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Jesus Prays for Our Purity

(John 17:17-19)

I. Introduction.
A. Orientation.
This morning, were continuing to look
At the prayer Jesus offered for His church
As He was preparing to leave the world
And return to His Father.

On the evening when Jesus was to be betrayed,

Having already shared the Passover with His disciples
Showing them how He would fulfill it
Through His sacrifice for them
Having finished giving them His final instructions;
Judas having already left to tell the Jewish leaders
Where they would be able to find Him;
Knowing that in just a little while
He would leave with them to go to Gethsemane
To pray for the strength to face His Fathers wrath
As it was poured out on Him for their sakes;
He offered this prayer for His disciples
And for every one of us here who have trusted Him.

He prayed first for the strength

To carry out His Fathers work,
And that the Father might in turn glorify Him
That He might be able to gain eternal life
Through His life, sufferings and death,
So that He could give it
To those the Father was giving Him
That He might give it to us.

Then He began to pray for His disciples

For those that believed in Him then,
As well as those who would believe in the future:
He was leaving,
But there was still much work that needed to be done
Many sheep to be gathered in.

And so He prayed for our protection

That the Father would guard us
As He had done for His disciples
While He was on earth
That we might eventually reach heaven
And the glory He has prepared for us there.

He prayed this openly,

So we might have the joy of knowing
That through His prayer

Through His mediation in heaven

We would make it.

He prayed that the Father would keep us

From the two things that could destroy us:
The kingdom of the evil one in this world,
And the sin thats in our hearts.

Last week, He prayed that the Father

Would protect us from the first danger:
The evil one who controls this world,
And from the people of his kingdom
Who will hate us
Because we belong to Jesus and His kingdom
And who will hate our message
Because it convicts them of sin.
He didnt ask the Father to take us out of the world
Because we still have His work to do
But to protect us from the world.

B. Preview.
This morning, He prays that the Father
Would protect us from the second thing
That could at least keep us from doing His work,

And at most destroy us, but for His grace: and that is our sin.
He prays that we might be holy in heart and purpose.

Lets consider three things:

1. Jesus petition: that His Father would make us holy.
2. Jesus reason: because He has sent us into the world.
3. And Jesus means: His truth and His Spirit.

II. Sermon.
A. First, lets look at Jesus petition: that the Father would make us holy.
He prays in verse 17, Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth (v. 17).
The word sanctify means to consecrate or dedicate,
To set apart from one thing to something else,
To make something holy or to purify:
Hes praying that we would be cleansed
From what gets in the way of our doing
What He put us into the world to do:
That we would be purified from our sin.

Sin, by its nature, is opposed to God;

It stands against everything He wants,
Everything He knows is good.

God tells us what is good in His Law.

Paul writes in Romans 7:12, The Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and
righteous and good.

Sin is everything thats opposed to that Law.
John writes in 1 John 3:4, Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness;
and sin is lawlessness.
He sent Jesus into the world to destroy sin.
John continues in verse 5, You know that He [i.e., Jesus] appeared in order to take
away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
Thats why Jesus prays here for our sanctification
That we might be purified from sin.

Sin can also be characterized as selfishness:

It moves us to focus on what we want
Rather than on what God wants;
On putting our needs and even our wants
Above the needs of others.

God calls us to serve Him

By becoming servants to others.
If were constantly serving ourselves,
Well never do what He calls us to do.

And so Jesus prays

That the Father would sanctify us
That He would set us apart from sin and selfishness.

B. The reason Jesus prays for our purity

Is because of what Hes calling us to do:

To go to the world with His Gospel.
He prays in verse 18, As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the
As long as sin is strong in our hearts,
Well be vulnerable to the worlds temptations.
As long as were living for ourselves,
We wont want the inconvenience
Of taking His Gospel to others.

Sending an unsanctified believer into the world

And I mean someone personally unsanctified
Is an errand doomed to failure:
Its like hiring someone whos greedy to guard a bank,
Or a drug addict to watch over a pharmacy,
Or employing a sluggard to do some hard work.

As long as we want the things of the world

Well be easy prey for the world
We wont want to leave Vanity Faire,
And will be powerless against it.

As long as were only interested in serving ourselves,

We wont be able to get down to doing the hard work
Our Lord calls us to do.

Jesus had to be sanctified

Before He could do the work

His Father had called Him to:
He says in John 10:35-36, If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came
(and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father
sanctified and sent into the world, You are blaspheming, because I said, I am
the Son of God?
And He will tell us in verse 19 of our text
That before He could sanctify us,
He had to sanctify Himself.

This doesnt mean

He had the same problems we have
He was never guilty of sin or selfishness:
But He was set apart
And sent into the world by His Father
To do a particular work;
And He singularly pursued that work
Without letting anything get in His way.

If we are to do the work He calls us to,

We must also be sanctified:

The sin in our hearts must be broken

And if we are believers,
It has been broken by the Holy Spirit

The sin that remains must be put to death
This is also something the Spirit does,
But we are involved in it

And with that sin, our self-centeredness must also die

Our desire to serve ourselves
And we must put on the heart of a servant
If we are to follow Jesus example
If we are to have the kind of devotion
We need to advance Gods kingdom.

Thats why Jesus prays for us.

C. Finally, lets consider the means Jesus prays

The Father will use to sanctify us:
The truth made powerful by the Spirit.

He prays in verse 17, Sanctify them in the truth.

Or more accurately, Purity them by means of the truth.
What truth is He referring to?
Theres only one truth
By which we can know whats good and evil,
By which the Lord will do this work: His Word.
Jesus says, Your word is truth (v. 18).

God shows us that He exists in nature.

He tells us something of His moral standard in our consciences.

But its only in His Word

That we have the clear revelation
Of who He is of His holy character
And what He wants for our lives
In His Law.

Its only in His Word

That He has given us His Gospel
Which alone is able to free us from our sin and selfishness
And give us the power to keep that Law.
(Gospel call)

And its only His Spirit

Who makes the Gospel powerful to save and transform our lives
Who enables us to believe,
Who frees us from sin,
And gives us the ability to obey.

This is why Jesus was sanctified

And sent into the world by His Father.

This is why He sanctified Himself

Why He set Himself apart to do His Fathers work,


Why He set His eyes on the cross,

And wouldnt turn to the left or to the right
It was so that He might give us His Spirit
That we might be sanctified
That we might be set apart for His service
That He might send us to the world.
Jesus prays in verse 19, For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also
may be sanctified in truth.

Jesus prays that we might be purified,

So that we might be effective
In bringing His Gospel to others.

D. So what should we do?

First, we should remember
That this is our purpose in the world
This is what He calls us to do.
This is why were here and not in heaven.

Second, we should remember

That Jesus is praying for us
That we will be able to do
And to do well
What He has called us to do
And that the Father hears


And answers His prayers

As an encouragement.

But third, we must also remember

That theres something we need to do:
We need to use the means
Jesus prayed His Father would make effective
In purifying our lives:

We need to be in His Word,

Studying it, meditating on it,
Letting it point out our sins,
Purposing to turn from
The things we know were doing that are wrong,
And to begin to do the things
Were not doing that are right:
Including sharing the Gospel
With as many people as we can.

And we need to use the other means

Hes given us as well
To gain more of the Spirits power
Prayer, worship, fellowship,
And the Lords Table

So that well have a stronger desire
To do what Jesus prayed we would do.