The Christian and the World

The Christian and the WorldText: John 17:14-21

There may be times when we wish we could escape the world – but is not practical or realistic. There is a “relationship” that Christians have with the world. Jesus described this in our text. The context is about the apostles, yet the principles can apply to all Christians.

Hated by the World (v. 14)

  • Not the first time Jesus warned them of this (John 15:18-20) – the opposition may even be religiously motivated (John 16:2)
  • Hated because they received the word of God – not because of race, social status, personal animosity, etc.; this shows that the world has a hatred for God’s word (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:10)
  • We must accept the fact that we will be outcasts from the world (Hebrews 13:12-13) – as a result, we must prepare for persecution (2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12, 16)
  • Compromising / abandoning God’s word may help us avoid this – not worth it (Matthew 16:26)

Not of the World (v. 14, 16-17, 19)

  • They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14, 16) – repeated for emphasis; Jesus came from above (John 8:23); He sanctified Himself for their sakes (John 17:19) and set Himself apart for the work He came to do (John 14:30-31)
  • We are to conform to Christ, not the world (1 Peter 2:21-24; 4:1-4; Romans 12:2)
  • We are sanctified / set apart by the truth (John 17:17, 19) – again, repeated for emphasis; we must follow the word of God (John 14:15; James 1:22)

Cannot Be Taken Out of the World (v. 15)

  • Despite the hardships they would face in the world, Jesus did not pray for them to be taken out of it – there was a reason why they were in the world (Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:20)
  • We cannot be taken out of the world either – there is a reason why we are in the world (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16)
  • Jesus’ prayer was that they would be kept from the evil one – they would overcome the devil; He provides a way of escape for every temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13); we can resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7)

Sent into the World (v. 18)

  • The apostles received a commission to go into the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15) – this was an attempt to bring people to the Lord (2 Corinthians 4:5; 5:20)
  • We are not directly under the same commission – but it does apply in certain ways in principle
  • We are to be in the world – not just that we cannot avoid it, but that we seek out opportunities to interact; our goal is to bring people to the Lord (1 Peter 2:12; 3:15)

Showing Christ to the World (v. 20-21)

  • Jesus mentioned two ways in which the apostles would show Christ to the world – through their word (John 17:20; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:2); through their unity (John 17:21; cf. 13:34-35)
  • We must show Christ to the world by proclaiming His word (1 Peter 3:15; Acts 8:4)
  • We also show Christ to the world by having unity with one another (Ephesians 4:3; Colossians 3:14; John 13:34-35)


  • As Christians, we cannot isolate ourselves from the world – but we must be different from the world
  • We must be faithful despite the challenges that we face
  • We must take advantage of opportunities to lead others to the truth

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