Our Life as a Missionary | John 17:13-19

  • Jesus is addressing two tensions here. 1) Christians tend to withdraw from their culture and create a closed monastic community. 2) On the contrary, Christians tend to become just like culture and lose all their Christian distinctiveness. 
  • Every follower of Jesus is simultaneously called to be distinct from and in the world. 
  • The purpose of us being in the world and not of the world is so more people can believe in Jesus “through our word.”  (See last week’s Discipleship Tool). 

John 17:13-19
13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Consider Jesus’ words here.  Jesus tells us that every one of us has a disposition towards one of these two temptations; to either remove ourselves from the world or become like the world.

  • Do you recognize any tendencies or history of the church falling into one or two sides of this tension?  Maybe when the church lost its distinctiveness or when the church retreated from culture?
  • After considering Jesus' words here, where do you find yourself? What is the primary temptation you find yourself more drawn towards or often have to pull back from?
    • Can you share an example of a time when one of these two sides has put pressure on you? What was the root cause of that pressure?

Putting this together, Jesus gives us the power to live in a distinctly not Christian culture, all the while living distinctly Christian. Organically, this creates many opportunities for Christians and non-Christians to be around each other and hear the gospel. 
  • In your own words, what does it mean to live distinctly Christian and yet be a part of the culture? In other words, how do you live as a missionary in Denver?
  • Where do you want to grow or how do you desire to see the church grow in this area?
  • How do you personally assess yourself on going “into the world?”  
    • What are real life examples of times/places when you surround yourself with people who are not connected to Jesus?  
    • Do these examples lead to real relationships with folks or more acquaintances?
  • Reflect on weeks 1 & 2. Who are the people in your life that immediately pop up in your mind when you think about being “in the world?”  Who has the Lord already placed in your life? What are conversations with them like at this point and time?
  • Your neighbors are also people who the Lord has already placed in your immediate circle.  Who are they? What are they like?  What might it look like to live in this tension while in a relationship with these people?
  • Spend time praying for the people God has placed in your life. 
Father, we ask that you give us the courage and opportunities to walk in the world around us yet remain close to you as we do.  You give us the strength to do this well, and the power that we receive is from you and you alone as you are with us.