Living in the family of God

Pastor David Loder preaches on John 17:20-26 and the various aspects involved in having fellowship in the family of God as a Christian.

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David Loader


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It'd be good to have Adrian back next week and I would say thank you for your patience in putting up with me for this these last few weeks and um so um so this is it for for me for a while anyway to see what Adrian's got in store when he comes back now just before we get started I need to make a correction from what I said last week this is why it's good to have uh have somebody else come along and sort out all my mistakes um last week I gave a reference and I said it was one Kings 224 when it should have been to Samuel 24-24 and um that by the way the story appears twice also in one Chronicles chapter 21 and uh I want to say thank you to those people who pointed out to me afterwards that that I made the mistake and can I say this that I appreciate it when um when I do make a mistake in whatever capacity that somebody lets me know gives me the opportunity to correct it and so I did correct it in the PowerPoint before it uh before Colette emailed it out so um so if you going by the PowerPoint it's corrected so thank you to those who pointed that out that's the uh what it should have been I would like to be able to say that was a deliberate mistake just to see who was paying attention but it wasn't it was uh just an accidental one in a previous role that I I had um not not here but in a previous role I used to have to write a monthly report and I was never quite sure how many people used to actually read the reports in fact the role I had that seemed to be attending meetings and writing reports was something which always had to do so I got into this habit of going through a dictionary looking for the most obscure word that I could and somehow slipping it in in the report and uh just to see whether anybody read the report because I knew that once they found this obscure word that they'd be asking me what it meant and um so it's if you're in a report writing that's something to try out uh give that a go and the difficulty was that I had to remember what the word meant when they asked me anyway that's uh that's all all just by way of that now today we're looking at it at another topic and if you've got your Bibles there you might want to turn with me to John chapter 17. so that is the correct reference by the way um just thought I'd let you know that over the last couple of weeks and today as well just looking at some themes some themes which are important in the Christian Life these are not the only things that are important in the Christian Life these are not the most important things that we have in the Christian life but there are just three themes which I sensed the Lord was was leading us to leading me to to uh to share so a couple of weeks ago we looked at the Bible and reading the Bible last week we looked at worship it was interesting I had a few people because I did a bit of a survey about history of worship in Baptist circles you might remember if you were here when I did that and I had a flood of people coming up reminding about a whole lot of other things that I didn't mention I said well I could have mentioned them and many more but just I remembered them so remember the hymn boards some of you we had him boards and before these overhead projections we had uh yeah but after him books I'm not going back that far we had transparencies remember the overhead projectors and um so um believe it or not when I started out in Ministry I was in one young progressives using the overhead projector and used to do my sermon outlines even way back then anyway that's all by Dubai so we looked at bible worship today I want to look at this whole area of um of living life together as God's people so living in the family of God one of the words that we use is fellowship there are many other words but I just want to impress upon us today the importance of how we how we get on with each other as as God's family one of the things that always amazes me is that is that we gather together in worship like this and there's such a real Buzz it's a good thing and then every supper we have in members meeting we go out and have Kappa come back in from Members meeting and the whole mood is different and I think why is that so it's puzzled me for pretty well all my Ministry life is that why there's this this change and you see the this whole area of how we live life together as God's people is a key thing and I want us to be looking at that today you see it was important in Jesus mind as well and we're going to to read a part of a prayer that he prayed and so this is this is that part of the prayer from John chapter 17 the whole chapter I'm going to just break that down in a sec in a second or two but those of you who are familiar this John 17 is often referred to as the high Priestly pre this is the prayer that Jesus prayed but we just want to read these uh this short segment of it verses 20 to 26 it reads this way if you've got a Bible my Bible The Heading is there there's the heading of course and the verse numbers not there in the original but the heading there is Jesus praise for all believers so it's praying when Jesus prayed for you and for me and this is what he was praying he said my prayer is not for them alone it's his disciples I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message that all of them may be one father just as you 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 I've given them the glory that you gave me that they may