Sermons Updates

God Speaks with God: Truth vs. Lies (John 17) – Mark Ottaway

God Speaks with God (Part #2)

Truth vs Lies

John 17


Turn to John 17. Three weeks ago, we started to dig into the prayer by Jesus for His disciples, and ultimately to us as well through the extension of that prayer, as Jesus prayed (vs 20) for all those who would believe through the ministry of the disciples. I said there were eight things that the Lord prayed for His disciples. The first was in verse 3:

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

John 17:3 (LSB)


Prayer #1: Know the Father and the Son (vs 3)


“And I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name.”

John 17:11a (LSB)


Prayer #2: Be Kept in His Name (vs 11-12)


And we talked about the fact that Jesus said, “Holy Father.” That we would understand this as those who would follow Christ, He has placed such a value that we would live holy lives.


“But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.”

John 17:13 (LSB)


Prayer #3: Have Christ’s Joy Made Full in Us (vs 13)


That our lives would be characterized as people of joy, as Christ desires to share the joy with us that he has with the Father. So, as we continue to move through this morning, let us look at the next prayer by our Lord.

“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.”

John 17:14-15 (LSB)


Prayer #4: Protect Them from Satan (vs 15)


And let me give you the other one we are going to look at this AM s we will tackle the final three next week.

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.”

John 17:16-17 (LSB)


We will get to prayer #5 in a few moments, “Empower Them by God’s Truth.” These two prayers by Christ are at two polar extremes, as we have the lies of Satan versus the truth of God. Protect them from Satan and his lies and empower them by truth. This is the age-old problem that started in the Garden of Eden as God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit, and Satan caused them to question the truth of God. Now in the story of Adam and Eve you can see this clear disobedience to God. It was so black and white. Don’t do this, but they did. And thinking of God speaking to King Saul, don’t allow anything to live when you go in to kill your enemies, make sure you kill everything, even the animals. Saul? What is that bleating of sheep? Peter, you are going to deny Me three times. But Peter said, even if I have to die with You Lord, I would never deny You. Thirty-four verses later, Peter denies Christ three times. Jesus said that it would have been better for the one who betrays Him to have never been born. Judas, who was there to hear Jesus say this said, surely not I Lord. Twenty-two verses later Judas betrays Jesus. Lies versus truth. So, the prayer of Jesus is to protect them from these lies. To protect them from Satan. And as the lie of Satan is introduced in the first book of the Bible, in the last book of the Bible, Revelation it says:

“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.”

Rev 12:9a (LSB)


The great dragon. This is no tame or weak enemy. The dragon. Satan is powerful, and fierce, and brings terror to the hearts of people. In fact, the Bible tells us that even Michael the archangel was not willing to rebuke Satan himself (Jude 9), but said, the Lord rebuke you. This would not mean that the Lord could not give Michael power over Satan if He so chose. But Michael knew the position of Satan and that it was not his place to rebuke him. Michael, this perfect angelic being, whom God has placed as overseer of the heavenly hosts. We have been talking quite a bit about angels on Sunday evenings. Angels who were created in perfect holiness and righteousness. A superior rank over humans who have ministered before the Lord. And if Michael, who has never sinned, who was created by God as the Lord’s servant to do all that the Lord has commanded him. If he dared not stand up against Satan himself but deferred the destruction of Satan to God, we who are sinners are no match for Satan. When the Apostle Paul was challenging the Ephesian Christians to prepare for battle, he did not tell them to go up against Satan and attack him. No, he said:

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

Eph 6:11 (LSB)


To stand, for we do not run from Satan. We also know (1 John 4:4) that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. Therefore, we do not need to fear Satan, for nothing can happen to us that does not first go through the hand of God. Think of when Satan came against Job. Satan had to first get permission from God to do all he did. But we do not go to war against Satan. The defeat of Satan is a result of Almighty God defeating him at the cross. But we do stand firm against Satan. Or do we? Do we really stand firm against the schemes of the devil? Jesus prayed, keep them from the evil one. This reminds me of Paul’s charge in Ephesians 4:27, do not let Satan get a foothold, or literally, do not give the devil any kind of opportunity. In other words, make sure that your guard is always up. Make sure that the door is not left open a crack. And not only don’t give in to Satan but don’t even let him have any kind of opportunity.


This (vs 15) in John gives us the truth that if we were taken out of the world, we would not have to fight this battle against Satan, there would be no opportunity for Satan to get at us. But Jesus’ prayer was not that we would be taken out of the world, in other words, the plan is that we are to stay. See, we have two options. Option number one is to die physically. To live with Christ forever and never be tempted to sin. Eternally free from Satan. No more night, no more pain, relishing in the eternal glories of heaven, and endlessly praising God. Or option number two is to live apart from the physical presence of Christ with His Spirit within us. But having to face temptation, where there is night and pain, but still relishing in the glories of God, and still endlessly praising Him. In fact, there are some similarities, as we are still able to praise God. We are still able to glorify God with our lives. But we do have to contend with Satan, and we still have to contend with the pain of life. Be it physical pain, but also all the other challenges that come with life, along with all our weaknesses as humans.


