5. It was only because man was selfish that Jesus would later add, What God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matt 19:6).

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1 PRAYER FOR UNITY (John 17:20-26) A. When Adam first saw Eve he was extremely satisfied. 1. Because He saw someone like himself, & yet so wonderfully different. 2. He recognized they belonged TOgether & TO one another in a special way. 3. He said, This is now bone of my bone, & flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man (Gen 2:23). 4. God confirmed Adam s observation with a statement about the purpose of marriage, He said, For this reason a man shall leave his father & mother & be joined to his wife & the two shall become [be, become, come to pass] one flesh (Gen 2:24). 5. It was only because man was selfish that Jesus would later add, What God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matt 19:6). B. From the beginning of time God wanted man to know the joy of unity. 1. Unity is what He intended for Cain & Abel, Noah & his neighbors; Abraham & his family; Himself & the children of Israel. 2. So it s no surprise that the main thought Jesus had before He went to the cross was that we (the church) might be one. 3. That fact alone should make unity the great priority of our lives. [Today we look at Jesus prayer for our unity in John 17. But let s begin with 2 principles that are foundational to a study of unity among Christians.] 1

2 I. PRINCIPLES OF OUR UNITY 4. This fact transcends human feelings: A. God Created Us As One In Christ Gal 3:26-28 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 1. The ancient world was like ours fractured but in the church we are mended & whole. 2. Paul said it is the cross (blood) of Christ that makes our unity possible. Eph 2:14-16 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, & has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity [hostility], that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 & that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity [hostility]. a. Sometimes a husband & wife don t feel like they are one but by an act of God, they ARE one. b. The same is true of us, there may be times when we don t feel unified but God HAS joined us together as one. [When God creates a new relationship, whether in marriage or in Christ, that relationship is valuable & holy to Him, & we must treat it with respect in honor of the One who created it. That leads us to a 2 nd point. Not only did God create us one in Christ, but we are also to be striving to make that unity stronger & stronger.] B. We Are Striving To Be One In Christ 2 3. So just as in a marriage God takes two people & makes them one, in the church God takes many individuals & makes them one. Eph 4:1-3 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness & gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

3 1. Again, consider marriage a couple joined by God are MADE ONE in a moment of time. So with that in mind, we turn to John 17 & find that Jesus prayed no less than four times saying, that they might be one! Let s look at the basis of that unity.] 2. They are happy in the beginning, but trouble soon comes & they spend the rest of their lives striving to be one in the way God commands it (Eph 5) Unity is a process: II. BASIS OF OUR UNITY John 17:23 I in them, & You in Me; that they may be made perfect [to complete, accomplish, fulfill] in one, & that the world may know that You have sent Me, & have loved them as You have loved Me. a. AAre you truly endeavoring to do your part to achieve perfect unity? [Our unity in Christ is a precious gift. Unity is His creation; therefore we should respect it, treasure it & seek to express it in our relationships to one another. Jesus valued our unity so highly that He made it His final request. And our challenge in life is to value unity as much as He did. A. God s Word given to us John 17:20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their [apostles ] word; John 17:6 I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, & they have kept Your word. John 17:8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; & they have received them, & have known surely that I came forth from You; & they have believed that You sent Me. John 17:14 I have given them Your word; & the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. John 17:17-19 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. 3

4 1. The unity God requires & the unity for which Jesus prayed is not possible on any other basis (Acts 2:42; Phil 1:27; Jude 3). 2. Some churches are unified on the basis of their opinions & positions on issues. 3. But the message of the apostles is the only thing that can knit our hearts together as one & result in the unity for which Jesus prayed. BASIS OF OUR UNITY B. God s Character represented through us 2. There are all kinds of clubs & organizations that provide togetherness. 3. But the unity of the church is based on our knowledge of God s word & our desire to be more like Him. BASIS OF OUR UNITY C. God s Purpose continually leading us John 17:21, 23 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, & I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me 23 I in them, & You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, & that the world may know that You have sent Me, & have loved them as You have loved Me. John 17:22 And the glory [the expression of His character] which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: John 17:26 And I have declared to them Your name [person, character], & will declare it, that the LOVE with which You loved Me may be in them, & I in them." (Jn 13:35) 1. God s word in us will cause God s character & love shine through us. 1. Throughout this text, the word one has to do with unity of purpose. a. Jesus & the Father were one in purpose not in person. 4

5 2. Among the 12 disciples, unity of purpose was not always their guiding light, & what was the reason for that? a. Their ignorance, their desire for preeminence, greed, 5. Now, don t be overwhelmed by that task, because Jesus prayed for us. 6. He is deeply interested in our unity, & He is willing to help us, as He helped the disciples, become more & more unified. 3. Nearly every church mentioned in the NT struggled to maintain unity of purpose, & what was the reason for that? [In closing, there are two reasons Jesus is so interested in us sharing the unity that He has with the Father.] a. Their ignorance, their desire for preeminence, greed, & their love for the pleasures of the world. 4. But their task was nothing less than ours: to strive to emulate the oneness that exists between the Father & the Son. III. PURPOSE OF OUR UNITY A. So The World Can See His Salvation John 17:23 I in them, & You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, & that the world may know that You have sent Me, & have loved them as You have loved Me. a. To be THAT united in His word. b. To be THAT united in His character. c. To be THAT united in His purpose. 1. We often look at unity selfishly, as if it is totally for our benefit, pleasure & comfort. 5

6 2. Jesus said that our unity would lead others to salvation. PURPOSE OF OUR UNITY B. So The Christian Can See His Glory John 17:24 Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 1. Jesus didn t pray that we would see the pearly gates or the street of gold but His glory. 2. Just to be near the dear Lord I adore, will through the ages be glory for me. 3. Heaven is where we see the glory of Jesus; it s heaven because He is there. 4. How could we expect to enjoy unity with Him (or saints) there, if we haven t wanted it here? CLOSING 5. So IF in this life we will receive His word, put on His character & be guided by His purpose, in the age to come we will share His home! 6. That perfect oneness & unity that we have striven to attain here will be in made perfect when we share in His glory. Is unity more important than your wants & wishes? Unity in the church is of chief importance to God! He will NOT grant salvation to anyone who does not strive for the perfect unity prayed for by His Son. If you re not a Christian you need to be in Christ. In that relationship you are one with your Creator, & you are one with all those who are in Christ. Because, we are one! 6

7 7

8 May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me & have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:23) 1. On the night be- fore He died Je - sus Blood of God s dear Son. We are One! Filled with Prayed for you & me_ That we might know His per - fect U - ni- Hope & Joy & Love. We are One! As we ty. Then He died on that cruel cross & the Fol - low God s dear Word, Help us, Lord, to al ---- ways be Pow - er of His Blood _ Broke down the walls di - vid - ing those He What a lost & wait - ing world needs to Loved. We are One! We are One! By the See: We are One! 8

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