Well as promised, each time I said that I was dealing with one of these attributes of a man – I said I was going to share a verse or 2 from something that Jesus did, and something that Jesus said. Because we believe that Jesus was the ultimate man, and since he was the ultimate man he knew what manhood looked like – since he lived it. And he told us about it. Therefore, if we can just look at the things that Jesus said and did, then maybe we can aim at something with our manhood.
So here is your first verse. It’s from John 17:21. It reads this way. This is what Jesus said. “That they may all be one, just as you Father are in me and I in you. That they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Now, this is something Jesus did. Jesus was devoted to his brotherhood. Into his oneness and unity. And in Mark 3:32-34 – reads this way.
“And a crowd was sitting around Him. And they said to Him, ‘Your mother and your brothers are outside seeking you.’ And he answered them, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking about at those who sat around him he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers.'” I love this moment with Jesus because I feel like Jesus, right – is including me -and he’s including you, gentlemen.
And because he loves us so much, he includes us in something special – a brotherhood. It isn’t something connected by genes, genetics, or family even – biologically. We’re talking about a spiritual brotherhood and a spiritual connectedness that Jesus draws us into. Therefore, here is attribute 9. Let me read it for you.
“A man is devoted to a brotherhood. While autonomy comes easy for us, we must live out our quest for manhood inside of brotherhood with other believers. It is within Christian brotherhood that we discovered the – well the riches of the deep spiritual relationship modeled to us by the Godhead. It is also through the brotherhood that we live out faith, love, and oneness that expands God’s message to the world. This is the environment where iron sharpens iron. And we voluntarily put ourselves in proximity with other men, to avoid catastrophes in our life that will unravel our manhood.”
Guys, I think – to some extent – if we ask ourselves the hard question – why is it so hard to find brotherhood? We’re going to come up with a lot of answers. A lot of answers. These are answers that you can probably think of. There are answers that I can think of. They’re excuses maybe, some of them. Some of them are real issues. But I just want you to think through some of these. Why is it hard to find brotherhood?
Well, I think one of the reasons it’s hard to find brotherhood is our own arrogance, our own pride. For some of us, we just really don’t think that we need help. For some of us, we just really think that we have it all together. And because of our own pride and arrogance, we don’t seek it out, right? Maybe it’s a fear? A fear that keeps us from brotherhood. Like fear of sharing, fearing of transparency? Maybe it could be a fear of being held accountable? But we have these fears, right? When it comes to finding brotherhood.
Maybe it’s hard to find brotherhood because we’ve never find– We have never found the right group. We have trouble finding men that we can really connect with. Where we have a chemistry with. Where we can trust them, and they can trust us, and we can grow together. And maybe it is because we never really had a right relationship with our father – that we perpetuate in our continuing relationships? Maybe it’s because – well, we have never found truly healthy accountability. And we really don’t know what that looks like. Or that we are too controlling of the situations in our life. And this threatens us because we realize that we’re going to have to open up.
I don’t know what it is for you. But somehow we have got to move past superficial and shallow relationships, where we prefer anonymity. And we have got to become intentional about seeking out brotherhood, and here’s why. The predominant reason why. It is because I know that when I meet with guys who are facing issues in their lives – the number 1 thing that leads them down the path of those issues is the fact that they have isolated themselves from brotherhood.
I promise you that every man that I’ve ever talked with that has problems in his life, will answer the question of his connectedness with brotherhood and community, by saying, “No, I really don’t have any of that, and I’m actually calling you because I don’t know where else to turn.” And this is true 100% of the time. And therefore, we’ve got to stop isolating ourselves from brotherhood, and push through the pain of discovering what a relationship with another man in a Christian bond really looks like.
Here’s John 17:20-23. This is our primary text today, I want to read it for you and then make some observations together about brotherhood. Now remember these are Jesus’ last words. He has gathered his men together, he’s about to be betrayed. Judas has left the upper room. Jesus is praying for his disciples, and we hear these words from Jesus, our Lord, in the high priestly prayer.
Jesus says, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word that they may all be one, just as you Father are in me and I in you. That they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Now I want you to hear – I want to stop here. I just really want you to hear, guys. That Jesus is praying for you. He’s praying for me. That’s who he’s praying for here.
