What is Mission Critical?
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John 17:14 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.
John 17:15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
Jesus prepared the disciples for the difficulty they would face ahead. If they were to spread the message of the Gospel to the lost, they would not be applauded but face strong opposition instead. Jesus didn’t ask the Father to keep them from sickness, pain, suffering, or even death. Jesus asked for their protection from “the evil one.” The one who could keep them from accomplishing the very task they had been left here to do. What Jesus wanted the Father to protect was our faith in Him and in the mission. Christians throughout history have suffered for their faith. We have read for hundreds of years of people suffering from hunger, beatings, imprisonment, slander, and even death.
Jesus promised that when He returns, we will be given a new body that is perfect and will never die. This is our ultimate hope of relief from this world, all things made new.
Question: Do you worry about your safety, health, or losing your wealth? Why do you think we work so hard to protect what Jesus never promised would be ours?
Question: What about the promises of the OT that God will protect His people?
Question: Is it wrong to pray for someone to be healed?
John 17:16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
What John means by “world,” is their desires and attitude. Now that we have been saved from our sin and are part of God’s family, we now have the hope of a new home that is perfect and without sin. This world compared to our new home is worthless. It along with our bodies will be replaced. Jesus is reminding us that we are not part of this world that is only seeking to please itself and get as much as they can out of this life. Jesus clearly was not concerned with the cares of this world, because He didn’t belong here. Jesus is saying you don’t belong here either.
This leads us to the next verse:
John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
The word “sanctify” here means to separate for a purpose. Verse 18 reminds us what our purpose is. But how is it that Jesus wants us to find our purpose? God’s Word. Also, notice who is causing us to be separated from this world – the Father. Jesus askes the Father to use His words to separate us from the world and closer to Christ.
Question: Why does Jesus want us to be sanctified? How is this different than how you thought of sanctification in the past?
John 17:18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
Does Jesus want us to leave our jobs and homes to only pursue preaching the gospel around the world? Is that the real call of a disciple? Are we failing our mission if our full-time occupation is not evangelism? Of course not. As we read the NT letters to the church, it is obvious the church was made up of business owners, Roman guards, widows, etc. They are instructed to give of what resources they have and care for one another.
Question: What do you think it would look like if the priority of our church was finding the lost and then caring for them?
Question: Is sharing the gospel with the world only accomplished by personal evangelism? How could the church do this together?