“Knowing God’s Plan for Your Life!”
John 17:1-5 (NASB)
January 7, 2018
by Pastor Jerry Ingalls
INTRODUCTION TO NEW SERMON SERIES: Living the Life God has Planned! In this series, we’ll walk through one of the richest prayers in the Bible—Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer—so that we may learn how to live the life God has planned for each of us, as Jesus prayed.
Why is this important? Why should you care? Because Jesus’ prayer in John 17 comes at the end of His final teaching before His betrayal, arrest, and death. If you knew you were about to die what would you communicate to your family and how would you pray for them? Would you be very clear about what is important? What would you pray over your loved ones? I hope someone in your family would write it down so your loved ones could read it in the future! That is what we are studying the next 6 weeks.
John 13—17 capture Jesus’ last teachings before He was betrayed and arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane in John 18. Jesus taught His followers along the way; not only with words, but primarily with His life. Teaching us that the Christian life is truly something we have to do together “along the way.” We see this displayed in the context of our Scripture lesson today. Allow me to briefly sketch the events leading up to Jesus’ prayer:
- Jesus washes the feet of His disciples (His closest followers), teaching them that they must be servants to lead in His kingdom. He ended with this uncompromising truth, “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you” (John 13:1-20);
- Jesus enjoys His last supper with His disciples and ordains the Lord’s Supper for all future disciples of Jesus; giving us the words of remembrance at this meal: “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19; John 13:21-30); (we will share in communion in our response time)
- Jesus revolutionizes for all time our relationship with God by giving us God’s clear plan for our lives; that which we are commanded to obey: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35; 15:12-17).
- Jesus clearly teaches about the promised Holy Spirit in John 14—16, who is the One who empowers us to live according to God’s plan for our lives; stating, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26; 16:5-15).
Let’s look at the first 5 verses of Jesus’ prayer, when Jesus prays for Himself. Listen to John 17:1-5. [Read text]
Are you ready for the big take-home truth for this sermon series? God’s plan for your life is for you to become the best version of you to the glory of God! God’s plan for you is to live the abundant life (John 10:10). Does a life of flourishing and thriving sound attractive? It should; it does to me and that’s the whole point! It’s attractive on purpose! The best you gives God maximum glory and that attracts people to Jesus!
As we see from Jesus’ prayer, the ultimate purpose for our lives is to bring God glory; the more the better!
Listen to some highlights of John 17:1-5:
v.1) “Glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You…”
v.4) “I glorified You on the earth…”
v.5) “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
Jesus’ prayer for Himself introduces this conversation: What does it mean to glorify God and can we do it too?
God’s glory is found in God’s nature and character. God has glory in and of Himself, just like the sun shines in the sky in and of itself. God brings glory like the sun brings light. To glorify God is to make God known to the world; to manifest God’s character; to reveal God’s nature. Just like the moon reflects the light of the sun even though the moon in and of itself is a cold dark stone without any visible glory. We are the moon and like the moon reflects the glory of the sun, we can reflect the glory of the Son!
What does this look like? In very practical everyday ways: it means believing what Jesus believed about God and living like Jesus lived: loving people because God first loved you; serving people because God first served you; forgiving people because God first forgave you. Anytime you do these things in the name of Jesus Christ—love unconditionally, forgive freely, serve wholeheartedly—you are bringing glory to God.
You are showing people who God is and what He is like, especially those who don’t know Jesus. And you do this best when you are at your best. God’s plan for your life is for you to become the best version of you to the glory of God!
Do you know how to become the best version of you to the glory of God? Jesus testified in John 17:3-4, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”
The best version of you is the one who trusts Jesus and wants to become more like Him every day. But it’s your choice. You can be saved without living the life God has planned for you. It’s true; there are plenty of miserable Christians filling the pews of churches around the world. But God’s best version of you will bring glory to God by every day trusting Jesus to love people because God first loved you; by forgiving people because God first forgave you; by serving people because God first served you. Anytime you do these things in the name of Jesus Christ—love unconditionally, forgive freely, serve wholeheartedly—you are bringing glory to God. The reason God wants you to become the best version of you is because His glory is at stake. God did not save you so that you could contain His glory, but so that you would display His glory! [Read 2x]
But don’t miss it! You can’t become the best version of you without trusting Jesus first! The first and essential step in knowing God’s will and understanding how to live His plan for you is to trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is the primary thing! It starts with you personally receiving eternal life with the God who desires to give you the best version of you. He not only wants to save you, but to give you His ABUNDANCE! (See Appendix A for more information on how to take this first step.)
If you have not yet trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, we want to help you take that next step. Please come and talk to me after the service or talk to one of the Christians here today; this church is here to help you take this essential first step in becoming the best version of you that God is calling you to be.
This morning, we are each invited to respond to this message by sharing in the Lord’s Supper (communion). I referenced earlier in the message that in the Upper Room Jesus ordained the Lord’s Supper for us to share in together, as the people of God. This is commanded of us as a sign of God’s glory in us and through us as Christians. Please know that Christ’s body was broken for the forgiveness of sin and His blood was shed as the eternal seal of God’s covenant between God and humanity. It is only through faith in Jesus that your sins are forgiven and that you have received eternal life. This is one of the ways we make visible God’s glory in us and through us until He returns in the fullness of His glory. Come Lord Jesus. Amen. The ushers will serve you and as you hold the bread and cup, prepare your hearts to take part in communion. Then I will lead us as one body.
Appendix A: What is the eternal life?
Eternal life is only available through faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Romans 1:16). Eternal life is a right relationship with God forever. That is only possible through putting your full trust (faith) in what Jesus Christ did for you on the Cross. On the Cross, Jesus Christ took on Himself God’s wrath for sin (propitiation). That is why Jesus died; to pay the penalty we owe for our sin (justification), because God’s glory demands that the guilt of sin that leads to death be washed away by the life of innocent blood (atonement).
Because none of us are innocent, we were unable to pay the debt due to God for our falling short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). God in His perfect and holy character, paid the debt for us by sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place to take from us the penalty for violating God’s perfect law (Romans 6:23; John 3:16). This is God’s love! We are the ones who deserve God’s eternal judgment, but once and for all Jesus took our sin and the death it causes upon Himself, making the way for people to have eternal life through Jesus Christ whom the Father sent. God did this first and foremost to display His glory to His creation by satisfying His nature and character.
But there is more to God’s display of His glory through Jesus Christ because eternal life is more than God taking death from us; God once and for all put life into us! God literally, not figuratively or symbolically, but in actuality through the Holy Spirit, put His glory in us. Jesus not only took our sin upon Himself, but He gave us by God’s grace, His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21) That means that upon being saved by God, you immediately are a partaker of God’s glory. His eternal life has come to you. Maranatha.