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Persevering in Practice - Part 1

Turning Point / David Jeremiah
The Truth Network Radio
January 24, 2021 12:24 pm

Persevering in Practice - Part 1

Turning Point / David Jeremiah

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January 24, 2021 12:24 pm

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This podcast is made available by Vision Christian Media, thanks to the generosity of our supporters. Your donation today means great podcasts like this remain available to help people look to God daily. Please make your donation today at With so many diversions and distractions in today's world, it's easy to turn your attention from God and stumble in your Christian walk.

Is there a solution? Today on Turning Point, Dr. David Jeremiah says, absolutely. And he offers encouragement from Scripture to help you stay focused on God and his purpose for you. To introduce today's message, persevering in practice is David.

Well, thank you so much for joining us. We're getting down to the end of our discussion of the life of God blesses. And today we're going to talk about something very important, and that is staying involved in the search, staying involved in the fight, staying engaged in the battle all the way through. You know, it's easy to walk with the Lord in good times and in short stretches. But the real key, if you want God to bless you over the long haul, is to stay focused and stay involved and to persevere.

We're going to talk about that today. And our lesson today is built upon one of the great chapters in the New Testament, Chapter 17 of the book of John. So find your place there and you'll be able to follow along in just a moment. If you have our study guide, you'll be in great shape to wrap your arms around this lesson. Let's get started with today's lesson.

I want to talk to you today about the focused life. And the lesson comes to us from the New Testament and the 17th chapter of John. If you know your Bibles, you know that John chapter 17 records the prayer of Jesus, the longest prayer of Jesus that we have in all of the Bible. Now, this prayer is usually referred to as the high priestly prayer, and that's probably the correct name for it. But it is also accurately called the Lord's Prayer because the prayer back in the early chapters of Matthew is really the disciples prayer. And the prayer in John chapter 17 is the Lord's Prayer. It's the prayer that the Lord prayed. And in this high priestly prayer, we gather together some principles that will help us understand why the Lord's life on this earth as the Son of God was so effective. Now, please remember that this prayer was not prayed in the easy days of our Lord's life. This prayer was prayed just before he went to his death. He was about to leave the brightest days of earthly ministry and enter into the darkest night of his life, a time when he would bear the sin of the whole world, time when he would hang between heaven and earth as the sin bearer for the universe. And in this prayer, I believe he uncovers the very core of his heart.

What was it that made Jesus what he was as the Son of God, as the Son of Man? I believe if we study this prayer carefully, we can learn that. He didn't pray this prayer so that we could admire it. He prayed the prayer in the hearing of his disciples so that it could be recorded so that we could listen to it and learn from it. For in this prayer are the keys to his life. And he has given us this prayer in such a way as to help us understand that these principles are not just principles that he followed, but they're principles for us as well.

There's a wonderful way to explore this as we look together at this prayer. And I want to take the time at the front end of this message to do it because the problem we're going to face as we take a few moments and study the Lord Jesus and his life is that we're going to feel like it's the untouchable life. We're going to feel like, oh, this is all right for Jesus, but it's not for us. It's all right that Jesus could live such a focused life. But after all, he was the Son of God. But I believe that the Lord Jesus has gone out of his way in this prayer to relate these principles to us so that we would never believe they were just theological truths for deity.

They are practical truths for humanity. And he's done it through the key word that is used in the prayer. Now, if you have your Bibles open to John 17, you could probably just peruse the chapter and suggest some key words.

You might want to use the word world. It appears in there quite a few times, and the word glory is found a few times in this chapter. But there's a little word that really is the key word to understanding the text, and it's the little two-letter word as, A-S. In order to demonstrate that, I want to take you through these verses and show you what the Lord Jesus has done simply by using that little word as.

It appears for the first time in the second verse. Jesus said, as you have given him authority over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him. The word as there relates to us the truth about Jesus and his Father and helps us to understand that the truth about Jesus and his Father is also the truth about Jesus and us. In other words, our relationship to Jesus Christ in many of these key areas is the same relationship that Jesus Christ has to his Father. Here in this first expression, we learn in verse 2 that we have the same life in us that Christ has in him.

We have the same life. We are related to Christ in that way. Notice verse 11 where the word appears again. In John 17, 11, I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you, Holy Father, keep through your name those whom you have given me, that they may be one. Here's the word again, that they may be one, Lord, as we are one. Here again, Jesus is saying that the relationship he has with the Father is a picture of the relationship that we're to have with Jesus Christ.