be one as We Are One i in them and you in me may they be brought to complete Unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me father I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world righteous father though the world does not know you I know you and they know that you have sent me I've made you known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you had for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them and we know that God always blesses the reading of his word sometimes we think that when we're talking about the family of God that life is going to be like um like heaven on Earth that we are going to just get on so wonderfully together and there's this Digi which has been around quite a while but it goes goes like this says to live above with the Saints we love won't that be glory but to dwell below with those we know well that's another story you get the idea you see doing life together is God's people it's not that easy in fact I just pulled off I've got a number of books um on on my shelf I've got a lot more than this topic of course but I just picked out these couple because I thought that they illustrate that sometimes life in the church can be difficult so that photo is taken that's the floor in my study if you want to know what sort of tiles I have but uh but what about this one great church fights hey that's not a bad topic for a book is it um I could have written some of that I reckon um in a previous role when I was involved in in helping churches through difficult times well what about this one clergy killers um that's sort of anybody who's in leadership because it's not just clergy but but leadership of how difficult leading God's people can be and I've got a probably another half a dozen books in a in a similar sort of vein that that could be used to illustrate that life in in the family of God is not always easy in fact when I previously said I used to work with a lot of different churches that say to churches it's not a case of if you go through difficult times it's a case of when and it's the same as God's people as Christians it's not a case of when or if you will go through a difficult relationships with uh with other people but of when so that's just trying to bring in some sense of reality of uh of the difficulty of how it can be as God's people trying to live together and there's a lot of reasons for that and so certainly we're not going to be talking about all of this in fact hopefully I'll be talking more about the positive and less about the negative but just to bring that sense of reality there so let's get back to John chapter 17. John chapter 17 is as I said is commonly called the high Priestly pre this is really the Lord's pray sometimes we refer to that our father in Heaven who art in heaven we sometimes refer to that as being the Lord's Prayer it's a prayer that the lord gave us but really it's the disciples prayer because this is the that was the prayer which Jesus gave the disciples his follows us as a model as a as a paradigm for us to be working on prayer but John 17 is actually Jesus at pre so how it was transcribed with us one of the disciples John who who recorded this how it was there I'm not sure we don't need to know that but John 17 when we read this we are really standing on Holy Ground and I'd encourage you this week that somewhere along the line that you just take some time out and read the whole of John 17 to hear to sit at the feet of Jesus when Jesus is a prayer and and to hear how he prays and we can divide it up easily into three different sections so the first five verses Jesus is praying for himself and if there's one word which uh which we could use there as a theme is the word glorify in fact that word Glory glorify it's four times in that in that one section by the way it's occurs another three times in the section that we read this morning as well but this first section Jesus is praying for himself this is before his death and he's praying to the father father glorify me in my death and then the next section from verses 6 to 19 he is shifted shifts the focus of his prayer to from praying for himself to them praying for the disciples and once again if there's a one word that we could use to uh as being prominent as being the theme of this section it's the word Sanctified set apart father sanctify these disciples Jesus is praying for his disciples that uh that that the father would set them apart keep them safe and all of those sorts of things and then there's this one section which we have just read and it starts off in verse 20 my prayer is not for them the disciples alone I pray also for those who will believe so Jesus is praying about those in the future those who will believe in him you know who's included in that you and me and so John 17 the high Priestly prayer before Jesus was crucified when Jesus is on his knees before the father couple of thousand years ago he was praying for you and for me Isn't that precious by the way the Bible tells us elsewhere that Jesus is still praying still interceding on our behalf to the father and so Jesus is praying for us in this section and if there is one word or one theme that that would uh that was prominent in this in this verse In this passage that we've just read it's the word Unity that we'd be together my sense is is that trying to bring in some sort of uh analogy which fits for us today is this sense of team I guess all of us somewhere along the line have either followed or in our whenever we have been a part of the team and thinking of I'm thinking of a sporting team and so whether that be uh the netball or Cricket or football or whatever the team is we know there's this sense