What Knowledge Will Bring You Sustainable Joy?
The Big Idea: The more we grasp just how much Jesus really cares, the more robust will be our joy.
Are you a basically unhappy man who occasionally experiences joy, or a basically joyful man who occasionally experiences sadness? We will all feel what C. S. Lewis called “stabs of joy” in our circumstances, but is there such a thing as “sustainable joy” in this life? Jesus seemed to think so. Join us and find out what knowledge he thought would bring you to “the full measure” of His joy.
Hanging Out with Jesus
What Knowledge Will Bring You Sustainable Joy?
Good morning everybody! How’s everybody doing today? It’s going to be an awesome day. We’re back into the hanging out with Jesus series and so you … If you would please open your bibles to John chapter 17 verse 1. Let’s go ahead and do a shout out this morning. Today we’ll give a shout out to some men from Emmanuel Baptist of Barrie, Ontario, Canada. 6 men who have met weekly at the church for 3 years using the Video Bible Study. Led by Shayne Hutchins and we currently do not have International Field Staff. I wonder if you would help me give a warm round of applause and welcome to this international group? The men from Emmanuel Baptist on the count of three. One, two, three, hoorah! Welcome men. We are so glad to have you with us!
Okay, the series Hanging Out with Jesus, today we’re going to talk about hat is the knowledge that can lead to a sustainable joy in our lives? We’re going to be looking at John 17. It’s the high priestly prayer. That’s how it’s commonly referred to of Jesus.
This is only in the Gospel of John. This is the end of the upper room experience. He’s looking into the heavens. It still could have been in a room or it might have been over in the garden. We’re not quite sure exactly where it took place. I’d like to orient you a little bit to the passage. First of all, when you listen to someone praying, this gives you a window into their soul. This gives you the opportunity, to peer into the deepest part of a person and to understand them in a way that you cannot understand them in any other way.
You know this is true. When you have been trying to reconcile a relationship with somebody and it’s been going on for a long, long time and it’s been hard and finally you get to a place where you talk it through and then you hear that person pray to their god. You realize what’s in their heart in a way that you will never ever be able to understand in any other way at that level. That’s what’s happening here at this prayer that Jesus has made.
He’s praying for himself. He’s also praying for us. The request, I’ll just highlight them to you already in the first verse. He says, father the time has come. Glorify your son that he may glorify you. The first prayer request is that he will be glorified. The second request is down in verse 11. Holy father, protect them by the power of your name. Then over in verse 17, sanctify them with the truth. Then down in 20, it’s worth noting, not exactly a request but I’ll come back to that.
Down to verse 24, a request, father I want those you have given me to be with me where I am. All right, so these four requests and then notice who the prayer is for in verse 20. My prayer is not for them alone. He is praying for his disciples. Those who are following Jesus at the time but not only. He says, my prayers are not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe through their message. That would be who? That would be us. This is actually a prayer that is not only for the disciples there but it’s a prayer that he’s making for us.
Those who would believe through the message. Finally, why is he praying this prayer? Why does Jesus pray this prayer? Verse 13, I’m coming to you now. He’s saying this to his father, but I say these things. I make this prayer, I say these things while I’m still in the world so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. Jesus is making this prayer so that they and we would be able to have the full measure or the completeness of his joy within us. Very, very interesting.
A couple of observations. The first thing, what’s obviously going on here? Okay, so a good message … A poor message will make the obvious obscure. A good message will make the obscure obvious but a great message will make the obvious, obvious. What is, what is obvious here in this passage? He wanted them to hear him pray on their behalf. He wanted you to hear this prayer. What’s obviously going on here is that Jesus wanted you to hear the most intimate conversation that we know of that he ever had on earth.
This intimate conversation just before his suffering begins, his work is now being completed, his suffering is about to begin. The most intimate prayer that he has ever had that we know about with the father and he wants us to be in on it. He wants us to know what’s going on. He’s going to share some knowledge. He wants us to have this sustainable joy. That’s what he wants for you. He wants you to have the full measure of his joy.
We see this in other places and you’ll look at this in your questions later. I’ve put some other verses in there but in a number of places, Jesus wants you to be filled with joy. Now, you see as C.S. Lewis used to say that we have stabs of joy, stabs of joy but Jesus actually has a different position. You don’t have to have just stabs of joy. You don’t have to be a basically unhappy man occasionally has a stab of joy. According to Jesus, you can be a fundamentally joyful person even in the midst of your suffering and sorrows.