As he is to the Father, we are to Jesus. It appears again in the same chapter in verse 14. Notice the 14th verse. Verse 14 says, I have given them thy word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Now, what this verse teaches us is that we have the same hostility toward us that Jesus Christ had toward him. Is that true or is that not true?

Isn't that the fact? Jesus said they hated me because of what I did. Now, don't be surprised. If they hate you, you're going to get the same treatment that I had. You're going to have the same hostility. If you live for Jesus Christ, you're not going to be always the most popular people in your environment. We identify with Christ and what he was on this earth.

We have the same experience ourself. That's what Jesus is trying to tell us. It appears again in verse 18. Notice what it says in verse 18.

Underline it in your Bible. As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. This tells us that we have the same mission that Jesus had. He was sent by God the Father into this world as a missionary.

Now, he said, just as I have been sent, I'm sending you. We have the same responsibility in this world that Jesus had when he came. It's found again in verse 21. Verse 21 says that they all may be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be one in us that the world may believe that you sent me. Notice the word as again in verse 21. Here we discover that we have the same unity that Jesus has with the Father. It appears again in verse 22, and I'm going through this quickly because this is not the point of the message. Verse 22, and the glory which you gave me, I have given them that they may be one just as we are one. Here we discover we have the same glory that Jesus has. It appears the last time in verse 23, I in them and thou in me that they may be perfected in unity that the world may know that thou didst send me and didst love them even as thou didst love me. Here we discover that we have the same love that Christ has. Now, if you follow the little word as throughout the text, here's what you learn. It's a dynamic principle that I discovered some years ago, and I've never recovered from it because every time I read the gospels, it keeps popping up.

And the principle goes like this. If we will be to Jesus what Jesus is to the Father, then Jesus will be to us what the Father is to him. If you want to know how we are related in this whole principle of walking with the Lord, here's how it works. Just watch how Jesus related to the Father. Just watch how the Father related to Jesus, and then you can put it in the bank. That's the way Jesus wants to relate to you if you will relate to him as he relates to the Father. What was Jesus' plan and purpose in coming to this earth?

It was a clearly focused direction. He knew what the Father wanted him to do. Now, that takes all of John 17 out of the theological and it puts it into the practical. It tells us that if we study this chapter, we can learn how God wants to work through us in our lives.

And the key principle is this. The thing that made Jesus' life dynamic, the thing that made him so unique, take away the divine part of this whole equation. Look at Jesus as a man, but he was more than a man.

He was the God-man, but look at him as the Son of Man. And notice the reason celebrating his birthday all these thousands of years after he was born into this world. Here's the reason Jesus lived a life that was absolutely totally focused and knew exactly why God had brought him here, what he was to do.

And my friends, I'm convinced that until we can approximate that kind of a focused life, we'll never be able to get over the surfing we do on the waves and the tides of this world. What was it that the Lord Jesus came to do? Throughout the Scripture, you will find his purpose statement over and over again. For instance, in Luke chapter 2 and verse 49, we read these words. And he said to them, why do you seek me?

Do you not know that I must be about my father's business? Do you remember that verse? Jesus was 12 years old or approximately 12 years old. He went to the temple as a little boy.

He stayed after when his folks thought he was with them on the way home and they came to find him. And he was sitting there with all of the Sanhedrin talking and they were asking him questions. And his parents in their humanity were pretty upset with him. And Jesus said, don't be upset with me.

Don't you understand? I've got to be about my father's business. He was a young boy. He knew that his purpose was to do the will of God who had sent him. What was that purpose? Look at John chapter 4 and verse 34.

Here it is described. Jesus said to them, my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Did Jesus have a sense of destiny and purpose and focus about his life?

Yes, sir, he did. He knew from the very moment he was born that he was born to die. Jesus wasn't born to be king at that moment. Ultimately, he will be king, but he was born into humanity so that he might go to the cross and pay the penalty for our sin.

He was literally born to die and he knew it. He knew that was the work that God had called him to do. John chapter 9 and verse 4, he once again visits this theme. He said, I must work the work of him who sent me while it is day.

The night is coming when no one can work. And then in a prophetic statement in Hebrews chapter 10 and verse 7, we read these words about the Lord Jesus. Then I said, behold, I have come in the volume of the book it is written of me to do your will, O God. Mark chapter 10 and verse 45 adds, even the son of man did not come to be served.

Why did he come? He came to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. Do you think Jesus knew what his purpose was?

