Lectionary Year B
June 1, 2003

John 17:6-19
Contemporary Address

Step VI - Contemporary Address

A. Goals

(JFC) A sermon from this text might deal realistically with finding true joy in such a world we inhabit as we speak, currently, in such states of conditions as we find today.

B. Describing the Audience

(JFC) Any congregation needing more true joy from dealing with God's Word in this very world at this very time could appreciate some of the revelations this text provides.

C. Address

(JFC) A sermon entitled for this working draft, "Joy In This World by God's Word"

We admit that this world is in a mess these days. Almost ever since God turned its care over to us, Genesis 1:26, it has gone down hill. Today, it might have hit bottom.

I. God's World
A. God created it, sustains it, provides for it. We humans have fouled it up. When we abuse creation, we work against what God has accomplished and given us. Thereby, we separate ourselves from God and the results are largely adverse. The world becomes a most unpleasant place, hostile and ruinous. We want out, away, above its degradation.

B. We inhabit it necessarily, as challenging as it gets to be. God leaves us here and Jesus calls us to witness to people in it. Jesus is the world's Savior (John 4:42 and I Timothy 1:15). His followers are its light (John 8:12 and Philippians 2:15) even though it is still where we have tribulation (John 16:33). This metaphor also points to the undesirable and/or material parts of life that pass away (I John 2:17). Yet, we believe that the kingdoms of it are becoming the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15).

II. God's Word
A. God gives the Divine Word first to Jesus who passes it along to His disciples, and, eventually, to us whose latter disciples we are. It sustains us, lights our paths, etc. We live in it and with its power. "God's Word is truth" according to Psalm 119:142 in the Septuagint and Proverbs 30:5 declares that, "Every Word of God proves true."

B. We receive God's Word and remain in it where God guards, protects and preserves us, like many Psalms say, e.g., "The Lord is our Shepherd . . ." God's Word's truth does more than merely be. It does protect us from evil and sanctifies us as Jesus is sanctified. God can sanctify the likes of us to sanctify others in the world.

III. God's Joy
A. When Jesus sanctified Himself He found joy and He asked God also to sanctify followers/believers so they/we, too might get joy fulfilled. It is a process that goes slowly yet surely. It restores the created order to the kind of world God created it to be = "good". Sanctification brings us to obey God's Word and to follow Christ's calls.

B. We are offered sanctification bringing joy to be fulfilled in us via our receiving God's Word and keeping it and staying with Christ even and especially in this world. This Holy Joy is our survival tactics. With it alone will we endure and overcome this world's trials. Even in this troubled world, with and in Christ, with and in God's Word, we find joy.

So, God stays with us in the world created and called "good" and we could take better care of it, enjoy it more and share with others its value and all our jobs to be better/more responsible environmentalists. When we do, we find greater joys, fulfilling God's calls.

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