John 17 Part 2: Overcoming Power
Last week we began our study of John 17, the magnificent prayer of our Lord Jesus the very night of his arrest. Jesus had told us and the disciples in John 16: 33: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” In the prayer which followed this statement in John 17, we discover what we have received as a result of the finished work of Christ that enables us to overcome the world. The first truth we learn is the greatest gift we have received is we share the His Life. “For whosoever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” Satan wants to obscure this truth of the finished work of Jesus Christ because he knows it is the basis for spiritual victory. “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb…” Peter wrote: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1) The Lord has declared this wonderful privilege we have as His children that help make us overcomers. Do not let the enemy, the thief rob you of your overcoming power through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Know who you are and what you possess for this will enable you to overcome
WE KNOW HIS NAME
In the Bible, a name refers the nature of a person, so his name revealed something special about the nature of the person bearing the name. Jacob’s name for example was a “schemer” and his name came from a Hebrew root which means “to take by the heel”, that is trip up, to deceive. Isaac’s name means “laughter because he brought joy to Abraham and Sarah. Even Jesus’ name denotes He is Savior: “… and you will give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” In John 1: 18 we read: “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only who is at the Father’s side has made Him known.” Jesus came to reveal the nature of God. This is why he told Phillip, ‘if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.’ Hebrews 1 tells us he is the radiance of God and the exact representation of God’s being. There is no other NAME under heaven by which man can be saved. He is the way, the truth and the life.
When Moses asks what God’s name was in Exodus 3 at the burning bush, God told Moses: “I am- I am.” Jesus took the sacred name of God and made it meaningful to his disciples and us. Let’s review those names and what they reveal about the nature of God Almighty.
- I am the bread of life.
- I am the light of the world.
- I am the door to the sheep.
- I am the good shepherd.
- I am the resurrection and the life.
- I am the way, the truth, and the life.
- I am the true vine.
Now when we see how Jesus protected his disciples and kept them safe, in fact, commanded the soldiers who came to arrest him, to leave his disciples alone. We realize He, being the very nature, God can protect us and keep us safe and secure.
He is everything we need. Jesus also taught us God is our Father. What a special name which denotes our special relationship: God is our Father, and we are His children. Jesus revealed himself and his nature gradually, progressively over the 3.5 years he spent with his disciples. By his words and deeds, Jesus revealed to the disciples the nature of God as they were able to bear it and understand it.
By understanding his name, we understand his nature. We come to realize he has provided us with divine resources in order to glorify Him. He has provided us with divine weapons which are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. No wonder the enemy of your soul, does not want you to know what you possess and how to use those precious promises and be a partaker of the divine nature. You and I can overcome the enemy. Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.
We need to understand just as Jesus was providing one-on-one help, instruction and protection to his disciples, he is now able to provide one-on-one to us because He sent the Spirit to indwell us. Just as He prayed for the disciples, Lord Jesus intercedes and prays for us. We are as precious to Him as those disciples on earth were precious to Him. He loves us. He watches over us. He protects us. He guards our hearts and minds with all diligence. He provides us with peace in the storms. Nothing can separate us from His love.
What about Judas? Why was he not kept safe? Simple reason- he was not one of his own. He went out from them, because he never was one of them. He was a tare among the wheat. Judas did not lose his salvation, he never had it.
Our security comes from the following truths:
Jesus prayed: “Father protect them by the power of your name.” His name is His very nature and He is Almighty God and nothing is impossible for him. And nothing can separate us from His love and nothing can pluck us from His hand.
We are the Father’s gift to the Son. Would the Father of lights from whom all good gifts come give His Son a gift that would not last? No! For all gifts He gives are eternal, not temporary. He gave us eternal life.
Our security rests on another fact: we are here to glorify God. This is our chief end. If he saved us and we could be lost again, how could we glorify Him? God is able to complete that which He has begun.
God has provides us with divine resources to glorify Him. We have His promises. We have His Spirit. We have each other, the fellowship of the believers. We are to minister to one another and love one another.
Let’s review what Jesus revealed to us in His “I Am “statements.
I am the bread of life. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus in the beatitudes said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” When a person’s stomach is empty, he wants to be filled with food. Hunger is a craving which our physical bodies’ way of telling us we need food. Notice it occurs when we are empty. The person filled with self- righteousness does not hunger for the righteousness of God. Jesus when faced with physical hunger after 40 days of fasting was tempted by the devil to turn a stone into bread. Jesus replied from Deuteronomy: “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God.” And Proverbs tells us the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Jesus is equating eating and drinking to satisfy our physical cravings describes the way we receive Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the True Bread of Life into our lives to satisfy our spiritual craving.
I am the light of the world. The earth was void of life and in darkness until there was light. Jesus is the light of the world and life is in the light. We were born in darkness. His word is a light upon our path and a lamp unto our feet. He reveals the truth. In the New Heaven, there will be no night, for the Son of God will be our light and the light of the universe. We have His life in us, so we have the light of the world. His Spirit illuminates the Word of God for us, so we can “see” the spiritual truths which are our exceedingly great promises.
I am the door to the sheep. Only way to enter into the shared life with the good shepherd is through the Door, the One who controls the way to eternal life. A door divides, secures, opens and gives access. Jesus is the Door.