I'm absolutely certain he did. He was the perfect son of God, born into humanity from the day he was born, from the day Bethlehem introduced him into our culture, into our world. Jesus set his face like a flint toward the cross. He knew that his life was not to raise the dead and to take the blindness away from blind eyes or to heal the lame.

That was all preliminary. His purpose was to come to this world, die on the cross, be raised from the grave, and ascend to the Father so that he might be the sacrifice for our sin. And he lived every day with that vision, that purpose, that focus in mind. When you say, Pastor Jeremiah, you surely don't expect me to live like that. I don't think it really matters what I expect, but I want to tell you something I've been learning. I believe that God expects all of us to know what he's called us to do and to focus on that and let that be the core of our life. You say, well, I'm not a preacher.

I mean, good night, I work in a factory. I'm not a missionary. I don't teach in a Christian school.

I work out in the business world. I don't think anybody who's a Christian is, first of all, a teacher or, first of all, a factory worker. We are always, first of all, children of God and children of the King and Christians.

So whatever we do, it is the fact that we are Christians first that controls that whole thing. If you're a teacher, you're an ambassador for God in that classroom. If you work out in the factory assembly line, God has uniquely put you in that place to be his representative there. You can get a sense of God's destiny change in a diaper if God has called you to do that. And you can do that with a sense that God is in this. This is his purpose for your life.

I got a book called A Little Book About God written by Jim Hicks. And I'll never forget the impact this one little paragraph had on me. Listen to this and listen to it through your own ears for your own self, not for somebody else. The God of eternity has something in mind for your life that has been in his heart from before the foundation of the world. Psalm 139 reveals that God knew you intimately before you were even formed in your mother's womb. In those scriptures, the Psalmist speaks of a deep sense of destiny and of assignment.

His assignment is eternally significant. When God calls you to a new thing, he has something important and specific in mind. God's hopes and plans for you are not trivial.

They are not second best. God's dreams are about being and doing, about achievement and accomplishment. Taken together, they are God's unique assignment for you and they give meaning and purpose to your life. And what Jim Hicks is saying is this, that long before there was a sun and a moon and stars, and long before there were animals and creatures, long before Adam and Eve, long before there was any life in eternity past before the foundation of the world, the eternal God saw you and he knew you and he understood you and he had a dream about your life, what it would be and what you would do and what you would accomplish. And every single one of us, no matter who we are or what our station in life may be, God has a plan, a unique plan for us.

And when we come to grips with that plan, when we understand his eternal purpose for our life, then we get in his focus and then life begins to make sense. I've gone through the process, as many of you have, trying to sort out what it was my life was all about. I started out, believe it or not, as a disc jockey. I worked an FM station from 3 to 11.

I was on the air every day playing music, doing the weather, doing the news. I thought my life was in some kind of radio thing and God had other plans. And I worked and trusted and tried to figure out and God got a hold of my life and showed me what he wanted.

I know what I'm supposed to do now. I'm to study the Bible and read the Bible and preach the Bible and record the Bible and televise the Bible, write about the Bible and sing about the Bible. God has called me to the ministry of his word and the more I stay focused on that, the more meaning my life has. And I am absolutely certain that there's not one person who's a child of God that God doesn't have a perfect plan for your life. Have you taken any time to sort that out? Has it ever crossed your mind that you might be just kind of floating through life missing the very best thing that God has for you? Listen to me. You say, well, I'm afraid to find out what that is because if I find out what that is, I'm sure it's going to be something I don't like.

Isn't that what you think? Let me tell you what the word of God says. Commit your way unto the Lord and he'll give you the desires of your heart. Do you know what I'm doing, friends? I'm doing what I love to do, what I would do if I could design it.

I didn't know it at the time. God had this all in mind and he planned it all out and he sorted it all out. When I wake up every morning and get ready to face the day, I'm so excited because I get to spend my life doing what I really love to do. And God has a plan for every one of us like that. That's the plan he wants to focus your life on.

When you find out what that is, and some of you have never even thought this way, you just thought, well, I'm a Christian. I'm on my way to heaven. I got to do all this stuff on the way. No, God has a plan for your life. And that plan is going to bring meaning and purpose if you'll take some time to sort it out and find out what it is. And I'm telling you, it's the only way to stay focused. It's the reason why the Lord Jesus Christ could stay focused in his life.

And I want to give you five things that you can take to the bank, five things that will help you understand how very important it is to have a focused life. Jesus lived his life according to purpose. He never lost sight of that. He was a human. And so he had all the same kind of experiences we had.

