth." Thus, the Bible becomes the standard by which we judge everything else.

And then in verse 18 He says, "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." This is what God wants you to do. Are you an elevator operator? Well, then you are to be the Word made flesh going up and down. And when for the seventeen thousandth time somebody comes in and says, "You have a rather up-and-down life" (I understand that this is told at least three times a day to elevator operators. They get so tired of it they don't know what to do.), if you are in Christ, you can be the Word made flesh instead of getting angry at them. You can simply answer, "Well you know, I set my affections on things above and not on things beneath, for Christ is my life."

And if you answer that every time, some of them will look at you and soon they will stop making the same wisecrack. And if you are a student you can understand that God made you the Word made flesh on that campus. And you are to be the Word made flesh if you are a clerk in a store. And no matter what you are doing, you can be the Word made flesh dwelling there.

There was once an advertisement that said, "Bibles that are bound in hardcover; Bibles that are bound in soft leather." And someone said, "The greatest Word of God that there is, is the Bible bound in shoe leather." You are to be the Word made flesh in your circumstances, in your school, your office, your store, your factory, your shop, your hospital. You are to be Jesus Christ there. Jesus is saying, "I'm going to the cross and die so that they also might be set apart by the truth. As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you." Jesus did not die merely in order that you might have a free insurance policy against the flames of hell. Some people look upon Christianity as nothing more than cheap fire insurance. But believe me dear friends, Christianity is you becoming Jesus Christ in the world.

You are to be Jesus Christ today. You are to be Jesus Christ at the breakfast table. You are to be Jesus Christ when you walk into the office. You are to be Jesus Christ when the boss's back is turned. You are to be Jesus Christ when the off-color wisecracks are heard. You are to be Jesus Christ in every act of kindness. If somebody takes advantage of you, instead of snapping "That's your job! Do it yourself!" just quietly do it in Jesus' name and for His sake. We allow ourselves to be put upon. We are reviled and we revile not again. We are persecuted and we bless. This is the reason you're left here, to be Jesus Christ today, tomorrow and until He returns.

I close with verse 20. He says "Neither pray I for the twelve disciples alone, but also for those in the twentieth century who will believe on me through their word." Isn't this wonderful? Here is a prayer of Jesus specifically praying for you and for me. He says, "I'm not only praying for these twelve, but I'm praying for Donald Barnhouse, who will believe because of Paul's word. I'm praying for those in Philadelphia in the twentieth century who have come to Christ because of the word of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John." Here is the true apostolic succession. You and I are the vicars of Christ. We are here instead of Christ, the Word made flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit to go forth and live for Him. May God make us to understand what our place is in Christ.

STUDY QUESTIONS

  • Why is the process of sanctification so difficult from our perspective?
  • What does Dr. Barnhouse mean by “you are to be Jesus today.”? 

REFLECTION

Read 1 John 4:1-6. How does this passage help us learn more about the contrast between our calling and the world?

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