of unity in the team that working towards a common goal but what everybody has a different role that's the thing about about netball is that they even tell them the Net ballers just to remind them what their role is is that they have two letters on their back isn't that the wing defense goal attacked in a few others don't know what they are but you'll probably know what I'm talking about well Cricket you know it's a football you see the football is you know the NRL you see the the little half back or whatever is uh sometimes you know like five foot nine then you see the front rows who are like 10 foot tall three days walk across the shoulders or whatever um they're not the same but there's a Unity about them because they are working together and we know that the team is bound to fail what when there's disunity and so Jesus is praying for the church he's praying for you and for me that there'll be a Unity but within that Unity that there will be this diversity that we won't all be the same fake there's no sense of Jesus praying that cookie cutters that will all be like like whoever that will all be different that will be working together and you know it's that difference sometimes it's a difference which sometimes complicates things because it complicates things in a whole range of ways because sometimes we think well my role is more important than your role or I think differently or whatever but this is what Jesus is praying so so let's just come back to to this getting this in in perspective in good context with Jesus is praying and then I want to spend a fair bit of time just talking about some practical issues you know the context here where where Jesus is praying for his disciples is that he's praying for them in the world so Verse 18 it talks about the I have sent them into the world um verse 21 may they believe in us so that the world verse 23 may they be brought to complete Unity to let the world know righteous father the world does not know you and so there's this whole aspect of Jesus praying for you and for me and the context in which he's praying for us is not that we might be separate from but he's praying for us that our context that we will be his in the world that's not fair why wasn't it when when God when we became a part of God's family that we could somehow withdraw out of the world and just live on our eye do you ever think that way um sometimes I do and maybe sometimes you do but that's not how God wanted it and and the reality is is because there are other Christians in the world that many of us came to Faith and it's because we're in the world that we have a job to do and and Jesus is praying that we are in the world and that while we're in the world that we will maintain our distinctiveness remember elsewhere where um Jesus in talking with his disciples he said I am sending you out like what do you remember like sheep amongst what sheep amongst wolves and so once again there's this there's this whole aspect of of the Lord Jesus and his followers his disciples his church at the context in which we are to exist is in the world and when we think of like being sent out as sheep amongst wolves we think of a couple of things you'll never mistake a wolf for a sheep or a sheep for a walk they're quite distinctive um we also know that a sheep amongst the Wolves is not going to get a lot of sleep um it's going to be on its toes but there's not a lot of distinctive there's there's not a lot of similarity is that they're very distinct from each other and so we as God's people one of the things that Jesus is praying for for his people that we will be quite distinctive in the world in which we live isn't it interesting that sometimes the church wears so much trying we're so much trying to be like the world to try to win them over and yet God is saying now the reality is is that we've got to be distinct from the world do you know that saying that about some people that they are so Heavenly minded that they have no earthly use if you heard people say that you know what is it what's equally a shame is there are some people who are so Earthly minded that they are of no Heavenly use and we've got to be thinking about that so the context is in the world the focus in verse 20 is Jesus is praying for those who will believe so he's praying for his disciples earlier but now he's praying for the all of those from that point on those who will later on post this prayer will become followers of his so that's for us the topic is this whole area of unity which we've been looking at and the purpose of the unity I find quite amazing in verse 21. he says this he prays this may they also be in us that the world may believe that you sent me do you realize this is that the unity of the church is a method of evangelism which God has chosen to use that's not the only one it's not the only way but it's one thing and you see that's a part of this the distinctiveness in that we live in a world which is so chaotic disjointed fractured all of that and somehow within all of that hey here's a group of people who are a team who are together who get on with one another and and and so Jesus is praying father you make them one make them a team so that the world might believe isn't that interesting because if we go back to John 13 34 and 35 we probably know that off by heart if we don't we should note off the heart a new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you by this what all men will know that you are my disciples because of your team the sense of unity people will know that you are my disciples by the way you get on with each other and the method is here is that we just get this theme coming through is it like the father