Sunday, May 24, 2009

Easter 7 Sermon

When we are about to leave for a trip or we know that we will be parted from family and friends for a period of time what do we say? We might simply say "good-by" and leave it at that.

But sometimes we want to make our true and genuine feelings known about that person so we might also say "GODSPEED!" or "God be with you" or "God keep you" or even "God bless you!" When we mention God we want to express the wish that God would watch over that friend and protect him. Jesus expresses something similar in what has been known as his high priestly prayer. In this prayer Jesus prays that His Father would keep His believers. This prayer says something about Jesus and it says something about you! Jesus is concerned that you be kept safe and secure. Let's see how Jesus prayed for the people He loves!

I. Jesus prays for your protection.
A. Gone is the security of Jesus' physical presence.
1. He had guarded His disciples while on the earth, but now He was leaving them.
2. They would have to remain in a world that hated them. "I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (vv.14-15)

B. The unbelieving world is the Christian's enemy.
1. The world's prince is known as "the evil one" Satan who intends to destroy Christians."… because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (v.15)
2. The world regards god's grace as foolishness.
3. The world calls evil good and good evil. That is what we are up against.
4. The world's priorities thus become different from that of the child of God.

We need protection because we live in a world that has not changed its attitude toward Christ and His followers. Did you ever notice that?

When was the last time you heard of a landmark Supreme Court decision regarding some of the lunatic fringe religion? Satan knows what he's doing. He's got those who are his all stowed away in his back pocket. Instead, he spends the majority of his time tempting and aiming his darts and arrows at those who follow Jesus who is "the way, the truth and the life". Thus we need Jesus now more then ever! We need Jesus to pray for us, "God keep you and bless you". God is able to keep us. But how?

II. Jesus has the means to protect us.
A. The revelation of the father that Jesus has given is that means by which He protects us.
1. The Father's love gives joyous security "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name; these that thou gave me I have kept and none of them is love except for the son of perdition; that the Scriptures might be fulfilled" (vv.12-13)
2. The Father's love makes it possible to respond with love even to the world's hatred.

B. The Word of the Father that Jesus has given us (v.14)
1. That Word, as it has come to us in Scripture, enables us to shun false teaching that would destroy of our faith.
2. The Scriptures guard our faith and thereby our unity in Christ " And now I am no more in the world but these are in the world…Holy Father keep through thine own name those whom thou hast give me that they may be one as we are one." (v.11). We know the Father's love and persevere in faith through the Word. God protects us by the means of Grace. In His Word we received the promises that we need.

When we cling to those promises we have the Savior's guarantee that we be preserved and kept. That is God's way of saying "God keep you!"

III. Jesus as He prayed is able to keep us. There is a divine purpose in His protection.
A. We Christians have a job to do in this world. "And thou has sent me into the world so have I also sent them into the world". (v.18)
1. We are sent to teach the Father's Word.
2. We are sent to hallow God's name by living a godly life.

B. We need to be renewed in consecration, "And for their sake I sanctify Myself that they also might be sanctified through the truth." (v.19)
1. So that we pursue our task with an single-mindedness of purpose.
2. So that while in this world, we would not be caught up in this world to be part of the world. We are kept in the world for a purpose. Jesus has a good reason to pray for you that the Father would keep you. You are to be about your Father's business being salt and light.

We you say to someone else "God keep you" you are not saying empty words. You are reinforcing Christ's own prayer for His own! That prayer relates to a real need, reminds us of divine power and protection, and directs us to our purpose in this world. May God keep you as you are His salt and light! In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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