Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Christians should go from living in the singular to living in the plural. The church is Christianity in the plural. Living in harmony is like making music together.

Our Harmony in Our Style

Unity, Harmony, and Community – Part 3

John 17:20-23

Have you ever heard a quartet sing? I know you have heard all kinds of quartets. You have heard barbershop quartets, gospel quartets, or even pop-band quartets. You can hear good ones on the radio, and you can see them on the television.

I was watching TV one evening and saw an interview with “US5”. This is another one of those boy-bands. US5, the German American group from Pop Mogul Lou Pearlman, was formed from the hit TV reality show “Big in America.” The series narrowed down a list of young men by sending them through a mini music industry boot camp to develop their talent. They were broadcast on one of the biggest networks in Germany. They hit No. 1 on the German Billboard Charts with their debut single “Maria” and received the German Radio Music Award for “Best Newcomer 2005.”

They each had a separate musical part, and they each dressed in a style that was meant to attract a certain girl audience. If you separated them you would think they would not fit. However, when they were put together in a boy band, and pow – you have harmony. I am not saying that they sing the best harmony. I think some other groups probably are better at it. They come from so many different backgrounds and have so many different interests. They are so different from each other. Yet, they can come together and make music. US5 consists of Michael and Chris, both German, Jay, who’s British, and two Americans, Izzy and Richie. Although they are international, they work together to form music.

In these verses, Jesus challenges us to do the same. He is praying that we can work in harmony to fulfill God’s purpose. So Jesus prays for others. He knows that this mission is going worldwide. It will be united in faith, but diverse in its membership. He knows that there will need to be harmony. They will need to be united in purpose, but harmonious in their tasks and style. The purpose for every Christian is that the world may believe. Jesus makes this clear.

that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

(John 17:21 NKJV)

Jesus tells us in two verses the purpose of being in harmony. He says that the world may believe. What would they believe? The world will believe in Jesus and follow Him. What will the world know? The world will know that God sent Jesus ans that God loves them. If the world knows that God loves them and that God sent Jesus for them, then the world will believe in God. Yet the way that God chose to let the world know is through the actions of His people – the church. God used Adam, and then used the nation of Israel, but with the advent of His Son, God chose to use the church.

If the purpose of our actions is clearly that the world will get to know God. The way God wants us to act is in harmony. Let me put it to you this way:

We have to go as Christians from singular to plural.

Unity is something that can be accomplished by anyone alone. You can be in unity with yourself. Harmony by its very nature requires that you work with someone else. If you look in these verses, you will see a lots of nouns. You and Me. I and You. These are singular words. Two singulars coming together form a plural. You and Me = We. I and You = We. Notice that Jesus says later – They in Us.

that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

(John 17:21-23 NKJV)

When Jesus says that they are in Us, He knows that we are plural. We may be individuals, but we must come together.

Let me share with you a couple of examples of how this works:

1.A man and a woman are singular individuals. A husband and wife are plural – they form one family.

2.God and Jesus are singular individuals of the Godhead. Yet, together they are plural – they form one Trinity (with the Holy Spirit).

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