Faithlife Sermons

Complete Unity

The Prayer of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:47
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
Psalm 133:1 ESV
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
I’m not much of a morning person, but yesterday I made a commitment to rise early and attend the Men’s Breakfast held at the Wesleyan Church here in town. It has been several months since I’ve attended one of these events, but I sensed that God is stirring souls and is doing a new thing. I knew that the turn out would be strong - and I was not disappointed. There were easily 80+ men who came together sharing in fellowship - from all parts of Cambridge and beyond. I ran into friends from Talbot county, and listened to speakers from ministries in DC. The men gathered reflected the diverse makeup of Cambridge and blacks and whites were co-mingled together instead of the self-segregation that so often occurs. We all desired the same thing - to glorify the Lord and to bear witness to His love throughout our communities. Every speaker brought attention to the broken condition of so many families, especially those living in single parent households, and the need to walk alongside of young people, to mentor and to disciple.
One man, a black pastor who knew what it was like to not have a father and whose mother worked so hard to provide for the family he rarely saw her and as a result, did not feel loved. But then he met Jesus at a church service and received the love of His heavenly Father. As a teen, he was filled with a lot of hate, but God replaced that with love. When he became a pastor, he began to realize that he had no white friends. And when he asked his fellow black pastors if they had white friends, they all replied they did not. And so he asked the Lord for a white friend and the Lord brought him Daniel Rieck - who is the organizer behind the Men’s Breakfast. Now, in his own words, “I have friends who are white, black, hispanic - but I don’t think of them by their color, they are simply my brothers and sisters in the Lord. Color, wealth, status will all end up buried in the grave when we die - but our love for one another will follow us into heaven.”
This is the kind of unity that glorifies God. The men gathered yesterday did not think alike in their politics, and with 20 different churches present, I guarantee if you asked them questions on doctrine, you’d soon discover what separates us - but they were one in their love for Christ and love for one another. There was a shared zeal - a shared desire to see change in our community - a change that can only come through Christ and a change that must begin with us.
John 13:34–35 ESV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Now I shared with you that I sensed that God was stirring souls and He is doing a new thing. This past Wednesday morning, several students at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky attended a weekly chapel service. I studied for my master’s at Asbury Theological Seminary - which is located right across the street from the university - and I remember going to chapel, being led in worship by several musically gifted students, and usually listening to a professor or visiting missionary give a message. It is a brief service and afterwards - I would head off to my next class.
Something different happened this past Wednesday. It started off like every other service, the speaker that day would later share that it was not his best sermon and that he had to cut it short due to time, and the musicians began closing in song and those who desired to stay and pray at the altar did so but many began to return to their classes. The student musicians kept playing their music, those who stayed prayed at the altar, and those who went to class felt an overwhelming need to return to chapel. Asbury is open to the movement of the Spirit, and the professors allowed students to go.
Soon more and more students began to show up and enter into praise, worship, and prayer. Chapel service continued on. God was doing something new. Those attending felt the peace that surpasses all understanding. That chapel service is still happening - it has not diminished, it continues to grow.
50 years ago, Asbury experienced a similar revival. Students, faculty, and visitors were caught up in a movement of the Holy Spirit - healings, reconciliation among people, many folks receiving salvation, others growing exponentially in their faith. As word of the revival spread, other college campuses and churches began to experience revival as well. I read a post from Dan Berry who said, “If you haven’t heard, a revival has broken out on the campus of Asbury University. Over 50 years ago a revival broke out on the same Asbury campus that started a spark across the nations universities and churches. I have no doubt that the “spark” impacted my home church, at the time where my father was pastoring, that brought revival to Roxana, Delaware. I pray that this revival “spark” will spread across our nation and the world.”
A current student at Asbury right now, Alexandra Pestra, reported the following:
This experience is a true testament to show God’s timing. He knew when we as a student body and as a community needed a day like today. To confess, reconcile, heal and allow prayers to be spoken over us — He knew what we needed to do and helped us do it. He is still present even as I type these words; honestly, it is hard to describe everything I am feeling, much like my friends sitting around me.
Part of me is filled with nothing but gratitude. We have sung the popular song by Brandon Lake more than once, but the truth of the lyrics hit every time: “So I throw up my hands, and praise You again and again ’cause all that I have is a hallelujah.”
I have embraced friends, cried with strangers and overall felt more connected to God than I have in a long while. And I am only one person, one witness to healing and transformative action taking place on the carpets, against the walls, and between the wooden rows of seats.
One more witness:
Jacob Nacar, a student at the seminary, writes this:
Many friends, peers, and strangers have expressed skepticism and even some cynicism about the events unfolding here. I understand, I certainly have had some charismatic encounters with Christians that have been misused and incorrectly applied. Maybe even weaponized. As a result, God has had to heal me in those areas. I’ve had to relearn some aspects of my faith as well, utilizing sound biblical doctrine rather than cultural practice and some Christian norms.
With that said, I say this with as much love and respect as my thumbs can convey.
I affirm that we should, “Test everything” as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. However, he also continues with, “hold fast to what is good” directly after.
I’d venture to say that praising God is good (choose a psalm for reference). I’d say seeking the Holy Spirit is good (at least, Jesus thought so)
John 16:7 ESV
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
What about unity?
John 17:20–21 ESV
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 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.
So when God’s people, from various denominations, cultures, and nations, seek to pray and worship for 60+ continuous hours, I’d say that’s VERY good.
Revival isn’t some magic voodoo. Revival occurs when God’s people sacrifice their time to turn toward Him in submission and earnest repentance. When it happens, it’s contagious. You can’t force God to do anything. He’s not a tame Lion… I want my faith in the wilderness of a safari, not the safety of a petting zoo.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM & UNITY. Come draw near, together.”
Brothers and sisters - I have prayed for revival to come for many years. I have prayed from this pulpit that the Spirit of God would stir the hearts of his people, that we would experience transformation throughout our community and our world.
Now it is my prayer that we do not miss it. God is doing something new - are you open to what He wants to do in your life? Are you open to what He wants to do in the life of our church family?
1 Peter 3:8 ESV
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
You know what grieves me about Jesus’ prayer in John 17? The part of the prayer we heard this morning:
John 17:20–23 ESV
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 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. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 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.
I grieve over this passage because I don’t see it answered yet. I see glimpses of it - like at the Men’s Breakfast - but I don’t see it lived out in the life of the Church.
Jesus is praying that we are so connected to Him, that our love for one another will be as strong as the love between the Father and the Son.
And when we operate out of pure love for one another, filled with love of Jesus, then those who are lost in the world will know that Jesus lives and will do the same for them.
As one commentary by David Brown on this passage explains:
Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Chapter 17)
But the Spirit of Christ, illuminating, transforming, and reigning in the hearts of the genuine disciples of Christ, drawing them to each other as members of one family, and prompting them to loving co-operation for the good of the world—this is what, when sufficiently glowing and extended, shall force conviction upon the world that Christianity is divine.
Church - are you open to revival? Because we need it!
I know some of you have been wounded by this world. You have experienced great loss, or hardship, or pain - will you allow Jesus to come in and bring healing?
Some of you are holding a grudge against a brother or sister in the church, one made in the image of God, will you allow Jesus to come and bring reconciliation.
Some of you are dealing with something right now that frightens you - that is causing much worry and stress - will you allow Jesus to come in and heal you?
And some of you have checked out. You show up on Sunday - but you hold back from going deeper and fully engaged - will you allow Jesus to come in and strengthen you?
Let us spend time in prayer and invite Jesus to come and revive us.
Related Media
Related Sermons