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The Lord's Prayer, Part Two

Description

Why does Christ in Heaven need to pray for us?

John 17:13-26

LESSON

Just as the Holy Spirit prays for us "with groanings that cannot be uttered," so Christ is praying in heaven for us. You have two Beings who are praying for you. The Holy Spirit within you is interceding for you with groanings that cannot be uttered (see Romans 8:26-27), and there is never a moment that Jesus is not praying. He ever liveth to make intercession for us. (See Hebrews 7:25.) And the things that He prays for us are the things set forth in this passage.

In verse 13, Jesus says, "And now come I to thee." I don't think that means: "Now come I to thee in prayer." Earlier in this chapter He had already been praying. In saying "And now come I to thee" Jesus means, "I'm going to arise from the dead and ascend into heaven. The Ascension is about to take place."

"And," He continues, "these things I speak in the world." Notice again the great importance of the word world in the Gospel of John. The word world in Greek is kosmos. You know it in the word cosmopolitan. A cosmopolitan is a citizen of the world, a man with a worldwide outlook. Now the word kosmos means the world that crucified Christ. And the Lord is talking about the Church and the world.

And by the Church, I mean all believers--what Calvin called "the invisible Church" and what Lutherans call "the hidden Church." For the hidden Church is the invisible Church. There are undoubtedly born-again believers in the Greek Orthodox Church, in the Roman Catholic Church. I knew at least one born-again believer who remained in the Mormon church-he never moved away from it and was tremendously unsettled, but nevertheless had been born again beyond any shadow of doubt. I once baptized and took into our church a person who, two weeks before, had been a reader in one of the Christian Science Churches of Philadelphia and had gotten saved.

God knows where His Church is hidden. That's why you are never to draw a sharp line and say, "All these are damned," or "There may be a few in that church who are saved, but if they really were saved, they would belong to our little group." No, friends, you make no lines to separate believers. This is known to God alone.

Now the Lord says, "I come to thee, and these things I speak in the world"-here He is in the midst of the world-"that they"-the Church, the born-again believers, the hidden people-"might have my joy fulfilled in themselves." "My joy!" Now this is what God wants in human beings. He wants us to be filled with joy. Oh, if you aren't joyful, I mean radiantly, abundantly joyful, you do not understand what God has available for you.

If someone says, "Dr. Barnhouse, you don't know. Here I am thirty and I'm not married. Life is passing me by and I'm ..." Look, if you say that, you have not understood the sovereignty of God. He wants you to be filled with joy no matter what your circumstances. "But God has given me a weak constitution and I go and I'm not able to . . ." God almighty planned for you to have that weak constitution. He has His purpose for you, and if you go and say, "Lord, there is the stream. I'm going to stop trying to buck it. I'm going to float with Thee and Thy will and Thy way," then you will begin to have His joy.

Now what was His joy? What was the joy of Jesus Christ? He says here in verse 13 that His purpose was for us, the born-again believers, to have His joy. Jesus had joy about the future. In Hebrews 12:2 it says, "Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross...." That was the joy of redeeming us. But that was not the joy that sustained Him in His daily living. The joy that sustained Him' was His moment-by-moment contact with the Father, that absolute oneness and fellowship that binds them together and makes them absolutely one.

STUDY QUESTIONS

  • Why does Christ need to pray for us in Heaven?
  • Why should we be more charitable to other people’s theological views?
  • Should the church be more open to diversity or change?

REFLECTION

The church is constantly bombarded by liberalism. How can we keep from being liberal yet maintain a healthy view of diversity?

 

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