God’s People Identified

John 17:2-23


God’s people are identified in many ways and in many places in Holy Scripture.


(Philippians 3:1-3) “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed [is] not grievous, but for you [it is] safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”


As I read through this chapter again several times preparing this message, each time I picked up a few more nuggets I had not particularly noticed before. I cannot spend any time on them now, but I do want to call your attention to the way our Lord Jesus distinctly identifies His people to the Father in this prayer. It simply blessed my soul to listen to these terms of grace falling from His lips, as He spoke to His Father and my Father about me. He called us, His elect…


1.    A Divinely Given People (v. 2).


(John 17:2) “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”


(Jude 1:1) “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.”


(John 10:28-30) “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and [my] Father are one.”


2.    A Divinely Kept People (vv. 11-12).


(John 17:11-12) “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we [are]. 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.”


3.    A Divinely Taught People (v. 14).


(John 17:14) “I have 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.”


4.    A Divinely Sanctified People (vv17-19).


(John 17:17-19) “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” (John 17:17-19)


5.    A Divinely United People (vv. 20-21).


(John 17:20-21) “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”


(Exodus 31:13) “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.”


6.    A Divinely Blessed People (v. 22).


(John 17:22) “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one”


(Romans 8:17) “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”


(Ephesians 1:3-6) “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”


7.    A Divinely Perfected People (v. 23).


(John 17:23) “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”


Š      By Eternal Union with Christ!

Š      By Redemption by Christ!— Imputed Righteousness!

Š      By Regeneration! — Imparted Righteousness!

Š      By Resurrection Glory!


8.    A Divinely Loved People (v. 23).


(John 17:23) “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”









Don Fortner



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