That’s the big point that’s being made in this passage today. What do we learn in this passage that can be learned in no other way? What we do learn is what Jesus cared most about for us. The things that Jesus cared most about before us, the big idea … I’m going to go ahead and give it to you now. The more we grasp just how much Jesus really cares, the more robust will be our joy.
I’m using robust as a synonym for the biblical term here full measure or complete. That your joy may be complete. That you may experience the full measure of my joy. That your joy may be robust, lively, complete, full. There are three kinds of knowledge in this text. Three areas of knowledge in this text that we’re going to look about that were of deep interest to Jesus for you to know about. One thing always, one thing if fully understood and truly believed everything …
One thing, if fully believed in and truly understood could change everything for you and me and that’s back to verse 20, that this is a prayer not just for them. This is a prayer for you. This is a prayer that Jesus wanted you to hear. He said it out loud. He didn’t pray it silently to himself. He prayed it in the presence of the men that he knew would be tasked to record this prayer. He wanted you to hear this prayer and there are at least three areas of knowledge he wants you to know about. As you grasp how much he really cares about you in these three areas, then you can experience more and more of this robust joy.
Knowing Our Relationship with God
Okay, first up is knowing our relationship with god, verse 1. After Jesus said these things about the work of the Holy Spirit, that bring comfort to the disciples, dividing the branches, how the grief will turn to joy. After he said all of these things, he looked toward heaven and prayed. Father, the time or the hour has come.
Glorify your son or … To glorify is to give the praise and the honor and the dignity and the worth that is good for someone. You from time to time are worthy of respect and honor and praise. Jesus has set aside that for his season. Now, he’s saying glorify your son that your son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people. Does that sound familiar at all? Roll back in your mind to the great commission which says all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
This is a repetition of that. You granted him authority over all people. Not just, not just the believing people but all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now, knowing our relationship with God, that we have eternal life, everything else, everything else that’s important to us is infinitesimally small compared to the eternal life. This is the 800 pound gorilla. This is the 800 million gazillion zero after the 1 gorilla, this is the big deal, eternal life.
He goes on to say, now this is eternal life. Now this is eternal life that they may know you. Everybody seems to know about god. There’s a distinction of analogy, the difference between knowing God and knowing about god. Everybody knows about God. A lot of his misinformation but to know God, to know God is eternal life. Reading on, that they may know you the only true God in Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
He has completed his work now. Now, he enters the suffering next. Now, father glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. Just imagine now the lengths to which God has gone in order for us to know him. He has stripped Jesus of his glory. The father stripped Jesus of his glory. Have you ever been stripped of your glory? I have last Sunday night. Last Sunday night my wife and I … Okay, back drop. My wife and I … My wife has been asking me to get a new hobby.
She keeps coming up with ideas and I finally said, look I’m just not going to do anything unless that’s something that we do together. Finally, we found the hobby we can enjoy together, camping. We bought a camper. I just bought a camper and she loves it and I love it. We decided to take it out on the maiden voyage. Actually, I went out a couple of nights just to shake down the thing but then the big trip, okay. We took that last week that’s why I wasn’t here last week. We were on our very first camping trip and it was awesome.
We got a little dog and I didn’t know how the dog would react to it. The dog loves it. The dog is a camp dog. The dog is a trail dog. It’s a little poofy froofy lap dog for middle-aged women also but it’s a camp dog. I can’t believe this dog loves to be outside and we had a great time. We got back on Friday and I’m sitting there doing my devotions on Saturday morning and I realized this is the best weather of the year. We need to go back out camping but I realized that she wouldn’t quite be ready to go back out camping.
I said, well, I’ll just go by myself and I said, no, no, no. I don’t think it sends the right signal. I’m sitting there and then all of a sudden I have the big idea. I’m going to back to camper in my backyard because we live on a lake and I’ll just set it up overlooking the lake. Over the next hour that’s exactly what I did. I camped out in my backyard and Patsy came out with hotdogs and stuff like that over the weekend and then Sunday night, I go to sleep in the camper in my backyard.
At 11:20pm, now you all have probably wondered from time to time how you would react if there was a burglar in your house. You’ll have probably … Would you … When you’re holding the gun, would you be shaking so bad you wouldn’t know? Would your knees be knocking or would you be a courageous person? We all wondered that, right? I’ve learned that now. I know because at 11:20pm I’m sound asleep in the camper and all of a sudden there’s this giant flood light flashlight in my eyes and somebody speaks up and I don’t remember what it was.
