Summary: It’s not technique. It’s not salesmanship. It’s unity! Unity will be the key to witnessing to others about Jesus Christ. Let’ explore it together.
A disciple is…a person who is learning to worship Jesus as God, walk with God and His family, work for God in ministry, win their battle with sin and witness to others about Christ.
John 17:20 (NLT):
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. My prayer for them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me.”
What kind of unity was Jesus praying His disciples would experience?
When Jesus was praying for his disciples to have unity he was not praying for unanimity.
Unity and unanimity are different.
What is unanimity?
Merrill Tenney defines unanimity in his commentary on John as “absolute concord of opinion within a given group of people.”
Unanimity means that every individual within a given group of people holds the same opinion, that there is agreement across the board.
Merrill Tenney goes on to say, “Jesus did not pray for absolute unanimity of mind.”
I can remember it like it was yesterday.
Sunday morning August 3rd, 2003.
It was the day I was to be voted on by the members of Bible Baptist Church.
The vote would decide whether I would come to be their pastor or whether their search would continue.
And I remember just before the congregation was to vote Jay asked me, “Brad, what kind of percentage are you looking for?”
I said, “I’m hoping for somewhere in the 90’s. I would be happy with 90-some %.”
And the reason I didn’t say 100% is because I know Baptists.
I am one and grew up in an Independent Baptist church.
When was the last time you attended a Baptist business meeting where everybody agreed and held the same opinion?
As the vote went the members voted 99% to make me their Pastor and I am so thankful that they did.
But I really didn’t expect the vote to be 100%.
Unanimity is rare. Wonderful when it happens but rare.
Thankfully Jesus doesn’t expect us to have the same opinion all the time.
When Jesus was praying for unity He was not praying for us to have uniformity.
Unity and uniformity are different.
Uniformity means that every body is the same.
Uniformity would mean that everybody came out of the same cookie cutter and that we are all alike.
This sentiment was expressed well in a poem by Leslie Flynn I recently read which said…
“Believe as I believe, no more no less
That I am right and no one else, confess;
Feel as I feel, think as I think,
Eat as I eat and drink as I drink;
Look as I look, do as I do
Then I’ll have fellowship with you.”
Uniformity says, “If you don’t talk like me, walk like me, dress like me and live like me, then I’m not going to be your friend.”
This is not the attitude Jesus was praying we would have.
What Jesus was praying for is quite different.
JESUS WAS PRAYING THAT HIS DISCIPLES WOULD EXPERIENCE THE SAME UNITY EXPRESSED IN THE TRINITY.
The same oneness that The Father, Son and Holy Spirit share is what Jesus wants us to have with each other.
I like to think of this Unity in terms of DNA.
DNA, as you know, is the thread that runs through us that makes us who we are. It’s the life thread.
Each person’s DNA is unique.
Let me break down DNA for you so you can understand what exactly Jesus was expects of us and is praying we will have.
The unity Jesus was praying for is a UNITY OF DEVOTION.
Let me explain how this looks in relationships.
When I was in college I was the team leader for a ministry that traveled to churches on the weekends, when we were not in classes, and would challenge churches to become more involved in missions.
I remember that I had a member of my team who I thought was not very spiritual.
At the time I didn’t think much of his walk with God.
I really didn’t believe that there was much substance there.
Here’s what I mean. Sometimes when the group would be sitting around in a circle sharing what we had been learning together in our walks with Christ, this particular young man would often not have much to say.
When we would have open times of prayer where everyone in the group was encouraged to pray out loud, he sometimes would not pray.
And because I didn’t hear the right words come out of his mouth, and because he rarely talked openly about what he was thinking spiritually, I misjudged him as being unspiritual.