Please remember that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly what was preached.
John 17 – I am Thankful that Jesus prayed for us.
In this prayer Jesus prayed for our sanctification and protection but also for us to be unified as His Church. In vs. 21 Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are One. Larry Crabb in His book Connecting says this: “Imagine the sheer delight of enjoying perfect relationships with two others with no fear of things turning sour, a community of three cut from the same fabric yet unmistakably distinct. Imagine three who, without a hint of competitiveness, are absolutely thrilled with the uniqueness of the other two, who will stop at nothing to give each other the opportunity to display their special glory. Imagine a community without even the shadow of evil, with nothing but perfect goodness, where each member can be fully Himself without fear of promoting rivalry or releasing something bad.”
This is Kingdom thinking! The Word tells us in Philippians “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” The Father intends to bring everything under Christ and to give Him the name above every name. Jesus throughout the NT takes no greater delight than pleasing the Father. And the Spirit, The Helper, is living in us enabling us to love and follow Christ as His Church.
This prayer is the prayer of God the Son for His people that we would have a oneness of heart and mind united in our belief, united in our understanding, and united in and by the love that our Lord and God has for us – and our love for one another.
Jesus, on the very night they had argued who would be greatest, on the night all would desert Him, prayed for our oneness… asking that every believer would be one in Him. This type of Unity is not a shallow, symbolic social unity that the World has, it is not a political unity or a unity that comes from doing good works, nor is it the kind of unity that is found in attending or belonging to the same organization or the kind one finds at a sporting event. The Oneness we can enjoy is the kind that the Son enjoys with His Father: “May [they] be one as We are one.”
But the enemy of our souls does not want this to take place; he uses our difference to bring about isolation, division, and disunity within God’s Church. Conflict does happen in any and all relationships where people come together… are you married… have children… co-workers… our enemy would use conflict…
What causes Conflict? It comes when things don’t go our way, when our expectations of that other person are not met, when our desires are not fulfilled. The Word tells us in James, What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel… (4:1-2). We take and focus on ourselves and not on Jesus…
We get disappointed or hurt by others, our rights get violated-now we must choose how to handle the offense and as believers we know what God tells us in James that the anger of man does not produce the righteousness God Requires. God will use the very same things that the enemy would use to cause division to grow us and make us more Christ like… Romans 8:28
Believers can choose to confront the offense or we can choose to let it go, forgive as God forgave and move on. If that is what you have decided to do in order to keep peace that is all well and good if you can do so.
But it may not be about keeping the peace, it may be about keeping the oneness we have in Christ and that will mean confronting this person in a loving and understandable way. God gives us the tools to obtain oneness in His Word. So what do we have to do to be one in Christ when we have been offended?
1st does the offense require you to go to the other person? Matthew 18…
2nd How much of a role did you have in what happened or didn’t happen?
3rd and above all keep this in mind, that person is not the enemy, the Enemy is the enemy! Not those around you, younger or older, not those who think differently or who have different opinions, not republicans nor democrats, liberals or conservatives they are not your enemy just because they are different because we are all one in Christ!
When we focus on the differences that are here between us we are no longer focusing on Jesus or His mission for His people. God is love and His love has been poured into our hearts in fact His love resides in us look at verse 26.
Jesus said that we are to love one another and that by our love for one another the world would know that we are His disciples. In this prayer He prays that we would be one so that the world may believe that He was sent of God vs. 21 and in vs. 23 so that the world may know that we are loved as Jesus is loved…
In Ephesians 4 we are told, Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped (when each part is working properly) makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love… Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
And 4th when going to the other person be aware of the timing… We must choose our timing with care… Our goal is restoration and oneness – not being right or venting our feelings. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Turn to 1 Peter 3
True unity is found when people are bound together in close bond of divine love for one another, where faults are over looked, differences embraced, where they look for the good in one another, bear with and forgive one another. The key to this is God’s presence within each believer – “I in them and You in Me.” the very nature of God is reveled in these last hours of Jesus with His disciples. Forgiveness, love, mercy are on display because He prayed for them and us.
How are we to obtain oneness?
In your own words, what is oneness to look like in the Church (see Ephesians 4:15-16)?
How are you contributing to that oneness that cause the body to grow and build itself?
How are you showing the world the love and oneness we have in Christ?