What We Learned Together This Sunday July 30, 2023
Our message this morning in John chapter sixteen “A Promise of Answered Prayer for The Disciples of Jesus” verses 23-24. We continue to study these chapters being disciples making disciples as we learn together what discipleship means for each of here at New Life Fellowship. Throughout these chapters the many themes for us as disciples of Jesus: humbly serving, sacrificially loving, faithfully abiding, and personally believing. In this Upper Room discourse given to us here in the Gospel of John the words of the Lord Jesus for His own disciples are filled with promises for faithful believing, blessings for fruitful abiding, and prophecies for hopeful living. Here again we see the humble service, sacrificial love, and personal obedience by the Savior as He comforts His disciples at the time when He is going to the cross & die for them.
Last week we saw A Word By Jesus About Present Misunderstandings [16:16-18]. There was An Announcement by Jesus of His Resurrection. Today Some Promises By Jesus About Blessed Understandings [16:19-24]. Both Having Joy & Praying to The Father. Here are Some Encouragement by Jesus Because His Resurrection. In verse 19-22 For His Disciples His Promise Grief Will Become Joy. Last week we defined Joy as a deep, abiding inner thankfulness and gratitude to God which is not interrupted when undesirable life circumstances intrude. We have emphasized the three parts for joy: confidence in the promise of God, assurance of the power of God, and reliance on the plan of God. One unknown author represented joy as the royal banner flying from the flagstaff of the heart, signaling that the King is in residence. Jesus repeats the word joy through these verses [vv. 20,21,22, 24]. C. S. Lewis “The Weight of Glory”: If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
Next Jesus speaks about answered prayer and joy for His disciples. For His Disciples His Promise of Answered Prayer [16:23-24]. First, His Promise Declared For His Disciples Who Do Ask and Will Receive [16:23a]. This is confidence for His disciples in His words. “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you . . .” His words emphasize certainty, reliability, and truth to His disciples. Second His Promise Described for His Disciples Who Believe Jesus & Know the Father [16:23b] This is assurance for His disciples in His words. Jesus says, “if you ask the Father for anything in My name,He will give it to you.” Most translations written “whatever you ask the Father in My name . . .” This means what is consistent with the character of Jesus What a promise by Jesus! See John 16:19. The relationship with the Father through asking in prayer with Jesus as the ground and access. Reality of a relationship with the Father through the Son taught by the Spirit. Asking in His name is that Which Is Done for & Because of Jesus [cf. 14:13] Remember in the Gospel of John Jesus is revealed as the Son of God, the Savior of the World, and the Resurrected Lord. As in the Old Testament the Name of God because of Who He Is and What He does is displayed in His guidance, His deliverance, and His existence. This phrase by Jesus “in My Name” used in several places already used in this Upper Room Discourse [John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:24, 26 cf. Matthew 7:7-9]. Think about the first time praying out loud with others as you are called upon and look around and see, “you mean me?” This promise by Jesus so important for us as His disciples. “Our Lord here sums up the prerogatives and privileges of His servants in the day that was about to dawn and to last till He came again. There is nothing absolutely new in the words; substantially the promises contained in them have appeared in former parts of these discourses under somewhat different aspects and connections. But our Lord brings them together here, in this condensed repetition, in order that the scattered rays, being thus focused, may have more power to illuminate with certitude, and to warm into hope. These are the jewels which He sets in a cluster, the juxtaposition making each brighter, and gives to us for a parting keepsake.” [Alexander McClaren]
And finally third, His Promise Detailed For His Disciples Who Pray and Have Joy [16:24]. Th is obedience for His disciples in His words. Jesus says, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” Remember what Jesus said in John 15:11 and 16:26. This a command by Jesus using the present active imperative form of this verb with continuing and repeating action. So as His disciples we are commanded to ask in prayer in His name! “Of all the list of Christian duties there is none to which there is such abounding encouragement, as prayer . . . It is worth noticing here how very frequent and full are the encouragements to prayer which our Lord holds out to His disciples.” [ J. C. Ryle] This means Seeing the Work of God, Having the Supply of God, and Knowing the Grace of God. Consider also Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. Charles Spurgeon on Joy “There is a marvelous medicinal power in joy. Most medicines are distasteful; but this, which is the best of all medicines, is sweet to the taste, and comforting to the heart. This blessed joy is very contagious. One dolorous spirit brings a kind of plague into the house; one person who is wretched seems to stop all the birds from singing wherever he goes . . . [But] the grace of joy is contagious. Holy joy will oil the wheels of your life’s machinery. Holy joy will strengthen you for your daily labor. Jesus concludes, “so that your joy may be made full.” [16:24]
One commentator wrote about this joy. “It is His joy that we are to pursue (see John 15:11). This is not the “joy” that the world seeks. The world seeks for a “joy” that is rooted in the absence of trials and suffering, that delights in the promotion of self-interest, and often in the downfall of one’s rivals. First and foremost, our joy is knowing for certain that Jesus is alive, risen from the dead (see Matthew 28:8; Luke 24:41, 52). Our joy is in the abasement of self, in the exaltation of Jesus Christ (see John 3:29), and in sacrificial service (Philippians 2:17). Our joy is in the Lord, in His salvation, and His working in the lives of others (Acts 15:3; Romans 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20; 1 John 1:4; 3 John 4).” Whatever failures, challenges, fears, disappointments, struggles, losses, bad reports, bad news that each of us would testify in the face of these with the testimony of joy in the presence of others. So are you missing joy in your life? Do you have half cup joy because not asking and not praying? Our message today from the words of Jesus in John chapter sixteen. "A Promise of Answered Prayer for the Disciples of Jesus" John 16:23-24. As we give some application from these words of Jesus let us read these words again and again. There would the great expression of confidence, assurance, and reliance in our joy as disciples of Jesus. That we would see the blessed understandings giving to us in the words of Jesus. Being a disciple of Jesus who acts upon these promises of Jesus in devoting yourself to prayer because of His words. Make this My Christian Ministry. Being a disciple of Jesus who is asking in prayer and receiving from the Father so that your joy may be made full. Make this My Christian Testimony. “And there is this marvelous new promise of answered prayer. Those answered prayers will bring a note, and an experience, and a disposition of joy that will make a Christian life worth living, and vital and marvelous. May we all have this joy.” [S. Lewis Johnson] Make this My Christian Joy.
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.