So, if you are still living and breathing this morning. No one asleep? God has chosen for you option number two, to live apart from the physical presence of Christ with His Spirit within you. But having to face temptation, where there is night and pain, but still relishing in the glories of God, and still endlessly praising Him. Therefore, there is no such choice for the Christian to end their life. There is no such option as MAID (medical assistance in dying), for we see from John 17:15 that it is Jesus’ call whether you and I are going to be in this world or out. And within this battle of life, Jesus prays that we would be kept from the evil one. Now you might be thinking, I don’t want to fight this battle! But you are going to have to. In fact, your kids are going to have to. There is no one exempt from this. Jesus Himself had to fight this battle.


I was thinking what if we prayed this prayer for our children, Lord, keep the evil one away from them. Job sort of had this kind of heart, as it says that he made sacrifices for his children (Job 1:5), that Job would “rise up early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, ‘Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did continually.” He was worried about his children, so, he sacrificed on their behalf, and likely prayed within his heart, Lord keep Satan away from them. And yet, it was Job himself that the Lord actually allowed Satan to attack him directly.


Last week we pointed out that Jesus prayed that His disciples would be in the name of the Holy Father. His hope is that they would strive to be holy, to live holy, to make right choices, in a world that is full of unholy choices. Therefore, there must be a powerful relationship between God and the believer. Such a strong leaning on God. A strong faith in God, resulting in such a carefulness in how I live, as this is the effort required by us. This is not about letting go and letting God. This is about the striving for the faith, the perseverance in the faith to live life that is holy, so that we would be kept from Satan’s manipulations and influence. But will we be kept from Satan’s temptations? No, not as long as we are in the world. But the aim of the believer and the pleading of Jesus’ prayer is that we are able to resist the devil’s promptings, that we do not compromise truth or holiness or compromise what is right.


And I would even say that we do not have to be surprised with the direction of the world, as there is no resistance to Satan. There has been no prayer from Christ on behalf of the world. Verse 9, I do not ask on behalf of the world. In other words, the prayer to resist Satan has been made on the believer’s behalf, your behalf. You and I are the ones that need to resist Satan, not the world. And I am not making excuses for the world, as the world will stand accountable before God someday. But you and I will stand even more accountable before God because Jesus has prayed this prayer on our behalf. The world has its conscience battling against Satan. But the Christian has his conscience, the Christian has the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the Christian has the prayer of Christ on his behalf. In other words, don’t condemn the world when you are struggling in your own battle. Or I guess we could say, don’t point out the speck in your brother’s eye when you have a plank in your own. And why not pray for those the Lord has placed before you. Lord, would You be with my unsaved friend, convict him. Lord, reach my unsaved child. Lord, work in the heart of Mr. Trudeau and our other leaders. And may my life showcase for others a life that has the power of the Spirit within. A life that has been prayed for by Christ. A life that has a sharp conscience concerning both outward and inward sins. A life that is careful about living right in the presence of the Holy Father. Jesus prayed, keep them from the evil one. Next:


Prayer #5: Empower Them by God’s Truth (vs 17-19)


“Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world. For their sake I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”

John 17:17-19 (LSB)


Truth is powerful. Words are powerful. And words that are backed by a godly lifestyle are even more powerful. You know we don’t enjoy as much any more powerful words within the culture. We might hear truthful slams, or we might read truthful cutthroat posts, often meant to dig or put down. In fact, I always think that slams on the internet are quite easy, as you just sit behind your computer and speak your mind, and often it is to people you don’t even know. But to speak a powerful truth at the workplace or in your home, that take’s some courage. To sit across a desk from an unbeliever and say, friend, did you know that the Lord loves you, and this direction in your life is wrong, you need to consider that and I want to pray for you. Son, daughter, I have been struggling myself with something, and I love you and have been praying for you. See good sincere, not angry words are powerful.


I was sharing with the Sunday evening crew that there may be a reason that we tend to be afraid of using powerful words it is the fear of rejection. For me to share with someone 20-30 years ago about Christ, were words that they somewhat knew. Words that many might even desire, but were often just unwilling. Often people might walk away thinking, I know what he said was true, but I am just unwilling to follow Christ or unwilling to change. But that gap has broadened. Those many hearts that at one time may have been soft towards the gospel have grown colder. So, we, who hold to the same truth might feel that our message now is so radical, and it is. For Christianity in our culture does not hold the same place that it once did. Therefore, our message brings greater opposition even by those who live at peace with others, who work hard, and who love kids, have no place for the Bible anymore or its message. Just think of years past where unbelieving parents would send their children to Sunday school or they would enroll them in Christian camps. Those are places now that many “good” parents would be leery of, as that same message has become too radical or not open to what the world now knows and believes.


