Summary: Sermon 2 in a series seeking God’s glory. Jesus prays for all of us in John 17. For us to experience the fullness of God’s Glory we must seek out unity
Jesus Prays for Central
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 of the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 13:35- By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Unity is rooted in love. Only when believers are walking in oneness of heart and spirit can we love one another and display the very image of Christ. How can we take a message of love and salvation to a lost world when our focus is on self and own agenda? Who is going to believe that God is love if we do not love one another?
The world is in such disunity that a church unified will compel the world to confess that God is at work among us! Only when we are walking in unity can we have an influence on the world around us. When we choose to live like the world, we defame the name and character of God and render our witness for Him impotent and worthless.
The truth of Christ will never be proven through numbers, programs or our physical resources. The truth will be proven by our unity and mission. In Christ the deepest divisions disappear- Jew/Greek; slave/free; male/female. The world is looking for an example and we are that example. The world is looking for the truth and we have it. Are we convincing? Do we display the truth of who we are and what God is doing? The church should not blame the world for not believing the message. We cannot point at the world and shame the world for not listening and not believing. If we had been more perfectly one, the world would have been more perfectly believing.