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The World and the Word

John 17:6-19



Many Christians have given up on the idea of living a truly victorious, holy Christian life.  They have a besetting sin which has them in a headlock.  Maybe more than one.  They have tried to get the victory, but feel they have failed...probably numerous times.

        At least on a subconscious level, they have resigned themselves to the belief that it is impossible for them to walk in complete victory.  The key to victory is found in this prayer of Jesus. 


Let's read our text.  As we do...

...Notice how many times Jesus says 'world' and 'word'.  They are almost the same spelling, but are diametrically opposed.  The Word is the only hope of the world.  And the Word will keep you from the world.  But the world often keeps us from the Word!


The key to victory is found in this real Lord's prayer. 


vv. 1-5     Jesus prays for Himself.

vv. 6-19   Jesus prays for His present disciples.

vv. 20-26 Jesus prays for His future disciples.


During this prayer, Jesus touches on the 3 great occurrences of the Christian life. 

Past-Justification. [positionally right with God]

Present-Sanctification. [conformed more like Him]

Future-Glorification. [finally in His likeness]


Most of us like talking about the past...when we got saved, and all God HAS DONE.  And we like talking about the future in heaven, and leaving this world behind in the rapture, and getting a glorified body.

        But when the preacher mentions present sanctification, many of the people break out in hives!  It scares us to talk about this subject.  Why?


Because there are 2 Common Misconceptions about Sanctification:

1.     We mistakenly think it means 'sinless.'

We've given up on that idea.  "I'll never be perfect so why even try?"

        But sanctified doesn't mean sinless.  We won't attain to that until we are in heaven, and God removes our sin nature entirely.  Real sanctification isn't being sinless, but learning to sin less ... by God's power.


2.     We mistakenly think it means the end of the good life.

"I'll never have any fun anymore."  "God's will is dull."

        But read the instructions, and you'll hear of joy, love and peace ... and I want you to know they are real joy, true love, actual peace.  God made us and knows what is best for us and WANTS what is best for us, and He's not trying to ruin our fun ... He wants to enhance it!

        I've been saved for over 46 years and I want you to know that God's will is not always easy, but it's a blast of an adventure, with no regretful hangover.  It's a great time being a Christian.  I wouldn't want riches, fame, and worldly pleasures if it meant I couldn't have Jesus!

        It's a truly satisfying drink of living water with no funny aftertaste.  It is living the good life God intended for us, and that doesn't mean it won't have problems or stress.  It means it will be worth living.  It will still have battles but they will be battles worth fighting.  There will still be heartaches but they will be worth enduring.  There will still be a load to carry but it won't break your back, because you do not walk alone ... underneath are the everlasting arms!


These years I have proven it is a better life.  How?  Is it by living victoriously?  Yes, in part.  And also by NOT living victoriously.  When I read the instructions...sometimes I take the high road and learn that it is better.  Oft times I've taken the low road and tried my own way ... and still learned thru pain and consequences that God's way would have been much better!  Pain is a primary motivator and many of us learn best from our mistakes.  [no kids agree?] Now, let's take what we've learned on both roads and decide to live this year in His steps, walking His way, allowing Him to conform us to His image in daily sanctification and holy living.  And when we do we will see once again that it is not just 'the good life', it's the best life, and the only one worth living!


Sanctified doesn't mean sinless or boring.  So, what does it mean?


v. 17        Justification happens at salvation, in an instant.  Sanctification is a life-long process.  We can become more sanctified every day.

        Being saved, on the other hand, doesn't have degrees.  It's like being 'sorta pregnant' ... either you are or you aren't.  You are either saved or lost, there is no in between.  You're a saint or you ain't!  Jesus said you are for me or against me, gathering or scattering, under my love or under my wrath!

        And when you were born again you moved from one side to the polar opposite, in the time it took you to believe!  Sanctification however, takes time.  You don't just 'pray yourself holy.'  God won't just 'zap you' into sanctification - it's a process, and it involves some spiritual discipline on your part, beginning with reading the instructions of the Word, in order to be set apart from the world.


ill.--in the OT temple certain vessels and articles were used in worship, and they were said to be sanctified, or set apart for God's use only.  If you were having company over, you couldn't go to the temple and borrow what vessels you needed. [who took the church ladder/tools?]


Life is not about you.  Your life should be set apart for one purpose only, which is to bring glory to your Creator/Redeemer, Almighty God!


In this passage, 2 entities are constantly contrasted:  the Word and the world.  The world is our difficulty and the Word is our deliverance!


If you want to be sanctified then you need to read the instructions and learn about what the Word says about the world, and let it change your life!


The word 'world' is used 19 times in this prayer.  And the Lord uses this word in several different ways. 

Creation [kosmos], the physical world...v. 5 [birds and bees and flowers and trees and moon up above...]

People, humanity...v. 23 [Like Jn. 3:16, the world that God so loved]

        But most of the time He's talking about the...

World System, which is anti-God.

1 John 2:15
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

The World System.  "the things in the world" = all that is opposed to God.  All perversions of what He has given to us.

God gave mankind sex and mankind perverted it.

God gave us music and we ruined it.

...ability to drink and we misuse it. [unsweet tea!]

...ability to talk and we abuse it.

...ability to take joy in humor and we pervert it.

...ability to make a living and we make it our god.

...ability to own some things and we allow them to own us.

...knowledge to create tools to serve us and make our life better and we end up serving those very tools.

...understanding of our need for clothing and we look for ways to cover ourselves, yet inappropriately.


