In the gospel of John we find Jesus praying to the Father near the end of His earthly ministry. He had spent 3 1/2 years with the men God had given Him, daily teaching them the Father’s Words while demonstrating how to perfectly demonstrate them in their lives while teaching their converts who would follow in their spiritual footsteps. The entire 17th chapter of John’s gospel is a prayer in which Jesus sums up everything He has done relative to the disciples God has given Him. This prayer tells the believer what he/she needs to know about being a minister for the Lord. Let us examine the second half of this chapter in which Jesus tells His brethren what to look for in a minister. He tells us in 1 John 4:1 to “test” our ministers against the Father’s written qualifications for ministry to see if they are following His script. If everyone who claims to be a child of God did this we would find that 99% of Christendom’s ministers do not meet the Lord’s criteria. This ministry was designed by the Almighty to expose the great gulf that separates God’s true ministers from Satan’s false prophets who occupy 99% of the world’s pulpits. This means that 99% of professing Christendom is Christian in name only. On my YouTube site and my website (www.proveallthingsofgod.com) I go to great lengths to tell professing Christendom that she is failing, that her god is Satan and her church system is counterfeit.
In this series we will examine Christ’s prayer to God for the disciples (apostles–sent ones), keeping in mind that those who follow their teachings are required to live as they lived relative to character, faith, etc. The only difference between ministers and their congregations is the ministry itself. God carefully selects His spiritual leaders for the job He has assigned them. They are to lead; the congregation is to follow. Let us now see what Jesus asked of the Father concerning His ministers following His death.
In verse 14 we find the Lord getting right to the point–God’s Word, which is always the point of the spear in the Christian’s life. As I have said many times, EVERYTHING COMES BACK TO THE WORD: “I have given them Your Word.” Jesus goes on to point out that GOD’S MINISTERS ARE NOT OF THIS WORLD, JUST AS HE (JESUS) WAS NOT OF THIS WORLD. The factor that separated the apostles (and their followers) from the world is their sole dedication to God’s Word. This dedication to the Word and their strict obedience to it caused the world, including the religious world, to hate them. That Satan- induced hatred has not waned. It has been estimated that between 50 and 150 million saints have been martyred for their obedience to God’s Word. Revelation 20:4 tells us that many more will be beheaded for the same reason during the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord–a 3 1/2 year period of terror such as the world has never before experienced. Only the Very Elect will be taken to a place of safety, called “her place,” where they will be protected during that time of horror and death during which most of the world’s inhabitants will die. Notice the final words of verse 14. Here Jesus tells the Father that the disciples were not of the world “JUST AS I AM NOT OF THE WORLD.” His message is that GOD’S MINISTERS MUST BE EXACTLY LIKE HIM. This oneness of words, thoughts and deeds is further emphasized in 1 John 2:6 and 1 John 3:2 respectively: “He who says he abides in Him must walk (live) EVEN AS HE WALKED” and “Everyone who has this hope (for salvation) in Him purifies himself EVEN AS HE IS PURE.” We must bear in mind that as goes the leader, so go the followers. In summary: everyone who will enter the Kingdom of God must live our lives as Jesus lived his. Many will be called to do so, but few will be chosen for having done so (Mat. 22:14). In verse 16 Jesus reiterates the fact that the disciples were not of this world just as He was not of this world. This means that those who profess Him must also not be of this world. These are God’s “remnant,” His “little flock” of righteous ones who alone will be saved, and they just barely (1 Pet. 4:18). As Jesus said, only a “few” will “strive” to “find” and enter His strait (difficult) gate and walk His narrow (restrictive) way to paradise (Mat. 7:13,14). He goes on to lament that, in their search for Him, many would enter Satan’s wide gate and broad way (Catholicism/Protestantism) that leads to destruction. L.J.