and the son fathers in the son the son is in the father there is this perfect unity in the trinity as in the father and the son it talks about In this passage in verse 21 about how we are in the in Jesus how we're in the father verse 23 talks about how Jesus is in US that is a critical thing for us to know and to understand that Jesus is in US and that we are in Jesus in fact that word or that phrase in Christ in the New Testament Paul Paul uses it a lot that's almost one of his uh his favorite themes about being in Christ and Christo the Greek but being in Christ over a hundred times not just in Paul's Road he's been in the New Testament over 100 like 120 times or thereabouts this phrase occurs in Christ and it's a key concept a key understanding for us to to know to come to terms with that is God's people as follows of Jesus that we are in Christ what does that mean you know I just I just have spent so many hours over the years just trying to understand that phrase what does it mean to be in Christ and I sense that even now that I'm a long long way short a fully appreciating and understanding the fullness of that phrase of what it means to be in Christ in fact just just go through and read some of those verses of what when it talks about being in Christ but a couple of things that it does it talks about our status that we are in Christ some of us here knows what it is to be in love um that is a status because often when we uh in love one of the outcomes of that often is that we get married so we don't normally speak this way but we are in marriage is that it's the status in which we are that we have transformed from singleness to to married life and so being in Christ there's this status that we have transferred from being out of Christ to being in Christ to being one of his followers but it also talks about relationship as well in the same concept as being in love or in marriage um it's stressing the relationship that that when we're in Christ it's it's expressing that relationship that there's this relationship I am in Christ Christ is in me is that we have this Bond we had this strong relationship together Jesus and me together and so that's what it's all about that's something of the theological uh background to all this the biblical reasons and now for the time that's left I just want to go quickly to some practical things and uh of course we'll refer back to the Bible and some of this this will you know one of the key things in um in relating with other people in a good way one of the key things by the way is having self-awareness um I was growing up used to talk when I was growing up with like a teenagers talking about knowing yourself I used to think how I know myself I am me but I think a better term is rather knowing yourself is to have a self-awareness to have some awareness of uh of me as a person a friend of mine another Minister years ago quite a few years ago did this went on a course and uh the the the um topic of the course that he was was doing was dealing with difficult people which when you're in a church that's not a bad topic to deal with you know the opening the opening um exercise for the course was um he told me he told me this he said the opening exercise was the person conducting of course said to us I want you to write down what is it about you that makes you a difficult person to live with um isn't that a sobering question dealing with difficult people what is it about you that makes you a difficult person to to get on with uh tell you what even though I wasn't on that course I've pondered that question for me a few times what is it about me that makes me a difficult person to live with you probably don't need me to tell you because you've probably discovered some of that you want to know more team no I don't see my wife daughter's here as well grandkids as well they don't think I'm difficult at all I guess grandkids they'll find out in time I assure you but there's this self-awareness and there are these two psychologists um who came up with this Johari window I thought Jahari was some fancy uh fancy Greek word or Latin word or something but the two psychologists who came up with that the first first guy's name was Joseph Joseph Luft and the second guy's name was Harrington Ingham so they took from Joseph and Harrington Johari and so that's where it came from but they came up with this 100 they lived they died a number of years ago both of them so this is an old concept but it talks about this about breaking it up into things that I know about me and things that other people know about me or things that I don't know about me or things that other people don't know about me this is not a bad exercise to do and so they break up into these four areas and in in the the top left-hand corner is this area is the things that I know things that I know about me and the things that you know about me it's just all in the open so things that no need to illustrate the things that you know about me that I know about me but you know there are some other things there that uh that I know about me that you don't know about me um there's there's some things like that and you know there's other areas there are things that you know about me that I don't know about me there are some things in that category as well but then there's some other areas which you complete mystery where you don't know about me and I don't know about me that God does you know self-awareness just seeks to explore things like that and and it's helpful to have that self-awareness and to have those who are close to us who we respect who is willing to sit down with us and to talk about who I am as a person um don't have everybody