Do you believe that? The Bible says he was tempted in all points as we are, yet apart from sin. Do you think Jesus ever had days when he could have gotten off course and lost sight of his perspective? He had all the same challenges that you and I have. He could you remember when Satan took him out into the wilderness?

Do you remember that? And Satan tempted him. And I don't know if you've ever studied Matthew 4, but Matthew 4 is like this. It's Satan trying to get Jesus to accept the benefits of the cross without going to the cross. He was saying to the Lord Jesus, I'll give you the world.

You didn't have the kingdom. Just bow down before me. And the Lord Jesus said, no, Satan, you're not going to do that to me. I know what my purpose is.

I know what my focus is. Get you behind me, Satan. There's a little phrase in John 17, and it's found seven times throughout the gospels. It's all about the hour that has come. When you come to John 17, 1, it begins like this. Jesus says, glorify the Father, for my hour has come. What hour was he talking about, class? His death. The next day, he's going to die. He said, the hour has come.

But I don't know if you've ever noticed it. There are several places in the gospels where Jesus said that his hour had not come. And it's interesting to study those places and see what Jesus said when he said, my hour hadn't come. For instance, it begins in John chapter 2. Jesus is just beginning his earthly ministry, and he's invited to a wedding. And he goes to the wedding at Cana of Galilee. And you know what the problem was? In John chapter 2, they ran out of wine.

They didn't have enough to service all the people that came to the wedding. And in John chapter 2, verses 3 and 4, we read, and when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to him, they have no wine. And Jesus said to her, woman, what does your concern have to do with me?

My hour has not yet come. What is that all about? Well, you have to study that one a little bit, but let me tell you what it means. Jesus was not being disrespectful to his mother. I've heard messages where people said he shouldn't have said to her, woman.

You know, today in our culture, a woman says something to you and you respond, woman, that's probably not going to be very well received. But in that nuance, it wasn't like that. And it certainly had nothing to do with his willingness to do the miracle because did he do the miracle?

Absolutely. Listen to me now. Jesus was not rebuking his mother. He was not refusing to deal with the lack of wine. Jesus was saying to his mother, listen carefully, the time for me to be submissive to the authority of man in the hour of my crucifixion is not yet here. I will not be placed under authority to man. I will do what you ask of me, but I want you to understand that this is not my purpose right now. My purpose right now is not to turn water into wine.

My purpose now is the cross and I will not let the activity of even a marriage ceremony distract me from that purpose. So I wrote down in my notes, when you live a focused life, nothing can distract you. Is that a problem to you? Do you ever have that problem? I'll tell you what, whenever I lose the focus of my goal, I get totally distracted and I get off on other things. How many times do you get off on a cul-de-sac? Somebody's always got you doing something and you wake up one day and say, what am I doing this for?

This is not what I'm supposed to be doing. But when you stay focused on God's purpose for your life, listen to me, nothing can distract you. Well friends, we have four more principles from this wonderful text that will help you with your life being focused as you go into this new year. Five things that come from John 17, you just heard the first one.

When you live a focused life, nothing can distract you. Tomorrow, I'll give you the last four and they're all so practical. And you know what, when you get stuff from the Bible, when you get principles from the Bible, you put them in your notes, you write about them, and then as you really get a chance to think about them, you realize how very personal and practical and timeless the Word of God is. That these principles that were enjoyed by generations before us and the first time anybody read or heard it were blessed, we're being blessed today because the Word of God, it lives forever and it lives in your heart when you take it in through study. Well, tomorrow we'll finish up persevering in practice. We have three more lessons. After that, we're going to talk about writing your story and we're going to end with eight spiritual blessings. This is The Life God Blesses. I'm David Jeremiah.

This is Turning Point. We'll see you tomorrow. For more information on Dr. Jeremiah's current series, The Life God Blesses, please visit our website where you'll also find two free ways to help you stay connected, our monthly magazine Turning Points and our daily email devotional. Sign up today at forward slash radio.

That's forward slash radio. And when you do, please ask for your copy of Jack Countryman's new book, God's Blessings Just for You. It features 100 inspirational readings and reflections, and it's yours for a gift of any amount. And if you still haven't requested David's new daily devotional for 2021 called Strength for Today, there are still copies available. It's a great way to get a dose of biblical truth every day. Ask for your copy when you visit us at forward slash radio. I'm Gary Hooke Fleet. Join us tomorrow as we continue the series, The Life God Blesses. Here on Turning Point with Dr David Jeremiah.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-31 15:08:18 / 2023-12-31 15:18:28 / 10

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