As you sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world

As you sent me into the world,

I have sent them into the world.

John 17:18

The seventeenth chapter of John comprises what is termed the High priestly prayer of Jesus.  In this chapter He prayed as a co-equal with God the Father.  Our prayers are as a pauper, asking for His grace.  The prayers of Christ to the Father were always on a different level than ours.  On this basis of oneness with God, our Lord asked for our protection, our joy, our being set apart by His word, our complete unity, and the sharing of His glory.  Among these requests there is included His desire that we should be sent, even as He was sent.  To be sent as He was sent opens many avenues of thought.  I would like to consider two aspects of being sent as He was sent, that, if appropriated and applied to our lives, would result in the continued glorification of our Lord.

The first of these is to realize that the same power that enabled Christ to live His life is made available to us.  Each word He spoke, every activity He undertook, and every miracle performed were done by the power of the Holy Spirit manifesting the Father through His life.  The Lord Jesus did not speak on His own.  “So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (John 12:50)  He did not act on His own.  “Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work.” (John 14:10)  At one point, our Lord stated the following.  “Jesus gave them this answer: ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself’” (John 5:19)  The same Holy Spirit that manifested the life of the Father in the Son has been given to us to manifest the life of the Son in and through our lives.  We  have the same relationship with the Son through the Spirit that the Son had with the Father.  This is why our Lord says to us in John 15:5, “apart from me you can do nothing.”  And in John 16:14, He states “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”  These are the truths that enabled Paul to write in Galatians 2:20.  “I  have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

In his book “The Spirit of God,” G.Campbell Morgan writes the following comments on this relationship. (pages 200-201)   “This is the distinctive service of all believers in this age.  They are to reveal in transformed and transfigured lives the glory and beauty of the teaching and character of Jesus Christ.  This ideal of service flings men back at once into the place of conscious dependence upon the Holy Spirit, for none can witness of Christ save in actual co-operation with Him.  Two simple sentences will be helpful in order to understand the law of that co-operation;- The Holy Spirit witnesses of Jesus only.  Only the Holy Spirit witnesses of Jesus.  It is very important to remember the first of these.  The Spirit has nothing to say of Himself.  His whole mission and message has to do with Christ.  When He obtains full possession of any individual, it is not His own Person and personality He makes real, but that of Jesus.  The second point is of equal importance.  Everything that is known of the Saviour is known as the result of the illumination of the Holy Spirit.  This new sense of the Master captivates the will and transforms the entire being into likeness to Himself.  This development of character is also increased capacity for the reception of revelation.  To that increased capacity the Spirit is able to make still more glorious revelation, which yet further increases capacity, and prepares the way for still more glorious revelation.  Thus, in a proportionately increasing ratio, life under the control of the Spirit is manifesting the glory of the Master, and thus witnessing for Him.”

Not only are we sent with the same power that directed the life of Christ, we are sent with the same purpose.  This purpose is stated by Christ in John 6:38.  “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me.”  At many of our Navigator conferences over the years, the one workshop described as “How to Know God’s Will” always has the greatest attendance.  Sometimes we may feel that God is playing hide and seek with His will.  Years ago I heard someone say a remark which has been helpful to me.  “If you want to know God’s will for the purpose of obeying it, it will be impossible to escape His will.”  Recently I was introduced by a friend to the remarks of George Muller in regard to the matter of knowing God’s will.  They are taken from “Answers to Prayer from George Muller’s Narratives,” and are entitled as follows:

 

How to ascertain the Will of God

 

1)  I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter.  Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here.  Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s Will, whatever it may be.  When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.

2)  Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression.  If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.

3)  I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God.  The Spirit and the Word must be combined.  If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also.  If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.

4)  Next I take into account providential circumstances.  These often plainly indicate God’s Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.

5)  I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.

6)  Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly.  In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.

We are sent as our Lord was sent.  We share the same power (Holy Spirit), to accomplish the same purpose (The Will of God).  It is a life lived by faith, dependent upon the Spirit to manifest the life of Christ through us in such a way that the will of the Father is accomplished through our lives.   In this manner we come to realize in our lives the fulfillment of the statement of Christ in John 17.  “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”

In Christ,

Richard Spann

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