Lessons Of A Lifetime

Finishing The Work Of God
Before The World Was
Sunday April 2, 2023

Scripture To Consider:
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that You should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.’

“And this is eternal life that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”      John 17.1-5

Something To Consider:
As Jesus lifted up His eyes toward heaven He was looking ahead unto His inevitable suffering upon the cross. And yet He took time to pray to His Father. John as well as the Holy Spirit deemed it important enough to record the prayer of Jesus that filled the entire seventeenth chapter of the book of John.

Paul in 1 Thessalonians admonishes all believers to pray without ceasing. In our text, in the upper room, Jesus prayed first for Himself in John 17.1-5. He then prayed for His remaining eleven disciples in verses 6-19. And finally, Jesus prayed for all future believers in verses 20-26.

Therefore, without our asking, Jesus has prayed for us as future believers. Are we a positive result of the prayers of Jesus? Or have we become just the opposite due to our allowing our flesh to rule over us?

Luke, before writing of the parable Jesus told concerning the persistent widow in Luke 18.1, Luke proclaimed; “That men [women and young people] always ought to pray and not lose heart.” Do we follow this biblical rule, or are we often found rather losing heart?

Something Else To Consider:
The very first thing we observe and learn from Jesus as it pertains to prayer is that our prayers should be addressed to God the Father. This was learned in a previous lesson taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and again in Luke 11.2, when His disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.

Another important lesson we learn from this prayer is that Jesus began His prayer by praying for Himself. We must first be partakers of the work of God in our own lives before we can be of any benefit to others. Some might feel that to be selfish, but it is simply following Jesus’ example portrayed in Scripture.

Jesus most likely said that He had glorified His Father and finished the work He had given Him, more for the disciple’s sake than for Himself or His Father. For glorifying God and finishing the work that we as believers have been given, may take a lifetime to achieve. And thereby cannot or should not attempt to be achieved in the last year, month, or week of our lives.

The best time to start achieving the work of God is right now, today. Let us therefore study and search the Scriptures to show ourselves approved unto God. And let us be found always praying for divine guidance and His Holy Spirit’s direction in the work of God!

Maybe we are in need of a refresher course in what the work of God really is. Jesus, as mentioned in an earlier lesson, made known what the work of God is in John 6.29. “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him [Jesus] whom He [the Father] sent.”

Therefore, are we doing the work of God, by our believing, truly believing in Jesus? If so, then we are keeping His commandments. If so, we are obeying His Word. If so, we are observing all things Jesus taught. Therefore, how are we doing as of this moment in our lives?

Something More To Consider:
Finally, Jesus prayed, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John earlier declared, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Therefore, Jesus was there in the beginning even before the world was created.

John also declared, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us [among humankind], and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” He who was with God in the beginning before the world was, according to the apostle Paul in Philippians 2.7, speaking of Jesus; “Made Himself of no reputation, taking on the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men.”  

The whole concept of redemption in and of itself is overwhelming. And yet, we are told by Paul in Ephesians 1.4, “He [God] chose us in Him [in Jesus] before the foundation of the world.” What more could we ask or want from God! What more could He have given?

But what did God choose us for before the foundation of the world? According to Paul in the remainder of Ephesians 1.4; “That we [those chosen] should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Are we living lives of holiness in Christ? Are we living lives without blame before our God?

A Few Final Words:
Much was accomplished in the mind of God before the world was created according to the Word of God! And every biblical prophecy will be fulfilled before the end of this age. Therefore, are we aware of those end time prophetic signs?

Jesus, on the cross proclaimed, “It is finished.” One day, we too will be forced to proclaim, “It is finished.” At some point, at some precise moment in time, we will be required to declare that our life is complete! Will we be able to attest to the fact that the work of God we were given to fulfil was indeed accomplished?

Finishing the work of God is based on our believing Jesus, present tense unto the end of our lives or until His return. Jesus, for the sake of every human inhabitant of the earth, past, present, and future, stepped down from His rightful place of glory that was His before the world ever was, in order to redeem the world back to God His Father.

Therefore, Jesus was able to pray, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

Our Father in heaven, may our lives bring You glory as we attempt to finish the work You have given us to accomplish here on earth. Teach us to be found looking unto Jesus while fulfilling Your will and purpose for our earthly life. Encourage us Father from time to time as You did Your Son, Jesus, our Lord and Redeemer. In Him Always, Amen!

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