Sanctify Them

To be sanctified is to be separated from profane things and dedicated to God, to be purified for use by God. This was Jesus’ prayer for His disciples.

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“Sanctify Them”

 John 17:9-20

  • We’ll spend some time in a passage today that is commonly referred to as “the high priestly prayer”
  • It is a prayer of Jesus for His disciples
  • The primary aspect we will highlight is His prayer for their sanctification
  • To be sanctified is to be separated from profane things and dedicated to God
  • To be purified for use by God
  • This was Jesus’ prayer for His disciples on this day
  • And for those who, by their testimony, would be led to Him
  • Even those who have faith in Jesus in our day
  • Including us!
  • “Sanctify Them,” our theme from John 17:9-20
  • Jesus is well into His prayer by the time we reach verse 9
  • It is clear His disciples are the subject of the prayer throughout
  • He will expand beyond His group of twelve later
  • Here’s where we start…

John 17:9

9  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 

  • It’s not that the world wasn’t worthy of prayer
  • The believer must always have a global perspective
  • Jesus makes that clear to us in a myriad of ways through the New Testament
  • But at this moment He is focused on His own
  • Those which the Father had given Him
  • Those which were the Father’s

John 17:10

10  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 

  • The commitment the disciples had to Jesus was evidence of their faith in God
  • Their service for Jesus was service to God
  • They belonged to God
  • And they were showing forth His attributes in the world
  • Glorifying Him

John 17:11

11  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 

  • The time is quickly approaching when He will no longer be with them
  • He will die, be buried, raise again from the dead, be seen of them, give them their commission, then rejoin His Father in heaven
  • But He is confident God will keep them in His absence
  • And He will give them a unity that resembles the unity of God the Father and God the Son

John 17:12

12  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 

  • None of them has perished or “gone to destruction”
  • Save for Judas
  • Judas is referred to as the “son of perdition”
  • Or the “man of sin”
  • The betrayer of Jesus
  • The scripture is fulfilled when he acts in betrayal

John 17:13

13  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 

  • The Easy to Read Version helps us on this passage
  • It says…

“I am coming to you now. But I pray these things while I am still in the world. I say all this so that these followers can have the true happiness that I have. I want them to be completely happy.”

  • Their joy would come in serving the Father, just as Jesus had done
  • Not in fulfilling their own desires, but in fulfilling His
  • And this would make them truly happy
  • While the world, the flesh, and the devil would tell us exactly the opposite
  • This can’t be refuted in light of scripture
  • Total commitment to God’s will makes for a joy-filled person
  • In spite of all circumstances, which may not be good
  • And no matter the cost, disciples of His are fulfilled by giving up their lives to Him

John 17:14

14  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 

  • Jesus has equipped His disciples
  • But they have been met with hatred in the world
  • As He explains, this is because of their foreignness
  • Anyone with faith in Him is not of this world
  • We are children of God, eternal residents of heaven
  • With another King and with a different purpose
  • A purpose that angers so many who are at home within the world’s system
  • But He says…

John 17:15

15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 

  • Jesus does not pray for our escape from the difficulties of this world
  • Even when we are treated unfairly and hated without reason
  • Even when in the midst of persecution
  • But He rather prays for our righteousness and integrity
  • To be kept from evil and from “the evil one”

John 17:16

16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 

  • This is why we often face so much trial
  • Why His disciples in that day faced so much trial
  • They were foreign, just pilgrims
  • And now we come to the sanctification portion…

John 17:17

17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 

  • Let’s rehearse the meaning of this word “sanctify”
  • It means to be “separated from profane things and dedicated to God”
  • To be purified for use by God
  • It is a growth in spiritual maturity that comes, not from being delivered in moments of trial, but through walking in moments of trial fully reliant upon the Savior
  • And how do we maintain this reliance?
  • Though His word
  • We read it, we obey it, it shapes our perspectives and attitudes
  • And it allows our relationship with Him to deepen, despite the harsh realities we face
  • As we are being sanctified, we have a mission…

John 17:18-20

18  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 

19  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 

20  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

  • This is where the prayer reaches to us, who believe in Him today
  • Those who know the gospel because of the disciples’ witness
  • Through their testimonies and their writings of Him, which are God-breathed
  • And Jesus set Himself apart to minister to them
  • To be their Messiah
  • And He sent them, just as He sends us into the world
  • To testify of His saving grace, which is for all men 

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