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What God Hath Given

“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” (John 17:4-8)

In these five verses taken from The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus on the eve of His crucifixion we see the gift that God has given to each of His disciples. Jesus was God incarnate, He was the obedient beloved Son of God the Father. He humbled Himself and came as a man in complete obedience to His heavenly Father in heaven. He came not of His own initiative but that the will of His Father would be done. “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 5:30) This is the example that we as Christians are to follow, the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We see in this passage that Jesus is praying to His Father in the future tense as He said, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” Yet this was prior to His crucifixion and the work was not yet completed as it was when He stated on the cross “It is finished.” (John 19:30) God is omnipresent and is the “I AM” through all eternity and therefore Jesus prayed in the assurance that He could see that His work was complete, as God’s will shall be done. Jesus had given recognition to the Father and completed the work that He had been given. We see the Apostle Paul displaying this same eternal vision in his second letter to Timothy. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Jesus had completed the work that the Father had given Him and Jesus had spent the past three years training His disciple to carry on the God-Given-Work, to carry out the will of the Father. The Christian, as His disciples, have work to do that has been given to us by God the Father. Our chief end is to glorify the Father, as Jesus had, we are to glorify the Father in everything we do. God has equipped the Christian to do the work he has been given. The Christian has been empowered by the Holy Spirit which we have received for the purpose of carrying on the work of the Father through us. “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12)

We are called by the great commission to “Go and make disciples of all the nations,” (Matthew 28:19) but not all of us are evangelist. As the body of Christ we each have been given our unique talents and resources to accomplish the work that has been given us. The Christian is to use the resources that God has given in the work of fulfilling the overall commission of the Church, His body. This is the work that He has created us to do, it is the work that He has equipped us for and has prepared for us. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) It is not the work that we can do but the privilege of God working through us to accomplish His plan and purpose. “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Jesus spent a night in prayer and the Father directed Him to who His disciples were. This is why it is important for us to pray that God will have mercy and open the hearts of the lost that they may be drawn to Jesus and come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. (Luke 6:12) In answer to our prayers God will open the hearts of men to the truth of His gospel. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44) This is not something that we as mere men can do. We are in a battle with evil spiritual forces that can only be conquered by a greater Spirit than our own. The god of this world has blinded the hearts of men and it will take a greater force to open the eyes of the blind. (2 Corinthians 4:4) It is His Spirit working through us that empowers us through His word to plant the seeds of His truth into the soil of the hearts of men. When that happens, when He gives us a willing repenting soul to nurture in the knowledge of the Lord, then we will have Disciples of Christ to train to “Go and make disciples of all the nations.” “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them. The message that Jesus gave to the world came from His Father. As Jesus was obedient to the will of the Father and all that came to Him was of the Father’s will. He as God who became as a man and humbled Himself to man’s afflictions. “Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Ephesians 2:6-7) Therefore He, as we, was dependent upon the Father for His strength and power in wisdom as He testified, “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 5:30) He not only received the message from God the Father He became the message as we should also. We should not only know the gospel but live in the gospel truth.

This is the message from God written upon our heart that we must share to the world, the Salvation offered to man as a gift of God’s grace that none should perish. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) This is the good news that man need not face the second death, that man need not face the righteous judgment of God and His wrath towards sin because Jesus paid the debt penalty.

Jesus the perfect Lamb of God was sacrificed in our place to pay the wages of sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) By His shed blood our sins have been atoned for and forgiven, we are seen by God standing in the righteousness of His Son Jesus our Christ. He died and was buried and on the third day rose from the grave defeating death and will also raise us to be with Him as His bride the Church. “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

His message given to us is if we accept that truth, repent from our evil ways, trust Him with faith in His Word, and serve Him as lord of our life, we will be the Children of God. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12) This is what God hath given, it is not our work but His through us. He provides and equips us for the work. He brings the hungry repenting souls into our path, and by His Word He has given us the message to share to the world. All we need to do is make the commitment to walk in His will. “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 23, 2015

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