So the world can refer to fashion, entertainment, business, technology ... things that CAN be done right but we abuse them ... as well as downright wicked sinfulness, and all that we can imagine to do wrong.


Sanctification is the process of becoming less worldly!

        This is a novel idea to today's church, which wants to be hip, and thinks it will win the world by being more like it.  Problem:  Deep down, the world has tried life on this planet in worldly ways and have realized that it stinks, and they are looking for something different ... something better ... a life worth living!


Sanctification is the process of becoming less worldly.

...and more like Christ!

        And where do we start?  With the instructions.  With the Word, which will keep us from the world.

Do you have devotions?  Do you study?  Do you come to Sunday School?  Will you come to evening services?  If you can’t, do you catch it online?  Will you attend a Bible study?  Will you memorize some life-changing Scriptures and use them as the Spirit brings them up in daily life?

        What is the ratio between your TV time and your time in the Word?


Why do we give our time more to things of the world than the Word?  Because we are worldly!

Why do we put more emphasis on being trendy than being modest?  Because we are worldly!  We put more effort into being sexy than Godly!

Why do some stand firm in their social drinking?  It is a worldly thing to do!  It's a sanctified, Godly thing to give it up!

Why do we choose the world's music over that which is rooted in the Word?  Because we are worldly!

Why do we get ourselves into debt and stress over it but not worry about our tithe debt to God?  Because we are worldly!

Why do we spend more money on our dog than on missions?  Because we are worldly!


Why is it that when we have a schedule conflict between things of the Word and things of the world - that the world wins?  Why do we put so much effort into being happy rather than being holy?  Why do we just want to get out of here when faced with these questions which are based on the Word?

I think we already know the answer.


Notice 4 phrases from this passage: [underline?]

v. 6          "out of the world"

These are the saved.  And they are taken out of the world.  Does it mean we leave the earth?  No.  But spiritually speaking, we are pulled out of this world system and into His body.

Acts 15:14
... God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

The word church comes from the Greek ecclesia [ecclesia]  = 'called out ones'.

        One day we'll be called out of the physical world, but until then, we're still called to leave it as best we can with God's help!

Galatians 1:4
Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:


If you've been saved, then realize that you belong to another world!  Your citizenship is in heaven.  You're a foreign ambassador.  Your values should be different.  You SHOULD stick out!  Your priorities should be different.  Your principles should make you uncomfortable in this world.


The good news:  When God truly saves us He gives us a new heart with a desire to come out of this world.

ill.--ever raise pigs?  They are sloppy dirty.  You can wash an old sow and return her to pristine pink and put a bow around her neck and turn her loose and what will she do?  Find some mud and wallow around.  That's her nature!  But if you could remove that nature and make her into a sheep, she will try to stay clean, and be attracted to green pastures.  Because her nature has been changed!

2 Peter 2:22
The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

People wonder about this Baptist preacher, "Do you miss drinking?"

        "No, I drink all I want to!"


God gave me a new heart.  My old heart longed for things of the world, but my new heart longs for the things of God.

        This doesn't mean I don't backslide.  This doesn't mean I don't still have sinful flesh.  This doesn't mean I can't sometimes squelch out the voice of the Word and start listening to the voice of the world. 

        It means that when I do, I'm a worldly Christian, not being conformed to His image, and though still justified and secure for eternity, I'm not very sanctified or living like it in the meanwhile.  And it means I'm not gonna win others to the right way, because I'm walking in their worldly ways!


It is my belief that when a person is truly saved and seeking to be sanctified, you don't have to bribe them and push them and beg them to walk in the ways of the Word!


I'm thankful that I was raised in a church that preached that if you are saved you ought to live like it, beginning on the inside, AND allow that to work its way out.  In other words, if you're saved you ought to look like it, talk like it, act like it!

        There's very few churches today standing for such things.  By God's grace I want to lead one of those churches!


v. 6          "out of the world"...


v. 11        "in the world"

Which is correct?  Are we in the world or out of it?  Both!  Spiritually we are called out and physically we are still in it!


It would be nice if at the moment of salvation God beamed us up to heaven instantly, but wait a minute, who would be left behind to tell others how they can be so blessed?  I'm glad a preacher pulled over to help my dad 53 years ago, broken down on his motorcycle, in the rain.  He couldn't have done that if he was already in heaven.  I'm glad that shortly before I was born my dad was born again, and then raised me in church.  I'm glad evangelist Dean Blakeney wasn't whisked away to heaven when he got saved, but was left behind to preach in the park in Jacksonville, IL on a weeknight so I could hear and believe for myself!  And now I've been left behind, and so have you.  What will we do with our life?


v. 15        Jesus didn't pray for us to be taken on up, but to be free from the chains of sin while here in order to do His work!


v. 6          "out of the world"...

v. 11                "in the world"...


v. 14                "of the world"

If you are not of the world, then you are not going to be popular, and you will suffer rejection and persecution.  Are you willing to swim upstream?  If so, they will have some names for you.  I used to be 'Father Jerry'.  But when their life is in crisis guess who they will come to for prayer, advice, and a listening ear?!


v. 16                "into the world"

Notice the progression of the four.  We are called out of the world spiritually, but still in the world physically, we are not of the world, and yet we are sent into the world.

        None of this formula works unless we are willing to be different.


Next time we'll see how the Word overcomes the world.  For now, don't give up.  Don't accept defeat.  You've fallen?  Get back up!  Stay in the battle, and you win!

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