07/20/14 They All May Be One!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 Under: Sermon

Text: John 17:11, 20-23 (NKJV)

“Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 20 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Intro: Jesus took the time to pray for His people.

The night before the Lord Jesus was to be crucified was a night filled with much activity. He spent the evening with His disciples in the upper room, observing the Passover, teaching them about the Holy Spirit, and generally encouraging them to carry on His work in the world. After they had finished their meal, Jesus led them outside the city to a garden called Gethsemane. There, He took time to call on His Father. Luke tells us that He prayed with such intensity that He sweat became like great drops of blood. You see, in that garden, Jesus was under satanic attack! Jesus was battling evil on a grand scale for you and me as He prayed that night.

John gives us a little insight into this prayer which Jesus prayed. Jesus took the time to pray for His people. He didn't just pray for the 11 men there with Him in the garden that night, He prayed for everyone who would ever believe on Him as well. In fact, if you are saved, Jesus prayed for you! HE PRAYED THAT THEY MAY ALL BE ONE!

Application: Christ's desire for His people is that they be “one”.

Illustration: The spread of a food chain. The objective, emulate the first one.

Jesus is headed to the cross where He will die. 3 days later, He will rise from the dead and then 40 days after that, He will ascend to Heaven. He is leaving His disciples in the world to carry on His work to spread the good news. These verses teach us the will of the Lord for His people as they journey through this world. These verses focus on unity and all being one. “Diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds
us. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling.” Ephesians 4:3-4 (HCSB)

It is the central theme of Jesus' prayer. Believers must be one. The standard for unity is the oneness between Jesus and His Father. Believers are to be one just as the Father and Jesus are one. The very same kind of unity they have is to be the unity existing between us. A divided witness confuses the issue and cannot stand, just as a divided house and kingdom cannot stand.

“Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25

I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

The Bible reveals three stages of perfection.

1. Saving Perfection: Christ's death has guaranteed forever the perfection and redemption of those set apart for God. “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14

Jesus gave one offering: Himself, saving perfection teaches us we too are to give self! “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless!” Jesus requested that believers be perfected in unity, perfected as one body. This stresses beyond question the absolute necessity that believers live in unity. The world has not been reached for Christ—millions have been lost—because believers have not been unified enough to penetrate the world with the gospel. This is the terrible indictment against believers. The problem is certainly not God. He is willing and He is loving and powerful enough to use believers to reach the whole world. The problem is unquestionably believers, and as Jesus made pointedly clear in this verse, the problem is our love for one another. The concern of Jesus is that we be perfected in one. Sometimes it might mean that churches of common beliefs work together for the common good to make an impact in the community God allows you to serve. He saved us not to be a bumper sticker on the back of an automobile, not to be the center of conversation in a parking lot, He saved us that we might be a good work in the hearts and life’s of people in our family and community.

This kind of perfection requires maturing.

2. Maturing Perfection: The idea of perfection is perfection of purpose. It means fit, mature, fully grown at a particular stage of growth. For example, a fully grown child is a perfect child; he has reached the height of childhood, achieved the purpose of childhood. The word "perfect" does not mean perfection of character that is, being without sin. It is fitness, maturity for task and purpose. It is full development, maturity of godliness. God reveals anything that is contrary to His purpose, and the believer is expected to clean it up: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.” Philippians 3:13-15

As a member of the church the believer is experiencing "the perfecting of the saints" “For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:12-16

Maturing perfection isn’t easy, if it was everyone would be (Mature). The devil wants the church: “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” He doesn’t want us to grow so he splits us, and splits us again and again, to a point where when we were strong we had numbers we had unity we continued to grow. When he splits he weakens us, and weakens us some more…

3. Resurrected Perfection: This can also be a redemptive perfection.

The believer's purpose and aim is to "attain unto the resurrection of the dead.... [to be] perfect." 11 If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Philippians 3:11-12

The Lord's point is that the mature believer will do good and show kindness to all men, both good and bad men. He is mature in heart when he shows love to his enemies as well as to his friends. The love of God and of Christ are the believer's example of perfected love. "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

There is a world of difference between a unity of witness and a unity of love. The world may come to believe the gospel by a unified witness for Christ, but the only way the world can ever know the gospel is by a unified love among believers. What the world needs more than anything else is love, a great demonstration of love from a multitude of people. Think about the enormous impact we could make upon the world if we really were unified in love. The purpose for a perfected unity is that the world may know that God sent Jesus into the world to save it. In that garden where Jesus prayed He prayed for unity. Unity of God’s name: “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.” John 17:11

He prayed for Unity of God’s protective power, unity of witness that the world may believe that God sent Christ: “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Finally He prayed for unity of love, that the world may know that God sent Christ. They will know through a unified love.

Conclusion:

Believers must be one: be unified, of one spirit and mind in proclaiming the central message of the gospel. There is only one central message: that God sent Jesus "out of" heaven into the world. There is only one request of men: to believe that God did send Jesus into the world. There is only one mission: that man is one (unified) in proclaiming the message of the glorious gospel.

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