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Overcoming in enemy territory

The 6th sermon in our series on “the greatest prayer ever prayed;” the service will also include communion.


The most common word in this prayer is “WORLD” which can mean:-

  • God’s creation (v 5.)
  • People (v 14)
  • The system on which society is based that is anti God (v 14); this being the meaning in this particular section of the prayer. The relationship of the disciple to the world is then defined in 2 ways:-

Disciples of Jesus are LOCATED in the world (v 15 & 16.)

They like Jesus are in the world, but not of the world.

Disciples of Jesus are LOATHED by the world (v 14.)

They do not conform to the standards of a corrupt system, and are hated because they counter culturally represent Jesus.

Such disciples are called to overcome the world (1 John 5 v 4) and the prayer offers 3 resources to enable this to become a reality:-

1 – God’s Joy (v 13.)

Jesus tends to be regarded as a “man of sorrows (Isaiah 53 v 3) rather than as a man of joy. Yet he experienced deep joy (Luke 10 v 21) and desired to impart that to his disciples. But how can such joy enable us to overcome the world?

A – By Tarrying.

Such joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5 v 22.) It is not something that we can manufacture ourselves and fullness of joy is experienced as we abide in Jesus (John 15 v 11.)

B – By Transforming.

Joy does not replace sorrow; instead as in labour and childbirth, it transforms sorrow into joy (John 16 v 21 – 22) that is independent of circumstances (Nehemiah 8 v 10.)

2 – God’s Word (v 14.)

For the original twelve these were the Father’s words given by Jesus to his followers. For the modern day disciple it is the Bible. But how can the Word of God enable us to overcome the world?

A – It Alerts.

It warns against slipping back into the clutches of the world by identifying the steps in such a gradual process – friendship with the world (James 4 v 4); polluted by the world (James1 v 27); loving the world (1 John 2 v 15); and conforming to the world (Romans 12 v 2.)

B – It Arms.

Being part of the armour of God, the Word is – “the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6 v 18) that can be used defensively or offensively against the attacks of the evil one (Luke 4 v 10.)

3 – God’s Protection (v 15.)

Jesus prayerfully petitioned the Father to protect his disciples against the attacks of the evil one who sought to lure them back into the world, as happened to Judas. So how can prayer enable us to overcome the world?

A – By Association.

When we pray we are identifying with the one who has already overcome the world (John 16 v 33) and who has defeated the evil one (Colossians 2 v 15) and so is able to powerfully protect us.

B – By Attire.

When we pray this enables us to clothe ourselves piece by piece in the Gospel armour (Ephesians 6 v 18) so that we are “suited and booted” and adequately protected against the weapons of the evil one.

ChallengeAs a disciple of Jesus are you using these resources to overcome the world?


Service Details

Theme: “Overcoming in enemy territory”
Reading: John 17 v 13 – 19
Led by: Bev Sills
Preacher: Chris Hughes

Download Sermon Here


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