The Holy Gospel according to St John 17:20-26 Glory to You O Lord!
17:20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 17:21 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. 17:22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 17:23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 17:24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 17:25 “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 17:26 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.” The Gospel of the Lord!! Praise to You O Christ
CHILDREN’S SERMON TIME!
Remember the Nails of Jesus…don’t ever forget how much he loves you….so much that “he took the nails for me!” living he loved you, dying he saved you, rising he carried…my sins far away… freely
O glorious day!
One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. 16:17 While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” 16:18 She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 16:19 But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 16:20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews 16:21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” 16:22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 16:23 After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. 16:24 Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 16:26 Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 16:27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 16:28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 16:29 The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 16:30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 16:31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 16:32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 16:33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 16:34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.
I just received a story yesterday about a friend of a Friend of mine. Perhaps you can relate:
STORY OF PETER:
Dear Pastor Jon,
Mr Peter had an important job interview to attend at 10am but his pregnant wife developed complications at 9am. He decided to take the wife to the hospital and leave for the interview thereafter but on their way to the hospital, the taxi broke down. It was already 10:30am before he could get another taxi. He arrived at the hospital at 11am, dropped the wife and used the same taxi to go for the interview. He arrived at the interview venue at 12noon (2hours late!!).
He rang the bell but no one opened the door. Earlier at 10am, the mail delivery company had rang the bell but no one opened the door too. When the door was finally opened, Mr Peter said “I’m sorry, I came……….wanting to apologize for coming late but the Secretary of this important Institution interrupted before he could finish his statement and ushered him to the Board room. The Secretary said, I apologize Mr Peter for keeping you waiting since 10a.m., we actually heard when the bell rang at 10am but we were held up in a meeting with our company suppliers… However we have sat since 8am to deliberate on your job specification, your office and the salary. Mr Peter was baffled and said, “Ma’am, I haven’t been interviewed yet’’.
The Madam answered him and said, “We decided not to conduct the interview at least to save time and also save the interviewees money on transport, so we looked at the papers for the most appropriate person we want and we opted for you. You won’t be disappointed. You’ll be shown your office, your secretary and the driver assigned to drive your company’s allotted vehicle. You’ll be on probation for 2 yrs.
Mr Peter got the job!!! On his way out, his phone rang and it was his wife. She said, “Honey, I was delivered of a bouncing baby boy!”
It was their fifth child and the only male child, which was considered a special blessing within their culture. He immediately called the child “Miracle.” Because He got a double miracle the same day! All the disappointments turned out to favor him. God positioned the mail delivery man to ring the bell at 10am. God also held them up in the meeting until Mr Peter arrived.
Note: You might be held up by issues in your life and hope might be diminishing and you think the chance is gone. But you know what? God’s waiting for you to release His favour, so don’t go back along the way, don’t quit, don’t be upset by what you face along the way.
In fact, God has already deliberated on your specifications. One more thing, you don’t have to go through any interview, since you have all the qualifications God wants..
My prayers for you:
1. God will position somebody at the right place and the right time for you who will ring the bell in your favour.
2. God will turn all your disappointments to be a blessing for you.
3. Every positive meeting will end in your favour and every negative meeting will scatter in your favour.
Remain blessed — Best wishes from my heart.
Joshua Machinga, Kitale, Kenya, East Africa
Once upon a time, there was a man who was having a bad day…
Ever had one of those?? For this man, there were several serious matters that had remained unresolved—and then he got another message that made things even more complicated and less likely that the Problems would be resolved.
Have you ever felt you had unresolved problems, and then an additional circumstance makes things even more complicated??
Often times, when we are younger, perhaps we even see less options for resolving difficulty. This may be because we have a limited perspective. You know what parents tell teenagers, “You’re Only 14 or Your just 18 years old… wait til you’re my age(!!), then you will see that this Little Problem You’re Facing is Nothing!!”
I want to say sincerely, that when we were teenagers, we did see our problems as really big, and really serious….but thankfully, we waited and/or worked to get through those times…and we did see life in a new perspective—this is the wonder of maturity.
However, in life—you will face new problems, perhaps bigger or more expensive problems. It kind of goes with the territory…if you make more money, you’ll have more expensive repairs to your toys. As we age, our bodies may cause us worry too—instead of a sprained ankle from soccer game, it’s a broken hip from losing our balance at home—older people face problems too – such as lonliness, missing the friends who are no longer in this world…as we’ve heard out parents and senior saints say—“I’ve outlived all of my family members, all my friends are gone.”
Talk about sadness or a “big Problem” . . . and yet we don’t give up…..we place our trust, our very lives and yep….all that stuff we either have now or used to have…we place these things, including our friendships—into the hands of God.
This is the important step. To pass our burdens from the weight of our shoulder to the weightlessness of god’s strong Arm…or as might be even more helpful image—lay our burden(s) down at the foot of the cross. None of us has suffered as Jesus did—remember he died for sins, (if it is a regretful sin that burdens you—lay that down at the feet of Jesus, place it into his nail scarred hands—and Jesus will graciously receive this from you and me—for when he pronounced “It Is Finished,” He already received all the regrets and offenses we would ever commit.
In the story from Acts – we heard how Paul and Silas were doing serious deliverance work—first of all – they were telling people about Jesus. They were proclaiming the message about god’s love through Christ—for deliverance from sin and the old life of continual need for forgiveness by substitutionary sacrifice. Now the message was simply to “BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND YOU WILL BE SAVED.” JESUS PAID IT ALL – ALL TO HIM I OWE! AS THE OLD HYMN STATES.