I am the Good Shepherd. Jesus said his sheep know his voice. And they recognize his voice. He will keep us safe and secure. No one can take his sheep away. Even if we stray, He will come find us and bring us home. He will not lose a single one of us. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Says it all doesn’t it? He supplies all our needs. Don’t let the deceiver deceive you into thinking the grass is greener on the other side. The Good Shepherd makes us to lie down in green pastures. He leads us besides still waters. (Remember how he spoke to the wind and the waves and they obeyed him.) He restores my soul; he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (There is the power of His name. He restores and leads me for the reputation of God’s name is at stake.)
I am the Resurrection and the Life. The story of Lazarus and the miracle he performed was the pinnacle of his miracles. Listen to how he describes death: “Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may wake him out of his sleep.” Death is not the end of life. Death is not the extinction of being. Death for the believer is like sleep. The Lord Jesus has the key to resurrection and life, life in the body and life beyond death. He, who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall live and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. The Lord Jesus who is the truth and cannot lie has guaranteed us eternal life without end in His presence in heaven. In fact he emphasized: “if it were not so, I would have told you.”
I am the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is the only way to heaven. He is entered by the strait gate and the narrow way. He has revealed himself to us through his creation, our conscience and the testimony of those who are His.
He is the truth. In John 8, Jesus says if you continue in my word, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Jesus is not only the Word of God made flesh, He is the truth. For Jesus substitutes his name for the truth in John 8. If the Son (the Truth) sets you free, you are free indeed. He is the life. In Him was light and the light was the life of men. Genesis 1: 2 describes my life before being born again. We were like the earth before light: we were in darkness and void, empty of the Spirit of God and the Spirit hovered over us and then God the Son spoke, and said : let there be light, and there was light.
He is the true vine. There are two vines: the True Vine, the Lord Jesus. And the Vine of the earth. The vine of the earth will be dealt with in the end times in Revelation 14, where the angel will thrust his sickle into the earth and gather the vine of the earth and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
We were all born in darkness and our spirit was void of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God has departed Adam when he sinned. Man was created in the image of God: body, soul and spirit. The spirit was placed in man which made him different from the animals which possessed a body and a soul (mind, will and emotions). Why did we receive a spirit? Because God is Spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and truth. Adam was created with a spirit so he could rule and reign with God and glorify Him. We glorify God when we worship Him. We were created to worship Him and thereby glorify Him and enjoy God forever. Adam was created in perfection. In his body, he was healthy. In his soul, he was happy and in his spirit he was holy…until he sinned and the Spirit of God departed his spirit. And from that day on, we were all born with sinful natures, inherited from Adam. Our spirit was void of the Spirit of God. So we were spiritually dead and in spiritual darkness. Our soul, (our minds, will and emotion) and our spirit are inseparable. Only the Word of God which is alive and powerful can separate the spirit from the soul. The Word of God is life giving, life transforming and life sustaining. It is called the Sword of the Spirit because it divides asunder.
So we were born like Adam, we were soulish, sensual people. Our spirit dead in sin and trespasses had no influence over our lives. Our lives were driven by our souls. We did what was right in our own eyes, those things which appealed to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Like the rich fool in Luke 12, we thought life consisted in the abundance of things. We lived to please our sensual nature. We wanted to be happy and healthy. We wanted to create our own paradise, our own Garden of Eden. We wanted to go where we wanted to go. So we entered the broad way by the wide gate and followed the crowd. It was a way which seemed right to us but was leading us to destruction. We could not understand spiritual truths, the supernatural, because the natural man void of the Spirit of God cannot understand spiritual truths. Jesus came to show us the way, the truth and the life and what would satisfy our deepest desires. Jude wrote: “In the last times, there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts (sensual, soulish) and do not have the Spirit.” The natural man, the soulish man thinks his intelligence, and intellectual power of reason and logic are almighty. They believe they can find meaning of life and truth through their own finite minds, and discernment. The greatly prize wealth, power, intelligence, and physical beauty. They are ever learning but never coming to the truth.
We were lost and in darkness. Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
We had to be born again. Born in the image of the Last Adam, the Lord Jesus, and the Word who became flesh.
When Adam sinned, the Spirit of God departed Adam, because God could not abide in a sinful nature. God told Adam this would be the result when Adam ate from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. So death and sin entered by one man, the first Adam. “ For if by the trespass of the one man death reigned through the one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. For just as through the disobedience of the one man, all were made sinners, so also through obedience of the one man, the many will be made righteous. “(Romans 5)
Even in the Old Testament we read: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put MY Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36)
Cleansing refers to sanctification.
“May God Himself, the God of peace sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. “1 Thess. 5:23
We who are saved, born again have God’s peace, His pardon and His presence. We have become new creatures. Our old lives were cut off at the Cross. We were born again of the Spirit. We now possessed a new heart and a new spirit and God could now place His Spirit in us and move us in the direction He wanted us to go. He became our Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life, the True Vine- everything we needed. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He leads me in the way everlasting!
WE can be overcomers because we share His life. He lives within us. We can overcome because He overcame.
We have his name, which Jesus came to reveal the very nature of God what the Great I Am is to us. He is everything.
We can be victorious, we can overcome. For God leads me in the paths of righteousness for HIS NAME’S SAKE.