John 17 – The Word of God – Part 2

Last week we spoke of the Word of God as:
·  Referring to the OT and NT Scriptures.
·  Referring to the Gospel.
·  Referring to Jesus Christ

It is these things that are to be kept, received and given.
·  It is these things that are the truth.

Today we will finish up our lesson on the word of God.


John 17:13–21 (ESV) — 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Jesus’ work and petitions concerning the Word of God:
(1) Jesus tells us that one specific reason He speaks is so that the disciples might have His joy – “these things I speakthat they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (vv. 12, 13).
·  Fulfilled is “to bring to completion that which was already begun” – BDAG.
·  In other words, Jesus is saying that the words He spoke (in this prayer and in His ministry) were so that His joy in believers might be complete.

And He associates the completion of His joy in us with the things He has just spoken:
·  The Holy Spirit (John 16:13)
·  His Departure to the Father (John 16:17)
·  The “Given” of God
·  The Glory of God
·  The Name of God
·  The Word of God

(2) Jesus asks the Father to “sanctify them in truth” (vs. 17), and goes on to tell us that the word is truth.
·  Sanctification is the “separation and consecration to the service of God” – WSITNT.
·  Or more specifically, it is “to include a person in the inner circle of what is holy…” which would be the service of the Father – BDAG.
o   And this privilege of inclusion is only for the “given” – the born again believer.
·  So we are included into the service of God, the “inner circle”, by the sanctifying truth of God’s word.
·  And importantly, Jesus also speaks of the necessity of His consecration (crucifixion, resurrection, exaltation) for our consecration (vs. 19).

(3) And He goes on to make clear that it is by the word of God spoken by the disciples that more will come to believe in Him – “who will believe in me through their word” (vs. 20).
·  In other words, the means by which God will use to call the “given” to believe is the spoken word of God – in this case the Gospel.

So we see that the kept, received, given and true word of God has the power to:
·  Complete Christ’s joy in believers (vs. 13)
·  Sanctify believers (vs. 17)
·  Call the “given” to believe (vs. 20)

How does the word of God, as just reviewed, have the power to:
·  (1) Complete Christ’s joy in believers?
·  (2) Sanctify believers?
·  (3) Call the “given” to believe?

We will deal with the first and third of these today.
·  We recently spent four weeks or so on sanctification, so please refer back to that to see how the word of God can sanctify believers.


We will see two things.
·  (1) What Christ’s joy is – Christ’s joy is obedient work on our behalf.
·  (2) What Christ’s joy isn’t – emotion, feelings and circumstances.

We need to look back at Jesus’ emphasis on joy throughout His Farewell Discourse to grasp what His joy is.

(1) What Christ’s Joy Is:
John 15:11 (ESV) — 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
·  Here Jesus virtually says exactly what He said in our text in John 17:13.
·  And it is important to point out that the “things I have spoken to you” here refer to:
o   Abiding in Him
o   Abiding in His Love
o   Bearing Fruit
o   Glorifying God
·  So it is these things He associates with His joy.
·  And these are in addition to the things He spoke of between 15:11 and our text at 17:13.
o   The Holy Spirit (John 16:13)
o   His Departure to the Father (John 16:17)
o   The “given” of God
o   The Glory of God
o   The Name of God
o   The Word of God

John 16:20-21 & 24 (ESV) — 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world…24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
·  Here Jesus associates joy with His death, burial, resurrection and exaltation.
·  These are directly related to the joy that we will be fulfilled in us.
·  Matthew 28:8 (ESV) — 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

1 John 1:4 (ESV) — 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
·  And demonstrating just how good of student John was, he speaks very similarly to Jesus.
·  He associates joy with the very things we just mentioned.
·  He refers to them as the things “which we have seen and heard” from Christ (1 John 1:3).

So what is the Joy of Christ fulfilled in us?

We have seen that this “…joy comes on account of what Christ has done” – LBD.
·  His work of enabling us to Abide in Him
·  His work of giving the Holy Spirit
·  His Departure – Death, Resurrection and Exaltation
·  His Glory
·  His Name
·  His Word

Scripture confirms all this for us:
·  Hebrews 12:2 (ESV) — 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
·  Romans 14:17 (ESV) — 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
·  1 Thessalonians 1:6 (ESV) — 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,
·  Galatians 5:22 (ESV) — 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
·  These verses clearly set the joy of Christ in context of His work and the Holy Spirit whom He sent.

Summary of what it is:
·  So the Joy of Christ is His person and work on our behalf and all that each confers upon us.
·  But what isn’t it?

(2) What Christ’s Joy Isn’t:
We have seen in this joy no mention of emotions or feelings.
·  In other words, this joy is not rooted in our emotions.
·  It is not contingent upon how we feel.
·  It is not contingent upon our circumstances, i.e. our works – rich or poor, sick or well, etc.
·  This joy is “irrelevant of whatever other circumstances are happening in one’s life” – LBD.
·  Thus it cannot be taken away by the “tyranny of circumstances”.
·  “This joy rises above circumstances and focuses on the very character of God. For example, the psalmist rejoices over God’s righteousness (71:14–16), salvation (21:1; 71:23), mercy (31:7), creation (148:5), word (119:14, 162), and faithfulness (33:1–6). God’s characteristics as well as His acts are the cause of rejoicing” – NNIBD.