running up to everybody else and say oh did you know you're whatever that's not what this is about fake this is a very careful careful sensitive area that we're talking about but to have friends close friends who we can be ourselves with who we can talk openly and honestly with our spouse that even there you've got to be careful folk there's some things you've got to be careful pick the right time and place and and attitude and all the rest of it when you're having a fights not the good times ah you know you're like um we laughed but embarrassed because we have a tendency we can all do that but it's not this is not about those sorts of things this is about that I'll have an awareness about who I am as an individual what I am like what sets me off uh how I behave when I'm tired or how I can react with other people so the list goes on self-awareness there are some people who have very good self-awareness and some people have absolutely no self-awareness at all and I'd encourage you to be thinking about that we've got to move quickly here are some things that for us to be aware of here are some things for us to be aware of in a church this size we won't know everyone but we do know someone or someone's folk in the unity of this church just accepted a church this size we won't know everybody I even standing up here think I know that face but what's the name again um and and so on so we won't know everybody but we'll know someone the other thing is this we just got to accept this we wait like everyone but we will connect with some folk it's when when Jesus is praying for Unity he's not praying that we are all going to get on really lovey-dovey be like this with everybody else it's just because of Personality clashes and things like this you know not everyone will start a conversation but you can um sometimes people come and say nobody spoke to me at this church or who did you speak to you see it's it's not always dependent upon other people to talk to you sometimes you can start talking with others I am basically an introvert and I have to work I've had to work hard my introvert extroverts sort of getting a lot closer together but when I first started in pastoral Ministry I just could not I had difficulty talking with people and I had to learn about three questions and uh and so every conversation I'd ask the same three questions but over the years I've been able to to develop all of that too as you get older one of the things that sometimes embarrasses my wife is I'll just Bowl up to anybody and start a conversation with the checkout lady or whoever before long of people down the street so it's changes over time another thing for us to be aware of is this getting on with other people it won't be easy but putting the effort anyway just put in the effort of getting on with others also be prepared that sometimes we will be let down but believe in people anyway forgiveness is a key thing there it's not the only thing that's there this is not this is not the sum total of everything folk this is just some thoughts that have come to me and finally in this area being aware there may even be some family fights but we must work through them parents you've seen your kids fighting and what do you do you say you've got to work through it husbands and wives you had a disagreement you've got to be able to work through it in fact there's I remember reading a book years ago about a marriage and this guy used to conduct marriage as a Christian guy is to conduct marriages and when people came to him and and asked asked him to marry them he was one of the questions he'd say them have you had a fight yet and if they said no we haven't had a fight he would say go away and have a fight then come back and ask me to marry you you see the point that he was making is this it's not the aspect of disagreement that matters it's the point of actually when you disagree being able to work through it to some degree or to degree of satisfaction and completion here are some practical ideas working really quick now get to know people in in the church that's gone one two five yep that's the one um get to know people you know do you some people don't like wearing name tags you know what I'm one of them I I do not like wearing name tags but I do not expect everybody to know my name and so I wear it to help others and so whether you're into name tags or not if I just encourage you to do that to wear a name tag but get to know people and um and so that you can address them by name be friendly um always encouraged by we go to Bunnings it's this this Bunnings philosophy is that you always find Bunnings peoples will look you in the eye they'll smile and they'll say good day when you want help though never around but that's a different story any Bunnings who can say I'm sorry if uh sorry Bunnings if you're watching just joking but but be friendly look people in the eye smile and say g'day can't just say something here sometimes um I've I've had this problem this is if you haven't recognized this in me this is a bit of self-disclosure you know sometimes I can get quite so focused on what I'm doing that I can walk right past you and not acknowledge you have you noticed that I know but I've had some people over time not A lot's not lining up yet but some people come up to me and say have I offended you no oh just you walk right past me and ignored me oh no I'm so sorry um so if I've got something against you you'll know I will come and talk to you about it but but you know it's just important that we acknowledge people and that we don't get so focused that we ignore other especially kids in that area as well take an interest in others shift the focus from yourself um get