I got out of bed and I looked out the window, the light shines, it went through the window of the camper, this big flashlight and I said, who are you and what do you want? I’m brave. I’m brave. He said, we’re with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department sir and we’ve got an alarm call, an alarm code on your master bedroom and so we’re here because of that. What are you doing shining your flashlight on me then? That began a conversation. Sir, what are you doing out here? I said, this is my camper. I just got this camper. This is my camper.
They said, well, are you living here? I said, no. I’m not living here. I just got it. I’m just enjoying it for the weekend. It’s the best weather of the year for crying out loud. He said, well, where’s your wife? I said, well, she’s in the house. He said, did you have a fight with your wife? I said, no. I just got this camper and I’m trying to enjoy this camper and I said, hold on. I’m going to put some clothes on and we’re going to go get this … Speaking of stripped, I was stripped by the way all the way down to my briefs. I said, how did you see me anyway?
He said, well, we saw your leg sticking up in the window. I said, just a second so I put on some clothes and the whole time I’m getting dressed he’s got his flashlight on me. Talk about stripped off your glory, this guy’s flashlight … Of course, I realized about an hour later I said, yeah, he was checking to make sure I wasn’t going for some weapon. Then I came out of the camper and he’s shining it on me again. I guess trying to figure out and make sure I hadn’t … I didn’t picked up a weapon on the way out or something like that.
I said, well, let’s go figure this out. We go into the house and we walk into the house and I turned around and he’s flashing that light all around the house I guess looking for either signs of a burglar or maybe domestic violence, I’m not sure. I look at the other deputy and he’s got his hand on his gun in the Fourier of my house. Our master bedroom is right off the Fourier so I went and I called out to Patsy and she had … We have one window in the master bedroom that has a screen so you can open that window.
On the other windows, if you open them, it sets off the alarm. She opened the wrong window and set off the alarm. She tried to call the alarm company but she got a busy signal. She just hang up and went back to bed. You can get stripped of your glory. Jesus Christ gave up all of the glory that he had being the creator himself there with the father. The one who created the entire cosmos who hurled everything. He was the craftsman who created the world. He is co-equal with God. He is God and he was stripped off all of that.
He was stripped off all of that so that you could have eternal life. There is more down in verses 6 to 10, 10 or 11, 6 to 10 and then also 24 and following. Verse 24, father I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you love me before the creation of the world. He gave up that glory. He was stripped of that glory. Listen to what it says in Isaiah chapter 53 verses 2 and 3. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him.
Nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men. A man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Here is the God who was loved by the father before the creation of the world and gave all that up. Jesus wants you to have this knowledge of God about him. Just how much he loves you. That’s why this prayer is written down. Reading on, righteous father, though the world does not know you, I know you and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them.
They don’t just know about you, they know you and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them. The love of the father in them and that I myself may be in them. This is knowledge almost too wonderful to take in. What does it mean to us? I need a volunteer, for Jesus take their glass. Jesus wants you to be full of his joy. This is the joy and so we’re going to fill the glass up. We probably ought to fill it up 99% but we’re just going to fill it up about a third. That’s part of the full measure of his joy. The Big Idea. Again, today is this: The more we grasp just how much he really cares, the more robust will be our joy.
Knowing Our Relationship with the World
The second thing after the knowledge of our relationship with God is, the knowledge of our relationship with the world which he wants us to have. Verse 11, I will remain in the world no longer but they are still in the world and I am coming to you Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name. The name you gave me so that they may be one as we’re one.
I was with them. I protected them and kept them safe, down to verse 14. I have given them your word and the world has hated them for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world, my prayer is not. Jesus wants you to know that his prayer for you is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from evil while they are in the world. They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. In terms of knowing our relationship with the world, Jesus wants you to know that it was never his plan to take you out of the world.
You are in the world. You’ve heard of in but not of. In the world but not of the world, you’ve heard this, right? That’s where this comes from. We are in but not of the world and the world is going to hate us. I’m being hated right now pretty adamantly because of my faith. That’s just part of the deal. I’m not upset about it because Jesus prayed for me that I will be protected and I believe he’ll even protect the person that hates me. Anyway, the point is that’s who we are and he has prayed for our protection.
You are in God’s witness protection program, WITSEC. You’re in WITSEC but it’s a reverse WITSEC, you see? Instead of putting you in hiding so nobody can find you as a witness instead he’s putting you up like a lamp, putting you up on a stand to be a witness to the whole world so it’s a different witness protection program but he’s putting you up on a stand and then he’s surrounding you with armed guards. We are in that program. Then this idea down in verse 17, sanctify them by your truth as you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
It’s not just in but not of. In the world not of the world but into the world so we are sent. The calling for us, our relationship with the world, we’re not just, we’re not just disciples. He’s not just calling us to be disciples, he’s sending us to be disciple-makers. The reason that he didn’t just beam you up or kill you the instant you received Jesus is because he wants to send you out into the world. He wants you to have this knowledge of your relationship with the world but you’re not of the world but you are his missionary to the world.
