Sermon for September 5, 2021

Fixing Human Behavior (Disclaimer: This is DEEP)

John 17:9-19

We closed last week stating that HATE is a cancer.  It is a deeply ingrained flaw, a mutation of God’s original “good” intentions.  It was HATE that led to Cain killing Abel.  And soon, like a plague we see mankind at war with each other.  To add salt to the wound, the world began to celebrate other “gods”, lower case g, rebelling and hating the God that gave them a part of himself, a soul.  This disease called “HATE” feeds the fallen human behavior that leads to so many vices and selfishness.  If you look at the 10 Commandments, (I’d argue that there are 13 in the context”, hate is the opposite of those commands.  Hate leads to hating God, hating others, or hating yourself.  Hate allows you to compete to gain more wealth than you neighbor.  To commit adultery, one must hate their spouse and therefore have an affair.  Well, what does all this mean?  Well, let’s continue the story from where we left off last week.

John 17:9–19 (NIV): 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. * 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 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 are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

  13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 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. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

*In context, Jesus is praying for his disciples.  Remember he had 12 male disciples in his inner circle, but he is also praying for the women that followed him along with as many as 120 additional disciples. Predestination supporters often use these verses completely out of context.

In your notes, you will see that I underlined a perplexing comment made by Jesus.  Jesus asks his Father to sanctify his disciples but then Jesus says that he sanctifies himself.  What does that mean?

Here is where the water begins to get deep…and I warn you that you may not be able to follow.  That is the beauty of it as what I am doing is trying to get your soul’s attention as the truth attacks your human nature.  After all, as verse 17 says, it is truth of God’s word, or straightforward…Jesus, that does the sanctifying.  However, let me show you a verse found earlier in Jesus’ ministry.

Found only in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke we have something that almost all of you are aware of.  For whatever reason, Luke’s account is abbreviated but the same language is used.  These are the verses from Matthew…

Matthew 6:9–13 (KJV 1900): 9 After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed *be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Bold, italic, and underline mine)

*ἁγιασθήτω, (hag-ee-ad’-zo)- sanctified

Now, Jesus is God incarnate.  Let’s pause and explain what that means.  He is God formed in a human body, born into a fallen world, and attached to a fallen human nature.  Throughout Jesus’ life, the God part was at war with the human part.  To prove this point, why else would the devil attempt to tempt Jesus to sin if it weren’t for the human nature part of Jesus’ being?  Insomuch, Jesus was able to sanctify himself by being obedient to God’s plan, even to the end.  Jesus denied his human nature by changing it, perfecting it.  By becoming the unique example of human nature’s perfection, He also enables His followers to become perfect, but only through Him, for we can follow His example only by Him working and acting within us.  That’s why He says that He “sanctifies Himself for them (ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν)”, for all His followers (John 17:19).  By the way, the word for “I” when Jesus says “I sanctify myself” is ἐγώ or ego!

Paul reveals what this is like:

Colossians 1:29 (NKJV): 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

In this way, Jesus is the only answer to the fallen behaviors of humanity.  Jesus’ prayer for his disciples was for his Father to help them overcome themselves and their culture.  Love God, love people, love yourself.  Combat the human nature of hate and division!

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