John Carter – March 24, 2014 – John 17
The Love Which Dwells Within
The unity and service that will define paradigm can only exist if the love of God for the Son is in those who lead and serve. This statement caries a lot of weight but it is burdened with so many familiar thoughts and words that it will take some time to reorient our minds around what it means to have the love of the Father for the Son dwelling in those who belong to God and to see the tangible evidence through unity and service.
Our text that we will handle is found in the 17 chapter of the Gospel of John. We will read refer to the entire chapter but our time will be mainly spent in verses 20-26.
There are three major themes major themes that John brings to the surface in his book which records the Gospel. The first is the Glory of the Father and the Son (who is Jesus). The Second theme is the theme of belief; belief that Jesus is the Son of God (God himself). And this belief is eternal life. This belief does not lead to eternal life but is eternal life. John describes his final theme with the term of love. A love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father. The Fathers love for us and the Sons love for us. A love which dwells in the believer and a love for each other. For the believer, our salvation rests upon the glory, belief, and love of God. Without these themes being fulfilled we have no hope, joy(happiness), or purpose for living.
Jesus’ glory has been since eternities past. Before Jesus came to the earth he had glory in the presence of the Father (v.5). Although was Jesus lacking nothing he came as a man to gain glory from the father which he then gave to the community of believers so that they might live in unity. Jesus was sent by the Father to teach us about the Father so that we might believe that the Father is the only true God and that the Father sent his Son (Jesus) (v.3). Belief in this teaching results in eternal life for those were given to the Son (v.2).
Jesus came to make know the Name of the Father (v.6). He came to make know the words of the Father (v.8). The first chapter of John tells us that the words of Jesus himself. If eternal life is the result of believing the words of the Father, then eternal life is believing Jesus- who the God who became a human like you and me. The Gospel According to John is: believe that Jesus is the Son of God(God himself) and you will have eternal life.
John 17 is a prayer made by the Son to the Father just before he is arrested and led off to be brutally killed on the cross. Jesus’ recurring request in this prayer is for the unity of the believers. Unity to be preserved from outside attacks by the adversary and the world, and to persevere through the trials as a unified body. And although unity is the primary request of this prayer that is not where we are going to center our attention. Instead we are going to focus our attention on the Love of the Father for the Son, because unity is the evidence of love. That means the request for the fruit of unity is grown in the soil of love found in God’s farm field of glory.
There are a lot of preconceived notions about love so it will take careful work on our part to dismantle what is familiar to us and reassemble a view of love that is consistent with the picture found in this text.
God has revealed himself so that we might be the dwelling place of the love of God the Father for the Son. God revealed himself through words and through the knowledge of His name. These words and this name were proclaimed by Jesus (the Son of the Father) who was sent by the Father. Belief of what was proclaimed by the Son is eternal life. With this eternal life we will be able to see the Glory of the Son and the Father. Glory that always has been and that always will be. Glory that does not fade, does not shrink back, and doesn’t even grow. For the glory of the Son and the Father is perfect.
Hilary (a guy) of Poitiers, a church father from the 4th century, defined glory as “is an ornament or embellishment of nature”(On the Trinity 8.12 – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, NT IVb, pg 258). That which is beautiful about God, that which is lovely, that which catches the heart and the eye when gazing upon him is his glory. It is an ethereal truth about who God is, that bleeds into a tangible reality. It’s a thought or an idea but so much more. It’s a tangible reality but more than tangible. The best description of the glory of God helps up but still neglects to do justice to the full weight of God’s Glory. But, for a starting point, “an ornament or embellishment of nature” will suffice.
When reading this prayer we are confronted with the truth that whatever is loved by God is glorified. And wherever the love of the Father for the Son dwells is also where his glory dwells. Immediately this means that Jesus is glorified because the Father loves him dearly. At length we need to realize that those whom believe the words of the Son about the Father and the name of the Father have within them the love of the Father for the Son. The name of the Father is known and made known by the Son. Jesus, the Son, has made the believer to know the name of the Father so that the love of the Father may be in the believer. The believer has the love of the Father for the Son because we have been made to know the Fathers name. We are loved by the Father and the Son just as the Son is loved by the Father.
This is where we should pause to consider whether or not we believe what Jesus, the Son of God said about His Father. Because True belief dictates the way we choose to live. Vague belief dictates my preference of entertainment. I want you to see that what you and I make of Jesus, what you and I believe about His Sonship will not only determine our eternal state but it will also determine how we speak, how we spend our time, the content of our speech, the goals and plans we make, our habits, what books we read, how we respond to social injustices, how we view the poor, the orphan, and the widow. Even the web pages and vines videos we watch. But these decisions are not forced externally upon us but are made out of an internal compelling of the Love of the Father that dwells within us. Just as the Son and the Holy Spirit dwell in us. If we truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God who was sent by the Father, then we have dwelling within us the love of the Father. And It was this same love that sent the Son to the Cross for the sake of Man and the Glory of the Father.