And so, we as Christians have tended to become quiet, not internet quiet, but personally one-to-one quiet. And much of this is because of the ramifications of speaking the truth. I mean we can watch old clips of Billy Graham proclaiming the gospel message, and tell his audience in front of him at sold-out 80,000 people stadiums and to millions on TV, that without Christ they will go into a Christ-less eternity, that they will die in their sins and go to hell. And after he concludes his speaking, he gets applauded by presidents and important people all over the world. And even the guy who worked down the street who didn’t go to church, would never even have the courage to speak against someone like Billy Graham. Maybe thinking that he is in the minority or that somehow God might curse him if he disagreed. In other words, sure, I don’t necessarily believe, but I am not speaking against God’s preacher. Probably the same guy that was afraid to cut his lawn on Sunday.


And I know I am giving an ideal perspective of Christianity here, but the one who is often afraid now is the Christian. So, it is far easier to just grumble over the internet about what the government is doing, or to say in a post that this is right and this is wrong, than to share that truth with those the Lord has placed in your life right in front of you. Notice what Jesus says (vs 18) as You Father sent Me into the world, I now send them into the world. As I made truth known to people, they are now going to have make truth known.


I have mentioned before lamenting the fact that our children do not have the advantage of hearing strong truthful words from known people like we may have in the past. I mean, when you had presidents pray for the nation, that is powerful! Imagine the impact today of our kids were able to hear kings and presidents openly express their faith in God. Easy to see the impact on Israel in the Old Testament when they had a king who loved and served God. We do not get that anymore from many, or from people like sports figures much anymore? At least not to the same degree we used to. But when we do, words are powerful. I didn’t watch much of the Super Bowl, just a bit after church on Sunday. But my son Aaron is a Chiefs’ fan, so I wanted to see how his team was doing. But an interesting thing is that the quarterback for the San Francisco 49s is Brock Purdy. He only played nine games in his rookie year last year. And of course, this year at age twenty-four he took the 49s to the Super Bowl.


But that is not the great thing about Brock Purdy. Listen to some of the things Purdy said after the game in which they defeated Nigel’s Detroit Lions and other things he said throughout the year. He was asked what keeps you so grounded, he said, “I would have to say my faith, everything I do in life is for God … in whatever I am doing, I know what my purpose is, it is in the Lord, that is who my identity is … [I know] how faithful God is, just by His very nature.” He even referenced once in an interview Mark 8 where Jesus commanded that we must deny ourselves. He said, “I am a faith-based guy, that is how I stay grounded … I don’t look at football like it is everything … but this is who God has called me to be and I believe that from day one … and I believe that Jesus Christ did come down and died for my sins and rose again and [Christ] is living and sitting beside God on the throne.” Man, and we love that, don’t we? We sort of can’t believe it in our day-and-age, and we almost want to say, say it again.


We encourage someone like that, we applaud someone like that. And he is such an encouragement to so many Christians. If I still had young boys at home, such a testimony would be such a blessing to them. But many will not like what he said, especially now that he has become a nationwide celebrity. There will be many on his team and everywhere else that will either ridicule him, or oppose him, and some who will hate him. And Purdy says these things with such kindness and sincerity. He speaks with such gratitude for the Lord’s work and blessing in his life. And I am not lifting up Brock Purdy as I hardly know him. But because his words elevate Christ, they are powerful words. And the reason they are such powerful words is because they are true.


See, you have everything that the world states, and within that message, you have the lies of Satan. And that means the world’s message is not always blatant lies, but it can be truth mixed with lies. And then we have truth. So, on one side, the world’s message, a mixed bag. And on the other side, God’s truth. And there is a natural divide between the two. Therefore, when you read, obey, and speak God’s truth, a division occurs between you and the world, as these words are coming from two different spheres. One is earthly, originating from Satan, spoken by men and women; while the other is heavenly, originating from God, spoken by men and women. True, we have God’s Word, but the world is not reading God’s Word, and no one is turning down the voices coming from the world. In fact, the voices from the world are stronger and more than ever before. And if those lies are becoming greater, and they are coming form more sources, this media explosion, do we not think that the world needs to hear something from God? So, if the world is ever going to hear a powerful message, powerful words, it must come from Christians. The Christian football player, the Christian worker, the Christian Mom, the Christian high schooler. If the unsaved world is ever going to heart powerful words, they must come from you. It was Charles Spurgeon who once said:

“Defend the Word of God? The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.”

Charles Spurgeon


In Jeremiah 31 there is a passage that gives us a glimpse into the Millennial Kingdom, it says:

“And they will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know Yahweh,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,’ declares Yahweh.”

Jer 31:34a (LSB)


But this is not that time. For God has placed you and me here for this time to speak to others the truth, the powerful words, that Jesus spoke to His disciples. You are now back in the hospital room, where your spiritual giant friend is still dying. And he has already shared with you a few weeks ago some things he or she has been praying for you. And they say, come close, I want to pray two more things for you. First, that you would be protected from Satan. Understand that Satan is the master deceiver, that he will get you to justify wrong and compromise truth. Don’t give him any room in your life. Shut that door to whatever it is that Satan is using to fool you, or keeping you from full service, or causing you to sin. Second, that you would be sanctified by truth. Use every part of your intellect to know more of God, that you might become wise. And be sure to share that truth with others. Let’s pray. Lord, You have prayed for us again. So, grant us both wisdom and courage. The wisdom to know and the courage to speak. And all God’s people said, amen.