You’re a disciple but he wants you also to be a disciple-maker, get it? I just love this. It totally sets us free. It sets us free to have the full measure of his joy. We don’t have to be sad to people that hate us. We don’t have to be sad that we’re still in the world. This is God’s plan. His wonderful plan for us. For our sanctification, verse 17, sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth. Verse 19, for them I sanctify myself that they too may be truly sanctified.
What does that mean? What does that mean to be sanctified? It means to be made wholly. It’s the same word in the Lord’s Prayer. Same Greek word and the Lord’s Prayer, our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Sanctified be thy name. Holy be thy name. With that, the bible says without holiness, no one will see the Lord. You’re all worried about your holiness. You don’t have to be … You don’t have to be worried about your holiness. Jesus is praying that the father will sanctify you.
For them I sanctify myself that they too may be sanctified. You’re already sanctified in the eternal scheme of things and then your ongoing sanctification is taking place. You’re cooperating with the Holy Spirit but he’s the one doing it. What does this, what does this mean to us? This is another third of the joy that is sustainable not only known in our relationship with God but knowing with our relationship with the world. That’s okay, there’s enough Holy Spirit. You can spill it on. All right. The Big Idea for today is again, the more we grasp just how much Jesus really cares then the more robust will be our joy.
Knowing Our Relationship with Each Other
Okay, and then finally, let’s take look at the third area that he covers in this prayer. The first area is knowing our relationship with him. The second area is knowing our relationship with the world and then the third area in this text is knowing our relationship with each other. Verse 20, my prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message that all of them may be one.
Our relationship with each other has to do with this one. Father, just as you are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. He wants us to be in oneness, in unity. Why? It’s part of our witness so that they … The world will know that God has sent Jesus. Verse 22, I have given them the glory that you have me that they may be one as we are one. I am them and you and me, may they be brought to complete full unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them.
Loved too, as you have loved me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you have sent me and have loved them. For God so loved the world, I went … I am lifted up. I will draw all men to myself. Every man will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. God our savior, his desire. He wants not that it will happen but his desire … God, our savior wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Did I finish that text? Verse 24, father I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see your glory.
The glory you have given me because you love me before the creation of the world. Why? Because men, we are not going to win the culture war by defeating our opponents. Do you understand this? If we could, if we could win the culture war by defeating our opponents, it would have happened by now. It’s now 50 years or 100 years that have gone by. Things have gotten worse in the culture not better. Fighting the culture war is not the answer. You don’t get flowers by pulling weeds. You get flowers by planting flowers.
Do you understand this? That doesn’t mean you don’t have to do a little garden tending, okay? If you want to grow flowers, if you want to grow disciples, you don’t, you don’t grow disciples by knocking off evil people or opponents or good people who just happen to be opposed to you, by knocking off their arguments and ridiculing them and putting them down and being angry with them. That’s not how it works. In fact, Jesus even said in a parable that they will, there will always be weeds. Let them be. Let them grow side by side with the weed.
I’ll take care of it. I’ll take care of that. What he calls us to do is to go and make disciples. In order to do that we have to have a different weapon and the weapon … Jesus did not say all men will know you’re my disciples by the length of your sword. Jesus said, all men will know you are my disciples if you what? If you love one another. That’s what he’s saying here. It’s his love that he’s trying to communicate. That’s his gospel. That’s to be our relationship with each other.
There is no other relationship with each other that works as well as the weapon that we use in the world. Even if you’re right, you’re wrong if you don’t say it in love. The Big Idea today, the more we grasp just how much Jesus really cares and this one prayer alone is a nice place to park. The more robust will be our joy. He wants us to have the full measure of his joy. The final little piece of that is that the full measure of his joy looks like this. It’s over flowing so that you have enough joy not only for yourself but a lot of extra joy to give away to other men. Let’s pray!
Father, Lord, first off all we come humbly to you this morning. We thank you for this great prayer. We thank you for these gospels. We thank you for the privilege that we have to be able to gather and discuss these things. Father, take this truth of your scripture if you would. Far too much for one message but we did it anyway but we will need to depend upon your spirit to tutor it to our hearts for personal application so we commit that to you now, Lord. We make this prayer in the loving name of Jesus, Amen.