Summary: This sermons underscores the necessity, nature, and nurture of unity within the body of Christ.
Ten Marks of a Prevailing Church
Mark #4: Uncommon Unity
July 15, 2001
A. [Misunderstood Children’s Sermon, Citation: Marilyn McCoy, Chester, Vermont. Christian Reader, "Kids of the Kingdom."]
Each Sunday our minister presents a "children’s sermon" to all the young children.
Recently a bright-eyed three-year-old girl listened intently as he explained that God wanted them all to get along and love each other.
"God wants us all to be one," he said.
To which the little girl replied, "But I don’t want to be one. I want to be four!"
1. And Jesus said, "…upon this rock I will build dozens of teeny little churches in every town; and they shall never see beyond their own little stained glassed windows."
2. Clearly that is not what Jesus said, but sadly that is what has happened.
3. We have chosen not to be one and in many cases the gates of hell are prevailing against us.
4. Sadly too many people who call themselves Christians do not understand what the Bible says about unity.
B. But if the church is to be a prevailing church that will prevail against the gates of hell, there must be uncommon unity.
I. The necessity of unity
John 17:20-23, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
A. This was Jesus’ prayer the night before He went to the cross.
1. What was on Jesus’ mind the night before He went to Calvary? Our unity!
2. Jesus was praying that we would be united.
3. Jesus prayed for Himself in verses 1-5, He prayed for the apostles in 6-19, and for those who would believe through the apostles’ message (which is us) in 20-24.
4. Our unity was on His heart before He went to the cross.
5. It makes sense that if He was going to die for us, that He would really want us to be united, wouldn’t it?
6. We have sung that they would know we are Christians by our love, but this passage tells us another way that the world will know that we are Christians: by our unity.
7. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me
8. Jesus prayed that we would be completely united so that the world would know that we were following a super-natural being.
9. Who else could unite people together?
10. Jesus wanted us to be united with all brothers and sisters in Christ, so that the world would believe that we were His.
B. We’ve often wondered why things have gotten in the shape they are in here in the US.
1. Well I’m here to tell you the reason there can be so many who profess to be Christians and this be such an ungodly country is because we are not united!
2. The Greencastle Banner-Graphic has the Religion page every Friday which lists all of the churches in Putnam County—this is terrible because we Christians are this divided!
3. Why are there so many different churches?
4. Why can’t we all worship Christ together?
5. Why do we have to worship in so many different buildings?
6. Is it because we don’t all love Christ?
7. Is it because we don’t all study the same Bible?
8. Or is it because we just can’t get along well enough to worship together?
9. Or is it because more people can’t have power if there were only one church?
10. Or is it because the concerns of Christ the night before He went to the cross really aren’t as important to us like they were to Him?
C. And even more embarrassing than when we can’t get along with other church bodies, is when we can’t even get along within our own body.
1. What’s really awful is when brothers and sisters in Christ in the same local church can’t get along with each other.
2. When Satan can drive a wedge between brothers and sisters in different church bodies, he keeps us from doing great things for God’s Kingdom in extraordinary ways because of our smaller numbers.
3. But then Satan even goes so far as to break down local church bodies so that it becomes families verses families instead of God’s people taking a united stand against Satan.