CHRIST ACCOUNT OF HIS STEWARDSHIP, Sermon #815
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee (JOH 17:7).
As our blessed Saviours life draws to a close, He approached His Father to give an account of His stewardship. As our lives draw to a close, we need to look back, we need to look at all our shortcomings and all the places where we need to give an account. The only place we will be able to stand is on the perfect obedience of Christ.
At the end of His life on earth, we read the account Jesus gave to His Father in JOH 17:4, "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do."
In the first instance He pleads for the Father to restore His credibility, which had been and would be so marred. During His journey through this life, having left His throne in heaven, He came down to live among sinful flesh, to take on Him our human nature, and His credibility was called into question to the extent that He was considered a malefactor. Until His credibility was restored, how could He glorify His Father?
I had a little taste of that when the Lord called me into the ministry. I had to come before the Lord and ask, "How is it possible with my credibility having been so marred?" The Lord responded with a scripture, "And His visage was so marred."
JOH 17:1 says, "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee."
Our text sets forth how His own glory was not the Saviours primary aim. Christ attributed all to His Father. He took credit for nothing. The glory of His Father was His utmost desire. JOH 17:7 says, "Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee."
Throughout His ministry the Lord Jesus always set forth His Fathers glory, not His own. JOH 7:15-18 says, "And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him." This is the central theme of Christ fulfilling His stewardship.
Even though the Lord Jesus Christ was co-equal with the Father (JOH 10:30: "I and my Father are one") yet He did not take the glory for any of the miracles He did. When the Pharisees accused Him of casting out devils by the prince of devils, Jesus said in MAT 12:27-28, "And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you."
As our Saviour accounts for His stewardship, He pleads His fulfillment of His prophetic office as the Teacher of His flock. He was a prophet and teacher, a priest (to make atonement) and a king (to rule in the heart).
This knowledge comes through very clear from MAT 16:15-17, "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Again Jesus gives the glory to the Father.
Jesus did not take the glory for revealing this to Peter. He sets an example for us by always taking the backseat. He always puts His Father forward. We are taught to prefer others before ourselves and not to take credit unto ourselves. The Spirit of Christ in us reveals itself by our putting others ahead of ourselves.
The assertion in our text, "now they have known," is also verified in JOH 6:67-69, "Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." The multitudes who had followed Jesus were leaving Him. They were convinced by the Pharisees that He had no credibility. They were not willing to hear what He taught.
Jesus disciples knew the union of His human and divine natures. JOH 17:8 says, "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me."
As our Saviour comes before His Father to account of His stewardship, He deals with two areas of His faithfulness to His Father. The first is revealing His mind, and the second is referring all things for His Fathers glory. He came to be the Word of God, in other words, God verbalized. JOH 17:6 says, "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word." The evidence that they knew God was their reverence for His Word.
Coming to reveal the Fathers will was for the Fathers glory. We see this in JOH 12:48-50, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." Throughout His ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ put His Father before Himself.
Our Lord and Master came not only to reveal His Fathers will, but also to set us an example that we should follow in His steps. When we look into the mirror of the law and we look into our own hearts, we see how far we come short.
Our own deceitful heart would lead us to not only speak our own fantasies by private interpretations, teaching the commandments of men, but we by nature always seek our own ends. We seek our own advantage, that which puts us ahead of our fellow man. How many marriages, friendships or business transactions have broken up over the concern of who has the preeminence? ACT 20:28-30 says, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
Perverse doctrines are so readily identified by a perverse aim, seeking the glory of those who promote them. If you would glorify God, you must learn of Christ not to live according to your own will, nor for your own interest. The Lord has taught me that when His name is attacked, I will defend it with my life, but if my name is being attacked, I give it all into His hands. In the end, He will take care. This is against human nature. It is a special grace from God to respond this way. I have found with those who hurt me most, the Lord will put me in a position to help them when they are down. Think of what a reward it is, when they have done all they can to hurt you, to help them in their time of need.
Even if we appear to do good with an evil aim, we attempt to make God serve with the devil. We find this same principle in ISA 43:24, "Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities."