people talking about them don't have them having to put up with you telling your life story which you've told them last week and the week before and so on be adult Overlook the small stuff sometimes we get tied up in issues which are just trivial however if there are issues face and don't sweep them under the carpet they'll come out again sometime encourage don't criticize celebrate don't complain just focus on the positive not the negative talk about appropriate relating with children and with members of the opposite sex it's also important and do to one another's um do you know all the one and others in the Bible the Bible talks again and again about one another's love one another live in harmony with one another build up one another accept one another care for one another the list goes on and on I'll send out a list of them uh with the with the sermon so there are some some ideas there finally I want to say this to rely on God why are we talking about this because how we relate with others is a spiritual matter need to understand that it's a spiritual matter our relationship with God reflects in our relationship with others and we need to have an ongoing growing personality and to say Christ in US makes it all possible one story and on three so Sinners over the years in a previous role that I had I just did periodically get cooled in in um in uh in helping churches process difficulties I know whether you are aware but um Germans have made a significant contribution to Queensland history um I I know whether you're aware of that that they have so 100 years or more not that shmiked up on my history that I can give you the dates but a lot of Germans came to uh came to Queensland most of them were farmers most of them settled out west of Ipswich and you'll know if you look at some of the towns you'll see that some of the towns out there have German names Marburg tarampa a few things like that um so so they're all Germany in fact on my mother's side they're all Germans her blood was German blood pure German blood all her ancestors came out at that area as Farmers moved up further up whatever um they went Baptist they were lutherans there's a lot of the Germans were but a significant number of Germans who came out there were a number of German Baptists in fact there was actually alongside a Queensland Baptist we think around there's also a separate group known as German Baptist Association now sicooli pastors from Germany and the services and everything were conducted in German I spoke at one of the anniversaries once and looking at their timeline and early on their churches used to run English classes for for the German immigrants later on they conducting German classes for the for the kids and grandkids who who didn't know June so there's this transition which took place and so we have this group of churches out there if you're aware that we would those in the nodes are there our German churches they're not separate now they're all integrated into Queensland Baptists and so on um so there's no separation at all but there's some of them still hang on dearly to this there's one of these churches quite a few years ago um it was going through a pretty difficult time and I was called in to uh to come and to to help with the process uh what was going on there and um and one of the men one of the the guys who was one of the one of the difficult characters in it all there's always some key characters but he stood up he was born in Australia's father born in Australia maybe his grandfather I don't know I didn't know all of that but he stood up and he talked about all the difficulties he says we can't help it because we are Germans and this is how us and Germans function and how we live and how we operate and I stood up after he finished talking with all the grace and whatever else I needed being fairly young in the job stood up and I said I hear what you're saying I want you to know this is it half my blood is German blood in fact not very far from here and I name the place I've got some of my four Bears buried in the symmetry well I want you to know this is that the moment that I accepted the Lord Jesus in my life that all of those excuses no longer mattered because now I have Jesus living in my life thank you I don't know where you are and how you relate with other people I want you to know this is that how you relate how we relate with one another is a spiritual issue and the moment that we accepted the Lord Jesus Is Our Savior that any other excuse about our family of origin our our birth order our personality whatever else our heritage all of that is out the door because now we have Christ Living in US and two thousand years ago Jesus prayed father make them a team make them one let's work with what the Lord Jesus has prayed for us let's pray I'd know whether you're a popular person or I feel like an outcast today but I want to know that it's part of the family of God you're important you're important to us just as one another's so as far as possible live at peace with one another get on with one another be kind to one another and today that in so do we Jesus is on our side the father is two and he's he's working in our lives through the spirit to make all this happen there are things we need to say to others don't necessarily need to do it today but just make sure you do and make it our prayer father make us one as a body here help us to understand ourselves what makes us good and what makes us difficult to get on with others continue to do the work so that we might more and more reflect Jesus and his love radiating out to others we want to do that to glorify our lord Jesus because we bear his name in our lives. Amen.