HIS Story Affects Our Relationships

Bible Book: John  17 : 20-23
Subject: Unity; Relationships
INTRODUCTION

This is what my Christian journey has looked like thus far:

Christ Experienced (Salvation)

Church, Gifts Discovered (Small Groups)

Home, Gifts Exercised (Sanctification)

World, Christ Expressed

The unity that Christ prayed for is a spiritual unity based on our relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Once you discover your spiritual giftedness you come to understand that He gave us gifts as tools to build with - not toys to play with.

Others within the church (body of Christ) profit when you participate in the “body life” (sharing life), allowing His spiritual resources to be used to edify.

GREAT TRUTH: Our fellowship together is meant to be a reflection of heaven, and Jesus is preparing us for that.

“The local church enables the world to look upon the canvas of God’s people and see an authentic painting of Christ’s love and holiness. And the local church lays down a pathway with guardrails and resting stations for the long journey of the Christian life.” Jonathan Leeman

Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

We are used in each others’ lives as we share life together to “stir up,” excite, stimulate or incite others, oftentimes to do something.

We, as believers, need each other.

Illustrate: Bill Bright, with Campus Crusade for Christ, used to use the story of the wood fireplace that burned so brightly, but what happens when one log is taken out of the fire?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

“Two are better than one,

Because they have a good reward for their labor.

For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.

But woe to him who is alone when he falls,

For he has no one to help him up.

Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;

But how can one be warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.

And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

I. PETITION OF UNITY. 20

Three times “I do not ask” v.9 and v.15

Here, Jesus is praying for those who will be saved. They would come to know Him through the apostle’s teaching. Through the centuries all who have preached the true gospel have preached the apostles’ words given through the Lord.

The gospel would prevail, despite the apostles’ weaknesses, the world’s hatred, and Satan’s opposition. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, those early disciples would begin the chain of witnesses that continue unbroken down to the present day.

II. PARTNERSHIP OF UNITY. 21a

Despite their outward denominational differences, all true Christians are spiritually united by their belief in salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and their commitment to the absolute authority of Scripture. All those who savingly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ “…are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Romans 12:5

D.A. Carson notes that the unity for which Christ prayed “is not achieved by hunting enthusiastically for the lowest common theological denominator, but by common adherence to the apostolic gospel, by love that is joyfully self-sacrificing, by undaunted commitment to the shared goals of the mission with which Jesus’ followers have been charged.”

1 Cor 12:13 teaches that we are united into the Body of Christ by the Spirit of God; suddenly, sovereignly, and supernaturally.

Eph 4:3 speaks of the “unity of the Spirit,” not created by believers, but preserved by them.

In Eph 4:4-6, Paul lists 7 features of that Holy Spirit-created unity.

“One body” – all believers since day of Pentecost

“One Spirit” – apart from whom no one can be saved

“One hope” – is the promised eternal inheritance guaranteed to every believer by the Holy Spirit

(Eph 1:13-14)

“One Lord” – sole head of the body

“One faith” – Jude 3, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

“One baptism” – the believer’s public confession of faith in Jesus Christ

“One God” – over all and through all and in all. Sovereign ruler of everything, including the church.

III. PRACTICES OF UNITY. 21b-23a

The nature of the unity Christ prayed for reflects that of the Father and the Son which is expressed in Christ’s words, “You, Father, are in Me and I in You”

Note the practices the church imitates from viewing the Father and the Son

A. United in Motive.

Committed to the glory of God. v.1, 4, 5, 24

Jesus did not seek His own glory, because the Father glorified Him

1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

B. United in Mission. v.2-4, 6

Goal of redeeming the lost and granting them eternal life; also v.18

C. United in Truth. v. 8, 14

“I have given them Your word”

D. United in Holiness. v.11

“holy Father”

Hebrews 7:26, “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens”

Hebrews 12:14, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord”

Believers united in holiness are used to draw unbelievers to Christ. Sin in our life obscures the glory of Christ that we are called to radiate.

The church’s task is to so live as to not obstruct the glory of God.

Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Philippians 2:1-2. “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

This passage talks about what unity looks like in practice:

1. Same Power.

“same mind” – believers are controlled by a growing knowledge of God’s Word.

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

It creates and helps maintain the same attitude

2. Same Preference.

“same love”

Romans 12:10 “giving preference to one another in honor”

Romans 5:5, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

3. Same Passion.

“one accord” – “one-souled,” a passionate, common commitment to the same spiritual goals.

4. Same Purpose.

“one mind”

Phil 1:27, “with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

Speaks of advancing the Kingdom of God.

IV. POWER OF UNITY. 23b

It authenticates two realities:

Evidence that the Father sent the Son.

Luke 19:10, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

Authenticates the Father’s love for believers.

The effectiveness of the church’s evangelism is devastated by dissension and disputes among its members.

It must be the goal of everyone who is part of the body of Christ through faith in Him to do their part in maintaining the full visibility of the unity that believers possess.

Ephesians 4:1-3, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Everyone who is a part of the body of Christ, through faith in Him, is to do their part in maintaining the “full visibility” of the unity that believers possess.