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Over the last few weeks we have been talking about the church and the fact that God wants the church to function like a body- one body many parts. The fact is that it takes every member doing their part for the church to function as one in unity. For the church to grow and have an impact on the world there must be unity. One of Jesus’ greatest desires was for believers to be united.
In John 17 we catch a glimpse of the heart of our Lord. On the night before He was betrayed and arrested, Jesus turned to the Father on behalf of His disciples and all believers.
Read John 17:20-26
He knew what was awaiting Him in the coming hours, and yet He was focused on His disciples and upon believers for all eternity. “beyond His death, Jesus expected a growing church. Jesus prays that the unity of Christians would make such an impact that the world will believe in His divine mission.”- Joel Gregory
I.Christ prays for the unity of the church v. 20-22
Christ was consumed w/the thought of unity among His disciples. His focus was that they be one and remain together. Of all of the things for Jesus to be concerned with the night before He is to be arrested, He is concerned about you and me. He is concerned about His disciples and that they would experience oneness.
The Greek language doesn’t have adjectives to help emphasize something. In the Greek when something is to be emphasized then it is repeated. Notice that Jesus did not simply pray for unity among believers, he begged God for it. Jesus prayed five times for our unity. Jesus doesn’t just say it once or twice, 5 times! Here Jesus wanted us to understand what was the most important thing for believers- unity. vs. 11 “be one as we are;” v. 21 a- “that they may all be one;” v. 21b-”that they all may be one in Us” v. 22-” that they may be one as We are One” v. 23- “that they may be made perfect in one”
We have an example to follow. The example is the unity that the Father and Son have. There is no unity on earth or in heaven like the unity of the Father and Son. It is a vital unity that feeds off of the other. Just as the Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father, we are to be so related to the church. There is a dependence upon the other. One is not able to function without the other. Jesus prays that we would not be consumed with self, but with the body. Our focus should be on the unity of the body and not our own agendas, programs, or will.
Unity cannot be occasional or sporadic. Unity is something that is needed all the time within the body. We are a body. The body is unified even though each part is diverse. It is still a body. The body is dysfunctional when one part is hurt or not working together with the other parts. Just as the Father and Son are united and unique, so is the church.
II.Christ prays for the impact of a unified church v. 21, 23
Why is unity so important? What is it that Christ is desiring for the unified church? The unified church can have an impact on the world. A church that works together is unified in Christ and will witness to the world. According to vs. 21; when the church is one then the world will believe that God the Father sent Christ the Son. It is only when the world can see believers in unity and working together will they believe and be convinced of the divinity
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