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Jesus' Prayer over the Church

By Donald P. Moss

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Series Introduction

Foreshadows Introduction

Volume 1 -THE GARDEN OF EDEN - Adam's Creation and His
Spiritual and
Physical Environments

Volume 2 - NEW BEGINNING AND NEW WORLD ENVIRONMENT

Volume 3 - JOSEPH, EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH - A Foreshadow of God's Agenda for Jew and Gentile

Volume 4  - CROSSING THE JORDAN RIVER - A Foreshadow of Salvation for Jew and Gentile

Volume 5 - THE BOOK OF REVELATION - God's Agenda for the End Time

Volume 6 - THE SEVEN LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

Volume 7  - CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE - A Foreshadow of Redemption

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Bible Lessons



This quick study is a sub-topic support for the foreshadows in Volume 6 - SEVEN LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

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Jesus, at the time of the Passover Feast in Jerusalem, would close out His time as mentor and teacher of the apostles. His last meeting with the apostles was at the Passover Meal.

John 13:1(NIV) - It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

His last pre-crucifixion time with the apostles is a most important time in the scriptures and a milestone in the mission of Christ. His last conversations with the apostles is recorded primarily in the gospel of John beginning in chapter 13 and continuing through chapter 17. These scriptures are rich with knowledge and emphasizes important things He wanted to leave on the minds of the apostles concerning the time He would no longer be with them ("the times of the Gentiles").

Christ's Prayer Over Himself, the Apostles, the Church and Those Who Would Believe in Him Through the Church's Message.

Of course, He discussed the things He wanted foremost to be on their minds and hearts after He would ascend to heaven and leave them to carry on His work in the earth. Therefore, chapters 15 thru 16 of the gospel of John are most important because these chapters contain details of very important topics for the church's involvement in the ministry of the gospel today. A few weeks after Jesus closed out the passover meal, the time began for the Gentiles to receive the gospel. Since today's church is still operating under the prayer Jesus prayed in John chapter 17, then we should consider this when studying the seven letters because the letters are about the ministry of the gospel. John chapter 17 is the prayer Jesus prayed over the church's ministry of the gospel.

John 17:20-23 (NIV) - "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, (21) 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. (22) I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: (23) 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.

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message" - Jesus prayed for the disciples and He also prayed for those who would believe in Him through the ministry of the gospel by the church. This one verse of scripture speaks of the future growth of the family of God through the ministry of the gospel. This prayer is still in effect today!

"All of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you" - Jesus prayed that all members of the body of Christ (corporate church) would be in complete unity in the same manner as God is in Him and He is in God. When Christ prayed this prayer it was prior to the founding of the first church - Acts 3: 40-47. But, this unity (Romans 12: 5) is not what is seen in the corporate church today. There are many different denominations and many different doctrines that affect the ministry of the gospel in truth. Years later, after Jesus was resurrected, these denominational / doctrinal differences were established by Christians with varying perceptions and interpretations of the Bible. Compromising the truth of the gospel is but one of the things Christ finds errant in the corporate church when He closes out the "times of the Gentiles". Compromising the gospel creates a lack of unity in the body of Christ, as congregations divide to follow after one doctrine or the other.

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one" - The disciples were given God's glory to enable them to become one with Christ and in complete unity with the corporate body of Christ. Unity in the body of Christ is one mind, one Spirit and one accord. Everyone in the church believing the same things, under the influence and direction of the same Spirit, following the way of Christ.

However, another thing Christ finds amiss in the the church - a lack of faith in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and gifts of the Spirit which unite and equip the church for ministry. This lack of understanding of the gifts has led to denominations being dislocated from one another. Each denomination charts it's own course for the ministry of the gospel based on doctrinal differences.

To deny spiritual gifts and to discount scriptures associated with the gifts of the Spirit, hinders the operation of the Holy Spirit in the church. The Christian's ability to minister the Word of God in truth is limited because selective scriptures on the Spirit's gifts are discounted. Paramount to a full persuasion of faith is to believe in the absolute inerrancy of the Word of God. Otherwise, Christians are face with having to draw lines between what is relevant or not relevant to spiritual growth. Denominational differences divide the corporate body of Christ and fracture unity in the body of Christ. Believing the Word of God is inerrant builds faith and shuts the door on doubt and unbelief.

"Let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." - Equipping the disciples by teaching them God's truth and empowering them to be in complete unity with Christ is the foundation for reaching the lost with the gospel; to let the lost know they are loved by God, in the same manner as God loves His Son, Jesus. This is another thing Christ finds amiss in the corporate church - ministry of the gospel centered on things other than deep messages of God's love for the lost. Delivering a message, apart from love for the one who is receiving the message, leads to legalistic ministries (deeds void of love and grace). Knowledge of truth, void of love, is not spiritually profitable - 1 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV) - If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

When Christ comes for the church He will find major deficiencies in the ministry of the gospel of truth.

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Another study example of Jesus' last comments to His disciples -

John 16:5-7 (NIV) - "Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' (6) Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. (7) But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

"For your good that I am going" - Christ's departure was a milestone in Christians' spiritual growth. Why didn't He remain on the earth?

"Unless I go"; "the Counselor will not come to you" - Why was it necessary for Christ to go before the Holy Spirit could come to believers? Because Christians receive the Holy Spirit by faith. As long as Jesus was with them their faith was in what they could see - Him. Their faith was a sense oriented faith. Jesus had to go so their faith in what can't be seen, requiring faith in Christ's words alone. This faith would open the door and they could receive the Holy Spirit in their hearts. Sense oriented faith will not open the door for Christ to enter in by the Holy Spirit.

Sense faith in things seen blocks receiving things that cannot be seen! This is another thing Christ finds amiss in the church when He comes for His bride. Faith that seeks for a sign (other that the message of the Word of God) is based on a desire for visual evidence (sense faith) - Matthew 12:39-40 (KJV) - But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: (40) For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

A full persuasion of faith in the Bible clothes each Christian in power to represent Christ in the earth, speaking His words and performing His deeds.

John 16:7-11 (NIV) - When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: (9) in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; (10) in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; (11) and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

"Righteousness" - Righteous because He was going to the Father where he could no longer be seen. Therefore, Paul stated that righteousness is by faith in - Romans 1:17 (NIV) - For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

"See me no longer" - Faith that is considered righteous is faith in what is unseen as compared to faith in what is seen - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV) - So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

John 20:26-29 (NIV) - A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" (27) Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (28) Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" (29) Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

It's good to see John 15, 16 & 17 as Jesus' inauguration of the ministry of the gospel because immediately afterward He was arrested and crucified. At the end time the "times of the Gentiles" is closed and the seven letters to the corporate church will reveal things lacking in the church, His bride.

Therefore, each Christian needs to study the letters and measure himself against the topic of each letter. Allow the letters to encourage repentance and growth where needed, so Christ will find him sitting in the Church of Philadelphia, so to speak.