Notice the expertise of the apostles who had graduated from the schools of Christ. At first they were rude and ignorant fishermen, but had a progressive growth in grace. In His prophetic office and in His patience, the Lord Jesus Christ taught them, led them and showed them by example. They were confronted with just as many stumbling blocks as the Jews who said in LUK 4:21-22, "And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Josephs son?"
Christs disciples also knew His kindred and childhood as we see in JOH 1:45-46, "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see." They did not allow their prejudices to overrule what they saw, but the Father revealed to them who He was.
The disciples not only knew this, but they had dwelt with Jesus and had seen His human frailty and weaknesses. They knew His conversations, his hunger and thirsting. They knew His divine nature and His human nature. They knew how He had become weary and sat upon Jacobs well in JOH 4:6-8, "Now Jacobs well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)"
How did they know? Partly by the witness and light of the Holy Spirit in the new birth and partly by those miracles they had witnessed as a counter-balance to the apparent weakness in His human nature. They saw His weakness, but they also saw that the demons and the wind and the sea responded to His commands. They saw that the blind were given sight, tat the dumb could speak and that the dead were raised.
JOH 3:1-3 says, "There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
The disciples knew Jesus was the Christ also by the strict holiness and innocence revealed in His actions and attitudes toward Gods law of love without partiality and His wisdom in rebuking the ungodly. MAR 12:13-17 says, "And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesars. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are Gods. And they marvelled at him."
In all the craftiness of Satans designs they were unable to take Him in His words, because He knew the hypocrisy of their hearts.
You can go to school and sit at a desk and pass a test with a perfect score about driving a vehicle, but until you have been behind the wheel and have done some driving, you are not a driver.
Our Saviours little flock knew the faithfulness with which He came to glorify His Father and not Himself. JOH 5:42-44 says, "But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Fathers name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?"
Our Saviours actions and teaching were so gracious and with such authority, that the people could not gainsay Him. MAT 7:28-29 says, "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."
Our Saviour had accomplished His commission that He had received of His Father in this respect. JOH 18:37 says, "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."
Every miracle our Saviour did was for the relief of another. He cast out devils to fulfill His mission assigned by His Father, not for pomp or exhibitionism.
I talked to a man one time who was boasting about casting out demons and praying for others who were healed. All of the emphasis was on himself. The Lord Jesus did not to this. He relieved other people.
1JO 3:8 says, "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." He undid the kingdom of Satan in the hearts of people, to set them free.
This knowledge was obtained, not only by the witness of the Holy Spirit, but also of their own knowledge of what they had seen and heard. We see this in ACT 5:31-32, "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."
At the end of His life, the Holy Son of God came before the Father to account of His stewardship. We are indebted to Christ as our Surety and the Father as our Judge, before whose tribunal the satisfaction is made in our behalf.
1JO 2:1-2 says, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." He can only be our Advocate because He is without sin. In our day, attorneys must also have clean hands to ask for pardon for those on trial. The Lord Jesus Christ lays before the Father His atoning work as He comes before the Father with clean hands. It is so important that the Father was pleased with everything His Son had done, that the Father could not lay one charge of one command or commission that He had not fulfilled. The atonement is not limited. What blasphemy, what discredit against the atoning work of the Saviour to say that it is limited. Salvation is only limited to those who believe, and those who were foreordained believe. That is where we see Gods sovereignty in our salvation.
2CO 5:21 says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." We stand as righteous before the Father as Christ Himself, without spot or wrinkle, in His imputed righteousness.
In the whole work of redemption and in our prayers, the Father is to be considered as the Judge from whom we obtain a pardon. We pray to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, because it is from the Father that we receive the pardon. LUK 23:33-34 says, "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." Jesus did not just forgive them Himself. He prayed that the Father would forgive them. We pray to the Father for a pardon, and we plead the atoning work of His Son.
The Father as the Supreme Judge has committed judgment unto His Son as His reward for such unconditional, humble obedience unto death, even the death of the cross as we see in ACT 17:31, "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." On the judgment day He will turn judgment over to His Son.
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