Tom: We’re continuing with the gospel, and we’re in the Gospel of John:17:12: “While I was with them in the world I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”
Dave, let me start out with “I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me, I kept.” We talked earlier about God not coercing, that choices need to be made, but this would be a scripture that those who believe in irresistible grace and things that are predestined and determined. See God gave them. Was their any choice on the part of those whom He gave?
Dave: Of course there was. You know, it’s like when Jesus in John 15 said, “You didn’t choose me, I chose you.” Well, we’ve been over that, but let’s just refresh. Well, does that mean that we have no choice at all? The Bible says, “As many as receive him…” The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” So a simple way to illustrate it is: I’m a boss of a company, and I put an ad in the paper, and you apply for the job—I hire you. I can say to you, “You didn’t choose me, I chose you.” It doesn’t mean you didn’t have to agree to work for me.
Tom: Or even come in for the interview.
Dave: That’s right. But what it means is: “I call the shots. You can’t force yourself on me. I’m the employer,” okay? And God gave these to Jesus. On what basis did He give them? The penalty had to be paid. And they couldn’t force themselves and say, “Okay, we’re going to become the children of God. We’re going to be the redeemed ones.”
No, if you meet the conditions, and you believe in Christ and you accept His death as your death in payment for your sins, then the Father says okay, I give them to the Son who died for them. I accept His payment on their behalf,” because the Father is the one who makes the final determination.
It’s important to understand this—that we remember about whom Christ is praying. Who He has on His heart. We had that—maybe a week or two ago—but verse 9 Christ says, “…I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me….”
Well, then people say, “See, He doesn’t have any concern for the world. He’s picked certain ones to be saved and the rest of them He’s damned to hell. It’s all foreordained, and God doesn’t really love the lost. He doesn’t care about anybody.”
Tom: And he didn’t really mean world when the scripture says, “For God so loved the world…” Dave: But he’s not talking about the world in this prayer. This is a prayer of Christ for His own. That they would be one; that they would be united; that they will live for Him and not for the world, and so forth. But on the Cross, He certainly prayed for the world. He prayed for worldly people who were all around Him—those who were even persecuting and mocking and had killed Him. And He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” So that tells us the heart of Christ for others.
But now He’s praying. It says He’s not willing that any should perish. He wants all to come to the knowledge of the truth. In fact, 1 Timothy:2:4: “Who would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
But now He’s praying for His own: “And these are the ones that you’ve given me Father, and you’ve given them to me because I’ve paid the penalty for their sins, and you’ve accepted that. And I have kept them in thy name. Those that thou gavest me I have kept and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition.” And that of course was Judas. And we read it back in John:6:65 , somewhere around there, where Jesus said, “Have not I chosen you twelve and one of you is a devil?” And it says, “This spake he of Judas Iscariot.”
Tom: It gives you a different view of “chosen” doesn’t it?
Dave: It does.
Tom: At least with respect to some of the ideas we hear today.
Dave: Well, God chose Israel. Choosing is for service.
Tom: “Israel, my elect.”
Dave: Choosing is for service, not for salvation—but that’s another topic, Tom, we’ll get into it. But anyway, Christ is going to keep me, and that is a comfort. I am in His hands, and we read it in chapter 10: “I give my sheep eternal life. They will never perish. No one can pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all. No one can pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
And somebody says, “Yeah, but you can jump out of His hand.” Well, I don’t think so, but that’s a whole other topic, Tom. I believe that when Jesus said, “I give my sheep eternal life, then I must have it at that moment. John:5:24: “Has passed from death, into life and shall not come into condemnation.” Okay?
Well, then Judas never accepted Christ. He was chosen to be one of the disciples. Christ accepted him among the twelve. But his heart was never won. He never—well, he never became a real believer in Jesus, as Jesus said in John—you know this is all out of John’s gospel now. John:8:31: “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” So Judas never—he never was in that category. But Christ had given him the opportunity, okay?
But to have eternal life today and not have it tomorrow is a very strange kind of eternal life. Just on that count alone. Or John:5:24: “To have passed from death unto life,” Jesus says—now this must have happened. When did it happen? “He that hears my word [that means with faith] and believes on him who sent me, has everlasting life.” So by the act of faith I believe in him, Christ says “you have passed from death to life and will not come into condemnation.” Now that’s a promise from Christ.
Then how could I ever be lost? And this is what Jesus is saying. How does He keep us? He keeps us because He has paid for us. He has bought us. And I often say to the Lord, “Lord, you have captured my heart; you have bought me with your blood. I belong to you. I don’t belong to the world. I don’t belong to Satan. I don’t belong to myself. But I belong to you.” And this is the keeping that Christ has for us.
Tom: And then the Epistles of John, when they refer to this sort of thing Dave, we find it’s a family affair. We’re in the family, there’s going to discipline. God is going to—Hebrews 12, he’s going to deal with us as family members.
Tom: In the family. He doesn’t throw us out.
Dave: Exactly, exactly.
Tom: It’s wonderful, it’s a comfort, it’s a great encouragement, and when we see His continual love that way, we want to please Him. We want to do the things that—
Dave: Absolutely. “And now come I to thee,” verse 13.
Well, He’s leaving this world. He’s going to be crucified. And He will ascend to the Father’s right hand. “Now come I to thee. These things I speak in the world [while I am still here] that they [my disciples], might have my joy fulfilled in themselves….” And you’ve referred to Hebrews 12: “Who for the joy set before him endured the cross.”
Tom: But, Dave, there’s another part of this I think is so critical today. Jesus finished it. It was complete in Him.
Tom: He did it all. There’s nothing that we could do. Now again, I hate to keep referring back to my youth, growing up—well not just youth, but through my 30s. Growing up Roman Catholic, but my whole life was spent trying to add to, trying to finish off what Jesus didn’t do. In other words, expiate my own sins. Spend my…part of my…before heaven hopefully get to purgatory and work things out there, and so on. What a tragedy! That’s because of the lie. It was never true. God, through—you know, in Christ, completed it all and only He could complete it.
Dave: Absolutely. It is finished. “I have given them thy word.” We were talking about that the last segment Tom. It’s the Word. And Jesus is the Word. It’s the Word that saves. “I’ve given them thy Word, and the world hath hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
And going back to what we were talking about, these megachurches—we’re not trying to condemn everybody, but many of them, that’s their technique. What does the world want? How can we attract people? Let’s give them what they would get in the theater, on TV, or whatever. And let’s give them the methods of the world, let’s not make them feel uncomfortable, like they’re different, but they can just be like anybody else and Christ says they’re not of this world; I am not of this world, and we have it in John 15: “That’s why the world hates you—they hated me, they’ll hate you.”
But we’re trying to make Christianity popular. And I don’t believe it is possible to make Christ popular to a world that in its heart hates Him.