THE GOSPEL MESSAGE IS VERY SIMPLE—BELIEVE IN JESUS, BE BAPTIZED. BUT WE SPEND OUR LIFE-TIME FILLING IN THE BLANKS AS TO EXACTLY WHAT THAT MEANS.
BELIEVING ENTAILS EMBRACING AND TAKING ON THIS TRUTH. AS WE BELIEVE ON CHRIST AS SAVIOR—THEN WE BEGIN TO CULTIVATE HIS LIVING PRESENCE INTO OUR LIVES. OUR PERSPECTIVE CHANGES…NOW WE (THE GOOD NEWS) HAVE A SAVIOR, WE HAVE A LORD OVER US WHO LOVES US, WE HAVE ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS US AND WHO KNOWS WHAT WE ARE GOING THROUGH—THE GOOD THINGS AND THE HARDSHIPS.
AS PAUL AND SILAS WERE TELLING THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS, THERE WAS THIS GIRL…WHO WAS OPPRESSED BY AN EVIL OR UNFAMILIAR SPRIT—YES, IT SEEMED LIKE WHAT WE MIGHT THINK WAS A GIFT—BUT IT KEPT HER IN BONDAGE, AND EVIL MEN WERE PROFITING FROM THIS DEMONIC spirit.
After being annoyed by the Demon in the Woman, who was distracting Paul and Silas Teaching and Preaching…Paul Rebuked the Spirit commanding it to come out of the Girl. And it goes out…with the Implication being that Now She iS FREE—and God’s Powerful Word of Salvation will continue to flow out to All People.
That is a Story of Deliverance.
Next we hear of Paul and Silas in Jail – and though they had been “Severely Beaten and are now in a Terrible Dungeon, in Chains, They are Singing praises and Thanksgivings to God!” This is hard for us to Imagine that they would be Happy and Singing after being physically hurt and publically humiliated.
I hope that we can learn from their Example of Faith and Hope…way beyond our Earthly Expectations, These men had Hope and Faith and Genuine Joy in the midst of their Suffering—for Christ. So great was the Hope In them that they could sing in the midst of a Damp, Dark Miserable Prison Cell…let alone that they have been arrested and beaten against the Law *We would call this in-justice, if the state was to act against us, against what the Law Says can be done against a Citizen.
They Trusted God and Kept on Praising Jesus!
But the story’s not over yet. Because next thing we know there’s this Big Earthquake…did an Angel enter the prison?? Paul and Silas are freed, but they are also obedient and they don’t run out of the Jail.
Once Again, it’s a combination of Faith and Obedience to the Earthly Powers that be…and then the Movement of the Holy Spirit OPENS THE DOOR to Paul and Silas Sharing the Gospel – again… they were in chains, now they are free—to share the GOSPEL!!!
Are you getting the moral of this story—Though Times of Suffering come, as we Trust Christ, remembering His Suffering can get us through the times of Trial…and then, as we Experience Deliverance—we are then able to Share the gospel even more powerfully than we did before!!
It’s the Life that is Lived with Jesus at the Center—this Gives us HOPe and Comfort—even when we go through serious trials of whatever sort. This is’nt just for Old People, and it’s not just for People on the other side of the world, like my story about PETER…but it’s for you and me, whether your 9, 29, or 97…God is working as we are praying. God is Good and desires to Set us Free from Burdens and greatest Freedom we have is to KNOW JESUS and the POWER of his Resurrection Life Living Inside of ours.
Finally, imagine the life situation of the jailer, his job depended on him keeping the prisoners from escaping. Such as the world was in those days, failure was not an option. If the inmates escaped—he would not just get relieved from duty—with or without pay—it was a death sentence!!!
After the Earthquake, we note that The Jailer assumed the worse! This is good for us to hear—we (I) more often assume the worst!!! Often times, we have a catastrophic view of life,….kind of like when we started, from a young person’s point of view—a teenage pregnancy, or a secret relationship or bad grades at school might seem like the worst possible thing that could ever happen. We feel the guilt, the shame, the ruination of our life – too much to bear…and like the jailer, we feel death might be a better answer. But paul shouts out to the jailer, “Don’t Harm Yourself, We’re all Here!!”
Not only is the Jailer’s Life Saved, but then the Dark Door of Death is Blown off it’s hinges!! The Jailer asks, “what must I do to be SAVED!??!”
The Answer is, (EVERYONE PLEASE JOIN ME FROM VS. 31 OF THE GOSPEL READING),
“BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS AND YOU WILL BE SAVED, YOU AND YOUR HOUSEHOLD.”
THE GOSPEL MESSAGE IS SO POWERFUL, AND CANNOT BE LIMITED TO JUST ONE FAMILY MEMBER—BUT THE ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD, THE WHOLE FAMILY IS TO BE SAVED. AND IF THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION WORKS THROUGH AN ENTIRE FAMILY IN ONE DAY—WE CAN BELIEVE IT WILL BE WORKING IN AND THROUGH OUR FAMILIES, AFFECTING OUR NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS,
THE GOSPEL IS THE POWER OF GOD TO SAVE US FROM ANY EARTHLY PROBLEM,
AND THE GOSPEL OF JESUS OVERCOMES THE SPIRITUAL DEMONS, NOT EVEN A JAIL CELL OR A PRISON SENTENCE CAN OVERCOME THE POWER OF CHRIST AT WORK IN US—AS WE PRAISE HIM FOR ALL OF HIS MERCY. AS WE TRUST IN THE WORK HE HAS DONE UPON THE CROSS.
THIS IS THE POWER OF GOD AT WORK IN YOU. LET US TRUST GOD MORE AND MORE—EVEN AS WE MUST LIVE IN THIS WORLD WITH ITS TOILS AND SNARES.