And then he says, “The glory that you have given me, I have given to them that they may be one even as we are one. I in them, and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and loved them – even as you have loved me.” Now these words here by Jesus are chilling. And I believe that they’re chilling, because I can feel Jesus praying over me. And I can feel him saying to me, “I’m giving you all the resources that God gave me. And I’m giving them to you.”
This idea of brotherhood and unity, of which Jesus Christ here is casting an incredible vision for – is profound. There are a number of texts in the New Testament that capture the concept of unity and brotherhood. That are powerful pictures, I believe of what Jesus wants to aim our life toward. Yet, I think sometimes we have a convoluted understanding of really what unity looks like. Often when we think about unity, we think about denominational unity. We think about the one church ideal, and church unity. Across the kingdom.
And often this is an imperfect picture, I believe of what unity really looks like. Because unity never infers uniformity. That misses our individual uniqueness and contribution to the whole. You see, I believe that there can be unity with some diversity. Because the Bible teaches this. And yet there is also some unity without diversity. Especially when we’re talking about spiritual conformity and unity with Jesus Christ.
So we have to be really careful when we’re talking about brotherhood and unity. How we do it, how we think about it. Because it is actually an incredibly tricky topic. And when we talk about brotherhood, we’re not talking about uniformity in some sense. Yet we are talking about uniformity to the character of Christ.
Augustine, one of our early church fathers, captured the essence – I think of this, in one of his great quotes. One of Augustine’s greatest quotes, I believe is this. He said, “In essentials, unity. In doubtful matters, liberty. And in all things, love.” Now I know that I have taken a little bit of liberty here with this text.
There’s other ways that he has been quoted in saying that – but you catch the essence of it. In essentials, unity. Yes, in doubtful matters, things we debate – liberty. And in all things, no matter how we handle it, love – love being one of those character traits and attributes that flow straight from God in the text that we read today. That is the character by which we handle the brotherhood in unity. And I think in this, we see the beauty and the mystery of what brotherhood can look like in Christ.
You see, there’s something supernatural about brotherhood, gentlemen when we’re connected together. Because right now, in some way, you and I are connected together in a brotherhood. Because see, we share a unity in Christ, and a unity to each other, right? You and I. And there is a now aspect of that, like right now in this moment. And there’s also a not yet aspect of that. Something that we seek after in the future.
And I believe, as we hear these words from Jesus here today, we’re hearing these kinds of things. We’re hearing the now, but the not yet. We’re hearing the unity in Christ, and the unity to each other. We’re feeling and experiencing really something aspirational. Man, and something like in the present. And it’s that Jesus Christ wants us to know true and deep brotherhood.
And we need to discover it. Because the results of brotherhood are incredible in this text. I mean – you start to really look at this text here, and you’re going to see there’s all kinds of beautiful results from brotherhood, right? First communion with God. When we are living in brotherhood with one another, we experience communion with God. Just like Jesus experienced oneness with God, we experience oneness with Jesus, and oneness with God. I think that communion there is beautiful.
Another results– Result of brotherhood is this. Witness of God, not just communion with God, but witness of God. I mean, look at the expanding impact, the exponential impact of our oneness with God in Jesus Christ. It has an incredible impact on the world because the world looks at us and realizes that there’s something different about them.
The third result of brotherhood is glory for God. Not just communion with God, or witness of God – but glory for God. And this, gentlemen, is what unites us in brotherhood. We live under one mission. This is where we have our unity. It is under 1 mission in 1 man for the glory of God.
And then finally, number 4 – results of brotherhood. We get resources from God. And I’ve got to tell you when I read these words, I want those resources. That’s what I think. I want everything. Not selfishly. I want everything selflessly, in the same way, that it flowed from God to Jesus – from him to me. Endless, boundless love – right?
So guys, let me challenge you to something today. If you don’t have brotherhood in your life, start building it immediately. Take a risk. Step out of your comfort zone, build a relationship with a guy, play these podcasts, get some of our curricula, grab one of our books – and have a conversation with someone. You cannot go life alone. It is not an attribute of the man of God.