Church: Love It Or Love It (Part 2)

fd03fd4ab66b9a2649417e3ed4d6b54f_400x400_200x200The best of times and the worst of times, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, high praise, joyful tears, belly laughter, miracles of salvation and healing, disappointment, stupid mistakes, unfair treatment, depression, anger and pain.  Church.

I have more hope now for the Church than I have ever had before. . .

That is how I finished Part 1 of this journal.  It’s really true.  I am 100% convinced that the Church is becoming a radiant Bride and She will be fierce in both power and holiness!

Here is my bottom line reason for such optimism:  JESUS GETS YES.

Let me begin the explanation by reminding you of John 17:13-26:

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

John 17 is one of the most beautiful chapters in all of the Bible.  Matthew, Mark and Luke give us outward details about Christ’s last hours before His crucifixion.  John, the beloved  disciple, gives us a glimpse into Christ’s heart and allows us to listen to what came from His lips.  Jesus prayed for His disciples and then in verse 20, He broadens His heart-cry to include all those who will follow Him in the future.

Did you realize that you were on Christ’s heart in His last days before His death?

Jesus prays for our joy to be full. . .and so many of us within the Church are on anti-depressants.

Jesus prays for our protection. . .and so many within the Church remain in the bondage of the enemy through habitual sin.

Jesus prays for our sanctification. . .and so many within the Church have barely appropriated justifying grace in salvation.

Jesus prays for our unity. . .and so many within the Church are battling with folks wearing the same uniform instead of focusing on our real enemy.

Jesus prays for our effectiveness in seeing that the world may know Him. . .and so many within the Church will never share their faith with an unsaved individual.

Jesus prays that we will see His glory. . .and so many within the Church completely ignore the person and power of the Holy Spirit and live powerless without the manifest presence of Jesus’ glory in their lives.

Wait a minute. . .what happened to all the optimism?

I still have it.  Because Jesus gets “yes.”

This was Christ’s heart-cry in prayer.  And because He is deeply loved by His Father and also because there was not an ounce of sin within Him, this prayer will be answered with a strong “yes”  from God the Father!

Our prayers can be answered with “yes”, “no” or “wait.”  But Jesus is in perfect union with His Father and prays perfectly.  He always gets “yes!”

Before Jesus returns, the Church will be filled with joy, protected from the evil one, sanctified by grace, in unity with the Father and Son, effective in evangelism, and full of Christ’s glory!

Let me close Part 2 with a simple question especially for the Church in the America. . .

Do you think the present path we are on is going to get us there?

There is a change ahead. . .

(Stay tuned for Part 3, share this with your friends, and please feel free to leave your comments at the end of this page)

 

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About Rich Stevenson

Rich is the Executive Director of The Malachi Network (www.malachinetwork.org), a ministry focused on making the name of the LORD great among the nations. This network serves young leaders in missions and church planting. Prior to his present ministry, Rich pastored in Southern New Jersey, planted a church in Wilmore, KY, established a network of churches, served as an adjunct professor at Asbury College and was a senior leader at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO as well as The International House of Prayer in Atlanta, GA. Rich is the author of two books: Secrets of the Spiritual Life—10 Lessons from the One Thing Passages (Baker Books, 2003) A Voice from Home—The Words You Long to Hear from Your Father (WaterBrook Press, 2005) He graduated from Asbury College in 1984 with a BA degree in Philosophy of Religion and Asbury Theological Seminary in 1987 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2010, Rich received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Union Biblical Seminary in Yangon, Myanmar. Rich has been married to Tania since 1982 and they have been blessed by amazing children: Zachary and his wife Meghan, Jacob and his wife Lena, Jessica and Corrie Emma.
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