************ Sermon on John 17:23 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on March 11, 2007


John 17:20-26
John 17:23
"How Much God Loves Us"

Introduction
Topic: Love
Subtopic: He Never Stops Loving Us
Index:
Date:
Title:

The minister was retiring, and had delivered his last sermon from the pulpit where he had preached many years. One of the faithful members stopped as she went out the door and asked, "Do you know what is the most important thing you said in all these years?" "What was that?" the minister inquired. "You told us we cannot do anything to get God to stop loving us!" was the quiet reply.
The most important thing that you can learn in life is that God never stops loving you! Peter lied about being one of the disciples, but God loved him (Matt 26:70). The mothers and their small children were a problem for the disciples, but God loved them (Matt 19:14). The woman at the well at first refused to give Jesus a drink of water, but God loved her (John 4:9). Pick any Bible saint and any sin God still loved them. And, no matter what your life has been like, God still loves you!

As we continue our observance of Lent on this Lord's Supper Sunday, I want us to look at God's love God's love that never stops, God's love that never lets go, God's love that is always greater than our sin.

I Christ's Prayer About Unity
A Most Christians recognize that in John 17 we hear Jesus praying. The setting is probably the upper room. Jesus has washed the feet of His disciples. Jesus has predicted His betrayal. Jesus has foretold Peter's denial. Jesus has instituted the Lord's Supper. And now, just a few hours before His arrest and trial and crucifixion we hear Jesus praying.

Jesus prays for Himself. Jesus prays for His disciples. Jesus prays for all believers.

B Usually, when we look at Jesus' prayer for all believers we focus on His prayer for unity. Unity is always a concern. We wonder about our unity with Classis and the denomination because of various issues. We all realize that because of sin our unity as a congregation is a very fragile thing.

So, we hear Jesus praying that we may be one just as the Father and Son are one. He prays that we may be brought to complete unity.
Topic: Church
Subtopic: Analogies of
Index: 4142
Date:
Title:

In one of my favorite Peanuts cartoons, Lucy demands that Linus change TV channels and then threatens him with her fist if he doesn't.
"What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus.
"These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they're nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold."
"Which channel do you want?" asks Linus.
Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why can't you guys get organized like that?"

-- Bruce Shelley, What is the Church, p. 38.
Lucy's fingers are a picture of the church. Individually we aren't much but together we are an awesome weapon against sin and Satan and all the forces of evil. Individually we aren't much but together we are a witness the world cannot ignore.

C Unity is always at the forefront when we take the Lord's Supper. The Apostle Paul says that "we, who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf" (1 Cor 10:17). Our eating and drinking in the Lord's Supper declares our union with God and with one another. And, our eating and drinking in the Lord's Supper unites us with one another.

II Christ's Prayer About God's Love
A As I already said, usually when we look at Jesus' prayer for all believers we focus on His prayer for unity because unity is always a concern. This past week, for the first time, I noticed something in John 17 that is even more important than Jesus' prayer for unity. Jesus wants believers to know that God the Father loves them as much as He loves God the Son. We hear this in verses 23 and 26:
(John 17:23) ... you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

(John 17:26) I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.

God the Father loves us as much as He loves God the Son. God loves all true believers as much as He loves His Son. Those who are "in Christ" are loved as much as God loves Christ Himself.

My response to this? Wow. Awesome. Amazing. Wonderful.

B Think, for a moment, of the love relationship between the Father and the Son. It is an eternal love. It is a love that is wider and longer and higher and deeper than any other love. It is a love that is boundless and endless. It is a love that is beyond our ability to know or to comprehend (cf Eph 3:17-19).

The Father loves everything about the Son. He says, "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Lk 3:22). The Father loves the Son's obedience. The Father loves the Son's sacrifice. The Father loves the Son's humiliation. The Father loves the Son's servant nature. The Father loves the Son's righteousness. The Father loves the Son's teaching. The Father loves the way the Son shepherds His flock. The Father loves the way Jesus prays for His own and calls them by name. The Father loves the Son's compassion. The Father loves how the Son's entire aim is the glory of God. The Father loves the Son's beauty and purity. I repeat, the Father loves everything about the Son!

The Father loves the Son because the Son is the image of the Father (Col 1:15). God is pleased to have all His fullness dwell in the Son (Col 1:19).

C Isn't it an awesome love that the Father has for the Son? Well, the Father has the exact same love for you and me and every other true child of His.

Through the years I have met with many Christians who struggle to accept that God loves them. They think God cannot possibly love them because of who they are or what they have done. They think they are beyond God's love.

No believer should ever struggle with how much God loves us. God loves all who are in Christ as much as He loves Christ.
(John 17:23) ... you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

(John 17:26) I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.

How much does God love us? God loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son. Imagine that! God loves us so much that He gave up the Son He loves. God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son in the flesh. God loves us so much that He sent His beloved Son to the cross.

Isn't this amazing? Isn't this awesome? Isn't this wonderful?

In this season of Lent, on this Lord's Supper Sunday, remember and believe that the Father loves you and me and every one of His children. He loves us with a perfect love. He loves us with an endless love. He loves us in the same way that He loves the Son.
Topic: Love
Subtopic: Of God
Index: 2206
Date: 2/2001.101
Title: Which Son to Save?

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church's pastor stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon for the evening, briefly introduced a guest minister who was in the service that evening. The pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share a few words.
With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak, "A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast," he began, "when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized."
The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were looking somewhat interested in his story. The aged minister continued with his story, "Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy would he throw the other end of the life line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian and he also knew that his son's friend was not.
The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. "As the father yelled out, 'I love you, son!' he threw the life line to his son's friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered."
By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister's mouth. "The father," he continued, "knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son's friend."
"How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us. Our heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept His offer to rescue you and take hold of the life line He is throwing out to you."
With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. The pastor walked to the pulpit and delivered a sermon.
Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man's side. "That was a nice story," politely started one of the boys, "but I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian."
"Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his sorrowful face, and he once again looked up at the boys and said, "It sure isn't very realistic, is it? But I'm standing here today to tell you that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see .... I was that father and your pastor is my son's friend."

How much does God the Father love us? He loves us as much as He loves His Son. What an amazing, awesome love.

D I don't want to give you the impression that the two things Jesus prays about are disconnected from one another. For, there is a connection between His prayer for unity and His prayer about love.

First, both our unity and God's love for us is like the unity and love between the Father and the Son. Jesus prays we will be one just like the Father and Son are one. Jesus prays we will know we are loved in the same way as the Father loves the Son. Our unity and love is like the unity and love between the Father and the Son.

Second, we need to realize it is the Father's love that unites us. The Father's love unites us with God. The Father's love unites us with one another. Our unity is not to be found in warm fuzzies, or in similar viewpoints, or in shared prejudices, or in a common culture. Our unity is to be found in the Father's love for us as seen in the Son.

Conclusion
In this season of Lent, on this Lord's Supper Sunday, we rejoice in the Father's love.

How much does God love us? As much as He loves His Son! Isn't that awesome to contemplate as we eat and drink the Lord's Supper?!
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