We must take seriously what it means for the love of the Father for the Son to send his son to a brutal and cruel death. Because if the love of the Father would drive the Son to be sent to His execution for the end result being their glory, then to what end will we be driven to find our end in the Father?
For God the Father so loved his Son, Jesus, that the Father delivered his Son over to brutality and death so that the Father might glorify His Son. The Father so loves the world that he gave his Son over to brutality and death so that the Father might glorify us. The Same love that delivered the Son over to death is the same love that delivered us from death. The same love that glorified the son is the same love that lets us share in that Glory. (Thought inspired from John Piper, God Did Not Spare His Own Son, August 18, 2002)
God Loved Jesus and – delivered Jesus over to Death – to Glorify Himself and His Son
God Loved us and – delivered us from death – to Glorify us, Himself, and his Son
The Glory of Eternal Life
The Glory of Temporary shame and suffering
The Glory of the Love of the Father
With this foundation laid we now turn to the verse that is begging for our attention. John 17:26, “I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” You and I are indebted to Jesus, the Son of God, for what we know about the Father. For it is the Son who has revealed the Father to us. But we have not been given this knowledge for the sake of intellectual ascent. Rather we have been given this knowledge so that we may have eternal life. But even more beautiful than that is that we have been made to know the Name of the Father so that the love of the Father for the Son might dwell in the believer just as the Son dwells in the believer.
The unity of the Triune God dwells within the believer. And “the binding power of the unity in the Triune God is love.” (Merrill C. Tenney Expositors Bible Commentary V.9 ed. Frank E. Gaebelein 1981). The fact that the triune God dwells in the believer should compel you and I to shout the warriors cry of victory and to fall on our face as if to kiss the feet of our holy and Righteous God and Father.
In a sermon by John Piper he asked “Do you feel more love by God when he makes much of you or when he frees you to make much of him?” (John Piper, How much does God love this Church?, April 18, 2010). Believer does the thought of the Father’s love dwelling in you send you to the height of euphoria because the most magnificent being chose to dwell in you in the fullness of his unity and love? Are you staring at this truth feeling the inward compelling to act on this truth? Is your spiritual heater warmed by the spark of the divine living within you? **
For the believer two tangible realities should emerge from the truth that the Fathers love for the Son is dwelling in you. First is a driving sense of unity within the Church. Unity like that which the world has never seen outside of the Triune God. A unity, as prayed in verse 23, which makes the members of the Church one as God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one. A unity that makes the unbelieving world acutely aware that Jesus truly is the Son of God the Father, who was sent to make the name of the Father known. A unity that displays the love that the Father has for those who are His. Unbeliever, I implore you to look to Jesus who is the Son of God. Who was sent to live, die, and raise again so that you and I might believe and have eternal life. No longer bound to the sin of this world, but free to enjoy every Good thing that is from and for the Father of Lights.
The second reality to be addressed is that of Service. Paul a persecutor of the Church turned believer once wrote a man named Titus and said, that those who profess to know and believe God but deny him by their deeds are: detestable, disobedient, and worthless for any good deed. (Titus 1:16) Those that claim to know God are to live in a life of service that is fitting for the name believer, or Christian. But before we go off to attempt any good deed I want to look at what a Church Father named Irenaeus said about service.
“Service [rendered] to God brings no profit to God, nor does God need our obedience. …he does not receive any benefit from them (servants of God) because he is already rich, perfect and in need of nothing. Still, God demands service from men and women so that he can benefit those who continue in his service since he is so good and merciful. …our glory consists in continuing and remaining permanently in God’s service.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4.14.1. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, NT IVb, pg261-262)
Unbeliever, service will never save you, nor will it ever please the Father apart from being fueled by a belief in the words of the Son about himself and his Father.
As we walk away from this text I must stress one last time that the same love that Glorified, that Sent, that Crucified, that is in, and that Glorified again the Son is the same love that is in us, the believer. And hopefully as we have seen this means that unity and service among the believers is a living proof of God’s love for the Son dwelling in the believer; so that(!) the world may know that the Son was sent by the Father and that the Father loves us even as he loved the Son.
 No matter how valuable this may make you feel, think about how much more valuable the Triune God is (the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit). An object only finds its value if there is someone who values it. And still the value is still determined by the worth of the person who is valuing the objecting. For example: a lucky penny is only lucky because someone values it as such. Otherwise it is only a penny. But even then that penny is only worth anything if someone values it as such. For God he is infinitely valuable because even if no one values him he still values himself. And by his own intrinsic worth and standard of valuation he is infinitely valuable.