The Lord's Prayer, Part Three
Listen to Jesus in Psalm 5. Verse 10 proves that this is Jesus Christ talking. For on the Day of Pentecost Peter quoted this verse in reference to Christ, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." So let's listen to Jesus in verse 5. "Jehovah is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage"-you and I are the goodly heritage-"I will bless Jehovah, who hath given me counsel: My reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set Jehovah always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope." (See Psalm 16:5-9.)
Now, you see, we are accustomed to hearing so often the phrase, "Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." And I would not detract in the slightest from the fact that He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. But let us also say that He was a man of joy and acquainted with fellowship! He was a man of joy who lived in the Trinity with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ wants us to have joy and He wants us to have it the same way He had it-by constant fellowship with the Father.
What we're learning in this verse is that right now we have the same fellowship with the Father that Jesus Christ had, and that as we accept that relationship and enter into it, His joy is fulfilled in us. It was Jesus who taught that in the new birth we become His children. In Galatians 4:6, we read, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (abba pater), which means Daddy Father. Abba means Daddy in Greece and Turkey and Syria. Every child in the streets calls his parents "Mamma" and "Abba." Pater is the big word for "Father," but Abba is the intimate word "Daddy."
This is one thing for which I could shake the old graybeards who translated the King James Version. They were so solidly Puritanical, even though they hated the Puritans, that they were scared to death of realizing they could run up to God as I could run up to my father when I was a child.
One time, I was greeting my wife at the airport when our daughter was only about three. I greeted her last. And when I came to greet her she had her arms wrapped tightly around my knee. She was down there hugging my knee, and she put her feet up on top of mine and I lifted my feet right up in the air, and she came with it.
I have no objection whatsoever in your approaching God this way. Just go as a child and hurl yourself at Him and say "Daddy Father." You see, God doesn't expect in our prayers that we say "Poor worm of the dust that I am." Jesus says, "I'm teaching you that you have the same relationship with the Father as I do." And thus it is that we cry, "Abba, Father."
Look at 1 John 1:3,4. There we read, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." Then what does it say? "These things write we unto you, that your joy might be full." So we go right back to John 17, where Jesus says, "These things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves." Oh, how eager Jesus Christ is for you to have His joy. And let me tell you, if you are frustrated, it is not His fault. If you are not living in the fulness of joy you do not have what God wants you to have.
Let me prove this to you. John 15:11 says "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." Now look at John 16:24. "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." And now in our text, John 17:13, "That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves." This is what God wants you to be, no matter what your circumstances-sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, and yet always making many rich.
When I was only fourteen, a man who led me in the development of my spiritual life, said, "Every life is a sermon and every sermon should have a text." He said, "Choose a text. Ask God to give you a verse for your life." And I chose Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." That man also taught me that in Bible study you should read "wholesale and retail." "Read it through from cover to cover with great sweeps, not stopping to look at details. Then take one book and make it your own."
And I chose Philippians. I read Philippians hundreds of times in every possible version and translation, and I memorized it. It only has a hundred and four verses. But you know, the word joy and rejoice, joy and rejoice, joy and rejoice are found eighteen times in the little book of Philippians. Yet, in the first chapter, Paul says, "I am about to come up for trial before Nero and my bonds in Christ are manifested every place. I'm in chains. People go around the block to avoid speaking to me." (See Phil. 1:13-18.) And later he says to Timothy, "God bless the house of Onesiphorus, for he was not ashamed of my chains" (see 2 Tim. 1:16), which proves that some people were ashamed of them. Yet in the midst of this you find joy and rejoicing, eighteen times. Fifteen percent of all the verses in the whole epistle tell of joy and gladness in the midst of difficulty.
- What other characteristics do we learn about when we consider the fact that God is intimate with His people
- What does it mean that God’s joy remains in us?