Summary: A sermon I preached at a local village Anglican church during ’the week of prayer for christian unity’
Unity. John 17:20-26. St Mary¡¦s Parish Church 18.1.04
Pulpit swap as part of week of prayer for Christian Unity
Illustr: my father was an American GI in the Air Force stationed at Stansted Airport. Met my mum. Fell in love. Raised 5 kids- 3 born in USA 2 in UK when came to live here
Apparently- the US pilots loved flying over our land: irregular patch-work quilt of fields and fences. But one Summer evening a pilot came back and exclaimed in his irascible way: ¡§they¡¦ve taken the fences! I flew and they weren¡¦t there any more¡¨
- brit explained to him- ¡§oh no- it¡¦s harvest time. The crops have grown. The crops are bigger than the fences¡¨
Friends- we¡¦re growing up. We¡¦re maturing. Jesus¡¦ prayer is being answered. We¡¦re getting desperate.
- the harvest is more important than the fences¡K the things that divide us
JESUS¡¦ PRAYER ¡V for you
We¡¦re in the longest record of one of Jesus¡¦ prayers, here
Are you aware that Jesus prayed for You, here?
- and it¡¦s safe to assume that He is still praying these things for you, as our Lord ¡¥always lives to intercede for us¡¦ (heb 7:25)
Previously he has prayed for His disciples
- (and it¡¦s safe to assume that he prayed¡K prays the same thing for us)
- for their¡K your.. our blessing/perseverance
- for your protection. That you would be ¡¥kept safe¡¦. Not taken out of the world, but protected IN it
And there are a few things that He prays specifically for YOU. For us ¡¥who believe through the disciples¡¦ message (v20)
- that you would ¡¥make it¡¦ and end up with Him (v24)
- AND ¡§that all of them may be one¡¨
Gosh- this is obviously important to Jesus. Of all the things that He could pray- THIS is His priority
- He obviously also knows it is going to be an issue
o Was he right, or what?!
Jesus prays that we may be one. That all of us may be one.
a) as a church. With one another
There are many things that are important to me as someone trying to follow Jesus. Many things that are important to us as a church
- BUT ¡¥the greatest of these IS love¡¦
Jesus prays that we may be one with one another. A unity. A community, even
- It¡¦s so great that you come here. Thriving congregation. Good things happening
o But are you ONE with other people. Do they miss you when you¡¦re not here. Do you miss them. Do you persevere through all kinds of differences- because you are one?
THAT¡¦S the work of God
PHP 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
b) As THE church.
But it¡¦s not just Jesus¡¦ prayer and priority that this should happen here. Between one-another
- he prays that we may be united as THE church