Last time we looked at the first half of Jesus prayer in John 17. How did you get on? Did you spend some time quietly waiting on God, or have you set some time aside to do it soon?
In the second and third part of Jesus prayer he prays for his disciples and his future followers, including you and me, that we would be holy, that we would bring God glory, that we would be united and that we would be safe from the evil one.
We are made holy by believing and obeying the Word of God. Hebrews chapter 4 verse 12 tells us that ‘the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’ Reading scripture daily has an effect on us. It reminds us of how much God loves us and is for us. It corrects us when we get a bit off track. It strengthens our faith and deepens our relationship with God. If you do not read scripture everyday, I recommend that you start to do so. Even just a few verses makes a difference.
I know that when I skip a few days of reading scripture my whole attitude tends to slacken. My resolve weakens. I forget that I am valued by God and that I have a purpose.
The only way I can commit to reading scripture daily is to set an early alarm. I have to get up when the alarm goes off (no snoozing!) and find a quiet space to read for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes. Then I go for a walk and I pray and reflect on what I have been reading.
That won’t work for everyone so what can you do to get into a regular habit of reading scripture every single day? And if you don’t have access to scripture, talk to your youth leader, I promise to work with them to change that situation for you.
We can bring God glory by reflecting Jesus character, by doing as he did, behaving and thinking in a way that honours God and is obedient to the things that He is telling us to do. In doing these things we are nurturing a place inside us for the Holy Spirit to live. And with the Holy Spirit in us we are effectively carrying the presence of God with us wherever we go.
Don’t worry if you are struggling with this. Keep reading scripture, spending time in prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit, that quiet voice inside you and you will grow in the right direction.
Jesus desired that his followers would be united. When we come together, agreeing with one another, working towards the same purpose we become a powerful force, a powerful witness.
How united are you with your church or your youth group? It is so easy to get distracted by petty arguments, gossip and pride. Encouraging these things causes divisions and weakens us as followers of Christ. It weakens our message. Instead, we must find ways to forgive hurts, work together, love one another, encourage one another and continually find ways to build each other up.
An easy thing to do is to say something encouraging to at least one other person everyday? Check out Acts 4 & Acts 11 for a man named Joseph that the disciples nicknamed Barnabas. Barnabas means ‘encouragement’. He was a man who encouraged others. Commit to being a Barnabas.
Jesus prayed that we would be safe from the evil one. This whole prayer highlights the battle between the forces of heaven and the forces of the enemy.
Note that Jesus doesn’t want to remove us from the battle. He doesn’t ask that we will be removed from the world, just that we will not lose a battle to the evil one. This tells me that Jesus doesn’t want us to live in a sort of Christian bubble, safely separated from non-believers. No. He wants us to bring his light to every dark area of life on Earth, to bring His hope to every place of despair and to bring His love to every place where there is hatred. We can’t do that by being separate and isolating ourselves.
We should nurture relationships with non-believers but not be swayed by them. We must be bold, aware that we are in a spiritual battle and firm in our faith that through Jesus’ death on the cross, Christ has won the victory.
Wow! I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you tonight.
I have talked about some really big topics.
God’s salvation is for everyone - if you want to accept that tonight, talk to your youth leader, church leader or DM me. It is always an honour to walk through that with someone.
And Jesus, the Son of God, prayed for you!
Jesus prayed that you would be holy, that you would bring God glory, that you would be safe in the spiritual battles that you face. He also prayed that we all would be united as one. If Jesus prayed that for us, let us tonight pray the same prayer for one another.
Next time we reflect on the prayers that Jesus says on the cross.