Sunday Recap (What is our hope for unity?)

Sunday Recap (What is our hope for unity?)

_one_imageSunday’s passage from John 17:20-26 was incredibly challenging.  Jesus not only commanded that Christians be unified, He promised that Christians are unified.  How could that be?  What hope could a disagreeing culture of Christians have for being unified?  That’s the Big Picture Question we pursued

Big Picture Question:  What is our hope for unity?

And these are the scriptures we read to understand that question.

John 17: 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 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. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

And to understand our Big Picture Question, we answered it in this way.

Big Picture Question:  What is our hope for unity?

  • Jesus gives our unity a purpose.
  • The world will know Jesus’ love through our unity.
  • We will more deeply know Jesus’ love through our unity.

First, we looked at the purpose of our unity.

Jesus gives our unity a purpose

John 17: 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 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.

Do you see what Jesus’ prayer offers to us?  First, it promises that the church is going to be one, just as the Father and the Son are one.  Believers are all united just as the Father and Son are united.  That united is ours, and the church learns to live that unity out in the day to day.

And what happens when the church lives out that unity?  People believe that the Father sent Jesus.

When Christians live in unity, people believe in Jesus.

When Christians stop fighting and start living in the unity we have in Jesus, people get saved.

Knowing that this passage promises that our unity helps non-believers come to know Christ, it is important that we speak about the various ways that we all can help bring people to Jesus.

One:  You can invite people to worship.  One of EG’s foundational principles is worship.  We value worship, community, and service.  And in our worship, we want believers to enjoy their salvation. And we want non-believers to cry out for salvation.  You play a privilege and a responsibility in that.  For a non-believer to cry out for salvation in a service, you know what has to happen?  You have to invite them.  You have to bring them. Invite your non-believing friends to worship.  They will hear the gospel.  And some of them will get saved.

Part Two:  you can share the Gospel with them.  I mean, you can purposefully talk to people about Jesus.  You can either get your bible out, which is available on every one of our cell phones, and show them the verses pertaining to salvation…Or you can share your testimony of knowing Jesus and being transformed by Jesus.  And God uses that to bring many people to know Jesus.

And the third way you can play a part in bringing people to Jesus, is what Jesus is talking about here. You can be unified with other believers.  Again, before God, all Christians are unified as we all equally share in the goodness of Jesus.  But in the practical, believers must seek for unity, and God uses that unity as a testimony of Jesus to the world.

Additionally, our hope for unity is that…

The world will know Jesus’ love through our unity.

22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Believers in Jesus share in the glory of Jesus as we share in the unity of the Father and the son.  Those gifts are acts of love from God to us.  As Christians live out unity, the world learns how loving Jesus is.

And that mutual glory enables us you, as mutual glory bearers, to be unified with each other.  God has forgiven you.  You now are given the glory of Jesus.  And as your sin has been overcome, as your offense has been overcome, as God has given you glory, you are now able to overcome the offense of one another.

As glory bearers, as glory possessors, you are able to be unified with one another.

As those who know Jesus’ love, we can love one another.

And when we can demonstrate that we can be unified because of what we have in Jesus, when we love each other in a unified, Jesus loving way, the world will then know Jesus’ love.

And finally, our hope for unity is that…

We will more deeply know Jesus’ love through our unity.

24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

As we rest in all that it is ours though God, the Father, and Jesus, as we rest in the unity that we possess, we will know the love of Jesus more deeply.  The inverse of that is true.  If the church lives and tolerates conflict, then we will not enjoy the love of God.  We will be less intimate with Jesus if we permit conflict to remain in the church.

The world does not have this, according to verse.  The world does not have God’s glory, Gods love, God’s unity, nor the hope of heaven.  The believer in Jesus, the church, has all of those these things.  And the grace that we need to even attempt to try to be unified and know Jesus’ love is that Jesus just keeps teaching us the name of God.  Why that matters is this.  The name of God is powerful.  Knowing the name of God is knowing God.  God sharing His name with us is an act of love.

You know, in our EG Groups study of Joshua, we are seeing that.  And one of the keys to Joshua and Israel’s oneness before God is the promise of God’s presence.  And His presence is defined by God’s name.  This was the promise made to Joshua – “I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.”  In just 7 chapters, Joshua uses the intimate name of Jehovah 27 times.  He says, “Jehovah my God or Jehovah your God” 27 times.  The name of God means intimacy and love.

Jesus says to us, Jesus says to the church, I love you.  You are one.  And you will know the love of Jesus and the unity that comes with us when you know the name of God.    Guys, right now, start your individual love of Jesus.  Rest in that, and the greater you rest in the love of Jesus, the greater you will seek unity in the church.  Psalm 91 teaches us what it is like to rest in the love of Jesus and the name of God.

Psalm 91: “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. 15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

We wrapped our time in the scriptures in this way…

Big Picture Question:  What is our hope for unity?

  • Truth:  Our hope for unity is that our unity has a purpose that teaches the world and the church Jesus’ love.
  • Application:  Strive for unity with other believers knowing that you, and every other believer, is bound together by the love and glory of Jesus Christ.
  • Action:  Never ignore the opportunity to be unified, or to restore, unity to another believer.

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