Summary: In His prayer for the unity of His Church, Jesus provides the model, method, and motive for Christian unity.
INTRO.:.There seems to be little interest in Christian unity today. Have we given up?
Jesus’ prayer for His Church was that they might be united. The goal is for every Christian tp be united to Christ and to one another as Christ is to the Father. This is His ideal. Evidently, His prayer indicates He thought maintaining unity would be a problem.
Although all Christians need to be united, there is still a need for guarding our unity in the local congregation. The local Church is a fellowship and that means sharing in a common life.
I. Jesus provided a model for unity in verse 21.
A. A unity of the will:
1. He surrendered to the Father’s will. Mt. 26:39
2. There was never an argument between Jesus and the Father.
3. Wouldn’t this be wonderful in the Church?
4. Only if we make the Father’s will supreme can we achieve this unity.
B. Unity of the mind:
2. He was sure of constant sympathetic understanding.
3. We may disagree, but must always try to understand. We share the same purpose.
4. The secret of mental unity is an unbending desire to serve. Phil. 2:5-7
1. Jesus was in no way inferior to the Father. Phil. 2:6
2. Christians should esteem others above self. Rom. 12:18
3. We must learn to regard all brethren as equals.
4. All are children of God.
II. The motive for Christian unity: Jn.17:23
A. Inadequate motives:
1. Political action, social action, shared experience.
2. These are good motives, but side issues. They are available outside Ch.
B. Adequate motive: to better express nature, love of God.
1. If Christians do not love one another, the world will not believe He is a God of love:
2. If Christians can’t agree on the basic beliefs, the world will not see Him as a God of infinite intelligence:
3. If Christians are confused and hostile, the world will not know He is a God of order and peace.
C. Unity will bring about revival:
1. The Church must be seen living its message. Otherwise the world will not listen.
2. Our most powerful evangelistic tool is love and concern for others.
3. If Christians don’t care for one another, the world will not believe we care about them.
III. Method for achieving unity: v. 22
A. Christians must share in the glory of God.
1. In the Greek, the word translated “glory” means, literally, “To seem.” God’s glory, then, is what God seems to be.
3. What do we think of when we think of God? Power & love. This, in part, is His glory.
4. Facing cross, Jesus knew God would be glorified because His power and love would be seen. Jn. 13:31
B. Sharing God’s power, love (glory) will unite us.
1. Those within whom the power and love of God reside cannot be divided.
2. The reason for any disunity is because we have not fully felt the power and love of God.
3. The method, then, is to draw all closer to Christ. As we draw closer to Him, we must be closer to one another.
CONC.: Seek a deeper unity with other Christians. Join Jesus in praying for unity in His Church.
Hold up the standard of unity, the Word of God, through study, teaching.
Join yourself to Christ and join with us in proclaiming His message.