It is contingent only on our salvation – this is how we receive the work of Christ and His joy.
·  In one sense, then, it is “a result of choice” – LBD.
·  A choice to believe Jesus!

So what isn’t the joy of Christ?
·  It isn’t our feelings, emotions or something dependent on the circumstances we find ourselves in.

BTW – This joy will and should manifest itself in an outward response of gladness and happiness.
·  But this joy, as we have seen, is not defined by such things.
·  They are its permeations.
·  The absence of these emotions does not mean an absence of joy.
·  To say this would be to say that Christ did not work on our behalf or that we lack the Holy Spirit.

BTW 2 – The joy of Christ that is completed in us is connected both to the past work of Christ and to our future glorification and Christ’s 2nd Coming.
·  “It is a quality, and not simply an emotion, grounded upon God himself and indeed derived from him (Ps. 16:11; Phil. 4:4; Rom. 15:13), which characterizes the Christian’s life on earth (1 Pet. 1:8), and also anticipates eschatologically the joy of being with Christ forever in the kingdom of heaven (cf. Rev. 19:7)” – NBD.
·  In other words, this joy supernaturally connects us to the past work and future work of Christ.
·  This boggles the mind if given much thought.

Summary of Christ’s Joy Completed in Us:
·  The word of God completes Christ’s joy in us because of the person of Christ and His work on our behalf.
·  It is completed in us because, pertaining to His work, Jesus said “it is finished”.
·  And this word does a miraculous joy-giving work in those who receive it and our saved by it.
·  This joy is not rooted in feelings and emotions and is not dependent on circumstances.
·  This joy is free from the tyranny of circumstances!



We will see two things.
·  (1) How the word is means to call the “given” to believe – our speaking and their hearing.
·  (2) And by implication, what isn’t a means – our works.

(1) How the word is a means:
Paul sums it up like this:
·  Romans 1:16–17 (ESV) — 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
·  Romans 10:17 (ESV) — 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
·  1 Corinthians 15:1 (ESV) — 1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,  

Luke put it like this:
·  Acts 14:21 (ESV) — 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,
·  Acts 15:7 (ESV) — 7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.

Peter puts it this way:
·  1 Peter 1:23 (ESV) — 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
·  What was the “word of God” he is talking about?
·  1 Peter 1:25 (ESV) — 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

So how is the word a means to call the “given” to believe?

From the above, we see a relationship between our speaking the words of Christ and the unbeliever’s hearing, understanding and believing.
·  The “Word of Christ”, “the gospel”, “the word of the gospel” and the “good newsall refer to the saving work and ministry of Jesus Christ done in obedience to the Father and on our behalf.
o   The very things that fulfill His joy in us.

And it is these words that speak of the work of Christ that God uses as a means to call the “given” to believe in Him.
·  These are the words that are “preached” and these are the words that the “given” are capable of “hearing”.
·  So the way God brings about the new birth in dead, unbelieving hearts is by the gospel, the good news – John Piper.

BTW – we must make a distinction between God’s role and our role:
·  God’s role in bringing about the new birth is decisive, and our role in bringing about the new birth is essentialJohn Piper.
·  Our role in speaking the gospel is essential because God has ordained that faith comes from hearing the Gospel.
·  God’s role in using our speaking the Gospel to bring someone to salvation is decisive because it is He that regenerates their heart and thus enables them to hear the Gospel.
o   He who has ears let him hear

John Piper sums it up as follows:
·  But the fact that you can’t make electricity or create light never stops you from flipping light switches. The fact that you can’t create fire in cylinders never stops you from turning the car key.  So don’t let the fact that you can’t cause the new birth stop you from telling the gospel. That is how people are born again—through the living and abiding word, the good news of Jesus Christ – John Piper.

Summary of How the Word is a Means:
·  The Gospel is the obedient work of Christ on our behalf.
·  God has given us the privilege of speaking the Gospel and thus being part of the means to call the “given” to believe.
·  God has ordained that the Gospel must be spoken and then heard.
·  We speak (essential) and God sees to it that the “given” hear (decisive).

(2) What isn’t a means to call the “given” to believe:
We have seen that the Gospel we are to speak, preach and tell is the work of Christ done in obedience to the Father on our behalf.
·  In fact, we saw Paul define the Gospel as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ last week in 1 Cor. 15.
·  All of these things have a huge implication for what isn’t a means to call the “given” to believe.

And that implication is that we are not the Gospel!
·  Our works, our fruit, our lifestyle, our going to church, our being honest, our being a good father, our being a good husband, our love of Christ – all of these things – THEY ARE NOT THE GOSPEL!
·  We must speak the Gospel of Christ with words!
o   We cannot speak the Gospel with our actions.
·  And by the grace of God, He will use these words to call the “given” to believe.