Fruitful Life @ Trinity
Reconciliation of the World, JOHN 17:20-26, 7th Sunday after Easter C
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        Small Group Bible Study

        September 20, 2018 - 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
        Mark your calendar. We meet every first and third Thursdays of the month for a small group Bible Study at the Dennehys'. Please let us know that you are coming.
      • Psalm 97NRSV

      • John 17:20–26NRSV

  • One day, Joe, Bob and Dave were hiking in a wilderness area when they came upon a large, raging, violent river. They needed to get to the other side, but had no idea of how to do so.
    Joe prayed to God, saying, "Please God, give me the strength to cross this river."
    Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river in about two hours, although he almost drowned a couple of times.
    Seeing this, Dave prayed to God, saying, "Please God, give me the strength and the tools to cross this river."
    Poof! God gave him a rowboat and he was able to row across the river in about an hour, after almost capsizing the boat a couple of times.
    Bob had seen how this worked out for the other two, so he also prayed to God saying, "Please God, give me the strength and the tools, and the intelligence, to cross this river."
    Poof! God turned him into a woman. She look at the map, hiked upstream for a short distance, then walked across the bridge.
    ---
    Talking about prayer, do you know that Jesus prayed for you? I am not asking conceptually that Jesus is praying for us in heaven now, but he literally prayed for you before he went to the cross. John 17 records Jesus’ prayer after the Last Supper. It’s known as his Farewell Prayer or High Priestly Prayer. You are included in that prayer.
    This is what he says,
    John 17:20–21 NRSV
    “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, 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.
    By “these” he meant his disciples. So he said he is asking God not only on behalf of his disciples but also those who WILL believe in him through the word shared by the disciples.
    What does he ask for? He said, “… that they may all be ONE. As you, Father, 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.” (v. 21). This oneness is the core mission of Jesus Christ. Throughout the gospel he revealed his intimacy with God, the Father, as they are ONE, a special relationship that he wants the entire world to enter into.
    All religions talk about oneness of the world. What’s the difference between the oneness Jesus taught and the rest of the religions teach? The reason all religions are seeking this oneness is because we all sense that this world is a broken world—a world of broken relationships. All religions throughout history try to restore this unity of humanity.
    The difference is religions are human attempt to create the oneness through philosophy and self-help. However, we have ignored the sinful nature of humanity that continue to create broken relationships and cannot be recovered by self-help, but we need God’s help.
    Christianity, on the other hand, is God’s attempt to reconcile with us because it’s impossible for sinful human beings to reconcile with one another. Jesus Christ is the price God pays for this reconciliation and redemption.
    It is a triangle relationship. Each of us will reconcile with God and the evidence of that reconciliation is shown in our ability to have a healthy relationship with others. So, a Christian is known by his or her relationships with others. If someone calls himself or herself a Christian but his or her relationships stinks, he or she is a Christian in name only, a CINO.
    That’s why when the lawyers asked Jesus what the greatest commandment is, Jesus gave them two because he knew what they were thinking about. They wanted to justify their prejudice against others by claiming that loving God is the greatest and only commandment you need.
    However, by including loving one another as part of the Great Commandment, Jesus was implying that, if you don’t love your neighbors as yourself, your love for God is fake. Loving others is the proof that you love God.
    A. W. Tozer described the triangle relationship this way, “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.”
    Now right before he went to the cross, Jesus envisioned the day the world will become one through this triangle relationship. How do we become one and fulfill Jesus’ vision? Let us use the word ONE as an acrostic to cover the three key elements of the reconciliation of the world.

    Obey Jesus Christ to Know God

    O in ONE is for “Obey Jesus Christ to know God.” Americans are not comfortable with the word “obey” because we emphasize human rights and equality. So, we are not used to obedience. It’s a tough lesson to learn.
    Why should we obey Jesus Christ? Because God sent him to make God known. Only in obeying him, we are able to know God. He said,
    John 17:25-26
    Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
    Jurgen Moltmann, one of the greatest German theologians of the 20th century who is still alive today said, “Thank God for Jesus Christ because without him, I would have no way to know God.”
    The point is without Jesus our understanding of God is nothing but philosophical or conceptual because human beings have lost the ability to know God. John Calvin called this “Total Depravity.” Human beings are totally depraved because of we are blinded by sin. Jesus is God in flesh.
    Therefore, obeying Jesus Christ is the only way to know God. Only through him we are reconciled to God.

    Nurture God’s Love and Presence in You

    N is for nurture God’s love and presence in you.
    Jesus said in verse 26, “I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.
    Our reconciliation with God brings God’s love in us, and that’s how we are able to reconcile with one another. Without God’s sacrificial love in us, we don’t know what Agape Love means and, without it, we can’t rebuild this world into oneness because human love is extremely limited. We are not only depraved to know God, but also depraved to love others as self.
    That’s why when you are able to have healthy relationship with others, it reveals that you have God’s love in you. Along with that love, the presence of Christ is also in you. Your ability to get along with people is a sign and symbol of your salvation through reconciliation with God. You are in tune with God—the tuning fork. So,
    1. Obey Jesus Christ to Know God
    2. Nurture God’s love and presence in you.

    Extend the Reconciliation Until the World Becomes One

    As mentioned above, we are reconciled with God because of the message shared by the disciples and we become one with God, just as Jesus Christ is one with God and other believers are one with God. Those of us have become one with God are responsible to share this good news with others.
    The Bible says in
    2 Corinthians 5:18, 20a
    All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation … So we are ambassadors for Christ.”
    Notice it says that we are given the ministry of reconciliation. We are diplomats from the Kingdom of God. We are piano tuners to tune the pianos to the tuning fork so that every human being is in tune with God and therefore automatically in tune with one another.
    So there you have it: the three components of reconciliation of the world to become one with God.
    1. Obey Jesus Christ to know God
    2. Nurture God’s Love and Presence in You
    3. Extend the Reconciliation Until the World Becomes One
    Today we are observing communion, which is a Christian symbol of oneness. As we eat from one bread which is the symbol of the body of Christ, we remember that we are one body. As we drink the wine which is the symbol of the blood of reconciliation through the love of Christ, this love of reconciliation is now in us.
    Let us be one. Amen!
      • John 17:20–21NRSV

      • John 17:25–26NRSV

      • John 17:26NRSV

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