Sunday School Material 1-11-15: Jesus' Prayer for His Disciples

(John 17:6-21; 1/11/15)

Introduction:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jesus wants His disciples to be protected and unified. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to appreciate God’s protection and work on our unity.

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Read John 17:6-19

I. Prayer for Disciples. Jesus is praying for His disciples in our Sunday School material. He prays that the Father would protect them. He wants them to be sanctified. He is sending them into the world.

Applications –

- Carrying out our assignments. Notice in vss. 6-9, 18 that Jesus was sent by the Father to work with obedient disciples who were sent by the Son.

First, we should appreciate the fact that the greatest measure of being a disciple of Christ is obeying Him. You can have seniority and title, without being a true disciple of Christ.

Second, we are saved to be sent. We should make sure that we have the character and competency needed for our assignments. It takes humility and tenacity to get the job done, in addition to the given skills. Let’s work on obeying and carrying out our assignments, as true disciples of Christ.

- God’s protection. Notice in vss. 11-12 that Jesus prays for protection, not extraction. In spite of the world’s hatred of God and His followers, Jesus doesn’t call for us to be removed.

He calls for us to be protected, so we can do our work on helping people get saved and growing in the Lord (i.e., evangelism and edification).

In other words, it is not always God’s will for us to be delivered from mean people and terrible circumstances as much as it is God’s will for us to be able to endure and to be faithful under the pressure.

Let’s work on living under the protection of God. This application includes learning how to thank God for keeping us, instead of being so upset about not be delivered.

- Judas. Notice in vs. 12 of our Sunday School material that Judas’ betrayal was a part of God’s plan. First, all things are working for the good of God’s people. We don’t have to be angry or depressed by those who betray us. God is still working it out.

Second, we should make sure that we don’t let the devil use us. The Pastor is not certain that Judas was completely aware of how serious his actions were. However, the devil was aware.

We should stay in God’s word and will, so we can stay out of the devil’s plans to block God’s will being done. Let’s work on trusting God to handle the Judas in our lives and keeping the devil from using us to be a Judas.

- Joy. Notice in vs. 13 that Jesus is concerned with our joy. Joy comes from obeying God’s word. The more we line up with God’s word, the more joy we can expect to have. Our joy or gladness is based on our faith in God.

This should not be confused with happiness that is often based on what happens in our lives. Let’s work on having joy in the Lord, which calls for prayerful study and obedience to God’s word.

- A place of love, in a world of hate. Notice in vs. 14 that the world hates those who strive to obey the word of God. First, since they hated Jesus so much that they killed Him, we should not be surprised that there is some tension in our lives.

This tension can be felt in our families, communities, on our jobs, and even in our churches. Think about how “non-tithers” and the uninvolved can be a little hostile or at least indifferent toward those who do tithe and who are involved.

Second, a loving church family is so important because there is so much hatred of disciples outside the church.

As bad as the negative emotions and behaviors may be outside the church, it is worse to see negative attitudes and behaviors in the church because of our commitment to living by God’s word.

Let’s work on making our churches supportive and encouraging places for disciples of Christ. This application calls for every member reaching out to be supportive and encouraging of the others in the church.

Read John 17:20-21

II. Prayer Inclusion. In our Sunday School material Jesus goes on to pray for those coming behind His disciples. He wants those who follow to be one. The more the generations of disciples are in the Father, the more the world will believe that the Father sent the Son.

Applications –

- Future generations. Notice in vs. 20 that Jesus prayed for the disciples that were physically with Him and those who were to come – us.

First, we should be so thankful that Jesus prayed for us that we strive to obey His will and pray for others. Second, we should appreciate how the ministry that we do today may have an impact on generations to come.

Think about how children watch what adults do in church today and emulate the same when they become adults and models for future children and so on. We should feel pressured to sow good seed for our own date with judgment and for the good of generations to come.

Let’s work on praying for and ministering with future generations in mind. This application should make us think about do we want future generations to worship, love, and serve as we do?

- Christian unity. Notice in vs. 21 of our Sunday School material that Jesus is concerned with unity among believers. The fact that we all claim to be in Christ and Christ is not divided means that there should not be so much division in our churches and among our churches today.

God is not pleased when He sees leaders in the church refusing to do something as simple as have a 10 minute conversation with three other members in the church, in two weeks, and then turn in a slip of paper indicating that they have complied.

If two churches are not united within themselves, it doesn’t seem likely that the two churches will be united, and there seems to be very little hope of there being much unity among the hundreds of churches in our cities and thousands of churches in America alone.

Let’s work on more Christian unity. This application calls for our working on our discipleship and submitting to the body concept, which calls for some give and take for the sake of the body.

Conclusion: Let’s work on appreciating God’s protection and working on our unity. God has much for those who obey His will.

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